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Ljubomir Ljubojevic vs Anatoly Karpov
Linares (1993), Linares ESP, rd 9, Mar-08
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Quiet Line (A28)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-22-15  diagonalley: <diagonalley>: nul points
Feb-22-15  gofer: I saw <28 ... Nd4> as great first move, but I thought white would not accept, so lightly. I thought white would simply accept the long-term positional weakness and rid itself of a "bad bishop" and then try to work on freeing the other one!

<28 ... Nd4>
<29 Bxd4 exd4>
<30 g3 Qh5>

Leading us to here...

click for larger view

White is struggling, but not dead yet...

Very nice sacrifice by Karpov... ..he makes it look easy!

Feb-22-15  wooden nickel: Things look crowded, only two knights exchanged so far, but like they say <It would be time to worry when you notice that your opponent has three bishops!> ... at any rate 28. ... Nd4 breaks the ice and opens lines!

I wonder how Karpov would have handled this line:
28. ... Nd4 29.exd4 exd4 30.Rf2 dxc3 31.dxc3 Bg5 32.g3 Qh5 33.f4 Rde8 34.Ng2 Re2 35.Rxe2

click for larger view

<ColdSong: GM Ljubojevic acts in this game like a boxer who just waits the moment he will be knockout.> I think Karpov acts in this game like a boxer who knows the right moments to throw the knockout punchs!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black can start an attack against the white king with 28... Nd4:

A) 29.exd4 exd4

A.1) 30.Ba1 Be5

A.1.a) 31.g3 Bxg3 32.hxg3 Qxg3+ 33.Kh1 (or 33.Ng2) 33... Re2 wins.

A.1.b) 31.h3 Qg3

A.1.b.i) 32.Rf2 Qh2+ 33.Kf1 Qh1+ 34.Ke2 Bg3+ 35.Kd3 Bxf2 - + [R+P vs N].

A.1.b.ii) 32.f4 Bxf4 33.Rxf4 Qxf4 34.Qd3 (due to 34... Re2; 34.Nf3 Bxf3 35.gxf3 Qxf3 36.Rf1 Qg4+ followed by ... Re2 looks winning) 34... Rde8 and Black has a rook and two pawns for the bishop pair and attack.

A.1.b.iii) 32.Nd3 Qh2+ 33.Kf2 Bg3#.

A.1.c) 31.f4 Bxf4

A.1.c.i) 32.Nf3 Bxf3 33.Rxf3 (33.gxf3 Qxh2#) 33... Qxh2+ looks winning.

A.1.c.ii) 32.g3 Bxg3 33.Nf3 (33.hxg3 Qxg3+ 34.Ng2 Qxg2#) 33... Bxf3 34.Rxf3 Qxh2+ 35.Kf1 Qh1#.

A.1.c.iii) 32.Rxf4 Qxf4 is similar to A.1.b.ii.

A.1.d) 31.Nd3 Qxh2+ 32.Kf2 Bg3#.

A.2) 30.f4

A.2.a) 30... dxc3 31.dxc3 (to prevent ... Re2; 31.Nf3 Qxf4 just drops a pawn) and Black has a weak d-pawn.

A.2.b) 30... Re2 31.Ba1 Rde8

A.2.b.i) 32.Nf3 Rxg2+ 33.Kxg2 (33.Kh1 Rxh2+ 34.Kg1 Qg3#) 33... Re2+ and mate soon.

A.2.b.ii) 32.Qb1 Qg4 with a winning attack. For example, 33.g3 Qh3 34.Rf2 Rxf2 35.Kxf2 Qxh2+ 36.Kf1 Re2 wins, or 33.Rf2 Rxf2 34.Kxf2 Re2+ followed by ... Bxg2.

A.3) 30.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 31.Kh1 Be5 looks winning.

B) 29.Qb1 Ne2+ 30.Kh1 Ng3+ 31.Kg1 Nxf1 32.Kxf1 Qxh2 - + [R+P vs N].

C) 29.Qd3 e4 30.Qb1 (30.fxe4 Bxe4 traps the queen) 30... Ne2+ as in B.

Feb-22-15  gars: Good morning! The first Pawn is taken on move 29. Isn't that strange?
Feb-22-15  sfm: The really hard move to see is 31.-,Bg5. The attack is fighting on the edge all the way, to the very last move.
Feb-22-15  ozu: I looked at all sorts of moves, including the correct knight move, and finally decided to push the f pawn.. a bit of a stretch for a chess puzzle move..haha
Feb-22-15  morfishine: <28...Nd4>

Finding the first move is good enough for me today


Feb-22-15  tivrfoa: what is the continuation after 41. Qf2?
Feb-22-15  lost in space: <<diagonalley:> <diagonalley>: nul points>

Same here

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < tivrfoa: what is the continuation after 41. Qf2? >

41...Qd3+ 42.Kg1 Qb1+, and the bishop is lost. Black will be up the exchange and 2 pawns.

