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Glucksberg vs Miguel Najdorf
"The Polish Immortal" (game of the day Mar-12-2008)
Warsaw (1929), Warsaw POL
Dutch Defense: Queen's Knight Variation (A85)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 9 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-12-08  JG27Pyth: <aazqua: This is white playing some ugly moves in the open and black exploiting white's lack of development and stumbling his way into a multi-piece sacrifice leading to a pretty pawn mate.>

God. So true. I mean I hate that when I'm playing a nice game of chess and I think I'm just going to win a pawn or something, and wham bam, all of a sudden I've just stumbled into a multi-piece sacrifice ending with an elegant pawn mate... I mean how annoying is that!? When I was a lad I was impressed by such things too... but now that I'm 9 years old, I divide my time between running my 7 trillion Euro hedge fund and DNA sequencing my cat, by hand (I want to see if I can figure out how to make her sing the Neil Diamond catalog in Celtic...haha that's impossible, I'm really just trying to make her grow batwings). I certainly don't have time to be impressed by the odd random multi-piece 9 move mating combination sacrifice. OHHH crap... I just bent a spoon with my mind!!! Dammit that is sooo annoying.

Mar-12-08  Judah: ^LOL
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This game is pretty rare in chess history. Where else can you find a game where one player sacrifices all four of his minor pieces to checkmate with a pawn? With each sacrifice,whites moves become more limited and desperate. The final two offers cannot be refused.
Mar-12-08  Tactic101: I like using the Stonewall Dutch to counter the Queen's Gambit. This game is certainly a gem to behold. It's so incredible to see how helpless white is. One defender of the kingside leaves and the fireworks start. If you can play moves like Qe8 (just staying on the 8th rank, just preparing to jump onto the h-file), then you know your opponent is helpless. The moves like e5 and f4 are very instructive on how you can break in the center to get pieces into the attack.
Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: I think <Endgame> gives a pretty thorough analysis of the attack, although I'd add another defensive attempt that Najdorf had to have calculated very early in the piece:

After <15...e5>, white can try <16.Bxf5> with the idea of reducing black's hold on e4 (and thus trying to defuse the threatened push e4+). Black has to see he still wins with <16...e4+ 17.Nxe4> (17.Bxe4 Nde5+ 18.dxe5 Nxe5#) <17...Nde5+ 18.dxe5 Nxe5+ 19.fxe5 Rxf5+ 20.Kg4 Qh5#>.

Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: I strongly beg to differ with <aazqua> about the skill demonstrated by black in this game. It is true that there is nothing brilliant about 9...Bxh2+. It is a sham sacrifice based on a simple discovered attack which recovers the piece. Black knows that if white plays 10.Kh1, then he has (at least) won a pawn for no compensation. So he doesn't have to think any further at that stage before playing 9...Bxh2+.

However, I believe that before playing 10...Ng4, Najdorf saw the whole combination. By allowing the trapping move 11.f4, he commits to sacrificing the bishop on move 13 (if he doesn't play 13...Bg1, black will play Rh1 and Nf3, winning the bishop AND rebuffing the attack). I don't agree with <aazqua> that all Najdorf would have done was see up to the perpetual check 'safety net' with the knight starting at move 17 (17...Nxe5+ 18.Kf4 Ng6+ 19.Kf3 Ne5+ etc.). He could have had a comfortable win with his extra pawn by playing 10...Bd6, so why go into a line risking a draw if you are not sure you can force a win?

If we can accept that Najdorf saw the whole game continuation prior to move 10, then the question is, how brilliant is it? I personally think that when you look over whole game and see how the sacrifices work to create the checkmate, the moves have an easy-when-shown character, but I don't believe they would be so easy to find in a game through 12 moves deep visualization.

I don't think it is a special effort to get to the position after 13...Bg1 14.Nxg1 Qh2+ 15.Kf3. However, from then on, it takes a considerable amount of ingenuity to find the next 8 moves in one's head. Every move bar one is a sacrifice, and they are not 'obvious' sacrifices. Each sacrifice works only because of an amazing harmony with the others that leads to the final mating position. The mechanics of the combination are very advanced.

