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Ole Christian Moen vs Anders Livner
XXIV European Club Cup (2008), Kallithea GRE, rd 6, Oct-22
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B48)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Neither Ne6 or Qg3 get the required task done so it must be Qxg6 which rectifies it with an overall greater position to boot. CG's standard keeps us hungry.
Sep-16-09  Patriot: <<JG27Pyth>: Ugh. I have to flunk myself on this puzzle despite the fact that I solved correctly! I failed to consider the Ne6+ sac -- and that line must be considered (and ruled out) IMO. If I'd seen it I probably would have gone for it, too.>

In terms of finding the best move I agree Nxe6+ should be considered and compared to Qxg6+. But I think you should give yourself some credit! After all, Nxe6+ doesn't look very convincing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: The first thing that flashed into my mind was 20.Qxf6+ Kxf6 21.fxe5+ Kg7 & White is doomed. Then, I saw 20.Nxe6+ fxe6 21.Qxg6+ Kh8 22.Qxh6+ Nh7 & realised that White attack comes to a halt. The last one I saw was 20.Qxg6+ fxg6 21.Nxe6+ Kh7 22.Nxc7 Rb8 or Rc8 This game reminds me of my game played in the Gujarat State Chess Championship some three and a half decades ago which I won the game as well as the State Championship without losing a game. In all, I won the Gujarat State Championship five consecutive times without losing a single which is a State record. Thanks to for reviving my sweet memories!
Sep-16-09  StevieB: Once you realize the knight fork would really be nice, just attack the pawn guarding the coveted square. Can't directly attack it? Alright, give it something so sweet it cannot be refused.

Now all that's left is to move in and rack up the score. Beautiful.

Sep-16-09  MiCrooks: The Nxe6+ variation is not totally a dead end, however, you have to look at the risk reward equation.

The game variation nets a pawn with Queens off in a position where White's pieces are also more active. A clear situation.

The Nxe6+ variation nets three pawns for the piece and a naked King. Not bad, but there is no immediate win for White, and in fact Black has enough threats of his own due to the Bishop bearing down on g2 that Black is at least . The f6 Knight is key to Black's defense. Once pieces get traded down, which Black should be able to effect with best play, White has a big challenge ahead. True he has two outside passed pawns for his piece, but in the likely endgame of 2R vs 2R+B this is likely to prove inadequate.

So sure with a technical win versus a cloudy possible equality with an attack where you might win specatularly if Black would just make a mistake for you :)?

The choice is clear, however, there are players out there that would rather take risks to be able to win with a sacrifice then to win slowly through a technical end game.

Sep-16-09  WhiteRook48: oh I thought it was a mating attack
Sep-16-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: White is temporarily down a pawn and the queen is under attack. However, it quickly becomes apparent that white has two promising looking tactical options: (1) 20.Nxe6+ fxe6 21.Qxg6+ or (2) 20.QXg6+ fxg6 21.Nxe6+ So which is it, "royal fork" knight sac to set up a queen infiltration of the castled position or a sham queen sac to set up a royal fork? This is a case where inutition can possibly lead one in the wrong direction, so good, solid analysis must be done to establish the right answer. Assuming white is not in time trouble, one might start by looking for a middle game victory:

Candidate 1:

A) 20.Nxe6+ fxe6 21.Qxg6+ Kh8

The drawbacks of the knight sac are quickly apparent - not only is there no mate, but valuable defensive lines (and attacking lines) have been opened for black. Black threatens Qg7 killing the attack and white only has two reasonable continuations:

A.1) 22.Qxh6+ Nh7 23.fxe5 Rxf1 24.Rxf1 (Bxf1 Nxe5 is horrible for white) Nxe5 (threatening Ng4+, Nf3+, and Nxd3) 25.Qxh7+ Qxh7 26.Bxh7 Kxh7 27.Re1 Rg8!! Oops, white seems to be busted, in view of

A.1.2) 28.Rxe5 Rxg2+

A.1.3) 28.g4 Nf3+

A.2) 22.fxe5 Nxe5 23.Rxe5 (Bxh7 Ng4+ wins) Qxe5+ 24.K moves Qg7 and white's attack is dead.

Clearly white has taken the wrong path - best to work that out in your head.

Candidate 2:

B) 20.Qxg6+! fxg6 21.Nxe6+

A mere one pawn lead after the capture of the black queen doesn't seem that encouraging (which is why white might be enticed into flawed candidate #1), but a little foresight shows that white stands to win more with a series of tempo-gaining moves:

21... Kf7 22.Nxc7 Rac8 (b4 23.Nxa8 bxc3 24.fxe5 is easy) 23.N7xb5! axb5 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.Rxe5 b4 26.Rb5! bxc3 (B-moves Rxb4) 27.Rxb7+ Kg8 (Ke8? 28.Bxg6+ forces mate) 28.Rxb2 leaves black with a hanging g-pawn and 2 passed pawns down, an easy win for white.

B.1 21... Kg8 22.Nxc7 Rac8 23.Ne6 Re8 (Rf7 24.fxe5 followed by Bxg6) 24.Nc5 Ba8 (or Rc7 or Re7) 25.fxe5 N-moves 26.Bxg6 puts white 3 pawns ahead.

