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Guy Mazzoni vs Milko G Bobotsov
Le Havre (1966), Apr-02
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Poisoned Pawn Accepted (B97)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: < <Patzer2> In this case, I suspect 15. Bf6 was apparently an opening novelty that caught Bobotsov off guard, ... >

Not to be mean, this had already been played in several games ... prior to this one. (I just submitted one in PGN, because it does not appear to be in the database.)

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: After the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 a6 6.♗g5 e6 7.f4 ♕b6 8.♕d2 ♕xb2 9.♖b1 ♕a3 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 ♘fd7 12.♗c4 ♗b4 13.♖b3 ♕a5 14.0-0 0-0 15.♗f6, (Line)

I searched the CB on-line database, and there were over 50 games that have started with this position. [The first was the contest, GM Robert Byrne - GM Larry Evans; The U.S. Championship Tournament, (Round # 11); New York, NY (USA); 1965. (1-0 in 36 moves.) This contest was not in the "Chess-Games" database, so I just submitted it in PGN format.]

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> "Today's puzzle solution with 15. Bf6 is not so much a chess tactic exercise as it is a lesson in opening theory."

Truer words were never spoken ... see my next post.

Jul-15-06  patzer2: Thanks for the correction on the origin of the 15. Bf6 line in the Najdorf in this game. I believe you have previously indicated that you have a lot of information on the Poisoned Pawn Variation, and look forward to your comments on possible improvements in the play in this game.
Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: I have played this line many times as WHITE, and in the last few years, I have even begun trying the Black side of this variation.

Langer,M (2325) - Goldsby I,A (2254) [B97]
Paul Morphy Open Airprt Hilton/New Orleans, LA (5), 07.01.2001

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.f5 Nc6 11.fxe6 fxe6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Be2 h5 17.Rb3 Qa4 18.c4 f5 19.Nd6+ Bxd6 20.Qxd6 Qa5+ 21.Kf2 Ra7 22.Rd1 Qc7 (Black is much better here, but White eventually won.)

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: White to move ... and make his 15th move.

I studied this as a problem (although I knew the "book" move was Bf6) ... I originally set myself the time limit of 5 minutes ... but the next time I looked at clock, over 20 minutes had gone by!

I first looked at the sac, 15.NxP/e6 ... as many others did as well, judging from all the earlier posts. (Which I went back and read in some detail.) I found a couple of "cheapo" wins for White, but - just as quickly - came up with a defense for Black. However, after being unable to find a FORCED win for White, I switched to the other "candidate move" of 15.Bf6.

I never really found a forced win for White, I did work out the main continuation ... to about move nineteen. And as I did so, I was overcome with a sense of deja-vu. (I used to have both a paperback book, AND a "Chess Digest" pamphlet on this opening ... so it is probable that memory played as much as a role as anything else, in my ability to work out the complex variations.)

However, this is NOT a problem ... not in the truest sense of the word. ALSO!!! I was unable to find a forced win ... IF Black did not capture on f6.

I set this position up for Fritz 9, and I gave it close to half an hour to solve it. (Intel 3.4 GHz processor with 350 MB of RAM for Fritz for the hash-tables.) After all this time, Fritz sees a BIG edge for Black ... nearly 1.5 points. And its two main move choices are 15.Qe3 and 15.Be2.

Since the computer cannot "solve" this position, I doubt any human should be penalized if he or she is unable to do so.

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> (1825 hrs) I am looking this line up in several books ... let's see what the best line for Black was.

<RandomVisitor> Thanks for pointing out the missed mate at move 23.

Jul-15-06  mikejaqua: 15. Nxe6 was my guess. Is there anything wrong with it? It seems like it could open up black's king side.

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: I have several books that cover this opening, close to 20, I guess. (But most are very old, even a few of the "Chessman" white pamplets, that were published ages ago. I am uncertain of the year, but all the references are from the 1960's ... or before.)

I also have the latest ECO ... but I have found so many errors in that book, I would not trust it any farther than I could throw it. (1840 hrs.)

Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: .

Guy Mazzoni (2363) - GM Milko Bobotsov (2357)
[B97] Le Havre, FRA; / 02.04.1966
[A.J.G.]

1.e4 c5;
This is just some very general comments on the opening. [The ratings here come from the website of Jeff Sonas. (http://www.chessmetrics.com)]

2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6;
This opening might be named after Najdorf, but it was truly Bobby Fischer's successes with this system that made it so popular.

