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Vladimir Savon vs Lev Polugaevsky
"Savon Calling" (game of the day Dec-21-2020)
USSR Championship (1971), Leningrad URS, rd 3, Sep-17
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-21-19
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!
Nov-21-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Easy for a Thursday puzzle.
Nov-21-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I should add, I do like the puzzle. Great tactic by Savon.
Dec-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Was 19. Qxf6 a book move when this game was played, or was it a special surprise Savon cooked up for Polugaevsky?

He couldn't have played it without some form of preparation.

Dec-21-20  Brenin: Intrusive SF analysis in the GOTD again, as <goodevans> complained about yesterday, yet no comment on the spectacular 19 Qxf6 and Black's possible responses to it, e.g. 19 ... Bxf6 20 Nxf6+ Kg7 21 Bd4 with threats of discovered check.
Dec-21-20  morfishine: <al wazir:...He couldn't have played it without some form of preparation> Sure he could, its why he's a GM and you're not
Dec-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: < 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.>

The problem here is that 19...Bxf6 20. Nxf6+ Kg7 21. Bd4 Qg5 fails due to 22.Ne4+ and black loses the Queen. 21...Qa5 seems to be the only viable attempt to keep the Queen but then 22.Ng4+ f6 23.Nxf6 Kh6 24.Ng3 Rad8 25.Ng4+ Kg5 26.Be3+ Kh4 27.Nf6 Qe5 28.Bf2 (diagram) is something, what you would like rather to avoid, if you would be the black here.


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Dec-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: An interesting alternative for defense was 20...Bxe4 21.Bxe5 Bxf6 22.Bxf6 Nc5 23.Nc3 Bxc2 24.Nd5 Rfe8 25.Rc1 Bd3 26.Nxb6 Rab8 with equal game. But Polugaevsky's defense was fine up to the move 26...Kh6?! (26...Kg8 was better), where he started to drift into the troubles.
Dec-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: The pun is simply terrible. It is so extremely bad I cannot even check the game itself without puking.
Dec-21-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The game was a helluva ding-dong.
Dec-21-20  goodevans: <Messiah: [...] I cannot even check the game itself...> Your loss, ha, ha!

So many wonderful tactics from Savon. <19.Qxf6> is startling but I also particularly liked <28.Rb3>, inviting the fork. But none of these yielded any advantage until Polugaevsky finally erred under the pressure.

Great game. Thanks Honza.

Dec-21-20  Ironmanth: Great game! Thanks, chessgames! Y'all stay safe out there.
Dec-21-20  Brenin: One of the best GOTDs for a long time. Thanks, Honza.
Dec-21-20  RandomVisitor: After 26.Rxf7+, white has two rooks and a knight which can threaten to combine in an attack on any wandering black king. Instead of 26...Kh6? maybe play it safe with 26...Kg8 or 26...Kh8.


click for larger view

Stockfish_20121821_x64_modern:

<53/38 04:58 0.00 26...Kg8> 27.Rxb7 Nxa4 28.Nd7 Rf4 29.Rf1 Nc5 30.Rxf4 Nxb7 31.Nxb6 Rd8 32.Rc4 Nd6 33.Ra4 Nf5 34.c4 Rd2 35.h3 Ne3 36.g4 Rg2+

53/61 04:58 0.00 26...Kh8 27.Rxb7 Nxa4 28.Rc7 Kg8 29.h3 Rf8 30.Ng4 Re4 31.Ra7 a5 32.Rc7 Re2 33.h4 h5 34.Nh6+ Kh8 35.Rd1 Nc5 36.Nf7+ Kg8

Dec-21-20  RandomVisitor: After 18...Qxe5 the machine does not 'see' 19.Qxf6 as a queen sacrifice, in the main line, merely one of 6 or so moves competing for best play:


click for larger view

Stockfish_20121821_x64_modern:

<65/58 4:52:30 0.00 19.Qxf6 Nxd3 20.Bd4 Bxe4 21.Bxe5 Bxf6 22.Bxf6> Nc5 23.Nc3 Bxc2 24.Nd5 Rfb8 25.Rd4 Rb7 26.a5 Nd7 27.axb6 Nxf6 28.Nxf6+ Kg7 29.Rd7 Rab8

65/55 4:52:30 0.00 19.N2c3 Nxd3 20.cxd3 Nxe4 21.dxe4 f5 22.Bd4 Bc5 23.Qf2 Bxd4 24.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 25.Rxd4 Rad8 26.Rxd8 Rxd8 27.exf5 Rd2 28.Rd1 Rxd1+ 29.Nxd1 gxf5

65/73 4:52:30 0.00 19.Nxf6+ Bxf6 20.Qf2 Bh4 21.Qxh4 Qxe3+ 22.Rf2 Nxd3 23.Rxd3 Qc5 24.Qd4 Qxc2 25.Nc3 Qc1+ 26.Rd1 Qg5 27.Qxb6 Rab8 28.Qc7 Ba8 29.Re1 Qh4

65/74 4:52:30 0.00 19.Bd4 Bxe4 20.Bxe5 Bxf3 21.Rxf3 Bc5+ 22.Bd4 Nd7 23.c3 Bxd4+ 24.cxd4 Rac8 25.Nc3 Nxd3 26.Rfxd3 Kg7 27.g4 Rce8 28.h3 f5 29.gxf5 Rxf5

64/77 4:52:30 0.00 19.Bf4 Bxe4 20.Bxe5 Bxf3 21.Rxf3 Bc5+ 22.Bd4 Nd7 23.c3 Bxd4+ 24.cxd4 Rac8 25.Nc3 Nxd3 26.Rfxd3 Kg7 27.g4 Rce8 28.h3 f5 29.gxf5 Rxf5

64/84 4:52:30 -0.23 19.Qg3 Qxg3 20.Nxf6+ Bxf6 21.hxg3 Bxb2 22.Bc4 Be4 23.Bh6 Bg7 24.Rxf7 Rxf7 25.Bxf7+ Kxf7 26.Rd7+ Ke6 27.Rxg7 Bxc2 28.Be3 Nd5 29.Nf4+ Kd6

Dec-22-20  morfishine: <Brenin: One of the best GOTDs for a long time. Thanks, Honza> Complete agreement
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