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Yuri Averbakh vs Vladimir Zak
"Zak Against the Wall" (game of the day Aug-23-2006)
Match for Masters Title (1947), Moscow
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Classical Defense (C83)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-19-03  Shadout Mapes: 25...Bg5 26.Qh5+ Kg7 27.Qxg5+ Kf8 (all other moves lose faster) 28.Bxe6+ Qf7 29.Rxf7# unless I'm missing anything.

What about 21...fxg6? 22.Bxg6 Kh8 23.Bxh7 Bf6 24.exf6 Qxh7 25.Bg7+ Kg8 Is the best line i can keep up with. Where's the win?

Oct-19-03  drukenknight: this a fun game to study because it is hard to figure out where the blunder is. Is it early? later?

I'll grant you that the N on b2 looks like a problem but hmmmm maybe we can save him despite this. Are chess games really lost when the N is "on the rim." What do you think? ....

What if 18....Bf8 or 19...Bf8; is this the last chance for black to exchange? if you are ahead in material you should always give exchanging a serious consideration (sometimes you cannot, admittedly).

I may not be able to beat Sneaky, but I know if you violate this rule the chess gods will get mad.

I am looking at Shadout's line now but I am pessimissistic because of the above. And look at move 23. not Bxh7 but 23 Bxe8; and if you try to cover g7 its BxQ.

So I have not worked it out deep, but it seems like once he violates the rule on move 18 or 19; the rest of the game is pretty much a mess.

Do others have the same experience? I lose games all the time and try to figure out what happened. You stick the last 10 moves in the computer and each move it says "okay" but suddenly it's a mess.

You are convinced your opponent can see 15 moves in advance, you will never beat him.

I am collecting games of this sort hopeing to learn something.

Oct-19-03  Calli: "What about 21...fxg6? 22.Bxg6 Kh8" then 23.Bxe8 is crushing
Oct-19-03  drukenknight: Ha! Beat you to it Calli.
Oct-19-03  Shadout Mapes: I heard 18...Nc4 was the mistake, which seems rediculous, bringing an out-of-play piece back in the game with tempo, but the queen at g3 proved to be black's doom, so maybe he should've gone ahead with 18...c5 right away.
Oct-19-03  Calli: <Mapes> I can't see much difference, Nc4 or not. White is going to play f5 regardless. So maybe 18...f5 is a try for Black, but then exf6 e.p. and eventually f5 anyway. Kind looks lost.
Aug-23-06  kevin86: Black stops one mate-but cuts off his rook's defense of g8-where the blow falls.
Aug-23-06  think: The trade of knights on d2 and the pawn on e5 prevent the classic defense of knight on f6. White has a huge grip on the kingside.

On another note, it is amusing to see 21. fxg6 instead of the natural 21. fxe6, which after Qxe6 looks defendable for black.

Aug-23-06  siggemannen: didn't know they had ELO back in 1947...
Aug-23-06  Runemaster: Zak was driven bakh.
Aug-23-06  Castle In The Sky: Black (Zak) wasted too many tempos playing with his knights which allowed white to build a huge initiative (Zak Attack by Averbakh)--Eggzakly!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: 15...Nxb2 was a standard line back in the old days. Romanovsky - Tolush, Leningrad, 1938, continued 16.Qe2 (the standard book reply at the time) Re8 17.Nd4 Bf8! (an improvement over the old moves 17...Nc4 or 17...c5) 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.f4 c5! 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.Qxb2 Rb8 with the better ending for Black.

The new try (1941-42!) 16.Qe3, succeeded in the game Armati-Koshnitzky, correspondence, 1941-42: 16...Re8 17.Qf4 c5 (perhaps f5) 18.Ng5 Qb6 19.Rae1 d4 20.Ne4 Bf5 21.Nd6 Bxd6 exd6 d3 23.Bb1 b4 24.Re5 with the advantage.

Averbakh played the new move 16.Qe3, but then at move 17, he played 17.Nd4. Averbakh noted: <White has created two threats. One is obvious - to exchange the opponent's dark-squared bishop by 18.Nc6, while the other is a latent one - to begin a pawn attack on the kingside with 18.f4..>

Averbakh stated that if Zak now played 17...c5, there would follow 18.Nc6 Qd7 19.Nxe7+ Qxe7 20.Bg5 Qf8 21.Bf6, followed by 22.f4.

During the game, Averbakh considered 17...Bf8 to be the strongest reply. He was then intending to play 18.Bxf8 Rxf8 19.Qh6, and if 19...Qd7 20.f4 f5 21.g4 Rae8 22.gxf5 Bxf5 23.Nxf5 gxf5 24.Kh1 with an attack on the g-file.

Only later Averbakh discovered that Black could reply in this line, 19...c5!, Averbakh then states that after 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Qxg6+ Kh8 it is doubtful if White has more than perpetual check.

