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Aivars Gipslis vs Artur Sygulski
Jurmala (1987), Jurmala URS, Sep-??
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  1-0



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Dec-21-07  Funicular: I feel totally represented by cibator's words. Totally. I didn't expect c5 either, but of course i saw Nf6+ and the seemingly obvious Bxh6. I thought black would accept the sacrifice. I made a quick analysis of Qc1, and a possible sacrifice of the knight on f3, exchanging for a pawn just to bring the queen to check on g5, h6, etc...and then checkmate (considering the other knight is on f6)

I didn't think of possible black replies but i think there's no defense.

also white can eventually afford 2 tempi to bring king's rook into action

Dec-21-07  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult): White to move and win

White with a spatial and mobility advantage on the K-side. Black's Na5 loose (suggesting Qd2), Pd4 undefended, Qe7 opposing Re1, which can support the push e6. White Nh5 undefended, Pd4 twice attacked, twice defended.

Candidate moves: Bxh6, Nf6+.

22.Bxh6 gxh6 [otherwise, a K-side P drops without compensation] 23. Nf6+ [to nail f7 down, reduce the Q's defensive scope, and isolate the K]

23...Kh8 Qd2 [and Black is mated or loses a P gratis after Qxa5] 23...Kf8 Qd2 [essentially the same]
23...Kg7 [vulnerable to Nh5+ and blocking a defensive square for Ne6]

Candidate moves
24.Nh4 [Δ Nf5+ and Qg4+]
24.Qd3 [Δ Qh7+]

Qd3 continues to protect Pd4 for an extra move and Δ Nh4 then Qg3+, so let's give it a try.


24...Rh1 25.Nh4

but the kill looks too indirect. Let's be more subtle.

23.Qd2 [Δ Qxa5 but more importantly Qxh6 immediately]

23...Ng5 24.Nf6+ K move 25.Nxg5

25...hxg5 26.Qxg5 [Q loss or # regardless of 24...K move] 25...Nc4 and [26.Ngh7+ before Qd3 if 24...Kf8 or] 26.Qd3 toasts Black

23...Nc4 24.Qxh6 f5 25.Nf6+ Kf7 26.Qh7+ Ng2 27.Ng5+ Kf8 28.Qh8# [with a few minor alternative mates].

23...Kg7 is excluded in this line!
23...Kh7 24.Qd3+

24...f5 25.exf+ [loses the Q]
24...Kh8 25.Nf6 Nf8 26.Nh4 with a terminal Δ Qg3

The point of the exercise is that the Nh5 has to prevent Kg7 until the Q comes in decisively. Time to peek.

Obviously, Sygulski decided he had to eat the loss of the Ph6, and then we have a recurring theme (Bxg7 = "please, I insist"). Time to check the kibitzing.

Dec-21-07  johnlspouge: There is the usual issue in this game of what constitutes a solution, because few if any could predict the game line (and I do not believe they should). Note that many times, the game line is no standard, because sometimes the losing player is on auto-destruct. The definition of "solution" is a personal standard, but here is mine.

Because chess is about getting the best next move, I am going to award myself 0.5 for getting the move alone. In my book, the full 1.0 requires that the move must be justified to a superior position in every line. Because sound positional judgment comes with experience, the justification can vary with the player. <UdayanOwen>, e.g, might give himself 1.0 for posting nothing on Monday this week ;>)

I would be curious about opinions on my conclusion that 23.Qd2 is better than the more obvious 23.Nf6+. I have opened my ChessForum to discussions on good chess programs, because I would really like to have a computer program answer some of my questions.

Dec-21-07  zb2cr: Well, I feel like I redeemed myself from my failure yesterday. It took me some 5 minutes to work out the solution. I believed that Black could not stand to accept the sacrifice 22. Bxh6, gxh6 in view of 23. Nf6+, Kg7; 24. Nh4 when Black must respond to the Knight fork threat, which gives White time for 28. Qh5 with a variety of threats.

