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Svetozar Gligoric vs Craig Pritchett
Dundee (1967), rd 2, Jul-13
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Gligoric System Bronstein Variation (E55)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-08-12  sevenseaman: Equal.

First thoughts: f6 N is in the way. Find a way to be rid of it?

Today I gave the position a good thought for almost the entire day. (I took the home page diagram on a piece of paper as I had the rare luxury of road travel in the passenger seat).

To find ways and means to dislodge the f6 N, the defender of h7 P(attacked twice, defended twice) looked to be the key.

As f6 N is pinned to defense of h7; when I play 17. Nxd5 Black has only 2 choices; to retake with his B or the 'e' P. He takes with the P and loses the e7 B to the R (after 18. Nxc6). Between the devil and the deep sea.

Let us say he uses the B. This gives a surprise opening of clobbering the enemy Q, R and f6 N with the same stick; the other N to d7. My aim is much humbler though; just take the f6 N.

Here the game should come to a 1-0 conclusion.


<Pritchett> was wiser, I should have known.

Mar-08-12  Nemesistic: <sevenseaman>.. You usually do nail these puzzles!

You are this sites Puzzling Master.

Everyday i'm amazed at your sometimes 35 ply deep analysis, yet you're always spot on... Well done, i enjoy watching you solve puzzles a young Carlsen would struggle with...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <viking78> I'd echo everything that's been said. What seems impossible now will become much easier in a little while. The trick is not to get disheartened. The more you work at it the easier it will become.

We have a natural tendency to think that we can fill ourselves up with chess knowledge as if we were filling a car with gas. If it takes ten minutes to fill half the tank it will be twenty minutes to fill it all the way up. A linear relationship between time and success.

The reality is that chess understanding comes as a combination of globs and osmosis. The globs are when we suddenly have a lightbulb moment and something that seemed difficult suddenly becomes clear.

The osmosis is when we don't realise that we are learning. Understanding sneaks up on you while you are not looking for it. And you can't remember when you learned this or that thing, except that you find that you know it.

It's a bit like going bald. You rarely notice the first few hairs going until there comes a time when the barber doesn't bother to ask you which side you part your hair on.

But don't get too worried if someone else considers it easy. We're all at different levels. And sometimes we can strike it lucky if the first move to strike us turns out to be the right one.

Mar-08-12  Memethecat: <Viking78> If your interested in solving problems that show tactical themes, the kind <SimonWebbsTiger> mentioned. Then here is a site recommended by Dan Heisman Personally I put it on the easiest setting & after every 20 or 30 problems I go back over everything in the hope that it gets stuck deep in my grey matter.
Mar-08-12  JG27Pyth: Fun practicing this against crafty in the endgame trainer (<David 2009> has a link someone else as well...

Here's a line I found that avoids (at least as crafty plays it) giving black pawns...

17.Nxd5 exd5 18.Nxc6 bxc6 19.Rxe7 Rfe8 20.Bg5! Ne4 21.Bxe4 dxe4 22.Qc3...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Reading through the kibitzing after a hard day at t'mill, and something interesting has happened. Some folk have found this one easy and some folk have found it hard.

And that gets me to wondering why. Forgive me for venturing a little theory. As usual, it might be rubbish, it might be interesting. But that's the lucky bag dip you take with theories.

In many of our puzzles it is fairly obvious what we are trying to do. We might have a crushing mating attack and the goal is to give checkmate. Or we have a prince charles pawn that is just itching for a coronation. And those are the ones that we mostly agree as easy.

But today's puzzle isn't quite like that. Apart from the queen-bishop attack on h7, it is not clear what we want to get out of this position. There isn't one clear target that screams "hit me, hit me". With or without a rhythmn stick.

So what do we do when we haven't got a clear target? Now you need to allow me a little digression. Luke and Han are disguised as Imperia Stormtroopers (shades of today's GOTD) are sneaking around the Death Star looking for Princess Leia. If R2 hadn't told them where to go, how would they have found her?

That's easy - they would have gone down corridors that said "Private - keep out" and opened doors that said "Restricted - Sith Lords only". They would have no ideas where these doors or corridors went, but it was bound to be somewhere interesting if the empire didn't want you to go there.

When we don't know what to do we should focus on doing things the enemy doesn't want us to do. You should always try to walk a mile in your enemy's shoes. That way you are a mile away from your enemy.

