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Kevin Spraggett vs Fred South
"Down South" (game of the day Jul-01-2005)
Eastern Ontario Open (1976), rd 5
Nimzowitsch Defense: Williams Variation (B00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-01-05  JohnBoy: <aragorn> - after 8...a6, white simply plays 9.cb7+, whence black has either 9...Qxb5 10.ba8+ and then taking the black Q, or 10...Kd8 11.ba8+ Kc7 12.Qc6+ Kb8 13.Nd7+. Pick your poison.
Jul-01-05  psmith: <JohnBoy> No, after 8... a6 9. cb7+ ab5 10. ba8+ Qa8, black is winning.

<aragorn9> But after 8... a6 9. Nc4 Qc3 10. bc3 ab5 how about 11. Nb6 with the idea of 12. c7?

Jul-01-05  jahhaj: <psmith, JohnBoy> After 8...a6 9.b4 looks strong. By moving the queen from the a file white is renewing the threat of cxb7+, so black has to give up his queen, e.g. 9...axb5 10.bxa5 bxc6 11.♘xc6 ♗xc2 when white looks to have a good edge.
Jul-01-05  Marco65: Looking at the online ChessBase database there are 2 games with 8...a6, and they are the only 2 where Black wins! One is Zoedl-Galvin corr.99, the other one (that I just submitted to ChessGames) is Duppel-Schlindwein Germany 99.

They are IM strength players, their game went 8...a6 9.Nc4 Qxb5 10.Nxb5 axb5 11.Nb6 Ra6 12.Nd5 Rxc6 13.Kxd1 ...

But I think 12.c7 Bg4 13.Be3 would give Black more trouble.

I find also <jahhaj> 9.b4! very interesting and probably winning

Jul-01-05  kevin86: Black must lose at least the exchange,then Mr South has nothing against the a-pawn's advance up the West Coast.
Jul-01-05  DanRoss53: I'm not generally a fan of helpmates, but 19... ♖c8 20. ♗a7# amuses me.
Jul-01-05  aw1988: The line Ne5 Nxe5 Bxd1 Bb5+ etc is a very forced win for white and should be known by any player.
Jul-01-05  remilege: I wouldn't say that this line is a forced win but only a (very) good line for White. 4... Ne5 5. Nxe5 Bxd1 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 Qa5+ 8. Nc3 a6 9. b4! (9. Nc4 Qxc3+ 10. bxc3 axb5 11. Nb6 Ra6 12. Be3 bxc6 and black is better) 9... axb5 10. bxa5 bxc6 11. Nxc6 Bxc2 12. Nb4 Ba4 13. Ncd5 Rc8 and White stands better. A friend of mine got destroyed with Black in this line and we came to this conclusion in the post mortem analysis.

Jul-01-05  DanRoss53: <remilege> Great line! Can you explain why 13... ♖xa5 is not preferred?

Also, the alternate title for this GotD: "Uh, Oh! Spraggett-i-o's!"

Jul-01-05  remilege: @Danross: indeed you're right. after 13...Rc8 14.a6 seems to win for W (?).Ra5 is the move.
Jul-01-05  KampongBoy: Kevin Spraggett is now a GM (FIDE 2589)and living in Portugal. Robert South has a 2312 CFC rating(FIDE 2225), his highest CFC being 2328. I also remember them playing chess in Ottawa in the 1970s.
Jul-02-05  aragorn69: Thx <remilege> and <DanRoss>. NOW it becomes clear to me why this is supposed to be an opening trap !
Jul-03-05  soberknight: <Marco65, remilege> I enjoyed looking at the lines you insightfully included. Here are my thoughts:

The soundness of White's queen sacrifice depends on some remarkable features of the opening position. Like the blood vessels in our bodies, the pieces line up in a beautiful, almost miraculous way.

After 8...a6 9.Nc4? Qxc3+! (Why not triple the c-pawns, instead of 9...Qxb5?) 10.bxc3 axb5 11.Nb6 Ra6 12.c7? Bg4 13.Be3, Black can easily escape the bind by giving back material: 13...Rxb6 14 Bxb6 Kd7 (14...Nf6 15 f3 Bc8 also works for Black) 15 f3 Be6 16 a4 Kc6! 17 a5 Bc8! (stops 18 a6) and Black, with two minor pieces for a rook, should win.

In this line, 12. Be3 bxc6 is indeed better for Black: 13. Kxd1 Nf6 14 f3 Nd7 15 Nxd7 Kxd7 leaves Black with better pawn structure in an even-material ending.

So 12 Nd5! Rxc6 13 Kxd1 e6 14 Ne3 Rxc3 15 Rb1, winning back the pawn, appears to be White’s best chance. The position looks about equal.

Against 8…a6, 9 b4! looks like a clear win. Black has two main defenses. First, 9…axb5 10 bxa5 bxc6 (not 10…dxe5 11 cxb7 Rb8 12 a6 and wins) 11 Nxc6 Bxc2 (11…Rc8 12 Kxd1 Rxc6 13 Nxb5 and wins) 12 Nb4 Ba4 13 Ncd5! O-O-O or …Rc8 (13…Rxa5 14 Nc6 traps the rook) 14 Be3 and White is winning because of his advanced a-pawn and Black’s bad bishop.

