Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Chessgames premium membership fee will increase to $39 per year effective June 15, 2023. Enroll Now!

Gata Kamsky vs Nigel Short
PCA-Wch Candidates semifinal (1994), Linares ESP, rd 5, Sep-26
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation (E41)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 28 times; par: 35 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 11 more Kamsky/Short games
sac: 23.d5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You should register a free account to activate some of's coolest and most powerful features.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-10-06  Marmot PFL: Perhaps this was the game that Short had to lose or else be killed by Mr. Kamsky's father.
Oct-24-06  notyetagm: <Marmot PFL: Perhaps this was the game that Short had to lose or else be killed by Mr. Kamsky's father.>

Rustam Kamsky to Short: "If you keep breaking the rules, I will kill you!"

And everyone thinks Danailov was bad.

Jul-25-07  piroflip: Nigel described Rustam Kamsky as a "thug"
Jan-16-08  UdayanOwen: What a beautiful game, a model for white isolated d-pawn strategy.

The question has been posed about what would happen if 23...Bxd5 or Nxd5. There is actually an embarrassment of tactical riches for white in this position and both moves fail rather dramatically:

23...Bxd5 24.Nxf6 Bxf6 25.Bxd5, when the piece can't be recaptured (25...exd5 26.Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.Qxf6, when immediate mate on g7 can't be avoided without catastrophic material loss, eg., 27...Qe5 28.Qxe5 f6 ). An alternative win in this line after 25...exd5 is the more spectacular 25.Qxf6!, since if 25...Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Qxf6 27.Re8#).

So 23...Bxd5 leads to a forced loss, what about 23...Nxd5? The correct move is 24.Bxd5, and now there are two options for recapture:

24...exd5 25.Nf6+ Bxf6 26.Rxe8 (or 26.Qxf6! wins again) Qxe8 27.Qxf6 ; if after 25.Nf6+, black tries 25...Kh8, then 26.Nxe8 wins a whole rook, since if 26...Qxe8 white has 27.Qf6+! Bxf6 28.Rxe8#.

After 23.Nxd5 24.Bxd5, the other recapture is 24...Bxd5, but now white has the pretty 25.Rxd5!

If 25...Qxd5, now 26.Nf6+ Bxf6 (or else lose the queen) 27.Qxf6 with the winning mate threat on g7. White also has 27.Qxd5, when the queen can't be recaptured because of back rank mate.

In the line 23.Nxd5 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 25.Rxd5!, if black tries 25...exd5 then white plays 26.Nf6+, when 26...Bxf6 loses to the familiar idea of 27.Rxe8 Qxe8 28.Qxf6 (but this time not 27.Qxf6?? Rxe1+ 28.Kh2 Qxf6 ).

In the previous line after 26.Nf6, if black instead tries 26...Kh8, then simply 27.Nxe8 when the knight is again immune (27...Qxe8 28.Qf6+! Bxf6 29.Rxe8#). Hence, white is a piece ahead, and furthermore, black can't stop both threats 28.Nxc7 and 28.Qxf7. Game over.

Jan-16-08  UdayanOwen: <Poisonpawns: 23..Nxe4?? is one of the worse blunders you will see in chess losing the queen and mate is threatened after the simple 24.dxe6.>

Yes this move loses a queen and pawn for rook and knight, with a bad position to boot, but it is not a blunder, since everything else is worse!!

All captures on d5 fail miserably, and if black doesn't play 23...Nxe4, he will get severely smashed after 24.dxe6 with the threat of exf7+. The line 23...Nxe4 allows 24.dxe6 to be met with 24...f5, which reduces the dynamic potential of the white attack and cuts the losses... but of course Short quickly admits its totally lost anyway.

Jun-14-08  hedgeh0g: It's unbelievable that Kamsky was able to get away with winning the match after his thug of a father's campaign of violence and intimidation against his opponent. I'd have thought behaviour like that would merit disqualification for the offending party.
Aug-27-10  picard: Poor Nigel... playing Nxe4 in such an important game. i would have gone home and cried
Aug-27-10  FISCHERboy: What if he didn't play 21... N7f6 ??? Could that have turned the table?
Oct-16-11  Jambow: Ealier long since past controversies aside this is another Kamsky gem and as usual with his brilliantcies they involve strong coordination with his Bishops.
May-14-13  Capabal: <hedgeh0g: It's unbelievable that Kamsky was able to get away with winning the match after his thug of a father's campaign of violence and intimidation against his opponent. I'd have thought behaviour like that would merit disqualification for the offending party.>

Big exaggeration. Of course Rustam Kamsky is not a nice character, but in this match Short was totally anihilated at the board by Gata Kamsky, not because of any confrontation with Gata's father. Gata had already won the first three games when he got a bad cold and could not help coughing during the next game. The coughing annoyed Short, who told him to drink some water – apparently against the rules. This led Gata’s father to accost Short later in a bad manner, but it’s not the reason Short lost the match. <As everyone keeps posting about, Gata Kamsky and Nigel Short had a chat spat during the Playchess commentary today. Nigel was looking to settle a score from 1994, when they played a PCA candidates match full of enough insult and acrimony to make Topalov-Kramnik look like a Buddhist ceremony. I dug up the contemporaneous reports on the match to refresh my memory. There are certainly some similiarities between Elista and that match in Linares (Danailov and Kamsky count bathroom visits; Short counted Kamsky coughs), but I'd like to think Topalov has more control over Danailov than Kamsky had over his choleric father. And apparently match officials have gotten dumber over the years.

