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John Nunn vs Andrew Jonathan Mestel
Hastings (1977/78), Hastings ENG, rd 6, Jan-03
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation. Yugoslav Attack Early deviations (B75)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Well this doesn't work:

28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ 29. Kb2 Ne1+ 30. Qe2 Rxc3 31. Qxf2 Nd3+ 32. Kxc3 Nxf2

But this works:

28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ 29. Kb2 Nb4+ 30. Qe2 Qd4 31. Rhc1 Nd3+ 32. Ka1 Rxc3 33. Rxc3 Qxc3+ 34. Rb2 Qxb2+ 35. Qxb2 Nxb2 36. Kxb2 e4 and queens

Jan-04-19  Cibator: I've always understood that the Yugoslav Attack is characterised more by White's f3 than by Bc4 (which occurs in all sorts of other Sicilian variations as well). And it's part of the Dragon Variation, not the Rauzer Attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Very tricky puzzle because there are so many defenses to anticipate (notably, Rxb6)
Jan-04-19  SpamIAm: You are correct, <Cibator>. The Yugoslav Attack is characterised by Be3/Qd2/f3/O-O-O. Usually white does indeed play Bc4 but as can be seen here, not always. Black cannot play in a stereotyped way here- the typical Ne5-c4 maneuver is a total waste of time here as white has not moved his light-squared bishop. Thus after Bxc4 white saves two tempos compared to the Bc4 Ne5, Bb3 Nc4 variation. IMO the line here with Bh6 is premature. It does indeed prevent black from castling but, then again, the whole point of the Yugoslav Attack is to let black castle and then attack the castled position. Also, as can be seen here, the early Bh6 Bxh6, Qxh6 sequence allows the exchange sacrifice Rxc3, breaking up white's own castled position. This is a common theme in the Sicilian, particularly the Dragon variation, and Mestel handles it masterfully.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: What happens after 30. Rxg6+ ?

If 30...Kf8, then 31. Rh8+ Ke7 32. Qd6#.

If 30...fxg6, then 31. Qd7 Nxc2+ 32. Kb2. Now what?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I like the way Nunn ignored the safer 29 Nxc3 and went for the win with 29 Rxb6, below, instead.

click for larger view

The threat was 30 Rxg6+ fxg6 31 Qxg6+ with mate to follow but Mestel saw that and played the beautiful 29...e4 in response.

Nunn tried again with 30 Qxa6 hoping for 31 Qxc8+, but Mestel was up to the task with the winning 30...Nxc2+ 31 Kb2 Qxb6+.

Nice puzzle and even better game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Bit surprising really to see this early deviation by Nunn--theory-oriented in his approach to the openings then as later--but he surely had a healthy respect for his opponent's understanding in what was, after all, Mestel's speciality as Black in those early days of his career.
Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: 27. ... Nxc3
28. Nxc3 Nxc2+
29. Kb2 Nb4+
30. Qe2 Nd3+
31. Kb3 Rxc3+
32. Kxc3 Qxe2
33. Rxb6 Nf4
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Not a convincing puzzle. I was expecting something more definitive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Nunn doesn't play the thematic g4 and trades down the dark-squared bishops. The exchange sacrifice damages his king safety.

Normally, instead of exchanging bishops, white will push g4, starting the storm of the king-side before black has even castled.

Nunn must have had a prepared line that overlooked something - probably e4.

Jan-04-19  saturn2: I saw 27...Nxc3

28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ costs the queen. Both

28. Rbe1 Nxe2 29. Rxe2 Nxc2+ 30. Rxc2 Qxc2 and

28. Rb2 Qxe2 29. Qxe2 Nxe2 30. Re1 Nxc2+ lead to material plus.

Jan-04-19  goodevans: <ChessHigherCat: ... But this works:

28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ 29. Kb2 Nb4+ 30. Qe2 Qd4 31. Rhc1 Nd3+ ...>

In that line white can put up a better defence with <31.Rh3> rather than <31.Rch1> but swap the move order to <30...Nd3+ 31.Ka1 Qd4> and we're back with a winner.

