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Alexey Sokolsky vs Georgy Bastrikov
Sverdlovsk National Tournament (1942), Sverdlovsk URS, rd 7, Mar-29
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Fianchetto Variation (B80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-11-12  backrank: How strange that some of the most brilliant games are constantly overlooked! Maybe this is because it's pretty one-sided? While Black's counterplay on the queen side never achieves anything, White's king side attack develops almost effortlessly.

After 19. ... e5, Black probably expected the white knight on d4 to retreat. However, 20. g6! would force a quick mate after exd4 21. Qh5 h6 22. Bxh6! Black's last hope was (20. ... hxg6 21. fxg6) 21. ... f5 to place a knight on f6 which would stop mate. However, after 22. Nxf5 he is forced to sac the exchange since 22. ... Bxf5 23. Bxf5 Qmoves 24. Be6+ would lose on the spot while 22. Bd8 is refuted by 22. Qh5 Nf6 23. Ne7+!! Bxe7 24. Rxf6! Rxf6 25. Qh7+ and 26. Qh8# since the square e7 is blocked!

In the game continuation, however, the white attack seems to have come to a temporary standstill after 24. ... Nf6 (although White, being the exchange up, should have a comfortable technical win). Now the rook sac on f6 doesn't work, while Black is actually threatening Nxe4 disrooting the Rf5. With 25. Bg5 (!) White seems to fall into that trap, after 25. Nxe4(!?) White's rook and bishop are hanging, and there is no mate after 26. Qh5 ? Nxg5! Is White lost now? Has he miscalculated? No! 26. Nd5!!, the most beautiful move of the game, turns the tables again. Now White threatens Nxe7+, and the rook on f5 is indirectly protected. 26. ... Bxg5 fails to 27. Qh5, which works again because White controls e7 (27. ... Bh6 28. Ne7+, or 27. ... Qxf5 28. Qh7+ and Qh8 mate). 26. ... Nxd5 27. Qxd5+ loses quickly, too. Black's very last hope is pinning the Nd5 by 26. ... Nf2+ 27. Rxf2 Qb7. But 28. Qh5! works here, too! White can actually let Black take the Nd5 with check: Qxd5+ 29. Kg1 and Black is helpless: after Bf6 (forced) there is no mate since Black controls f7, but the pawn g6 wins by being transformed into a passed pawn: 30. Bxf6 (simplest) gxf6 31. Qh7+ Kf8 32. g7+ and g8Q+.

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