Feb-22-15  Edeltalent: 28...? Black to play

With all pieces but one pair of knights still on the board, Black has outplayed his opponent. He has the space advantage and Bb3 and Ne1 are awkwardly placed. It's not clear how White should free himself except by playing d4 - but Black has really clamped down on this square. With no obvious holes in White's position, it doesn't really look as if Black could strike quickly though.

Moves I'd consider are 28...d5 (doesn't look bad after 29.cxd5 Bxd5 30.Bxd5 Rxd5 and Black can play against the backward d-pawn; however, it allows White to trade his useless bishop and also loosens Black's structure a bit), 28...e4 (this pawn is hanging after 29.Bxf6 Qxf6 30.fxe4, and Black gets nothing after 30...f4 31.d3 or 30...Qg5 31.Nf3), 28...Rg7 (slow, g6-g5-g4 is not yet a threat because f5 is hanging), 28...Ng5 (nah, this knight is going nowhere) and of course the move that every puzzle solver will have spotted quickly, 28...Nd4.

White has to take the knight after 28...Nd4, because 29.Qd3 drops the Bb3 and 29.Qb2 the exchange after 29...Ne2+ 30.Kh1 Ng3+. If 29.exd4 exd4 30.Bb2 Re2, Black suddenly poses huge threats against the king, with the pawn on d2 acting as a classic "cutting the board in two halves" piece. With no counter-play whatsoever, what can White do defensively against the threat of Be5?

click for larger view

- 31.f4 Rde8 32.Nf3 Bxf3 33.Rxf3 Rxg2+ 34.Kxg2 Re2+ 35.Kf1 Qxh2, or 32.Qc1 Qg4 33.g3 Qh3 34.Rf2 Rxf2 35.Kxf2 Qxh2+ 36.Kf1 Re2

- 31.Qd3 Rde8 32.Nc2 Be5 33.h3 Qg3 34.Qxe2 Qh2+ 35.Kf2 Bg3#

- 31.Nd3 Rde8 32.Rf2 (the threat was 32...Rxg2+ 33.Kxg2 Qg4+ 34.Kh1 Bxf3+ 35.Rxf3 Qxf3+ 36.Kg1 Re2) Rxf2 33.Nxf2 Re2 34.Rf1 (if 34.Nd3, Rxg2+ works again: 35.Kxg2 Qg4+ 36.Kf2 Qxf3+ 37.Ke1 Bh4+) Be5 35.Nh3 Qg4 and the defenses crumble: 36.fxg4 Rxg2+ 37.Kh1 Rxg4+ or 36.Nf2 Qf4 37.Ra1 Qxh2+ 38.Kf1 Bxf3 or 36.Rf2 Re1+ 37.Rf1 Bxf3 38.e3 Re2.

White can refuse the sacrifice, but 29.Bxd4 exd4 30.Qd3 Rde8 looks pretty terrible:

click for larger view

There's so much pressure on his weak pawns, at the moment 31...dxe3 32.dxe3 Rxe3 33.Qxd6 Be5 is a threat, and 31.Nc2 doesn't help because 31...Be5 32.f4 Be4 33.Qe2 d3 wins.

Or White can directly give back the piece to gain a move, but after 29.exd4 exd4 30.Nd3 Re2 31.Rde1 Rde8 32.Rxe2 Rxe2 33.Rf2 Rxf2 34.Nxf2 dxc3 35.dxc3, it's hard to imagine Karpov not winning this (even though the direct tactic 35...Be5 36.g3 Bxg3 37.hxg3 Qxg3+ 38.Kf1 Bxf3 39.Nd1 Be4 40.Qf2 doesn't seem to work yet). Black has the bishop pair, weak pawns to work on, and the two pieces that White hasn't traded are his old problem children of all things...

click for larger view

36...Qf4 probably is a good move here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 28...Nd4 I looked at 29 g3.

click for larger view

White is down a pawn if 29...Nxc2 30 gxh4 Nxe1 31 Rdxe1 Bxh4 32 Re2, for example.

click for larger view

Feb-22-15  BOSTER: Playing bishop f1-d3 -e4 created a lot of problem for white, who had not time to push d2 pawn after first moves.
This hole on e2 Karpov could see in the middle of the game.
Feb-22-15  patzer2: Here's my look at the game and the Sunday puzzle position with the Opening Explorer (OE) and Fritz 12:

<4. e3> This is a sound move and the second most popular choice according to the OE. More frequently played at Master level is 4. g3 as in Carlsen vs Adams, 2015. An old favorite of mine is 4. e4 which the super computer programs apparently now prefer -- as evidenced by Komodo vs Stockfish, 2014 and Stockfish vs Komodo, 2014.