So, I believed that Black would refuse the sacrifice. I considered 22. ... Nc6 as the route he would take, though. White follows up with 23. Bxg7, Nxg7; 24. Nf6+, Kf8; 25. Ng5 clearing the way for the White Queen to come in.

Dec-21-07  TheEnterprise: I saw Bxh6 and Nf6+, but did not see the pawn push. I got yesterday's too, I'm on a roll : D
Dec-21-07  kevin86: There has been a series of piece sacs lately in the puzzle of the day. Here,white strips the black king of protection with the hungry bishop.

Then the knights charge in and take over.

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: The king is weakened by the h6 pawn move... on the kingside white has active knights, bishop, and the queen is poised to attack the king too... the hanging knight on a5 is a weakness.

22.Bxh6, exploiting the weakness on h6, is the obvious candidate, not just because it opens the king, but also because it creates a damaging entry point for the knight on f6.

22.Bxh6 gxh6, and now 23.Qd2 wins back the piece, because if for example 23...Nc6, white plays 24.Qxh6, and black cannot defend adequately against the threat of 25.Nf6#. So after 23.Qd2, white is winning because after black defends h6, white will take the a5 horsey, and not only be up a pawn, but will get a huge knight on f6 terrorizing black's weakened kingside.

I'm not going to analyze black's ways to decline the sacrifice. There is no other way to win material here, so this move is best... I'll worry about how to continue after I see what black does.

GM Lev Alburt, in his "chess training pocket book", states that once you have won a pawn, you can stop analyzing (provided this is safe and you are confident there is no better way to play for advantage).

The attack by white in this game was beautifully executed after 23.Bxg7.

Dec-21-07  Boerboel Guy: I don't think that this position should have a three star difficulty rating, as most players would make the Bishop sac...even if you don't analyse too deeply... the game plays itself. I would make this move 10 out of 10 times, just for the joy of it!
Dec-21-07  YouRang: Got it! In such positions, one's eye is always drawn to a sacrifice that destroys the opposing king's defense, especially when other pieces can be quickly pulled into the attack -- and EXTRA especially if one of those pieces is our queen.

Next I noticed the lame unguarded knight at a5 which immediately gives my queen a tempo for joining the attack after 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Qd2! forking Na5 and Ph6.

Between the two, black should surrender the knight rather than allow my queen to crash his king position with 2 knights nearby (and even a rook lift if needed). I figured he'd play 23...Qf8 24. Qxa5, and I'm still threatening Nf6. Also, I can still bring my queen back to the kingside via d2 and Black has a rough road ahead. .

At any rate, I was well satisfied that 22. Bxh6 was perfectly safe, and it *at least* picks up a pawn and leaves black's king badly exposed.

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: <johnlspouge> You pose the question of whether, after 22.Bxh6 gxh6, 23.Nf6+ is better than 23.Qd2.

23.Qd2 is a simple and clean way to achieve a material and positional advantage. However, before I posted my plan as 23.Qd2, I actually spent heaps of time analyzing 23.Nf6. I settled for Qd2 only after I plowed through a stack of defenses and found one that I couldn't crack.

That line was 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Nh4 Qf8. I could play 23.Nf6, hoping for all the inferior defences, and then if he played this defence, try hard to crack it and then at least know I have a fall back with 25.Nxe8, when the position is unbalanced and fairly equal. I chose though to avoid this risk and secure a winning edge with the plan of 23.Qd2.

As it turns out, patzer2 got Fritz to work on this defensive line that I couldn't crack, and apparently I missed 25.Re3 Kh8 26. Rg3 Ng5 27. Rxg5 hxg5 28. Qh5+ Kg7 29. Nf5#.

I'll post my analysis of the move 23.Nf6 in case you are interested

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: Johnlspouge -- here is my analysis, based around the move 23.Nf6, which I conducted before deciding I'd play 23.Qd2. There are some very interesting lines. I haven't read your analysis closely yet because as usual it is now 6am and I really need to go bed....

