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Joel Benjamin vs Zdenko Kozul
World Team Championship (1997), Lucerne SUI, rd 2, Oct-26
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Neo-Modern Variation (B67)  ·  0-1



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Jan-29-12  sevenseaman: There's some consensus building up against 33. Qf1. I do not think its a bad move at all.

I have played out some variations when White fights by letting the Q go in the melee for supremacy. These all end in P dominated winning end game for Black.

I concluded, at best Qf1 is a speculative move, in that Black may not be able to find 37...Bxe4 pinning the N from controlling b2. (Its not an easy move to find and White may not have foreseen the development).

In this eventuality, having saved up his Q makes sense and he wins. Else he is losing anyways.

Jan-29-12  LIFE Master AJ: [33.Qe2 Rxc2 34.Qxc2 Rxc2 35.Kxc2 Bxe4+ 36.Kc3 Be3 ]

Fritz says Black is better, but I had the old "ghost Rook" thing going on, I thought that c3 was covered ...

so nuts.

My first move was correct, but since I did not get the follow-up, not going to give myself credit for this one. Sure worked hard enough on this one ... ... ... first puzzle I totally blew in a long, long time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Oh yah. Got a Sunday puzzle right. :)
Jan-29-12  LoveThatJoker: Alright, so...This is quite the position.

Black to play for a win.

I'm liking 31...Qxc3! 32. Rxc3 Rxc3 33. Qg2 Rxc2 34. Qxc2 Rxc2 35. Kxc2 Bxd5+ 36. Kc3 Be3! 37. Ng3

[37. Kb4 Bf3 38. Rb1 (38. Rd3?! loses time as 38...Bc5+ 39. Kxb5? Be2 wins outright) 38...Bxg4 39. Ng3 Bf4 and Black's center pawns are very strong with the support of the Bishops.]

37...Bf3 38. Rd3 Bd4+ 39. Kb4 Bxg4 40. Kxb5 Bf2 41. Kb4 Bxg3 42. Rxg3 Bxf5 and Black's center pawns must win over White's b-pawn as the B controls b7, at the very least, while the King can now move freely into the game.


Jan-29-12  LoveThatJoker: <morf> 33. Qf1 is not only a blooper, but quite the whopper. ;)

<Everyone> I'm officially 7 for 7 this week, guys!

Two weeks ago: 5.5 out of 7

Last week: 6.25 out of 7 (as in last Sunday's Tarrasch puzzle a draw was proven as what would occur with best play after Nxf7 double check, which is what I went with: The alternative to the game continuation, Ne6+)

This week: 7 for 7! Official!


Jan-29-12  Patriot: Black has the bishop pair. White threatens 32.Nxf4.

I looked at this for 40 minutes, thinking I was missing something in the line 31...Bxe4 32.Qxe4 d5 33.Qxd5 Qxd5 34.Rxd5 Rxc3 35.Rd7+ Kf8 (35...Ke8 36.Nxf6+ ) 36.Rd8+ . I also looked at 31...d5 to threaten a fork, but 32.exd5 threatens his own fork. The only forcing move that seems to lead somewhere is the insane looking 31...Qxc3, threatening immediate mate.

A) 31...Rxc3 32.Rxc3

A.1) 32...Qxc3 33.Rxc3 Nxf4 34.exf4 looks interesting although I'm not sure where this leads.

A.2) 32...Qe2 33.Rxc2 Qxc2 34.Rxc2 Kxc2 35.Bxe4+ Kc3 36.Be3 looks like another interesting line.

I never figured on 33.Qf1 which seems to just give away material for nothing but I guess the idea is to add defense to c1 while holding onto the queen.

Jan-29-12  Samagonka: My brain is jammed...
Jan-29-12  David2009: J Benjamin vs Z Kozul, 1997 Black 31...? Insane

Black has a promising exchange sacrifice: 31...Qxc3 32.Rxc3 Rxc3 (exploiting a pin on the Bishop: 33.Bd3 allows 33...Rc1+ etc) 33.Qe2 (threatening Nxf4) Rxc2 34.Qxc2 Rxc2 35.Kxc2 Bxe4+ 36.Kc3 Bf3 37.Rg1 Be3 and the two Bishops dominate the R+N: if 38.Rg3 Bd4+ etc. Time to check:
White defended differently and lost differently. Crafty EGT is still unavailable (so there's no point in inputting an interactive link to the colours-reversed puzzle position), but fortunately we have expert kibitzers. I will digest what they have to say, meanwhile I have got the first few moves.