<7. Bd3> Even though it's a computer favorite, I'm not a fan of this move. Instead, I prefer GM Keene's invention 7. Qf5 as played in Grischuk vs A Giri, 2013.

<7... g6 8. Nxf6+> Here I slightly prefer 7. a3 as in Keene vs Vukcevich, 1976

<13. Rc1?!> This seems too slow, as it allows Black to carry out his plan of a crushing positional squeeze.

Instead, White can go for active counter play with 13. h4! when play might continue 13...Ne6 14. h5 Bg7 15. h6 Bf8 16. Qc3 Nc5 17. Bc2 Qf6 18. b4 Ne6 19. Ba4 c6 20. d3 a5 21. Nd2 =.

<28. Rd1?> Though it's not at all obvious, this is the losing move.

Instead, 28. Qd1 =/- to allows White to fight for the draw in a slightly inferior position.

After 28. Qd1, play might continue Rf8 (28... Nd4 29. exd4 exd4 30. Bb2 Be5 31. g3 Bxg3 32. hxg3 Qxg3+ 33. Ng2 Rde8 34. Rf2 Bxf3 35. Rxf3 Re1+ 36. Qxe1 Rxe1+ 37. Rxe1 Qxf3 38. Bc2 ) 29. Nd3 e4 30. Bxf6 Rxf6 31. Qe1 Qxe1 32. Nxe1 Kg7 .

Feb-22-15  patzer2: <28... Nd4!!> This strong positional sacrifice solves today's Sunday puzzle.

<29. exd4 exd4 30. Rf2>

If 30. Bb2, then Black wins after 30...Be5! 31. f4

(31. g3 Bxg3 32. d3 Bxe1 33. Rdxe1 Rxe1 )

31... Bxf4 32. Rxf4 Qxf4 when play might continue 33. Qd3 Rde8 34. Qf1 Qg4 35. Nd3 Re2 36. Nf4 R8e4 37. Nd3 Re5 38. Nf4 Rxg2+ 39. Nxg2 Re2 40. Qxe2 Qxe2 41. Ne1 f4! 42. bxc5 bxc5 43. Bc2 f3 44. Bd3 f2#.

If 30. g3!, then Black wins after 30...Qh3! when play might continue 31. Nd3 Re2! 32. Rf2 Rde8 33. Qc1 dxc3 34. dxc3 Rxf2 35. Nxf2 Qh5 36. Rd3 Bxf3 37. Re3 Re5 38. Nd3 Re4 39. Rxe4 fxe4 40. Nf4 Qe5 41. Bd1 cxb4 42. axb4 Qxc3 43. Qxc3 Bxc3 44. Bxf3 exf3 45. Kf2 Bxb4 46. Nd5 Bc5+ 47. Kxf3 a5 .

<30... dxc3 31. dxc3 Bg5 32. g3 Qh5 33. f4 Rde8 34. Ng2 Re2?> This is a mistake, which almost lets White back in the game.

Instead, Black wins with the surprise move 34... Bxg2! when play might continue 35. Rxg2

(35. Kxg2 Bxf4! 36. Qd3 936. gxf4 Qg4+ 37. Kf1 Qh3+! 38. Rg2 Re2! 39. Qxe2 Rxe2 40. Kxe2 Qxg2+ )

35... Bf6 36. Rf2 Re2 37. Rd2 R2e3 38. Ba4 R8e7 39. Rd3 Qh3! 40. Rxe3 Rxe3 41. Qd2 Rxc3 42. Qe2 h5 43. Rf3 Rc1+ 44. Bd1 Kg7 45. Kh1 h4 46. gxh4 Qxh4 47. h3 Bd4 48. Kg2 Rb1 49. b5 Kf7 50. Qf1 Rb2+ 51. Kh1 Rd2 52. Be2 Qe7 53. Bd3 Be3 54. Qb1 Bxf4 55. Rxf4 Qe3 56. Qf1 Rxd3 57. Rf2 Qxh3+ 58. Qxh3 Rxh3+ 59. Kg2 Rxa3 .

