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Stanishevsky vs Nikonov
"Wild Horses" (game of the day May-23-2017)
Moscow (1981)
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0



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Given 9 times; par: 45 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-09-09  SBGiffy: It seems to me 20. Rg3 would of been winning also (threat of Qxh6). Only defence seems to be 20...h5, but then Qg5 is very strong with many winning lines for white.
Jul-12-09  WhiteRook48: 29...Bf1 30 Rh4 changes nothing
Oct-04-10  sevenseaman: One would think Stanishevsky hated horses but then brings one back to life to win the game. An appropriate pun!
May-08-11  ZeejDonnelly: 14. Kh1! (is someone at my level allowed to dole out '!'s?)

The calm lord of the white army vacates g1 for one of his howitzers. I wonder if anyone has a collection of such king moves that help create an attack by making g4 a possibility.

Dec-16-11  fetonzio: this is proof of God
Jul-28-12  CharlyNY: What about 28...Bf1?
Aug-07-12  vinidivici: lolol Wild Horses!! 2 knights sacrificed themselves at the f7 square, and it works!!
Aug-07-12  LoveThatJoker: What an awesome game!


PS. <vinidivici> I am really glad that you commented on this game, as I would probably not have come across it otherwise today. Thank you! :)

This said, it should be noted that Stanishevsky sacrificed his Knights on d7, and not f7.

Aug-07-12  vinidivici: <LoveThatJoker>
No problem. All best games known probably end up as GOTD in this web.

I just make sure i dont miss a single GOTD game from beginning (year 2004). So i made a shortcut to GOTD collection on my browser, spend some times everyday to look at some games, and thanks to PhonyBenony account. And i dont even finish yet.

Oct-25-12  qqdos: <flawed gem> Is it heresy to suggest that from move 23 this game, a favourite of so many including myself, is less than sound? Black made some unwise Q-moves:- 25... Qxd7?= (better 25... Rh8); 28...Qd8?? (better 28...Bf1 29.Rf3 Be2 30.Rh3); and finally 29...Qxf6?? (better 29....Bf1 30.Rh5 Be2 31.Rh3 Bf1=) yielding a stone-cold mate in 5! White's first Knight sacrifice 23.Nd7 would still have won, but he had at least 4 stronger moves, including the virtual "knock-out" 23.g5! The second sacrifice 25.Nd7? was unnecessary, since 25.Rh3! h5 26.gxh5 would have given White a sizeable advantage. Hope this won't disappoint too many of you, but please put me right if you can restore the dignity of this ingenious double sacrifice. Cheers!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <WhiteRook48: 29...Bf1 30 Rh4 changes nothing> 30.Rh4 doesn't work because then 30...Qxf6 is possible. If the game continuation follows, Black takes the rook on h4 with his queen.

The computer gives 28...Bf1 29.Rxf1 Rg8 as giving Black an edge. And 29...Bf1 30.Rh5 Be2 31.Rh3 as 0.00, of course.

White could have kept a decisive advantage by other means, not sacrificing any of the knights. The first sac is fine, though, but the second one is wrong. 25.Rh3 and White is winning.

But of course, if White had not had done this, we would not be talking about the game, and it would not be fun.

I am checking everything with my engine, by the way. I think it is good etiquette to report when you do so. Bf1 is a "!!" move, I'd say.

Aug-09-13  DcGentle: <Fusilli> is right with the computer suggestion of <28... Bf1> turning the advantage to Black. But White missed a sure way to win earlier, at move 20:

click for larger view

White to move played <20.Rae1>, but had a much better option:

[Event "Moscow, Variants not played"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1981.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Stanishevsky"]
[Black "Nikonov"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B30"]
[Annotator "Gentle,DC"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5r2/2q2p1k/brpnpPpp/p1Np4/3P2P1/1P3N2/P1PQ1P1P/R5RK w - - 0 20"]

{Stanishevsky played 20. Rae1, but White has a better move. An engine helped me with the following variants:}

