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Joao Caldas Vianna vs Augusto Silvestre Paes de Barros
"The Brazilian Immortal" (game of the day Sep-11-2009)
Rio de Janeiro (1900), Rio de Janeiro BRA, Feb-??
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Waller Attack (C52)  ·  1-0



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Given 28 times; par: 23 [what's this?]

Annotations by Roberto Grau.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <whiteshark> & <SwitchingQuylthulg> I think I am with you on this one. I don't see that 24. Nd6 is as clear-cut as the notes suggest. Fritz evals the position after 24. Nd6 Qxb7 25. Nxb7 Bxc3 as -0.89.

Two major branches here:

26. Nxd8 Bxd1 and when black disentangles his pieces he is about a pawn ahead. From here 27. Kf1 is -0.66, 27. Re5 is -0.99 and 27. Nf7 g6! is -1.32

26. Re7 (-0.91) with a complicated double rook and minor piece position. Black has more pawns but white has more activity.

So can we really call this game "immortal" if the main talking point (26. Nd6) is flawed?

So to answer the question "what day of the week would this be suitable for?" I am afraid for me the answer is none. computer checks its puzzles and would spot the holes in this combination within seconds.

Let's be clear. It's a fun game to play through. White pursues his attack with energy and imagination. I certainly wish I had played it! And many other immortal or evergreen games have tactical holes in them which are spotted in the computer age, so perhaps we shouldn't be too harsh.

All in all, a worthy GOTD and I am glad I have played through it. But let down a little by the sloppy annotations and the main combination is not accurate enough to be a puzzle position (unless it is thrown in as a spoiler).

Sep-11-09  lzromeu: <<twijfelaars: <I think he is wrong. How does White gain a piece after <25...Bxc3>? click for larger view

If <26.Nxd8 Bxe1> and black has still a pawn surplus.> Well after 26.Nxd8 Bxe1 White could play Nf7, winning the rook on h8.>>

...g6 gain the f5-rook and trap the knight. Or lose a knight for a pawn. Not a good idea.

Nd6 is a brilliant and aesthetical move. This sounds natural and deep move. Not so hard to find, but hard to sse all the combination until the end game.

Sep-11-09  RandomVisitor: The following improvements are suggested:

<21.Nb3> Qxc3 22.Bxf5 Qxe1 23.Be6+ Qxf1+ 24.Kxf1 Ke8 25.Qb5+ would have been winning for white.

<21...dxc3+> 22.Kh1 cxd2 23.Be4+ (or Be6+) Nf5 would be winning for black due to the passed pawn threats.

<22.Nb3> Qd5 23.Nxa5 g6 24.Nc6 Kg7 25.Nxd8 Qxd8 with white advantage.

Sep-11-09  ounos: <study the position, before continuing with the reading, to see if you find the idea of the master; white pieces must take advantage of the defective position of the black King; the first check can be fatal for the black pieces> Well, after reading this note, I did ponder a bit and came up with Nc5. (There were fewer captures so it was easier to calculate it's not an outright blunder). And it still threatens Qd5+. But probably it's too tame compared to Nd6.

Nd6 is such a cold-blooded move. If I was thinking about it OTB, my temperature would rise (after rejecting capture after capture) at levels that would interfere with the calculations, and would waste much time.

Not only that: it's sort of insulting move, a move you make and think that your opponent's reaction will be to slap you, literally. Wouldn't you feel the urge to apologize after playing 24. Nd6?

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Those of us who would love to play the Evans Gambit first have to find a Black player who's willing to enter into the Giuoco Piano--and that kind of player seems to be in mighty short supply these days. I wonder why that is. When I was first learning to play chess, everybody played the Piano. I must be getting old.
Sep-11-09  WhiteRook48: this is brilliant
Sep-11-09  costachess: what about
21 ... dxc3+
22 Kh1 cxd2

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <CG> - <we decided to feature this as a GOTD rather than slate it for a Sunday puzzle> The right call, I think. Grau's "spiral" is a beautiful concept. Ironically, it's quite like a composed problem - the Nd6 can be taken in several ways, with different mates following in each line.

Unfortunately, the line spotted by <whiteshark> with 24.Nd6 Qxb7 25.Nxb7 Bxc3 etc kills it stone dead as a forced win: so the problem is 'cooked'.