<35. Rd2?> White returns the favor with a mistake of his own.

Instead, White can hold with 35. Rxe2! Rxe2 36. Rd2 when play might continue 36...Be4 37. Qd1 Rxd2 38. Qxd2 Bf6 39. Bd1 =.

<35... Re1+> Now Black is back on the winning track, and forces White's resignation after <36. Rf1 Rxf1+ 37. Kxf1 Qxh2 38. Rd5 Bxd5 39. cxd5 Qxg3 40. fxg5 Qf3+ 0-1>

White resigns in lieu of 41. Qf2 (41. Kg1 Re2 ) 41... Qd3+ 42. Kg1 Qb1+ 43. Qf1 Qxb3 .

Feb-22-15  houtenton: This game reminds me of an evening in 1977. I was witness of an amazing clock-sceance (in which the grandmaster gets as much time as all his opponents together) of Karpov against the 10 best players of Utrecht in Holland. Here I could experience his unbelieveable tactical power and "his capability of changing totally equalized or dead looking positions into a complete loss for his opponent". Karpov was the worldchampion in those days. Only one
draw at the end of the evening, maybe as a tribute to the organisation, maybe not. You can look at this game at the link below (Karpov - Duistermaat 1/2 - 1/2).
Feb-22-15  Longview: I was misdirected in a sense. I was looking to get the knight to the f4 square not the d4 square. I spent my time trying to find a way to keep from opening the diagonals for the white bishops and simultaneously open up the files for the black rooks. Right ideas wrong techniques, as usual.

In looking at the play of the game after 35....Re1 I thought 36. Nxe1 would have been white's defense. The followup of Rxe1+ then 37. Rf1 leads to Qf3 38. Qd3 Rxf1+ 39. Qxf1 Qh1+ 40. Kh2 Qxh2+ 41. Ke1 Qxg3+ 42. Qf2 Qxf4 43. Qxf4 Bxf4 44. Rd3 leaving an interesting endgame with two bishops against a Rook and Bishop.

I let Houdini play it out and was surprised that white was, for a long while able to control the three pawns on the King side and it took to move 78. to capture the white Bishop and move 80 to promote the f pawn. I am sure I would have blown it myself and allowed White to even herself up!

Feb-22-15  Nick46: < tivrfoa: what is the continuation after 41. Qf2? > thanks < Penguincw > I must con-FIDE I (too) thought it a bit soon to resign, for the sort of games I play.
Feb-22-15  scassislusor: Strange game! 28 moves and no exchanges except 1 knight apiece between 2 GMs! Were they afraid of each other? It's as though the game hadn't started till 28…knight d4!
Feb-22-15  KabutoKoji: Now that's what I call a nice game. The puzzles this week had been so so, this one has restored balance to the site.
Feb-23-15  Nova: A comment on the game itself: I found Karpov's 15…Bd7 to be quite interesting. My (and probably everyone else's) Intuition is to play the obvious 15…f5 right away, yet Karpov shuns this move till the next turn and instead delegates his LSB to the passive d7 square.

Yet following Karpov's legendary strategic style it seems this bishop move fits into his plan: he will push f5 at some point (forcing the Be4 to move), play the rook on a8 to d8 or f8, and then reposition the bishop on the long diagonal.

I would be surprised to see anyone below master level make such a seemingly passive move, especially when a forcing move like …f5 screams to be played. But as I always perceive it, it is the very strong players that can see something special, something subtle in the position, that I am always mesmerized to.

A great, fun game to play through.

Feb-23-15  SimonWebbsTiger: @<Nova>

not a bad observation about 15...Bd7.

A few years ago I would rush with ...f7-f5. It's the good thing about meeting IMs and GMs in tourney chess because they will mention such subtle improvements on one's play. They make just the right number of preparatory moves before committing their structure.

There is no rush for ...f5, the bishop prepares the connection of the rooks and ...c6-c5 intending ...Bd7-c6 was on the cards. Thus ...f5 picks up more momentum.

In his notes, Karpov wrote 15...Bg4!? - with the ideas ...Bxf3 and ...f5 - 16. h3 Bd7. h3 is certainly something something to nibble on when black gets his pawns rolling.

Feb-23-15  tivrfoa: <Penguincw: < tivrfoa: what is the continuation after 41. Qf2? > 41...Qd3+ 42.Kg1 Qb1+, and the bishop is lost. Black will be up the exchange and 2 pawns.> Thank you!! =)
Nov-13-21  PJs Studio: One of the rare examples of the loser playing a fantastic game.
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