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Vugar Gashimov vs Robert Kempinski
"Gash and Burn" (game of the day Feb-29-12)
Bundesliga (2011)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Modern Variations (B54)  ·  1-0
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Given 2 times; par: 38 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-01-12  King Death: < sofouuk: ...certainly 22 ... Bc3+ is an easy move to overlook, but that's the point. you don't play a move like 22 Qa6 unless you're sure it works against every possible reply, especially when there's an obvious alternative to hand. white clearly thought he had worked everything out, but he hadn't. the reason this matters is because 22 Qa4 is so obviously crushing, and it's the existence of this alternative which makes 22 Qa6 look gratuitous...>

For sure 22.Qa4 is natural and I'd have to have strong reasons for rejecting it.

Mar-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I give up. You clearly don't get it. I like to think that I can explain even quite complicated ideas to people.

On this occasion, it's not even a difficult idea to understand but I have failed. You don't get it. I apologise.

Let me tell you a story. Around a decade ago I was playing on the same team as Andrew Ledger - a strong IM. We were looking at a post game position where, unusually, he had lost. I think it was his only loss for that team in the entire season. He played an ambitious move which lost through a surprising tactical defence. Much like today's position.

In the post match analysis, we were talking about his aggressive move. And I said that I wouldn't have played it - I would have castled instead. And, for <once> my move was better than his.

Andrew slightly lost patience with me at that point. He said something along the lines of ... "well, sure, you wouldn't have played that move. But that's why I'm an international master and you're not."

Still don't get it? Then let's leave it at that.

Mar-02-12  sofouuk: <I give up. You clearly don't get it. I like to think that I can explain even quite complicated ideas to people.

On this occasion, it's not even a difficult idea to understand but I have failed. You don't get it. I apologise.>

... i really don't think sarcasm suits you

Mar-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I'm not being sarcastic.
Mar-02-12  sofouuk: ah well. have to say i had more respect for you two days ago, but never mind. will repost your diagram tho, as one example of where i don't think your comments make any sense


click for larger view

<White's easiest win is to exchange twice on c6 winning a knight, but then we are into that calculation stuff again which you say we don't need.><I still maintain that it is far from obvious>

in fact im pretty sure black would have resigned rather than hanging a knight with 22 ... Kb8. call this 'calculation' if you want to, but it's not even monday puzzle standard. how much more obvious could it possibly be?

... would like to hear gashimov's explanation of why he rejected 22 Qa4, anyway

Mar-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Nope. I give up. If you don't understand it now, you probably never will. I've lost the energy or patience to try to explain it again.
Mar-02-12  rilkefan: <<Once>: I give up. You clearly don't get it. I like to think that I can explain even quite complicated ideas to people.>

As I see it the problem in comprehension is on your side. Your anecdote is trivially inapposite for reasons explained several times above. And the snide text I've quoted is beneath you, to say nothing of the rest.

Mar-02-12  JuliusDS: <Once:22. Qa6 is only a reckless move if it isn't refuted.

The move "deserves some criticism"??? When you are 2600+, maybe.>

Of course it can be criticised, it's the objectively worse move. The first sentence doesn't make much sense either, I think <rilkefan>'s analogy with drink driving does a good job of demonstrating why.

A joy to play through the game by the way - I like how Gashimov shifted his h1-Rook to b3 and the way his bishops on f1 and e3 were arrowing into Black's queenside near the end.

Mar-02-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <JuliusDS> I'll say it again, one more time...

22. Qa6 wins in every variation except one.

Think about that sentence for a while.

Yes, it looks scary to put your queen en prise. It looks reckless. If you are a relatively lowly graded player it's the sort of thing that you wouldn't even think of doing. You might even call it drink driving.

But it's the sort of move that 2600+ players regularly play. When tactics justify it, we shouldn't be afraid to put even the queen in harm's way.

Try this. Play through the games of Alekhine and Tal. Try to predict the next move without looking at the game score, say with the predict-a-move feature on this website.

What you will find is that Alekhine and Tal frequently play aggressive moves that you didn't even contemplate. Moves that you would consider reckless or analagous to drink driving. Moves that sacrifice pawns, pieces, even queens. And 99 times out of a hundred, possibly 999 times out of a thousand, these aggressive moves will work. And hopefully you will have learnt something.

