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Igor Ivanov vs Vladimir Mezentsev
"Game of the Millennium" (game of the day Nov-11-2007)
Koltanowski Memorial (2000), San Francisco, CA USA, rd 2, Dec-15
Queen's Gambit Declined: Baltic Defense. Queen Attack Deferred (D02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-11-07  poly: what is the rating of this two masters?
Nov-11-07  Antiochus: 42 Rxg8 Rxg8 43 Qxg8 is a draw?It seems a victory of the whites!
Nov-11-07  Men Tal: <polly> Have a look in the gamesheet above. At the time, Ivanov was rated at 2467 (now deceased) and Mezentsev at 2376 (now rated 2398 with an IM title). Ivanov spent a number of years of time in my country, Canada, and dominated the game here, along with Kevin Spraggett (FIDE 2580) and still active.
Nov-11-07  meteficha: <sallom89> Crafty doesn't like most white moves at all and thinks that black was winning until its 29th move, sometimes even a piece ahead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Which millennium?
Nov-11-07  Erdkunde: Wow. Thrust and parry, punch and counterpunch. Impossible to predict who would win at any stage of the game.
Nov-11-07  parisattack: !! I bet the Fritz fans out there will have a ball with this one. What a game.
Nov-11-07  Operation Mindcrime: Great game, a true battle royal if there ever was one.
Nov-11-07  RandomVisitor: Igor Vasilievich Ivanov (2467) - Vladimir Mezentsev (2376) [D06] Koltanowski Memorial San Francisco (2), 15.12.2000
[Rybka 2.3.2a mp up]

1.d4 d5
2.c4 Bf5
3.Nc3 e6 last book move

4.Qb3 0.10/18 Nc6 0.12/17
5.Nf3= 0.06 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Rb8 9.g3 Nf6 10.Bg2 0-0 11.0-0 Re8 0.12 0.06/18

5...Nb4= 0.00 5...Bb4 6.a3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qd7 9.Nh4 Nf6 10.Nxf5 exf5 11.e3 0-0 12.Bd3 0.06 0.00/16

6.e4³ -0.33 6.cxd5 Nf6 7.dxe6 Bxe6 8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qb3 Be6 10.Qa4+ Bd7 11.Qb3 Be6 12.Qa4+ Bd7 0.00 -0.33/19

6...dxe4 -0.34/18
7.c5 -0.34/18 a5 -0.34/17
8.a3 -0.34/18 exf3 -0.36/17
9.axb4 -0.37/17 Qxd4= 0.08 9...axb4 10.Rxa8 Qxa8 11.Qxb4 Nf6 12.gxf3 Be7 13.Bf4 c6 14.Be2 Qa1+ 15.Bd1 b5 16.Bd6 -0.37 0.08/18

10.Be3 0.08/18 Qd7 0.13/17
11.bxa5= -0.04 11.gxf3 Nf6 12.Rxa5 Rxa5 13.bxa5 Qc8 14.Rg1 c6 15.Qb6 Nd7 16.Qb4 Nf6 17.Bf4 Be7 0.13 -0.04/18

11...c6 -0.04/18
12.Na4³ -0.53 12.gxf3 Nf6 13.a6 bxa6 14.Rxa6 Rxa6 15.Bxa6 Be7 16.Qb8+ Bd8 17.0-0 Nd5 18.Nxd5 Qxd5 -0.04 -0.53/19

12...Rxa5 -0.54/18
13.Rd1µ -1.24 13.gxf3 Nf6 14.Bc4 Qc7 15.0-0 Be7 16.Qb6 Bd8 17.Qxc7 Bxc7 18.b4 Ra8 19.Nb6 Rxa1 -0.54 -1.24/19

13...Qc7 -1.22/17
14.g4 -2.10 14.gxf3 Nf6 15.Bd3 Bxd3 16.Rxd3 Be7 17.0-0 Nd5 18.Bd2 Ra7 19.Qc4 0-0 20.Bc3 Rfa8 -1.22 -2.10/17

14...Bg6 -1.71/17
15.Qb4 -1.99/18 b5µ -1.16 15...Nf6 16.Bf4 e5 17.Be3 Nd5 18.Rxd5 cxd5 19.Nb6 Ra1+ 20.Kd2 Kd8 21.Nxd5 Qa5 22.Qxa5+ -1.99 -1.16/19

16.Nc3 -1.16/18 Be7³ -0.47 16...Ne7 17.Nxb5 cxb5 18.Bxb5+ Rxb5 19.Qxb5+ Nc6 20.Qa4 f6 21.Bf4 e5 22.Be3 Qc8 23.b4 -1.16 -0.47/18