Jan-29-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has the bishop pair and a power lineup of majors on the c-file, putting heavy pressure on c3. White's threat of 32.Nxf4 does not give black time to shuffle the pieces around so that a rook is on the front end of the battery instead of the queen. This suggests a very forcing line of exchange that leads to a dynamic endgame where black's bishops work together well:

31... Qxc3!

The threat of 32... Qxc2 leaves white with no real choice.

32.Rxc3 Rxc3 33.Qe2 (Qxc3 Rxc3 34.Nxf4 exf4 35.Rf1 f3 followed by 36...Re3 looks hopeless for white) Rxc2 34.Qxc2 Rxc2 35.Kxc2 Bxe4+ 36.Kc3

No really serious alternatives until this point. Black has obtained 2 bishops + 2 pawns for rook+knight, but the smoke has not quite cleared, because the white king can get to the black queen-side pawns.

36... Be3!

It's critical to keep the two bishops on the board to support the new passers. 36... Bh2? keeps the knight trapped (FWIW) but puts the DSB on a low mobility square. Now the bishops control the board:

A) 37.Re1 Bd4+ 38.Kb4 (Kd2 Bc3 is hopeless) Bf3 39.Kxa3 Bxg4 40.Ng3 h5! (Threatening Bc2. The immediate 41... Bc2 42.Rc1 Bxg3 allows 43.Rg1 getting the piece back) 41.Rf1 Kd7! (getting king off the e-file before pushing e-pawn) 43.Kb4 Kc6 44.a4 ba d4 and the advance of the e-pawn will win.

A.1) 39.Kxg5? Bxg4 40.Ng3 Bf2 41.Rf1 Bxg3 42.Rg1 Be2+ 43.K moves Bxh4 with a winning material advantage.

B) 37.Kb4 Bc3 38.Rf1 (Re1? Bd2+) Bxg4 39.Ng3 Bc5+! 40.Kc3 (Kxb5? Be2+ ) b4 and white has no counter-play.

This is not comprehensive, but illustrates black's big advantage. Time for review...

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Lots of strange queen moves by white like 13.qe1 instead bd3

30.qe2 instead g5 31.qf3 maybe b4? Show an tell in must absolute

conviction over qxc3 rxc3 rxc3 defend looks in c2 exchange down

bishops pair for probing against out action h5 rookd1 level

material castle rag in back seventh in draw slight plus forge

black it often in extract or swindle underneath wave looked d6 e5

alike bridge. This pineapple goes down to whites queen placement

it fallow in ground rich picking after f1? Shave ready made cull

opening old c3 go enterprising but I got stuck to right draw-back

queen in dilemma again try in amostly it over mini trate in woold

e2 in fit hold concoct!

Jan-29-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: <No really serious alternatives until this point> I should have considered the game line for full credit, but Benjamin's avoidance of the 2 bishop ending shows what he thought of his chances. I'd still like a test on Crafty EGT when it becomes available.
Jan-29-12  David2009: J Benjamin vs Z Kozul, 1997 postscript <LoveThatJoker: <Everyone> I'm officially 7 for 7 this week, guys!> Congratulations - it gets better - are you 28 out of 28 this week on the <al wazir> scale? <dzechiel:[snip] black will soon be all over white like a cheap suit>. Like it!
Jan-29-12  LoveThatJoker: <David2009> I'm not sure how al wazir's scale works. I'm interested to know though!


Jan-29-12  morfishine: <LIFE Master AJ> You commentd <...first puzzle I totally blew in a long, long time> I'm not sure what you mean. Improving on the actual play doesn't you missed it, unless I'm missing something. <33.Qe2> is a definite improvement over 33.Qf1; even <33.Qxc3> is better. I don't think you "blew it", but thats my opinion.
Jan-29-12  Patriot: Now I know why I took 40 minutes on this. It's because of a quiescence error! With the rook guarding c3, I kept dismissing 31...Qxc3 early. Here's what Dan Heisman says about when to stop analyzing:

"In general you should stop your analysis if:

- The sacrifice isn’t calculable and your judgment says the sacrifice is worth it (or not),
- The reward becomes less than the risk, or
- There are no more checks, captures, and threats and you end up behind in material."

