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Arkadij Naiditsch vs Ivan Sokolov
13th European Individual Championship (2012), Plovdiv BUL, rd 6, Mar-25
Spanish Game: Closed. Martinez Variation (C78)  ·  1-0


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sac: 27.Bxg6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  bright1: Nice tactical shot by White on move 27.
Mar-25-12  twinlark: It looks like Sokolov wanted to have a theoretical discussion with Naiditsch, as this is the same opening as played by Naiditsch in Naiditsch vs T Markowski, 2011, with Naiditsch departing from <11. Nd5> in the earlier game to play <11. exf5> instead.

White's exchange offer on move 15 is interesting. If Black snaffles it with <15...Bxf1 16. Rxf1>:

click for larger view

White is threatening both knights and Black has to really scramble to salvage them.

<26...Rxd5> must have been an oversight on the knight fork on f7 that eventuates after <27. Bxg6 Rxd1+ 28. Rxd1 hxg6 29. Rxd6> if he captures the rook. Either that or he simply assumed the pawn capture was safe as the discovered attack could be countered with a rook capture with check?

Or maybe he was just wanting to exchange his doomed pawn on b5 for White's pawn on d5, and overlooked the rook capture on d6.

Maybe it was just desperation. His position was horrible by then anyway and had been since he lost the theoretical duel certainly by move 21, when he had a lost game or close to it, and probably as early as move 17 when he started going astray with his king side manoeuvrings.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Realizing the fork, Sokolov gave up.
Mar-27-12  twinlark: GM Efstratios Grivas annotated this game in the report of the round at
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: That fork is what you call "the stinger at the end of the scorpion's tail."
Mar-02-13  rilkefan: I had 27.Nxh7 Kxh7 28.Bxg6+, when Rd5 falls and white's structure is too much better than black's. But just 27...Rxd3/Kxh7/Bf8 and black's equal or even a bit better, though I'd enjoy playing the white side more given the black king's exposure after h4/h5.
Mar-02-13  morfishine: 29.Rxd6 was sweet
Mar-02-13  pojtr: What's the refutation of 27.Qg4 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: The choice seems to be between Nxh7 and Bxg6. I think Bxg6 is more forcing. It forces the rook trade-off at which point black walks into a royal-knight-fork or loses three pawns in gaining the bishop, not "done and dusted", but if white can keep Q+R+N and get all three around the black king then sparks are sure to fly!

<27 Bxg6 ...>

Avoiding the rook exchange just loses two pawns for nothing...

27 ... Rd4 28 Qh5 h6 29 Nf7+ Kg8 30 Nxh6+ Bxh6 31 Qxh6 Qc7 32 Rxd4 exd4 33 Re1 with Qg5 and Re7 to follow...

<27 ... Rxd1+>
<28 Rxd1 ...>

Black cannot allow Qh5 (as seen above), so the Bishop sacrifice looks as though it has to be accepted!

<28 ... hxg6>
<29 Rxd6! ...>

30 ... Qxd6 31 Nf7+ Kg8 32 Nd6

<30 ... Qc7>
<31 Rxg6 ...>

Black has to find a defense to 31 ... Qh5+ 32 Kg8 Qh7+ 33 Kf8 Ne6+ , but nothing is obvious!

31 Re8 Qh5+
32 Kg8 Qh7+
33 Kf8 Rf6+!
34 Bxf6 Qxc7
35 Bxg5 Qxa5


Yep! Defense is very difficult!

<pojtr:> What's the refutation of 27.Qg4 ?

27 Qe4/Qg4 just aren't as forcing.

Black has lots of options;

27 Qg4 Rd4
28 Qe6 Rf8
29 Nxh7 Rxd3
30 Nxf8 Rxd1+
31 Rxd1 Bxf8

Mar-02-13  nateinstein: I would be interested in what black's defenses are for 27. a4 (with the ideas of 28. Nf7+ and 29. Bc4 if black's b pawn loses control of c4.
Mar-02-13  David2009: Naiditsch vs I Sokolov, 2012 White 27?

