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Pascal Openshaw vs Patrick Hummel
"Pascal's Wager" (game of the day Aug-05-2005)
Denker Tournament of State Champions (1999), Reno, NV USA, rd 2, Aug-12
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Main Line (B99)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <posoo: What happens if black plays 24...g6?> In the game as played, 25. Nxa8. The queen can't recapture because of 26. Rd8+.
Aug-05-05  patzer2: <isolatedpawn> Thanks for pointing out the interesting double attack possibility 24...Rg8!? 25. Nd8!

It also works after 24...Rb8!? 25. Nd8! for an endgame win for White.

Aug-05-05  patzer2: A biography of Pascal can be found at, and a discussion of "pascal's wager" can be found at
Aug-05-05  EmperorAtahualpa: Nice pun. Ofcourse Pascal Openshaw's win wasn't wagered though. :)
Aug-05-05  psmith: Is White's Queen sac sound?

How about 13... gxf6?

If then 14. Bxa8 fxg5 15. fxg5 d5, and if 14. Bxa8 fxg5 15. Bxf3 gxf4. Both seem better than the game. Am I missing something?

Aug-05-05  turkishgrandmaster: Guys but have you noticed that after the Queen sac black's moves were not forced
Aug-05-05  howardtheduck: I noticed they werent forced, but thats the greatness of the two knights attacks, backed with rooks, they are treacherous for the defender and amazingly tricky
Aug-05-05  Shokwave: Nice game by Openshaw. Nd8 is one of those cool moves you don't see because the opponent resigns before it gets played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: <patzer2> Thanks for the links. I didn't get the pun at first.
Aug-05-05  Medical Director: Good morning you all. Fantastic game, out of this world. I am very new at this and I know I'll never be a good chess player. Did Pascal see this possible ending 12 moves ahead? or was it a pattern recognition?Please enlighten me with ideas and similar games. Thanks.
I believe this site is terrific!
Aug-05-05  THE pawn: Hi <Medical Director>

Don't say you'll never be a good player, I started two years ago and I have almost ( already) reached the 2000's rating. I don't think Pascal has seen the 12 moves ahead, in fact I believe no player would have done that. To the best of his abilities, he might have seen 5 to 7 moves ahead and saw how promising it was, so he played and the rest came by himself.

another game would be this one:
Kasparov vs Topalov, 1999
Rxd4!!(!) Kasparov could not have seen the entire line following his move, but only 8 moves, still, it was pretty incredible from him.

Aug-05-05  Medical Director: Thanks The Pawn
I enjoyed Kasparov's Inmortal very much.
Thanks again
Congratulations in your 2,000 rating in just two years, amazing!
Aug-05-05  kevin86: Look at this ending! The white knights and rooks are working well,while black's pieces are scattered all over.

The queen sac looked good,though it didn't force anything-it just looked like white's pieces were "ready to play" while blacks never were.

Aug-05-05  weirdoid: Surely this line was prepared ("cooked at home") - the sacrifice is similar to the failed one in Keres vs Fischer, 1959, except that here white goes straight to 11. e5 instead of preceeding it with 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. e5. Anyway, is 10. e5 + the sacrifice sound, is it an improvement over the Keres vs Fischer, 1959 line, or is it an unsound try which worked only because black lost cool? As <turkishgrandmaster> noticed, black's moves afterward was not forced. Any judgment on this?
Aug-05-05  psmith: <weirdoid> Again, I suggest 13... gxf6. Does anyone have a view about that line?
Aug-05-05  weirdoid: <psmith> To me looks like after 13 ... gxf6 white is busted (which is probably why Keres played 11. Bxf6 first). I wonder what the experts think - any surprising moves at white's disposal?
Aug-05-05  Shams: <psmith> your move looks simple and good -- hard to believe Hummel didn't play that way. maybe: 13...gxf6 14.Bxa8 fxg5 15.f5!? b4 16.fxe6 bxc4 17.exf7+ Kxf7 18.Bd5+ Kg6 and black will have time for ...Ne5, ...Qa5.
Aug-05-05  vinohradska: THE pawn, There are two Rxd4 moves in that Kasparov vs Topalov game, I guess you meant 24 which is the interesting one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: My god, Hummel got pummeled! What an hummel-ble experience. Okay, I'll stop now. :-)
Aug-05-05  MatrixManNe0: Well, psmith, perhaps black didn't like 13... gxf6 Because white would be allowed to keep the light bishop as opposed to the dark bishop. Notice after 13... gxf6 14. Bxa8 material looks about even. Black would also have a damaged pawn structure.

Interesting how black's queen has absolutely nothing to attack upon black's resignation. White's pieces are all too well placed. Not only that, but white's pieces are coordinated well enough to create an attack on the king. If I remember correctly, these are the two key factors behind a queen sacrifice (or queen exchange sacrifice).

Aug-05-05  schnarre: What's with 23...Kh8? That move was practically seppuku.
Aug-18-05  patzer2: <psmith> <Again, I suggest 13...gxf6. Does anyone have a view about that line?> I like it and see 13...Nxf6?! as a mistake. Fritz 8 assesses 13...gxf6! as a clear win for Black after:

13... gxf6! 14. Bxa8 fxg5 15. f5 b4 16. fxe6 bxc3 17. exd7+ Kxd7 18. Bc6+ Kd8 19. b3 Bf6 20. Be4 Bxd4 21. Rxd4 f5 22. Rc4 Qa5 (-4.31 @ 13 depth).

Aug-23-05  THE pawn: <vinohradska> Yes, obviously! Thx for the notice though.
Oct-06-05  schnarre: I've been looking at 13...Rc8. After 14. fxe7 Nf6 or 14. fxg7 Rg8 Black seems to still be standing; the White Queen seems worth the Bishop pair or one Bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: This game was a major upset in the tournament, as Openshaw was rated 400 points below Hummel, who was the highest rated player in the tournament as well as being the reigning US high school champion.
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