Just occasionally, very occasionally, a strong player will misplay it. They will play a 22. Qa6 type of move which has a tactical flaw buried deep inside it. A tactical flaw that is only spotted when we turn Fritz or Rybka on.

And when that happens you might be tempted to crow about it and say "see, I was right all along! It's reckless to put your queen en prise. Just like drink driving."

And for that 1 in 100 or even 1 in 1000 case you might be right. Especially if you are sitting smug and snug at home with no clock ticking, no opponent and a computer to tell you when something is "objectively the best move".

But try doing it over the board...

Here's a final thought for you. Victor Gashimov has earned an ELO of 2756. Earned. Robert Kempinski isn't far behind on 2600. I'll hazard a guess that both are much higher graded than anyone posting on this page - possibly even this entire website.

They got their grades by not being afraid of moves like 22. Qa6. If we think of moves like this as reckless or drink driving then we have virtually no chance of getting to similar grades.

And, okay, so today we get to see one of their rare mistakes. Let's not forget the far greater number of times that they got it right.

What is the phrase that they use in America? Monday morning quarterbacks?

Mar-02-12  King Death: <Once: Yes, it looks scary to put your queen en prise. It looks reckless...

But it's the sort of move that 2600+ players regularly play. When tactics justify it, we shouldn't be afraid to put even the queen in harm's way...>

This is definitely the case when the analysis backs it up. When, like you say tactics justify it.

<Just occasionally, very occasionally, a strong player will misplay it. They will play a 22. Qa6 type of move which has a tactical flaw buried deep inside it...>

Even the greatest players don't see everything to the very end so mistakes are possible.

<And when that happens you might be tempted to crow about it and say "see, I was right all along! It's reckless to put your queen en prise. Just like drink driving."...>

There's a bunch of just that kind of crowing that goes on here.

<...And for that 1 in 100 or even 1 in 1000 case you might be right. Especially if you are sitting smug and snug at home with no clock ticking, no opponent and a computer to tell you when something is "objectively the best move".

But try doing it over the board...>

This is a point I've made more than (you'll forgive me) <once> here at CG.

<Here's a final thought for you. Victor Gashimov has earned an ELO of 2756. Earned. Robert Kempinski isn't far behind on 2600. I'll hazard a guess that both are much higher graded than anyone posting on this page - possibly even this entire website...>

Considering that I never came in higher than somewhere in the 2200s FIDE in my playing days, I'd say there isn't any doubt that both of these players are a tiny bit better than I was.

<...And, okay, so today we get to see one of their rare mistakes. Let's not forget the far greater number of times that they got it right...>

Back in the day I was on the other end of some players that managed to get it right more than they were wrong, people like Walter Browne, Nick DeFirmian, Larry Christiansen to name a few. You had players like me then you had guys like this.

<...What is the phrase that they use in America? Monday morning quarterbacks?>

That's the phrase and it fits for sure!

Mar-02-12  sofouuk: i don't think anyone on this thread has resorted to 'crowing' about either player's mistakes in this game, or to feeling smug about them. everyone admires gashimov, and other worldclass gms, for having the imagination to consider moves like Qa6, and that's why we visit this site to play through their games. nobody is forgetting the 99% of the time they get it right. that doesn't mean we're not allowed to objectively point out when they get it wrong, or that we shouldn't try to learn from their mistakes. a queen sacrifice that works against every reply but one should not be played. the rest is sophistry.

in fact everything you say would be absolutely correct, if it wasn't for the glaring and obvious presence of another move which actually does win outright. im 100% sure that gashimov looked at 22 Qa4, knew it was winning, and deliberately chose to play 22 Qa6 instead. that was a mistake, and an instructive one. precisely because it's impossible for even a genius to calculate everything, 'in a won position it's better to avoid complications'. everybody knows this, but as gashimov can testify, it's easier to get carried away by the desire to play an interesting move then it is to clinically bring home the point

Mar-03-12  rilkefan: <<Once>: You might even call it drink driving.>

And, rather to my surprise, you might even mock someone's typo, having apparently decided to be a jerk.

We have made a very simple claim here - whether you're 1500 or 2000 or 2500 or 3000 or 3500, when you see a clear safe winning line and a spectacular risky winning line, you should play the former. It's worse if you miss a game-changing tactic, but it's still deserving of a tsk-tsk if you're reckless and lucky (or not unlucky). If Tal really eschewed clear wins in favor of complex risky wins, then I'd consider that a slight blot on his glorious record. Why you refuse to even engage the argument is a mystery to me.