White can give up N x B for RPP in the sequence 27.Nxh7 Rxd3 28.Qxd3 Kxh7 29.Qxd6 Qxd6 30.Rxd6 but Black gets good counter-play starting 30...Nc4 31.Rd7 Rxa2 and a draw looks likely. 27.Qe4 first runs in to Rd4. 27.Qf3 allows Rf8. Not seeing a combination I would go with Be4 in OTB play. Time to check:
Missed it completely. Here's the puzzle position

click for larger view

set up on Crafty End Game Trainer, interactive link: The prudent robot declines the sacrifice preferring to lose two Pawns. Here's a link to the position two moves later:

In reply to 29.Rxd6 the robot plays Qxd6 when the game might continue 29...Qxd6 30.Nf7+ Kh7 31.Nxd6 Nc4 32.Nxc4 bxc4 33.Qxc4 e4 to reach

click for larger view

whn the win is no doubt there but is not trivial. Enjoy exploring!

<pojtr: What's the refutation of 27.Qg4?> Play it out using the first interactive link. It's what Crafty End Game Trainer is for!

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Could not visualize as far as all the Q forks set up at Rxd6 and thereafter, so only glanced at Bxg6 without giving it proper consideration. First looked at Nxh7 but at least saw this did not accomplish much after Rxd3 response. Frustrating not to be able to see even the main ideas, let alone all the variations.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one is a little deep for me...and there's sharks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: and there are forks in the water!
Mar-02-13  bengalcat47: To borrow terminology used in checkers, "Beware of tricks, traps, and shots!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I though that black might play 28...d5?! instead.

click for larger view

That protects the d pawn as it puts white's bishop en prise.

But after 29 Bxh7 Qf6 white is up a pawn and threatening to take a couple more, so maybe there is not much difference in the value of the two moves.

click for larger view

Mar-02-13  LIFE Master AJ: Very cool.

I thought that the solution 27.Nxh7, although I only spent around 1-2 minutes on the problem, so I missed/messed it.

27.Bxg6!! VERY sweet combine ... based on the Knight fork. (I had looked at BxP/g6 for a bit, but dismissed it. To be honest, I did NOT see the RxP/d6! move, that was the core of the whole combination.)

Good problem / POTD. Another lesson in Knight forks and the power of this piece. Thanks for the POTD, CG.

Mar-02-13  LIFE Master AJ: I wonder how much of this was prepared at home ...
Mar-02-13  Marmot PFL: Pretty combination. I knew the knight sac didn't work but couldn't decide if the bishop sac did or not. Offhand they seemed like the only major candidates.
Mar-02-13  Patriot: Black is a pawn up.

With the rook on d5 undefended and white's rook x-raying through to it, I looked for a way to take advantage of this by moving the bishop with tempo. The only problem is that black can almost always play ...Rxd1+.

One idea...

27.Nf7+ Kg8 28.Bc4 Rxd1+ 29.Qxc1 Nxc4 30.Qd5 Kf8 (avoiding smothered mate). 30...h6 is another way.

This doesn't look convincing.

Another idea...


27...Kxh7 28.Bxg6+ Kxg6 29.Rxd5 or perhaps 29.Qe4+ first. This imbalances things a bit which is probably what white wants.

27...e4 28.Qxe4 Rd5 29.Qxg6

27...Rxd3 28.Qxd3 Kxh7 29.Qxd6 looks nice for white.

I would go with 27.Nxh7, which if nothing else a threat exists to take on g6 as well.

Mar-02-13  Patriot: <<morfishine>: 29.Rxd6 was sweet> Yes it is. I actually did calculate 27.Bxg6 but missed this point.

<LMAJ> I also went with 27.Nxh7, missing the key behind 27.Bxg6 (the fork).

