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Nick DeFirmian vs The World
"Joy to the World" (game of the day Dec-23-2012)
De Firmian-The World (2002), internet
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  0-1

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-12-08  RandomVisitor: Would 37...Bd5 have won faster for the world team?

What about 28...Nxd3?

Aug-13-08  RandomVisitor: Nick DeFirmian - The World [B90]
De Firmian-The World internet, 2002
[Rybka 3 ] <3-minutes per move>

1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3 a6
6.Be3 e6
7.f3 b5
8.Qd2 Nbd7
9.0-0-0 Bb7
10.g4 Nb6
11.g5 Nfd7
12.Bd3 Rc8
13.Kb1 Ne5
14.Qe1 last book move

14...b4 0.00/18
15.Nce2 -0.20/17 d5= 0.09/15 [Rybka 3 : 15...Nxd3 16.cxd3 a5 17.h4 e5 18.Nb3 Nd7 19.d4 Ba6 20.Ng3 a4 21.Na1 Rb8 22.Qd2 a3 23.b3 exd4= -0.20/17 ]

16.h4³ -0.26/15 [Rybka 3 : 16.Qg3 Nxd3 17.cxd3 Na4 18.h4 Nc5 19.Nc1= 0.09/15 ]

16...Nxd3 -0.19/19
17.cxd3 -0.19/17 e5 -0.19/17
18.Nf5 -0.21/16 d4= 0.19/16 [Rybka 3 : 18...g6 19.Bxb6 Qxb6 20.Qg3 Bd6 21.Nxd6+ Qxd6 22.h5 0-0 23.Qh2 Rc7 24.Ng3 Rd8 25.hxg6 fxg6 26.Qf2 Rf7 27.exd5 Bxd5 28.Ne4= -0.21/16 ]

19.Bg1= 0.00/14 [Rybka 3 : 19.Nexd4 exd4 20.Bxd4 Rg8 21.h5 Na4 22.Qe3 Qd7 23.Rc1 Qb5 24.Rxc8+ Bxc8 25.Rc1 Be6 26.b3 Nc3+ 27.Bxc3 bxc3 28.Rxc3 g6 29.hxg6= 0.19/16 ]

19...Na4= 0.18/16 [Rybka 3 : 19...g6 20.Nh6 Bxh6 21.gxh6 a5 22.f4 f6 23.fxe5 fxe5 24.h5 g5 25.Bh2 Qe7 26.Rg1 Rf8 27.Qg3= 0.00/14 ]

20.Rh2³ -0.26/16 [Rybka 3 : 20.Qg3 Qa5 21.Nexd4 exd4 22.Bxd4 Rg8 23.Rc1 Rd8 24.Rc4 Bc8 25.Be5 Bxf5 26.exf5 Qd5 27.Rd4 Qb5 28.Bd6 Bxd6 29.Rxd6 Rc8 30.Rd4 Qb6= 0.18/16 ]

20...g6 -0.26/18
21.Qg3 -0.26/17 Qc7 -0.26/18
22.Rc1 -0.17/17 Nc5 -0.17/16
23.Nh6΅ -0.73/18 [Rybka 3 : 23.Nexd4 exd4 24.Bxd4 gxf5 25.Qxc7 Rxc7 26.Bxh8 Rd7 27.exf5 Rxd3 28.h5 Rxf3 29.Re2+ Kd7 30.g6 hxg6 31.fxg6 fxg6 32.hxg6 Bd6 33.Be5 Bxe5 34.Rxe5 Be4+ 35.Ka1 Nd3= -0.17/16 ]

23...Bxh6 -0.73/18
24.gxh6 -0.73/19 0-0 -0.62/17
25.f4 -1.85/17 [Rybka 3 : 25.Nxd4 exd4 26.Qxc7 Rxc7 27.Rhc2³ -0.62/17 ]

25...Qa5 -1.66/15
26.fxe5 -1.90/19 b3 -1.70/20
27.a3 -1.90/18 Qd2 -1.82/17
28.Ka1 -2.14/17 Qxd3΅ -1.12/18 [Rybka 3 : 28...Nxd3 29.Rb1 Bxe4 30.Nxd4 Nf2 31.Nxb3 Qc2 32.Nd2 Qxd2 33.Rxf2 Qxh6 34.e6 Bxb1 35.exf7+ Rxf7 36.Rxf7 Qc1 37.Be3 Qc4 38.Kxb1 Qxf7 39.Bh6 a5 40.Qe1 a4 41.Ka1 Qf5 42.Qe2 -2.14/17 ]

