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Ilia Smirin vs Yochanan Afek
ISR-ch (1992), Ramat Gan ISR, rd 11
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0



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Oct-20-16  plumbst: I've already seen this game (I believe it was one of favorite books, Modern Chess Miniatures by Neil McDonald?) but this shows the dangers of neglecting development.

White wins on the spot with 8.Qe5!

After 8...f6 9.Nc7+ Kf7 10.Qd5+ e6 11.Nxe6 Black should resign to save himself the embarrassment.

Oct-20-16  ChemMac: 7...Nf6 was forced, I think, after which if 8.NXf6+ gf White has only a small advantage I think. So 7.Qh5 might not even be a computer's first choice! Perhaps Afek instinctively played the move that produced the prettiest position, rather than have a dull game!
Oct-20-16  YouRang: Thursday 8.?

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The first move seemed obvious enough. I mean, what other threat does white have but Nc8+ (forcing loss of black queen and otherwise forking K+R)? And how else to enable that threat except for <8.Qe5> first?

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So now it's just a matter of figuring out what black can do. It seems certain that black must create an escape for the king by pushing the e or f pawn.

- If 8...e6, then I have the rook fork: 9.Nc7+ Ke7 10.Nxa8

- If <8...f6> (and this is the trickier line since white's Q is attacked), then <9.Qd5+>

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Black is almost surprisingly helpless:

- 10...e6 11.Nxe6! (safe because Pd7 is pinned).

- <10...Kg6>

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Again 11.Ne6!
Threat #1: Nf4+ ...Kh6 Qh5#
Threat #2: Nxd8

Oct-20-16  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens axb5.

White has Bc4 and Qe5 to try to exploit Black's weaknesses. After 8.Bc4 e6 9.Qe5 d6 Black seems to hold.

In the case of 8.Qe5:

A) 8... axb5 9.Nc7+ Qxc7 10.Qxc7 + - [Q vs B+N].

B) 8... e6 9.Nc7+ Ke7 10.Nxa8

B.1) 10... axb5 11.Qxb5 and the knight escapes.

B.2) 10... d6 11.Qxd4 axb5 12.Qb6 and the knight escapes (12... Qxb6 13.Nxb6 followed by a4).

C) 8... f6 9.Nc7+ Kf7 10.Qd5+ e6 (10... Kg6 11.Nxa8 as above) 11.Nxe6 looks winning (11... dxe6 12.Qxd8 + -; 11... Qb6 12.Ng5+ with attack, for example 12... Kg6 13.Qf5+ Kh5 14.Nf7+ g5 15.Be2+ Kh4 16.Qg4#).

Oct-20-16  saturn2: <YouRang> is this game in your collection of games with ..a6 being a bad move?
Oct-20-16  AlicesKnight: Saw the main moves but underappreciated how effective 10.Qd5+ was - it all looks more like 1882 than 1992.
Oct-20-16  patzer2: patzer2: My solution to today's Thursday puzzle was 8.Qe5! f6 9.Nc7+ Kf7, giving me the first two moves correct. But I blew it with <10. Bc4+?> which appears to lose to 10...e6 . No doubt 10. Qd5+ is much stronger.

With only my quick human glance, the decisive error appears to be 7...a6? allowing 8. Qe5! . Instead, I'd try 7...Nf6 when 8. Nxf6 gxf6 9. Bc4 appears to give white an edge but not a sure win.

Early in the opening, I prefer 3...g6 as in Svidler vs Gelfand, 2016.

P.S.: My 7-year-old Grandson called today to tell me his near 1400 performance rating in a five round blitz tournament this week improved his blitz rating to 1192. For an adult that's not impressive, but for a 7-year-old an 1192 rating puts you easily in the top 100 players seven and under in the USCF.

Oct-20-16  pedro99: To clarify a little, in the 10...Kg6 line
11.Ne6- Qe8 the calm 12.d3! is simplest
The knight is immune because Be8: is check and the threat of Qf5mate is unstoppable.
Oct-20-16  pedro99: To clarify a little, in the 10...Kg6 line
11.Ne6- Qe8 the calm 12.d3! is simplest
The knight is immune because Be8: is mate and the threat of Qf5mate is unstoppable.
Oct-20-16  gofer: <YouRang> asks what else can we see but <8 Qe5 ...>?

