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Pentala Harikrishna vs Hikaru Nakamura
Tata Steel (2014), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-21
Sicilian Defense: Canal Attack (B51)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop, a knight and a pawn for the bishop pair.

Black threatens 30... Qxa7.

The first idea that comes to mind is 30.Bxf8 Qxa7 31.Qh6 but fails to 31... Rxf8 32.Ng5 f6.

Another option is 30.Nh5:

A) 30... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3 (32... Rxf8 33.Qh6 followed by Qxh7#) 33.Bxd6 Rd8 (33... Nc4 34.Qh6 + -) 34.Bxe5 + - [N+3P vs R], with many threats (35.Bxb8, 35.Q(f)xe3, 35.Bxe5, etc.).

B) 30... gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 (31... Bg7 32.Qxg7#) 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ Kh8 34.Qxh7#.

C) 30... Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 (31... Qxa7 32.Qg7#) 32.Qg5+ Kf8 (32... Kh8 33.Qf6+ Kg8 34.Qxf7+ Kh8 35.Qg(h)7#) 33.Qe7+ Kg7 34.Qxf7+ Kh6(8) 35.Qxh7#.

D) 30... Bg7 31.Bxg7

D.1) 31... Qxa7 32.Qh6

D.1.a) 32... f5 33.Ng5 wins.

D.1.b) 32... f6 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Qxh7 with a winning attack.

D.1.c) 32... gxh5 33.Ng5 followed by Qxh7#.

D.2) 31... Ne3 32.Qxe3 wins a piece at least.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: The only measure of success I can claim is having noticed White's rook was en prise :(


Feb-06-15  wooden nickel: Good comments posted... as of being a puzzle 30.Nh5 looked promising but sure was tricky, especially after 30. ... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3, at first looking good for Black up until 33.Bd6!, if 33. ... Ra8 then White just takes the Knight on e3!
Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has a knight plus a pawn for a bishop. Black threatens Qxa7, but has left a weakened castled position defended only by a bishop. My first candidate was Rxf7 (before I even noticed that the rook was en prise), which I rejected quickly. The second was


Putting a 2nd piece en prise. Converging pieces towards weakened squares (e.g f6) is often a good idea, particularly when the king is the target. Certainly the knight is immune:

A) 30... gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ Kh8 34.Qxh7#

B) 30... Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 (Kh8 33.Qf6+ as in A) 33.Qe7+ Kg7 34.Qxf7+ Kh6 35.Qh7#

C) 30... Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Rxf8 (or anything else, except Qe7 which is met by Bxe7) 33.Qh6 to be followed by Qh7# after a spite check or two.

D) 30... Ne3 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Rxf7 and black can only delay Rxh7# for a couple of moves.

Time for review....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < morfishine: The only measure of success I can claim is having noticed White's rook was en prise :( >

Well that's more than me (not saying that means a lot). I didn't even see the rook was hanging. :(

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: Missed the game defense, but found the correct continuation after seeing the game move Bg7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Didn't remember seeing this game last year, and missed the winning 30. Nh5!! solution to today's Friday puzzle.

Here's my look with Fritz 12:

<30. Nh5!! Bg7>

30... Qxa7 31. Nf6+! (not 31. Bxf8?? gxh5! 32. Bh6 f6 ) 31... Kh8 32. Bxf8 Ne3 (32... Rxf8 33. Qh6 ) 33. Bxd6 when play might continue 33... Ra8 34. fxe3 Qa1 35. Qxa1 Rxa1+ 36. Kh2 Kg7 37. Bxe5 Ra6 38. Nd4 Ba4 39. d6 Kf8 40. c4 h5 41. c5 g5 42. Kg3 Bc6 43. Nxc6 Rxc6 44. Nd7+ Ke8 45. Nb8 Rc8 46. d7+ Kd8 47. dxc8=Q+ .

<31. Bxg7 Qxa7>

31... Ne3 32. Qxe3 Qxe3 33. fxe3
gxh5 34. Bf6 .

<32. Qh6 f5>

32... f6 33. Nxf6+ Kf7 34. Ng5+ Ke7 35. Ne6! Ne3 36. Bf8+! Kxf6 37. Qh4+! g5 38. Qxg5+ Kf7 39. Qg7+

<33. Ng5! 1-0> Black resigns in lieu of 33...Qxg7 (33... gxh5 34. Qxh7#) 34. Qxg7#.

P.S.: For an explanation of where Black went wrong, see the analysis by <csmath> on page one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: Like <morfishine> I noticed the hanging rook. I also saw the Q-B-h6 connection and both Knights able to come into near reach of the king. I missed the value of N-h5, however. I suppose one scenario considered was that Black might take gxh opening the g file. Sometimes Knights on the rim are not all that dim, eh.

I took the approach of Rxf7 would be the breakthrough with follow-on by the Knights, probably Ng5+ if Kxf7. I have difficulty seeing the usefulness of 30...Bg7 and would have probably replied Rxf7 there too to get a pawn for my rook and if ...Kxf7 then Ng5+ and the e6 square is open to keep Q guarding h6.

