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Valeriy Neverov vs Athanasios Mastrovasilis
"Never say Neverov" (game of the day Mar-31-2014)
European Championship (2005), Zegrze POL, rd 13, Jul-01
Benoni Defense: Classical. New York Variation (A70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-15-06  tayer: I liked the rare and long strugle between ♕ and ♖+♗+♘
Apr-27-06  soberknight: 119...Qg6?

As Ecclesiastes wrote, one error can ruin a great deal of good...

Apr-05-07  gambitfan: This game should have been a draw!!

♗etween ♕♙♙ and ♕♙ we have 52 moves!!! Why did not ♗lack ask for a draw ???

Jun-21-07  tatarch: These guys must have been brain dead after this one.
Mar-26-08  MarkThornton: Either side could have claimed a draw between moves 117 and 119, on the 50-move rule. I wonder why this did not happpen?

<119.....Qg6?> is a blunder that allows White to win the f3 pawn, due to a knight fork.

Mar-26-08  MarkThornton: After <129. Kxd4>, the endgame is very difficult for humans, especially if it was a rapid finish.

According to this tablebase website,, the players made 11 half-point blunders in the final stage of the endgame. This just shows what a difficult task they faced. Here are the details (I don't claim to understand it, I am just reporting the verdict of the oracle...)

<133...Qc3?> loses, <134. Rh3+?> draws.

<138...Qd2+?> loses [138...Qf1+! is the only move to draw.]

<140. Nf4?> draws, <140...Qc2?> loses.

<142. Rh2?> draws, <142.... Qd7?> loses.

<146. Bd5?> draws, <146...Kf1?> loses.

<147. Kh4?> draws [147. Bc4! is the only move to win.]

<147...Qg7??> allows mate in 5, i.e. 148. Bg2+ Kg1 [148....Ke1 149. Nd3+ Kd1 150. Bf3#] 149. Nh3+ Kh2 150. Bf3+ Qg2 151. Rxg2+ and mates next move.

Black still had a draw before he played his last move. <147...Qe7+>, <147...Qh7+> or <147...Ke1> are all good enough for 1/2 a point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <soberknight: 119...Qg6?>

Personally, I would never assign a question mark to a move with three digits in its number.

Mar-31-14  paramount: nah, this is brilliant
Mar-31-14  waustad: <especially if it was a rapid finish>With that number of moves they would have been playing on increment for quite a while. How long can a person put up accurate responses with 30s while required to write down the move? There were several spells with repeats to gain time, but at the end of marathon games, accuracy should not be expected.
Mar-31-14  hedgeh0g: Black played the middlegame very energetically. It's a pity that his desire to win overcame his common sense; after 100 moves with that kind of material configuration, one should probably just accept the draw :)
Mar-31-14  nalinw: Am I the first person to find this a great pun?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Ouch. I know, I know, 3 digit move and all, but Qg6?
Mar-31-14  Travis Bickle: Pretty good for a 1 minute lightning game... ; P
Mar-31-14  JohnBoy: Looks to me like 104...Qg2 wins. Threatens to displace the knight as well as discovered check.
Mar-31-14  JohnBoy: Wrong - 104...Qg2 105.Kc5 and the f pawn still goes nowhere.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This game was a draw, until black punted it away.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I'm exhausted just playing through it. A titanic struggle between demigods. Mere mortals would have shaken paws on a pub draw long long before the end of this one.

There was one point which gave me a chuckle. This is the position after 16...cxd4

click for larger view

It was at this point that I nodded sagely to myself (if one can nod to oneself, sagely or otherwise). That isolated black pawn on d4 is not long for this world. White will round it up, win it and then grind out a pawn up endgame. Much muttering, sucking of clay pipes and bearded "mark my words" sort of manly bloke wisdom.

And all, of course, utterly wrong. That self same black pawn was the last pawn to fall of either colour, lasting all the way to 129. Kxd4. That's long enough for 3 or 4 games under more normal circumstances.

And then you start to wonder about the practicalities. Did they have to send out for more score sheets when they got past say move 80? Not to mention comfy cushions, oxygen, a vat-load of caffeine and a St Bernard dog with a fresh barrel of rum around his neck.

I couldn't make my mind up whether these two players were the best of friends who enjoyed each other's company so much that they couldn't bear to be parted or ...

... the worst of enemies where each wanted to win so badly that he was determined to play to a conclusion, or ...

Maybe they were both teachers who were used to telling the class that "he can wait all night"? Or maybe that was just my teachers?

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <Once>

Brilliant take, did we go to the same school?

< .... "mark my words">

There is a technical term a "Blake" (no, not 7, but quite possibly Yohan) for this. An assertion made with absolute conviction which turns out to be completely wrong, even spectacularly wrong.

Apparently this game went on very late and at 3 am they were the only two still playing. The tournament referee was groaning because he wanted to go home and muttering "it's never over, it's never over :("

Just then the white player's wife arrived, really angry because hubby hadn't come home. She looked very worked up and ready for some very physical action.

And just then the referee shouted "that's enough you two, or it's Neverova for me!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Brilliant game. I'm a fan of material imbalances such as BBN-vs-Q or RBN-vs-Q, as here. If the minor pieces are reasonably well coordinated, they should win - as Smyslov demonstrated in a classic game. But Kasparov showed how the Queen, with sufficient initiative, was able to win against RBN. I once had Queen vs RBN against Tony Miles and drew (to my surprise).

This should have been drawn at move 117, of course -- but I fully accept Phony Benoni's Law: never assign a question mark to a move with three digits in its number.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Here is a classic game where the Queen prevailed: Smyslov vs Gufeld, 1967
Mar-31-14  DrChopper: What about 73.Qxd3?
Mar-31-14  zakkzheng: It is actually clear that during the game white was looking for a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: E. 1.0
Black to move at 68

click for larger view

68...Qxb3+ 69. Nxb3 f2 70. Bg2 f1=Q 71. Bxf1 Kxf1 72. Nxd4
Draw by insufficient material

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