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Ratmir Kholmov vs Istvan Polgar
Budapest (1979)
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Wormald Attack (C77)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I saw the line 15...Nxf2 16.Qxf2 Rxe3 17.Rxe3 Qf4 with edge for black almost instantly and in real game I would have played that without hesitation. Here I was looking quite a long for some more crushing way to win but (of course) without success...
Feb-17-08  officeplayer: So, it seems that White had a wrong plan, trying to struggle for the "e"-file with 14.Be3? and 15.Re1??. Anyway, despite his mistake on move 14 (14.Be3? Qf7), white could have tried better with 15.Na3 or 15.Qd3, for example:

15.Na3 Bxa3 16.bxa3 Ng5 17.Nxg5! Bxe2 18.Nxf7 Bxf1 19.Nh6 gxh6 20.Kxf1 Rab8

click for larger view

15.Qd3 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Qxf3 17.Nd2 Qg4+ 18.Kh1 Rad8 19.Qc4 Kh8 20.Rg1 Nxf2 21.Bxf2 Qxc4 22.Nxc4 Bxf2 23.Rg2 Bc5.

click for larger view

Both positions look bad for white but they seem to be better than the line played in the game.

Feb-17-08  tallinn: I calculated this up to Qf4 but was troubled by white's answer Re8+ then. I think to solve this puzzle one has either to see or to believe that white will be going mate or loose its queen (what else? anything else is at home) after Rxe8 Qxc5 Qc1+ Kf2 Bxf3 Kxf3? (Nc3 is better) Qf1+.

Everyone else but me (both players in the game and Fritz that is) did see this and played Kh1 instead of Re8+.

Feb-17-08  Alphastar: Black has a lead in development but is down a pawn. Time for some action. The main tactics in this position is playing Nxf2 at some point. The question is whether or when to flick in an exchange on f3. For example, 1. ..Nxf2 2. Qxf2 doesn't seem to lead anywhere. Time to calculate some variations.

1. ..Bxf3 2. Qxf3? Qxf3 3. gxf3 Nxf2! (if now 4. Bxf2? Rxe1+ , or 4. Kxf2 Rxe3! 5. Rxe3 Re8 ) 4. Bxc5 Rxe1+ 5. Kxf2 Rae8 and here, white is up material, but I wonder whether he can get his knight and rook into play without material losses, and how will it take? Meanwhile, the game is like black is up a rook and an exchange.

2. gxf3 is more interesting.
Well there's just too many possibilities for white and black so I'm giving up here.


I missed Qf4. I didn't like the immediate 15. ..Nxf2 because I didn't see how to exploit the pin after 16. Qxf2 Rxe3 17. Rxe3.

Feb-17-08  afioonov: NICE and Brutal,but i made a misktake(as did fritz11 in the first 20 sec) and evalued the position after 18.Re8+ as equal.but it is anything but that.good puzzle
Feb-17-08  aazqua: A good puzzle to illustrate the danger of underdevelopment in the opening. Invariably you open yourself up to counter attack. White should feel appropriately chastised, and yes, he certainly could have given up a LOT earlier.
Feb-17-08  D.Observer: I never thought of that for the fifteen move.
Feb-17-08  zooter: Hmm...First Sunday I'm even trying to solve...

But doesn't 15...Nxf2 win back the pawn that black is down and then puts him in a good position, but don't think just finding one move could be the solution to the puzzle...

Feb-17-08  zooter: Ok, off course i missed

16.Qxf2 (didn't even consider this!!) Rxe3 17.Rxe3 Qf4 followed by all the other moves...

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: If <18.Re8+ Rxe8 19.Qxc5 Qc1+ 20.Kf2 Bxf3 >

click for larger view

with <21.Nc3 Qxc2+ 22.Kxf3 Rf8+ 23.Qxf8+ Kxf8> Material: ♖♘ vs ♕♙

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I thought that white might have been better off playing 20 gxf3 instead of Qxf3.

click for larger view

But it looks like 20...Bc1 wins material for black.

Feb-17-08  znprdx: Timed out looking at the "gold pieces" move Ng3. Nxf2 didn't seem forcing enough. I too missed the obvious 5-ply Qf4.

BUT looking further: Did White miss 18.Re8+ Rx[R]e8 20.Qx[B]c5 Qc1+ expecting to win the exchange which doesn't work 21.Kf2 Qxb2 22.Qc3!

What am I missing - is this a cook?

<whiteshark:> oops thanx I didn't understand your 21.Nc3 but now having played it out...

So if instead 21.g2x[B]f3 Qe1+ 22.Kh3 Re5 (the "lucky" move) 23.Qe4 Rh5+ 24. Kg2 Qe2 @5. Qf2 Rxh2+ oh well, when it's lost it's lost.

More amazingly circumstantial than insanely brilliant....