As the sacrifices increase and the pieces disappear from the board, it would start to look to a lot of players like there was not enough force to execute the attack - it takes a lot of creativity (and courage) to conceive of sacrifice after sacrifice, and finally visualize mate in 12 moves.

For example, how many players would get to the position in their minds after 15.Kf3, and say, well, he's certainly in a net, but its looking hard to make further inroads.... Here already some will abandon the attack and play safe with 10...Bd6. Others will start to consider opening lines with 15...e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.fxe5, but then think, well, that's committing to sacrificing another piece, and lets say I play 17... Nxe5+ 18.Kf4 Ng6+ 19.Kf3, then what?

At this point, I think a lot of players would be stretching to think of 19...f4, and again, many would think the attack is starting to look a bit ordinary, I'll play 10...Bd6 instead. However, some will conceive of 19...f4 because it does open up a line for the bishop and threatens to open a line for the rook. But at this point, after 20.exf4, you still have to stretch your brain to imagine the position 9 moves ahead, and come up with the final two clever sacrifices to make it work. Instead, at that point (if they got that far), I could see a lot of players saying, well, my forces have really dwindled, and the king is starting to look like he's surviving.... Nope, I just can't see a way to continue... I'll abandon the idea of a sacrificial attack with 10...Ng4 and play the safe and winning 10...Bd6.

Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: I believe this attack is intensely imaginative, creative, and both strategically and tactically profound. I further conclude that 10...Ng4 is deserving of !!!, yes THREE exclams.

Okay, I know there is no convention for that, its just a way of conveying my enthusiasm for this attack, which was certainly seen through to the finish prior to move 10. What a brilliancy!!!

Thank god white played the ridiculously weak 9.Ng5, AND refused to resign after this stupid blunder, otherwise we would never have been so treated to this masterpiece.

Mar-12-08  hkannan2000: Najdorf-Sapiro is another short game sparkling with Najdorf's brilliancy.
Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: <hkannan2000: Najdorf-Sapiro is another short game sparkling with Najdorf's brilliancy.>

Yeah just looked at it, that is stunning and so super creative. It's just audacious, but it's beautiful how strategically logical it is....

Mar-12-08  Alex Patkowski: This is probably one of my top 10 favorite games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: God. So true. [snip]>


<JG27Pyth>, you are now on my favorites list - a dubious honor perhaps, but very obviously overdue :)

Mar-12-08  Slayer772002: Insane game !!
Mar-12-08  PinnedPiece: If I could comment like <aazqa>, I'm sure I would also have some past games I could show everybody where I nailed some opponent's silly move and sac'd everything but the kithen sink to mate in 9. But I don't have. Which is why I can't make comments like <aazqa>.
Mar-12-08  MrSpock: I would like to take up the gauntlet against every earthling and play as White: 10. Kxh2

(If you are interested please post your moves in my forum.)

greatings from planet vulcan -- Spock

Mar-12-08  TheBB: <DarthStapler: This is a very famous game. I'm surprised it was never GOTD before.>

Being GOTD today doesn't mean it hasn't been before.

Mar-12-08  gmgomes: About <endgame> cooments, my oppinion is that 9. Ng5 should be considered "?", instead of "!?" - as it seems to lose by force.
Mar-12-08  Dr. Funkenstein: I would like to second Udayan Owen's comments. I think that it is very easy to say "well that's all forced so what's the big deal?" without realizing that black had to visualize the entire sequence from move 10 including all the subvariations. Black has to commit to giving up everything in the attack before commencing it (by playing 10. Ng4) which might be easy to second guess but is ridiculously difficult to do over the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: I think the brilliance begins with the move 15...e5!