29.Qxd3 -1.44/23 Nxd3 -1.44/22
30.Rf1 -1.44/21 Bxe4 -1.44/20
31.Nxd4 -1.44/20 Bd5 -1.29/18
32.Re2 -1.44/20 Bc4 -1.34/17
33.Rd1 -1.48/19 Rfe8 -1.37/17
34.Nf3 -1.48/20 Nb4 -1.48/22
35.Red2 -1.48/21 Nc2+ -1.46/21
36.Kb1 -1.46/21 Be6 -1.46/20
37.Nd4 -1.55/18 Nxd4΅ -0.93/23 [Rybka 3 : 37...Bd5 38.Rf1 Rxe5 39.Nxc2 Be4 40.Bd4 Bxc2+ 41.Ka1 Re4 42.Bf2 Rec4 43.Rc1 f6 44.Be1 Bf5 45.Rc3 Re4 46.Rxc8+ Bxc8 47.Rd1 Kf7 48.Rc1 Bd7 49.Bg3 -1.55/18 ; 37...Bd5]

38.Bxd4 -1.02/22 Bf5+ -0.85/23
39.Ka1 -0.93/21 Rcd8 -0.71/22
40.Bf2΅ -1.12/25 [Rybka 3 : 40.Bb6 Rxd2 41.Rxd2 f6 42.Rd8 Rxd8 43.Bxd8 fxe5 44.Bf6 e4 45.Kb1 Kf7 46.Bg5 e3+ 47.Kc1 e2 48.Kd2 Bg4 49.Ke1 Ke6 50.Bd2 Kd5 51.Bc3 Ke4 52.Ba5 Kf3 53.Bc7 Bd7 54.Bb6 Ba4΅ -0.71/22 ]

40...Rxd2 -1.12/25
41.Rxd2 -1.12/24 f6 -0.83/26
42.exf6 -0.83/27 Kf7 -0.83/26
43.Rd1 -0.83/25 Kxf6 -0.83/23
44.Bd4+ -0.92/28 Kf7 -0.92/25
45.Bb6 -0.92/26 Re2 -0.83/25
46.Bd8 -0.83/27 Ke6 -0.83/25
47.Rf1 -0.83/25 Bd3 -0.83/26
48.Rh1 -0.92/25 Ke5 -0.82/23
49.Bg5 -0.92/28 Kf5 -0.92/26
50.Rf1+ -0.92/30 Kg4 -0.92/28
51.Rg1+ -0.92/28 Kf3 -0.81/25
52.Bd8 -0.81/22 Rh2 -0.81/24

Aug-14-08  just a kid: Thank you <RandomVisitor>Your Rybka analysis is always helpful.This is the world's first win!
Jan-28-09  Vorph: How does Black win this endgame? I've looked at it for some time but just cannot come up with a winning plan..
Jan-28-09  Alphastar: <Vorph> I think the plan is to keep the bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal, so white's king has no move, then exchange rooks, then move the king up to h5. White will have to put his bishop on g5 to protect both pawns. Then black can make a tempo move with his bishop, white is in zugzwang and will lose a pawn and with it the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: What were the conditions of play / voting, participation etc? Was there a discusssion board?
Jan-28-09  Vorph: <Alphastar> Thanks for the explanation, I can see it now!
Dec-30-09  DPLeo: <whiteshark: What were the conditions of play / voting, participation etc? Was there a discusssion board?>

Some of the conditions I remember are:
- 3 days per move

- The team voted and the captain played the top move when the time arrived.

- If compelling analysis was presented in the eleventh hour by top analysts, the captain had the option to override the vote. I don't recall if that ever happened but it was nice to have a safety net.

- Each side was allowed some extensions. Although I don't remember all the particulars related to the extensions.

- is where the team setup a private bulletin board for analysis. The site is no longer in operation. Some team members continue to participate in World Team games here and on other chess servers.

- Participation was just a dozen or so people who stayed in touch after the Kasparov - World game in the late nineties.

This game was one of the first victories for a world team over a GM. After the game we did a postmortem match where I played against the rest of the team starting on move 18. I played Nb3 instead of DeFirmian's Nf5 and was able to hold the team to a draw. Here's the full move list for our encounter.

