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David Howell vs Jonathan Levitt
Staunton Memorial (2005), London ENG, rd 8, Aug-27
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Chistyakov Defense (C07)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-28-05  who: No question in my mind this game deserves the brilliancy award. How often do you see a king hunt these days!
Aug-28-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Black had superior power & position by move 28. White's pieces are 'attempting' to attack, but can't get coordinated...

So much for white pawns controlling the center in this game, by move 6 e, d pawns are gone.

Aug-29-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Great attack. 39....Rxa3 deserves the two exclamation marks.
Aug-30-05  Capafan9: Has to be one of the best of 2005. Great game :) Good for spectators too.
Aug-30-05  notyetagm: 39 ... ♖xa3+!! 40 bxa3? ♕b1# Wow!
Aug-30-05  Knight13: Very good game. The King Hunt is very brilliant!
Aug-30-05  aw1988: The brilliancy prize game.
Aug-31-05  ReikiMaster: <who> certainly unusual to end the king hunt by attacking opponents king with your own king! By the way was it black who offered draw in move 23?
Aug-31-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  Manu2: A brilliant game!! In the mold of Fischers's exploits particularly Blacks "deliberate" Rook moves. Deserved the award
Aug-31-05  YouRang: Of course, this king hunt occurs while white has a mate-in-1 threat (Qxf7#), so every move must be check. The hunt finally ends when (1) black queen is positioned to defend against the mate threat, and (2) the white king is hopelessly exposed and threatened with ...Qd7#.
Aug-31-05  YouRang: Yes, 39... Rxa3+ was indeed a great move. But perhaps the greatness is diminished just a tad, since black really had no other move! He was facing an immediate mate threat from white, and he had no other way to keep the attack going.

In other words, Rxa3 *might* have been a 'deperation' move where things happened to "work out well". Perhaps.

Aug-31-05  Happypuppet: <YouRang> Or the player conceived of it in desperation, but calculated and found it worked. =P
Aug-31-05  YouRang: <Happypuppet> Sure, that's possible. But my understanding of clock management is this: If you see that a certain move MUST be played, then you should play it first and calculate later (while your opponent's clock is running).

I don't doubt that Levitt calculated the winning line at some point -- but he might well have done so sometime AFTER 39... Rxa3+.

Aug-31-05  azaris: <If you see that a certain move MUST be played, then you should play it first and calculate later (while your opponent's clock is running).>

The trick is knowing which moves MUST be played.

Aug-31-05  YouRang: <azaris> Sometimes it's a trick to know which "move" (singular) must be played. But in this game, on black's 39th move, is it really a difficult trick?
Aug-31-05  azaris: <YouRang> No, but he had to calculate that 35...Rd1 leads to a king hunt, at which point you can stop analyzing.
Aug-31-05  YouRang: <azaris> Perhaps he did calculate some or all of the king hunt at 35...Rd1. On the other hand, he might have just calculated that 35...Rd1 wins a knight and a bishop for a rook -- with check! That alone might have made it look like a good move.

Did he necessarily calculate 37. Rf3? (I thought this was a good move by Howell: threatening mate and blocking Black's queen on h1).

After that, Black has little choice but to keep checking the white king -- even if it costs him a rook after 39...Rxa3+. (All other reasonable Black moves seem to lead to a king hunt for White.)

Sep-02-05  lopium: Ahahahaahahzzz!!!!!!! ahahahzzz!!!!!! God, that's a very funny game!!! Come on!
Sep-11-05  JohnBoy: Now this game, as compared to yesterday's GOTD Paulsen-Owens, is not that big of a deal. The king hunt is very nice and well executed, but aside from that there is nothing exceptional here. White agresses, over-extends, and ends up playing a queen and bishop down.
Sep-12-05  Ulhumbrus: 14...g6 attracts suspicion as it disturbs the king side pawns. 14...a4 offers the b pawn but opens the b file and takes a step towards ..a4.
Sep-12-05  Ulhumbrus: 26 a3 disturbs the queen side pawns. 26 Rh3 threatening Rxh5 may be better.
Sep-12-05  Ulhumbrus: In the final position the threat of 48...Qd7 mate has no answer.
Sep-14-05  YouRang: <Ulhumbrus: In the final position the threat of 48...Qd7 mate has no answer.> Yes, at least no GOOD answer. There's always 48. Qxf7+ Qxf7 49. Rxf7 Kxf7. After this, it's an easy endgame win for Black, who is up a bishop for a pawn.
Sep-30-10  sevenseaman: One who rides a tiger cannot afford to dismount. This is so for Black after Whites 37th move, but he rode it till it fell exhausted.
Jun-03-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: < 26 a3 disturbs the queen side pawns.> - < 14...g6 attracts suspicion as it disturbs the king side pawns.>

It's a French. If the pawns aren't deeply disturbed - traumatized, even - then something is very wrong.

To address the actual pawn moves: White's 26.a3 is a standard ploy to give the King some air while potentially slowing Black's a/b pawns: if it isn't played, 37...Rxc1+ is mate. And Black's ...g6 *strengthens* his kingside, by letting the Bishop reach the long diagonal while supporting ...Nh5 to slow White's h-file breakthrough. Also standard, also good.

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