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Genadi A Ageichenko vs Ratmir Kholmov
Moscow (1968)
King's Gambit: Accepted. Abbazia Defense (C36)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: This is an interesting King's Gambit, which is accepted. Then the opening takes on a pseudo queen's gambit accepted structure (with an open e-file) after 11...dxc4, leaving White with an isolated queen's pawn. The isolani becomes the focal point of the middlegame.

The dark-squared bishops are exchanged, and then 17...Ne5 initially appears to win the Bc4, but 18.Qg3! sets an absolute pin which would allow RxNf6 to keep material even. Thus, 18...Nf6-Nh5 19.Qg5 and both sides drop a minor piece, as the capturing queens are activated. Material is dead even. The isolani looms.

This finish is a tactical burst into a blunder. White has a seemingly well-defended central passed pawn, but the overworked White queen is tied to the defense of the h2-pawn to prevent Black's queen from delivering checkmate there. 27.d6 is a mistake. Better is 27.Nc3.

Black's rooks undermine the White defenders of the passer by 27...RxNe4 and 28...Rxd6. No more passer. The overworked White queen is badly exposed.

White finds a zinger 29.Re7+!! The Black king cannot accept this bully sacrifice offer on account of 30.QxRd6+ followed by more of the same for checkmate. So, 29...Kf8 as played is best. 30.Rxb7 helps retain the threat of a back rank mate. Both kings are on the threshold of defeat.

The previous moves demonstrate alert rook play by both colors. However, rooks are easily misplayed/neglected, as occurs here. Instead of the exchange of queens on h2, Black should have simply played 30...RxQd2 31.RxRd2 Ke8 for the advantage. Although less glamorous than checkmate, one must always be ready to convert one advantage into another, often by simplification.

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