The king is weakened by the h6 pawn move... on the kingside white has active knights, bishop, and the queen is poised to attack the king too... the hanging knight on a5 is a weakness.

22.Bxh6, exploiting the weakness on h6, is the obvious candidate, not just because it opens the king, but also because it creates a damaging entry point for the knight on f6.

22...gxf6 23.Nf6+. There are now three options:


23...Kf8 24.Qd2, threatening 25.Qxh6#, and the hanging knight on a5. 24...Qd8 25.Qxa5 (25.Nxe8 Nc4 26.Qxh6 Kxe8, with a rook and two pawns for knight and bishop, and a passed h-pawn, may also be good for white but is less clear cut ). White has won a pawn, and the f6 knight gives a huge positional edge. Furthermore, white is still on the attack after 25...Re7 26.Qd2, again threatening mate on h6. All these factors combine to make this a winning line for white.

So after 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+, 23...Kf8 loses. If instead 23...Kh8, white can go in for similar play with 24.Qd2, with the same double attack as before. 24...Qf8 (if 24...Kg7 25.Nxe8+ followed by 26.Qxa5 leaves white up a pawn and the exchange, with a clear positional edge to boot [27...Nxe4 28.Nxe4 Bxe4 29.Qxd5 doesn't help black]) 25.Qxa5. Again, white is up a pawn, with a huge knight on f6, black has to lose time saving the rook, and white can swing the queen back towards the king.

I'd be happy with that.... But as it turns out, after 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+ Kh8, white has an even stronger move than 24.Qd2, with the finesse 24.Qd3 (threatening mate on h7) 24...Nf8 (24...Ng5 25.Nxg6 ; 24...Kg7 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Qg8#) 24.Qd2, and this time, the f8 square has been taken away from the black queen, so h6 cannot be held. 24...Kg7 25.Nh4, threatening a fork on f5, and if black avoids it, he will lose anyway (25...Kh8 26.Nf5 Qe6 27.Qxh6+ Nh7 28.Qxh7#; 25...Qe6 26.g4!, and there is no satisfactory defence against the threat of 27.Nf5+ and 28.Qxh6+).

So after 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+, 23...Kh8 also loses (and quite beautifully in the 24.Qd3 line). Now we are left to analyze the final defensive option, 23...Kg7:

(continued next post)

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: (continued from my previous post)

24.Nh5, threatening to fork on f5, and simultaneously opening up the e1-h5 diagonal for the queen to join the fray...

Black now has four options to avoid the fork:


24...Kf8 25.Qh5, threatening mate on h6, and if 25...Qd8 (giving the king a flight square on e7) 26.Nf5 shuts the gate, and mate is unavoidable.

24...Qd8 25.Nf5+ Kg6 26.Qh5# (whilst after either 25...Kf8 or Kh8, 26.Qh5 and mate is unavoidable).

24...Kh8 25.Qd2, with the familiar double attack on h6 and a5. Now 25...Qf8 26.Qxa5. This line is extremely similar to previously given line 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Qd2 Qf8 25.Qxa5, and wins for the same reasons. I wanted something more crushing after 24...Kh8, but whereas 25.Qd3 Ng5 26.f4 Nd4 27.Rxd4 exf4 28.Qxe4 seems to lead to a winning mate threat on h7, in fact 28...Qxf6 turns the tables and wins for black (29.exf6 Rxe4 ).

Finally, the line I couldn't crack was 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Nh4 Qf8.

The problem I found with this move order is that after 25.Nf5+ Kh8, there is no satisfactory double attack on h6 and a5 (26.Qd2 Nc4). Furthermore, after 26.Qh5 (with the deadly threat of 27.Nxh6, followed by a winning double check), black seems to get out of trouble with 26...Nf4 27.Qh4 Ng6, when white must back off from his attack on h6 to avoid the perpetual pursuit on the queen and a draw by repetition.