Well I looked at <8 Bc4> which is a very miserable attempt at a mate in 3 more <9 Nc7+ Qxc7 10 Qxf7+ Kd8 11 Qxf8#>, but it falls short for many many reasons... I did eventually see the main line.

<8 Qe5 ...>

But then I thought what's so bad with the queen moving to create an escape square?! Which everyone also seems to be ignoring...

8 ... Qa5
9 b4!

Ahhh! That would be the reason noone is mentioning <8... Qa5> and so this does leave us with just a few pawn moves to look at - which everyone has discussed already...

This simple result makes me want to look at <3 Bb5>. Looking at the database, statistically, <3 ... a6/Qb6/Nd4> all lose a lot of the time, which are three moves that quite a lot of people at my level might play!!!

I don't think I haven't ever played <3 Bb5>!!!

Oct-20-16  saturn2: I think after 3 Bb5 just Nd4 is a good answer.

But after the game continuation 3..Qb6 4 Sc3 the move Nd4 was bad. Instead 4..e6 seems better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I didn't see this one at all. I was thinking of 8. Bc4. It's an amazing demolition.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi gofer,

3.Bb5 is good at our level. Played it for 30+ years and have some great results with it.

Don't buy a book and lock yourself away memorising variations (90% of which you will never see) just play it.

3...Qb6 is played to avoid ruining the pawn structure in case of Bxc6. 3...Qc7 fits that bill better giving Black a6 and b5 options.

3...Nd4 4.Nxd4 cxd4 and White must avoid the lazy....

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5.d3 Which drops the Bishop to 5...Qa5+

That has quite a few Sunday morning victims including one lad I know who has walked into that pitfall as White twice!!

After 3...Nd4 4.Bc4 is a move that's been seen a few times.

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If Black is feeling lucky then they can go for the Blackburne Sicilian Shilling. (the Blackburne Euro does not have the same ring to it.)

4...e5 5. Nxe5 Qg5

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6.Nxf7 Qxg2 7.Rf1 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Nf3 mate.

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Good Luck.


The puzzle.

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I wonder how many here would have recoiled in disgust at the suggestion of 7.Qd1-h5 here

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...setting the whole thing up.

Me I'd be looking at (then convincing myself it's good ) to play the piece sac. 7.d3 e6 8.0-0 exd5 9.exd5 and big whacko's down the e-file.


Back to the puzzle.

8.Qe5 was a boat burner (no going back) the move you had to bust was 8...f6

The move you had to see in your mind was here.

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The attacked Bishop can free itself with a check but the natural 10.Bc4+ goes nowhere.

Ahh... 10.Qd5+ (the key to the puzzle) the Black Queen is unprotected.

10...e6 11.Nxd6 Black has to ride the waves of a discovered or double check. He's sunk.

Oct-20-16  patzer2: < Sally Simpson: Hi gofer, 3.Bb5 is good at our level. Played it for 30+ years and have some great results with it.>

Perhaps 3. Bb5 in this Sicilian opening line is good at any level.

According to the repertoire explorer here at, Anand has played this 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bb5 opening 31 times. The former world champion's results with it are 15 wins, 13 draws and only 3 losses. Not bad for a second most popular move!

According to our Opening Explorer, 3. d4 (played 22,923 times) is far more popular than 3. Bb5 (played 7,396 times). Yet White has a better winning percentage with 3. Bb5 (40.6%) than with 3. d4 (35.5%).

Oct-20-16  YouRang: <saturn2: <YouRang> is this game in your collection of games with ..a6 being a bad move?>

It is now!

Obviously, this has been a neglected game collection (it had just one game, and now it has two), lol.

Oct-20-16  kevin86: Easy trouble for black:white has three piec3es developed and black ZERO.
Oct-20-16  YouRang: <gofer><...But then I thought what's so bad with the queen moving to create an escape square?! Which everyone also seems to be ignoring...

8 ... Qa5
9 b4!

Ahhh! That would be the reason noone is mentioning <8... Qa5> and so this does leave us with just a few pawn moves to look at - which everyone has discussed already... >

But the analysis is incomplete without mentioning <8...Qa5>, which you have now you have now done.