Second, and probably best, is 9…Qxb5 10 Nxb5 axb5 11 cxb7 Rb8 12 Nc6 Rxb7 13 Kxd1. Although Black is a pawn down, he has avoided the weaknesses of the 9…axb5 variation.

If Black follows the game continuation of 8…O-O-O, <rayzor> suggested 9 Nc4 Qb4 10 cxb7+ Kxb7 11 Be3, winning back the queen. However, 11…a6 12 a3 Qxc3+! 13 bxc3 axb5 14 Na5+ Ka6 15 Nc6 Rc8 16 Nb4+ Kb7 17 Kxd1 Rxc3, a truly remarkable sequence, concludes in a drawish position. Instead, White should let Black keep his queen, as in the game.

There are a couple of pretty sidelines, for example 8…Kd8? 9 cxb7 Rb8 10 Nc6+, a family check; or 9…Qc7? 10 Nd5 Qb8 11 c7, a rare pawn fork.

If 8…a6 9 b4 Qxb5 is Black’s best defense, then the spectacular queen sacrifice on move 5 nets White exactly one pawn. Isn’t chess wonderful?

Jul-04-05  aragorn69: <soberknight> Thx for your precise and insightful comments.

However, playing around with the only computer I have (a freeware GNU 5.0), I found at first that your <9…axb5 10 bxa5 bxc6 (not 10…dxe5 11 cxb7 Rb8 12 a6 and wins) 11 Nxc6 Bxc2 (11…Rc8 12 Kxd1 Rxc6 13 Nxb5 and wins) 12 Nb4 Ba4 13 Ncd5!> line is not that clear...

After 13.-Rc8, I got at first funny variations like: [a] 14.Be3 (your suggestion) e6 15.Nb6?! Rc7 16.Kd2? [16.0-0 is a lot better...] Nf6! 17.Rac1 (on 16.f3 d5! ruins White's game) Nxe4+ 18.Ke2 Nc5 19.Bxc5 dxc5 20.Na6 Rc6 21.Nb8 Rc7 22. Na6 draw [b] 14.Nb6 Rc7 15.N4d5 Ra7 16.Be3 Rxa5 17.Nc7+ Kd8 18.Nbd5 Bb3! 19.Bb6 Rxa2 20. Ne6+ Kd7 21.Nxf8+ Ke8 22.Rxa2 Bxa2 23.Nc7+ Kxf8 24.Nxb5 f5!? and Black is better.

But, on second look, it does seem your 14.Be3! suggestion is the right move after all, because of: 14.-e6 15.Rc1!! Rxc1+ 16.Bxc1 Ne7 (only move to prevent the immediate promotion of the a-pawn) 17.Nb6 d5 18.Bd2! Kd8 19.exd5 exd5 20.Bf4! The bishop's "ballet" from c1 to e3 to c1 again to d2 and f4 again is a delightful sight!

Chess is wonderful indeed.

Jan-13-06  schnarre: <DanRoss53> (A groaning noise at the alternate title..)
Jun-25-06  PhilFeeley: <KampongBoy: Robert South has a 2312 CFC rating(FIDE 2225), his highest CFC being 2328. I also remember them playing chess in Ottawa in the 1970s.> This game, of course, was by his brother Fred. They both moved to Alberta and played many years there. I haven't seen or heard about them since about 2000 and they seemed to have disappeared from the chess scene in Canada. Do you know what happened to them?
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: I don't know about Fred but I met Robert in Calgary in 1996. He had heard a Noam Chomsky lecture, got inspired and gone back to university to study linguistics.
Jan-30-08  NMAlvahMayo: Further to Frank's comments about early Q sacs, I actually invented my own in the Modern; 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c4 c5 4.Be3 Qb6 5. Nc3 cxd4 6.Nd4 dxe3!?

(note: my postgame analysis shows 5...Qxb2 allows White to force a draw with Nb5)

Not to worry, I have lots more...

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: South could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he'd read Hugh Myers' book "The Nimzovich Defense," which was published in 1973, three years before this game was played. Myers analyzed 8...0-0-0 9.Nc4 Qc7 10.Nd5 Bxc2 11.Nxc7 Kxc7 12.cxb7 Bxe4, when Black is attacking two pawns and will emerge a pawn up. T. Kapitaniak, in his 1982 monograph "Nimzovich Defence", assesses the line as "small advantage to Black."
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: going south?
Mar-18-12  Eduardo Bermudez: Bravo Kevin !!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: "A dog named B00" ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: There has been some debate here as to whether Spraggett saw this at the board or had prepared it earlier.

I suspect the truth is actually somewhere in the middle: he was familiar with the Queen sac idea in analogous positions, so when the opportunity arose he was able to calculate the variations.

I once lost to a simpler version of this, playing the Nimzowitsch: 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bg4?? 7.Nxe5 and White wins.

Perhaps the best-known version of the (temporary) Queen sac occurs in the Cambridge Springs Variation of the Queen's Gambit: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nxd5? Nxd5! 7.Bxd8 Bb4+ and Black is winning.

Feb-17-15  psmith: <FSR> Looking at that old line with a (now) older version of Rybka, it likes 13. Be3 continuing in somewhat sacrificial mode...
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Here is a simpler version of this type of sacrifice (although more complicated than the "Elephant Trap" example given by Domdaniel): See also E Sollano vs F Rhine, 1977, which has a very unusual finish.
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