After 27.Nxh7 e4 28.Qxe4, I missed 28...Rf5 instead.

Nice problem!

Mar-02-13  Patriot: Also, in my 27.Nf7+ line, 30...Kf8 is a big mistake--31.Ng5! Houdini suggests 30...Bf6 (best) or 30...h6 .
Mar-02-13  sushijunkie: Not sure I would have found 29. Rxd6, and the engine says it's the only non-losing move, so I can't even take partial credit for finding 27. Bxg6 & 28. Rxd1. Booooooo, me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is a pawn down.

The light squares around the black king look weak. This suggests 27.Nxh7, but after 27... Rxd3 (27... Rxh7 28.Bxg6+ Kxg6 29.Rxd5 looks bad for Black) 28.Rxd3 Kxh7 29.Rbd1 Bf8 Black seems to resist.

Another option is 27.Qg4, threatening 28.Qe6 and 28.Qh4, but 27... Rf8 covers f7 and threatens f2. For example, 28.Qh4 h6 29.Bxg6 Rxd1+ 30.Rxd1 Rf4 31.Nf7+ (31.Qh5 Rxf2; 31.Qg3 hxg5) 31... Kg8 32.Nxh6+ Bxh6 (32... Kh8 33.Ng4+ Kg8 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Nh6 Qxf2+ 36.Kh1 Bxh6 37.Qxh6+ Ke7 38.Qg7+ and the attack looks winning) 33.Qxh6 Qxf2+ 34.Kh1 Qh4 seems to hold.

Finally, 27.Bxg6, further weakening the light squares, deserves consideration, 27... Rxd1 28.Rxd1:

A) 28... hxg6 29.Rxd6

A.1) 29... Qxd6 30.Nf7+ Kg8 31.Nxd6 + - [Q+P vs R+B].

A.2) 29... Qc7 30.Rxg6 (threatens 31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qh7+ Kf8 33.Ne6+)

A.2.a) 30... Re8 31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qh7+ Kf8 33.Rf6+ Ke7 (33... Bxf6 34.Qxc7) 34.Qxg7+ Kd8 35.Ne6+ Rxe6 36.Rf8+ Re8 37.Rxe8+ Kxe8 38.Qxc7, etc.

A.2.b) 30... Ra6 31.Rxa6 (31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qh7+ Kf8 33.Ne6+ Rxe6 34.Rxe6 Qc1+ 35.Kh2 Qf4+, perpetual) 31... bxa6 (31... Qc1+ 32.Kh2 Qxg5 33.Rxa5) 32.Qh5+ Kg8 (32... Bh6 33.Qe8+ Kg7 (33... Bf8 34.Qxf8#) 34.Ne6+ Kf6 35.Nxc7, etc.) 33.Qh7+ Kf8 34.Ne6+ wins the queen.

A.2.c) 30... Qe7 31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qh7+ Kf8 33.Ne6+ looks crushing.

A.3) 29... Qc5 30.Rxg6 looks similar to previous lines. For example, 30... Ra6 31.Qh5+ Kg8 32.Qh7+ Kf8 33.Qxg7+ and mate soon.

A.4) 29... Qa7 30.Rxg6 is again similar to previous lines.

A.5) 29... Nc6 30.Rxg6 is again similar to previous lines.

B) 28... Rf8 29.Nxh7 removes the last pawn and makes the attack stronger. For example, 29... Rf4 30.Ng5 Rh4 31.Rxd6 Nc6 32.Re6 Qc5 33.Re8+ Bf6 34.Ne6 is disasterous for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Jimfromprovidence: I though that black might play 28...d5?! instead.>

I didn't even consider 28... d5 because of 29.Bxh7 and 30.Qh5. For example, 29... Qf6 30.Qh5 Bh6 31.h4 d4 32.Rd3 Rf8 33.Rf3 Qg7 34.Rxf8+ Qxf8 35.Bg6 with the double threat 36.Nf7+ and 36.Ne6.

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