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Zoltan Ribli vs Eric Lobron
Germany (1992)
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Flexible Line (A28)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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sac: 21...Nf3+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Funiclar,

I'm not a great player, or even a good player, but look at the following line and see if it works:

29 B x g7 ch R x g7 30 e7 Q x e7 Now, White has to move the queen, 31 Qb2 Qg5 and you have the same postion as the game without the black bishops, white can't stop mate on both g2 and g1.

Jul-05-08  simsan: Funicular: I think you must have overlooked the simple 29. ... Rxg7 which of course maintains all the black pressure against the white king.

What confuses me is how exactly black is supposed to proceed to secure his win after 26. Rxe2 (instead of Qxe2).

The game could continue 26. ... f4 27.f3, but now white has some resources to defend the second rank.

After 27.... Bxh3 28.Bxh3 Qxh3 29.Rh2 I don't think it's clear cut how black wins.

Maybe it is sufficient to just liquidate: 29. Qxh2 30 Qxh2 Rxh2 31. Kxh2 fxe3 32.Kg3 is probably won for black even though this position really only has 1 extra pawn and a somewhat better pawns structure. Black will have to deal with the white e-pawn though

Jul-05-08  stacase: 21...Nf3+ was an obvious choice clearing the road to bring the Queen out to h4 and the Rook to g6 or h6, the rest of it, getting rid of White's Bishop at f1 covering h3 was more than my ancient 1400 elo rating was going to ever figure out.
Jul-05-08  stacase: After reading the comments, yes, I'd play 21...Nf3+ over the board. Throwing a minor piece overboard to crack open the opposing King's castle is jolly fun!

In general, setting up traps and hoping the opposition is dumb enough to castle into it is one of the many pleasures Chess has to offer.

Jul-05-08  234: Friday puzzle Jul-04-08 <36. ...?> M Stoinev vs A Kovalev, 1992
Jul-05-08  Marmot PFL: 21...Nf3+ looks like a winning move, after 22.gf3 (or 22.Kh1 Nxh2 winning on the h file) 23.Kh1 Rh6 the threat of Qh4 forces white to return material and still lose, 24.h3 is met by f4 Kh2 Qh4 with mate. If 23.de5 Qh4 Rd4, again f4 followed by Rg6+ and Rh6. There are quite a few other defences white can try but it all these lines the queen, rook, and pawn on f3 plus the queen bishop (after f4) are too much for white to defend.
Jul-05-08  belgradegambit: Easiest Saturday puzzle ever? Probably everyone saw Nf3+ in 5 seconds and the rook on a6 obviously swings to the h file. I didn't figure every move to the end but the game plays by itself after Nf3.
Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: A surprisingly interesting position. Like everyone else, I spotted Nf3+ almost straight away. As Silman says, we should attack in the direction of our pawns, so a kingside attack is clearly called for. Nf3+ opens up the position, puts a fishbone pawn on f3 and clears lines for black's heavy pieces. Yum yum.

Seems like a sacrifice that we can make on instinct because the attack is so strong. Check the position and the kibitzing and I'm happy (although a little suspicious that it looks easier than a Saturday ought to).

But then I put the position into Fritz 11 and it does not look so clear. Fritz initially assess 21. ... Nf3+ as -0.87 - worth having, but no forced mate. After a quick analysis (rather than a deep position search) Fritz offers a better defence than Ribli found:

21. ... Nf3 22. 22. gf gf 23. Ne2 Rh6 24. de Qh4 25. h3 fe 26. Rxe2 f4 27. f3 fe 28. Qe4

Fritz reckons this is -1.07. I would much rather be black, but white is not resigning in the near future. There is a lot more play in this one than Ribli managed.

Jul-05-08  tallinn: I don't think that Lobron saw all winning variations.


click for larger view

The position after the 25th move of white is easy to see, but the continuation played (fxe2) is not the strongest, maybe even not winning. After considerable time of calculation Fritz evals fxe2 as -0.13/23. with fxe2 Rxe2 and then even the strong looking Rg6+ Bg2 Qxh3 (not black best play, best is f4 f3 fxe3 Bg2=) does not lead to a black advantage: f4 and white is a pawn ahead and safe.

