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Helmut Pfleger vs Bent Larsen
Manila (1974), Manila PHI, rd 8, Oct-??
English Opening: Great Snake Variation (A10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-04-07  Whitehat1963: What an excellent game from beginning to end.
Sep-13-11  Cemoblanca: 9...g5?! [The first mistake. Better was 9...0-0 or 9...a6!? to prevent the queenside from the breakthrough, followed by an attack on the kingside.]

10.b5! Milder punishment! ;0)

10...♘e7! [The best field for the "Arab horse". 10...♘b8 jump is also playable, but 10...♘d4 is bad, because of 11.♘xd4 exd4 12.♘d5!? and 10...♘a4? leads to the slaughter by the lady in white and a possible continuation would be 11...c5 12.b6+! ♘c6 13.♘xe5! dxe5 (The best move) 14.♗xc6+! bxc6 15.b7! (The best move) 15...♖b8 16.bxc8♕]

11.a4!? The roll is on its way.

11...♘d7 leads to nothing. [Maybe better was 11...0-0 11...♗e6 or 11...♖b8]

12.♘e1!? A fine move. It opens the diagonal for the white bishop and controls important fields.

12...♘c5 [12...0-0 would still be playable. Better early than never.]

13.e3! without speed limit. Therefore 12...0-0 was very important.

13...0-0 CeCe Peniston - Finally!!! ;0) >>>

14.d4!? No Comment!

14...♘e6 ♘e6 15.♘c2 exd4?! 16.exd4 f4!? A little recognition for "The B!G" loser. :0)

17.♖e1 ♔h8?! [Interesting was 17...fxg3 18.hxg3 (and not 18.fxg3?!) 18...♘f5! 19.♗d5! ♕f6 20.♕e2 ♖e8! The only move.]

18.♘d5 ♘f5 19.♗b2 ♗d7?! [19...a6!?]

20.♕d3 c6!? 21.bxc6 bxc6 [and not 21...♗xc6?? because the "Arab horse" number II is hanging.]

22.♘db4! Attack is the best form of defence.

22...g4?! is not the best move, but on the board it can make it confusing to understand the message and could also earn an !?.

Sep-13-11  Cemoblanca: 23.♘xc6 The MD (Doctor of Medicine) succeeded in overcoming the difficulties.

23...♗xc6 24.♗xc6 The bishops look threatening.

24...♘g5! with best regards to the white bishop. ;0)

25.♗g2 ♖b8?! [Maybe better was 25...♖c8!? or 25...f3!?]

26.♗c3 ♖xb1 27.♖xb1 ♕f6?! [27...f3!]

28.gxf4? [28.♖e1!]

28...♘h4! 29.d5 ♕xf4 30.♗xg7+! ♔xg7 31.♕d4+! ♔g6 32.♕xf4! Any other Queen move leads to a loss.

32...♖xf4 33.♘e3 ♖d4?! The idea Rd4-Rd2-Ra2 is not bad, but it costs too much time. [A wise thing would be 33...♘xg2 or 33...h5!? to free the Rook.

34.♖b8 [34.a5!?] ♖d2 35.♖d8 ♖a2?! I said it costs time.

36.♖xd6+ My dear King. Here's your receipt.

Sep-13-11  Cemoblanca: 36...♔h5! The best move! [Any other King move leads to a loss, for example 36...♔f7? 37.♖xh6; 36...♔g7 ♔f1! etc.]

37.♔f1! Braveheart! ♖a1+?! [37...♘hf3!] 38.♔e2 ♖a2+ 39.♔d3 The winning move.

39...♖xf2 40.♗e4? [40.♖xh6! The for(the)king check! ;0 40...♔xh6 41.♘xg4+]

40...♖d2+ The for(the)king check part II! [40...♖a2!?]

41.♔xd2 ♘xe4+ 42.♔d3! ♘xd6 43.c5! ♘f7 44.c6! ♔g5! 45.c7 ♘d6 46.♔d4! ♔f6 47.♘xg4+ ♔e7! 48.♘e5! ♘hf5+ 49.♔c5 h5 50.a5 ♔f6 [50...h4!] 51.♘c6! Helmut "The Tablebase". ;0) 51...♘c8! The best one! 52.a6?! [A "Abwartezug" like 52.h3! would be a good decision here.]

52...h4! A great move by "The Great Dane". :0)

53.h3 ♘g7? [53...♔f7!= 54.♘e5+ ♔f6! 55.♘c4 ♔e7! because each Knight move leads to a loss.]

54.♘d4! Helmut is back in business! 54...♘e8?! 55.♔c6! ♘e7+? Unnecessary! 56.♔d7!(!) ♘xc7 There is nothing better! 57.♔xc7 ♘xd5 58.♔b7! The roll on the queenside has paid off! :0)

Great game by Helmut, but however, "The Great Dane" has kept very well defensively! RIP!

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Right idea, wrong Knight move, as <patzer2> demonstrated in 2005. Oh, well. Finished the week scoring 4/5 with 2 already known.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Nice.

I went with 59. Ne6+. If 59...Kf5, then 60. Nd4+ Kf4 61. Nc6, preventing ...Nb4. But both sides promote, and there's no win. And black's moves aren't forced.

Mar-25-18  Mayankk: Noticed all the main themes in this puzzle
1) Black Knight can always sacrifice itself to prevent white’s a pawn from promotion 2) White knight should capture the Black h pawn and guard it’s own h pawn so that white king can come to its help later 3) So the main way to progress had to be Nf3+ and attack the Black pawn.

But I had no idea on what to do after capturing on h4. That’s where imagination comes to play. Ng2 and Nf4+ are such imaginative moves. Kudos to those who can see them.

Mar-25-18  ChessHigherCat: True confessions: All I can see (through a glass darkly) is:

1) it's probably necessary to keep the black knight from taking the a6 pawn. That means White should play Nc6 to prevent Nb4.

2) For the time being, the White king has got c7 covered, but if Kxa7 Nc7 and there's no saving the a6 pawn.

3) For the same reason, Nf3+ Ka5 Nxa4 doesn't work, because if Kxa7, Nc7 again.


(Scratches head) Dunno, probably some ingenious way of winning a tempo but it's beyond me.

Mar-25-18  WorstPlayerEver: There's still some trick after 61. Ng2 Nb4

click for larger view

Mar-25-18  mel gibson: Too difficult for me -
it's too easy to end in a draw with any other move.
Mar-25-18  Pchief: White's move at the current position must be 59.Nf3+ since:

1) 59.Nc6 may prevent Black's Nb4, but the White king still cannot take on a7 because of Black's Nc7 eliminating the a6 pawn.

2) If 59.Nf3+ Kh5, then 60.Kxa7 is safe as Black loses even though he sacrifices his N for White's a-pawn.

Mar-25-18  saturn2: <after white's: 60. Nxh4 Black can play 60..Nb4> I was thinking the same.
Mar-25-18  gofer: Like many I missed this and what's worse is that it is one of those we you say "<That's Obvious!>" when you are told the answer!!!


<61 ... Nb4>
<62 h4 ...>

click for larger view

Black has three choices...

62 ... Kxg2 63 h5 and the poor Nb4 is overworked defending both promotions

62 ... Nxa6 63 Kxa6 and the poor Kg3 is unable to take Ph4 without first taking Ng2 which means Ph4 is going to promote!

62 ... Kg4 63 Kxa7 and the poor Nb4 is the lone defender to stop Pa6 promoting and that means we get to a similar continuation that we had from option 2 and option 1

Really rather beautiful!

Mar-25-18  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens Nb4-Nxa6.

White can attack Black's h-pawn with 59.Nxf3+:

A) 59... Kh5 60.Kxa7 Nb4 61.Kb7 Nxa6 62.Kxa6 wins (62... Kg6 63.Nxh4+ Kg5 64.Ng2 and White will eventually place the king on g6, the knight on f7 and the pawn on h6 or drop the knight to promote the pawn).

B) 59... Kf4 60.Nxh4 Kg3 61.Ng2

B.1) 61... Kxg2 62.h4 Nf6 63.Kxa7 Kg3 64.Kb7 Kxh4 65.a7 wins.

B.2) 61... Kxh3 62.Nf4+ Nxf4 63.Kxa7 Ne6 (63... Nd5 64.Kb7 wins) 64.Kb6 (64.Kb8 Nd4 and Nb4) wins.

B.3) 61... Nb4 62.h4 wins (62...Kg4 63.Kxa7 Nxa6 64.Kxa6 as in A).

Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: Did not get it, but sure enjoyed seeing how the solution leads to a knight fork of a king and knight! You don't see that very often.
Mar-25-18  Marmot PFL: Didn't see that 59 Nf3+ was winning, but could see that other moves weren't so it seemed the only try.
Mar-25-18  landshark: Missed that one. Very elegant
Mar-25-18  patzer2: Forgot I had analyzed today's Sunday (23. ?) puzzle almost 13 years ago.

The purpose of the combination solution 59. Nf3+!! Kf4 60. Nxh4 Kg3 61. Ng2! is after 61...Kxh3 to play the sham sacrifice Knight fork 62. Nf4+ +-. After 61...Kxh3 62. Nf4+ Nxf4, White deflects the Black Knight from d5 so it can't play ...Nb4 followed by ...Nxa6 and force a draw.

P.S.: Black's decisive mistake was apparently 55...Ne7+? which allows 56. Kd7 +- (+7.45 @ 35 ply, Stockfish 9).

Instead, 55...Ned6 (0.00 @ 52 ply, Stocfish 9) holds it level.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <saturn2><after white's: 60. Nxh4 Black can play 60..Nb4> <I was thinking the same.>

That's answered with 61 Ng2+

click for larger view

In the text position if 61...Nb4, then 62 h4 wins.

click for larger view

Mar-25-18  actinia: beautiful
Mar-26-18  stst: 59.Nc6 first to protect the only P to get should be easy after K take the Black P...
Mar-26-18  5hrsolver: Great Sunday puzzle. This could pass as a composed puzzle and it would be a very good one.

I didn't solve it. I knew the solution would involve a knight fork on black's knight and king to deflect the black knight from its original position. Just as a rough example 59. Nc2 Kf5 60. Ne3+. But I just could not make it work. I was convinced White had to play either 59.Nc2 or 59.Nc6 to protect the b4 square. Black also has the square c7 from which to capture the white a-pawn in case White captures black's a-pawn with his king.

The solution was to create threats on the king side as well. Once I saw whites first move (59.Nf3+) I figured out the rest of the solution since I was already preconditioned to look for a knight fork. And what a beautiful fork it was.

The take away for me is to combine tactics and strategy. Here the strategy was to work on the kingside as well rather than just being involved in a opposite sides pawn race.

Mar-26-18  cunctatorg: That is a great -and lovely- ending!!
Oct-20-18  Saniyat24: 40...Rd2+ was a pretty wicked move by Larsen...!
Oct-20-18  Saniyat24: Bent must have been spent after that game :D
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