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Vladimir Savon vs Lev Polugaevsky
USSR Championship (1971), Leningrad URS, rd 3, Sep-17
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-09-17  clement41: Amazing game from the so-called outsider who won the 1971 USSR championship undefeated!
Nov-21-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: 34 Kg3 both threatens mate and threatens to win the knight. The only try to avert both is 34 ... Nd4 with the intention ... Nf5, but that fails to 34 h5+ and mate next.
Nov-21-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: Actually, Black is quickly mated no matter what, but I didn't fully convince myself of that before deciding I'd sufficiently solved the puzzle. :)
Nov-21-19  landshark: Only a single quiet move 34.Kg3 and mate is inevitable. The best defense ...Nd4 fails to 35.h4+ forcing the K to either ...Kh5 36.Rxh7# or ...Kf5 which stumbles into the square the N planned to interpose with and its 36.Re5#. The heavy piece + N against K in front of his own pawn has been a recurrent theme this week...
Nov-21-19  Skewbrow: Whire wins with 34.Kg3 for it threatens 35.Re5x. I see two ways to thwart the mate.

A) 34.. Nd4 with a view of interposing 35.. Nf5+. But this fails against 35.h4+ as the black king is forced into either f5 or h5, when respective moves 35.Re5/Rh7 are mates.

B) 34.. Rf8, again planning to interpose at f5 should white check from e5. But this attempt does not foil 35.h4+ and the above follow ups.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is two pawns down.

Black threatens Kxg4.

The white king can create a mating net after 34.Kg3:

A) 34... Nd4 35.h4+ Kf5 (35...Kh5 36.Rxh7#) 36.Re5#.

B) 34... Kh5 36.Re5+ (much quicker than 36.cxb3) 36... g5 37.Re6 and 38.Rh6#.

C) 34... Rf8 36.h4+ as in A.

Nov-21-19  Stale.Mate: Simple, but elegant.
Nov-21-19  EIDorado: Monday again? It took me less than 3 seconds.
Nov-21-19  Walter Glattke: D) 34.-Re8 35.Rxe8 Nd4 36.h4 Kh5 wins
Nov-21-19  stacase: Yesterday it was two moves and a Queen sacrifice which I didn't figure out. Duh!

Today was way easier. All you have to take note of is besides protecting the Knight, 34.Kg3 also threatens mate and Black can't defend.

Pretty darn easy for a Thursday puzzle.

Nov-21-19  schachfuchs: What is 34...Kf5 all about?
Nov-21-19  charlesdecharemboul: I agree with Stale.Mate. I've got it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  areknames: 34.Kg3 does the job, but what an incredible game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Beautiful finish. I like that Polugaevsky played through to allow the mate to appear on the board.
Nov-21-19  saturn2: I looked at 34. Kg3 

34...Nd4 (to interpose the knight on f5) 35. h4+ Kf5 (or Kh5 36 Rxh7#)

34...Rf8 (again to interpose now the rook on f5) 35 cxb3

Nov-21-19  TheaN: Always interesting these 'nets', especially if they're a bit hidden. After <34.Kg3 #5> White can announce mate in five if he's calculated every potential defense, though that in itself is tricky.

The key is that White's threatening 35.Re5#. The <only> moves that prevent this are Nd4, Kh5 and Re8. After 35....Nd4 Black attempts an actual escape with Nf5, but after 36.h4+ Kh5 (Kf5, blocks f5, 37.Re5#) 37.Rxh7#.

35....Kh5 is interesting as it seems to combine a few ideas (Nd4-f5 and g5) with tempo. However, by placing the king voluntarily on the h-file, he creates another issue: 36.Re5+ g5 37.Re6! with 38.Rh6#.

So that leaves the 'pointless' 35....Re8. However, it's still mate in a similar fashion, but because the rook's no longer aiming at h7 it takes longer: 36.h4+! first, 36....Kf5 (Kh5 37.Rxh7#) 37.Rxe8 g5 (else Re5#) 38.h5! (why remove the mate threat at all?) with 39.Re5#.