I was using the second option to stop analyzing, since trading queen for rook is usually not a good idea! Maybe other's here have made that mistake, but eventually solved it because it's a puzzle? That's what happened in my case.

Jan-29-12  Marmot PFL: best i found was 31...Qxc3 32 rxc3 rxc3 33 Qe2 (moving bishop loses to Rc1+) Rxc2 34 Qxc2 Rxc2 35 Kxc2 Bxe4+. 2B + 7p (including passed d-pawn) vs R, N, 5p. Probably take a lot of work to win, but I didn't see much else, and white is threatening 32 Nxf4 with advantage.
Jan-29-12  James D Flynn: I didn't get this one. My best try was 31...Qb4 threatening to take the c3pawn with a R or the e4 pawn with the B, 32.c3xb4 Rxc2 33.Nxf4 to answer the mate threat on c1 33....Rb2+ 33 Ka1 Rc2 and white cannot stop the perpetual 34.R(d3)d2 prevents the mate in 3. However White doesn't have to the the Q immediately: 32.Nxf4 Rxc3 33.Rxc3 Rxc3 34 Nd3 Qd4 35.Ne1 and White remains a piece up. now to the game.
Jan-29-12  James D Flynn: I dismissed the 33.....Qxc3 line because it leads to an exchange down endgane after 34.Rxc3 Rxc3 35.Qg2(or Qxe2) Rxc2 35.Qxc2 Rxc2 36.Kxc2 Bxe4+ 37.Kc3 I judged this as a tricky ending but maybe winnable for White. looking at the moves for Black if 37.....Be3 38.Ng3 Bf3 loses to Nf5+ 37....Bd4+ 38.Rxd4 e5xd4 39.Kxd4 and White has the active K and can create a passed P on on the queenside. I agree it is tricky, but I see only loosing chances for Black. _
Jan-29-12  cimatar: I think the critical move is on move 33 when Qf1 loses, but 33.Qd3 somehow holds the game i.e. 33...Rxc2 is now met by Qxd6 with mate the next move so 33...Rxd3 34.Bxd3 etc... is still a long game.
Jan-30-12  TheBish: J Benjamin vs Z Kozul, 1997

Black to play (31...?) "Insane", even material.

This one truly earns it's difficulty level. After briefly looking at 31...Qxc3 (which I prematurely dismissed for some reason), I spent too much time looking at moves like 31...d5 and 31...Qb4 (which draws after 32. cxb4 Rxc2 33. Nxf4 Rb2+ 34. Ka1 Rcc2 35. R3d2 Rxa2+ 36. Kb1 Rab2+). After nearly giving up, I returned again to the former try, and noticed what I missed before.

31...Qxc3!! 32. Rxc3 (forced) Rxc3 33. Qe2

Or 33. Qxc3 Rxc3 34. Nxf4 exf4 35. Re1 Rg3, with a winning endgame advantage. Also, 33. Qf2 Rxc2! transposes, but not 33...Bxe4 as I first thought (with the idea of 34. Bxe4?? Rc1+ 35. Rxc1 Rxc1#) because of 34. Qa7+! Kf8 35. Qxa3 Bxc2+ 36. Kb2 Bxd1 37. Nxf6+ Ke7 38. Nd5+ with a draw.

33...Rxc2! 34. Qxc2 Rxc2 35. Kxc2 Bxe4+ 36. Kc3 Be3 37. Ng3 Bc6 38. Kd3 Bb6 39. Ke2 b4 and Black should win the endgame, with two bishops and two connected passed pawns against rook and knight.

Jan-30-12  LIFE Master AJ: Still a nice problem ... and a good illustration of Kotov's candidate move system.
Jan-30-12  LIFE Master AJ: I did Fritz this one, at least a little bit. From Fritz's and Houdini's reaction to Qf1, I would have to say that the move was an error.
Jan-30-12  Nemesistic: You SHOULD be a GM!!!!
Jan-30-12  LIFE Master AJ: I agree completely, F.f.B!


Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Wow!!
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