I didn't know Kamsky then, although I met him and his father briefly later in 1994 in Buenos Aires. He's been such a charmer since returning to the scene a few years ago that digging up all these things from what was practically a former life isn't really fair. Not that Short should sympathize similarly, of course, but if 1994 reflected poorly on the Kamskys, today's online aggression reflects poorly on Short in 2006. He rebuffed Gata's attempts to deflect the accusations amicably until eventually things got out of hand. That's a pretty old axe to grind. Aren't we supposed to get older and wiser instead of just older? I suppose Gata could have apologized for his father threatening Short's life in the dining room after game 4. On the other hand, if Gata took the time to apologize to everyone his dad offended back then his own child would grow up fatherless.

A mercifully brief recap of the 1994 match: After winning the first three games Kamsky caught a cold and was sniffling and hacking at the board. An annoyed Short suggested - during the game, a violation of PCA rules - that Kamsky drink some water. Kamsky lost the game. An engraged Rustam Kamsky accosted Short in the restaurant after game 4 and said "If you keep breaking the rules I will kill you!" (Now that's a provocation, Danailov you piker.) Short even filed a police report, though no charges were filed. Kamsky went on to win the next two and then draw to win the match 5.5-1.5. There were various protests from the Kamsky side during the match, including, I believe, about trips to the bathroom (!) and making eye contact with another player (Anand) during the games. I'm not sure if any of these protests came before the game 4 incident.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: After 21.h4, Black has landed in a pot of boiling water, and honestly can't see a satisfactory move here (21...f6, perhaps?). However, lifting the blockade of the d4 pawn leads to immediate disaster. The tactics become tricky, however, so I can understand why Black didn't see the consequences.
May-22-20  areknames: I didn't calculate any lengthy variations but 23.d5! is thematic in this kind of position and in this case also happens to win immediately. 18...Nb8 looks suspect, after 18...Na5 we trudge along in familiar and drab Nimzo-Indian territory. Highly instructive game.
May-22-20  Brenin: Nice puzzle, but perhaps the winning move is too thematic, and the game itself too well-known (for all the wrong reasons).
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: I haven't run the engine on this, but Nigel played what look like some rather strange moves.

When I tried the puzzle I thought it must be 23 d5. if ... exd5 then 24 Nxf6+ 1-0 perhaps he can fight on with 23. .... Nxd5. It looks good for W but I haven't yet found a direct win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: OK, 23... Nxd5 doesn't work either, nor ... Bxd5. Looks like B is lost after 23 d5
May-22-20  Socrates2: The position should actually be White to play after 23. ....Ne4.
May-22-20  malt: A good puzzle, starting with 23.d5,
Black has 23...N:d5 /...ed5 /...N:e4 which are good for white.

For 23...e5 which I have 24.d6 B:e4 25.dc7 Qa8 26.Qc3 B:g2 27.Qc4 Bd5 28.R:d5 Q:d5 29.c8/Q R:c8 30.Q:c8+ Qd8 31.Q:d8+

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Rustam was 20 years ahead of his time. #thuglife is now a term of approbation.
May-22-20  mel gibson: I wish that I would have looked longer -
I might have seen it.
The white Queen was pinned by that Bishop on b7.

Stockfish 11 says:

23. d5

(23. d5 (d4-d5 ♗b7xd5 ♗b3xd5 ♘f6xe4
♗d5xe4 ♕d8-c8 h4-h5 ♖c7-c4 ♕f3-g3 ♗e7-f8 ♗h6xf8 ♖e8xf8 h5xg6 f7xg6 ♗e4xg6 ♕c8-c7 ♗g6xh7+ ♔g8-h8 ♕g3xc7 ♖c4xc7 ♗h7-b1 ♖c7-c6 ♖d1-d7 ♖f8-c8 ♔g1-f1 ♖c6-c1 ♗b1-d3 ♖c1xe1+ ♔f1xe1 ♖c8-c1+ ♔e1-d2 ♖c1-g1 g2-g3 b6-b5 ♖d7-a7 e6-e5 ♖a7xa6 ♔h8-g7 ♖a6-e6 ♖g1-h1 ♖e6xe5 b5-b4 a3xb4 ♔g7-f6 ♖e5-d5 ♖h1-g1 b4-b5 ♖g1-a1 b5-b6 ♖a1-a2 ♔d2-c2 ♔f6-g7 ♖d5-d7+ ♔g7-f6) +8.02/38 171)

score for White +8.02 depth 38

May-22-20  Predrag3141: It's always amazed me that this classic pawn advance can win heavy material even though it threatens only a pawn. White is ahead by nearly 5 pawns.

