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Cenek Kottnauer vs Alexander Kotov
"Think Like an International Master" (game of the day Sep-30-2010)
Moscow-Prague (1946), Prague CSR, rd 4, Mar-07
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran. Blumenfeld Variation (D49)  ·  1-0



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Given 4 times; par: 27 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Kottnauer said his move 20.Bf4, with the threat of 21.Be5+, caused Kotov to take some time before he played 20...Ke7.

His next move, 21.Rac1, shook Kotov, and caused him to think for some twenty minutes.

Fritz indicates an equal evaluation after 21.Rac1: (.00) (21 ply) 21...Rg8!, (.00) (21 ply) 22.Bc7 Qc6 23.b4 Ne4 24.Nxe4 Qxe4 25.Qg5+, or (.-12) (21 ply) 22.Nh7 Bb7 23.Rxc5 Qxc5 24.Rc1 Qxc1+ 25.Bxc1.

Kottnauer indicated his moves 21.Rac1 & 22.Rfe1 did not have precise meanings, but were based on sound principles, bringing his rooks into the battle, and making it impossible for Black to consolidate his position.

Kottnauer admitted he was still worried about his queen's flank. He remembered how relieved he felt when Kotov did not dare to take his rook pawn (21...Rxa2?). Kottnauer apparently had not spent much time analyzing 21...Rxa2?, as Fritz shows this move would have been a serious error: (2.96) (20 ply) 21...Rxa2? 22.b4 Rg8 23.bxc5 Qd8 24.Bd6+.

As noted in the above analysis, Kotov could have maintained an equal position with 21...Rg8!. However, after 21...Ra7?, he had a losing position. Kottnauer noted that 21...Ra7? was played with the intention of protecting the 7th rank, but he made no comment regarding the much superior 21...Rg8!.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After 21...Ra7? 22.Rfe1! Bd7, Kottnauer said, that with the optimism of the attacker, he could see the final breakthrough, with the move 23.b4!.

However, Kottnauer stated there could have been complications had Kotov played 23...Na4.

Fritz shows, that after 23...Na4, the game was clearly won for White by 24.Nxe6! Bxe6 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 26.Rxe6+! Kxe6 27.Qe5+ Kd7 28.Qd5+ Ke7 29.Rc8

However, Kottnauer was of the opinion that best after 23...Na4 was: 24.Nxe6! Bxe6 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 26.Bg5+ Kd7 27.Qh8 Nc3 28.Rxe6 Qxe6 29.Qxd4+ Kc8 30.Rxc3+ Rac7 31.Rxc7+ Rxc7 32.h4, winning. Kottnauer's 26.Bg5+ wins, but it is not as good as 26.Rxe6+!.

As played, 23.b4! Na6 24.Nxe6 Bxe6 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 26.Bg5+ Kd7 (not 26...Kd6 27.Rxe6+!), and now, as Kottnauer said, comes the quiet, problem-like key move: 27.Qh8!!, and Black has no further defense.

As the game approached its' end, Kotnauer admitted that even while knowing that he had been on the receiving end many times in the past, and would again in the future, he still felt a shameless pleasure in seeing his opponent's ears and neck turning a deep red in shock and recognition of the approaching end.

Kottnauer finalized his comments by saying that it was probable that he most liked this game because it was a good example of power play in chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Kottnauer was an IM: the game shows us what you can achieve when you 'think like an International Master'. Apart from a sardonic nod to his well-known books, I don't think the pun implies a negative comment on Kotov's play.
Sep-30-10  belgradegambit: FWIW Domdaniel is correct. When I chose this game and title it was because Kottnauer was an International Master and here he was beating an opponent who "thinks like" and is a GM. No disrespect intended to to Kotov, just thought it was an ironic title for the game.
Sep-30-10  rapidcitychess: One of the few puns I really laughed on. Nice game too.
Oct-02-10  gauer: <belgradegambit: ...he was beating an opponent who "thinks like" and is a GM>. Kotov's biography page suggests that in 1946, he was still a young enough contestant for earning his GM title 4 years later (& Kottnauer picked up his IM the same year as the freshly-elected future GM). Luckily, Kotov later got out of that train of thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < gauer: <belgradegambit: ...he was beating an opponent who "thinks like" and is a GM>. Kotov's biography page suggests that in 1946, he was still a young enough contestant for earning his GM title 4 years later >