As stated, patzer2 has posted some analysis by fritz8 that found a way through this defence.... How sad that I am not a chess computer.... but hey, if I was a chess computer, I'd miss using my intuition....

Dec-21-07  johnlspouge: Thanks, <UdayanOwen>. Yes, I would be interested in your analysis of 23.Nf6+.

I have already expressed the opinion that not every line requires calculation. Positional judgment should substitute for calculation whenever possible - it is my motto for the week. (Look at my post and imagine how much I needed to learn it - and I am shortening my tactical analyses. Yikes! <solidricin> had a point.)

A more interesting question is how much in practice should a move should give away to ensure placidity and a win without excessive complications. The answer seems personal again: as much as YOU need to ensure the win over the opponent at the time. This answer is bourgeois rather than artistic, but it is practical. (It also explains why chess positions between grandmasters are so exciting.) <patzer2> and Fritz 8 notwithstanding, for ME, 23.Qd2 is a better move than 23.Nf6+, because I easily could have missed a win among the ensuing wild lines.

I console myself with the thought that computers still lose to humans in retroactive justification!

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: On the question of whether after 22.Bxh6, gxh6, 23.Nf6 or 23.Qd2 is the better move, I am happy to argue that 23.Qd2 is better. The are both winning, and whilst there are more chances to KO black with 23.Nf6, the best defenses in this line fare just as well as in the 23.Qd2 line (in each case white wins a pawn, has a huge knight on f6, and black's king is vulnerable). However, to play 23.Nf6, you either have to do an absolute @#$%load of calculation, or (heaven forbid) play this move intuitively after analyzing some sample lines, and hope that you can work everything out over the board as it unfolds.

Whilst I am not averse to either deep calculation or intuitive play, I think 23.Qd2 is the better practical alternative because it is simple and risk free. I'd be more inclined to take the risk with 23.Nf6 if there was a strong chance of a much bigger payoff than in the 23.Qd2 line.... However, the defences after 23.Nf6 that fare about as well as in the line 23.Qd2 are not really hard to find, and hence I don't think the risk of stuffing up with the more complicated line is worth taking.

Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: A further clarification of my perspective on this whole positional judgement issue vs calculation issue....

I'm actually happy to do @#$%loads of fine-grained calculation, as I think my posts demonstrate.

However, I do this:

When there are limited options for the opponent at each move, dictated by my threats,


when the play is not completely forcing. In such situations I'll still do some concrete analysis, but I'll focus more on strategical and schematic thinking.

It is good to calculate deeply when the position has the character to allow this... although even in this situation it is good to be able to judge when a position in one line has become strategically untenable, so you can save your time for more critical lines.

Dec-21-07  johnlspouge: <UdayanOwen>, thanks for all the analysis.

Have you considered taking all the analysis you are doing for us and compiling it into the book you want to write? You probably have an immediate audience in those of us who find your analyses edifying.

And you could also tell your wife why you are spending all your time here ;O>

Dec-21-07  jdc2: How about (as a defense for Black, instead of 22...gxh6):

22...Bxd4 23.Nxd4 Qh4 24.Nf4 gxh6 25.Nfxe6
fxe6 26.Nxe6 Rxe6 27.Qxd5 Rae8 28.Qxa5

Dec-21-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <UdayanOwen: On the question of whether after 22.Bxh6, gxh6, 23.Nf6 or 23.Qd2 is the better move, I am happy to argue that 23.Qd2 is better. >

A quick (18-ply) Hiarcs run disagrees, but not by much:

1. (+3.35) 23. Nf6 Kg7 24. Nh4 Kh8 25. Qh5 Qf8 <the rest is much less reliable> 26. Re3 Nf4 27. Qf5 Ng6 28. e6 Rxe6 29. Rxe6 Bxd4 30. Nxg6 fxg6 31. Qxg6 Bxf6 32. Rxf6 Qg7 33. Qxh6 Qxh6 34. Rxh6 Kg7 35. Re6 c5 36. Re7 Kf6 37. Rae1 d4

2. (+2.88) 23. Qd2 Qf8 24. Qxa5 Red8 25. Qd2 Rac8 <the rest is much less reliable> 26. Rac1 Kh8 27. Nh4 c5 28. dxc5 Bxc5

Given the slow progress of the analysis (only 18 plies in an hour), the possible attacks and defenses are numerous, so I'd agree with the idea of Qd2 as being quick, simple, and painless.