Mar-03-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <rilkefan> Let me try to remove some of the mystery.

First, I am not mocking anyone's typo - something I do not do. In the UK we use the phrase drink driving. It means the same as driving drunk. Not mockery, just a different way of saying the same thing.

Secondly, I am not refusing to engage in the argument. Quite the reverse. I have tried very patiently to explain it on several occasions.

Let's be very clear. 22. Qa6 is a mistake. White should have played 22. Qa4 instead. No-one is disputing that.

But what we are also all agreeing on is that the only move to refute 22. Qa6 is hard to see. 22...Bc3+ puts the bishop en prise to no fewer than 3 white pieces.


click for larger view

I have been honest enough to say that I don't think I would have spotted that OTB - either as black or as white.

So yes it is quite right for us to talk about this point on these pages. An interesting game marred by a tactical mistake. But what <King Death>, I and several others are saying is that it is the <manner> with which we say it that matters. The tone of our posts.

Imagine that either player was reading this. How would they feel about the comments that have been made about their play? Would they think that we were being fair in our assessment? That out comments were enriching the debate?

Or would they think that we were taking cheap shots from the safety of internet anonymity and with the benefit of Fritz whirring away in the background?

CG.com has very few GM visitors. Can you guess why?

It's a point of principle. And I believe that we should stand up for our principles. By all means point out mistakes made in the play. Use software to help in your analysis. Try to learn.

But remember that these games are played by real people doing the best they can and without the aids that we use to analyse them. A little respect for that is all that I am asking for.

If you can't see that, then we do need to agree to disagree and move on. Because I believe in this point passionately and will not be moved from it.

I <once> commented on a GOTD or a POTD and made some smartass comment about a move that one of the players should have played. Only to find that the game was played by one of the CG members, and he was reading what I had written. And he posted to say so.

Did I feel like a heel for having criticised his play in the way that I did? Yup. And I resolved never to do it again. That's what's happening here, and that's why I am saying it.

A little respect.

Mar-03-12  rilkefan: <In the UK we use the phrase drink driving.>

My apologies then. It ought to be "drink-driving", I would think.

But if you're so concerned with tone, you ought to watch your own. Your first comment assumes <s> didn't see Bc3, when for all you know (I suspect) <s> is a strong player who could have easily seen it OTB or playing over the game. There "Yes, Qa6 is a blunder, but your comment is too strongly expressed, esp. if the players were in time trouble, and if not, well, people blunder, it's not a moral failing" would have been sufficient and (so it seems to me) rather more likely to lead to a useful discussion. You then spent a long time claiming Qa4 wasn't obviously won (again, not knowing <s>'s strength, or realizing that "for a strong GM" was the relevant metric). You then turned snide with "priceless", though <s> has been arguing extremely calmly. You failed for a long time to even understand the argument that ...Bc3's difficulty wasn't relevant (not sure you have even now) and that <s> was making a process analysis, as a result repeating refuted claims, while at the same time you took a lecturing sighing tone when the high road "GMs are imperfect, whatever white's process it's best not to be harsh about one bad move in a nice game" was available instead.

You're one of the folks who set an example here. In this rare instance I respectfully submit that you haven't set a good one.

Mar-03-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think we need to agree to disagree on this one.

If you don't like my tone, then I apologise. As you know, I hate to upset anyone and try to be as even-handed as I can be.

But if you go back to page 1 and see how this all started, I hope you will see my point. Which was also shared with others. If you don't see it, then let's just leave it there.

There is one last point which I can't ignore: You said: "You failed for a long time to even understand the argument that ...Bc3's difficulty wasn't relevant (not sure you have even now)"

Let's try to nail that one. My point of view is this ... As far as I can see (and Fritz confirms), the only move which refutes 22. Qa6 is 22...Bc3+. If 22...Bc3+ wasn't available then 22. Qa6 would be perfectly fine and we would all probably be enthusing about the strength and vigour of white's attack.

My contention is that 22...Bc3+ is not an easy move to spot. Several people have agreed with me on this one. Hopefully you will too. And therefore the flaw with 22. Qa6 is equally hard to spot.