[Event "GMwB - The World (De Firmaian – The World postmortem)"] [Site "internet"]
[Date "2003.01.01"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "1"]
[Result "½–½"]
[White "DPLeo"]
[Black "The World"]
[ECO "B80"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "80"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. 0-0-0 Bb7 10. g4 Nb6 11. g5 Nfd7 12. Bd3 Rc8 13. Kb1 Ne5 14. Qe1 b4 15. Nce2 d5 16. h4 Nxd3 17. cxd3 e5 18. Nb3 Nd7 19. Rc1 Bc6 20. Qd1 a5 21. d4 dxe4 22. dxe5 Nxe5 23. Qxd8+ Rxd8 24. Nxa5 Bb5 25. Nd4 Bd3+ 26. Ka1 Nxf3 27. Nxf3 exf3 28. Nc6 Rc8 29. Ne5 Rxc1+ 30. Rxc1 Be4 31. Bd4 f6 32. gxf6 gxf6 33. Ng4 Kf7 34. Nxf6 Ba8 35. Rc8 h5 36. Rxa8 Bc5 37. Rxh8 Bxd4 38. Rxh5 Kxf6 39. Rh8 Ke7 40. Rc8 Bc3 draw

Jan-26-11  Waitaka: <DPLeo> Were computers allowed at the game? If so, what engines were used at the time? And if allowed, do you know what engine or engines did the GM used?
Premium Chessgames Member

<Waitaka: Were computers allowed at the game?>

Yes computers were used, but they were almost useless. They refuse to trade rooks in the ending because the evaluation drops. We knew the final position and worked backward.


click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 4 at 47 ply

1. (-4.21): 59.Bd8 Kh5 60.Bg5 Bf5 61.a4 Bd3 62.a5 Be4 63.Be7 Kxh6 64.Bd8 Kh5

2. (-4.21): 59.Bf6 Kh5 60.Bg5 Bf5 61.a4 Bd3 62.a5 Be4 63.Be7 Kxh6 64.Bd8 Kh5

Jan-27-11  DPLeo: I don't recall if GM DeFirmian told us what engine he was using. I was using an old Shredder engine against him and against the team in the postmortem.
Premium Chessgames Member

<RandomVisitor: Would 37...Bd5 have won faster for the world team?>

Speed wasn't a factor. We were working backwatds from a winning idea of a remewable zugswang in order to use a grandmaster as a foil in a minimalistic chess study. Both Benko and Karsten Mueller liked it. Even Rybka refuses to trade rooks and march the king to h5.

Believe it or not we improved on the following and intended to mate 5 moves faster.


click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 4 at 50 ply

1. (-4.34): 59.Bd8 Kh5 60.Bg5 Bf5 61.a4 Bd3 62.a5 Be4 63.Be7 Kxh6 64.Bd8 Kh5

2. (-4.34): 59.Bf6 Kh5 60.Bg5 Bf5 61.a4 Bd3 62.a5 Be4 63.Be7 Kxh6 64.Bd8 Kh5

Premium Chessgames Member

The following is the so-called "Beauty Line" as written up by Paul Hodges, a professional chess writer. In all lines it mates faster than raw xhess engine output. In addition the chess engine line is known theiry having been worked out independently by both Vheron and Tarrash in the 1920's

Step one


White has nothing better than shuffling his rook along the back rank in view of Black's permanent back rank threat, so the exchange of rooks is inevitable. The sequence we will show is not absolutely forced but is meant to highlight the unavoidable winning plan for Black.

53...Ke2 54.Rg1 Rf2 55.Rh1 Rf1+ 56.Rxf1 Kxf1
STEP TWO: The Black king relocates to h5 to create a Zugzwang and to win a White kingside pawn.


As White's king has no moves, the only defensive try is to create a stalemate defense by advancing his a-pawn to a5 and then sacrificing his bishop.

57...Kg2 58.a5 Kf3 59.Be7

Now White is reduced to shuffling his bishop.

59.h5 gxh5 60.Be7 Kg4 61.Bd8 Bc4–+ and Black releases the stalemate and White will be forced to give up his bishop for the passed Black pawn.

59...Kg4 60.Bd8 Kh5 61.Bg5 Bf5 (Diagram 4)


Non-SCO note: This is the position envisioned by the WT at Move 34.


62.Be3 Kxh4–+ as Black will be able to release the stalemate and force White to sacrifice his bishop.

Pal Benko, Chess Life, August 2003:
If 62. Be3 then 62. … Kxh4 is the same. Black gets his pawn and after 63. Bd2 Kh5 64. Be3 Be6 followed by … g6-g5 he can get a second one as well.


STEP THREE: Black creates a passed pawn on the kingside.