Years later Averbakh discovered that Black's best reply to 17.Nd4 was 17...Bd7, when he indicates that White still has to demonstrate that his initiative is worth the sacrificed pawn.

Aug-23-06  Tenderfoot: What was the point of 28...Bf8?
Aug-23-06  Minty: <Tenderfoot: What was the point of 28...Bf8?>

White was threatening Qh6#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Where did Zak go wrong?

Averbakh stated that during the game he was prepared to reply to 16...Nc4 with 17.Qf4 Re8 and then 18.Ng5. According to Fritz 9, Black has the advantage in this line, even if White does not play 18.Ng5, so 16...Nc4 would be an acceptable line for Black.

Fritz 9 considers the game to be about equal if Black had played the 17th move Averbakh thought, during the game, to be Black's best; 17...Bf8 18.Bxf8 Rxf8.

At move 17, Black could also play 17...Nc4 18.Qf4 Qd7 19.Qg3 c5 20.Nxe6 Qxe6. This variation was given by Fritz 9. After 17.Nd4, Fritz evaluated the position as being in favor of Black, and recommended 17...Nc4 as best (-.84) (16 ply).

Fritz also evaluated Averbakh's suggestion of 17...Bd7 as being in favor of Black (-.55) (16 ply). Fritz suggested 18.Bb3 Nc4 19.Qf4 c5 as the best continuation.

Averbakh considered 18...Nc4?? to be the losing move. Fritz 9 agreed. Fritz gave the following as the best continuation (16 ply): 19.Qg3 Nd2 20.f5 Nxf1 21.Rxf1 Bc5 22.Kh1 and wins or 22.fxg6 fxg6 23.Bxg6 and wins.

Averbakh believed that Black could have held the position at move 18 with 18...c5, and if 19.f5 cxd4 20.cxd4. At this point Averbakh indicated Bxf5 21.Bxf5 Qa7 as best for Black. However, Fritz 9, indicates 20...Ra8c8 21.Kf2 Bh4 is stronger. Fritz evaluated the position after 18.f4 as: (.00) (18 ply).

Fritz even considered 18...f5 to be a fully acceptable line for Black. After 18.f4, Fritz gave an evaluation of (-.06) (18 ply), 18...f5 19.exf6 Bxf6 20.f5 Bxf5 21.Bxf5 gxf5 22.Qg3+ Kh8 23.Rxf5 Qd6 24.Bf4 Qe7.

After 18...Nc4? 19.Qg3 there was no escape. However, 21...Kh8 22.gxh7 would have held out longer.

Aug-23-06  Margulies: I didn't understand why Black didn't played 25...Bg5. This would stop the threaten 26.Qh6 and would have opened ways for the black Queen to join the game! And, of course, would have saved black's game!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <drukenknight> Fritz 9 evaluates White's position to be winning after 19...Bf8 20.Bxf8 Rxf8 21.f5 c5 22.Qg5 Nxe5 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.Qxe5.

<Margulies> After 25...Bg5, Black is mated in 4 starting with 26.Qh5+.

Aug-23-06  RandomVisitor: Rybka thinks 18...c5 and .19/20. What about 16...Nc4 -.32/19.
Aug-24-06  Runemaster: <siggemannen: didn't know they had ELO back in 1947...>

And due to rating inflation, Zak's at ELO 3019 on the latest FIDE list and Averbakh's about to break the 5000 barrier any day now.

Aug-24-06  RandomVisitor: After the suggested improvement 16...Nc4 (25-ply)
1: Yuri Averbakh - Vladimir Zak, Match for Masters Title 1947

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Analysis by Rybka 2.1c mp:

17.Qf4 Re8 18.Rfe1 Qd7 19.h4 b4 20.cxb4 Na3 21.Bb3 Rab8 22.Qc1 Bxb4 23.Bd2 Be7 ³ (-0.31) Depth: 25 08:26:20 5786344kN

(, 24.08.2006)

Sep-06-06  patzer2: With 20. f5!!, Averbakh initiates a winning demolition of White's weakened castled position.
Sep-06-06  patzer2: Black's last best chance to equalize appears to be <RV>'s suggestion of 18...c5! After 18...Nc4? 19. Qg3! Black's chances of survival are slim to none.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <patzer2> The suggestion of 18...c5 was actually Averbakh's recommendation. See my post of 08/23/06.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Nice concluding attack - for Black the difference between a playable middle game and a disaster is razer-thin here
Jun-06-15  zydeco: Averbakh gives the back story to this game in his Selected Games. Zak was playing for the master title; and, as the system worked then, had to play a qualification match against an established master. Zak observed Averbakh playing timidly in the Open Ruy Lopez in a game against Furman -- and decided to challenge Averbakh. Averbakh guessed Zak's plan and prepared an innovation with 16.Qe3 -- catching Zak by surprise since Zak "clearly hadn't expected me to prepare seriously for the match."

He suggests 17....Bd7 and 18....c5 as improvements for black.

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