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Viacheslav Ragozin vs Mark Taimanov
"A Taim to Kill" (game of the day May-03-2020)
Leningrad Championship (1945), Leningrad URS
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation Maroczy Line (B74)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-06-20  Nullifidian: 26. ♘e8 Δ ♕xg7#

If 26... ♖xe8, then 27. ♕xe8+ ♗f8 28. ♕xf8#

If 26... ♗h6, then 27. ♕f8+ ♗xf8 28. ♖xf8#

Apr-06-20  TheaN: The infamous Ne8 blockade!

Recently there was a somewhat elaborate post on this motive on how it's relatively hidden, because it's so unnatural for a knight to go to the back rank (sans taking rooks in the corners).

Here, it accomplishes two standalone goals that allow White to mate in all variations: it creates 27.Qxg7# and 27.Qf8+ Bxf8 28.Rxf8#, note that in both patterns the knight's defense of g7 is important. Black has no defense against both mates.

Defending (26....e4) or moving (26....Bf6/Bf8/Bh6) the bishop does not prevent the latter threat; either directly Qf8# or Qf8+ with Rxf8#. Taking the knight weakens the back rank 26....Rxe8 27.Qxe8+ Bf8 28.Qxf8#. Any other move runs into 27.Qxg7#.

Apr-06-20  zb2cr: Took me some time to see that 26. Ne8, shutting off Black's Rook and threatening mate on g7, works. If 26. ... e4, White shifts the focus with 27. Qf8+, Bxf8; 28. Rxf8#.
Apr-06-20  TheaN: <GrahamClayton, Brenin>

To add to this, SF9 needs more than 21-ply to see this: after 22....Bxd6 it gives 23.Ne4?! as +1.5, Taimanov should have taken his losses with 23....f5 (we know how Bf8? -#5 ended) 24.Nxd6 e4 ±. Probably won for White but not incredibly trivial.

<After> playing 23.Qxf7+ does it give +5 for White with 23...Kh8 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ Kh8 26.Qxd6 Qxc3 27.h4! +-:

click for larger view

The key in this position is White's threat of 28.Rf8+ Kg7 (else mate) 29.Qe7+ Kh6 30.Rf7!:

click for larger view

and White's mating.

Hence, Black's forced to play 27....Rg8, following 28.Qf6+ Rg7 29.Rd1! h6 30.Rd7!:

click for larger view

and Black's left with the losing 30....Qe1+ 31.Kh2 Qxh4+ 32.Qxh4 Rxd7 33.Qxc4 +-.

Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: <stacase: This was a little bit Tuesdayish in my opinion. You have to see the mating threat of 26.Ne8 and the following moves.>

True. The double mating threat is a bit advanced for a Monday.

Apr-06-20  Cheapo by the Dozen: Fun one.

Ne8 threatens a couple of different mates. ... Rxe8 is the only way to stop them both, but allows a third mate instead.

Yes, it was Tuesdayish for too. But I love Tuesday puzzles. :)

Apr-06-20  Walter Glattke: Testing 23.Qxf7+ Kh8 24.Ne4 from Clayton with 24.-Rf8 25.Qxc4 Rxf1+ 26.Qxf1 Be7 27.Ng5 Qxa2 28.Nf7+ Kg7 29.Nxe5 a5 30.h3 Looks like draw. 24.Qf6+ Kg8 25.Qe6+ Kh8 (25.-Kg7 26.Rf7+ Kh6 ((Kh8 Qf6+)) 27.Qh3+ Kg6 28.Ne4#) 26.Ne4 Bf8 27.Nf6 Bh6 28.Ne8 wins.
Apr-06-20  saturn2: Leningrad 1945:
One year before about 1,1 million civilians lost their life because they were cut off from food supply.
Apr-06-20  goodevans: 26.Ne8 threatens mate next move. Only three defences delay the mate for a further move:

26...Rxe8 27.Qxe8+ Bf8 28.Qxf8#

26...Bh6 27.Qf8+ Bxf8 28.Rxf8#


26...e4 27.Qf8+ Bxf8 28.Rxf8#

More lines to look at than your average Monday.

Apr-06-20  belgradegambit: Very hard for me for a Monday. Finally saw it. We need more queen sac Monday’s.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: <TheaN> What you said!

26 Ne8 wins quickly no matter what. Even after the fairly clever try 26... e4.

I agree with those who said this was Tuesdayish.