That being said, the initial position does have a "sense of pattern" as to the ability of white to mount a successful attack. The king is alone in the corner with only one minor piece for protection. All the other black pieces are totally out of coordination with the King side with the possible exception of the B8 rook that seems to be serving little purpose given the pieces that can be brought to bear on the King.

Feb-06-15  Bycotron: Move 30, white to play.

White enjoys great prospects against the black King in this position! The Bh6 and Ra7 work together to imprison him, while the Queen supports the Bh6 and the Nf3 is eager to leap to g5 for a kill!

Ideally, we would like our Queen to move to h6 and Knight to g5 when the mate threats will be unstoppable. It looks very easy to make this happen:

30.Bxf8 Rxf8
31.Qh6 1-0 black has no good way to stop Ng5 and mate from the Queen on h7/f7.

30.Bxf8 Qxa7
31.Qh6 Rxf8
32.Ng5 Ra8 (32....f6 is also possible) and it looks like black has built a nice defense. Imagining this position, I now see that I would like to stop that f-pawn from advancing and allowing the Queen to defend along the 7th rank. I also see the idea of Nf5/h5 coming into play, with the idea of making mate threats on g7 and (in the event of Nf5-gxf5-exf5) creating another sword in white's attack.

Hmm, now I need a new 30th move!

30.Nh5 (intending Nf6 and Qh6-h7#)
31.Qg5+ Kh8
32.Rxf7 1-0

30.Nh5 Qxa7
31.Nf6+ Kh8
32.Bxf8 Rxf8
33.Qh6 1-0

30.Nh5 Bxh6
31.Qxh6 Qxa7
32.Nf6+ Kh8

Could it really be that easy? Let's see.

Feb-06-15  Geronimo: Ok folks chess question here: how do you work with "intuition" when playing a stronger opponent? Here I took one glance at the board, saw the hanging rook and thought without hesitation, 30. Nh5. There was no doubt for me that it was the correct move and I didn't consider others. Did I find the continuation? No. So no point. Of course this is a puzzle, so it's a different exercise than otb play, but I did see the move. I attribute this to a positional intuition, which I've been rewarded for in the past, but what do you do to discipline your calculation when you "feel" the move but cannot tactically explain it? Responses and thoughts very welcome.
Feb-06-15  Edeltalent: 30.? White to move

It's not difficult to figure out that this game will be decided with a direct attack to the black king. Black's pieces are far away and all of White's in such good positions that you would imagine he has sacrificed a pawn or two to get to this (in fact he's even one up): The bishop will soon exchange the lone real defender, the queen will quickly enter through h6, the knights will follow and the rook is ready to support along the 7th rank.

Only problem is that currently the rook is hanging on a7. Of course we could sacrifice it, but in taking it, the black queen would also occupy a useful square. This becomes apparent when after the straightforward 30.Bxf8 Qxa7 31.Qh6 Rxf8 32.Ng5, Black holds everything together with 32...f6. If the rook moves first, Black could still play 30...f6 and cover g5.

At this point in the thought process, the idea 30.Nh5 to control f6 comes in handy. Now 30...Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 (an important point is that this doomed bishop keeps the black queen away for one more move, preventing Qe7) Rxf8 33.Qh6 and mate. The knight also can't be taken, because then the rook is still alive and makes his presence felt: 30...gxh5 31.Qg5+ Kh8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf7+ and mate. Similar is 30...Bxh6 31.Qxh6 gxh5 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33.Qe7+ and mate. A desperate attempt to give the king some breathing room also makes the rook the hero: 30...f5 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Rxh7#. As Tal said when asked about having many pieces hanging at the same time: <"They can only take one at a time.">

Double-checking the lines, I realize 30.Nh5 Qxa7 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Bxf8 Ne3 is a resource for Black, but he's still in a bind and White can start to collect material with 33.Bxd6 Rd8 34.Bxe5, as the knight can never move and allow Qh6.

As a last-ditch attempt, there's also the very odd 30...Bg7. Of course that can never work, but how to actually kill it? I have 31.Bxg7 Qxa7 32.Qh6 f6 33.Nxf6+ Kf7 34.Qxh7 Qa1+ 35.Kh2 Ke7 36.Bf8+ Kd8 37.Ng5 Kc8 and Black is still (somewhat) alive. Maybe 32.Bf6 Kf8 33.Ng7 and I don't see how Black stops Qh6xh7-h8# (he can't get to the bishop), but that seems quite sophisticated because it gives Black at least two free moves. Anyone having an easier refutation?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Geronimo> I think it was Spielmann's complaint that he could see Alekhine's combinations as well as Alekhine, but the problem was that he couldn't get those positions for himself.

I think one exercise is to study the moves before the move 30 Nh5, and list the factors that make the move possible.