{<}20. Rg3 h5

({<}20... g5 21. Rh3 Kg8 22. Ne5 Qd8 23. Rxh6 Qxf6 24. Rxf6 Ne8 25. Qxg5+ Ng7 26. Qh4 Be2 27. Rh6 Bf3+ 28. Kg1 Nh5 29. Qxh5 Be4 30. Rh8+ Kg7 31. Qh6#{>})

21. Qg5 Ne4

({<}21... Ne8 22. gxh5 Qxg3 ({<}22... Bd3 23. cxd3 Qxg3 ({<}23... Kg8 24. hxg6 Ng7 25. fxg7 e5 26. Qh6 fxg6 27. gxf8=Q#{>}) 24. hxg3 Rb7 25. Nxb7 Rh8 26. hxg6+ Kg8+ 27. Kg2 Nxf6 28. Qxf6 Rh2+ 29. Kxh2 fxg6 30. Qxg6+ Kh8 31. Ng5 e5 32. Qh7#{>}) 23. hxg3 Be2 ({<} 23... Rb7 24. Ne5 Rg8 25. hxg6+ Rxg6 26. Nxg6 fxg6 27. Nxb7 Nxf6 28. Qxf6 Be2 29. Nd6 c5 30. Ne8 Bf3+ 31. Qxf3 cxd4 32. Qf8 g5 33. Qg7#{>}) 24. Kg2 Bxf3+ 25. Kxf3 Nxf6 ({<}25... Rh8 26. hxg6+ Kg8 27. Re1 Rh4 28. gxh4 Rb7 29. Nxb7 c5 30. gxf7+ Kxf7 31. Nd8+ Kf8 32. Qh6+ Ng7 33. Qh8#{>}) 26. Qxf6 g5 27. Nd7 Rxb3+ 28. cxb3 Rg8 29. h6 Rg6 30. Nf8+ Kg8 31. h7+ Kxf8 32. h8=Q+ Rg8 33. Qd8#{>})

({<}21... Nf5 22. gxf5 exf5 23. Rh3 Qxh2+ ({<}23... Qf4 24. Rxh5+ Kg8 25. Qxf4 Bf1 26. Rh8+ Kxh8 27. Qh6+ Kg8 28. Qg7#{>}) 24. Rxh2 ({<}24. Nxh2 Be2 25. Nd7 Rfb8 26. f3 Bxf3+ 27. Nxf3 Rh8 28. Rxh5+ Kg8 29. Rxh8+ Kxh8 30. Qh6+ Kg8 31. Qg7#{>}) 24... Be2 25. Rxh5+ Kg8 26. Rh8+ Kxh8 27. Qh6+ Kg8 28. Qg7#{>})

({<}21... Kg8 22. Qh6 Ne8 23. gxh5 Be2 ({<}23... Qxg3 24. hxg3 Rb7 25. Nxb7 gxh5 26. Qxh5 Nxf6 27. Qg5+ Kh8 28. Qxf6+ Kh7 29. Kg2 Bf1+ 30. Rxf1 a4 31. Rh1+ Kg8 32. Qg5#{>}) ({<}23... Qf4 24. Ng5 Nxf6 25. Nd7 Rd8 26. hxg6 Qxg5 27. Rxg5 Rxd7 28. gxf7+ Kxf7 29. Rg7+ Kf8 30. Qxf6+ Ke8 31. Rg8#{>}) 24. hxg6 Bxf3+ 25. Rxf3 fxg6 26. Nxe6 Ng7 27. fxg7 Qxh2+ 28. Qxh2 Rxf3 29. Qh8+ Kf7 30. g8=Q+ Ke7 31. Qe8+ Kd6 32. Qe5#{>})

22. Nxe4 Be2

({<}22... dxe4 23. Rh3 Qxh2+ 24. Nxh2 Bf1 25. Rxh5+ Kg8 26. Rh8+ Kxh8 27. Qh6+ Kg8 28. Qg7#{>})