Feb-17-08  RandomVisitor: Perhaps white should have tried to press for a small advantage with 10.d4 Bxd4 11.Nh6+ Kf8 12.Nf5 Qxe4 13.Qxe4 Rxe4 14.Nd2.
Feb-17-08  general607: I got 15,,,, Nxf2 16. Qxf2 Rxe3 17. Rxe3 Qf4 and then after some queen move, recover the rook, but could see no further. I gave up on the line and just said "Punt" since it did not seem to give more than a minor advantage... I guess that's why I'm 1547 instead of 2547...
Feb-17-08  wals: Noting think- Lean towards an instinctive choice that will activate my intuition and experience (however small that may be).
now look at the board
black down a pawn and a knight, up a bishop, is more developed than white If Ng3 attacking the queen hxg3 leaves h file open except for N4. If Nxf2 bishop can take f2 BxB + QxB KxB or just leave it. If Ng5 the bishop cannot move as it loses the queen, same applies to the knight, its stuck too. 15...Ng5

Dipped out but hopefully will gain by the experience.

Feb-17-08  wals: Ratmir Kholmov - Istvan Polgar, Budapest 1979

Analysis by Fritz 11: Once more offers a different route to the one taken. Depth 19/40 time 6min26
1. = (-0.25): 15...Ra8-b8 16.Nb1-c3 Ne4xc3 17.b2xc3 Bc5-d6 18.h2-h3 Bg4xf3 19.Qe2xf3 Qf7xf3 20.g2xf3 Rb8-b2 21.Re1-e2 Re8-e6 22.Kg1-g2 Re6-g6+ 23.Kg2-h1 Kg8-f7 24.a2-a3 Rg6-f6 25.Kh1-g2

2. = (-0.20): 15...Bc5-b4 16.c2-c3 Bb4-d6 17.h2-h3 Bg4-h5 18.g2-g4 Bh5-g6 19.Nb1-d2 Ne4-c5 20.Qe2-c4 Nc5-d3 21.Qc4xc6 Nd3xe1 22.Nf3-g5 Qf7-f6 23.Qc6-d5+ Bg6-f7

(, 18.02.2008)

Feb-17-08  jovack: I got this one fairly quickly (the move), the analysis took considerably longer, but Nxf2 was my move of choice.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane): Black to play and win.

Material: Down a P, B for N. The action is on the K-side, however, so for the moment, White is effectively down Ra1 and Na2. The squares f2 and f3 are under heavy fire, and Re8 is obscured from the Qe2 along the e-file.

Candidates (15...): Nxf2, Ng4, Rad8

15...Nxf2 (threatening 16...Rxe3, leaving Black with Q+B for R+2N)

16(1).Ng5 Qf4 (threatening 17...Rxe3)

17(1A).Bxf4 Bxe2 (threatening 18...Nh6++ and 18...Nd3+) winning at least the exchange for a P in a better position

17(1B).Qxf2 Bxe3 18.Rxe3 Qxe3 winning at least the exchange

17(1C).Nh3 Nxh3++ 18.Kh1 Rxe3 with B+N in hand, with more material to follow

17(2).Ne5 Rxe5 17.Qxf2 Qe8 winning at least Be3

16(3).Qxf2 Rxe3 17.Rxe3 Qf4 18.Re8+ [else, Black regains all material, with a vicious attack] Rxe8 19.Qxc5 Qc1+ 20.Kf2 Bxf3 21.Kxf3 [gxf3 Qe1#] [else, Black has even material and a winning attack] and the best White can hope for is to drop Qc5 for Re1 to avoid mate.

The best line I found was 16(3), so White should endure the bracketed attack. Time to peek. I found 15...Nxf2 early, but sampled 15...Rad1, which convinced me that the opposition of Re8 and Qe2 was critical to Black's success.

At 17 plies, Toga II 1.3.1 values 15...Rab8 at -0.32 (for White). Interestingly, at 16 plies, Toga values 15...Nxf2 at -1.40. I thought the computers would have a difficult time today, because the material remains even for so long.

Toga gives simply 16.Ng5 [or Ne5] Bxe2 with a huge lead, because the Be3 falls. Obviously, I was rattled from missing Qh8+ yesterday. Live and learn.

Feb-17-08  chicagotim: Personally, it seems like 22 Nc3 would have been much better in this situation. why did he do a4 instead?
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<chicagotim> wrote: Personally, it seems like 22 Nc3 would have been much better in this situation. why did he do a4 instead?>

22...Bxb2 forking R and N

Feb-17-08  FelipeGab: I think 15. ...Ng5
Feb-17-08  Magic Castle: I thought 15...BxB is better. followed. by 16...Ng5. If 16. QxB the Q is discovered and white cannot exchange queen because of the back rank mate. Now if 16. pxB. Then it is even worse. because the interposing g pawn will be taken with attack. Will someone look this combination up since I am busy right now reviewing for an exam.
Feb-18-08  whitebeach: I don't understand 19 . . . Bxf3 as in the game. Doesn't 19 . . . Rf8 virtually force the win of a pawn and, after the exchanges, leave black with the better minor piece besides?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Inactive pieces defeated by active ones-how unique,NOT!
Feb-21-08  patzer2: The Feb 17, 2008 puzzle solution, 15...Nxf2!!, uses a demolition tactic to prepare a winning pinning combination in order to simplify to a won position.
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