Actually, Kotov was already a GM in 1946; he became a GM of USSR in 1939. In 1950, when the new IGM title was created by FIDE, all GMs of USSR automatically converted to IGMs by a FIDE decree.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: That last move was a mistake. White will win a bishop or rook.
Feb-24-13  sfm: <Penguincw: That last move was a mistake. White will win a bishop or rook.> The problem is, that there is no move left which is not a "mistake"! White threatens 28.Qc8+ with disaster. What to do about that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fiercebadger: Kottnauer was once my chess coach, he gave an evening class in Bell st London. I remember he was a little impatient with us patzers . at the end of the class he would play a simul and enjoy smashing us all up
Dec-09-18  railway: <Pawn and Two: Fritz indicates an equal evaluation after 21.Rac1: (.00) (21 ply) 21...Rg8!, (.00) (21 ply) 22.Bc7 Qc6 23.b4 Ne4 24.Nxe4 Qxe4 25.Qg5+> Position after 24...Qxe4

click for larger view

Stockfish 10: 25.Bd6 26.Kf6 (other king's moves lead to force mate) And now 27. Bf4 (with threat Qg5 for mate sequence) 27...Ra7 (protects 7 rank from Rc1-c7) 28.Rfe1 (activation of the Rf1)28... Qa8 (keeps presure on g2) And now 29. Bb8! (disconnects black's pieces coordination of 8 rank and threatening Rxc8)

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28...Kf7 (free way for black bishop to go on e5) 29.Bxa7 And now Be5!

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If white queen takes bishop, mate on g2.
Stockfish 10: 30.Rc7+ Bxc7 31.Qxc7 Ke8 32. f3 (black queen and black rook attack g2 from distance) 32... Bd7 (prevents 7 rank for Bc5 mate threat) 33. Bxd4

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For computer engines, white is winning, but if players are humans, black have chances for counterplay.

Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Black to move

1) =0.00 (32 ply) <16...Kxh7 17.Ng5+ Kg6 18.Qg4 f5 19.Qg3> Rg8 20.b4 Qb8 21.Bf4 e5 22.Nh3+ Kf7 23.bxc5 Bf6 24.Ng5+ Bxg5 25.Bxg5 Be6 26.Qh4 Rh8 27.Qg3 e4 28.Bf4 Qg8 29.Bg5 Qb8

2) +6.85 (31 ply) 16...Kh8 17.Ng5 e5 18.Qh5 Bh6 19.b4 Na4 20.Be4 Kg7 21.Bxa8 Qg6 22.Qxg6+ Kxg6 23.Nf3 Bg7 24.Bc6 Bg4 25.Bd2 Nc3 26.Bxc3 dxc3 27.Bxb5 e4 28.Ne1 Rd8 29.Nc2 Be6 30.Bc6 f5 31.Ne3 Kf7 32.Rfd1 Rd2 33.a3 Kg6 34.Rxd2 cxd2 35.Rd1 Bc3 36.Bd5 Bxd5 37.Nxd5

= = =

After <16...Kxh7 17.Ng5+ Kg6 18.Qg4 f5 19.Qg3>

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Black to move

1) =0.00 (28 ply) 19...Rg8 20.b4 Qb8 21.Bf4 e5 22.Nh3+ Kf7 23.bxc5 Bf6 24.Ng5+ Bxg5 25.Bxg5 Be6 26.f4 e4 27.Qf2 d3 28.Qd4 Rg6 29.Rfb1 Qh8 30.Qxh8 Rxh8 31.a4 Ra8 32.axb5 Rxa1 33.Rxa1 e3 34.Ra7+ Kf8 35.Ra8+ Kf7 36.Ra7+

2) +0.55 (28 ply) 19...Ra7 20.Bf4 e5 21.Ne6+ Kh7 22.Nxf8+ Bxf8 23.Bxe5 Ne4 24.Qh3+ Qh6 25.Qxh6+ Kxh6 26.Bxd4 Ra6 27.f3 Ng5 28.Rac1 Bd7 29.h4 Ne6 30.Bf2 Bg7 31.Rfd1 Be8 32.Rc8 Bg6 33.Rb8 Bxb2 34.Rxb5 Bf6 35.Rd2 Bc3 36.Re2 Nd4 37.Bxd4

3) +0.55 (28 ply) 19...Ra7 20.Bf4 e5 21.Ne6+ Kh7 22.Nxf8+ Bxf8 23.Bxe5 Ne4 24.Qh3+ Qh6 25.Qxh6+ Kxh6 26.Bxd4 Ra6 27.f3 Ng5 28.Rac1 Bd7 29.h4 Ne6 30.Bf2 Bg7 31.Rfd1 Be8 32.Rc8 Bg6 33.Rb8 Bxb2 34.Rxb5 Bf6 35.Rd2 Bc3 36.Re2 Nd4 37.Bxd4

