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Gyula Sax vs Yasser Seirawan
"Will No One Rid Me of This Turbulent Priest?" (game of the day Aug-10-2021)
Brussels World Cup (1988), Brussels BEL, rd 12, Apr-15
Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack. Dragon Formation (B09)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-11-04  actinia: I wonder what a program would recommend for black's tenth move?
Dec-11-04  crafty: 10. ♘xe6 ♗xd4 11. ♘xb5 ♕a5+ 12. ♕d2 ♗f2+ 13. ♔d1   (eval 0.51; depth 14 ply; 500M nodes)
Jan-20-06  PizzatheHut: Chess Informant voted this the most theoretically important game for the first half of 1988.

Yasser has this to say after White's 1th move.
<Naturally, Gyula didn't like having to call it peace so quickly with White. Thus, he did the proper thing. He thought for 72 minutes, and then took my Queen.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: I'm trying to better understand this game, and for now, have 2 questions.

1) Is 5...c5 really the best move here, or does black have other choices that give real chances here?

2) I can't find this move ever being played, so I'm sure there's a real simple refuation that I'm too tired to find. 11. Nxd4. The best I can see is 11...cxd4 12. Qxd4 [save the rook] 13. Nxb5. It might not be outright winning, but I think white should get good play against white's two center pawns and awkward king position.

May-24-06  Cyphelium: <ganstaman> After 11. ♘xd4 cxd4 12. ♕xd4 0-0 13. ♘xb5 ♕a5+ 14. ♘c3 ♘c6, I don't think black has any problems. He is ahead in development too, so I'd say he has an edge.
Jul-01-06  monad: It seems that it is move <8....fxe6 that is the key move> in this game. Black came up with this move, previously condemned as being useless.

At the time (1988), the Pirc, Austrian Attack considered only 8...Bxb5 as playable. The text move usually received ??, until Seirawan proved otherwise, giving Sax a bit of a shock. Black sacrifices his Queen in return for perpetual check, so they drew.

This new move wasn't merely a surprise weapon for a single game, but Neil McDonald, in 'Modern Chess Miniatures' calls it the "birth of a new system" rather than a D.O.I. (Decisive Opening Innovation).

It turned out that White can also play for advantage with 10.Nxb5 and create counter chances for both sides.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: In the CM series, the game features Yasser's own comment after White's 8th move:

<I confess; I've faced this situation as Black many times. And like the blind leading the blind I've followed my peers and played 8...Bxb5 9.exf7+ Kd7 10.Nxb5 Qa5+ 11.Nc3... One day when preparing for the Zagreb Interzonal, NM James Blackwood, IM John Donaldson, and I asked ourselves what happens if we just take the e-pawn?>

<Our analysis runs 11.Nxb5 Qa5+ 12.c3 Bf2+ 13.Kd2 Be3+ 14.Kc2 Qa4+ 15.Kb1! Qe4+ 16.Qc2 Qxc2+ 17.Kxc2 with an unclear position.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: Actually, this is the first game to feature 8...fxe6 in the database:

K Burger vs Suttles, 1965, where White played differently:

10.Qxg4 Bd7 11.Nxh7 Kf7 12.Ng5+ Kg8 13.Nxe6 cxd4 14.Qxg6 Bxe6 15.Qxe6+ Kf8 16.Ne4 and Black resigned. Seirawan played the same variation against Nunn in 1989: Nunn vs Seirawan, 1989 and drew.

Jul-01-06  RookFile: Yes, this was a big novelty from Seirawan at the time.
Jan-25-09  WhiteRook48: GREAT DRAW!! How could Sax fall into the Nxd8 trick?
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: it would have been a more lively game if Sax did not play Nxd8
Apr-28-09  Jim Bartle: Seirawan on Brussels 1988: "My only satisfaction was playing the novelty of the year (I say in all modesty) against Sax. My move will completely change the way opening books on the Pirc will be written."
Feb-17-11  redorc19: 11. Nxb5 enters extreme complications which have white's king enter the fray in an interesting way...
Dec-27-13  john barleycorn: <redorc19: 11. Nxb5 enters extreme complications>.

John Nunn in his comments to the game said that one wonders what is overseen by opening theory. Bxd4 forces the draw and will probably put a main variant of the Pirc out of business.

A slight oversight of 11.Nxb5?

Aug-22-16  happyjuggler0: Two games with 11.Nxb5:

DeFirmian vs Alburt, 1990

DeFirmian vs G Meyer, 1991

Jun-24-19  Pedro Fernandez: This is the key position: (after 10...Bxd4)

click for larger view

Here SF10 recommends 11.Nxb5 (+0.39, in 3 billions of nodes analyzed, about 5min in my PC). If so, then 11...Qa5+ (0.00) 12.Qd2(+0.12)Qxd2+ (+0.22) 13.Bxd2 (0.00) Kd7 (+0.15) 14.Nbxd4 (0.00) <(14.Nec7 a6 15.Nxa8 axb5 (+0.12) is practically =)> 14.Nbxd4 (-0.10) cxd4 (+0.00).

click for larger view

It is some curious that avoiding 3-fold repetition (through 11.Nxd8), black gets anyway the equality.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Excellent title for a game where a Bishop gets medieval upside the White King's head.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ganstaman: I'm trying to better understand this game, and for now, have 2 questions.

1) Is 5...c5 really the best move here, or does black have other choices that give real chances here?>

While 5....0-0 has historically been more popular, 6.Bd3 has posed problems in the old main line 6....Nc6, so much so that during the 1980s, such players as Patrick Wolff took up the cudgels with the odd-looking but far from pointless 6....Na6. Even 6.Be2, which went under a cloud following White's disastrous defeat in Fischer vs Korchnoi, 1962, was revitalised in the eighties and remains reliable.

Aug-10-21  Brenin: Excellent title: not a pun, but completely relevant to the game. Thomas à Becket was less successful than this priest in avoiding a posse of knights.
Aug-10-21  goodevans: SF annotations to some games are enlightening, to some games inconsistent and to some games erroneous and bewildering but to this game they're truly sublime.
Aug-10-21  patfoley: After 11 Nd4 Bd7
Black is a pawn up.
Aug-10-21  Saniyat24: thought for 72 minutes...!
Aug-10-21  Brenin: <patfoley>: <After 11 Nd4 Bd7 Black is a pawn up.> Yes, though SF prefers 11 ... Bc4 12 Qxg4 cxd4.

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