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Daniel Stellwagen vs Ljubomir Ljubojevic
"Fall Off the Wagen" (game of the day Sep-02-2007)
NH Chess Tournament (2007), Amsterdam NED, rd 4, Aug-25
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Normal Variation (B45)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-25-07  aragorn69: On site report: <The most spectacular game of the day was Daniel Stellwagen’s rout of Ljubomir Ljubojevic. The Serbian grandmaster surprised his Dutch opponent by repeating the opening they played last year in the NH Chess Tournament. But his deviation from that game, 9…exd5, (last year he played 9…Nxd5) could hardly be called an improvement. And he had more surprises in store. With 10…a6 he lost a valuable tempo, which was followed by the risky 11…Na5. Stellwagen began to enjoy his position and when the opportunity arose to sacrifice a piece, he didn’t hesitate too long. Yet, his optimism suffered a slight setback after Black’s 15…Nc5, when suddenly he wasn’t so sure anymore that he was going to win without much effort. His main problem was that after his intended 16.Rhe1+ Black has 16…Kd7! and he didn’t see clearly how to continue. Therefore he opted for 16.Qe2, a move that turned out well after Black’s 17…h6. The strong knight manoeuvre 19.Ne3-20.Nf5 essentially clinched the issue and four moves later Ljubojevic resigned, not waiting for 24…Kc8 25.Qa8+ Qb8 26.Rd8+ and wins.>
Aug-25-07  aragorn69: 19.Ne3! is a beautiful move indeed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: The onsite report is incorrect in one respect: 10..a6 can not be described as a loss of a tempo, since White did not capture with 11.Bxc6, but retreated his Bishop. It is correct, however, in describing 11..Na5 as risky.
Aug-27-07  Karpova: From Mig:
<He fared better than his veteran colleague Ljubo Ljubojevic did against Stellwagen. The Yugoslav once again tried to rehab the sprained ankle that is 7..d5 in the Scheveningen. Unfortunately, this move, which would practically be a refutation of 1.e4 if it worked, is unpopular for a reason. However, Ljubo tried it against the same opponent at the same event last year and should have won the game after an insipid reaction by White. This time Black played 9..exd5 and then offered cheesecake to fate with 10..a6, chasing the white bishop but leaving his king in the center. Stellwagen showed he has worked on his aggression in the past year and sacrificed a piece for a very strong attack. Ljubo refused to grovel with 16..Be7 17.Ng7 Kf8 and instead was tied up in knots and blown away after blundering on the very next move with 17..h6. The computer says Black can survive after the inelegant 17..Qd7 18.Qe5 Kd8.>

That's last year's game: Stellwagen vs Ljubojevic, 2006

Sep-02-07  ted90034: I thought this was a very interesting game. I like how white developed his pieces and then went in for the kill. It was very precise and black had very little chance, so it seemed.
Sep-02-07  Rodrigo Gutierrez: I don't think I had ever seen a position like this (I don't play e4 or the Sicilian), but playing 10... a6 and 11... Na5 while your king is in the center AND the e-file is open just seems suicidal. Did Lubo really think his queenside offensive was going to work???
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: I know I'm supposed to like the Sicilian, but I don't--because I find it leads to complicated, closed, slow-moving games. I've taken to playing the Polish Opening (1.b4) because it deters the Sicilian. Can anyone recommend, though, a way for White to meet the Sicilian which leads to a wide-open game?
Sep-02-07  moppa: <playground player>, I enjoy playing the white side of sicilian, because it more often than not leads in wide-open game. It's true that black can always play his favourite variation, but usually white has easier game and can normally launch an kingside attack with little effort. What's the line you're afraid of?

If I'm in the mood for offensive, I'm more afraid of 1...e5

Sep-02-07  sagahelten: Fritz9 seems to prefer 16. Rhe1 over Qe2. Indeed it seems to drive the King out on the board immediately: 16... Kd7 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Dxd5 Kc7, etc. (With strong white attack).
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It is strange to see an experienced player like Ljubo playing such an opening where White knocks him down in just 24 moves. Nice pun, "Fall Off The Wagen" but my pun is "Rise Of the Wagen".
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Fall off the wagen-it's puns like these that may drive me to drink-lol.

White's attack totally handcuffed the black forces-by this he makes an equal force look so superior.

Sep-02-07  psmith: <sagahelten> Indeed, after 16. Rhe1 Kd7 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Qxd5 Kc7 19. Qd7+ Kb6 20. Ne3 it is all over for Black (found by Fritz 5.32) -- for example 20...Qg5 21. f4! Qxf4 22. Kb1! Nb4 23. Rd4 Qf6 24. Nc4+ Kc5 25. Re5+ and mate follows in a few moves.
Sep-02-07  psmith: <Karpova>
Mig suggests that "The computer says Black can survive after the inelegant 17..Qd7 18.Qe5 Kd8."

I don't know who Mig is or what computer they're relying on. But I've looked at this for a while with Fritz 5.32 and it seems to me Black has a hard time defending against 19. Nd6 in this line. At best it seems White ends up with some advantage.

I'll post some analysis if people want to look at it -- or maybe RandomVisitor could let Rybka loose on it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <sagahelten> I saw the same line after 16.Rhe1+ -- 16...Kd7 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Qxd5+ Kc7 19.Qd7+ and now if 19...Kb6 (trying to hold onto material, and anyway 19...Kb8 leads to a forced mate) Black is already lost. The White attack is irresistible in lines like 19...Kb6 20.Ne3 Qg5 21.Kb1 Ra7 and now both 22.Nc4+ and 22.Nd5+ are winning. For example: 22.Nd5+ Kc5 23.Qe8 Rb7 24.Re3 and the black position disintegrates.

Of course Black has other choices but none seem particularly good. I checked some of these lines with Fritz also -- Black either gets mated or squirms into a totally lost ending.

It's ironic that Ne3 is also a key move for White here, as in the game; the other important idea is Kb1 to avoid awkward pins or checks -- Black can get no counterattack on the b-file.

So it looks like 16.Rhe1+ is clearly strongest, and the best way to follow up the beautiful 14.Nf5!

After 16.Qe2+ on the other hand, it took further inaccuracies from Black to let White crash through. I doubt whether Ljubo could have survived with his king so exposed, but he could have put up a tougher defence.

<Rodrigo Gutierrez> I don't play 1.e4 or the Sicilian either -- but I've still played through hundreds of games of this kind. It's always a good idea, I think, to look at the stuff you *don't* play as well as the stuff you do.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One might well have imagined Ljubo in the role as punisher of Black's overly ambitious play in this game, rather than his being on the receiving end.
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