All 6.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 9 v010218

Nov-27-19  Walter Glattke: 23.-Ne4!? 24.Nxe4 fxe4 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 26.Bg5+ Ke8 27.Qg6 e3 28.Rc5 Rxa2 29.fxe3 Qb7 30.Bf4 one pawn more, and attack, also good for white.
Nov-27-19  saturn2: I calculated as far as

23. b4 Na6 (Ne4 24 Nxe4 is white advantage) 24. Nxe6 Bxe6 25. Qxg7+ Rf7 26. Bg5+ Kd7 (Ke8 seems to lead to mate) 27. Qh8 Qb8  and here I stopped thinking the line is not good for white because of material minus.

Nov-27-19  EIDorado: It looks like I'm the only one who went for 23.Nxe6. And it looks so simple too.
Nov-27-19  Andrew Chapman: 23.Nxe6 seemed straightforwardly advantageous, and the engine slightly prefers it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < "Think Like an International Master" >

I still have Kotov's "think like a grandmaster". it's a very good book.

Nov-27-19  wtpy: Eldorado, I went with Ne6 as well, but don't know about simple. Didn't even consider b4, might in a game but in a problem I think I look for the more dramatic moves.
Nov-27-19  Patriot: I also went with 23.Nxe6 - it's a simple win. No matter how black recaptures, white always regains material with an attack.
Nov-27-19  RandomVisitor: After 22...Bd7

click for larger view


<43/78 47:45 +11.21 23.b4 Nd3 24.Qxd3 Rf6> 25.Rc5 Kf8 26.Qxd4 Be8 27.Qd6+ Qxd6 28.Bxd6+ Kg8 29.Rc8 Rf8 30.Bxf8 Bd7 31.Bc5+ Bxc8 32.Bxa7 Bf6 33.Nxe6 Kf7 34.Nc7 Bd7 35.a3 Bg5 36.Rd1 Bc6 37.Rd6 Be4 38.Nxb5 Be7 39.Rd1 Bc2 40.Re1 Ba4 41.Nd4 f4 42.Bb8 Bf6 43.Be5 Bd8 44.Re4 Bd1 45.Bxf4 Kg6 46.Be5 Bb6 47.Rf4 Bxd4 48.Rxd4 Bc2

<43/81 47:45 +10.96 23.Nxe6 Nxe6 24.Qxg7+> Rf7 25.Bg5+ Ke8 26.Qg8+ Rf8 27.Qg6+ Rf7 28.b4 Qd6 29.Rc5 Ra6 30.Rxf5 Qf8 31.Bh6 Qxh6 32.Qxf7+ Kd8 33.Rd5 Ra7 34.Qxe6 Qxe6 35.Rxe6 Kc8 36.Red6 Kd8 37.Re5 Kc7 38.Rxd4 Ra6 39.h4 Rh6 40.h5 Bc8 41.Rxb5 Ba6 42.Rg5 Bc8 43.Rc5+ Kb7 44.a3 Ra6 45.Kh2 Rf6 46.Kg3 Rf8 47.a4 Rg8+ 48.Kh2 Ka8 49.h6 Bb7 50.h7 Rh8 51.Rh5 Be4 52.Rxe4 Kb8 53.Re3 Kc7 54.Re7+ Kb8 55.Rb5+ Kc8

42/79 47:45 +8.60 23.a4 bxa4 24.Nxe6 Nxe6 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 26.Bg5+ Ke8 27.Qg8+ Rf8 28.Qg6+ Rf7 29.Bh6 Ke7 30.Qg5+ Kd6 31.Qg3+ f4 32.Qg6 Ke7 33.Qg5+ Kd6 34.Qe5+ Ke7 35.Rc5 Qb4 36.Re4 Ra6 37.Qg5+ Rf6 38.Rf5 Kd8 39.Qxf6+ Kc8 40.Bxf4 a3 41.Qh8+ Nd8 42.Bg5 Kb7 43.Qxd8 Qa4 44.Re1 Ra8 45.b3 Rxd8 46.bxa4 Bxf5 47.Bxd8 Bc2 48.Ra1 Kc8 49.Bf6 d3 50.Bc3 Bxa4 51.Rxa3 Bc2 52.Ra8+ Kc7 53.Be5+ Kc6 54.Rc8+ Kb5 55.Rb8+ Kc6 56.f3

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a pawn for a bishop.

