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Vladimir Malakhov vs Gabriel Sargissian
Aeroflot Open (2005), Moscow RUS, rd 5, Feb-19
Zukertort Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A04)  ·  1-0



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sac: 44.Nxc5+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-19-15  jith1207: My initial dilemma was whether sacrificing in c file or b file would be better but after careful analysis, found all moves to the end.
Jun-19-15  jith1207: All the moves after the exchange of rooks are all very instructive although looks like black didn't make use of its chances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I remember some very good advice on knight and pawn endings from Fine's famous endgame book.

He wrote that in general, judge the position as if the knights weren't even on the board. The one who would win that pawn ending will probably win the knight ending too.

That's not true in this position, however. Here, without the knights, it's a dead draw. But Black's knight is so poorly placed the sacrifice actually works.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Knights don't like passed a- or h-pawns. This invites to play 44.Nxc5+ bxc5 (else drops a pawn) 45.Kxc5:

A) 45... Nc7 46.b6 axb6 47.Kxb6

A.1) 47... Kc8 48.a6

A.1.a) 48... Kb8 49.a7+ Kc8 50.Kc6 Kd8 51.e6 Na8 (51... Kc8 52.e7 wins) 52.Kb7 Nc7 53.e7+ Kd7 54.e8=Q+ wins.

A.1.b) 48... Na8+ 49.Kc6 Nc7 50.a7 looks similar to A.1.a.

A.1.c) 48.., Nd5+ 49.Kc5 Nc7 (49... Nxf4 50.gxf4 g5 51.fxg5 f4 52.Kd4 wins) 50.a7 Kb7 51.Kd6 Ne8+ (51... Nb5+ 52.Kd7 followed by e6-e7 winning the knight and the pawns on the king's side) 52.Kd7 Nc7 (52... Ng7 53.Ke7 followed by Kf7 wins the knight) 53.e6 wins.

A.2) 47... Nd5+ 48.Kb7 Nc7 (48... Nxf4 49.gxf4 g5 50.a6 gxh4 51.a7 h3 52.a8=Q wins) 49.a6 Kd8 (49... Ne6 50.a7 Nd8+ 51.Kb6 wins) 50.a7 wins.

B) 45... Kc7 46.e6 Kd8 47.Kd6

B.1) 47... Nc7 48.e7+ Kc8 49.Kc6 with the same idea b6-Kxb6 looks similar to previous lines.

B.2) 47... Kc8 48.e7 Nc7 49.Kc6 transposes to B.1.

B.3) 47... Ke8 48.e7 zugzwang.

Other lines seem to transpose to the above lines or to be similar.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Geronimo: This is an excellent and instructive puzzle. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds himself in situations where a technical draw is lost or a technical win is given up owing to lack of endgame skills. Thanks CG for a good choice.
Jun-19-15  morfishine: Not too difficult to see. White's passed pawn <e5> forces Black to cover the entire board. White can sacrifice the Knight forcing another passed pawn: <44.Nxc5+> and a few forced moves follow: 44...bxc5 45.Kxc5 Nc7 46.b6

click for larger view

With 2 passed pawns, Black is pushed over the edge. It doesn't matter if Black plays 46...axb6 or 46...Ne6+

Its too late


Jun-19-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, but white has the better king position and the better knight position, the black knight having minimal mobility. The biggest assets for both sides are the protected passed pawns. white is set up to grab at c5, giving up a knight to get separated passed pawns.

44.Nxc5+ is the logical continuation. Declining is a hopeless option:

A) 44... Ke7 (Kc7 45.Ne6+ followed by Nf8) 45.Nb3 Nc7 46.Nd4 and the threat of 47.Nc7(+) wins the a-pawn.

B) 44... bxc5 46.Kxc5 and now

B.1) 46... Kc7 47.e6 Kd8 48.Kc6 Nf7 (otherwise 49.Kb7) 49.e7+ Kc8 50.b6 ab 51.a6! and a pawn must promote.

B.2) 46... Nc7 47.b6 ab (Ne6+ 48.Kb5 ab 49.Kxb6 also creates a winning passed a-pawn) 48.Kxb6 Kc8 (otherwise 49.Kb7) 49.a6 Nd5+ 50.Kc5 Nc7 51.Kd6 Nb5+ 52.Kd7 and white can force black to give up the knight for the passed e-pawn, leaving a won K&P ending.

B.3) 46... other 47.Kc6 and white can play Kb7 or b6 under more favorable circumstances than previous lines.

Time for review...

