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Alexey Sokolsky vs Alexander Kotov
USSR Championship (1949), Moscow URS, rd 8, Oct-27
Sicilian Defense: Canal Attack (B51)  ·  1-0



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Given 17 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-07-13  The17thPawn: Doesn't 26.)..., Bxg4 stymie whites attack? I'm sure kotov was reluctant to trade his only decent bishop but given that the knight became the blasting cap to destroy his position 10 moves later it may have been the better plan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Kotov being beaten I like to see always.
Feb-02-14  Revenant: This "Kotov" person is actually Bela Lugosi's twin. They were separated at birth.
Feb-02-14  M.Hassan: "Insane"
White to play 36.?
Equal material but White has a Knight for a Bishop.

This move can result winning a piece for White:
37.exf5 Qe7
38.Qxf8 Qxf8
Now, White falls a Bishop ahead

40.Rbb8 Rxa2
41.h5! d3 hoping to promote
<if...d2 43.Bxf6+ Kh7 44.Rh8#>

43.f6+ Kh7
Time to check

Way different than the game although I liked this line. Have I gone wrong somewhere?. Appreciate comments.

Feb-02-14  scormus: 36 Qe8 forks 3 pieces an one of them is pinned against #, so it looked rather convincing to me. But if that was the move why is it a Sunday puzzle. The actual combination is much nicer, though not as easy to see it through OTB.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: White has such a good position that all kinds of moves work. 36. hxg5 is crushing too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Granite: What's wrong with 37. ... Kg8 instead of Rh7? I saw the first few moves but got hung up on how to deal with the exposed king if he just moves away instead of blocking with the rook. >

I assume you are referencing 38..Kg8.

click for larger view

39. Rb8+ mates quickly, eg 39...Kf7 Qh7++ or he can throw the proverbial kitchen sink 38..Rd8 39. Rxd8+ Qf8 40. Rxf8++

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Missed this one

Initially, I was drawn to sacrificing both rooks for 1 Bishop: 36.Rxf8 Qxf8 37.Rb8 Qxb8 all for one precious check on h6: 38.Qxh6+ but it doesn't quite work out

36.Qe8 looks powerful, but Black is a piece ahead so can give back some material: After 36.Qe8 Bxf5 37.exf5 Rg7 Black is still alive

PM: The one tactic I didn't see is the one I didn't look at: 36.Nxh6 Bxh6 37.Rh8+


Feb-02-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: My move is 36 Qe8. It seems to pretty straightforwardly win a piece. On its own that's not such a big deal, as White's queenside pawns are hanging. But I'm not finding a Black defense to keep it from accomplishing even more. The main points are:

1. Simultaneous attack on both bishops.
2. Attack on the d7 rook if the LSB wanders off.
3. Mate threats at g8 and h8, especially if a pawn gets to f5 or h5. 4. No good way to actually defend the LSB.

The other main option I saw is an attack based on Bxe5 and hg in some order, the idea being that Black's queen and f pawn collectively are responsible for defending three different squares. But I'm not seeing how to bring that approach home.

Feb-02-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: OK. I missed Rh8+.
Feb-02-14  gofer: Initially I thought this would take ages. Lots of choice, not much serious joy, but then it becomes obvious that white can give up a rook for an entry into black's defenses, but much more the point it that white has another rook to immediately re-load into b8 with check AND at that point black has lost the 6th and 8th ranks. Black's only threat is Bf7 getting rid of the white queen but a knight on h6 would solve that too!!!

<36 Nxh6 ...>

The knight is immune!

36 ... Bxh6
37 Rh8+ Kxh8 (Kg7 38 Qxh6+ Kf7 39 Qh7#)
38 Qxh6+ Rh7 (Kg8 39 Rb8+ Kf8 40 Qh7#)
39 Qf6+ Kg8 (Rg7 40 Bb7! mating )
40 Rb8+ Bc8
41 Rxc8+ Qf8
42 Rxf8#

So what next??? Okay now for the tricky bit - the "best" defense?

36 ... Qe7? 37 Nf5+ winning the queen!

36 ... Bf7? 37 Nxf7+ Kg7 38 Nh6

36 ... Rg7? 37 Nf5+ Kg8 38 Nxg7 Kxg7 (Bf7 39 Qh6 ) 39 R1b7+

<36 ... Kg7>
<37 hxg5 fxg5>
<38 Qxg5+ Kh7>
<39 Ng8!! Bxg8>
<40 Qxf5+ >

Black loses the rook and after that it will be over pretty quickly!


Hmmm, pity I was hoping for the other lines. The line played is too easy for a Sunday...

Feb-02-14  WoodPushkin: Greetings:

<1.Nxh6> is good enough as Rh8+ will follow and Sokolsky's ♕ attack continues against Blacks uncoordinated pieces and position. The final rook b7 is just plain 'ol sexy.

Its really quite shocking to see Kotov play so poorly. For all their maneuvering both players passed the initiative back and forth to each other like a hot potato while not exploiting obvious advantages. Kotov was actually winning most of the second third of the game but then went chess blind w/ 33...d5?? Just what was he calculating and were those branch variations on a marijuana bush?

