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Lawrence Day vs Jan Timman
"Boxing Day" (game of the day Dec-26-2007)
Chess Olympiad (1980), Valletta MLT, rd 8, Nov-28
Hungarian Opening: General (A00)  ·  1/2-1/2

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-04  ruylopez900: Excellent underpromotion to hold the draw! From about move 12, however, it seems that Timman gained to much time threatening to attack White's Queen with doubled attacks, forks, discovered attacks etc.
Jul-15-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Agreed, 12.Qb3 may have been an overplay. Black chases the Queen around a lot, 'gaining time', but it is hard to improve his position and eventually the Q arrives at the nice hypermodern a1-square. Some background: this was the second last round of the Malta Olympiad and a very contagious Asian flu had infected many teams. A team takes 6 players though only 4 play in a match. Usually this can make up for players who get sick. However, many teams by the 12th round at Malta had more than two sick players, including Holland. This accounts for Timman not being in his best form during this game, and also why I was on board one instead of Jean Hebert.
Jul-15-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Cool! Another gem for my Game Collection: Underpromotions.

I checked this with "Tablebase" to see if either Day or Timman made any mistakes after 71.g8=N+! and I found that their play was perfect from that point on. I know that there are some rare positions where a rook can beat a knight, and they all have to do with a king trapped on the edge or in the corner like in this game, but Timman played it perfectly. To give Day his due, he forced Timman to find a few "only moves" along the way to the game's rightful conclusion.

Jul-28-04  ruylopez900: Congrats to Day then after Sneaky's revelations.
Jul-28-04  acirce: <there are some rare positions where a rook can beat a knight, and they all have to do with a king trapped on the edge or in the corner like in this game, but Timman played it perfectly. To give Day his due, he forced Timman to find a few "only moves" along the way to the game's rightful conclusion.> Wasn't Timman black?
Aug-22-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: acirce, yes I had the players inverted in my mind (the problemist in me subconsciously assumes that the superior side is always white!) Anyhow, my point still stands: hats off to both players.
Dec-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: I can do no less than concur wholeheartedly with the preceding kibitzers' commentary in praise of both players' conduct of the game, particularly from White's 71st move on.

One thing I would like to check: This game is categorized as a "Hungarian Opening". My research proves this to be rather a hard-to-pin-down debut. I suspect it is defined by the position reached after Black's third move in this game, whatever the order by which this is done. Can anyone confirm or refute this? Thanks in advance.

Dec-26-07  apple pi: I thought "hungarian" just refers to 1.g3, with 2.Bg2 as an inevidability.
Dec-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: <apple pi: I thought "hungarian" just refers to 1.g3...>

Come to think of it, you may have something, inasmuch as I just now remember having seen that referred to as the "Benko Opening". Given Benko's Hungarian background, it certainly is consistent. Thanks, <apple pi>.

Dec-26-07  D4n: Having the Pawn becoming a Knight was the game saving move...
Dec-26-07  deadlysin: if it promoted to a queen would it make a difference?
Dec-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: The game turns into a Reversed Pirc after 4.Nf3 but 1.g3 is the original Indian Opening: Hyderabad Chess Club vs Madras Chess Club, 1828
Dec-26-07  anandr: <deadlysin: if it promoted to a queen would it make a difference?>

Yes. Rh1 by black and its all over :-)

Dec-26-07  TheaN: Some strange positions in this game, and the end is beautiful; some good lessons can be learned from this game. Gg mr. Day.
Dec-26-07  DarthStapler: I have several books by Mr. Day
Dec-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A good game for Boxing day for two reasons. First,the name makes it a good day for the puzzle. Second,in this case,it is necessary to promote to a lower piece,a knight,rather than a ruling piece,a queen.

I heard that Boxing Day is derived from having the ruling class boxing their own lunches instead of having the servants prepare them. It was extended to having the ruling class and serving class reverse duties for a day.

Of course,in America,it is reserved for returning unwanted or broken Christmas gifts. Now it is becoming a second "Black Friday" for those who are looking for bargains.

Dec-26-07  YouRang: <Sneaky><I know that there are some rare positions where a rook can beat a knight, and they all have to do with a king trapped on the edge or in the corner like in this game...>

Actually, I don't think it is quite so rare. The king doesn't really have to be pushed into a corner or edge -- it just has to be sufficiently separated from the knight such that the K+R can trap the undefended knight. For example,


click for larger view

This position is a tablebase win for Black whether it is white to move or black to move.

Here is a game where Kamsky beat Bacrot with K+R vs. K+N because Bacrot played the ending inaccurately (from MTel 2006). Kamsky vs Bacrot, 2006

Dec-26-07  xrt999: < Sneaky: Cool! Another gem for my Game Collection: Underpromotions. I checked this with "Tablebase" to see if either Day or Timman made any mistakes after 71.g8=N+! and I found that their play was perfect from that point on. >

This was not an easy draw. For example, Day's move 81.Nh6 is the only 1 of 6 knight moves which the tablebase lists as a draw, while the other 5 lose in anywhere from 7 to 14 moves. Some of these other 5 moves are apparent, some are not. 81.Nh6 involved a lot of calculations to maintain the draw. Furthermore, although 81.Nf2 is a tablebase loss for white, it loses only if black plays 81..Rg7; all other responses by black are draws.

Dec-26-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: That's logical because a ♔ + ♖ can mate a bare b♘ much more easily than a ♔. I should mention that Duncan Suttles was in Malta on vacation, not playing but certainly helping prepare this opening. Jan knew this so the theory is interesting. The move that really surprised me was 20..Qc7 instead of 20..Nxb2.
Dec-26-07  Civhai: Nice draw. First, I thought, that 71. Kh8 would be easier to draw, because after Rxg7 it's stalemate and after Kf7 he gets a queen with check, and that this was only a little joke to show his elemental endgame skills.^^ Yeah, on the second look, I saw that I was wrong.^^

I think Rook vs Knight is rather difficult to draw for beginners like me. But when I once wanted to practice it against my computer, he just didn't even try to checkmate me and left his rook on attacked squares etc because he just knew that it was a draw and that it wasn't worth any efforts.^^

Dec-03-08  WhiteRook48: I like g8=N+! good game
Dec-07-08  WhiteRook48: Timman had a Knightmare
Dec-22-08  WhiteRook48: Wasn't there a William Strum vs John McManus game where h8=N was checkmate?
Dec-23-08  WhiteRook48: Oh yeah there was
Jan-01-09  WhiteRook48: Go for Day! Lawrence's great day. Should we go into the box? LOL
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