Jun-19-15  mike1: got the puzzle (for a change) but playing through the moves... is there somebody able to explain 30...f5 ?
Jun-19-15  Nick46: Prof Google informs us:
"How to Make Malakoff Torte (An Austrian Specialty). This recipe is adapted from babsie Steger; an Austrian pastry chef. She uses raw egg yolks. so, I made a ..."
Jun-19-15  wooden nickel: A good complementary to the last couple of puzzles.
It seemed to be the choice between 2 possible knight sacs for 2 passed pawns. 44.Nxb6+ axb6 45.axb6 Nxb6+ 46.Kxc5

click for larger view

seems to hold for Black, maybe because the 2 pawns are closer together?! Is the crucial difference in the played line?

click for larger view

48.Kxb6! (48.axb6 and the 2 passed pawns are closer together and Black may still hold)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: That's right, in this position

click for larger view

48.Kxb6 is the right move. The a- & h-pawns are the hardest for a knight to stop. Hence the phrase:

<"A knight on the rim
Might have saved him.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Jury c5 hangman a8 reconcile crevice ogle a5,

cross a6 cost c5 light wins by a margin socket wrench gossamer down goose step job at hand so go c5 soggy rates encircle sage game ma family am route won gaff fag mag fat miff en famile go build foot take c5 tikka quench am kit viktor glide away in light wins ave time kevlar steel vow wave we vue clinch epi centre vow pull c5 up a pew upper and downer pov epicure a8 plight help c5 pest knight photon beam in betcha grin c5 mince lead ellucidate a good hive win lush honour ave zip in zag away in light clocks and cocks then gun for success seem like tit ok in ogle vamoose rever wave clench eg win sac watch eg won mope waste ps right rap roof a8 length in anguisher bet icicles at dawn upon black have no escape in eh aloof cuff sag saw then point craig a nest cow lag snip lavish aorta bled it edict in have rumbles an saviour at hand c5 lench mob why dick around an fly off for won i be proof flight am got i delve a go took tomb ive then other bind eve engages a boot a boon c5 boosh an hots up littlest hobo an ive a scream in flurry it dint again over then rainbow a8 gave hush c5,

lench mob an cutoff point ash camp aim good have oomph efface off at het up infer tile ground an fly aim dutiful crum pivot able link drive spark duos dream an dig i c5 an cad wins often eg liege nt a8 bad aim rut each in effect ace try else lob again am,

beck an call i efface off arms diligent aim duos deceiver a done deal then cash 44.Nxc5+ a good plan gab dive caged it ok ave ogle an da good wheel gadzooks it edict have in aged it ok ave over then c5 fag dip ham good face ripper in purloin a8 bad spot over c5 for a dig jag din da gash an lag dove c5 mag dude an gander vet alf way there am flight dog give monarch an no chance over c5 page an down quag mired it ok have ogles son am rag dive sag did tagged it eddy a wave in blew away am route won dug again vagrant a8 dip cycle on gun as have length in wag done ya good quashed it ok ave ogle garages a8 da query am back quotad quids in?

Jun-19-15  patzer2: Here's my look at the game and the Friday puzzle (44. ?) with the Opening Explorer (OE) and Deep Fritz 14:

<1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 Bg4> This move, transposing into the English Caro-Kahn (A11), is just fine, but I prefer 4... dxc4 as in R Forster vs Bacrot, 2015.

<5. O-O e6 6. h3> This is the only game with this move in the OE. Most often played is 6. d3 as in R Mamedov vs Dvoirys, 2015.

<6... Bxf3 7. Bxf3 Nbd7 8. cxd5 exd5 9. d3 Nc5 10. Nc3 Be7 11. e4 dxe4 12. dxe4 O-O 13. Be3 Ne6 14. Qxd8 Rfxd8 15. Rad1 Nd7 16. Bg4 Ne5 17. Be2 Bc5 18. Bxc5 Nxc5 19. f4 Ned3 20. Bxd3 Nxd3 21. Rd2 Rd7 22. Rfd1 Rad8 23. Kf1 Nc5 24. Rxd7 Rxd7 25. Rxd7 Nxd7 26. Ke2 h5 27. Ke3 Kf8 28. Kd4 Ke7 29. b4 g6 30. Nd1 f5 31. e5 Nf8 32. h4 Ne6+ 33. Kd3 c5 34. b5 Nd4 35. a4 b6 36. Ne3 Ne6 37. Nc4 Nc7 38. Ne3 Kd7 39. Kc4 Ke6 40. a5!> This strong move gives White a slight advantage and sets a trap for Black.

<40...Kd7> If 40... bxa5??, White wins with 41. Kxc5 (+1.89 @ 26 depth).

<41. Nd1! Ke6?> This is the decisive mistake. Black moves to the right square (e6) but with the wrong piece, and with 41...Ke6? falls into the trap White set with 40. a4!