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<9.b4> is perhaps the most obvious reply, but even so, it has some tactical followup:

Take the bishop? 9...Qxb5 10.Nc7+ Kd8 11.Nxb5

Perhaps more interesting is <9...f6!?>

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There are several ways for white to win, but they require a bit of thought. The white queen needs to (1) give check allowing bxa5, or (2) give check with the knight allowing Qxa5:

- 10.Nc7+ Kd8 11.Ne6+! Ke8 (11...dxd6? 12.Qxd4+ & 13.bxa5) 12.Nxg7+! Bxg7 13.Qh5+ and 14.bxa5

- or, 10.Nxf6+! gxf6 11.Qh5+ and 12.axb5

- or, 10.Bxd7+ Bxd7 11.Nxf6+ gxf6 12.Qxa5


However, according to my engine, 9.b4 isn't even the best move. It recommends the completely unintuitive <9.Bd3!>

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This threatens to win black's queen via discovered attack: Nf6+ and Qxa5.

This is a wonderful example of a computer move that no human would play (okay, maybe Tal on speed). An example of the ensuing mainline: 9...Kd8 10.b4! f6 11.Qg3! Qa4 12.Qc7+ Ke8 13.b5! axb5 14.Nb6 Qa7 15.Rb1! e6 16.Rxb5 Qb8 17.Nxa8 Qxc7 18.Nxc7+ Kf7 (white is up a rook).

Most humans would pefer <9.b4> in a heartbeat over 9.Bd3 and a heart attack.

Oct-20-16  Marmot PFL: 8 Qe5 and there is no stopping 8 Nc7+.

One of several opening traps in the Rossolimo Variation, most of which seem to involve early black queen moves.

Oct-20-16  patzer2: <saturn2: I think after 3 Bb5 just Nd4 is a good answer.> Well I suppose 3...Nd4 is playable, but after 3...Nd4 4. Nxd4 cxd4 5. 0-0 White IMO stands clearly better.

The Opening Explorer seems to support this conclusion as 3...Nd4 is rarely played at Master level as White has a 75.5% winning percentage after 3...Nd4 4. Nxd4 cxd4 5. 0-0 .

White's neat win in the recent game A Gara vs B Tuzi, 2016 illustrates the kind of dangerous initiative White can secure after 3...Nd4 4. Nxd4 cxd4 5. 0-0 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: <murty: After 10...Kg6 what is the quick finish? The best I see is 11. Ne6 Qe8 (or else the Q is lost, or the B with check) 12. Qf5+ Kh6 (Kf7 13. Ng5#) 13. d3+ g5 and mate in 2 with Bxg5, Qxg5>

In this line I love the way the Black King has wandered into a position

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that finally allows the White QB to come into the attack (with tempo).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Patzer2,

3.Bb5 at 'our level' is good in that is not unsound and rare enough at our level players to throw players on their own resources. I have quite a few short wins (under 25 moves) with it.

One move I've never faced yet I know is there is 3...Na5.

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It's a move you just want to punish tactically but there is nothing on. a6 is coming and the Bishop goes back to e2. (yuk)

Best to ignore it and develop and you should get a plus but it annoys me that they are getting away with it. I want more.

Hi YouRang

I should have added that I saw the Queen winning trick here.

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But I would have played 9.Be2 9.Bd3 is just to ugly to consider.

Oct-21-16  gofer: <Sally Simpson:> Thanks!!!
Oct-21-16  patzer2: <Sally Simpson> Thanks for discussing the idea 3. Bb5 Na5!?

Looking at the possibilities in the Opening Explorer, the most popular, master-level response to 3...Na5 is 4. c3.

It appears 3. Bb5 Na5 4. c3 is a strong enough try that 3...Na5 is seldom if ever tried at Master level.

After the impressive White wins in E Safarli vs Akopian, 2013 and Wan Yunguo vs A Schmitt, 2014, 3. Bb5 Na5 apparently hasn't been given a serious try at Master level for the past two years.

P.S.: However, 3. Bb5 Na5 looks like fun for Black. So I'm looking forward to trying it out as a surprise in a club skittles or blitz game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: "Smirin Is Smilin'"
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: He's not the only one smilin'😉
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