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Igor Alexandre Nataf vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
"Nataf Born" (game of the day Jul-07-2012)
French Championship (2006), Besancon FRA, rd 3, Aug-16
Sicilian Defense: Modern Variations. Anti-Qxd4 Move Order (B50)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Wild stuff. Definitely worthy of being GOTD.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: I'll put it still another vote for GOTD.

This game is filled with ideas, and against many an opponent, Nataf's powerful attack would have carried the day.

May-30-11  sevenseaman: I agree, its a sizzler from Nataf and the draw is a poor return for a valiant effort.

I think there was a loss of tempo in getting the other R to the 7th rank; and the risk of a base line mate that was decisive in the draw.

May I have some views on 24. Bb2; I rather like it. I do not know if it is good enough to push for a win from here;

click for larger view

May-30-11  sevenseaman: 24...Rh7 is no good now. One line of thought is there are now two Bs combining with the R for discovered checks and the Black Q is poorly placed to take command.
May-30-11  sevenseaman: Perhaps still a draw by perpetual?
May-30-11  Bobsterman3000: Here's another sacrificial onslaught by Nataf:

Nunn vs I A Nataf, 1999

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I'll admit that the pun is mine, and that it's not very good. But when I saw the game I just had to think of <something>.
Jul-07-12  DanielBryant: A few years ago, <poulpe> mentioned the possibility of White playing for the win with 29.h3. While I haven't put this into an engine or anything, I just don't think there's anything there. Playing around with some ideas, it seems that depending on what White tries, Black's king can eventually take refuge on squares such as h5 or even c6, as White cannot check indefinitely should the king proceed forward.

And, what a cool game.

Jul-07-12  LoveThatJoker: Tremendous tactical game from both players indeed!

GM Vachier-Lagrave deserves full credit for coming up with this defensive masterpiece.

For me, the star moment of the game is when Black plays 22...Qa4!

Position after 22...Qa4!

click for larger view

This, according to Stockfish, is the only move as something like 22...Qc3? allows 23. Bg6 which forces mate!

Therefore it is understood that 22...Qa4! is a strong move because it threatens the B on a3 and it covers the e8 square.


PS. It should be noted that Stockfish also says that Black could have played 29...Kg6 with a winning advantage; this established, for me, the fact that GM Vachier-Lagrave played 29...Kg8 allowing a draw doesn't detract at all from his excellent, inspired, galvanizing and Super-GM-like defense in this game!

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: How odd that MV-L keeps resorting to ...Rh7 in his defense masterpieces:

Morozevich vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2009

Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: A wonderful game, beautifully played!
Jul-07-12  LoveThatJoker: <An Englishman> Thank you for referencing Morozevich vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2009 in your post here:

It is an Immortal!


Jul-07-12  DanielBryant: <LoveThatJoker> Thanks for pointing out the 29...Kg6 possibility for Black; it's definitely similar to some of the lines I was looking at before making my previous post here. Given White's (relatively) limited firepower by that point, I wonder why Black didn't go for it.
Jul-07-12  LoveThatJoker: <DanielBryant> Thank you for the kind shout-out!

Here is a terrific line that Stockfish came up with in regards to the winning 29...Kg6 move.

Analysis Diagram - Position after 29...Kg6

click for larger view

30. h3 (30. Rg7+ Kh5 31. h3 Rf8 32. Rc7 transposes into the main line) 30...Rf8 31. Rg7+ Kh5 32. Rc7 Qd5 33. f3 Qd1+ 34. Kh2 Qd6+ 35. Kg1 Qb6+ 36. Kh2 Qf2 37. Rc5+ Rf5 38. Rxa5 Bb5 39. Rg4 Rd5 40. Ra2 Bc6 41. Ra6 Qc5 42. Bb4 Qxc2 43. Be7 <-4.08/D = 24>


Jul-07-12  hermit druid: According to the computer, the waiting move 29.h3! was actually winning for white. The idea would have been 29...Kg6 30.Rf7! and the king is awfully stuck. (or 29...Kg8 30.Be5!) Well, I don't understand all the computer lines, but it makes sense that white should have a win with so few pieces defending black's king.
Jul-07-12  goodevans: White's Q-sac on move 19 is pretty much forced. Anything else would amount to an admission that the earlier N-sac was a failure.

From that I would guess that Nataf had seen the Q-sac way back when he played <12 Ng5>. Fantastic vision! I wonder just how far he had seen when he committed his N into the attack.

Jul-07-12  LoveThatJoker: <hermit druid> Excellent initiative on your part, firing up your engine so as to see what other possibilities White had available to himself!

According to Stockfish, your engine is correct in saying that 29. h3! is an improvement over the actually played 29. Bc3+. Here are two lines that it considered for just over an hour:

Analysis Diagram - Position after 29. h3!

click for larger view

A) 29...Qc4 (best) 30. Rc7 Kg8 31. Rxc4 Bxc4 32. Bxh6 a4 33. Rg7+ Kh8 34. Rc7 a3 35. Bg7+ Kg8 36. Ba1 Ra4 37. f3 Bd5 38. Rg7+ Kf8 39. Kf1 a2 40. Ke2 Rb4 41. Ra7 Rb7 42. Ra4 Rb1 43. Be5 Rc1 <1.25/D = 26>

B) 29...Kg6 30. Rf7 Qb1+ 31. Kh2 Qb8+ 32. f4 Qd8 33. g4 Bb5 34. Rxd8 Rxd8 35. Rb7 Rd2+ 36. Kg3 Ba4 37. Be5 Rd7 38. Rb6 Kf7 39. c4 Rd3+ 40. Kh4 Bb3 41. c5 Bd5 42. Ra6 Bg2 43. Ra7+ Ke8 44. Kh5 Rxh3+ 45. Kg6 a4 46. Kf6 Rh4 <2.02/D = 26>


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White sacs queen but is unable to mate,so he plays a perpetual check.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <An Englishman: Good Evening: How odd that MV-L keeps resorting to ...Rh7 in his defense masterpieces: Morozevich vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2009>

That thought also occurred to me.

I recently came across another reference (also in a post by <An Englishman>) to the amazing Morozevich vs. Vachier-Lagrave, Biel 2009, in page 3 of this thread: Geller vs Euwe, 1953, another game that features a remarkable rook move (Euwe’s <22...Rh8>).

Jul-07-12  weisyschwarz: <Phony Benoni> I wracked my brain too, and could only come up with "Maximemum Effort".
Jul-07-12  goodevans: <weisyschwarz> <Phony Benoni>

I think today's pun was almost there. Maybe just a slight improvement - "Nataf Aggression"

Jul-07-12  master of defence: What´s wrong with 9.dxe7?
Jul-08-12  DanielBryant: <master of defence> I suppose White didn't play it because it does allow Black to speed up his development by castling faster. White has a lead in development in exchange for his worse pawn structure, and he doesn't want to allow Black to catch up in development.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Digging His Own Lagrave.
Jun-21-14  Conrad93: 29...Kg6! wins for black.

Some poster was claiming its the opposite.

How did you come that conclusion when Rybnk 4 gives black 2.00+?

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