And you have his shoes.

So how do we take black's shoes away in our puzzle position? Well we have to be excited about the Nf6. If that knight wasn't there we would mate more quickly than you could say "that's no moon."

And how do we do something that black doesn't want us to do? We threaten this knight. How can we do this? A quick process of elimination shows us that 17. Nxd5 is interesting because black can't reply 17... Nxd5. And when we are white we like moves that black can't play.

Once we have 17. Nxd5 in our targeting scanners we notice that black can't reply 17...Bxd5 either because of the reply 18. Nd7. And that gets us really interested because there are now two responses to 17. Nxd5 that black can't play. And, as we have said, anything that black can't play is good for us.

And when we work out that 17...exd5 isn't possible either, we see that 17. Nxd5 is more exciting than a gold bikini.

And here's the rub - we didn't find 17. Nxd5 because we knew it was going to be good for us. We found it because we were doing what black didn't want us to do.

I would hazard a guess that the folks who found today's puzzle to be easy are either instinctively or consciously aware that we should examine moves that our opponent might not want us to play. And the folks who found it hard might be wondering what the move is "for".

I've got no idea where this door leads, but if Darth doesn't want me to go there it has to be something interesting.

Mar-08-12  pericles of athens: I didn't see all the variations (i'm a beginner), but I saw Nxd5 immediately. I actually thought this was the easiest puzzle I've ever seen on CG.
Mar-08-12  ruzon: I picked Nxd5 but intended to follow it up with mundane moves like Bg5 and b4, which still gives White a superior position. I like to think I would have found the full analysis OTB or at least after Black made his reply.
Mar-08-12  Bnasty: <once> you are hilarious! I love your corny-ness. I feel like since we know that there is an answer to solve this chess "problem" then we can look at those crazy moves more easily and freely than in an actual game, even though this one isn't that crazy. I couldn't quite figure it out but can you not take with the pawn because of 18.Ng4 attacking the knight protecting the checkmate and bishop on the e file?
Mar-08-12  LoveThatJoker: <Nemesistic> Today's puzzle was easy, so I don't know if today is a prime example of what tends to happen.

However, if

Gordie Howe = Mr. Hockey

sevenseaman = Mr. Game Continuation


Mar-08-12  njchess: While I saw 17. Nxd5, I looked elsewhere since it was so over-protected. After finding nothing, I came back to it and it took me a couple of minutes to see that the pawn recapture lost a piece for Black. The irony is that 16. ... Qb6 neatly walked into this trap. I can understand Black making this error since it's outcome is pretty deeply hidden.
Mar-08-12  Crispy Seagull: Didn't come close today. Like some others, I was fixated on the castle position.
Mar-08-12  BOSTER: I didn't see move 17.Nxd5 not during first sec, not even during couple min.

I guess my mistake was my prejudice that this is not a puzzle. Or maybe I forgot Heisman's advice "When picking candidates,start with checks,captures, and threat for both sides".

Or maybe A.Soltis' advice caught my brain ,who said something like this: <if you don't see tactics immediately, don't worry- you willn't see it at all>.

To make this story short-I didn't find the solution.

I was wrong, and in order to improve my feeling, I have to give you something interesting: read about the great battle in the final round of the Portoroz, 1958 Grigoric vs Fischer.

Mar-08-12  SimonWebbsTiger: something worth mentioning: Gligoric is a famous Grandmaster, of course, but Craig is - or was when he played - a very formidable British amateur himself.
Mar-08-12  zakkzheng: I got it!
Mar-08-12  sevenseaman: <Nemesistic> Thanks. I have flubbed some, mostly between Monday to Friday. Time input is the main difference; what the masters do in a matter of minutes, I take corresponding hours. That would be impossible OTB and I remain a poor chess player.

Plies? Its well-nigh impossible to think beyond 4-6 moves at a time. Some times the flow builds up.

<LoveThatJoker> I have no idea what your analogy says but if you are highlighting lack of any significant ability, I have no problem in agreeing.

Mar-08-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> Gordie Howe is a famous ice hockey player from mid-last century.

He did a lot to popularize the game in the United States, so they called him Mr. Hockey.

My analogy is that just as Gordie Howe is called Mr. Hockey, you are Mr. Game Continuation.