6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6;
The dreaded "Poisoned Pawn" variation, and one of Bobby's workhorses ... that brought him a lot of points. (And it probably should be named after Fischer.)

After OVER 25 years of trying to actively refute this variation, I have conceded that it is sound, and even begun to try the Black side of this system.

8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5,
The older move, first sharply used by Paul Keres in his game vs. A. Fuderer in the 1955 Interzonal Tournament. (Keres won brilliantly - in only 18 moves.) Today, this has been supplanted by 10.f5, and the theory is stll in a state of flux. (I just saw an opening theory article on-line, in one key variation, the analysis seems to favor White.)

[ Easily the most important game of the last 30 years in the 10.f5 , was GM V. Ivanchuk - GM G. Kasparov; 8th Super-GM (7) / Linares, ESP; 1990. (Black won a convincing victory in 43 total moves.) ]

10...dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Bc4,
This is one of the sharper moves here, and White can also play 12.Ne4 as well.

(Now Black can play 12...Be7 and also 12...Qa5.)
12...Bb4;
The 2006 version of the Fritz "Power-Book" gives this as best.

13.Rb3 Qa5 14.0-0 0-0 15.Bf6,
The only serious try here, but White has played NxP/e6 in a few games.

This was first played in agame between GM R. Byrne and GM Larry Evans in a U.S. Championship game in the 1960's. (See my previous posts.)

15...gxf6;
This appears to be an error, the evaluations (of any program) immediately begin to fluctuate, a sure sign of a crisis point in a chess game.

I like 15...Nc6 here, Fritz likes 15...Bc5. (18...♔h8 is also worth consideration.) And there has NOT been enough current GM games, (especially in the "post-computer" age); to draw any definite conclusions here.

[ 15...Nxf6 16.exf6 Rd8 17.Rxb4 Qxb4 18.Qg5 g6;
Black seems to be clearly better here, although in practice, White has scored well.

See GM John Nunn's 1996 book, "The Complete Najdorf, 6.♗g5." Chapter 5, 10.e5 / Line # B23, (12...Bb4); beginning on page # 117. ISBN: # 1-879479-45-1 (paper) ]

16.Qh6 Qxe5 17.Nf5 exf5 18.Ne4 Re8 19.Rh3, ( )
Both the theoretical verdict ... and the computer analysis of the game ... strongly indicate that Black can no longer defend himself.

1-0

Jul-15-06  Dorian Gray: I had absolutely no idea what to play here, and I stared at the position for fifteen minutes. Of all the candidate moves, I think Bf6 would have been the only one I definitely wouldn't have played!
Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: Epilogue:
Mazzoni was not a really strong player ... and never got much over 2300, at least according to J. Sonas. However, he defeated several strong opponents and was apparently a specialist in the White side of this line. (His games are mentioned in many of the books on this system.)
Jul-15-06  LIFE Master AJ: Its almost 8:00 PM, the analysis of this game has consumed most of my day.
Jul-15-06  patzer2: <LIFE Master AJ> Thanks for the detailed opening analysis of this game. It's currently 9:35 P.M. EST. (2135). I had meant to indicate <10. f5> was the modern improvement, but mistakenly recorded it as 10. f4. Looks like I'll need to review Ivanchuk vs Kasparov, 1990 if I ever plan to seriously play this line.
Jul-15-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Brillant - this guy is some kind of Tal or Fischer - the problem here is there are so many choices for White - I considered bf6 but I thought that allowed 15 Bf6 gf6 16 ef6 Qe4 and thought Whitee had nothing and mssed Mazzonni's great combbo - I thought of

15. Rxb4 and then 16 Nd5 etc but couldn't
see that the exchange sac was winning - alhough White can cook up an attack against the Black king

I also looked at 15 Rxf7 and N or Bxe6

I thought that 15 Rxb4 Qxb4 16 Bf6 was the solution but the move 16 ... Nxe5 gave problems

It was interesting anyway - but I spent hours on ths one and failed to find White's actual first move (except as one option) -

After 15 Rxb4 Qxb4 16 Bf6 Qxc4 17 Qg5 (I thought thhat 17 Bxg7 won but frogot about the knight on d7) - but this was my other line - Qxe4+ 18 Kh1 Nxf6 19 gxf6 (I think 19 Ne4!? might win though ) g6 20 Qh6 Qxf6 Rxf6 and I thought White could win. But now I see he has 20 Ne4 Qc4 21 Rg1! and White must mate. But Black can exchange (on f6) into an ending that is hard for White to win.

