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Jonathan Speelman vs Zurab Alekseyevich Azmaiparashvili
Campeonato de ESP por equipos Menorca SPA (1994), Menorca ESP, Nov-??
Lion Defense: Lion's Jaw (B07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-23-11  Amarande: At first I'm thinking: Bxf4 should be just fine, as White wins the Exchange with no strings attached. What does Black even threaten? Nothing.

Then Qxh5 occurs to me, as if gxh5 there is a discovered check (and otherwise Black just loses a piece). Which discovered check, though?

26 Bh4+ looks attractive, winning the Queen back right away, but it doesn't look like White can keep a material advantage after doing so. Obviously Black can't interpose Knight or Rook or move the King other than to f8 or f7, as 27 Bxe7 and White is just up a piece. If Kf8 or Kf7, then BxQ KxB and Rg7+ forcing an interposition at f7 to save the Bishop, after which White snags an h-pawn (e.g., 28 ... Rf7 29 Rxf7+ Nxf7 30 Re1 (or Ng3 at once, but Re1 is attractive to seize the open file) Ne5 31 Ng3 h4 32 Nf5+, or 28 ... Nf7 29 Rxh7) and material is even with a position that seems to have some temporary advantage to White, but in general looks drawish, particularly as it is a multiple-piece endgame with most of the Pawns on one side of the board (and White's B is of the wrong colour for the outside passed pawn).

So Black's only real chance for an advantage is to interpose the Queen: 26 ... Qg7. Now if White takes the Queen he is the Exchange down, so 27 Bf6 is forced, in turn forcing 27 ... Rxf6 after which there is 28 Nxf6+ Kh8 29 Rxg7 Kxg7 30 Nxh5+. Again, Black does not have an advantage, it is an even material position with several Pieces and almost all the Pawns on one side, with few chances for each side. However, the fact that White doesn't appear to have a lasting advantage either - this, too, looks drawish - is a suggestion that 26 Bh4+ is not the solution.

So 26 Bxf4+, then. Bishop and Rook for Queen, in the end, and a persistent initiative which with Black's King position as porous as it is already appears to have good winning chances, and surely it's not going to be worse than a draw, which appears virtually forced after 26 Bh4+.

Apr-23-11  psmith: Well, like many I got the first two moves but didn't look a lot further. But the hard work is in verifying that it works.

As for the question of 39. Rh8 vs 39. Bc3, I agree with Phony Benoni. Speelman realizes that the win with the extra Bishop is going to be easier that the win with the extra Rook. Black has no counterplay. From a human point of view this is the cleaner choice. In addition Speelman may have been in time pressure and therefore decided to take the simpler win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: It's an argument as old as time itself - is a queen worth more or less than a knight and a minor piece? Let's go interview some folks in the crowd to see if we can find out.

<Patrick Zer (known as Pat to his friends)> A queen for rook and knight? You gotta be kidding! A queen is like the most powerful piece on the whole board. If I give up my queen for two bits, then the other guy must have his queen still on the board. No, no, no!

<Conan the Accountant> What is best in life? To crush your opponents, to see them resign in front of you and hear the lamentations of their personal finance advisers. According to my spreadsheet of doom, a queen is worth nine points, a rook five and a minor piece is three. Therefore, a queen is worth 12.5% more than a rook and knight.

<J Speelman> It all depends on the position. A queen is more mobile than either a rook or knight, but she is only one piece. If the rook and minor can coordinate their forces well, the queen might find herself severely embarrassed.

<Once> The question is not so much about the queen vs R+B battle, it is about what else is on the board. Queens love open board where lots of pawn have already been exchanged. Then they can flash from one side of the field to the other picking up loose pieces in a mad orgy of forks, pins and skewers. But today's position is relatively blocked and there are few loose white pieces.

Rooks and minor pieces love working as a team, especially when they get a chance to crowd round the enemy king. White's position after the queen sac has all his minor pieces working together - meanwhile black has a pair of spectators on a8 and b7.

So it all boils down to this - on the whole, a trade of Q for R+N or R+B is roughly equal. We should prefer to have the queen if the rest of the board suits a queen's powers - ie lots of open space and loose pieces. But we should prefer the R+N or R+B if we have a relatively closed position and if we have a strong attack on the enemy king.

Like just about everyone else, I found the winning coninuation fairly quickly but didn't calculate too far into it. Too many potential black defences. White just seemed to be getting by far the best of the trade - not because of the bits of wood that were going into the box, but because of the pieces that were left on the board.

Apr-23-11  LIFE Master AJ: I got the first few moves fairly quickly ... but even after five minutes, (or more); I had NOT gotten the game continuation ... very brilliant, very clever!
Apr-23-11  D4n: If the Bishop wasn't on g3, white would get a free knight on h5.

So white has some options;
*So I would condsider 25. Bxf4 Nxf4 and having to move the white queen to e3 attacking the knight on f4 ending up with a better trade.

*Maybe, 25. Qxh5 g6xh5 23 Bxf4+ Black loses more on that type of trade.