23. gxh5 Qxg3

({<}23... Bxf3+ 24. Rxf3 Qxh2+ ({<}24... Rh8 25. hxg6+ Kg8 26. gxf7+ Kxf7 27. Qg7+ Ke8 28. Qxc7 Rxh2+ 29. Kxh2 Rb7 30. Nd6+ Kf8 31. Qc8#{>}) 25. Kxh2 Rh8 26. hxg6+ Kg8+ 27. Kg2 Rb7 28. Nd6 Rh2+ 29. Kxh2 fxg6 30. Qxg6+ Kh8 31. Rh3+ Rh7 32. Qxh7#{>})

24. hxg6+ fxg6 25. Qxg3 Rb7 26. Rg1 Bxf3+ 27. Qxf3 dxe4 28. Qh3+ Kg8 29. Rxg6+ Kf7 30. Rg7+ Ke8 31. Qxe6+ Kd8 32. Qd6+ Ke8 33. Re7+ Rxe7 34. Qxe7#{>} 1-0

You can copy & paste the above text into a PGN viewer like


Feb-06-15  ToTheDeath: Incredible attack but I'm wondering if it's a composition and not a real game, especially since this is White's only game in the database...
Jan-23-16  john barleycorn: <EmperorAtahualpa: Another source suggests this was a correspondence game played in Poland in 1991:...>

Hermann Heemsoth, GM in correspondence chess, in one of his articles gives Moscow 1992 as the game was played in the 1991/2 "Pokalturnier des russischen Zentralklubs".

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ToTheDeath: Incredible attack but I'm wondering if it's a composition and not a real game, especially since this is White's only game in the database...>

The names do seem a bit odd. They sound like villains from a novel by Gérard de Villiers. Great game, though.

May-23-17  SeanAzarin: What a nifty final attack. Underpromoting to a Knight was a gorgeous touch.
May-23-17  chesslearner1991: Masterpiece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <chesslearner1991: Masterpiece.>

There is not much point calling it a masterpiece when the entire oeuvre is 1.

I have written 1 song, and that is my masterpiece - but you wouldn't want to hear it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: This appears to be calculated from at least move 23 on (maybe even 22). Amazing!
May-23-17  morfishine: I have this as a favorite game, but haven't commented on it, perhaps because of the breath-taking, hypnotic effect it has, what-with White just casually tossing away 2 Knights, seemingly without a care in the world

Engines must be able to tear apart this game, right?


Premium Chessgames Member Stockfish reports that 25.Nd7!? is an inferior move, because declining the gift with ...Rh8! (-0.35, 31 ply) leaves Black slightly better. Utterly wining, however, is 25.Rh3! (+4.33, 31 ply).

The first knight sacrifice, 23.Nd7!, is perfectly valid (+3.08, 18 ply) although even stronger is 23.g5! (+5.24, 18 ply).

So White's play was reasonably sound but perhaps overly fancy.

May-23-17  RandomVisitor: After 28.Qxg5. The thing to do for black, after white sacs two knights, is of course to sac a bishop.

click for larger view

Komodo-10.1-64bit: <4 hours computer time>

<-1.02/45 28...Bf1> 29.Rf3 Be2 30.Rh3 e5 31.Re3 e4 32.Rxe2 c5 33.dxc5 Rxf6 34.Qg2 Qf5 35.c4 Qf3 36.Qxf3 exf3 37.Rc2 Nc7 38.cxd5 Nxd5 39.h3 Re6 40.c6 Nb4 41.Rc3 Nxc6 42.Rxf3 Nd4 43.Re3 Kh6 44.Rd1 Rd8 45.Red3 Red6 46.Rc3 Rd5 47.Rc4 Ne6 48.Rxd5 Rxd5 49.Kg2 Rb5 50.Kg3 Kxh5 51.Rh4+ Kg6 52.Rg4+ Kh6 53.Rc4 Rg5+ 54.Kf3 Rd5 55.b4 Rd3+ 56.Ke4 Ra3 57.b5 Rxa2

May-25-17  gauer: Reminds me of that Garth Brooks song. Nice pun, along with (k)night-mares full of sacrifices!
Dec-07-19  newzild: Added to my collection

Game Collection: The Best Games You've Never Heard Of

Jan-09-21  inlandiggy: Crazy, but the 2nd sacrifice works! After 25...Qxd7 26. Rh3 h5, 27. Qg5 is winning for white!!!
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