17.Nxb5 -1.62 17.Bxb5 Ra8 18.Qf4 Qc8 19.Bc4 Nf6 20.Qxf3 Qb7 21.0-0 0-0 22.b3 Qb4 23.Bd4 Nd5 -0.47 -1.62/21

17...cxb5 -1.65/20
18.Bxb5+ -1.68/21 Kf8 -1.82/18
19.Rd7 -2.06/20 Ra1+µ -1.06 19...Qb6 20.Rb7 Qxb7 21.Qxa5 Qe4 22.Qa6 Qb1+ 23.Kd2 Qxb2+ 24.Ke1 Qb1+ 25.Kd2 Qb4+ 26.Kd1 -2.06 -1.06/16

20.Kd2 -1.03/22 Qa5 -1.04/21
21.Qxa5 -1.06/21 Rxa5 -0.96/19
22.Rb7 -0.96/18 Ra8 -0.93/19
23.Ra1 -0.93/20 Rd8+ -0.74/20
24.Rd7 -0.74/19 Rxd7 0.00 24...Rc8 25.Raa7 h5 26.g5 f6 27.gxf6 gxf6 28.Ba6 Rb8 29.Kc3 f5 30.Bd4 Rh7 31.Kc4 -0.74 0.00/24

25.Bxd7 0.00/22 Be4 0.00/21

Nov-11-07  RandomVisitor: 26.Ra4 0.00/21 Bd5 0.00/20
27.c6 0.00/20 Bd6 0.00/18
28.Kc3? -1.81 28.Ra8+ Ke7 29.Kd3 Be4+ 30.Kc4 Bd5+ 31.Kd3 Be4+ 32.Kc4 Bd5+ 33.Kd3 Be4+ 34.Kc4 Bd5+ 0.00 -1.81/19

28...Ke7?= -0.18 28...g6 29.Ra8+ Kg7 30.b4 Nf6 31.Rxh8 Kxh8 32.b5 Nxg4 33.Bd4+ e5 34.Ba7 f5 35.h3 -1.81 -0.18/20

29.Ra8 -0.23/18 Bxh2= 0.13 29...Be5+ 30.Kd3 h5 31.Bc5+ Kf6 32.gxh5 Rxh5 33.Rxg8 Rh4 34.h3 Bc4+ 35.Kd2 Re4 36.Be3 -0.23 0.13/20

30.Bc5 -0.02 30.b4 Be5+ 31.Kd3 Be4+ 32.Kc4 Bd5+ 33.Kc5 Be4 34.Re8+ Kf6 35.b5 h5 36.g5+ Kg6 0.13 -0.02/14

30...Kf6 -0.14/19
31.b4 -0.14/19 Kg5± 1.06 31...h5 32.Bd4+ e5 33.Be3 e4 34.gxh5 Be5+ 35.Kc2 Bc4 36.Re8 Bd3+ 37.Kd2 Rxh5 38.Rxg8 -0.14 1.06/18

32.Bd4= 0.18 32.b5 h5 33.gxh5 Rxh5 34.Rxg8 Rh4 35.Bd4 e5 36.Be3+ Kf6 37.b6 Rc4+ 38.Kd2 e4 1.06 0.18/19

32...f6? 2.11 32...Kg6 33.b5 h6 34.b6 Kh7 35.c7 Bxc7 36.bxc7 Bxa8 37.c8Q Nf6 38.Qc4 Nxd7 39.Qc7 0.18 2.11/22

33.b5 1.87/20 Kxg4 2.33/21
34.b6 2.07/18 h5? 5.11 34...Bxc6 35.Bxc6 Kf5 36.b7 h5 37.Bd7 Kg6 38.Bxe6 Kh7 39.Bf5+ g6 40.Be6 g5 41.b8Q 2.07 5.11/19

35.b7?= 0.00 35.c7 Bb7 36.Bxe6+ Kh4 37.Rb8 Ba6 38.Bc4 Bb7 39.Bxg8 Bd6 40.Rd8 Ba6 41.Rxd6 Rxg8 5.11 0.00/22

35...h4 0.00/18
36.b8Q 0.00/21 Bxb8 0.00/19
37.Rxb8 0.00/15 h3? 1.93 37...Bxc6 38.Bxe6+ 0.00 1.93/21

38.c7 1.46/15 h2 1.93/18
39.c8Q 1.93/18 h1Q 1.46/14
40.Bxe6+ 1.93/19 Bxe6 1.46/14
41.Qxe6+ 1.93/19 Kh5 1.93/15
42.Qf5+ 1.60/21 g5 1.70/19
43.Rb1 1.70/18 Qg2 3.02 43...Qh2 44.Qc8 Kg6 45.Qe8+ Kf5 46.Rb5+ Kg4 47.Qd7+ Kh4 48.Rb4 g4 49.Qg7 Rh5 50.Qxg8 1.70 3.02/20

