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Nigel Short vs Lev Psakhis
Banja Luka (1985), Apr-??
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation General (C16)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Mar-14-08  UdayanOwen: Based on the complexity of the position, as outlined in my previous post, I personally think this is harder than your average Friday.

And, if I may make a note to <Chessgames>, it also seems to me that the jump in difficulty from Thursday to Friday tends to be too great. Thursday is always a puzzle where it can be a challenge, you might have to get creative and clever, but there is a clean set of variations that demonstrate the win (or draw). Lately it seems Friday has been thrusting us straight into the realms of major calculating complexity. I would prefer to see on Friday one more puzzle with a fairly clean solution. Ideally I think it would require more ingenuity and maybe a bit deeper calculation than a Thursday. I'm happy for it to be peppered with side variations and multiple branches so long as it doesn't get really messy. Then save the really complex ones with tonnes of branching variations for the weekend.

But of course this is just my preference.

Mar-14-08  desiobu: I saw the pin on the bishop, and the fact that the rook could be activated by a clearing some of the pawns out of the way. The rest was just playing out possible solutions.
Mar-14-08  znprdx: Ng4 looks pretty straightforward but - admittedly Nxc4 is effective I suppose - However 34...Nxb2 makes no sense at all ....surely Qx[R]c1 35. Bx[Q]c1 Nb6! 36.Bxh6 N-d7 gives lots of counterplay Black's threat now is ...Rxa3
b2x[R]a3 ....b2 Qh7 ...Ra1+
Mar-14-08  zanshin: I didn't get this one. I'm sure saying that is a lot less controversial than saying "I got it" ;-) I went with Ng4, but don't feel too bad because I'm in pretty good company with <dzechiel> and others. Close your eyes if you don't like engine analysis:

1: Nigel Short - Lev Psakhis, Banja-Luka 1985


click for larger view

Analysis by Rybka 2.3 LK mp 32-bit (23-ply):

1. (3.57): 33.Nxc4 Rd7 34.Nd6+ Rxd6 35.exd6 Nxc3 36.Rxc3 Qd5 37.d7+

2. (1.25): 33.Ng4 Qe2 34.Re1 Qd3 35.Nf6+ Ke7 36.Re3 Qf5 37.g4 Qg5 38.Qxg5 hxg5 39.Kg2 Bg7

3. (1.25): 33.Bd2 Qxe5 34.Nxc4 Qg7 35.Qxg7 Bxg7 36.Rb1 Rd7 37.Be3 Rd5

4. (1.10): 33.Rd1 Nxc3 34.Rd8+ (22-ply)

5. (1.10): 33.Qg4 Qxg4 34.Nxg4 Bg7 35.f4 Rd7 (22-ply)

Mar-14-08  UdayanOwen: <znprdx: Ng4 looks pretty straightforward but - admittedly Nxc4 is effective I suppose - However 34...Nxb2 makes no sense at all ....surely Qx[R]c1 35. Bx[Q]c1 Nb6! 36.Bxh6 N-d7 gives lots of counterplay Black's threat now is ...Rxa3 b2x[R]a3 ....b2 Qh7 ...Ra1+>

Your argument is premised on the notion of black's rook having a 'second life' after sacrificing itself on a3!!!

In your line after 36...Nd7, one simple way to win is:

<37.Bxf8 Nxf8 38.h6 Ke7>

Unpinning now is necessary to stop white getting a second queen. 38...Rxa3 can be ignored with 39.h7 and queens

<39.h7> and black has to give up his knight for the pawn .

<34...Nxb2> does make good sense. It tempts white into taking a poisoned queen (see my previous analysis). Alternatively, if white goes ahead with 35.Bxh6, the white b-pawn is removed. Presumably white wins amongst the thickets of variations, but at least the water is a bit muddy due to the advanced black passed b-pawn.

Having said that, it wasn't muddy enough (at least for a GM) for black to immediately concede defeat.... but if he was to play on, he'd have much better swindling chances in the final game position than in the line 34...Qxc1 35.Bxc1 Nb6 36.Bxh6 Nd7.

Mar-14-08  012: Thursday puzzle <52. ...?> Mar-13-08 Ribli vs Romanishin, 1982
Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I missed it as well, so I'll concentrate on the minor award question, " What could black have done differently"?

On black's previous move, 32...Ke7 undoes the pin and keeps the match even.


click for larger view

I guess black thought he didn't need to concern himself about the pin at that point so he blithely played 32... Na4.

Mar-14-08  fosca: I don't know if I get credit or not. I spent a fair amount of time trying to make Ng4, Nf4, and Nd5 work. I looked a little at Rd1, but it seemed too slow.

Then I saw Nxc4 and thought everything fell into place.

The variation I counted on:
33. Nxc4 Qxc4
34. Bd2 Q-moves
35. Bxh6 with Qxf8, xd7, xR to follow.

I did not see 34. ... Nxb2. Perhaps a critical mistake. Upon reaching that point in replaying the game, I did think, go ahead with Bxh6, but I cannot say what I would have chosen if unexpectedly faced with the "free" queen in the game.

