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Nigel Short vs Boris Gelfand
"Hava Nigela" (game of the day Jun-10-2013)
Linares (1992), Linares ESP, rd 13, Mar-13
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-10-13  paavoh: One of the better puns, for sure. Quite funny. And a good fighting game to boot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: What's funny about it? And what does it have to do with the game? I can find half a dozen equally pointless puns on the players' names.
Jun-10-13  JustAnotherPatzer: A thoroughly excellent game of chess between two of the 90s heaviest hitters. Being a proud Anglo-Saxon i know quite a lot of Nigel's games, victories for the most part, however, this was one of those tugs of war that does credit to both victor and vanquished.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Great game, black's attack looked very good, but Short is forced to exchange Queens, and goes into a losing endgame.
Jun-10-13  JustAnotherPatzer: Nigel has a higher than 2:1 winning ratio against Gelfand (11-5). Some stunning victories. Here is my favourite, at this time:

Gelfand vs Short, 1990

Jun-10-13  Abdel Irada: The pun, for better or worse, apparently originated in the song "Hava Nagila" (, a Hebrew-language folk song whose title means "Let us rejoice."

Since Boris Gelfand, an Israeli citizen, defeated Nigel Short in this game, the pun does make a certain amount of sense.

Jun-10-13  newzild: A very interesting game with some perplexing moves. Anybody care to comment on 31...Ra8?
Jun-10-13  morfishine: Beating Short from the Black side of a Sicilian is cause for rejoice
Jun-10-13  Abdel Irada: <newzild: A very interesting game with some perplexing moves. Anybody care to comment on 31...Ra8?>

I wondered if anyone else wondered about that move. :-S

Also mysterious to me was White's decision to jettison a pawn with 41. d5. This impresses me as a bid to activate the rook, but there isn't *enough* activity to justify the sac.

Jun-10-13  Ezzy: <Anybody care to comment on 31...Ra8?>

click for larger view

Black wants to play 31...Bxa2 but he can't because of 32.Rc7+ Qxc7 (32...Kg8 33.Rxb7 Re6 34.Rd7 Qf8 35.Nxg6 Winning) 33.Qxg6+ Kh8 34.Qxe8+ Winning.

So to threaten ...Bxa2, black has to move his rook to escape the above combination. 31...Ra8 or 11...Rb8 are the only squares the rook can go to without losing. eg -

31...Rf8 32.Rc7+ Qxc7 33.Qxg6+ Kh8 34.Qh6+ Bh7 35.Ng6+ Kg8 36.Qxf8#;

31...Rd8 32.Nxg6 Bf7 33.Ne5 Rf8 34.Nxf7 Rxf7 35.Qxh5+ Kg7 36.Rc8 Rf8 37.Qg5+ Kh7 38.Rc3 Rf6 39.Qh5+ Kg7 40.Rg3+ Kf8 41.Qh8+ Ke7 42.Rg8 Winning.

In the diagram position, black really doesn't have that many moves except 31...Ra8 31...Rb8 or 31...a5

So basically 31...Ra8 gets the rook out of the way from some possible white tactics.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The pun doesn't seem to fit-the name is pronounced Ny gel NOT na gell.
Jun-10-13  JPi: <newzild>&<AbdelIrada> 31...Ra8 is for 32.Rc7+ QxR 33.Qxg6+ Kh8 34.QxR ...Qc1+; Kh2 Qxf4+; Kh3

I doubt this game was a Gelfand accomplishment. On contrary I think Nigel Short played remarkably well and get an advantage. Maybe 33...e3 surprised him, maybe he was under a time pressure. I could be wrong but for me 34.Kh2 ~ 35.Kg3 then R on h file (In case of Bd5 Rc2-Rh2 / In case of e3-e2 Re1xe2 ~ Rh2) White looks better. Ne5 is a monster and Rc1 obviously more active than Ra8.

Jun-10-13  Bowen Island: Pun of the day? How about: "The Long and the Short of it!"

Nigel started off with a good position but fell short at the end.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: <I doubt this game was a Gelfand accomplishment.>

Didn't he win?

Jun-10-13  JPi: Well <HeMateMe> I'm sure Gelfand loves Chess enough to prefer a game in which he wins on a better strategy than a miscalculation (In time pressure?) from his opponent. But I could be wrong on my judgement Isn't White better even after 33...e3!? A chess program will say that to us immediately...
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Time pressure is part of chess, no excuses.
Jun-10-13  JPi: Obviously no excuse is intended in my post <HeMateMe>. I'm not even sure that Nigel Short was in time pressure. What I'm sure is Gelfand prefers to win a beautiful game ("accomplishment") than a game in which his opponent made mistake from a better position. If you want to argue it will be better to take a chess program and ask it if Black is better after 33...e3. Indeed I could be wrong in my judgement of the position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: doesn't matter "who is better". The ability to play fast (Kasparov, Anand, etc...) is part of one's chess skills. This trait gives your opponent less time to calculate, resulting in more errors. Bobby Fischer was also usually ahead on the clock, in his games.
Jun-10-13  JPi: <HeMateMe> are you just speaking to yourself?

One : I'm not sure Nigel Short was under time pressure. Two : I'm not sure Nigel Short is better after 33...e3 Three : My point is Gelfand (As well the great names you gave) prefers to win by a better strategy on the board.

To be able of a fast and good judgement is -OF COURSE!- a very valuable skill one a practical play but do you think that one of the great names you gave will play with the clock as priority. No, they will play first the board. Of course for them too position matters as a priority!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: he DID win by skill and strategy. chess does not exist in a vacuum where afterwards the moves are evaluated, and whoever had the best position at a given time is deemed the best player that day. Your boy lost. Give it up.

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