Having said this pat me on my back that I did go for 25. ... f4! which gets best computer evaluation :-) I wanted to keep the strong pawn on f3 had the idea to attack h3 and after Nf4 i wanted to play Rxf4 and was sure that this wins. However, i missed a defensive ressource of white: 25. ... f4 26 Nf4 Rxf4? 27 Rd8+ Rf8 28 Rxf8 Bxf8 29 e6+ Kg8 30 Qf5 and white is a little bit better.

Conclusion: Nf3 was a speculating sacrifice and winning it was not easy.

The winning line is 25. ... f4 26 Nf4 Qg5+! 27 Kh2 Rxf4 and after 28. Rd8+ Rf8 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Qe4 Rf8 31. Rd1 Rg6 32. Qg4 Bxe5+ 33. Kh1 Bxb2 it was game over for white.

Jul-05-08  nycbon: I believe 23. ... Qg4+ loses after

24. Kh1 Rg6
25. Nf2

Jul-05-08  Slurpeeman: White could play 30. Q x R. Sure, he still would've come out with a disadvantage, but Black would have to change his plan since the trio of Queen+Rook+ F-file pawn is what makes checkmate inevitable regardless of white's move on the kingside
Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <nycbon> Fritz 11 reckons that 23. ... Qg4+ draws:

23 ... Qg4 24. Kh1 Rh6 25. Nd5 f4 26. e6 Bxe6 27. Nxf4 Rxf4 28. exf4 Rxh2 29. Kxh2 Qxf4 30. Kg1 Qg5+

Black is down by two rooks but has a draw by perpetual.

Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Hi, <Once>. I rejected 23...Qg5+ in favor of 23...Qh4, because positionally (i.e., in the absence of a specific, calculated attacking variation), Black looked better off with the White Kg1 jamming the back rank, rather than with Kh1. (To convince myself, I sampled but did not write down a few variations similar to the one you gave. It is one of the few times when I corrected one of my lines deeply and retroactively because of a calculation.) Presently, I cannot check my lines with a computer, so thanks!
Jul-05-08  SufferingBruin: Black to play. "Very difficult."

Material is even. White's pawns are pointing toward the queenside, black's toward the kingside. This would lead one to believe that one should be playing on the kingside as one was taught this in reading one's books on the game of chess which are still sitting on one's bookshelves. But I digress�

What stands out like a skyscraper is the knight check/sacrifice 21. ... Nf3+. To be honest, I'd play this regardless and just see if I could finish white off.

I don't see an adequate white response to this attack. It can't be this easy, right? Let's find out. Time to check.

UPDATE: <As usual, I missed a defense (here, the self-immolating 24.Ne2), but the move 21...Nf3 is straightforward. It strips the Black Kg8 naked, so the resulting position is easily worth a N.> Thanks, johnlspouge, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Once> <21. ... Nf3 22. 22. gf gf 23. Ne2 Rh6 24. de Qh4 25. h3 fe 26. Rxe2 f4 27. f3 fe 28. Qe4

Fritz reckons this is -1.07. I would much rather be black, but white is not resigning in the near future. There is a lot more play in this one than Ribli managed.>

Just to clarify, isn’t your line the same as the text thru 25…fxe2?

So, 26 Qxe2 was the game-killer move for white, instead of 26 Rxe2, below.


click for larger view

26 Rxe2 is better because now white, (after 26...f4 27 f3), has three defenders of the crucial g2 square, instead of two.

Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <tallinn>

<The winning line is 25. ... f4 26 Nf4 Qg5+! 27 Kh2 Rxf4 and after 28. Rd8+ Rf8 29. Rxc8 Rxc8 30. Qe4 Rf8 31. Rd1 Rg6 32. Qg4 Bxe5+ 33. Kh1 Bxb2 it was game over for white.>

31 Rb1 is better for white, isn't it? It's still losing, but just by an exchange, rather than a whole rook.

Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <JimfromProvidence> Yes, I think you are right about 26. Rxe2 being preferable to 26. Qxe2. The other improvement that Fritz finds is 27. f3, so that black cannot stick another annoying black pawn on f3.