63.Be7 Kh5 64.Bd8 h6 65.Be7 Kg4 66.Bd8 g5 67.hxg5

67.Bxg5 hxg5 68.h5 (68.hxg5 Kf4 69.g6 Ke3 70.g7 Bh7 71.g8Q Bxg8–+) 68...Kf3 (68...Kxh5??= Stalemate) 69.h6 Ke4!–+


67...hxg5?? 68.Bxg5=


Eventually White has to play this move so that he can attempt to control the advance of the Black h-pawn.


68. … h4 69. g7 Bh7 70. Bc7 h3 71. Bd6 Kf3 72. g8=Q Bxg8 73. Kb1 Kg2 74. Kc1 h2 75. Bxh2 Kxh2

Black wins since he will eventually also take the a5-pawn. Note that without the a-pawns the position is a theoretical draw.

STEP FOUR: The Black king relocates to b5 to attack the White a-pawn while maintaining the imprisonment of the White king on a1.

69.Be7 Kf3 70.Bd8 Bc2

So Black can cross on the e4-square without releasing the White king.

71.Be7 Ke4 72.Bd8 Kd5 73.Bf6 Kc6 74.Be7 Kb5 75.Bd8 Bf5

STEP FIVE: Black wins the White a-pawn, and then advances his a-pawn to a4 and changes the guard on the White king's prison from his bishop to his king.


Or 76.Bc7 h4 77.Bg3 h3 78.Bc7 Be4–+ etc.

76...Kxa5 77.Bd8+ Kb5 78.Be7

Or 78.Bc7 h4 79.Bd8 h3 80.Bc7 a5–+ etc.

78...a5 79.Bd8 a4 80.Be7 Kc4 81.Bf6 Bc2

Keeping the door closed as the Black king passes over d3.

82.Bg5 Kd3 83.Be7 Kd2 84.Bg5+ Kd1 85.Be7 Bf5 86.Bf6 Kc2

STEP SIX: Black creates a winning passed pawn on the queenside to overload the White defenses.

87.Be7 Be4

Now Black will be unable to control a3 and h4.

88.Bd6 88.Bf6 a3 89.bxa3 h4 90.a4 (90.Bxh4 b2+–+) 90...h3 91.Be5 h2 92.Bxh2 b2+–+

88...h4 89.Be5 h3 90.Bd6 a3 91.Be5

91.Bxa3 h2–+

91.bxa3 b2+–+

91...h2 92.Bxh2 axb2 Mate

An aesthetic finish – mating with ‘Najdorf’s Pawn’ (see 5…a6). In light of this overall winning plan (or some similar variant thereof prepared by Black), De Firmian resigned after 52...Rh2.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: How interesting for CG to make this game of the day.
Dec-23-12  Kikoman: Wow! What a game! <OCB> ending, the White's King is dead. :O
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: I must say, i'm very impressed with this game. I had not seen it earlier, but it is a very fine win! I have not done any analysis, or serious searching to improve whites play, but as i was going thru it, i just made some quick observations:

15. ..d5!
Black achieves the Sicilian thematic ..d5 center break already on move 15, suggesting black has equalized, although i suspect the engines were already starting to show a slight black plus due to the extra space (pb4), superior mobility, and pressure on e4.

And by move 19.Bg1 black must have been showing some good eval's already. Visually, the cramping black pawns threaten a lasting bind, which suggests that instead of 16.h4?! white may have done better with Qg3 or some other plan to restrain black's ..e5!?

The real test of the position is yet to be seen. Will black's apparent advantage be converted to a more permanent and winning positional trump?

25. ..Qa5!! After the very nice temporary pawn sac on e5 and the rush to the queenside with the final ..b3!! it is clear black has converted his opening advantage into a serious and permanent thorn in the flesh. White is forced to play a3, and afterward it is clear black has won the middle game by forcing the queens off the board, and with the subsequent (and i might add excellent) knight maneuvering that ended with ..Nc2! (grabbing d4), black is simplifying to a won ending.

The winning play 36. ..Be6! (threatening a discovered check after ..Bf5) forces the exchange of knights into an opposite colored bishops ending that, due to the Pb3, gives black a won game. The rest is, as they say, all technique.

A truly magnificent game! It almost has a Bobby Fischer feel to it. If i didn't know otherwise, and on the first time playing thru this game, had i been told it was Gligorich vs. Fischer 1971 i would have believed it. My complements to the World Team in creating a classic example of how to handle the Sicilian as black. After 15...d5 black grabbed the initiative and carried it to the very end.

I wonder how many GM's have studied this game searching for improvements for white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: UPSEt! master loses to big numbers!
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