Key here is, yes, White is winning after Kh5 or Re8 if we just take the loose piece respectively (Nb3 and Re8) but playing the better move we still mate. I have to admit I did initially miss the sequence after Kh5, which is interesting.

Nov-21-19  TheaN: Ah yes I did miss 34....Rf8, but this follows the identical concept of 34....Nd4.

<schachfuchs: What is 34...Kf5 all about?> I'd reckon Polugaevsky either missed the double defense of e5 or the knight covering f6, played it in a huge time scramble or just decided that trying to walk out of the net would give him chances for a draw... the latter is unlikely as it actually doesn't at all, nor do I think he missed f6 as Kf6 would have been a much better move, and though it was probably played in a scramble, allowing #1 is not what you rather do, so I deduce he missed e5 being defended by the knight.

Nov-21-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: It seems strange that for white sacrifice of the ♕, Stockfish has no comment. So I added this one: 19...♗xf6 20. ♘xf6+ ♔g7 21. ♗d4 ♕d5? (or ♕b8??) 22. ♘g4+ ♔g8? 23. ♘h6#. In this case, 22...♕xd4 giving back the ♕ is forced, in which White win a piece. However, if Black play the correct move 21...♕g5 then 22. ♘e8+ a- do not follow with 22... ♔h6? 23. ♗g7+ ♔h5 24. ♘g3+ ♔g4 25. ♗e2+ ♔h4 26. ♖d4+ ♕g4 27. ♖xg4#; b- in the case of 24...♔h4 25. ♗f6 (again cannot play 25...♖fxe8? due to 26.♖f4#.. Therefore, once again 25...♕xf6 26.♘xf6 ♔g5 27. ♘ge4+ White win a piece too; c- but only reach a draw, by perpectual check, with: 22...♔g8 23. ♘f6+ ♔g7 24. ♘e8+ ♔g8 25. ♘f6+ ♔g7 which would be the less demage for Black. I guess that Polugaevsky subestimed Savon.
Nov-21-19  cunctatorg: Great game indeed!

I wonder about the value of Lev Polugaevsky's moves 28... Rd1+ and 29... Rd2+; perhaps he was trying to disrupt the movement of the white rook along the third line but the result was the coming of the murderous White's King to g3, thus creating a mating net around the poor, "cornered" Black King...

The previous remark aside, the result of the whole (positional) combination starting with 19. Qf6!! was the eventual sacrifice of a ... pawn in order to undermine the placement and safety of Black's King!...

True grand-master level chess!!

Nov-21-19  Walter Glattke: Yes, D) 34.-Re8 35.h4+ Kh5 36.Rxh7#
Nov-21-19  dashjon: this was an entertaining game!
Nov-21-19  eblunt: Much easier then yesterday, ♔g3 really begs to be played when you see it protects the ♘ and shuts the black ♔ into a 3 square box
Nov-21-19  Damenlaeuferbauer: After long pondering, my old Ukrainian friend Volodya finally found 34. Kg3! (instead of 34.cxb3?,Kxg4 with a won rook ending for black) 34.-,Rf8 (34.-,Kf5 35.Re5#) 35.h4+!,Kf5 (35.-,Kh5 36.Rxh7#) 36.Re5#. The USSR championship in autumn 1971 in Leningrad was the tournament of his life - almost everything succeeded and he became the undisputed Soviet champion of this year. 17.-,Qxe5 18.Bd4,dxe4 =, 24.-,Nxa4 25.Nxf8,Rxf8 26.Rb4,b5 27.c4,Nc3 28.cxb5,Nxb5 with compensation, and 26.-,Kg8 27.Rxb7,Nxa4 28.Nd7,Rf4 29.Rf1,Nc5 = would have been improvements for Lev Polugaevsky. A little-known, but very impressive and dramatic game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Easy for a Thursday puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I should add, I do like the puzzle. Great tactic by Savon.
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