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Jan Timman vs Arturo Pomar Salamanca
Las Palmas (1977), Las Palmas ESP, rd 9, May-18
Caro-Kann Defense: Exchange. Rubinstein Variation (B13)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-07-11  Gryz: First time ever I see a puzzle or game-of-the-day where a Dutch player wins the game ! Usually the Dutch players are on the receiving end. Even when Timman had been nr2 player for a while, and Van Wely played many fun attacking games, their wins have never been highlighted. This is the first time. Thanks CG.
Sep-07-11  zb2cr: Found the key idea of 27. Nf5 rapidly, although what I was after was a way to dissuade Black from taking the Rook at h3. Thus: 27. Nf5, Bxh3; 28. Qg7#. The beauty of the move then stated to unfold as I considered other variations.
Sep-07-11  sevenseaman: < Gryz: First time ever I see a puzzle or game-of-the-day where a Dutch player wins the game ! > Yes <Gryz>, I have also noticed this trend. < Jan Timman > is one of my favorites and this is the first ever POTD of his where he is on the winning side. Sure pleases me just as much.

<zb2cr> <what I was after was a way to dissuade Black from taking the Rook at h3. > A very pertinent and noble aim in winning this game! <27. Nf5> very precisely, takes away from sad <Salamanca> the luxury of fiddling with your pretty h2R.

Sep-07-11  gofer: < sfm: <kinghunt72: According to my analysis, black could have held his position together by playing 25... Rfd8 instead of 25. Rfe8.>

I also looked at that. But reached another conclusion, after the forced:

27.Nf5,gxf5 (-,Ke8 28.Rxh7 is no better)
30.Qxf7+ Kc6
31.Qe6+ ...

<31 ... Rd6>

click for larger view

What now?


How does white avoid going a bishop down for just two pawns... I think its all just beginning, its not over by a long stretch! White needs to get quite a lot for its knight and a couple of pawns ain't that much!

Sep-07-11  Patriot: 27.Nf5!--a bit tricky to see OTB. With 27...Bxh3 threatened, most players would probably move the rook.

I found the move but my analysis has been way off here lately. I noted that 27...exf5/...gxf5 28.Rxh7 mates next. For whatever reason I didn't realize that after 27...Rd8, 28.Qh8 is mate! And so I looked at the more complicated 28.Rxh7 Ke8 29.Rh8+ Kd7 etc. which is terrible! It wins easily but the point is I missed the very simple 28.Qh8#. It could be that initially I viewed all threats after 27.Nf5 as 28.Qg7# and didn't note 28.Qh8# so that idea stuck with me.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight sac is a desperado-setting up the fatal 28♖xh7 and mate soonest. The knight move also threatens mate ♕g7#.
Sep-07-11  sevenseaman: <Patriot> Do not be too hard on yourself. With the White N on f5 Qh8# is not very easy to see. For me too it took some time for the coin to drop into the slot.
Sep-07-11  howlwolf: al wazir, Looks like 24...h5 leads to a perpetual after 25 Nh6+ Kh2 26 Nf5 exf5 27Rxh5+ gxh5 28 Qxf5+ and black can't escape the checks.
Sep-07-11  Creg: I first looked for a way to remove the black queen from b7, but couldn't find anything, then I looked for a way to bring the white rook on h3 to the back rank.

27.Nf5 (threatens mate at g7 or h8) e\gxf5 28.Rxh7 with 29.Rh8 mate to follow.

Sep-07-11  arkansaw: another case of ridiculous winning move!

obvious threat: Qh8#
the other threat: Rxh7-h8#

Sep-07-11  Patriot: <sevenseaman> Thanks. I emailed Dan Heisman and here's some of what he said:

"But your error was not a big one, because any error that still allows you to play the correct first move can be "seen" in later moves' analysis and corrected. A bigger error would be to miss something to cause you to not play the correct move."

Sep-07-11  sfm: <gofer:What now?
How does white avoid going a bishop down for just two pawns...>

Oops! Did I write 31.Qxe6+?? J'adoube. Instead 31.QxQ+,KxQ 32.RxR,RxR 33.KxB. This endgame must be won for White, but right, "over" is is not.

Sep-07-11  jackpawn: Yesterday I spent a couple of minutes solving a Tuesday puzzle. Today I found this one immediately. Doesn't make any sense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <27.Nf5> and that's it!
Sep-07-11  BOSTER: Even according to modern theory the game, played by Ian Timman is the most amazing example of Exchange Variation against Caro-Kann, which B.Fischer used against T.Petrosian in 1970.
Sep-07-11  morfishine: <Patriot> Yes, the board looked funny to me too, until suddenly I saw it; But it was within the 20-minute rule :)

<sevenseaman> Good work! How many languages do you know? I once had a french girl friend (from Lyon).