44.Re1 2.47/23 Nh6 2.47/21
45.Qxf6 2.47/24 Rc8+ 2.47/23
46.Kd2 2.47/23 Qh3 2.47/22
47.Re6 2.47/24 Qf5 2.47/22
48.Qxh6+ 2.31/22 Kg4 2.31/20
49.Qg6?= 0.00 49.Ke3 Qf4+ 50.Kd3 Rc1 51.Qf6 Rd1+ 52.Kc4 Qc7+ 53.Rc6 Rc1+ 54.Bc3 Qf4+ 55.Qxf4+ gxf4 2.31 0.00/25

49...Qa5+ 0.00/26
50.Kd3 0.00/23 Qb5+ 0.00/24
51.Ke4 0.00/20 Rd8 0.00/23
52.Rd6 0.00/22 Re8+ 0.00/18
53.Re6 0.00/21 Rf8 0.00/21
54.Be3 0.00/21 Rf5 0.00/22
55.Bxg5?? -19.02 55.Rd6 Qb1+ 56.Kd4 Qb4+ 57.Kd3 Qb3+ 58.Kd2 Qb4+ 59.Kd1 Qb1+ 60.Kd2 Qa2+ 61.Kc3 Qa1+ 0.00 -19.02/18

55...Rxg5 -10.11/17
56.Qe8? -#9 56.Qf6 Qe2+ 57.Kd4 Qxf2+ 58.Kd3 Qc5 59.Ke4 Qd5+ 60.Ke3 Kg3 61.Qf4+ Kg2 62.Qd6 Qxd6 -10.11 -#9/4

56...Qe2+? -13.04 56...Qc4+ 57.Ke3 -#9 -13.04/14

57.Kd4 -#17/14 Qxf2+ -#29/14
58.Re3 -#15/11 Qd2+ -#15/11
59.Kc4 -#33/11 Qd5+ -#33/11
60.Kc3 -#13/9 Qa5+ -#13/9
61.Kd4 -#3/3 Qc5+ -#2/3 0-1

Nov-11-07  RandomVisitor: Here is how to interpret the computer output above:

Rybka places its suggested improvement after the score of the move played... for example:

<32.Bd4= 0.18 32.b5 h5 33.gxh5 Rxh5 34.Rxg8 Rh4 35.Bd4 e5 36.Be3+ Kf6 37.b6 Rc4+ 38.Kd2 e4 1.06 0.18/19>

Rybka scores the move played (32.Bd4) as 0.18, and suggests the improvement 32.b5 with a score of 1.06.

Nov-11-07  Pi Guy: I agree with <Phony Benoni>. This game was played in the second milennium, not the third, and must therefore compete against Kasparov's game against Topalov and Fischer's game against Byrne, along with all of Morphy's games and many more. Definitely not the game of the milennium!

It's possible <Phony Benoni> didn't say that and I just paraphrased, in which case I apologize.

Nov-11-07  D4n: What a great game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Wow. An astonimazing game, this. And with due respect to <RV>'s meticulous engine analysis, to <Honza>'s observation that the play is far from perfect, and to the several kibitzers who have suggested improvements... I think that all of these are somehow missing the point. Maybe <Erdkunde> comes closest, by talking of "parry, punch and counterpunch".

Some of us, on a good day, might play five or six such moves in succession. The really good players, in inspired moments, might manage ten or fifteen such moves. But this just goes on and on and on, for both sides: the strain on their nerves must have been inhuman.

I know I'd have caved in much earlier, as either player. Not necessarily with a blunder -- just with an opt-out move, something to defuse the appalling tension, some misguided attempt to exchange into an ending or simplify the game somehow.

But these two kept at it for sixty-odd moves, *both* trying very hard to win and both coming close several times before the actual finish. I wonder how many times one or other of the players sat back and thought "phew! -- that's it, I've got him now" (or "that's it, there's no way out of this for me now... hold on a second, maybe there is...").

It's a supreme example of chess as a protracted battle of will and imagination. I don't think I've seen anything quite like it. Some famous double-edged struggles like Lasker-Napier are significantly shorter; there's a Bogolyubov-Alekhine game that keeps throwing out imaginative new ideas for many moves, but almost all of them are Alekhine's. A couple of Kasparov wins have the same feature. But here both players are at it, nonstop.

