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Wesley So vs Morteza Mahjoob
"So Far, So Good" (game of the day Mar-19-2008)
Asian Individual Championship (2007), Cebu City PHI, rd 4, Sep-22
Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack. Weiss Variation (B09)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  rodchuck: What happens after 20. Ngf7, threatening 21.Nh6+ Kh8, 22.Ndf7+? If20....h6 or h5, then Qg6 seems decisive. Am I missing something?
Apr-11-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: <rodchuck>,

20 ... Qe7 slows down the win by letting the king escape.

Apr-11-18  Cheapo by the Dozen: Anyhow, this is a cool puzzle.

Attempts to exploit the pin at g7 fail because the c8 bishop helps defend.

Nxc8 isn't as good as it looks, because if White snatches TWO pawns and simplifies, Black has the endgame initiative. And being 1 pawn up in a rook-and-pawn ending isn't exciting.

The game line takes us to positions that are sort of like the standard smothered mates. They're not exactly that, of course, since Black is defending with a queen. But White forces mate quickly in most lines anyway.

Apr-11-18  Steve.Patzer: I have not read all the comments yet, but I was thinking 20. Ngf7
Apr-11-18  cocker: I tried 20 Nxf5 instead of 20 Rxf5, so nul point.
Apr-11-18  malt: Had set position wrong, a knight on f4,
20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Ndf7+ Q:f7 22.N:f7+ looked too easy, looked at 20.N:h6+ Kh8 21.R:f5 ef5 22.Ndf7+ Q:f7 23.N:f7+ Kg8 24.Qb3 h6 so, nul points
Apr-11-18  dTal: This was hard! I thought 20. Ngf7 wins on the spot but after 20. ... Qe7, there doesn't seem to be anything clear. Instead, Wesley's brilliant 20. Rf5 wins the house. Bet he say that many moves earlier. This position illustrated to me so clearly why I will never be good at this game :-(
Apr-11-18  morfishine: Oh yeah, the old <Qb3+> trick
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Hey Wesley, you making me lose Mahjoob with that combination!

I looked at Nh6+ line and couldn't see the continuation after Kf8 and I didn't even consider the smothers brothers line.

Conclusion: 9.99 points (lol)

Apr-11-18  malt: <dTal> This position illustrated to me so clearly why I will never be good at this game

Don't get despondent, I could recommend a good book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Black was in trouble by move 14. On move 15 ...Bd7 was essential to even keep the game at a nearly 2 pawn disadvantage. 15...Ne7? gives white the opportunity to achieve a winning advantage.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Got this without too much thought, but key is to see the need to clear the a2 to g8 diagonal for the Qb3ch and smothered mate ideas with the knights, so Rxf5 idea then pops up. At first i did not look at the long move for the Q to the other side of he board, but once I considered that I knew i was on the right track. The nice idea of this position is the need for the proper knight dance to achieve the smothered mate threat ideas. It cannot be accomplished with the Q on g8, so checking maneuvers with both knights are required to force the black Q to fall on her sword. As pointed out , falling on her sword immediately by Qxf5 may just prolong the agony of defeat. Very instructive position!
Apr-11-18  WorstPlayerEver: <malt>

Don't worry. Try to see the White squares if you need the White squares and vice versa, half work done. We learn.

That said, I should have known before even thinking; yesterday we had the windmill..

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: It was satisfying to see how everything falls into place after Qb3+.
Apr-11-18  WorstPlayerEver: My 30s approach did not work. No chess today. Malditos caballos!
Apr-11-18  Mayankk: Pretty combo and am glad to solve it.

Once you see the f7 weak spot and the well-placed knights, remember all those nice smothered mate positions, it all simply falls in place.

Now it is one thing to solve such puzzles, entirely different to actually reach such positions in actual games.

Apr-11-18  WorstPlayerEver: 20. Nxf5 exf5 21. Qb3+ works as well +3 so I was close hehe
Apr-11-18  lzromeu: windmill week
Apr-11-18  malt: <WorstPlayerEver> Thanks, I should start with coffee first !!
Apr-11-18  swclark25: Agree with <dTal> and <malt>. What books do you recommend?
Apr-11-18  NBZ: Alas, like others I was also waylaid by the mysterious allure of Ngf7, which just doesn't work after Qe7.

The reason Ngf7 is so tempting is that it's very rare to be able to plonk a knight on f7, with no queen or bishop supporting it, without sacrificing the knight in the process.

By contrast, So's Rxf5! exf5 Qb3+ and Nf7+ is positively pedestrian by comparison.

Apr-11-18  whiteshark: <20.Rxf5!!>, and that's it.
Apr-11-18  malt: <swclark25> for <dTal> I would recommend, 'Improve your chess Tactics' by Y.Neishtadt
(Editor of the soviet magazine '64' )
Apr-11-18  sombreronegro: The smashing rook move was obvious to consider. However justifying it was far more difficult. Should have seen that the knights and blacks pieces accounted for the black squares. The black bishop is quite useless here against the knights. Thus white square control was needed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  takchess: Totally missed out Intuition felt like an arabian mate..... After reading the comments and playing with the analysis board saw that it ended like this. A double smothered mate. losing both queen and rook before mate . Whites knight reloads with another one. Sweet. 20...exf5 21. Qb3+ c4 22. Qxc4+ Be6 23. Qxe6+ Kh8 24. Ngf7+ Kg8 25. Nh6+ Kh8 26. Ndf7+ Qxf7 27. Nxf7+ Kg8 28. Nh6+ Kh8 29. Qg8+ Rxg8 30. Nf7#
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