However, UdayanOwen, or MAJ or anyone else who can lead me to the light:

Is 35. Rxc4 Nxc4 losing for white?

UdayanOwen then gives 36. Bxh6 b2 37. Qh7(why?) Rxa3 as losing for white, which it is. But why not this:

36. Bxh6 b2
37. Qxf8+ Kd7
38. Qxf7+ Kc6
39. QxR b1=Q+
40. Kh2!

While this is much, much messier than simply 35. Bxh6, it hardly looks losing for white. Black may be able to weasel a draw out of it, but it certainly is not losing, is it?

That was basically the line I envisioned (black gets a queen back but is down pawns, has a more exposed queen, and has a knight vs. white's bishop). I then looked at the position briefly on a small board. I don't see any obvious errors. It looks to me like white still has the edge after 35. Rxc4 Nxc4. What, if anything, am I missing?

Mar-14-08  Samagonka: Takes a master mind to slove this one. Wasn't even an inch close.. I guess the fun is only in it from Monday to Wednesday for me.
Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This puzzle shows the real magic of chess. In what looked like an even position,white sacs a piece and makes a few sharp moves-and his opponent is lost.

At first,I thought white was in trouble with the queen-which I thought-had over-penetrated into the black position.

Mar-14-08  JG27Pyth: Arrgh! After much staring and stroking of chin I saw that Bd2 threatening Bxh6 was the key to the puzzle, but I thought Ng4 (threatening the Q-K fork) was the move to clear the line for the B... Nxc4 is sooo much sharper... and I never considered it at all. Darn.
Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: It the <Peter Principle> applicable to chess (puzzles) ? It looks as if Thursday is my level of incompetence. In short, I didn't get it today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_...

Mar-14-08  sombreronegro: OK not even going to look at the comments or the game but how tempting is the knight to threaten a queen king fork. I see two of them. 33 N g4 or N x c4. 33 N g4 just seems like it can be answered by K e7. 33 N x c4 Q X c4 looks like a dangerous discovered attack on the queen and attack on the rook pawn on h6 by 34 Be2. After which am not able to see how to defend the pinned bishop on f8. After 33 N x c4 the king or queen must move so I guess I would be foolish enough to try 33. N x c4. That bishop on f8 looks vulnerable in a number of lines as there are few black squares that black can use to coordinate a defense. If black does not reply 33 Q X c4 it looks even worse with 34 N c6+ which loses more material.
Mar-14-08  sombreronegro: Well this makes up for being completely blind earlier this week.
Mar-14-08  UdayanOwen: <fosca: Is 35. Rxc4 Nxc4 losing for white?

UdayanOwen then gives 36. Bxh6 b2 37. Qh7(why?) Rxa3 as losing for white, which it is. But why not this:

36. Bxh6 b2
37. Qxf8+ Kd7
38. Qxf7+ Kc6
39. QxR b1=Q+
40. Kh2!

While this is much, much messier than simply 35. Bxh6, it hardly looks losing for white. Black may be able to weasel a draw out of it, but it certainly is not losing, is it?>

The answer to your (why?) question about 37.Qh7 is obvious.... It is motivated by preventing black from queening.

Of course, as you reveal, there is a flaw in my analysis. Again, I have succumbed to chess blindness - I should not have automatically covered the queening square since white has a check and this should be followed up... and as it turns out, there is another check, then a rook win, and who cares if he queens cos we've won so much stuff that we come out with a winning endgame anyway........

So thanks for the critical review :-)

Mar-14-08  Magic Castle: <fosca> Of course 34. Rc4 is not a mistake. In fact it is more straight forward. But 34. Bh6 is prettier. The move 33. Nc4 is so strong and it looks to me that the game for white is won after that move, no matter what black does. The best black can do though is to decline the sac either by Kd7, Ke7 or Rd7. But still any of this loses the game.
Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, Black's underprotected Bishop and uncoordinated pieces enable White to play the clearance sacrifice 33. Nxc4!! to exploit the pin after 33...Qxc4 34. Bd2! and 35. Bxh6 , which piles on and wins the hapless Bishop with decesive effect.
Mar-14-08  fosca: UdayanOwen,

Thanks for your response. Just note, based on your comments here, you are a much stronger player than am I. I noticed later that Qh7 covered the queening square. I meant absolutely no offense.

I really, truly, just wanted to make sure that I was not missing something obvious.

Thanks also to Magic Castle.

Not that anybody, including me, is counting, but I'll take credit for this Friday puzzle. Sadly, I could not find the perpetual after Bf6 yesterday, though that was my top candidate.

Mar-14-08  UdayanOwen: <fosca: UdayanOwen,
I noticed later that Qh7 covered the queening square. I meant absolutely no offense.>

None taken. I like getting tripped up in my analyses. Getting things wrong is as much a part of the art as getting things right, as this is how one hones their craft.