I say "winner" but black's material advantage (after he takes the N) isn't exactly overwhelming and it looks like there's plenty of work still to do.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: White needed more out of this opening.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <good evans> I see, thanks! It must be even harder anticipating all the defenses when you're under time pressure in a tournament.
Jan-04-19  schachfuchs: @al wazir
<What happens after 30. Rxg6+ ?

If 30...fxg6, then 31.Qd7 Nxc2+ 32.Kb2 >

You may choose:
Mate in 17: 32....Rb8+ 33.Kxc3 Qe3+ 34.Kxc2 Qxe2+ 35.Kc3 Qb2+ 36.Kc4 Qc2+ 37.Kd5 Qd3+ 38.Ke6 Rb6+ 39.Ke7 Qa3+ 40.Kd8 Qf8+ ...

Mate in 17: 32....Na4+ 33.Qxa4 Rb8+ 34.Qb3+ Rxb3+ 35.Kxb3 Qxe2...

Premium Chessgames Member
  devere: After 27...Nxc3 28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ 29. Kb2
Nb4+ 30. Qe2 Nd3+ 31. Ka1 (only move) Qd4
32. Qd2 Rxc3 33. Rh4! it is still a game, with Black standing better.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Interesting game if for no other reason than the fact that both players are British citizens, hold a Phd in Math, and are one of only three persons to hold the GM title in both OTB play and problem solving.

On this particular day, Mestel did the better job of OTB problem solving after the exchange sacrifice 12...Rxc3!? ± (+0.92 @ 21 ply, Stockfish 10 analysis of move 13.?).

Jan-04-19  morfishine: Nunn too soon
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <schachfuchs: Mate in 17>. Of course. How could I have missed that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a knight and a pawn for a rook.

The knight on e4 is hanging and the rook is momentarily tied to the back rank due to Qd8+ and h6#.

Black has Nc5, Nxc3 and Nc5.

In the case of 27... Ng3 28.Rh3 (28.Nxg3 Nxc2+ 29.Kg2 Nb4+ wins decisive material) 28... Qxe2 29.Qxe2 Nxe2 30.Rxe3 Nxc3 31.Rxb6 looks good for White.

Similarly, 27... Nxc3 is met with 28.Rb3.

In the case of 27... Nc5 28.Qd2 Nc4 29.Qd(e)1 Qxg2 Black has won a pawn and improved the position.

I'm not sure, but I think I'd play 27... Nc5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: While Stockfish may rate the position after Mestel's exchange sacrifice as clearly better for White, this game was between two human beings and featured an attacker par excellence opposite someone rather less comfortable in the role of defender, in a razor-sharp position.
Jan-04-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 24 dpa done

<1. - / + (-0.93): 20...e5> 21.fxe5 dxe5 22.Ne2 Nf6 23.Ng3 h5 24.Re1 Qc6 25.Rb3 h4 26.Nf1 Nxe4 27.Ne3 Ned6 28.Nxc4 Nxc4 29.Qg5 Kg7 30.Rd1 Rh8 31.Rd3 Rh5 32.Qg4 e4 33.Qd7 Qxd7 34.Rxd7 h3 35.g4 Ra5 36.Rb4

2. = / + (-0.54): 20...Nf6 21.Rb5 Qc7 22.Re1 e6 23.Rb3 Na5 24.f5 Nxb3+ 25.cxb3 Qxc3+ 26.Qxc3 Rxc3 27.fxe6 fxe6 28.e5 dxe5 29.Rxe5 Rd3 30.Nf3 Rd6 31.Kb2 Kg7 32.Re2 Nd7 33.Ng5 Nc5 34.Kc3 h6 35.Ne4 Rd3+ 36.Kc4 Rd5 37.Nxc5 Rxc5+ 38.Kd4 Rd5+ 39.Kc3

Jan-04-19  cormier:

