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Nikolai Riumin vs Sergey Belavenets
USSR Championship (1934/35), Leningrad URS, rd 6, Dec-14
Caro-Kann Defense: Two Knights Attack (B10)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: A controversy now surrounds this game, in particular the position after 25 ... Ng6 which is the 1st position presented in Kotov's classic book think like a Grandmaster.

Here is the post I have just made about it on

Alexander Kotov in his classic renowned chess book "Think like a Grandmaster" advocoated looking at the way machines think - especially in relation to tactical variations.

Curiously on the newsgroup recently, the very first position that Kotov presents in his famous book is question for the variations examined- in particular the deliniation of candidate moves.

Kotov gives the following candidate moves:-

a) Bxh6
b) Nxg6
c) Ng4 with idea of Nxh6+

Nxf7 is curiously missing - and this actually goes against a fundamental principle emphasised by the book of allowing a "brainstorming" process of candidate moves- not rejecting moves too early.

A recent reader Henri H. Arsenault, has run this position through Fritz to apparently test their hunch that Nxf7 is the strongest and most obvious first move, to undermine the e6 square and maximise the impact of the Rook on e1 and Bishop on b3.

Variations given include:-

1.Ne5xf7 Qf6xf7
(...Kg8xf7 2.Re1xe6 and if Black does not take the Rook with the Queen, the discovered check will be fatal)
(...Bb8xg3 2. Nf7xh6+ Kg8-f8 3. h2xg3 and White is a piece ahead with a strong attack)
(Ng6-f4 2. Bb2xf4 Qf6xf4 3. Qh5-g6 and Black will have to give up the Queen to avoid checkmate)
2. Bb3xe6 wins the queen

Not only this but one of the key candidate moves given by Kotov - namely Ng4 actually gives black the advantage after Qxd4

e.g. Ng4xh6+ Kg8-f8 that leaves Black with a slight advantage.

This is quite astonishing given the fact this is the very first position of a classic book, which claims in a recurrent theme that we can improve our tactical ability through trying to think systematically like a machine. I expect that many of the old chess books will have their variations crunched up and refuted, and better more decisive lines found by today's engines!

Best wishes

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Kingscrusher> GMs are humans and humans are not perfect. For another example see L A Tan vs Smyslov, 1973 and Soltis' analyses of that game.
Apr-19-07  Karpyan: I've just done exactly the same thing this morning. I put the book to one side and the first candidate I looked at was 35. Nxf7. Then Fritz 10 evaluates it as +5 ahead of the next move. It is astonishing that Kotov did not consider this move in Think Like a Grandmaster, when it is so clearly better than all other possibilities. It just demonstrates that published analyses must be checked and cannot be trusted. Perhaps Kotov relied on analysis by Riumin.
Oct-11-17  kereru: Interesting that Kotov misreported both the continuation and the result of the game. He says "after 27.Qg4 h5 28.Qd1 h4 White had to resign." Well, Black didn't play 28...h4, but 28...Bxe5 is not a mistake. 31...Rd8 is fairly obvious and winning, but after 31...g6? White escaped with a draw.

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