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Carl Ahues vs Mir Sultan Khan
"The Sultan of Swat" (game of the day Jan-05-2008)
Liege (1930), Liege BEL, rd 3, Aug-21
Nimzo-Indian Defense: St. Petersburg Variation (E43)  ·  0-1



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Given 19 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-22-09  YouRang: Feeling slow today. I looked at <44...Ng3+ 45.hxg3 fxg3 46.Qc2> a number of times, but never looked at 26...Qh5! :-|

And even if I did, I probably would have dismissed it for failing to see <27.Ke2 Qh2!> :-(

Oct-22-09  The Rocket: this puzzle was far more easy than yesterdays.
Oct-22-09  TheChessGuy: Not too tricky. The knight sacrifice slices open White's kingside pawn structure and all sorts of Damiano's Mate themes appear. On another note, I believe that Sultan Khan deserves to be posthumously awarded the grandmaster title. His results in the early 1930's in tournaments like Liege, Hastings, Bern, Hamburg and Prague Olympiads, as well as his match victory over Tartakower (and narrow loss to Salo Flohr). At his peak, Chessmetrics ranks him only behind Alekhine, Capa, Euwe, Kashdan, and Flohr, all world-class players.
Oct-22-09  5hrsolver: Thank you for your responses


Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: As with most posters, iwas 44...Ng3+ right away since the rook is pinned and there were no obvious queen moves of value. Where I got hung up for a while is that I kept trying to make 45...Qh5 work (before fxg3). This line sort of works, except that if white ignores the Qh1+ threat and plays gxh4 the attack goes away. Finally I remembered the adage about changing move order....
Oct-22-09  Samagonka: I came, I saw, I conquered...
Oct-22-09  A Karpov Fan: got it
Oct-22-09  aidin299: I think this puzzle is slightly easier than medium level. With only 2 <active pieces> for Black it's not too difficult guessing the key move ♘xg3+.but ...reaching to ♕h5is a medium level thinking probably... Any how ,one thing that might be interesting to know ,is why at the start of this position white has done a strange move ♕b1?? What was in karl ahues's brain in opting for this move ? any benefits of this move ? Can anyone tell me please ?
Oct-22-09  muralman: After missing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I was feeling rather low. Today's came to me like a brilliant flash. My ego is restored.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: A quick glance suggests that Black has no other move than sacrificing the Knight 44..Ng3+ whereon White is obliged to accept 45.hxg3 fxg3 46.Qc2/b2 Qh5 & White is doomed.
Oct-22-09  Justawoodpusher: I think this was the fastest Thursday puzzle for me.
Oct-22-09  WhiteRook48: never saw it
Oct-22-09  wals: Karl Ahues - Mir Sultan Khan, Liege Belgium 1930

Analysis by Rybka 3 1-cpu:

1. (-8.55): 44...Ng3+ 45.hxg3...fxg3 46.Qc2...Qh5 47.Ke2...Qh2 48.Qxd3...cxd3

Oct-22-09  smalldreams: 44. ... Ng3+
45. hxg3 fxg3

But white can complicate things by Qb2 or Qc2. Time to check...


And black switches gears without warning to preserve the win. I stink at these. :) I probably wouldn't have played Ng3+ if this position occurred in a game and not a puzzle. Khan is another fun player to watch.

Oct-22-09  David2009: Thursday's puzzle Ahues vs Sultan Khan, 1930 Black ...44?

If I have calculated correctly the solution is
44...Ng3+ 45 hxg3 fxg3 (threat Qf2 mate) 46 Qc2 (only sensible defence, keeping the Black Rook pinned) Qh5 47 Kf2 Qh2 48 Rc1 (what else?) Qxg2+ 49 Ke1 Qh1+ 50 Ke2 g2 and the Pawn promotes. This is at the limit of my calculating ability. To win able to move the Q alone (the Rook being pinned) is most unusual, and more like a composed problem than an actual game. Time to check.
Amazingly I may have got it right. Time to check by reading other comments.

Oct-22-09  SuperPatzer77: <smalldreams: 44. ... Ng3+
45. hxg3 fxg3

But white can complicate things by Qb2 or Qc2. Time to check...


<smalldreams> In my opinion, 46. Qb2 doesn't complicate but 46. Qc2 does.

46. Qb2 Qh5, 47. Qc2 (wasted move) Qh1+, 48. Ke2 Qxg2# 0-1

46. Qc2 is much better than 46. Qb2 because White has to give up his White Queen for the Black Rook.

It sure as heck gives Black a big advantage.


Oct-22-09  Marmot PFL: the first two moves were obvious, but it took too long to find 46...Qh5 and be sure that white had no defense.
Oct-22-09  SuperPatzer77: <David2009> Your analysis - 46...Qh5, 47. Kf2 (illegal move because the Black g-pawn takes control of the f2 square)

It should be 47. Ke2 (not Kf2 - illegal move).


Oct-22-09  jheiner: Not sure why, but this one was immediate. Saw the main idea and immediate continuation through to the end. Unusual for me for a Thursday.
Sep-29-12  Conrad93: 36...Qxc3 is much better than Khan's original move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Hmmm, not one person in this three pages has mentioned that Sulthan Khan seems to be adept at Nimzovich's "My system" here playing the Nimzo like Nimzovich itself and applying successfully restrain, blockade destroy strategies against the doubled pawns.

This is a person who was not even playing the Western version of chess until 1929 and we have a game which Nimzovich would be proud of.

Even the dissolution of the doubled pawns doesn't help White as it lead to the effect of "Mighty Knights".

From a purely evolutionary style perspective, this game is exceptionally interesting.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Video annotation here from the perspective of Chess style:

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Dang, I wanted to use that pun, but someone beat me to it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: < kingscrusher: Hmmm, not one person in this three pages has mentioned that Sulthan Khan seems to be adept at Nimzovich's "My system" here playing the Nimzo like Nimzovich itself and applying successfully restrain, blockade destroy strategies against the doubled pawns.

This is a person who was not even playing the Western version of chess until 1929 and we have a game which Nimzovich would be proud of.>

Sultan Khan was also illiterate. He would never have read <My System>. It's not for nothing that Hooper and Whyld call him "perhaps the greatest natural player of modern times." A great genius.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <FSR> While you and I are familiar with Reuben Fine's comments regarding one of the true geniuses of chess, I shall reproduce his thoughts for the edification of others:

<The story of the Indian Sultan Khan turned out to be a most unusual one. The "Sultan" was not the term of status that we supposed it to be; it was merely a first name. In fact, Sultan Khan was actually a kind of serf on the estate of a maharajah when his chess genius was discovered. He spoke English poorly, and kept score in Hindustani. It was said that he could not even read the European notations.

After the tournament [the 1933 Folkestone Olympiad] the American team was invited to the home of Sultan Khan's master in London. When we were ushered in we were greeted by the maharajah with the remark, "It is an honor for you to be here; ordinarily I converse only with my greyhounds." Although he was a Mohammedan, the maharajah had been granted special permission to drink intoxicating beverages, and he made liberal use of this dispensation. He presented us with a four-page printed biography telling of his life and exploits; so far as we could see his greatest achievement was to have been born a maharajah. In the meantime Sultan Khan, who was our real entrée to his presence, was treated as a servant by the maharajah (which in fact he was according to Indian law), and we found ourselves in the peculiar position of being waited on at table by a chess grand master.>

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