So I guess I'm going to go with the Qxh5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Wow! white gives up a queen and later a rook for a devestating attack.

In the end,he winds up a piece AHEAD.

Apr-23-11  BOSTER: <Phony Benoni> <Well, I at least saw the basic idea 25.Bxf4 is obvious then 25.Qxh5 gxh5 26. Bh4> I can not understand your hesitations.
Because this is a puzzle the only move should be considered is 25.Qxh5 gxh5 and 26.Bxf4,but after this the defense can be changed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle solution I saw the obvious 25. Qxh5! gxh5. However, the choice between 26. Bxf4+!! and 26. Bh4+ Kf8 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Rg7+ was not so clear.

Apparently strong masters and computers have no problem calculating that the immediate gratification of gaining material with 26. Bh4+ (i.e. winning back the Queen for a bishop for 9-3 = 6 points) is worth far less than capturing the Rook (i.e. 5 points), because of the exposed position of the Black King and the initiative it gives White to quickly bring his pieces in for a decisive attack.

P.S.: I've put this in one of my demolition of pawn structure collections as it follows the theme of destroying pawn structure with a sham sacrifice and then bringing the remaining pieces quickly into the fight to exploit the exposed King position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: From an Indian Defense, I think.

White has the bishop pair for a bishop, a knight and a pawn.

Black threatens Nxg3, releasing pressure on the dark squares.

The obvious 25.Bxf4 looks weak because after 25... Nxf4, ... Rf8 and ... Bc8 Black has the initiative.

The knight on h5 protects the rook on f4. This suggests 25.Qxh5, also further weakening the black castle:

A) 25... Rxe4 26.Bxe4 gxh5 27.Bxe5+ Kf8 (27... Kf7 28.Rg7+ and 29.Rxe7 + - [B vs P]) 28.Rdf1+ Ke8 29.Rg8+ Kd7 30.Bf5+ (or 30.Rg7 dxe5 31.Rxe7+ Kxe7 32.d6+ Kxd6 33.Bxb7 + - [B vs 2P] but 30.Bf5+ is stronger) 30... Kc7 31.Rg7 Re8 32.Rxe7+ Rxe7 33.Bg3 + - [B vs P].

B) 25... gxh5 26.Bxf4+

B.1) 26... Kh8 27.Bg5 Qf7 28.Bf6+ Qxf6 29.Nxf6 + - [R vs P].

B.2) 26... Kf8 27.Bh6+ Ke8 28.Rg8+ Kd7 29.Rg7 Nf7 30.Ng5 Rf8 31.Bf5+ Kc7 32.Be6 Qf6 33.Nxf7 + - [R+B+N vs Q+P].

B.3) 26... Kf7 27.Bg5

B.3.a) 27... Qf8 28.Rdf1+ and 29.Rxf8 + - [B vs P].

B.3.b) 27... Qe8 28.Nxd6+ and 29.Nxe8 + - [R+B vs N].

B.3.c) 27... Qd7 28.Rdf1+ Kg7 (else 29.Nf6+ and 30.Nxd7) 29.Bf6+ Kh6 (29... Kf7(8) 30.Bxe5+ + - [R+B+N vs Q+P]) 30.Bxe5 + - [R+B+N vs Q+P] (30... dxe5 31.Rf6#).

B.3.d) 27... Qc7 28.Rdf1+ Ke8 (else 29.Bd8+ and 30.Bxc7) 29.Nf6+ followed by 30.Ng4+ and 31.Nxe5 clearing f7 for the rook. For example, 29... Kd8 30.Ng4+ Kc8 31.Nxe5 dxe5 32.Rf8+ Kd7 33.Bf5#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <BOSTER> These positons can be considered strictly as puzzles or as training for game situations. Personally, I prefer the latter approach, and don't mind not completely "solving" the puzzle as long as I can discover the basic ideas and store up another pattern or two to be used in the future.

If you're out to "solve" the puzzle--which is a perfectly valid point of view--then by all means you would want to use all the hints and inferences you can think of. It's a hard thing to avoid in any event.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Of course 25. Qxh5! also involves the inbetween move or Zwischenzug, in that 25. Bxf4 to is also likely winning. However, the interposition of 25. Qxh5! gxh5 26. Bxf4=!! makes it even stronger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: The position after 29 Nxh7!? is interesting. It comes with the threat of 30 Bf6+, winning the queen..

click for larger view

Then I was thinking if 29...Kxh7 30 Bxg6+ below, and if 30...Kxg6 follows, then 31 Bf4+ again wins the queen.

click for larger view

The position looks a lot more complicated than that, however.

Apr-23-11  stst: Big tree, many branches. Try to list 3:
25.Qxh5 fxh5
26.Bxf4 dis+
(A).... Kf8
27.Rf1 Ke8
28.Rg8+ Kd7
29.Bg5 ==> Bk Q is trapped
(B).... Kh8
27.Bh6 Rg8
28.Rxg8 Kxg8 (nothing seemed better)
29.Rg1+ Kh8 (if ..Kf7, 29.Rg7 ==> Q lost)
29.Bg7+ Kg8
30.Bf6 dis+ ===> Q lost
(C)... Ng6 block
27.Bh6 Kf7
28.Ng5+ Kg8 (if ... Ke8, 29.Re1 ==> Q lost)
29.Re1 Qd8
30.Bxg6 Pxg6
31.Ne6 Qd7
32.Rxg6+ Kf7
33.Rg7 ==> Q lost

There could be another route where Bk Q goes to h-file, but it doesn't seem to help the virtually imprisoned K.