Your contention is that the difficulty of finding 22...Bc3 is irrelevant. I disagree. If it is the only thing that stops 22. Qa6 from being a good move then it is absolutely relevant. Could not be more relevant.

So instead of you wondering why I cannot see your point, I am left wondering why you cannot see mine.

Yes, 22. Qa6 was a mistake. But it was a mistake because black should have refuted it with 22...Bc3+ where a crushing white advantage fizzles into a levelish game. That's why 22...Bc3+ matters. If you can't see that, or won't see that, or don't agree, then let's just leave it there.

Let's agree to disagree.

Mar-03-12  JuliusDS: <Let's agree to disagree.>

Good idea.

Mar-03-12  JohnAnthony: Naaaah, let's not give up now. This fencing is fascinating! I think the operative phrase is "over the board". Our kibitzing is a blast, to be sure - good fun! But meaningless in the context of OTB. I agree with Once (and greatly admire his delightful stories) - clock ticking, opponent looming, game on the line, sometimes playing an aggressive, wildly complicated move, is the way to go. Not against silicon, natch, but that's not really the point after all.
Mar-03-12  King Death: <Once: ...But what we are also all agreeing on is that the only move to refute 22. Qa6 is hard to see. 22...Bc3+ puts the bishop en prise to no fewer than 3 white pieces.

I have been honest enough to say that I don't think I would have spotted that OTB - either as black or as white...>

I'm pretty sure I'd never have seen it OTB or even later, it's a crazy idea from out of nowhere.

Mar-03-12  rilkefan: <<JohnAnthony>: sometimes playing an aggressive, wildly complicated move, is the way to go>

Of course. When you have a clear simple win isn't such a time. That's the whole argument right there. If your side can't see that, or won't see that, or don't agree, then let's just leave it there.

<I have been honest enough>

Another failure of tone I neglected to note.

GMs deserve respect - our fellow commenters do too. <Priceless>, <On this occasion, it's not even a difficult idea to understand but I have failed. You don't get it. I apologise.>, <puff out our little chests>, <I have been honest enough>, etc. aren't the way to express respect.

Mar-03-12  JohnAnthony: I don't think Qa4 is " clear and simple" except from our desktops. On the other hand, Qa6 wasn't clear and simple either. Aha! Maybe that is precisely why it was actually played OTB. I wonder if the players have commented about the game somewhere...
Mar-03-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: When honesty and apologies are seen as a "failure of tone", it's time to call a halt.

You have a very different view of the world to me.

Enough.

I'm out of here.

Mar-03-12  rilkefan: <When honesty and apologies are seen as a "failure of tone">

I'd explain to you the difference between tone and substance, between being honest on the one hand and praising your own honesty while impugning that of interlocutors on the other, between civilly disagreeing and talking down to those who disagree with you, between someone having a disapproving reading of your emotional outbursts and someone having a different worldview, but you're out of here.

Mar-03-12  rilkefan: Couple of other approaches instead of Qa4 off the top of my head based on b8: Rb4 (threatening Rc4, or Rxc6+/Rc4), Bc4 (threatening Bd5/Bxc6 [or Rxc6, or Bxa7] and Bxf7/Be6). Dunno if folks here will find that they're clearly winning or not - keeping d2 and d1 safe (and not overloading the c1 rook) while adding concrete threats that quickly gain material make it look like the former to me.
Mar-03-12  sofouuk: am repeating myself ad nauseum and i apologise. last post

22 Qa6 would have been a good move if black had been forced to accept the sacrifice, but he wasn't

after black declined the sacrifice, white had to find another way to win the game. that meant he had to play Qa4 after all

even if the Bc3+ resource had not existed, Qa6 would still have been inaccurate, because it delayed the win and effectively gave black a free defensive move

the Bc3+ resource did exist. when you have the board at your mercy, playing non-forcing queen sacrifices that give your opponent free defensive moves and allow out of left field counter shots is not a recipe for success at any level

gashimov is an brilliant player. anyone who is willing to essay the modern benoni at the highest level is an absolute legend as far as im concerned

... ... fun while it lasted

:o)

Mar-04-12  Dr. Pipit Wagtail: <Sofouuk> Thank you for conducting yourself so decently during this discussion. You needn't apologize for being articulate, knowledgeable, and correct.
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