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Yifan Hou vs David Navara
"Hou Knows Where the Knight Goes" (game of the day Jan-14-2019)
Tata Steel Masters (2016), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-19
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Short Variation (B12)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: 34.Nc1!! with the victory-march d3-f4-g6 is fantastic. Bravo, Yifan!
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: 34.Nc1 is a remarkable idea,especially since it must have been planned in advance just in case Navara was able to hold off the initial attack.
Jan-19-16  Amulet: Yifan plays chess like she's sporting potent bouncy balls!
Jan-19-16  Jim Bartle: <34.Nc1!! with the victory-march d3-f4-g6 is fantastic. Bravo, Yifan!>

But aren't all the black tied down, almost unable to move? She has lots of time to move the knight into the game.

When it was still on b3 Seirawan suggested it would become "the straw that broke the camel's back." Which came true.

Jan-19-16  Shams: <JB> I think <luzhin>'s exclams aren't for the move itself but for the fact that Yifan (as you note) tied Navara down so masterfully that her languid knight could come over for the kill.
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Simplifying with 28...Bxe6 would have been a better defense: 29. Qxe6 Rf6 30. Qh3 Rh6 31. f5 Rh7.
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: I guess 34.Nc1 was a remarkable move for people who aren't very good at chess (like me), since the commentators seemed to think it was obvious. I give it a !! anyway.
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: 19...b6? keeps the white rook out of c5 -- but lets it land on c6, which turns out to be worse. I get the feeling that Navara may have underestimated his opponent.
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Skimmed through it twice now, it is a really good game of chess.

White has two pieces looking like dummies.

That scaffy Knight on b3 (I hate having White Knights on b3 or Black Knights b6). It sat there for 26 moves.

With pawns on d4,e5,f4 the White QB was not looking too bright either.


click for larger view

Here the Rook went to c6 on an exchange suicide mission to undermine the Black pawn which eventually allowed the Queen's Bishop to join in and finally the Knight steps back to c1 to hop-skip and jump onto g6.

Also nice piece of play by tactically improving her pieces (26.Qh3) before the obvious re-capture on d6 (27.exd6). That's cool thinking.

My notes of course with hindsight but the lass had the foresight to go for it.

Could not see much else Black could have done, it looked like a very difficult position to play once White sacked the ox and started finding the cute moves. No doubt one of the engineers will appear with computer gunk but OTB that looked very tough to defend.

Good game. Thank you. (though I still hate Knight on QN3 the plan appears to be sac the exchange to get it, eventually, into the game....Thanks again.)

Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi beenthere240,

The score in classical games is now 3-1 to Yifan. I don't think he underestimated her, I think he may have had a feeling of impending doom.

Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: HI Sally:
Your diagram certainly captures the crisis moment. The rook's suicide mission can be avoided if Black plays Qe7, Re8 etc. It's hard to believe that Black actually thought he was setting a trap, but it sure looks like it. "Hah, go ahead and take my poisoned e-pawn. You''ll never get out alive!" The problem, of course, is that accepting the rook sac means redeploying both bishops to passive positions and a collapse of the king's defense.
Jan-19-16  kamagong24: true grit!!!
Jan-19-16  Jim Bartle: <I think <luzhin>'s exclams aren't for the move itself but for the fact that Yifan (as you note) tied Navara down so masterfully that her languid knight could come over for the kill.>

No argument there! Seirawan referred to the "eternal pin" of the f6 knight by the bishop on e5.

Jan-19-16  SimplicityRichard: A lower rating notwithstanding, the brilliant young lady marches on, holding her own with the best of them! And Yifan has inspired me to recommence playing the Advance Caro Kann after flirting with the Breyer for some time.#
Jan-19-16  ColdSong: Miss Hou seems to be really able to belong to the 2700+ club;good news for chess,needless to say.Well,maybe not for Navara in this very game.
Jan-19-16  Eduardo Leon: It isn't hard to discover the <possibility> of sacrificing the exchange for the e6 and f5 pawns, opening diagonals for (at least) white's light-squared bishop. A-whole-nother thing is <justifying> this plan, which requires very precise calculations.

IMO, the key moves of white's combination are 26.♕h3!, forcing 26...h5, and 28.♗e6!. The latter move is counterintuitive on positional grounds. It threatens to keep the d6 pawn, but it offers to exchange white's most active piece (the light-squared bishop), when her other minor pieces are still in far from optimal positions. The justification is tactical: 28...♗xe6? loses on the spot to 29.♕xh5+ ♔g7 30.♖g1+. It's the very tempo that black loses by playing 28...♘f6 which allows white to play 29.f5!, bringing the other bishop into action.

Jan-19-16  dumbgai: Bravo, Hou. Very nice attack.
Jan-19-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Very skillfully manoeuvred by Yifan Hou. His major pieces came together like a very well-trained army. Also very good and entertaining chess.
Jan-19-16  JohnDMaster: 34. Nc1 to me was no big deal, yes black was in a bind but in reality the knight on b3 was just bad, so when she brought it back in the game it was over for black. I enjoyed the game and as I was going through it I was thinking to myself " when is she going to fix that bad knight!".
Jan-19-16  MindCtrol9: She is good!!!
Jan-19-16  Tal1949: Awesome to see a lady match it with the 2700 boys. Keep going Yifan!
Jan-19-16  STEVE8562: where's the mate,guys
Jan-19-16  Eduardo Leon: <STEVE8562> Black is going to lose at least a whole rook, and then possibly a minor piece as well. His resignation was by no means premature.
Jan-19-16  Kaspablanca: I said it many times; when Hou beat Muzychuk in March she should quit playing in women tournaments and focus in playing only with the men as Judit did, Hou is simply to strong and way above the other women.
Jan-20-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  yiotta: This is a popular variation up to move 12, and enters unfamiliar territory with 13.c4, played once in the 80's by two 2400 rated Danes, varying with 13...Be7, Black won. What a great, energetic game by Hou; be still, my heart!
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