Dec-21-07  YouRang: <jdc2: How about (as a defense for Black, instead of 22...gxh6): 22...Bxd4 23.Nxd4 Qh4 24.Nf4 gxh6 25.Nfxe6
fxe6 26.Nxe6 Rxe6 27.Qxd5 Rae8 28.Qxa5>

I'm not seeing the point with 23...Qh4. I think it just allows the d4 knight to join the attack with tempo by attacking the queen: 24. Nf5 (not 24. Nf4?), carrying mate threats and queen trapping threats.

Dec-21-07  GannonKnight: Tuff one. Didn't get it.
Dec-21-07  UdayanOwen: UdayanOwen: <MostlyAverageJoe: <UdayanOwen: On the question of whether after 22.Bxh6, gxh6, 23.Nf6 or 23.Qd2 is the better move, I am happy to argue that 23.Qd2 is better. >

A quick (18-ply) Hiarcs run disagrees, but not by much>

Yeah, my argument that 23.Qd2 was better was based on practical considerations, not 'ultimate truth'. In practice I analyzed 23.Nf6+ for @#$%ing ages, and couldn't be 100% confident of the win, whereas with 23.Qd2 I am 100% confident of the win (with no excessive clock time consumption).... I think I'll have to get a HIARCS chip installed in my brain....

I'm not surprised if 23.Nf6 works out better in truth, because strategically, the play is on the kingside due to the weakness on h6, the space advantage in that sector, and the localized superiority of forces in that sector. So to keep attacking furiously on that wing, as in the line 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Nh4 Kh8 25.Qh5, is in a pure sense, more in keeping with the strategical essence of the position than 22.Bxh6 gxh6 23.Qd2 Qf8 24.Qxa5, when white's natural strategical plan is slowed down.

I think it is great for people to be using computers to check our analyses on this forum. I'm hoping to buy the latest Fritz soon, so I will start doing this too.

Dec-22-07  Cibator: <UdayanOwen:> I wasn't looking to dish out "curry", or any other foodstuff (despite the meaning of my nick). I never allow my posts to get personal, because that's just senseless and destructive. All I did here was state the truth, as I saw it, about the position in front of me. Apologies for any niggles that may have caused but, as I say none was intended.

Excellent and exhaustive analysis of yours, by the way.

Dec-23-07  UdayanOwen: <Cibator> Thanks for the clarification. As far as I'm aware, I started all the recent debate about the role of 'instincts' in judging when further calculation is not necessary in the Nunn-Hmadi game, where I said "Grandmasters have the positional judgement to play a move like Bxh6 and know it is winning"

Since I was expressing such confidence in my own intuitive judgement, and championing the case for this faculty and its role in tactical analysis, when I read your comment I thought you were implying that I thought I had "grandmasterly instincts" and that you were jibing me for this thought.

Now that I think about it, I read way too much into it.... That's called 'intuition gone wrong', verging on paranoia.....

By the way, I didn't care that much even if you were jibing me....

Dec-23-07  Cibator: <UdayanOwen:> If I was jibing anyone, it was myself!! Anyway, here's to many more good-natured bouts of cut-and-thrust.

Happy holidays everyone, over and out till the 26th.

May-26-10  three martlets: I enjoy the guess the move feature. Its a bit of fun. But when I check the points awarded against a computer analysis it is clear that they could be given out a bit more generously. In this game I made a few ?! and ? moves, and one ??, but I also played a fair number that were as good as or better than in the game and which did not get anything. As I say, its a bit of fun and I enjoy it. Just wondering!
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