B.2 21... Kh7 22.Nxc7 Rac8 23.Ne6 Re8 (Rf7 24.fxe5 wins a piece) 24.Nc5 Rc7 25.fxe5 Ng8 26.Nd5 is a cakewalk for white.

It's curious how black's pieces seem to be on the right squares in the A lines and completely misplaced in the B lines. A very interesting Wednesday puzzle, with a lot of tactics, good, bad, and ugly.

Time to see what happened...

Sep-16-09  lzromeu: If 22... Kf7 instead Kh7, the game ends to draw. Not easy win for white. I verify this by computer.

<<desiobu: <OrangeBishop: It does seem that Black showed a fair amount of faith in his opponent by resigning here.> Well put>> (2)

Sep-16-09  ruzon: The answer "popped out" at me today, like a red dot on a field of blue dots. That is rare.
Sep-16-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <lzromeu: If 22... Kf7 instead Kh7, the game ends to draw. Not easy win for white. I verify this by computer.>

22...Kf7 may offer tougher resistance, but I don't believe your claim that a draw can be demonstrated. I just checked out my B main line (see my first post) in Chessmaster and it agrees with my analysis up to move 26, where it prefers 26.Ne4. After 26.Rb5?!, black can improve with 26...Bxg2+ 27.Kxg2 bxc3, but white should still win with 28.b4 - the connected pawns on the queenside (and the superiority of B over N in this ending) are too strong. If you can produce some analysis (engine produced or otherwise) to show otherwise, I'd be interested.

Sep-16-09  lostgalaxy: Good tactics Kingi. Indeed the simple way to win!
Sep-16-09  tacticalmonster: a) 1.Nxe6+ fxe6 2.Qxg6+ Kh8 3.fxe5 (not 3.Qxh6+ Nh7 4.fxe5 Rxf1) Nxe5 4. Qxh6+ ( 4.Kg8 5.Qg5+ Ng6+ 6.Kh1) ( 4.Kg8 5. Qg5+ Kh8 6. Qxe5 ) Nh7 5.Rxf8+ Rxf8 6. Qxh7+ Qxh7 7.Bxh7 Kxh7 8.Rxe5

I don't see anything wrong with Nxe6. Any idea?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheBish: O C Moen vs A Livner, 2008

White to play (20.?) "Medium/Easy"

White is down a pawn.

Candidate moves: Nxe6+, Qxg6+

20. Nxe6+ fxe6 21. Qxg6+ Kh8 22. Qxh6+ Nh7! 23. fxe5 Rxf1+ 24. Rxf1 Nxe5 25. Bxh7 Qxh7 26. Rf8+ Rxf8 27. Qxf8+ Qg8 28. Qh6+ is drawish. White should take the draw here, since otherwise Black would be a little better with the piece against the pawns.

20. Qxg6+! is the right way. Then 20...fxg6 21. Nxe6+ and now:

A) 21...Kf7 22. Nxc7 Rc8 23. fxe5 Nxe5 24. N7xb5! (desperado) Nxd3 25. Nd6+ Kg8 26. cxd3 Rc7 27. Re6! and White has two extra pawns and strongly posted pieces.

B) 21...Kh7 22. Nxc7 Rc8 23. fxe5 Nd7 (or 23...Nxe5 24. Ne6) 24. Rxf8 Nxf8 25. Ncd5 and White is also two pawns up in this line.

Sep-16-09  LIFE Master AJ: <spouge> White regains a second pawn on e5.
Sep-16-09  LIFE Master AJ: (Just as in the game.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <LIFE Master AJ>: <spouge> White regains a second pawn on e5. >

My apologies. You did not give any analysis, and I only calculate until at least a clear P is won.

Sep-16-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <TheBish> <<snip>20. Nxe6+ fxe6 21. Qxg6+ Kh8 22. Qxh6+ Nh7! 23. fxe5 Rxf1+ 24. Rxf1 Nxe5 25. Bxh7 <snip>>

At this point, 25...Ng4+ wins for black.

Sep-16-09  LIFE Master AJ: No problem. Also, I MUCH preferred the move 23.fxe5. I was somewhat surprised to see it was the first choice of Fritz as well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Got it
Sep-16-09  LIFE Master AJ: 19...h6 has to be the mother of all blunders. (For a Master, anyway.)
Sep-16-09  LIFE Master AJ: I am not Fritz. Before 19...h6?; ('??') I considered the position to be close to equal.

Please bear in mind that I just "ran through" the game pretty quickly. (Less than five minutes.)

Sep-16-09  Formula7: I spent a long time trying to make 20.Nxe6+ fxe6 21.Qxg6+ work but I got nowhere. Eventually I considered reversing the move order and then I got it easily.
Sep-17-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Formula7:> Good job - that was exactly the right way to go about it.
Sep-17-09  LIFE Master AJ: <Formula 7> I played with GM Lev Alburt in several tournaments, and we used to analyze together a bit.

One time he told me something that caused me to start winning a lot more games, and it happened almost instantly. He sais something like: "A.J., you have great ideas. Sometimes all you need in order to make it work ... is to change up the move order!!!"

Sep-17-09  LIFE Master AJ: I used to go every year to the Paul Morphy (Open) in New Orleans. I know Alburt played there ... on more than one occasion.
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