The defenseless bishop on g7 suggests Nxe6, perhaps after 23.b4:

A) 23... Na4 24.Nxe6

A.1) 24... Bxe6 25.Qxg7+ Rf7 (25... Ke8 26.Rxe6+ Qxe6 27.Qxa7 wins decisive material) 26.Bg5+

A.1.a) 26... Ke8 27.Qg8+ Rf8 (27... Kd7 28.Qd8#) 28.Rxe6+ Kd7 28.Re7+ and mate next.

A.1.b) 26... Kd7 27.Qh8

A.1.b.i) 27... Re7 28.Qf8 Qd6 29.Qc8#.

A.1.b.ii) 27... Kd6 28.Qe8 Rfe7 28.Bf4+ Kd5 29.Re5+ looks winning.

A.1.c) 26... Kd6 27.Qe5+ Kd7 28.Qh8 transposes to A.1.b.

A.2) 24... Bf6 25.Nxf8+ Kxf8 26.Qg6 seems to win.

B) 23... Na6 24.Nxe6 as above.

C) 23... Nb7 24.Nxe6 looks similar to previous lines.

D) 23... Ne4 24.Nxe4 wins a pawn at least.

Nov-27-19  RandomVisitor: In light of the story told above by <Pawn and Two> <As noted by <Cibator>, Kottnauer on the BBC radio (1962) series, "My Favorite Game", reviewed this game.

Kottnauer stated that the moves up through 19...Kf6 were made very quickly by both players.

At that point, Kottnauer said he realized to his horror that he was not sure how to continue. In addition, he had the uncanny feeling that he had fallen into a prepared variation.

<Kottnauer mentioned that he took a little walk at that point, and in passing the captain of the Prague team, he asked him if he knew what White should do at that point.> Kottnauer added that he would not be commenting on the morality of discussing the game with a third person.> "Cheat like a losing player"

Nov-27-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: I failed to find the initial move, 23. b4! but I saw the 24.♘xe6 without the previous preparation move, which is obvious a gross mistake. However, I think at fist glance, that 25...♕b8 helps the White win. Then, I began to see other answers: A) 27...♔d6 28. ♖xe6+ ♔xe6 29. ♕h6+ ♔d7 30. ♕xb6 If 28...♔d7 29.♕e8# or 28...♔d5 29.♕e5#,
B)27...♖e7 28. ♗xe7 ♔xe7 29. ♖c8 ♘c7 30. ♕f8+ ♔d7 31. ♕d8+ ♔c6 32. ♖xe6+ ♔b7 33. ♖b8+ ♔a6 34. ♖exb6#, C) 27...♖b7 28. ♖c8 ♘xb4 29. ♕e8+ ♔d6 30. ♕xe6# or 28... ♔d6 29. ♗f4+ ♔d5 30.♕e5# (or if 29...♔d7 30. ♕e8# ) , Even 28...♖e7 29. ♗xe7 ♔xe7 30. ♕f8+ ♔d7 31. ♕e8+ ♔d6 32. ♕xe6#, and finally:
D) 27...f4! 28.Tc8 ♗d5 29. ♕e8+ ♔d6 30. ♕e5+ ♔d7 31. ♖d8+ ♔c6 32. ♕xd5+ ♔c7 33. ♗xf4+ ♖xf4 34. ♕d7#. This lines form a picture of Black losing position.
Nov-27-19  paavoh: @belgradegambit: Good job on the pun, still elicits a chuckle nine years later.
Nov-28-19  RandomVisitor: After 14...0-0

click for larger view


<59/83 9:10:24 +0.13 15.Re1 Bb7 16.Bf4> Bd5 17.h3 Qb7 18.Rc1 Rfc8 19.Rxc8+ Rxc8 20.Ng5 Nf8 21.Ne4 Qa8 22.Qh5 Bxe4 23.Bxe4 Qxa2 24.Qxb5 d3 25.Qxd3 Qxb2 26.Be3 Qc3 27.Qxc3 Rxc3 28.Rd1 Bf6 29.g3 Ng6 30.Rc1 Rxc1+ 31.Bxc1 Bd4 32.Kg2 f5 33.Bb1 h5 34.Bd3 Kg7 35.h4 Ne5 36.Bb5 Kg6 37.Be8+ Nf7 38.f4 Kg7 39.Kf3 Kf8 40.Bd7 Ke7 41.Bb5 e5 42.fxe5 Nxe5+ 43.Ke2 Ng4 44.Bd2 Bg7 45.Bd3 Ke6 46.Bb1 Bd4 47.Ba2+ Kd7

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