It is still a fascinating ending. Engines seem to give black a slight edge -- if he can hold onto the d-pawn and safely play ...c5 then the combined passers are very strong. But it's not clear that black *can* hold the pawns: there are lines where white centralizes his king quickly rather than trying for tricks with Ne6 (or the downright bad Nf7) -- eg, 25.Nxb7 Bxc3 26.Nxd8 Bxe1 27.Kf1 Bd2 28.Ke2 Bf4 29.g3 g6 ... which is highly unclear.

Or white can regain a pawn with something like (in this same line): 29.Ne6 h5 30.Nxf4 gxf4 31.Rxf4 Rh6! -- but black is winning this: he gets some initiative, frees the Rh8, and creates a potential mini-pawnroller. Which looks as though it can survive and prosper.

It is clear that there is no extra tactical finesse which pulls a win out of the hat for white after the queen swap on b7.

And yet White is not simply lost. There are ideas such as keeping rooks and minor pieces on the board, activating the white king, and playing to win one or two pawns down. At the least, white has a few tempi to attack with ♖ + ♘ before black gets the Rh8 out.

It's not always about counting pawns. To paraphrase Mae West, it's about the life in your pawns rather than the pawns in your life ...

In any case, annotator Grau and both players seem to have missed this resource -- for which Brazil can be grateful.

The classic English sci-fi writer John Wyndham wrote a good book, The Outward Urge, in which Brazil becomes a space-faring 21st century superpower after the northern hemisphere bombs or pollutes itself out of play. Brazil in that book has a slogan which applies neatly to chess as well:

<"Space is a province of Brazil.">

Sep-11-09  tivrfoa: <whiteshark>'s discovery was like throw a bucket of cold water in what was so far a brilliant move.

ps: bucket of cold water is a brazilian idiom (jargon).

Sep-11-09  RandomVisitor: After 24...Qxb7 25.Nxb7 Bxc3:

click for larger view

<[-0.48] d=28 1.Nxd8> Bxe1 2.Kf1 g6 3.Rf7 Bb4 4.Rxc7 Ba5 5.Rd7 Bxd8 6.Rxd8 Kg7 7.Rd7 Kh6 8.Rxa7 d3 9.h3 Rc8 10.Rd7 Rc3 11.a4 Ra3 12.g4 Rxa4 13.Rxd3 Ra2 14.Kg1 Rb2 15.Rc3 Rd2 16.Rc7 (6:09.28) 6936548kN

[-0.92] d=27 1.Re7 Rc8 2.Rxg5 d3 3.Rd5 h6 4.Rxd3 Bf6 5.Re4 c5 6.Rc4 Rc7 7.Na5 Kh7 8.Nb3 Rb8 9.Rd2 Rb4 10.Rdc2 Rxc4 11.Rxc4 Kg6 12.Kf2 Be7 13.Kf3 Kf5 14.Re4 h5 15.h3 h4 16.Rg4 (5:55.55) 6679861kN

[-1.42] d=27 1.Rxg5 Bxe1 2.Nxd8 h6 3.Rd5 Kh7 4.Rxd4 c5 5.Rd7 Re8 6.Nc6 c4 7.Rd4 c3 8.Kf1 Bd2 9.Rc4 Re1 10.Kf2 Ra1 11.a4 Ra2 12.Nd4 Bf4 13.Ne2 Bxh2 14.Rxc3 Bf4 15.Rc4 Bd2 16.Kf3 (5:55.55) 6679861kN

Premium Chessgames Member
  ciberchess: I have searched this game in Grau's books and I couldn't find it. Can anyone tell me in wich place is mentioned this game?. Thanks
Sep-16-09  RandomVisitor: After 24...Qxb7 25.Nxb7 Bxc3, it appears that White has good drawing chances:

<[-0.49] d=32 1.Nxd8 Bxe1 2.Kf1> g6 3.Rf7 Bb4 4.Rxc7 Ba5 5.Rd7 Bxd8 6.Rxd8 Kg7 7.Rd7 Kh6 8.Rxa7 d3 9.Rd7 Ra8 10.Rxd3 Rxa2 11.h3 Kh5 12.Rd5 Ra4 13.Kg1 Kh4 14.Kh2 Ra3 15.Rd7 h6 16.Rd4 (82:13.09) 96912622kN