Sep-07-11  naruto00122: that's the beauty of the knights
Sep-07-11  galdur: 27. Nf5, followed by Rxh7 if the knight is captured, otherwise Qh8 mate. Black is defenseless.
Sep-07-11  newton296: this is one of those puzzles where I think immediately, wow, alot of white fire power is aimed at the black king so there's gotta be a mate threat somewhere.

aha, Nf5+ and Rxh7! both threaten mate.

took about 2 minutes!

Sep-07-11  sevenseaman: <Patriot> Irrespective of the speed with which many posters have found the solution, this is a rare POTD because of the novelty and variety in its multifaceted solution.

I'll long remember it and I think, so will you. We do not come across such dexterous beauties every day. A very nice and experience-tempered response from <Dan Heisman>. I liked the scent of wisdom it exudes.

<morfishine> Thanks. I just felt like tickling you a little.

I dearly love my languages, may be 6 at read write and speak level. Among the European ones I can handle (passing acquaintance only)some Spanish and Italian too. But at communication level, quite often they have been good enough only to land me in some real hot water.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: The move, 27.Nf5!! looks like the answer. (When "normal" moves fail, then go for something really unusual.)

When I first got really serious about chess, (1970's?) Timman was easily in the "Top Ten" in the world, unless I am sadly mistaken.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Patriot> Another thought which may or may not help...

Whenever I don't get a puzzle, or don't get is straight away, I try to work out why. Maybe that can give me a clue to help me in the future.

Today is a case in point. Like most people I spotted Nf5 fairly quickly, but I nearly overlooked Qh8. A simple move, but it didn't <pop> like one move mates usually do.

So I start asking why. And I think there are a number of reasons. First, the move is a little unusual. The queen shoots all the way into the corner to deliver mate over her shoulder along the back rank. And we have a natural tendency to imagine that all pieces attack and move in a forwards direction. We can sometimnes miss pieces moving/ attacking backwards.

Secondly, it can be hard to spot a tactic when we have too many options. In the puzzle position we have three different mating patterns. It is all too easy to spot one or two of them and then overlook the others. We can get fixated on a particular focal point and not realise that we need to shift the attack to a different point.

Thirdly, our pattern recognition buffers will not have many mates where the queen lands on h8. A queen on g7 or h7, sure. A rook on h8, yes. But Qh8? That's a very rare beast indeed.

I find that if I roll these thoughts around, swirl them over my tongue, play with them, experiment, then the patterns become easier to see next time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <...When I first got really serious about chess, (1970's?) Timman was easily in the "Top Ten" in the world, unless I am sadly mistaken.>

Even if this wasn't officially the case, Timman was getting invited to events such as the Tournament of Stars at Montreal 1979, where there were no outsiders; a ten-player, double-round event with only strong grandmasters.

Sep-10-11  morfishine: <sevenseaman> On <Reading other posts my write up seems like a waste of breath> Apologize, I read your post, but for some reason I missed your very last sentence, although I looked at the final position. Its never a waste of breath. Its all very interesting to me how different people view each position and what their views are.
May-17-18  Albion 1959: After more than six and half years, it is time to revisit this game. Prior to this game, Pomar held a 2½-½ plus score against Timman. This was Timman's only win against Pomar. I came across this game by chance when a book I was looking at "Test your Tactical Ability" by Yakov Neishtadt - Batsford books 1981, featured the position at move 25, saying "Finish off the attack". I have to admit that I failed to find the winning sequence! The key move was 27.Nf5! which I missed because I was looking at forcing moves with checks, rather than the "quiet move". I doubt that are many other players who overlook these quiet moves in their analysis at the board, it is difficult to find these type of moves. Having looked at the position at move 24, it is evident to me that there are black squared weaknesses, f6 & h6 and that they are the soft spots. Also a queen on f6, a rook on h3 and knight on g4, should have set alarm bells off. Yet somehow Pomar, miscalculated and failed to realise the full effect of Nf5! until it was too late. I doubt if Petrosian would would grabbed the "hot pawn" on g2. His sense of danger would have alerted him to the latent danger, as would many other grandmasters. The position from move 23 is tricky and barbed with tactical threats. On move 23, Pomar would have fared better with Bxg2!? instead of Qb7. For example: 23. Qf4 Bxg2!
24. Kxg2 f6
25. Nxg6 Qb7+
26. Kg1 hxg
27. Qh6 Qg7
Black is over the worst and does not suffer the knockout! Now after
24. Qf4 Bxg2??
25. Qf6 Timman has good attacking chances here, the best move for black appears to be 24. Qc7
25. Ng4 h5
26. Re1 There is no immediate forced win, but a slow build up of pressure. And finally, on move 26, instead of Rfe8?? Pomar could have offered more resistance with 25. Ng4 Rfc8!
26. Nh6+ Kf8
27. Re3
The rook must move because Nf5?? does not have the same effect here 27. Nf5?? exf
28. Rxh7 Ke8!
29. Rh8+ Kd7
Black escapes and has an extra piece to boot!
My analysis concludes that 23.Bxg2! is better than Qb7 and that 25. Rfc8! and not Rfe8?? would have refuted the attack and all because in one crucial variation the black king has a flight square on e7:
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