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Teimour Radjabov vs Viswanathan Anand
"Pick your Poison" (game of the day Oct-04-2008)
World Blitz Championship (2006) (blitz), Rishon Le Zion ISR, rd 5, Sep-07
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Poisoned Pawn Accepted (B97)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Willber G: Did anyone else go down the Nd6+ route? No? Just me then. It wins, but only after some messy sacrifices that net the black Q or ends up with a big pawn advantage endgame. Fail.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Willber G> I looked at Nd6+ too. Heck, I think I looked at just about everything before I hit on the solution. And, embarrassingly, it turns out that I kibitzed on this game back in October 2008, so I really should have remembered the finish.

But I just couldn't get Nd6+ to work and with so many other tempting moves I quickly gave up on it and looked elsewhere.

Fritzie reckons there are three moves from the puzzle position that give white an advantage. Pick of the bunch is, of course, 16. Nf6+ which is mate in 3. But white would also have won with 16. Bxg5 (+5.66), because the mate threat is still "on" and white grabs material while black is extricating himself.

Most surprising of all is that 16. 0-0 also gives white a smallish advantage (+1.57), with the idea of Bh5 and the attack rages on.

But 16. Nd6+ I am afraid gets an eval of -1.3 after 16...Bxd6 17. ed Qxh4+.

Jul-07-10  Bobby Fiske: <Once> Thank you for taking the time to write so witty. Always a pleasure to read your posts here!
Jul-07-10  David2009: Radjabov vs Anand, 2006 White 16?

There are a number of plausible wrong tries. 16. Nf6+! forces mate in three: 16...Nxf6 17 Nc7+ Ke7 18 Qd6#. If 16...Ke7 17. Qd6#. Time to check:
Yes, all as found by the regulars. Crafty End Game Trainer internet link to explore alternatives:

and to the position one move earlier to try to win it against best defence:

click for larger view In both cases you are white, drag and drop the move you want to make. Enjoy!

Jul-07-10  TheaN: Wednesday 7 July 2010


Target: 2:10;000
Taken: 0:43;430

Material: =

Candidates: Nf6†, Qxd7†, <[Nf6†]>

First I flashed at Nf6† but thought it was too easy to get to the destructive Qxd7†. The point there is that the Queen is in fact a very important piece in the White domination, here keeping the Black King in the center. White wins with the simple:

<16.Nf6† Nxf6 (16....Ke7 17.Qd6‡ 1-0) 17.Nc7† Ke7 18.Qd6‡ 1-0> which cannot even be classified as a true piece sacrifice, making this a rather even Wednesday. Time to check.

Jul-07-10  Blunderdome: I got this in about two seconds. But I looked at the game earlier this week ;)
Jul-07-10  tarek1: Got it. It was perhaps already too late, but 14...Be7 instead of 14...Nc6 might have held the game for Black.
Jul-07-10  lost in space:

click for larger view

This position reminds me that Kasparow once said, that one untouchable knight a the 3rd (6th) rank is winning midterm. 2 knights on the 6th ranks are obviously a sudden death.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 7..Qb6 bloodloss letting Holy Grail blacks sharpest side spraying pieces. White spears pawn lacing toxic escape from PP Nxe6. The strict 9..Qa3 starts throwing up sicilian complications. Stalk the knights 13..Qa4 asparagus choice Vishy. Horse in Nc6 too stale filled chalice Nf6+ Nc7+. Turns g5 last supper grabs space it falls black quaich empty.
Jul-07-10  randomsac: It took me a while, but white's knights had such dominant positions that I eventually worked out the solution.
Jul-07-10  kevin86: The knights and queen tie up the opponent in a big bow.
Jul-07-10  igiene: Where the Black go wrong? It seems to me that the most accurate line is 13..Qxa2 14 Rc3 Qa1+ 15 Qd1 Qa4 and Black is fine
Jul-07-10  igiene: 14..Nc6 is ruinous, though is not simple to see the diabolic combination of White.Retrospectively, 14..Be7 seems necessary.
Jul-07-10  Marmot PFL: This one took a while, so many tactics going on. Finally realized that Ne4 was too important to lose and so found 16 Nf6+ Nxf6 (Ke7 17 Qd6#) 17 Nc7+ Ke7 18 Qd6#.