Feb-06-15  stst: The K must be locked up in the corner in order to deliver the mate, have to be quick to block the advance of he f-P for the Black Q to save, while open up the g-file, hence instead of BxB or Rxf7, go with the N:

IF (A)30.... gxh5
31.Qg5+ Kh8
32.Rxf7 Qc8
33.Qf6+ Kg8
34.Re7 Bxe7

IF (B)
30........ Qxa7 (QxR)
31.Nf6+ Kh8
32.Bxf8 Rf8
33.Qh6 any legal move

Other lines are possible, see if the first move is indeed fruitful....

Feb-06-15  M.Hassan: I fiddled around with 30.Ng5 line and spent quite a bit of time on it and simply put: could not solve it. Then I used Chessmaster and it showed me 30.Nh5 and I was thrilled by such a wonderful move. Why?: taking or not taking the Knight bu Black are both to the advantage of White: A)
If Black takes the Knight, exposes his King and White Queen and seond Knight can mate B) If Black does not take the Knight:
30.Nh5 Qxa7
King has only one square to go and the immense advantage of the Knight on f6 is that it blocks f7 pawn and therefore, h7 square can not possibly be protected by the Queen or any other piece and White Queen can easily sit on h6 after 32.Bxf8 Rxf8 33.Qh6 and mate next move.
Feb-06-15  stst: request:

can you relocate the "Kibitz!" pop/drop-down box so that it does NOT block the bottom line?

find it inconvenient to write at the bottom line, of course, can scroll up ... but.... really lazy, sorry.....

Feb-06-15  houtenton: <Geronimo> Txf7 or Ph5. Most players work with intuition I believe. When you are an experienced chessplayer, the ideas of what to do come always based on intuition. Furthermore: you are told that there is a winning move in the POTD position, so look for a kind of Tal-move. It differs a lot if nobody told you in front that there is a winning move. By the way, how do the most problem-solvers handle this: with a chessboard and trying things against Fritz, or try to solve it just looking at the chessgames-position?
Feb-06-15  Edeltalent: <Geronimo> As you said, a major factor is that when looking at a puzzle, you <know> that there's a solution, but in a real game you don't. As in practice a move that "feels" right might nevertheless just not work, there's no choice but to calculate. For obvious reasons, this gets more important the sharper the position is.

If you can't work everything out but still feel the variations looked promising, you should of course go with your intuition. But maybe you spotted something that makes you change your mind - in that case you'd be glad if the rook that <looked> like it could be tossed is still on the board ;-)

I've heard Anand (and I think also another Super-GM) say that he normally "understands" a position in less than a minute, and then spends all his time double- and triple-checking that the move he'd <like> to play doesn't fail tactically.

Feb-06-15  Edeltalent: <houtenton> Congratulations to your first post and welcome :-) I think most solvers here just calculate without moving pieces, at least that's the way I do it. When I'm not too lazy, I do set up the position on a real chessboard though, because it feels much closer to a real game than looking at a screen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <houtenton> As <Edeltalent> points out, most people solve these puzzles visually.

<Edeltalent> While working with <Patriot> over the past couple of years, I made the point that it makes a difference to view an actual board vs a screen. The 3-dimensional effect (and from different angles) is visually more conducive to solving than the vertical view of a 2-dimensional picture

Feb-07-15  Geronimo: Interesting quotes from Anand and Spielmann, so thanks <Edeltalent> and <Tamar>. <Houtenton>, I usually check the site on my way to work and have time to work it out in my head while staring at the screen. As my last post suggests, I need to work on my calculation discipline anyway! When really inspired, I set up the board at home later in the day and work it out some more. I can usually get through Wednesday and Thursday, make some progress on Friday and rarely crack the weekend puzzles. Welcome!
Mar-31-15  jientho2: <Edeltalent> On 32...f6 (in the 30...Bg7 31.Bxg7 Qxa7 32.Qh6 line), I get 33.Nxf6+ as a mate in 14, continuing 33...Kf7 34.Ng5+ Ke7 35.Ne6. Black's best try is with a perpetual threat via 35...Nd2, but White has a mate in 11 starting with 36.Bf8+ Kxf6 37.Qh4+ g5 38.Qh6+ Kf7 39.Qxh7+ Ke8 40.Qxa7, winning the rook next (and eliminating the perpetual threat) due to the threat of mate on e7, and mate in at most 4 more after that.
Jan-01-16  ChessYouGood: Mindless play by Nakamura gets emphatically punished by the stronger player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ChessYouGood: Mindless play by Nakamura gets emphatically punished by the stronger player.>

By what objective measure would Harikrishna be considered the stronger player of the two?

Would you consider the victor in Fischer vs C Munoz, 1960 stronger than the losing player also?

Welcome to the land of Moronicity, in which fanboy rants run rampant, as fevered, marginally knowledgeable posters run amok when one of their heroes has a moment of glory, or one of their not so beloved takes a fall.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ChessYouGood> You resolved to troll more this year, eh?
Jul-16-16  j4jishnu: This is probably Pentala Harikrishna's best win till date. More to come. Come on Harikrishna.
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