26 ... f4 looks scary because it opens the black bishop against h3, but the machine has nerves of steel (or should that be silicon?) and does not feel the need to block with e6.

The combination of 26. Rxe2 and 27. f3 allows the white rook and queen to exert a defence along the second rank.

Jul-05-08  Fezzik: 21...Nf3 is the blitz move. I don't know that I would have been able to work it all out over the board, but since it was on my (very) short list of candidate moves I'd like to think I would have played it given enough time.

The move I missed was 25...fxe2 with the idea of f4! Then again, perhaps I didn't miss it since someone else has run the moves through Fritz which suggests this was a mistake.

Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Once> <The combination of 26. Rxe2 and 27. f3 allows the white rook and queen to exert a defence along the second rank.>

I agree completely. Just to go a step further, as an example, after 26 Rxe2 f4, 27 f3, black would love to play some combination like 27…Rg6+ 28 Bg2 Bxh3, pinning the bishop.


click for larger view

Black would have been able to play this continuation thread in the text and win ample material after 26 Qxe2.

Now, since white now has three defenders of g2 he can blithely ignore the pin and play something like 29 exf4.

Jul-05-08  OneArmedScissor: I got it all till <24. ...Rh6> I wanted <24. ...Rg6+>
Jul-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle, GM Eric Lobron wins with the demolition of pawn structure sacrifice 21...Nf3+!
Jul-06-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <OneArmedScissor> Very zen-like handle! Reminds me of the meditation on one-handed clapping. Great stuff.

I think the problem with 24. ... Rg6+ is 25. Ng3 and we have left white off the hook. 24. ... Rh6 is stronger because it threatens an instant mate on h2. But take heart from the fact that in a real game you would probably have spotted this when you got to move 24.

For finding the previous moves you can probably count this one as solved.

Jul-06-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence:> <Once> <The combination of 26. Rxe2 and 27. f3 allows the white rook and queen to exert a defence along the second rank.>

<I agree completely.>

Well, I only partially agree. After 26. Rxe2 f4?! 27. f3! White does put up a difficult defense which just might hold. However, Black is not forced to play 26...f4?! and allow 27. f3!

Instead, Black has a forced win with 26. Rxe2 Rg6+! 27. Bg2 Rxg2+! 28. Kxg2 f4 29. f3 Bxh3+ 30. Kg1 Rg8! 31. Kh1 Bg2+ 32. Kg1 (32. Kxg2 Bxe5+ 33. Kf1 Qh1+ 34. Kf2 Rg2#) 32... Bxf3 33. Rh2 Bf8+! 34. Kf1 Bxd1 35. e6+ Bg7 36. Bxg7+ Rxg7 37. Qxd1 Qg5! 38. Ke2 f3+ 39. Kd2 Qe5!

P.S.: Verified move-by-move with Fritz 8 @ 15 depth using 512MB hash table on a 2 GHz single processor with 2 MB of RAM.

Jul-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Patzer2>. <Instead, Black has a forced win with 26. Rxe2 Rg6+! 27. Bg2 Rxg2+! 28. Kxg2 f4 29. f3 Bxh3+ 30. Kg1 Rg8! 31. Kh1 Bg2+ 32. Kg1 (32. Kxg2 Bxe5+ 33. Kf1 Qh1+ 34. Kf2 Rg2#) 32... Bxf3 33. Rh2 Bf8+! 34. Kf1 Bxd1 35. e6+ Bg7 36. Bxg7+ Rxg7 37. Qxd1 Qg5! 38. Ke2 f3+ 39. Kd2 Qe5!>

That is damn impressive!

Jul-08-08  OneArmedScissor: <Once>

If by handle, you're referring to my user name, well then... It's the name of a song by a band called At the Drive-In.

I can usually solve puzzles pretty well. My problem when playing is getting myself into those winning positions!

One bad move is all it takes to ruin a delicate position such as this one.

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