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Paul Keres vs Alexander Kotov
Parnu (1947), rd 8, Jul-26
Sicilian Defense: Chameleon (B20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Black lounges like a lizard unaware that white is a lion on the ground. The tale of the tape shows Nc5 as a bit of tongue and cheek, it traps the queen after Nxe5. Kotov must've wished he could change color once Nc5 was played.
Oct-20-09  randomsac: Nxe5! traps the queen, and dxe5 allows the queen to sneak a mate on d8. Very cool puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Tuesday (Easy)

Keres vs Kotov, 1947 (20.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Ke8 has 1 legal move, the dark square e7. The White Re1 x-rays e7 and Ke8 through the White Pe4 and Black Pe5, but no clearance appears readily available. The White Qd1 pins Pd6 to a mate threat Qd1-d8#, so Pd6 bears an absolute burden and its protection of Pe5 is completely illusory, suggesting the candidate 20.Nxe5. The White Kg1 is secured from check, although the Black battery Bb7 and Qc6 could threaten Qc6-g2# if it had a chance (which it does not).

Candidates (20.): Nxe5

20.Nxe5 (threatening 21.Nxc6)

The White Ne5 is immune because of 20…dxe5 21.Qd8#. Black drops Qc6, because it has no flight square and Black lacks a sufficient counter-attack (against the White Qd1 or Kg1).

Note to beginners: the pin, skewer, fork, etc., are usually presented as tactics against pieces. As today’s puzzle shows, however (with the White Qd1 pinning Pd6 to the mate threat at d8), the tactics also work against squares. This is an excellent example of how generalization of a concept (pinning pieces to pieces => pinning pieces to squares) yields new and interesting possibilities, with very little intellectual effort.

Oct-20-09  hedgeh0g: This was too easy - even for a Tuesday!
Oct-20-09  zanshin: I saw <20.Nxe5> right away but was thinking Black can't recapture because of Qd8#. But it's just a pawn - until I noticed the Bishop on h3 leaves the Black Queen with nowhere to go.
Oct-20-09  Qb6: Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

click for larger view

. ♘xe5 traps the queen. If 20. ... dxe5 then 21. ♕d8# (1-0).

Oct-20-09  A Karpov Fan: nailed it
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Material is even. Black threatens White's KP. The black king in the center, the lack of mobility of the black queen and the convergence of the white bishops and queen on some vital squares make possible 20.Nxe5, threatening 21.Qxc6, 20... Nd3 (20... dxe5 21.Qd8#) 21.Nxc6 (21.Qxd3 Qc5) Nxe1 22.Nd8 Bxe4 23.Qxe1 + - [Q+N vs R].
Oct-20-09  TheaN: Tuesday 20 October 2009


Target: 1:25;000
Taken: 0:59;512
Birdie: -10s <> -1m

Material: =

Candidates: Qxd6, Nxe5, Nxd6†.... oh it does work, <[Nxe5]>

Initially I flashed Qxd6 until I noticed that was just plain stupid :). Then, I noticed Nxe5. A strong move, as Black cannot take the Knight, but I thought Black would be able to safe his position by just moving the Queen. I thought the more forcing Nxd6† was necessary, but this let to nothing. I went back to the more logical Nxe5 and the potential Queen retreat... by.... Black.....?....... there is, no Queen retreat... well, okay :)

<20.Nxe5 > for 20....dxe5 21.Qd8‡ 1-0, and otherwise 21.takes Queen, where best play is 20....Nxe4 21.Nxc6 Nxc3 22.Bxc3 Bxc6 probably with a Queen for Bishop. Time to check.

Oct-20-09  TheaN: 2/2

Kotov destroyed himself with his two final moves. Black has difficulties after 18.Nxc4, but 18....Qc6?! puts the Queen in a dangerous position as it semi-opens the d-file, 19.b3 just protects Nc4 and 19....Nc5?? fatally gives away the protection of d8 and the diagonal h3-c8. Strange play there.

Oct-20-09  Patriot: I was thinking 20.Nxe5 right away because it at least wins a pawn due to 20...dxe5 21.Qd8#. But it also has a nice side-effect of attacking black's queen which has nowhere to hide. Resignation is the best move for black.

