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Predrag Nikolic vs Veselin Topalov
Linares (1997), Linares ESP, rd 9, Feb-14
Modern Defense: Queen Pawn Fianchetto (A40)  ·  0-1



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Given 19 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-30-09  Whitehat1963: I couldn't find anything that was both forcing and effective. Didn't even consider that knight retreat. Excellent move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Nice and easy. The first thing to notice is that the black bishop controls g1. Taken with the far advanced black knight this means that the white king is stalemated, so we should be looking for checks.

First the practical 22...Nf2+. This quickly fizzles into nothing very exciting.

So let's look at fantasy moves which give check. From the starting position, the illegal "leaper" move 22...Qxh3+ is mate (unless we allow black a similarly illegal blocking move).

We would win if we could make two moves in one: N(anywhere) + Qh3#. And that quickly leads to 22...Ne5, with the dual threat of winning the white queen and giving mate on h3.

What was white thinking when he played the lemon 22.h3? No doubt he was expecting something like 22...Nf6 23. Kh2 when all is safely protected. 22...Ne5 must have been a terrible shock.

Jun-30-09  geeker: This took me longer than usual for a Tuesday. Pretty clear the Ng4 had to move, but my first candidate move was the tempting 22...Nf2+, which didn't work after 23. R:f2.
Jun-30-09  randomsac: Good play, revealing an attack on the queen that also separately threatens mate.
Jun-30-09  TheaN: Tuesday 30 June 2009


Target: 1:15;000
Taken: 1:40;427
No par; was looking too much at Nf2

Material: +♙

Candidates: Nf2...?...?, ah crap, <[Ne5]>

Was looking too much at Nf2 and even started looking on the Queenside to deflect something, but after 23.Kh2 Black has nothing, so 23.Rxf2 isn't even necessary. The attack on h3 can be fatal, but Black should NOT interpose his own Bishop, even if it's check. No, in truth, this is a one-mover:

<22....Ne5 > White cannot protect h3 without giving up his Queen. Of course, a lot of the defensive moves lose Queen for piece, but it's not to be avoided, either the Queen or Bishop have to be blocked and the White Queen is already attack. Time to check.

Jun-30-09  awfulhangover: Solved in 3 seconds. I'm proud, but it's only tuesday ..
Jun-30-09  Madman99X:

Shouldn't this be a Benko Gambit?

Jun-30-09  Stormbringer: Missed it. 0 for 2 this week. Spent far too long looking at the left hand side of the board.
Jun-30-09  Patriot: Initial candidates: Nf2+, Ne3

White grabs the knight for the price of a pawn, and these candidates clearly lose.

A) 22...Nf2+ 23.Rxf2 Qxh3+ 24.Kg1

B) 22...Ne3 23.Nxe3 Qxh3+ 24.Kg1

But if the knight can be moved with tempo without blocking the d4-g1 diagonal, then Qxh3 is mate. So how about Ne5, hitting the queen AND threatening mate? It looks like there is no saving both.

22...Ne5 it is.

Jun-30-09  WhiteRook48: I guessed 22...Nh2??
Jun-30-09  Patriot: <WhiteRook48: I guessed 22...Nh2??>

Yikes! Did you consider the critical variation after 23.Kxh2? I don't see anything after that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I spotted 22...Ne5, threatening 23...Qxh3# and 23...Nxf3, winning the queen for a knight. White can't defend against both threats.
Jun-30-09  heklex: A simple one. The only confusing feature is a mirage of check: 22...Nf2? But anyone can figure out how wrong it is, so it leaves only one choice with no sub-variations at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The move was TOO easy. Black threatens mate and attacks the queen-white is lost.

I was a supporter of Nf2+,but black loses two pieces for a rook-and the attack fizzles.

I was looking for a combination-not a single move thrust.

Jun-30-09  YouRang: Well, that was pretty simple. Once I noticed that ...Qxh3 is mate, all I wanted to do is move my knight that is blocking it.

Naturally, I want to move it to where it carries a threat of it's own, and then 22...Ne5 attacking and winning the queen leaps into view.

Jun-30-09  jackpawn: Like most others I looked at Nf2+ first. Couldn't make it work, then found Ne5 easily. Funny how the mind works.
Jun-30-09  tivrfoa: It is always good when players with high rating (fide equals 2618 in this case) commit these mistakes.
Jun-30-09  SuperPatzer77: <TheaN: Candidates: 22...Nf2...?...?, ah crap, <[22...Ne5]>>

Hey, TheaN - I said to myself last night - Oh, crap!!!! I didn't see 22...Ne5! (forcing White to give up the White queen or White is getting mated). I knew that 22...Nf2+ didn't work. 22...Ne5! is much stronger.

Well, I consider myself "SuperPatzer", <TheaN> - LOL LOL LOL


Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I'm going to go with 22...Ne5, attacking the queen and threatening 23...Qxh3#. I don't see how both threats can be stopped.
Jun-30-09  The Rocket: somwhat harder than the usual ones... I actually had to think
Jun-30-09  goodevans: Like a lot of other puzzle enthusiasts, as well solving the puzzles I like to look back and see if I can identify where it went wrong for the loser.

Didn't have to look far today. <22 h3?> ... wow, what a blunder!

Jun-30-09  PinnedPiece: Personal Tuesday Goal: solve in two minutes.

Performance: at 1:40, I gritted my teeth and went with 22...Nf2.

Result: Fail.

Jun-30-09  Lightboxes: Took me a while as well (more than 2 minutes). I quit looking for the forcing moves with check and starting looking for a double attack in one move.
Jun-30-09  macaoui: only one move, but a good one!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: This took me too long to solve, as I worked to make 22...Nxf2+ work. I did find the right path eventually because I saw that the knight has to do something effective that allows 23 Qxh3+ and does NOT block the bishop's coverage of g1. That can only be 22...Ne5.
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