Apr-06-20  SpamIAm: Re <Toribio3>, at the time of this game Taimanov was a 18/19-year-old who wasn't even an international master yet, much less a grandmaster. Ragozin was an experienced 36/37 year old who had beaten the likes of Flohr and Lasker. Taimanov didn't underestimate Ragozin. Ragozin was simply the stronger player.
Apr-06-20  RandomVisitor: As <Boomie> commented in 2005, black could equalize with 12...Bxd3:

click for larger view


<50/73 06:32 0.00 12...Bxd3 13.cxd3 Nxb3 14.axb3 d5> 15.Ra4 dxe4 16.dxe4 Qxd1 17.Rxd1 gxf5 18.exf5 a6 19.Rad4 Rac8 20.h3 Rfe8 21.R4d3 h6 22.Kf2 Kh7 23.Kf3 e6 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.g4 Rc7 26.Rd4 Rf7 27.Rf4 Rc7

Apr-06-20  Cibator: <TheaN: The infamous Ne8 blockade! Recently there was a somewhat elaborate post on this motive on how it's relatively hidden, because it's so unnatural for a knight to go to the back rank (sans taking rooks in the corners).>

Is there a link to that post, Thea? Here's a game where it's set as a trap that Black doesn't fall into:

Weeramantry vs Hecht, 1970

Apr-06-20  morfishine: This one took me awhile
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: A very easy puzzle indeed...I looked very briefly for a ♕ sac since it’s Monday. Although I didn’t see 1 so then I noticed that ♘e8 threatened # & even if the ♖ captures it, it still leads to #.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: The critical idea is that the knight on e8 and rook at f8 is a checkmate. The queen sacrifice occurs (it's a Monday after all) in order to get the rook to the f8 square.

Black's other option is to capture the knight on e8 with the rook but that leads to checkmate in an obvious manner.

Apr-06-20  RadioBoy: Once I finally got my brain to quit looking for some variant of Philidor's legacy it was pretty easy.
Apr-06-20  JimNorCal: I don't consider this THAT easy. But the position came up recently so I knew the answer. If I had to work it out from scratch, it would've been ... well ... not a Monday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Losing move is 21 ... Qxb2 which sets up the irresistible attack starting with 22 Rxd6. . Stockfish rates it as 5.33; Ne4 is also at above 4.5. 21 Qc6 as 0.61.
Apr-06-20  messachess: Double attack. Guess what! 26..e4 doesn't work.
May-03-20  ndg2: After 23.Ne4. Black must play 23..Rf8 instead of 23..Bf8??. Maybe black just can hold that given its many pawns.
May-03-20  Swedish Logician: Ragozin's lovely finishing stroke brought the conclusion of the famous game Reti vs Bogoljubov, 1924 to mind.
May-03-20  Nosnibor: Instead of 13...Ne8 was not 13...Ne4 better?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Yes 13 ... Ne4 is best here

1) +0.90 (22 ply) 13...Ne4 14.fxg6 hxg6 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Nxa5 Bxd3 17.Nxb7 Qb8 18.cxd3 Qxb7 19.d4 f5 20.exf6 exf6 21.Qg4 Kf7 22.d5 f5 23.Rad1 Qxb2 24.Qxe4 Rae8 25.Qd3 Qc3 26.Rfe1 Qxd3 27.Rxd3 Bf6

2) +0.92 (21 ply) 13...Bxd3 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Qxd3 Nxb3 16.axb3 d4 17.fxg6 dxe3 18.gxf7+ Kh8 19.Qc4 Qd4 20.Qe2 Qd2 21.Rae1 Rxf7 22.Ne4 Qxe2 23.Rxe2 Kg7 24.c3 Be5 25.Rxf7+ Kxf7 26.Rxe3 Bd6 27.Rf3+ Kg6

After Ne8:

1) +1.80 (23 ply) 14.Nxa5 Qxa5 15.Bxc4 dxc4 16.Nd5 Bxe5 17.fxg6 Nf6 18.gxh7+ Kh8 19.Nxe7 c3 20.b3 Qb4 21.Nd5 Qe4 22.Nxf6 Qxe3+ 23.Kh1 Bxf6 24.Rxf6 Rae8 25.Qf1 Qe2 26.Rxf7 Qxf1+ 27.Rfxf1 Kxh7 28.Rxf8 Rxf8

So Ne8 'costs' about a pawn from the two logical moves.

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