Apr-23-11  nariga: What about:

26. Qh3 Bc8

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: An interesting variation is 27.Nxd6 (instead of 27.Bg5) Qf6 28.Nf5 Bc8 (say) 29.Bg5 Qe5 30.Ne7+ Kg7 31.Nxg6 hxg6 32.Bd2 with a winning attack:

click for larger view

Apr-23-11  wals: Rybka 4 x 64
Black fell into a pit
d 19 : 6 min :
24...Nh5, +3.74. Best,

1. (0.97): 24...Rf7 25.Nxd6 Qxd6 26.Bxe5 Qe7 27.Rde1 Re8 28.Qe3 Qh4 29.Qc3 Nf5 30.Kb1 Bc8 31.Bc7 Rfe7 32.Rxe7 Qxe7 33.Bxb6 Nd4 34.Bd3 Bd7 35.Qa3 Qe3 36.Rf1 Bh3

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: this is why I will never be a GM...
Apr-23-11  knight knight: White to play, pawn down.

I'm looking at the queen sac 25. Qxh5 in order to launch an offensive on the black king. 25...gxh5 26. Bxf4+:

a) 26...Ng6 27. Bxd6 black's queen is short of good squares, e.g. 27...Qg7 28. Rdf1 white's attack is very strong.

b) 26...Kh8 27. Bg5 with strong 28. Bf6+ threat

c) 26...Kf8/f7 27. Bg5 and 28. Rdf1+ with strong attack

Bit beyond me this one, let's see if I'm on the right track...

Apr-23-11  Shamot: Why not 39. Rh8+, win the rook and promote d-pawn?? Wouldn't that be easier?
Apr-23-11  TuxedoKnight: white to play

click for larger view


Apr-23-11  gofer: A queen sac on a Saturday! Now that's what I call something that is difficult to pass up! (i.e. Bxf4 winning the exchange is not only dull dull dull, but it is also a bad idea!). So we have...

<25 Qxh5 gxh5>
<26 Bxf4+ Ng6>
<27 Bg5 ...> (I can't get Bxd6 to work!)

Then its all a bit misty, too many options, so really its all way beyond me...

Apr-23-11  WhiteRook48: I chose 25 Qxh5, but then went for 26 Bh4+ instead of 26 Bxf4+, although I thought 26 Bxf4+ was a good move. dang it, another puzzle missed
Apr-23-11  sevenseaman: <TuxedoKnight> A pleasant little puzzle I found very interesting.

There is the distraction of trying to play for the capture of Black Q but it takes the R away and a White win evaporates.

One has to focus on the mate rather than the material.

Apr-23-11  M.Hassan: "Very Difficult" White to play 25.?
White is a pawn behind.
I followed this line:

25.Qxh5 gxh5
26.Bh4+ Kf8
27.Bxe7+ Kxe7
28.Rg7+ Rf7
29.Rxf7+ Nxf7
30.Re1 Kd8
31.Nf6 h6
And White equalizes in strength!

Apr-24-11  TheBish: Speelman vs Azmaiparashvili, 1994

White to play (25.?) "Very Difficult"

Black is up a pawn, and 25. Bxf4 Nxf4 may win in the long run, but it's not the best move. My first instinct (even before looking at Bxf4) was Qxh5, to open up the file for the rook on g1 and a discovered check. It's a little complicated, but not "insanely" so!

25. Qxh5!! gxh5

This is probably the main line, but I'll come back to 25...Rxe4 if I have time.

26. Bxf4+!

My first thought was to play 26. Bh4+, but after 26...Qg7 27. Rxg7+ Kxg7 White just loses the exchange.


Or 26...Kh8 27. Bg5! with the idea of 28. Bf6+, or 26...Kf8 27. Bh6+ Ke8 28. Rg8+ Kd7 29. Rg7 Nf7 30. Rf1 Rf8 31. Rxh7 wins; 26...Ng6 27. Nxd6 also looks strong for White.

27. Nxd6+!

I looked for the longest time to find this (had been looking at 27. Ng5+ and 28. Ne6 but not convinced it works).


Forced, otherwise White wins the queen after 27...Kf8 28. Bh6+ or 27...Kf6 28. Bg5+.

28. Bxe5 Qxe5

Or 28...Qd8 29. Rg7+ skewers and wins the Bb7.

29. Rdf1+! Ke7 30. Re1 pins and wins the queen back, leaving White with a passed d-pawn and a won endgame.

That's enough work for a Saturday night! (Already Sunday on the East Coast.) I changed my mind; it's not a little complicated, it's a lot complicated! Nearly insanely so!

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