Analysis, Calculation, Execution: Study!!

YES Love

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Double rook sacrifice asking for too much.
Feb-02-14  mel gibson: Checked with Deep Rybka4.
Black made the bad move on 32...Rxa5.

Should've moved 32...Kg6
to protect the h5 square from the white Queen.

The King has to protect himself against
the mating force of a minor piece & a Queen.

32...Kg6 ends in a draw.

Feb-02-14  Ultra: I actually got this one.


Feb-02-14  PJs Studio: I've been coping out on these Saturday and Sunday puzzles lately. Just enjoying the view. This was a particularly pretty finish.

I thought incorrectly that 39.Rb8+ was the move (forcing Bg8) but after 40.Qxf6 Rg7 white still has 41. Rb7, so i guess white can still win it. I respect this wicked attack more so because whites Queen and rook attacking squares ALSO COVER ALL OF BLACKS RETURN DEFENSIVE SQUARES. A very "fast" attack.

Impressive confidence in whites calculation.

Feb-02-14  Patriot: Black has the bishop pair.

Two candidates were of main interest to me: Qe8, Nxh6.

36.Nxh6 seems stronger.

36...Bxh6 37.Rh8+ Kxh8 38.Qxh6+ Rh7 39.Rb8+ Bg8 40.Qxf6+ Rg7 41.h5 looks like it should win. Otherwise, white could go for a draw with 41.Qh6+ Rh7 42.Qf6+.


The game line is certainly much better.

Feb-02-14  Patriot: <morf> You may have missed this only because <but Black is a piece ahead so can give back some material>. I read that and thought "What?! I miscounted the pieces again??". I had to go back and do a re-count. :-) There are several winning moves and 36.Qe8 is one of them. I couldn't seem to find a killer move in the line I went with but it's there: 36.Nxh6 Bxh6 37.Rh8+ Kxh8 38.Qxh6+ Rh7 39.Rb8+ Bg8 40.Qxf6+ Rg7 41.Qh6+ Rh7 42.Qe6! Rg7 43.Rxg7+!

I missed the simple pin and win in the game line or even in my line with 41.Rb7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop and a knight for the bishop pair.

The first idea that comes to mind is 36.Qe8, threatening 37.Qxe6 and 37.Qxf8:

A) 36... Bxf5 37.exf5

A.1) 37... Bd6(e7,g7) 38.Qg8#.

A.2) 37... Kg7(8) 38.Qxd7 + -.

B) 36... Be7 37.Qh8+ Kg6 38.Qxh6+ Kf7 39.Qh7#.

C) 36... Bxc4 37.Qxf8 Qxf8 38.Rxf8 Bxa7 39.Rbb8

C.1) 39... d3 40.Rh8+ Kg6 41.Rxh6+ Kf7 42.Rh7+ Kg6 (42... Ke6 43.Re8+ Re7 44.Re(h)xe7#) 43.Rxd7 + -.

C.2) 39... Kg6 40.Rh8 gxh4 (40... Rh7 41.h5+ and 42.Rxh7) 41.Rxh6+ Kg5 (41... Kf7 42.Rh7+ as in C.1) 42.Bxh4+ Kf4 (42... Kg4 43.f3+ Kf4 44.Kf2 and 45.g3#) 43.Rg6 and 44.Bg3#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Houdini 2.0 evaluates 36.Qe8 at +9 and 36.Nxh6 at +15.
Feb-02-14  Poulsen: In fact I saw this fast - after briefly considering Rxf8 - the key move is off course Rh8+ -and the white queen enters the Black camp. I did not bother to calculate after that.
Feb-02-14  stst: looks easy, but may miss some escapes for Black:
36.Nxh6 BxN
37.Rh8+ KxR
38.QxB+ Kg8
39.Rb8+ Kf7 (or Qf8 then RxR#)

will check later...

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Why are people on the anti-Kotov bandwagon?
Feb-02-14  Jim Bartle: <Why are people on the anti-Kotov bandwagon?>

They just don't think like grandmasters.

Feb-02-14  RandomVisitor: After 33.Rb8:

click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

<[+0.19] d=22 33...Qa7> 34.Rdb1 Rb5 35.R8xb5 cxb5 36.cxb5 Qxa2 37.Qd1 Qc4 38.Nxd6 Bxd6 39.Qxd6 Qxe4 40.Rb4 Qd5 41.Qxd5 Bxd5 42.b6 Kg6 43.f3 Rb7 44.Bf2 Kf5 45.Rb2 Ke6 46.hxg5 hxg5 47.Bc5 e4 48.fxe4 Bxe4

[+2.17] d=22 33...Kg6 34.Rxd6 Ra3 35.h5+ Kh7 36.Rxe6 Rxf3 37.gxf3 Bg7 38.Rbe8 Bf8 39.Rc8 Qa7 40.Rcxc6 Bg7 41.Nxg7 Kxg7 42.Rxf6 Rxf6 43.Bxe5 Qb8 44.Bxf6+ Kf7 45.Bd4 g4 46.Rxh6 Qd8 47.Rf6+ Ke8 48.Be5 gxf3

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