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4 d 25 dpa

<1. = (-0.10): 20.Qd3> e5 21.fxe5 Ndxe5 22.Qh3 h5 23.Rb5 Qc7 24.Qg3 a6 25.Rb4 Nd2 26.Re1 b5 27.Nf5 Qxc3+ 28.Qxc3 Rxc3 29.Nxd6 Rc6 30.Rd4 Rxc2 31.Rd1 Ndc4 32.Nxc4 Nxc4 33.Rg1 Re2 34.a4 Kg7 35.axb5 axb5 36.Rd5 Rxe4 37.Rxb5 Re2 38.Rb7 Nd6 39.Rd7

2. = (-0.19): 20.Qe2 a6 21.h4 Nf6 22.Rh3 e5 23.fxe5 dxe5 24.Nb3 Qc6 25.Re1 h5 26.Rd3 Na3 27.Kb2 Qa4 28.Nd2 Ng4 29.Rf1 b5 30.Qf3 f6 31.Qd1 Kg7 32.Nb3 Nc4+ 33.Ka1 Qa3 34.Rd7+ Kh6 35.Qc1+ Qxc1+ 36.Rxc1 Nge3

3. = / + (-0.56): 20.Qf2 Na3 21.Rb3 a5 22.Kb2 Nc4+ 23.Ka1 e5 24.fxe5 dxe5 25.Rf1 Nd6 26.Nb5 Qxf2 27.Rxf2 Nxe4 28.Re2 f5 29.c4 Rxc4 30.Rd3 Ndc5 31.Rd5 Rb4 32.Na3 Kf7 33.Rxe5 h6 34.Re1 Rd4 35.Rf1 Rd2 36.g4 Kf6 37.Re8 Nd6 38.Rd8 Ke7 39.Rh8 Rxh2 40.gxf5 gxf5 41.Rd1 Nce4 42.Rb8 Rh3 43.Kb2

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For a White improvement, Stockfish prefers 17. Rb4 ± over the game move 17. Bb5 =.

Stockfish 10 gives the line 17. Rb4 h5 (17... a5 18. Rb2 Ba4 19. Nb5 Nc4 20. Bxc4 Qxc4 21. Na3 Qc5 22. Nb1 b5 23. Qd4 Rc8 24. Qxc5 Rxc5 25. Rd1 d5 26. e5 Nd7 27. c4 bxc4 28. Nc3 Bc6 29. f4 ± to +-) 18. Ba6 Bc8 19. Bd3 d5 20. Nb3 Qc7 21. exd5 Nxd5 22. Rd4 Be6 (not 22... Nxc3?? 23. Kb2 +-) 23. Re1 Nxd3 24. Rxd3 Nf6 25. Kb2 ± to +- (+1.36 @ 36 ply).

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The losing move appears to be 28...hxg6? allowing 29. Nxc3 +- (+3.33 @ 40 ply, Stockfish 10).

Instead, 28. Nxc3 Nxc2+ 29. Kb2 Ne1+ 30. Qe2 Nd3+ 31. Ka1 Qd4 Qd2 Rxc3 33. Rh4! Rc2+ 34. Rxd4 Rxd2 35. Rd7 gxh5 ⩱ (-0.40 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 10) gives White drawing chances, as play might continue 36. Rxb6 h4 37. a4 e4 38. Re7 Rxg2 39. Re8+ Kg7 40. Rxe4 h3 41. Rh4 Nf2 42. Rbh6 f5 43. Rxh7+ Kf6 44. Rh8 Kg5 45. R8h5+ Kg6 46. Rh8 a5 47. Kb1 Kf6 48. Kc1 Ke5 49. Re8+ Kd5 50. Rd8+ Ke6 51. Re8+ Kd7 52. Reh8 Kd6 53. Rd8+ Ke7 54. Rdh8 Kf6 55. Kb1 Ke6 56. Re8+ Kd7 57. Reh8 = (-0.09 @ 42 ply, Stockfish 10).

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