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Hikaru Nakamura vs Victor Mikhalevski
Corsica Masters (2007) (blitz), Bastia FRA, rd 1, Oct-29
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1-0



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Given 22 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: After 10. exf6!? Nakamura embarks on a true Queen sacrifice in which he gains three pieces for the Queen. Apparently it's enough compensation for this Chess genious.
Nov-20-07  Jim Bartle: Sorry to be so picky, but if it's clear immediately that he'll get three minors for the queen, is it really a sacrifice?
Nov-20-07  Gilmoy: You're both right: White's Q for 3 minor pieces is an "even" trade, but he sacs two clear pawns to do it. I think White's idea is based on 4 factors:

1. Blockade. Black's 2 extra pawns aren't a short-term threat to march. So they're basically meaningless. The game will end before they do anything.

2. Critical mass. White has RRBBN left, with adequate pawn support. That's enough to achieve mutual defense, seize open lines and diagonals, and threaten mating nets.

3. Rosette. His pieces are all protecting each other (or close enough in time that Black has no targets). Nothing is dangling. Over the next 10-15 turns, White can just squeeze Black like a boa constrictor.

4. Value density. Black has the "flaw" that his material "advantage" is concentrated into too few heavy pieces. That's OK on offense, but it's lousy on defense (since Black can't afford any 1-for-1 trades). White simply makes one triple attack threat anywhere on the board, and Black can just resign. (Which is what Black's 33..Rxc4 amounts to.)

Hence, White can both defend and attack simultaneously, and Black can't do either one. From 15 to 32, White creeps forward like a glacier, and Black has nothing. As early as 22..Rd2, Black agrees that he's losing, and offers an exchange (which would return all of the extra material) just to eliminate White's KB (to indirectly prevent a triple at f7?).

See also Nezhmetdinov vs O Chernikov, 1962 ("Hey mister, he sacrifice his queen to you!") for more on the minor pieces swarm theme.

Nov-20-07  Jim Bartle: Thanks, gilmoy, but what do "rosette" and "value density" mean?
Nov-21-07  Gilmoy: We're all online here. Just Google it. (That's what I did.)

From <rosette. noun. 1. any arrangement, part, object, or formation more or less resembling a rose.>

I use "rosette" after Klemperer's term for a gravitationally stable arrangement of planetary bodies orbititing a common center (

In chess terms, a "rosette" is a set of pieces (and pawns) that all protect each other. Equivalently, it's the state of having nothing en prise.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jim Bartle> <Sorry to be so picky, but if it's clear immediately that he'll get three minors for the queen, is it really a sacrifice?>

See "In a true sacrifice, the sacrificing player will often have to play on with less material than his opponent for quite some time. Pseudo sacrifices are ones where the player soon regain the sacrificed material. Sham sacrifices often lead to mate or a gain of more material than originally sacrificed. The late Rudolf Spielmann outlines the difference between true and sham sacrifices in his book The Art of Sacrifice in Chess.

On the other hand, a true sacrifice is one that produces less direct results. The sacrificing side might obtain some compensation for the material lost, but it is not clear even after several moves that their chances are any better than they were before the sacrifice was initiated. True sacrifices are also called speculative sacrifices and positional sacrifices."

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Gilmoy> I have no idea what you're trying to communicate. See or for a fairly comprehensive list of commonly used chess terms and their definitions.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jim Bartle> After 13...Qxd4, Black is up two pawns if you count a Queen as nine points and three pieces as nine points. However, my Fritz 8 @ 15 depth probably properly assesses the position as 13...Qxd4 -/= (-0.44 @ 15 depth) only slightly favoring Black.
Dec-17-07  Gilmoy: <patzer2: <Gilmoy> I have no idea what you're trying to communicate ...> My "rosette" is a non-chess term (and I said that). I also gave my definition of it, twice: <His pieces are all protecting each other> and <the state of having nothing en prise>. "En prise" is in both of the lists you cited, so it's roughly at the level of what a newbie could memorize by rote. Neither list mentions a term for the higher-level concept of "an arrangement of pieces that are not en-prise" -- but that's the level at which stronger players think, especially when assessing a position or making a long-term plan.

Broaden your horizons to exploit knowledge sources beyond chess lists. For the "rosette" term, I borrowed from astronomy / computational geometry / sci fi / Larry Niven's Known Space. It's my way of trying to label the things I see in GM-level chess. A newbie-level rote list isn't enough for that.

Dec-17-07  Shams: <Gilmoy><Neither list mentions a term for the higher-level concept of "an arrangement of pieces that are not en-prise" -- but that's the level at which stronger players think, especially when assessing a position or making a long-term plan.>

it's called not hanging your pieces. do we need a word for it? also, "value density" is silly. you are being pedantic.

/shams, telling it like it is

Jan-01-08  Gilmoy: <Shams: it's called not hanging your pieces. do we need a word for it?> Shrug. Do you already win games like this? If so, maybe you don't need the help.

As an amateur, I seek ways to simplify GM-level chess down to things I can grasp. Between newbie list definitions and expert knowledge, there's surely a layer of useful intermediate concepts.

<Not hanging your pieces> might suffice for planning your moves one at a time. But if a GM opponent has a Q loose, and you're trying to form a 10-move plan to attack and beat him, it might help to have a higher-level pattern that doesn't require re-calculating at each move. Example: From endgame theory, being "in the box" (of an enemy passed pawn) is a newbie-level pattern that replaces tedious calculation with instantaneous NxN square recognition. "Rosette" is a similar time-saving idea -- checking whether your pieces form one (and whether it's mobile, etc.) is usually much faster than searching the tree to 20-ply depth. That's particularly useful when you're assessing an unclear exchange in a complex midgame.

I've seen two other cases of "rosette" in chess literature (both copyrighted, and not published online):

1. Ludek Pachman, in his "Modern Chess Strategy", cites a game where Black [I'm quoting from 15-year-old memory] "sacrifices his Q for R+N+P and achieves a position that most GMs felt was favorable to his opponent -- yet his reasoning proves sound, as White's Q sits idly for more than 20 moves" [on a3]. Black eventually swarms the 1st rank and wins.

2. Ariel Mengarini, in "Predicaments in Two Dimensions", gives one of his games where (as White) he blunders his Q to a B-pin on the a5-e1 diagonal. Yet Black, up a Q for a B, can't get his heavy pieces out along the only open d-file, and Mengarini advances his c-pawn to c6, his f-pawn to f7, and wins. Black never had any targets, could never afford any 1-for-1 trades, didn't have enough pieces to stop the pawn marches (that's "value density", which see), and ran out of air holes.

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