Strange that Anand would miss this, even in blitz. I thought this line of the Poisoned Pawn was well known to theory. Maybe this was the game that made Short think Anand might be getting senile.

Jul-07-10  YouRang: First I considered 16.Nc7+, but after 16...Kd8 17.Nxa8 Qxe4 18.Bg3 Bc5, it looked like white wins the exchange, but only temporarily since the knight appears to be trapped. At any rate, there is no easy win in sight for white.

Then I noticed 16.Nf6+, with the idea of 16...Nxf6 (not 16...Ke7 17.Qd6#) Qd8# -- which is great except that d8 is guarded by black's Nc6. So, I wasted some time trying to see if I could deflect Nc6 somehow, but to no avail.

So, I backed up to consider other options for move 17, and discovered that *now* 17.Nc7+! forces 17...Ke7 (...Kd8 is impossible since the d-file is open). With the king at e7, it blocks the bishop's defense of d6, giving me 18.Qd6#.

I bet it's not often that Anand faces a forced mate in under 20 moves.

Jul-07-10  JG27Pyth: I played Nc7#(?) before realizing that it was not mate at all because there was a pawn on g5 (who put that there?) ... once I had all the pieces on the mental board I saw that Nf6+ compelled Nxf6, and seeing the remaining combination was a snap.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: This is quite a surprising game. As far as I know, the moves are all book through 13. Bh4. Three moves later White is forcing mate. So what caused this astonishly sudden collapse?

Apparently, Black's lemon is the innocent-looking 13...Qa4, when 13...Qxa2 is still a hard fight. 13...Qxa2 isn't an intuitive choice -Black moves his already overworked queen in a position that cries out for development and getting his king to safety - but it does place the queen where it can guard e6. Instead, Anand moved his queen to a4, and after 15. Nxe6! the game is pretty much over.

So, one of the World's best players goes down in 16 moves. Ultra-sharp opening lines simply leave no room for inaccurate play.

Jul-07-10  wals: I played the blunder move 16.Nc7+.

The text move 16.Nf6 that could have been followed by Nxf6 17.Nc7+ Ke7 18.Qd6# was as pretty a combination as one could hope for.

Black's 14...Nc6 +4.61 was a blunder.
Much better was Bc5 +0.98, or Ba3 +1.09.

Rybka3 1-cpu:3071mb hash:depth 15:

Jul-07-10  David2009: How does White win after 15....Be7 ?

click for larger view

Jul-07-10  cjgone: I went for Nc7. :(
Jul-07-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <<David2009:> How does White win after 15....Be7 ?> <cjgone:> I went for Nc7. :(> Right, I went for the straightforward win of material with 16.Nc7+ Kd8 17.Bxe7+ Nxe7 (Kxc7 18.Qd6#) 17.Nc3! Qc6 18.Nxa8

The game continued 18... Qxg2 19.Rf1 b5 20.Bf3 Qxd2+ 21.Kxd2 reaching an easily won endgame. But in candor, I have to admit that I got careless and blew the win (yes the full point!) by sacrificing the exchange prematurely in a position where black had a dangerous a-pawn that won white's knight. So I started over and redeemed myself.

Jul-07-10  M.Hassan: White to move "medium/easy" and materials are even.
it took me a very long time to discover the key move. At first I studied 16.Nc7+ but did not see much in it for white except getting a rook and loosing a minor piece but 16.Nf6+ is full of fritful advantages like: - If taken by the Night on d7, the d file becomes fully clear for any action of the Queen - If the Black king chooses to move to e7, it blocks the ray of action of the Bishop sitting on f8 Therefore:
16.Nf6+ Nxf6
17.Nc7+ Ke7
Jul-08-10  turbo231: a very simple game but i missed it
Mar-22-20  Whitehat1963: Excellent Fridayish puzzle after 14...Nc6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Now this is a destruction!
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