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Jonathan D Sarfati vs Ryan Stevens
"Sarfati's Safari" (game of the day May-19-2008)
Logan City Chess Club champs (2008), Logan City Chess Club, Australia, rd 6, May-09
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation (E41)  ·  1-0



Annotations by Jonathan D Sarfati.      [5 more games annotated by J Sarfati]

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sac: 23.Nxg7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-15-08  Pianoplayer: After Rg7+!! no matter what black does it's h8=R# or h8 =Q#.
May-19-08  crptone: Not quite, 37.. Kf8 38. h8=R+ Kxg7
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobsterman3000: I don't see any real defence against 23. Nxg7, aside from better development BEFORE that move.

17... Qa4 ?? removed the last viable KS defender against the obvious pawn storm that was building. Black showed no sense of danger here, despite a totally undeveloped QS rook and light-squared bishop.

Even the very ugly and inelegant 17...g6 probably would have been better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Morten: 17.-, g6. 18. Bxh6 looks pretty terrible for black.
May-19-08  Samagonka: White deserves a big pat on the back for his pawn strategy.
May-19-08  xrt999: 23.Nxg7 is "not exactly calculated" trading the knight for 2 passed pawns. Well put.

In this puzzle from last month, I posted that this was adequate compensation, and that white should continue to play. In the following game white has the same exact material trade, a knight for 2 passed pawns, but resigns.

R Pert vs C Ward, 2005

May-19-08  cyruslaihy: <xrt999>in the game u mentioned, white's passed pawn is not as far advanced, the main point is that black will have a hard time stopping pawns at 6th rank WITH ONLY 2 RANKS TO WORK WITH
May-19-08  sallom89: very nice attack and sac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I think 22…g6 would have worked extremely well for black defensively.

click for larger view

It looks like white has no choice but to retreat the knight.

May-19-08  kevin86: The passed pawns were far too much for black,as the annotator said,to guard with only two ranks open for his defenders.

IMHO,an underpromotion done unnecessarily,is an ego trip. After 37...♔e8 38 h8=♕# is the proper thing to do.} (Of course,37...♔f8 38 h8=♖?? ♔xg7 the underpromotion is just plain stoopid-lol)

May-19-08  xrt999: < cyruslaihy <xrt999>in the game u mentioned, white's passed pawn is not as far advanced>

very perceptive of you; usually when you resign at move 16 you have not had a chance to move your pawns very far.

If Pert had played on for another 20 or 30 moves as Sarfati did maybe he would have been able to advance the pawns a few ranks.

My main point, not to go off on a tangent, is even at move 23, Sarfati calls his own move "not exactly calculated". That's why I was shocked to see everyone calling for Pert's head on a stick, when I thought his position was absolutely playable.

May-19-08  mjk: <Jimfromprovidence> If he wants to be thematic, White could then sac for two different pawns: 22...g6 23.♘xf6 ♘xf6 24.♗xh6 but it looks like slow going after that.
May-19-08  newzild: <Jimfromprovidence>: White can still sac a piece with 23. Bxh6 gh 24. g5, which looks a little stronger than mjk's suggestion.

I don't mean any disrespect to Jonathan, (who once kicked my butt over-the-board in Wellington), but I think this is a fairly straightforward game. The piece-for-two-pawns sac is quite obviously strong, and I'm not sure if this is worthy of GOTD status.

Having said that, it's good to see another Kiwi! (last one was Murray Chandler, a few months ago, I think.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <mjk> <newzild> I played out both of your continuations but I still don't get anywhere as white.

Black has a nice threat here; he wants to play Qa3, threatening Qxc3, seeing Qxa1.

White has to be aware of that vulnerability.

May-31-08  patzer2: The decision to go in for the true demolition piece sacrifice 23. Nxg7!? = is interesting in that the computers rate 23. Ng3 higher.

However, the complications of the text move are such that it is much easier for White to find attacking moves than it is for a human opponent as Black to carefully defend against the first player's plan of simply pushing the connected passed pawns. Sure enough Black folds under the pressure, missing equalizing opportunities with 25...fxg5 26. hxg5 Kd8 27. Rb1 Kc8 28. g6 = and 26...fxg5 27. hxg5 Kd8 28. Qb2 =.

Black's desperate 30...Bxh6?! is tantamount to resignation, but other Black moves still appears to lose -- just more slowly but no less surely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Maybe 23. ♘g3 was better, but my previous moves were angling for the possibility of the ♘ sac. It seems even from this analysis that it kept a draw in hand at worst.

22... g6 looks wrong, because that is helping White open lines in the area in which he's attacking.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: The stronger computer nowadays (Stockfish 14.1) still take a little time before working out that White is better after the sac. Black had to play 25...fxg5, because easier to face passed♙s on f5 and g5 than g6 plus the h-♙ not far behind. but after 26.hxg5 ♔d8 (not long after the game, Dr Kevin Bonham rightly suggested this as the best defence. I further analysed with "28. g6 ♘f6 29. ♗g5 ♘d7 30. ♕f2 Δ ♕h4 looks hard to meet. The ♘f6 has no squares, and ♖f8 to protect it allows g7. If the protects it on e7, then ♕h4-h7+ looks strong."

The computer backs us both up with this line:

27.g6 ♘f6 28.♗g5 ♘d7 29.♕f3 ♔c7 30.♕h4, Black's best is returning the piece with 30...♕a3, with a clear plus for White. At first, it was assessing it as ~+0.5, but then went past +2.4.

My move 26.♖c1 was slack. 26.g6, with computer evaluation 4.5. Black is not really threatening the ♙ because 26...♕xc3? 27.♖c1 then taking the ♘h7, or 27...♕d4+? self-traps the ♕ after 28.♗e3.

The game move gave Black another chance to minimize disadvantage with 26...fxg5. But he didn't take it, and White didn't miss a second chance to play 27.g6, with a winning advantage (>+6).

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