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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



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-15-06  julian wan: Agree with the comment by Phony Benoni - reportedly Byrne had prepared the line in the Sicilian to play Fischer but didn't get the chance - so used it against Evans - same idea: series of line clearance sacrifices to swing the queen rook over.
Jul-15-06  RandomVisitor: Critical is 15...Nxf6 16.exf6 Rd8 17.Rxb4 Qxb5 18.Qg5 g6 19.Rf4
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Was I supposed to solve this one for the last 65 moves? :)

The ending is quite clear-though it took me a minute to figure out.

81 ♕f8+ ♖b8 82 ♕a3+ ♔b7 83 ♕xc3+ and queens next

Jul-15-06  dakgootje: <If I end up seeing some of the tactical motifs involved, if I end up having the winning move at least on my candidates list, then I give myself a gold star for the day.> Hmmm thats a good idea, as often at saturdays and sundays i see those, though miss the whole combination.
Jul-15-06  PhilFeeley: I had fun playing this through Fritz, both this and the 15. Nxe6 variation. At no point (until the end) does Fritz give white a plus score! Black is winning throughout! Another example of human analysis confounding computers.
Jul-15-06  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 opening novelty that caught Bobotsov off guard, and he lost after 15...gxf6. However, Bobotsov improved and won with 15...Nxf6 16. exf6 Rd8 in L Ortega vs Bobotsov, 1966. This game continued 17. Rxb4 Qxb4 18. Qg5 g6, and apparently became part of the standard opening theory "book reply."

However, in Hartston vs Mecking, 1967, White seems to have improved on Ortega's 19. Ne4 with 19. Rf4 -- enabling Ortega to force a draw with his higher rated opponent after 19...Qf8. Other attempts to improve on Mecking's 19...Qf8 in that game have not met with much success, as for example Black's losses with 19...Rxd4 in J Angel Diani vs C Groeger, 1991 or 19...b6 in Tringov vs G Palmason, 1966.

Of course Black can avoid this whole problem by varying earlier with 12...Qa5 as in G Mazzoni vs Fischer, 1967. White can also avoid this theoretical confusion with the more popular 10. f4, as in O Korneev vs Karjakin, 2005.

P.S. For a little fun, run 15. Nf6! through a Chess computer, without it's opening book switched on, and watch how wildly the evaluations change as the analysis progresses (Black wins, no White wins, no I'm not sure) through longer and deeper searches.

Jul-15-06  hecrmara: What´s wrong with 19.Rg3+
Jul-15-06  patzer2: If 19. Rg3+, then 19...Qxg3! 20. Nxg3 Bc5+ 21. Kh1 Bf8 22. Bxf7+ Kxf7 23. Qxh7 Ke6 24. Re1+ Ne5 and Black is slightly better.
Jul-15-06  Petrocephalon: I'm glad white didn't play the superior 23.Rg3 -- there were some instructive mini-tactics from moves 26 to 31.
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

1.e4 c5;
This is just some very general comments on the opening. [The ratings here come from the website of Jeff Sonas. (]

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.)
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.)

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.


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.
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.

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.

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