Without seeing that move and its continuation the whole attack doesn't work. This is not a move many of us would see (a pawn move 7 moves deep that allows the attack to continue if one is content to sacrifice 3 more pieces).

Mar-12-08  drnooo: Odd that barely a week ago I commented on this game all by my lonesome, saying simply that this is one of those no computer would ever make some of the sacs here (run them off and see for yourself, let the thing buzz and click out the moves as long as it likes, hours if need be, you will see) yet they are correct. For that reason that it moves it into a fairly rare level: whipping the finest computer mercilessly with a fantastic sac that is absolutely sound. Not many of those around and too bad there is not a book on said same, it would be a neat collection
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I have mixed feelings about this match. On the one hand, as a chess aficionado, you canít help but admire a spectacular mating combination to win a match.

On the other, once you put on your analyst's hat, you canít close your eyes to the numerous unforced errors by white that set up the winning combination in this contest.

Itís particularly hard to ignore whiteís appalling 11th move, f4 instead of either Nh3 or Nf3, (Nf3 shown below).

click for larger view

As an aside, <Dr. Funkenstein> I love the Europe '72 avatar.

Mar-12-08  ounos: Here is an interesting line.
20. Bxg6 fxg3+
21. Bf7+ Kh8
22. e4 dxe4+
23. Kxe4, and I think White should be winning.
What do I miss?
Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: <ounos: Here is an interesting line. 20. Bxg6 fxg3+
21. Bf7+ Kh8
22. e4 dxe4+
23. Kxe4, and I think White should be winning.
What do I miss?>

<Endgame's> analysis of the game demonstrates the win for black after 20.Bxg6:

20...Bxg4! 21.Kxg4 Qxg3+ 22.Kh5 hxg6+ 23.Kxg6 Rxf6+ 24.Kh5 Rh6#

Mar-12-08  UdayanOwen: <johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: God. So true. [snip]>


<JG27Pyth>, you are now on my favorites list - a dubious honor perhaps, but very obviously overdue :)>

I also felt that was top class humour by <JG>

<ajk68: I think the brilliance begins with the move 15...e5!

Without seeing that move and its continuation the whole attack doesn't work. This is not a move many of us would see (a pawn move 7 moves deep that allows the attack to continue if one is content to sacrifice 3 more pieces).>

I agree, this is where the attack gets really creative. What adds to the brilliance is that Najdorf had to have move 15 - 22 worked out before he played move 10.

<Jimfromprovidence: once you put on your analyst's hat, you canít close your eyes to the numerous unforced errors by white that set up the winning combination in this contest.

Itís particularly hard to ignore whiteís appalling 11th move, f4 instead of either Nh3 or Nf3, (Nf3 shown below).>

The game as a whole wouldn't get into my top games list because as you say, the attack was made possible by pissweak play by white. When selecting the top games from history, I would only choose games where both players fully tested eachother and one player's brilliance triumphed.

It is bizzarre that a player good enough to get a geurnsey against Najdorf could play 9.Ng5??. However, I disagree that 11.f4 is appalling. Sure, after 11.Nf3 or 11.Nh3 white will not get smashed up the way he did. But after retreating the bishop, black has a pawn and retains a (slower) attack, so it is completely lost. 11.f4 instead gives white some practical chances, since black's bishop is trapped and will die. Then the onus is on black to demonstrate the super creative sequence of moves to prove the point of 10...Ng4.

As a whole this game is not one of the greats.... But in my opinion, as a specimen of sheer creativity in attack from move 10, this is genuinely stunning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <UdayanOwen>, it is really a pleasure to have you here again, enjoying what you do best. Specifically in support of you, I set up a part of my chessforum: <HE MUST HAVE PEEKED...<<>>>. Take a look, and you will see its point very fast. Cheers, pal! :>)
Mar-12-08  MaxxLange: I used to have a lot of friends who played Stonewall Dutch, and one of the first things I learned was that the scheme with g3 and Bg2 makes Black's Kingside attacks harder to pull off. This game seems to support that idea.
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