<<Whitehat1963>: Took me a minute, but I found it. There's no way I would have even considered it in a game, though. Perhaps I play too fast?>

That's hard to say for sure but it is one possibility. Here are some reasons why it may be:

1) You would never consider the move because 20.Nxe5 "drops the knight". This is a quiescence error (stopping analysis too early rather than looking one step further).

2) You lacked board vision in seeing that the queen on d1 x-rays through to the d8-square. If the d6 pawn were not there Qd8 would be mate.

3) Failure to consider forcing moves before considering others (i.e. checks, captures, and threats). Usually considering forcing moves in that order is best. For example, considering 20.Qf3 (threat) before considering 20.Nxe5 (capture) is a waste of time which allows black to regroup with 20...Nfd7.

4) Playing too fast (as you said) and not giving yourself time to figure it out. But this depends on the time control/time remaining. If you are playing a 1 minute game with no increment or delay then there is no "playing too fast". However if you have let's say 40 minutes remaining, then this should not be missed.

These are just some of the top reasons I can think of but there could be others. Hopefully this helps.

Oct-20-09  JG27Pyth: Noticed the pinned d pawn right away and Nxe5 -- then there was that pleasant calculation/realization (calculazation?)-- I'm reprising TheAn here -- After Nxe5 then the Queen moves and then I go...wait a sec, the queen moves...? ...oh my, where does the queen move?

JohnLSpouge<Note to beginners: the pin, skewer, fork, etc., are usually presented as tactics against pieces. As today’s puzzle shows, however (with the White Qd1 pinning Pd6 to the mate threat at d8), the tactics also work against squares. This is an excellent example of how generalization of a concept (pinning pieces to pieces => pinning pieces to squares) yields new and interesting possibilities, with very little intellectual effort.> Nice point.

Oct-20-09  jsheedy: Ooh, cruel bishop crossfire! 20. Nxe5! wins the Queen, because if 20...dxe5, 21. Qd8#! The black Queen has nowhere to hide.
Oct-20-09  YouRang: This one IMO was about spotting the vulnerable square, which in this case was d8. It's defended only by the black king, but attacked by our bishop and potentially by our queen (with mate) -- if only we could dislodge the pawn on d6.

Knowing thus that Pd6 cannot be moved, it was natural to try 20.Nxe5 to see what would happen. Quite pleasantly, it seems to trap the black queen!

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: This game from the guy who wrote "How to Think Like a Grand Master"! Maybe he should've concentrated on "How to Play Like a Grand Master."

But no disrespect to Kotov. This game just goes to show that even grand masters aren't grand all the time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen is trapped and the knight's capture results in sudden death at d8, dealt by the queen
Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: 20. Nxe5 and Kotov can throw in the towel.
Oct-20-09  VincentL: I have been looking at this position for a couple of minutes and see the possibility of various threats.

But I think the most potent is mate on d8 if we can deflect black's d pawn.

Nxe5 also threatens the queen and leaves it without a flight square. So this is it.

20 Nxe5.

If 20.... dxe5 21. Qd8 mate

If 20.... Any queen move/other move. 21. White captures the queen.

I imagine that black resigned after Nxe5. Let us see.

Oct-20-09  TheChessGuy: Rule #1 of playing Paul Keres: never, ever give him tactical chances. He WILL find them and run his opponent over with them.
Oct-20-09  MiCrooks: This seemed easier to me than yesterday...I liked yesterday's three mover...seemed appropriate for a Monday. This seemed a bit easier, a Monday at best.
Oct-20-09  Marmot PFL: Easy puzzle. One thing i keep in mind with black is even if i don't castle its good to be ready when the need arises. With Be7 on move 17 or 18 black would be able to castle and also guard d8.
Oct-20-09  WhiteRook48: 20 Nxe5 too easy
Oct-20-09  ruzon: This is an interesting version of the closed Sicilian. What would White play after 2...d5? 3.e5 overextends, I think, so maybe 3.exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 is playable for White? The bishops aren't going anywhere for a little while, though.
Oct-20-09  Chessforeva: 3D sheet:
Oct-20-09  David2009: 20 Nxe5 and the attacked Q has no squares, nor can White's Q or K be counter-attacked. Time to check.
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