Jul-15-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: The other line was 15 Rxb4 Qxb4 16 Bf6 Nxe5 17 Bxe5 and say f6 18 Bxe6+ and if Kh8 I even thought of 19 Qh6!! 19 ...Qxc3 20 Nf4 and 19... gxh6 20 Rxf6 !! when there is no way to avoid mate.

Th dubius ponderings of a dark mind.

Jul-16-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <patzer2: Today's puzzle solution with 15. Bf6 is not so much a chess tactic exercise as it is a lesson in opening theory.

In this case, I suspect 15. Bf6 was apparently an open>

Of course we amateurs keep forgetting that a lot of these brilliancies are cooked up prior to the game -but hats off all the same.

Jul-16-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: The other point about my idea is that after 15 rxb4 Qxb5 16 Bf6 Nxe5 17 Bxe5 f6 18 Bxe6+ Bxe6 19 Nxe6 then fxe5? fails to Rxf8+ ! So 19 ... Nc6 20 Bd6 Qg4 21 Nxf8

Or 19 ... Rc8 (Re8 is another poss.) and White has to study! 20 Rxf6 20 Qd5 20 Ng5! or even 20 Nd5 in case the Q sac works!

Jul-16-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: And in my "crazy" variation after 15 Rxb4 Qxb4 16 Bf6 Nxe5 17 Bxe5 f6 18 Bxe6+ Kh8 19 Qh6 White looks lost after 19...fxe5 but there is 20 Rxf8+ Qxf8 21 Qh3?!? e:d4 22 Bxc8 e:c3 23 Bf4 forces a draw -lol

So 19 Qh6 is not 'sound'.

ButL 21 Rxf6 gxf6 22 Qg5 Qe7 23 Nf5 or 22 ... Bxe6 23 Bxf6+

Or if 21 Rxf6 Rxf6 22 Bxf6 gxf6 23 Qf4 seems to win

Jul-16-06  LIFE Master AJ: < <patzer2> "Thanks for the detailed opening analysis of this game."> You are most welcome!!! :)

If you are really interested in this line (and playing it), you would HAVE to get a good book on it! (Playing these lines without thorough study would be suicide.) If you don't have Nunn's book, I would purchase it, even though it is ten years old. (The theory of this system has not changed that much in the last few years.)

ALSO - maybe there is a newer, (better) book out there on this line ... but I am not sure what it would be. (Personally, I like Nunn, he is EXTREMELY detailed!)

Jul-16-06  euripides: Tim Harding's current column on Chesscafe.com gives an update on the theory of the poisoned pawn, from the point of view of a correspondence player.
Jul-16-06  LIFE Master AJ: <eurpides> Thanks, that would probably be one book to buy, IF you were seriously considering playing this in tournament chess.
Jul-16-06  patzer2: <euripides> Thanks for suggesting the link to Tim Harding's discussion of the Poisoned Pawn variation at http://www.chesscafe.com/TIM/kibb.htm.

I found the following quote insightful: <In Fischer’s youth, people tried to beat him with 10 e5 here, but that seems totally busted now. 10 Bxf6 also was tried, but that move is only aiming for positional compensation. The only move that gives White hope for a strong and enduring attack is the one that became established as best by the late Sixties, i.e., 10 f5, which assaults the keystone of Black’s king position, namely the e6-pawn.>

While I agree with Harding that 10. f5! is best, it seems to me 10. e5?! is not so easy to refute. And is one of those "inferior" moves that a well prepared opponent might use with success against an unprepared opponent. However for the booked up player, 10. e5?! dxe 11. fxe Nfd7 12. Bc4 Qa5! is quite OK for Black.

Jul-16-06  patzer2: Perhaps avoiding the problems of the 6. Bg5 lines with 6. Be3, as in Anand vs Leko, 2006, or 6. f3, as in Anand vs Grischuk, 2006, is wise for White. White has a slightly better winning percentage in the 6. Be3 and 6. f3 lines, and he avoids the complexities of the poisoned pawn variation and the extensive memorization of theory and innovation required in the 6. Bg5 lines.
Jul-18-06  LIFE Master AJ: <patzer2> Anand-Leko was a nice game, thanks for pointing that out.
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