The one line where I did not see a clear win for White was 23 d5 Nd5. Though exchanges on d5 combined with Nf6+ win heavy material here as in other lines, this is the hardest case (for a human) to see.

May-22-20  alexrawlings: I didn’t look at <23 d5> but looking at my chess app on my phone it looks like <23.. Nxd5> is level, or even a slight edge for Black. How would white proceed from here to win the game?
May-22-20  saturn2: <alexrawlings> 23... d5 Nxd5 24. Bxd5 Bxd5 25. Rxd5 exd5 26. Nf- 6+ Bxf6 27. Rxe8+ Qxe8 28. Qxf6
May-22-20  alexrawlings: Thanks! Sorry, I also see my question had been answered in previous posts. And I guess my chess app isn’t as strong as I thought!
May-22-20  King.Arthur.Brazil: I found all the moves, beggining with the easy 23.d5!. However, invited by the "dificult", I supposed that White would continue the attack, with another sacrifice: 26. ♖xe4 (if 26...fxe4? 27.♕f7+ ♔h8 28.♗g7#), then 26...♗xe4 27. ♕f4 ♗d6 28. ♕g5 ♖e7 29. ♕f6 ♖de8 30. h5 ♗d7! 32. hxg6 hxg6 33. ♕xg6+ ♔h8 34. ♗g5 ♖xe6 35. ♗xe6 ♖xe6 36. ♗f6+ ♖xf6 37. ♕xf6+ ♔g8 38. ♕xd6 win. I guess White need not to go on with such complication... 26.♖d1! is better and enough!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black threatens B(N)xe4.

White has d5 and Nxf6+.

In the case of 23.Nxf6+ Bxf6 24.d5 e5 (any capture loses quickly), White doesn't seem to achieve much.

In the case of 23.d5:

A) 23... exd5 24.Nxf6+ Bxf6 25.Qxf6 Rxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Qxf6 27.Re8#.

B) 23... Bxd5 24.Nxf6+ Bxf6 25.Rxd5 exd5 26.Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.Qxf6 wins.

C) 23... Nxd5 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 (24... exd5 25.Nf6+ is similar to previous lines) 25.Rxd5

C.1) 25... Qxd5 26.Nf6+ Bxf6 (26... Kh8 27.Nxd5 wins) 27.Qxd5 wins (27... exd5 28.Rxe8#).

C.2) 25... exd5 26.Nf6+ Kh8 (26... Bxf6 27.Rxe8+ Qxe8 28.Qxf6 wins) 27.Nxe8 wins (27... Qxe8 28.Qf6+ Bxf6 29.Rxe8#; 27... Rd7 28.Qxf7).

D) 23... Nxe4 24.exd6 with the double threat exf7+ and Rxd8.

E) 23... e5 24.d6 wins decisive material (23.Nxf6+ loses control on d6).

F) 23... Rd7 25.dxe6 also looks winning (25... Rxd1 26.exf7+ Kh8 27.fxe8=Q+ Qxe8 28.Nxf6+, etc.).

search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

<This page contains Editor Notes. Click here to read them.>

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
"An IQP (Isolated Queen's Pawn) game"
from Grandmaster Chess by Glenn Flear by mjk
26. The Isolated d-Pawn Triumphs
from Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move by PhilipTheGeek
Very interesting. Queen-Bishop on h7 used to create advantage
from The Wana's Games by wallnuts23
E41 sac: 23.d5!
from Kamsky! by larrewl
26. The Isolated d-Pawn Triumphs (Positional Play)
from 1 Understanding Chess: Move By Move - John Nunn by fredthebear
maheshml's favorite games
by maheshml
gm5 1994 PCA world champ qualifier
from The Canidates Matches by Poisonpawns
26 The Isolated d-Pawn Triumphs (Positional Play)
from Nunn: Move By Move by Inius Mella
26 The Isolated d-Pawn Triumphs (Positional Play)
from John Nunn - Understanding Chess Move by Move by akrde
getting a feel for the openings (E)
by fourier
26. The Isolated d-Pawn Triumphs
from Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move by swclark25
4...c5 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Ne2 cxd4 7.exd4 d5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.O-O Bd6
from Nimzo-Indian, Rubinstein Variation by KingG
by Xmas elf
from Middlegame: IQP on d4 by PassedPawnDuo
Death threats from Kamsky Sr. are tough on one's chess...
from Off-Board Shenanigans by Nasruddin Hodja
The all -time IQP classic that unleashes the power of d5!!
from IQP, Isolated Queen Pawn, Games by Mating Net
Killer isolated d-pawn attack by White.
from 1. h4's favorite games by 1. h4
Game 26
from Understanding Chess (Nunn) by Laker
Beating the Nimzo-Indian D - Top GM Games
by JoseTigranTalFischer
Weak black squares around black K
from Great tactics examples by arsen387
plus 88 more collections (not shown)

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC