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Apartsev vs Igor A Zaitsev
"Torn Apartsev" (game of the day Jan-05-2015)
Moscow (1963), Moscow URS
Italian Game: Two Knights Defense. Traxler Counterattack Knight sac line (C57)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-03-10  Owerbart: nice combo with those two deadly bishops and the knight check
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: As soon as I see <5.Nxf7> I generally don't bother with the rest of the game since I know what is going to happen. Black is going to sacrifice more pieces than he started with, and the White king will eventually welcome checkmate as a release from his troubles.

But this is the GOTD, so I have an obligation to look at it. I might even play over the moves instead of just staring at the score.

Yep. Same old stuff.

Jan-05-15  ToTheDeath: My aren't we jaded?

Beautiful attack.

Jan-05-15  newhampshireboy: Love to see the knights and bishops really dominating the king's field in this way!
Jan-05-15  algete: was mate in move 16 with rook to g4, g5 or g6
daba mate en la jugada 16 retirando la torre a g4, g5 o g6
Jan-05-15  TheBish: Love the title, made me laugh out loud! (OR LOL if you prefer.) Also like the unnecessary rook to end with a pure mate!
Jan-05-15  rogl: But why 16...Rg1? 16...Rg4(5)(6) are all mate.
Jan-05-15  morfishine: Striking finish: White's pieces were on strike


Jan-05-15  Abdel Irada: It is for games like this that I love the Traxler.

Of course White can defend better, starting with 8. exd5 rather than 8. Qf3?! (Of course not 8. Bxd5?, Bg4 .)

From there, a plausible continuation for both parties is

8. ...Bg4 (perhaps even stronger is 8. ...Nd4)

9. Be2, Bxe2+

10. Qxe2 (better may be 10. Kxe2), Nd4

11. Qxf2, O-O-O.

Here, in his first moment of "peace" since move five, White has a multitude of continuations, mostly aiming at catching up in development or driving away the dangerous knight on d4.

Main candidates: 12. b3!?, 12. c3, 12. d3, 12. Na3, 12. Nc3, 12. d6?!.

To almost all of these, Black replies 12. ...Rf8. (Exceptions: 12. b3!?, Nxd5!, as 12. ...Rf8? loses to 13. Ba3; 12. d6?!, exd6, since other captures allow dangerous counterplay.)

Then White must: (a) move the king to g1 to avoid the coming discovered attack on the f-file, (b) move the king to e1 for the same purpose, or (c) sacrifice queen for rook in the hope of blunting Black's attack.

Without going into specifics in this post, Black's continuation is dictated by White's: If the king moves, the knight follows it to the same file; if not, Black does not exchange rook for queen on f3 (because this closes a file), but instead attacks the queen with a minor piece or pawn, forcing it to exchange on f8 if White wants to get a rook for it, and by recapturing on f8 with check, Black keeps the attack rolling.

How wild can this line get? There's a popular line where Black (who has already given up a bishop and a rook) also offers his queen — and wins, whether White accepts or not.

Jan-05-15  Castleinthesky: A true Romantic game. What happens after 12...Bh3 if 13.gxh?
Jan-05-15  shivasuri4: <Castleinthesky>, if 13.gxh3, Black mates in 4 with 13...Rf8+ 14.Nf7 Rxf7+ 15.Kg1 Ne2+ 16.Kg2 Rf2#. If White plays 15.Kg2, the move order is reversed.
Jan-05-15  kevin86: The minor pieces gang up on white's king.
Jan-05-15  Andrew Chapman: I think the point of Rg2+ was aesthetic, it being more pleasing to get rid of the last major piece before mating.
Jan-05-15  Castleinthesky: <shivasuri4> Thanks.
Jan-05-15  Gilmoy: <Andrew Chapman: I think the point of Rg2+ was aesthetic ...> Quoth the dude in the Gone with the Wind movie: <Horse, mek Trax!> Nor <rook> did he mention.
Jan-06-15  Moszkowski012273: No way should black of won this....
Jan-06-15  Gilmoy: Until White wasted three tempi with the Q and 1 with the B: first to let <9..Nd4> just sit there unchallenged, then to let Black clear both f and 8 for free, greasing Rf8+.

Black's record in this <7. Nxh8 d5> line is +7=5-44, or (+0.12 =0.09 -0.77). White should know not to play into it ...

Jan-07-15  Moszkowski012273: 8.Qf3... is horrible. Simply exd5 followed by c3 and black is busted.
Jan-07-15  Abdel Irada: <Moszkowski012273: 8.Qf3... is horrible. Simply exd5 followed by c3 and black is busted.>

Did you read my post?

It was based on my own analysis from 32 years ago, when I had a silly notion of writing a book about the Traxler. My analysis is incomplete and may be flawed, but it is backed up by much subsequent analysis and practice, much of it in correspondence games.

The bottom line: The Traxler is a very dangerous weapon, and contains hidden traps and unsuspected resources that tend to appear at the most inconvenient moments for the first player; White is lucky if he can emerge alive; and if he is to do so, he is best advised to avoid the materialistic grab 5. Nxf7?!

If you doubt me, you are of course free to study the opening, look over some of the games played with it, and see for yourself.

Jan-07-15  Moszkowski012273: <Abdel> after looking at it a whole bunch this morning I'm gonna have to agree with ya...It's definitely not as easy as I thought... BUT- in this particular game 8.exd5 did have to be played to keep advantage. (with d6 or Be2 to follow and NOT c3 as I stated). Is <Gilmoy> saying above that black's record with 7...d5 is far from good? Or the other way around? (+7=5-44).
Jan-08-15  Abdel Irada: It means that of the games in the database, Black has lost seven, drawn five and won 44.

Theory says the gambit isn't sound, but it says that about all gambits. What actually happens over the board, even in correspondence games, is a different matter.

Practically speaking, going into the 5. Nxf7?! lines of the Traxler is a spectacular way for White to commit suicide, and usually offer Black a good chance at the brilliancy prize into the bargain.

Jan-15-15  DarthStapler: Awesome, my pun got selected!
May-07-18  Delboy: Nobody appears to have commented on the possible alternative mate 15. ... Nf3+ 16. gxf3 Rf1#
Jul-31-19  gambitfan: 16. ... Rg5 #
Jul-20-21  Justin Flint:
search thread:   
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