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Herman Pilnik vs Miguel Najdorf
"A Bitter Pilnik to Swallow" (game of the day May-20-2013)
Mar del Plata (1942), Mar del Plata ARG, rd 13, Mar-??
Caro-Kann Defense: Tartakower Variation (B15)  ·  1-0



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Given 30 times; par: 34 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-11-02  drukenknight: ALERT NOTATION ERROR; 9...Re8+ looks stronger, that would gain tempo. Pushing c pawn twice also loses tempo. Gee how many tempos did black lose in the opening anyhow?
Jan-08-08  sambo: If I was sure that all the moves after white's 23rd were best play or forced, I would say this is the most diabolical Sunday puzzle imaginable. I'm nowhere near good enough to say, but someone else might weigh in.
May-03-11  bengalcat47: This game is featured in Reinfeld's book "Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters."
May-19-13  backrank: This extraordinary game is featured in several books, e.g.

Chernev: The bright side of chess

Fine: Chess marches on

Vukovic: The art of attack

Certainly it deserves to be better known.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Wow. An amazing game, which I'd never seen before. Please make this GOTD ASAP.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Najdorf normally <owned> Pilnik. Not this time, obviously. A beautiful and very impressive game.

Houdini 3 indicates that the game was very well played by both sides. 18...fxe4 looks a little odd, but Najdorf must have played it because he didn't like 18...Qxe4 19.Nxg6! Qxh4 20.Nxh4 when Black's pawn structure is ugly, although Houdini thinks Black has a tenable ending after 20...Be6. After 18...fxe4, Houdini takes a while to see 19.Nxh5! Houdini considers Najdorf's 21...Kf8? the only serious mistake by either player. He should have played 21...e3! 22.Rxd6 exf2+ 23.Kf1 Bg4! 24.Qg5+ Qxg5 25.Bxg5 Ne5 26.Bd5 Nd3 27.Be4 Nc5 28.Bc2 Re8 29.Rd8 Rxd8 30.Bxd8 Kg7 with a tenable ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: Wow,<FSR> they responded very quickly to your request.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <sleepyirv> Indeed. I had no idea I had such clout. :-)
May-20-13  newzild: What's wrong with 24...Qxc4? To me, it seems to offer Black better chances than he gets in the game. Eg: 25. h3 e3 26. hxg4 exf2+ 27. Qxf2 hxg4, and the White king is exposed to checks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <newzild> 24...Qxc4 25.Qf4 looks crushing.
May-20-13  King Sacrificer: Was this gem hidden since 2002? Congrats <backrank> for finding it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: A great game by Pilnik, all the more so that he won on move 32 against Najdorf who wasn't playing all that badly.

Thanks <FSR> for getting this game posted.

May-20-13  backrank: <King Sacrificer> You're welcome :)

It's been only recently that I've found it in 'Chess marches on' by Reuben Fine. I fell in love with this game instantly. I like

19 Nxh5!
20 Bf6!!
and especially
22 b4!!
as a preparation to
23 Qg3!!
(the black knight had to be deflected from d8 to make this possible)

click for larger view

May-20-13  backrank: And of course, many thanks to <FSR> for liking it and making it GOTD.
May-20-13  RookFile: Najdorf was playing for a win, of course, but Pilnik rose to the occasion and made a feast out of his kingside attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: everybody see white's 23rd and black's 27th? Both sides offer the queen at the sting of a mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <FSR: <sleepyirv> Indeed. I had no idea I had such clout. :-)>

Is your uncle named Sir Robert Walpole? ;)

May-20-13  Ezzy: Najdorf won the tournament with 13.5/17, his only loss was this game against Pilnik.

Pilnik was joint second with Stahlburg on 13/17.

May-20-13  Mendrys: For some silly reason I initially thought that the game ended with 31...Rc3+ 0-1 and couldn't for the life of me figure out what black was supposed to do to prevent mate on d8 after 32. f3. After about minutes I rechecked the game score and was a bit relieved to see that I wasn't losing my mind!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <scormus: <FSR: <sleepyirv> Indeed. I had no idea I had such clout. :-)>

Is your uncle named Sir Robert Walpole? ;) >

No, I'm not <quite> that old. :-)

May-20-13  The silent man: He should have played the Najdorf!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <The silent man: He should have played the Najdorf!>


Sep-27-21  DouglasGomes: 21... e3 is a good move but not enough
<SF: +2.96 d41> 21...e3 22.Bd5 exf2+ 23.Kf1 Be6 24.Qxh5 Qb5+ 25.Kxf2 Bc5+ 26.Kg3 Bd6+ 27.Kh4 Qa4+ 28.g4 Qxg4+ 29.Qxg4+ Bxg4 30.Kxg4 Be7 31.Kf5 Rd8 32.Bb3 Rxd1 33. Bxd1
May-10-22  Whitehat1963: Wow! What a game! Had not seen it before.
May-27-22  Agferna: A little history on Pilnik’s pride for this game. This game actually has a name: “La Perla de Pilnik”, i.e., “The Pilnik Pearl”. You can imagine he frequently showed it and taught it to many audiences. He was very proud of this game a taught a group of youngsters in Venezuela me included, around 1976. When he arrived at move 22 he set the stage with great suspense and drama. I quietly had b4 on my board, but he saw from the corner of his eye and came over super annoyed in his usual ill temper loudly claiming that I must know the game. Believe me, I didn’t know the game; in 1976 in Venezuela all you had was newspaper clippings and dated semi-annual Chess Informants 2 editions back, and this 1942 game was well before the Informants even started in 1966. However Pilnik in building suspense provided the key clue that in that position Black was essentially a butterfly’s wing flap away from his position falling apart like a house of cards. I quickly guessed it had to be b4 and was working out the variations when he stormed over to me. The other 2 moves he found very difficult and he was really fond of might come as a surprise Rae1 and h3. Cheers
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