Nothing negative there.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: One reason I solved today's POTD easily is because I once found a similar combination in a tournament game:

<1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4 Bg4 7.Qb3 Na5 8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qc2 e6 10.Nf3 Qb6 11.Nbd2 Bb5 12.0-0 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Be7 14.Ne5 0-0 15.Ndf3 Rac8 16.Ng5 h6>

click for larger view

<17.Nd7> 1-0

I rememember my opponent being as surprised as I was. Several times he reached out his hand to make a move, only to pull it back. And, before you start laughing at him, I should point out he was rated 2227 at the time and is now a FIDE Master. Accidents will happen.

Later today, something hit me. This is just a variation of the infamous "Siberian Trap" in the Smith-Morra Gambit. After <1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc4 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.O-O Ng4!? 9.h3??>

click for larger view

And <9...Nd4!> shows exactly the same idea as in today's POTD.

Now, the ironic thing is that I took up the Smith-Morra several years after playing the <Nd7> shot. And, like most Smith-Morra players, I fell for the Siberian Trap more than once. Why? Hadn't I mastered the tactical idea involved?

Evidently not. For one thing, I've always been better at seeing my own tactical shots than my opponents. But more to the point is that while I knew one tactical <pattern>, I did not fully grasp the tactical <idea> involved.

Often, these two concepts are used synomously, but I think a distinction can be made. A tactical idea involves a certain relationship between pieces, while a tactical pattern is one way this idea can be expressed on the chessboard. The idea in today's POTD is not the move <Nd7>, but <knight forks queen and another piece which is defending mate>.

Let me try another example:

click for larger view

Almost everyone will solve this immediately. I could jazz it up with all sorts of other pieces, but both the idea (Smothered Mate) and the pattern are very familiar.

click for larger view

The very same idea, but it will probably take most an instant longer to solve because the pattern is not as familiar.

click for larger view

An even more unfamiliar pattern, which might even take people a second or two to solve.

I'm thinking that tactical mastery is not just storing up individual patterns, but mastering the ideas, the relationships between pieces which make the patterns work and easy to find, even in unfamiliar situations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <No, you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.>

<Thank you - such well put thoughts leave no stones unturned>

A great exchange. ;>D

Mar-09-12  sevenseaman: <Phony Benoni> What you have tried to convey is clearly understood. Pattern storage will clutter-up memory whereas idea assimilation will reduce the load on the bank many times, for ideas are really part of our game nous.

The last diagram is not a smothered mate. Its 1-mate by Nf7+. Or something is missing?

<BOSTER> <if you don't see tactics immediately, don't worry- you willn't see it at all>. <Soltis>

No desire merely to disagree with <Soltis> but from personal experience I have noticed if I give myself enough time(difficult to be precise about the quantum)I get many a tactical idea as late 'Eurekas'. It happens every day to me on the Tactics Computer (TC). I used to think gut moves were generally right. Not so on TC. (May be TC is programmed just to frustrate the 'gut feeling' moves; I get that impression clearly).

To be fair I have some friends who play good chess. They are quite emphatic and say the same thing as <Soltis>. "If I do not get it in 1 or 2 minutes I don't get it at all". And they are fast thinkers, I know.

I guess it must be true about OTB situations where time pressure may block delayed ideas. But puzzle situations are different when you have oodles of time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <sevenseaman> Right about that last diagram. I even noticed 1.Nf7#, then forgot about it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I'm pretty sure that Andy Soltis was joking, by the way.
Mar-09-12  dragon player: ok I'm a one day too late, because I was very busy
yesterday. I'm not seeing it yet, maybe I should try to distract the f6-knight. Oh, I see something:

17. Nxd5 exd5

(...Bxd5 Nd7! winning the exchange)

18. Nxc6 Qxc6
19. Rxe7

And white is a piece up.

Time to check


Yes, very right

4/4 now

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Instead of 17...exd5 18. Nxc6 I like 18 Bg5

eg 18...h6 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20 Qf5 Rc8 21 Qh7+ Kg8 22 Nd7+ Bxd7 23 Qh8 mate

Aug-25-20  RookFile: Although technically a Nimzo Indian, the opening become a glorified Queen's Gambit Accepted. In the QGA it's very common for black to lose with some tactical motif based upon the d5 square.
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