[-0.99] d=31 1.Re7 Rc8 2.Rxg5 d3 3.Rd5 c5 4.Rxd3 Bf6 5.Re2 h6 6.Rc2 Rc7 7.Na5 Kf7 8.Kf2 Rhc8 9.Nc4 Bd4 10.Kf3 Rf8 11.Re2 Kg8 12.Kg4 Rf6 13.Ra3 Kh7 14.Rf3 Kg6 (78:30.50) 92786425kN

[-1.42] d=30 1.Rxg5 Bxe1 2.Nxd8 h6 3.Rd5 Kh7 4.Rxd4 c5 5.Re4 Rxd8 6.Rxe1 Rd2 7.a3 Rd3 8.a4 Rd4 (47:19.17) 56876677kN

Oct-02-10  sevenseaman: For me, this has been the most difficult game to follow. I am unable to work out Vianna's next move more times than my hopeless ego permits. To get somewhere, you have to see it. First time ever, I thought of learning a game by rote - it hurts you know, the admission of inadequacy.

On top of all that, Grau's annotation helps only scantily - like a bikini that barely exposes the essential point.(A misplaced pun! Sorry)

Oct-02-10  BobCrisp: I'm always a bit suspicious of <immortal games>. Under what circumstances was this game played and published?
Oct-02-10  sevenseaman: In this position,

click for larger view

with the Damoclean sword still hanging over White who can imagine the White R at e1 would make the final mating move in a 'mate-in-3' scenario.

Jul-17-12  master of defence: Why not 32...Kh7 instead of 32...Kxf8?
Jul-17-12  shivasuri4: <master of defence>, it only prolongs the mate by a couple of moves. After 32... Kh7, 33.Qf5+ g6 (if Kg8, Re8#) 34. Qf7+ Kh8 35. Re8#.
Jul-17-12  master of defence: <shivasuri4> After i kibitzed this i realized the winning sequence, but you need agree with me, this game is very good attack.
Nov-11-12  vinidivici: i think 24.nd6 should put in the POTD someday, friday or saturday maybe.

I dont know if that is strong. But for sure, taking the knight with any piece on board is a mistake.

And taking the white queen also bad.

Nov-21-13  jphamlore: I think Emanuel Lasker in position 52 of the Third Book of Lasker's Manual of Chess found 24 ... Qxb7, so it not the case only computers could find this move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I solved this problem with all moves, eppalautte mates, fork on b7, and all...Admittedly I stopped when I saw there was annotation but the Qxf8 and Re8# were one of my first ideas. I started by trying 1 Qe5+ (I presume this has been a 'problem of the day' as well as 'game of the day')

A good exercise in tactics and attack! A beautiful game!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I see that Black didn't play the best defence but it is good for us he didn't. After 24. ... dxc3+ 35. Kf1! is the best move.

<Whiteshark> rightly spotted that 24....Qxb7 doesn't win, in fact it leads to a small advantage if not a win for Black.

But the player below is correct: Lasker found the correct move without using a computer:

<jphamlore: I think Emanuel Lasker in position 52 of the Third Book of Lasker's Manual of Chess found 24 ... Qxb7, so it not the case only computers could find this move.>

It is in my book (or my father' on page 42, position 52 indeed. He then also found the correct moves which are virtually as on my "machine". The first edition of that book was 1932. My paper back Dover came out in 1960. It is still a valuable book as is Capablanca's book.

None of this detracts from the beauty of Joao Caldaz Vianna's ideas and play here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Here's a nice ending where Grau himself beat Euwe -

R Grau vs Euwe, 1924

Dec-30-14  chessik: <ciberchess> This game is in Tomo II "Estrategia", Segunda Parte "Temas Típicos de combinación", Capítulo II "Los puntos de coincidencia de las piezas agresoras" - Una obra maestra brasileña .(Last game of the chapter II).
Oct-04-16  newzild: A great game to play through - it's a shame about the hole in 24. Nd6.

Perhaps this should be renamed "The Brazilian Cook" rather than "The Brazilian Immortal".

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