In a weird way it reminds me of great literature. Us ordinary mortals might write a page or two that looks a bit like, say, Thomas Pynchon or Vladimir Nabokov -- but only Pynchon or Nabokov could write 500 such pages in succession, all beautifully tied together.

A testament to human genius and ingenuity. Stunning.

Nov-12-07  PolishPentium: Your friendly neighbourhood P.P. ponders why 43 Bxf6 was not played. Obviously the B cannot be taken by the Knight (43...NxB 44 RxR and mate is inescapable). Thus, how does Black deal with the Qxg5 mate threat?
Nov-12-07  PolishPentium: Contrariwise, would 42 Rb5+ have been an improvement on what was actually played over the board?
Nov-12-07  RandomVisitor: <PP>
1. (1.68): 43.Rb1 Qg2 44.Qc8 Qh2 45.Qd8 Kg4 46.Qd7+ Kh4 47.Qg7 Rh6 48.Qxg8 Qc7+ 49.Kd3 Qh2 50.Qe6 Qg2 51.Bxf6 Kh5 52.Qe8+ Rg6 53.Kc4 Qh2 54.Kb5 Qg2

<2. (1.44): 43.Bxf6> Qa1+ 44.Kd2 Qxf6 45.Qxf6 Nxf6 46.Rxh8+ Kg4 47.Ke3 Nd5+ 48.Ke4 Nf6+ 49.Kd4 Kf5 50.Ra8 g4 51.Kd3 Ke5 52.Ra5+ Kf4 53.Rc5 g3 54.Rc4+ Ke5 55.fxg3 f2

Nov-12-07  RandomVisitor: <PP>After 42.Rb5+

click for larger view

<1. (0.03): 42...g5> 43.Kd2 Qf1 44.Rb3 Nh6 45.Rxf3 Rf8 46.Rxf6 Rxf6 47.Qxf6 Qc4 48.Qe5 Nf5 49.Bb2 Qb3 50.Qe8+ Kh6 51.Be5 Qa2+ 52.Ke1 Qb1+ 53.Ke2 Qa2+ 54.Kf1

Nov-12-07  kevin86: I don't know if this is the GOTM,but will have to do until a better one comes along.

Black is ahead a piece most of the way,but his rook and knight are bottled up until late. There are three promotions,with a fourth possibly on the way (actually not to queen,but to aid in the coming checkmate):62 ♔e4 ♕d5# or 62 ♔d3 ♖d5+ 63 ♔e4 ♕d4#

Nov-13-07  sanyas: <Domdaniel> Oh comeon it wasn't that great. Doesn't soundness count for anything? If there was a missed mate in one but they both played on an made a 'brilliancy' would that be a true masterpiece? Even in Bogoljubov vs Alekhine, 1922 Alekhine missed a quicker win, which spoils the game for me. We can be amazed by it, sure, but there's no sense in calling it the game of the millenium.
Feb-29-08  D.Observer: Is this even better than D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956, the game of the century?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Whether or not this merits 'Game of the Millennium', it was a tremendous battle.
Jun-05-15  Mating Net: A great game where both players strived to maintain the initiative. In doing so, Black does not even move his King side Knight until move 44. That has to be a record for the longest delayed development of the Black King side Knight by a victorious player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <Random Vistor> of 2007:

It appears no one (including the computer analysis) has suggested the deflection/exchange sacrifice 43.RxNg8. (<Antiochus> suggested the even exchange 42.Rxg8 Rxg8 but I am suggesting 43.RxNg8 and Black dare not recapture.) In fact, White wins!

I like 43.RxNg8 threatening 44.RxRh8+ w/a royal skewer. The White rook is immune from capture by the Black rook. If 43...RxRg8 44.Qh7+ Kg4 45.QxQh1 and the fat lady is singing.

After 43.RxNg8 Rh6 44.Bxf6 threatens support mate by the White queen on the move with no viable defense. If 44...Qg1/Qg2/Qh4 45.Rxg4+ wins.

So, Black tries 43...Qa1+/Qc1+/Qe1+ but 44.Kb3 and 45.Ka3 w/perhaps an eventual Bb2 interpose seems to work out in White's favor. If there is an error in my analysis, it's here in the desperate consecutive queen checks that Black is forced to repeat. (Such check streaks are easy to miscalculate given the enormous powers of the queen.) White controls the diagonals, limiting where the Black queen can give check from. If the Black queen checks and forks/skewers the lose White Bd4, the bishop is immune from capture because White responds RxRh8#.

So many many times, the most powerful moves are checks and/or captures which threaten another check and/or capture in successive moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: John Donaldson called this "one of the most entertaining games of chess ever played".
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