Instead, Black can hold with 41... Ne6! (moving the Knight and not the King to e6), when Fritz indicates play might continue 42. Nc3 bxa5 43. Kb3 Nc7 44. Ka4 Kc8 45. Kxa5 Kb7 46. Na4 Ne6 47. Nb2 Nc7 48. Nd3 Ne6 49. Ka4 c4 50. Ne1 Kb6 51. Kb4 c3 52. Nc2 Nc7 53. Ne3 Nxb5 54. Nd5+ Kc6 55. Nxc3 Nd4 56. Kc4 Nf3 57. Nb5 Nd2+ 58. Kd3 Ne4 59. Nxa7+ Kd7 = (+0.26 @ 26 depth).

<42. Nc3! Kd7 43. Na4! Na8> Here 42. Nc3! initiates the winning combination, for which our Friday puzzle solution (44. ?) is merely a follow-up.

If 43... bxa5, then White wins with 44. Nxc5+ (+2.04 @ 25 depth).

<44. Nxc5+> This follow-up to 41...Ke6? 42. Nc3! solves today's Friday puzzle. In my attempt to solve the puzzle I found this move, but missed a key follow-up three moves later.


If 44... Kc7, then White wins with 45. Nb3 bxa5 46. Nxa5 Nb6+ 47. Kc5 (+9.15 @ 23 depth).

<45. Kxc5 Nc7 46. b6 Ne6+>

If 46... axb6+, then White wins with 47. Kxb6! (Not 47. axb6? Ne6+ 48. Kb5 Nd8 49. Ka6 Kc8 50. Ka7 Nc6+ 51. Ka8 Kd7 52. Kb7 Nd8+ =) 47... Kc8 48. a6 (+11.31 @ 21 depth).

<47. Kb5!> This is an essential follow-up which, in my attempt to solve the puzzle, I missed.

My planned follow-up was 47. Kd5?, which Fritz indicates fizzles out to a draw after 47...axb6 48. axb6 Nd8 49. Kc5 Ke6 50. Kb5 Kd5 51. Ka6 Kc6 52. Ka7 Kd7 53. b7 Nc6+ 54. Kb6 Nb8 =.

<47... axb6 48. Kxb6!>

If 48...a6?, Fritz indicates White holds after 48...Kc7 49. a7 Kb7 50. a8=Q+ Kxa8 51. Kxb6 g5 52. fxg5 Kb8 53. Kc6 Kc8 54. Kd6 f4 55. gxf4 Nxf4 56. Ke7 Nd5+ 57. Kf7 Kd8 58. Kg6 Ke7 59. Kxh5 Ke6 = (0.00 @ 37 depth).

<48...g5 49. a6> This wins, but also strong is 49. hxg5 (+18.90 @ 22 depth).

<49...gxh4 50. a7 hxg3 51. a8=Q h4 52. Qd5+ 1-0>

Black resigns as White will soon mate, as for example after 52.Qd5+ Ke7 53. Qd6+ Kf7 54. Qd7+ Kg6 55. Qxe6+ Kg7 56. Qf6+ Kh7 57. Qxh4+ Kg7 58. Qxg3+ Kf8 59. Qg6 Ke7 60. Kc7 Kf8 61. e6 Ke7 62. Qf7#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: My first instinct was to play 44.axb6, but black can recapture, with check, and white can't take on c5. I didn't realize it, but that's not what I went for.

What I did go for was 44.Nxc5+ bxc5 45.Kxc5, with thoughts of 46.b6, axb6, and queening. A long puzzle, but I might've gotten it OTB.

Jun-19-15  VanPoolPlayer: @agb2002. I had never heard the "Knights do not deal well with passed pawns on a and h." It makes sense. I guess this is the corollary to "You do not want your passed pawn on a or h if it is down to just the Kings."
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight sac opened the road for a pawn race,won by white.
Jun-19-15  BOSTER: The knight feels much better when the pieces only on the one side of the board.

It is very useful to know that the <distance> between two pawns in so-called the wandering square is very crucial.

So, in the pos. half move before POTD 43...was better to play not Na8,but 43...bxa5, and distance between white pawn b5-e5 shorter than a5-e5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: "A knight in the corner? Call the coroner."

(credit to User: diceman)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: 44.Nxc5+ looks promising: After 44...bxc5 (otherwise Black has just lost a pawn) 45.Kxc5 White has got two pawns (including the black passer) for his knight. Moreover, he threatens to create a second passed pawn with b6, which would be decisive in view of the ultra-poor position of the black knight. Now

A) 45...Kc7 46.Kd5 Kd7 47.e6+ Ke7 48.Kc6, and the black king is unable to help his incarcerated knight and to hold the Pe6 at the same time.

B) 45...Nc7 46.b6 axb6 and now <not> 47.axb6 Na6+ 48.Kb5 Nb8 and White can make no progress, but 47.Kxb6! White now threatens Kb7, after which Black will eventually have to give his knight for the a-pawn. The only way to prevent this is 49...Kc8, but after 50.Kc6 it seems as if Black's king and knight are unable to cope with the separated passed pawns, in particular since the White king also threatens to ravage the remaining black pawns.

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