I think your solution is from one angle a bit superficial. There are many queen moves on move <34...> and 3 ways I can see to maneuver the queen to defend the a7 rook prior to the skewer. In many variations the b2 pawn disappears, creating an advanced passed pawn for black. One could argue that a solution should provide some concrete analysis to demonstrate that in the different variations black could play, this counterplay is nothing to worry about.

An alternative position however is to argue that there are simply too many possibilities in this position for an 'algorithm'. Hence if one plays for the game continuation, judging by feel that their play against the king will be too much for black's slower queenside play, then maybe this can be considered a solution.

Mar-14-08  wals: Noting think:- Lift that barge, tote that bale

forward to: TPOTD

Black is well into white's territory.White has the black bishop pinned to the King by the Queen. Could get an attack on f8 from h6. Let's try,

33.Bd2...Qd3 34.Nxc4 ...Qxc4 35.Bxh6...I wish

PM=

Yes of course, I missed the obvious 33 ...Qxe5

Still the idea was right, but the moves were in the wrong order.

Brain L0.15 R 0.75

Mar-14-08  malvar: Missed it. I had put my money on Ng4. I did try looking for a clearing move on the c file but missed Nxc4's forcing capabilities. Great move move though! At the very beginning I even thought Bd4 and I'm sure I even considered Nxc4. Ng4 is looking for Nf6+; still protecting the e5 pawn and clearing blacks bishop.

Fritz6 finds the correct continuation right away; Ng4 being second best. ...still need to work on that patience...jejeje better luck next time.

Mar-14-08  vescovifan: i got it, i really did, im shocked
but i dismissed it because i cant see the winning combination here.. i still cant... I thought "well it gets the piece back.." and thats it.
Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult): White to play and win

Material: even. The White Qg8 pins the Bf8 to Ke8, and Pe5 forms a wedge into weak dark squares around Ke8. The White pieces are somewhat uncoordinated and need to be activated. The Rc1 should be on an open file, and Ne3 should be at d6 or f6. Close examination indicates that Ne3 does not generate critical threats at f6, but does at d6. The Bc3 is bad, except for the support it lends e5 in threatening Black's weak dark-square complex. The Black Na4 is out of play for defense of Ke8, but it and the queening of Pb3 pose a significant counter-threat.

Candidates (33.): Nxc4

33.Nxc4, threatening

34.Nd6+ Ke2, then

35.Nxe4 [also, Qxf7], or

35.Nc8+ Ke8 36.Nxa7.

If Black refuses the passive sacrifice of Nc4, White has won Pc4 outright and proceeds to plant Nc4 at d6 like a house, with all the threats described above.

34.Qxc4 Bd2 (threatening 35.Rxc4 or 35.Bxh6 36.Qxf8+)

The Black Qc4 can retreat or counterattack by taking Rc1. If Qc4 retreats, Black must maintain control of the d-file, to prevent Rc1 from joining the attack on Ke8 along the d-file. In case of either retreat or counterattack, Pe5 remains to support the attack on the Black K-side, the second threat above wins Bf8, and Black has insufficient time to generate adequate counterplay with Pb3.

Time to peek. I am surprised that the threats were enough to induce immediate resignation, but Psakhis obviously has more confidence in my pessimistic judgment of his final position than I did. Time to check the kibitzing. It looks interesting.

The key at the end is that the Bh6 can help the Qg8 and eye Rc1 at the same time. The Black counterattack dies, as long as Bh6 can get to c1 after the White K-side attack starts rolling. There is a beautiful logic to the position.

Mar-14-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<Samagonka> wrote: I guess the fun is only in it from Monday to Wednesday for me.>

As CG points out, you do get better with practice...

<<JG27Pyth> wrote: Arrgh! [snip] but I thought Ng4 [snip]>

If you want company, <JG27Pyth>, I almost started looking seriously at 33.Ng4. The only advantage we humble pieces of wetware possess over the machines, however, is our ability to pick out "important" points in the position. In the present case, "Close examination indicates that Ne3 does not generate critical threats at f6, but does at d6." The only useful candidate is therefore 33.Nxc4, not 33.Ng4.

To take a (small) page out of <UdayanOwen>'s book, I recall a study on GMs' eye movements that said they generally look over everything on the board for a couple of minutes, and then focus intensely on a single area. For what it is worth, my initial overall evaluation of the board has become very valuable to me, and certainly, inculcated as a good habit, has permitted me to locate correct candidates more dependably than before.

By the way, my 10-year old daughter loved your riff on the Polish Immortal, about Najdorf's "stumbling into a 10-move multipiece mate". I am still laughing :)

Mar-15-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: In response to <JG27Pyth>'s candidate 33.Ng4, I had Toga II 1.3.1 evaluate 32.Qg8:

[ply 15/48, time 00:53, value +0.50]

32.Qg8 Ke7 33.Ng4 Nd5 34.Bd2 Ra8 35.Re1 Qf5 36.Bc1 c3 37.Nxh6 Qxh5 38.Bg5+ Ke8 39.g4 Qg6 40.Qxg6 fxg6

As I stated, 33.Ng4 does not generate winning threats, but it was the move of choice before Black played the egregious 32...Na4.

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