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Nigel Short vs Sergey Karjakin
Karjakin - Short Rapid match (2008) (rapid), Kiev UKR, rd 4, May-04
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  1-0



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Given 20 times; par: 36 [what's this?]

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Oct-24-10  rapidcitychess: Doh!

This was the easiest sunday puzzle ever and I was into Rg5!

Oct-24-10  BOSTER: First let's see what black can do to improve their defense if they had a move. It is a preventive method of the thinking.
They would like to move the King from "g" file, may be playing h6 and Kh7. They would like to play Rc4 to take very powerful white bishop d4. Black have desire to attack the Knight on g7,playing rook f8- d8 and Bishop e7-f8. The main white problem is to secure move Knight from g7 to h5 to take control under f6 and g7. Because black queen even with the limited mobility along 5 rank it is very difficult interpose I guess we should move white queen to the h6 square, then we can play Nh5. 25.Qd2 Rd8
26.Qh6 Bf8
27.Ng5 and white wins.
or 25.Qd2 Bf6
26.Qh6 Bxd4
27. cxd4 and white wins.
Another variations are possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I don't understand how "seeing" the first move of a solution of a Sunday puzzle without posting any supporting analysis justifies one saying that they solved the puzzle.

As some have stated, it’s not that difficult to see that white’s goal after Qe3 or Qd2 is to get the queen to h6 and then play Nxe6, opening the a1-h8 diagonal. But what about the execution?

Say for example, what happens if black tries 25…Bf6?!

click for larger view

Does black continue with 26 Qh6 or does he take the offered piece? If he takes the piece, is his piece for pawn advantage enough to win, say after 26 Nxf6+ Nxf6 27 Bxf6 Qd5.

click for larger view

Oct-24-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has tremendous compensation for a pawn, with a splendid attacking position. White's minor pieces are swarming, controlling the long diagonal and key squares around black's weakened castled position, whereas black's passive minor piece cluster does nothing to contest the power of white's bishop and little to protect the king. White's rooks control open and semi-open files, with the Rg1 pointed directly at black's king. It's interesting to note that shifting the Ng7 to h6 would be checkmate. Also, this knight could possibly support queen checkmates on g7 from f5, h5, e6, or e8, so it makes little sense to consider a tension-releasing move such as 25.Nxe6 from the current position. One can approach the candidate selection tactically or positionally: Which white piece can easily have its position improved?


Of course - g7 is a juicy target defended only by the king, and h6 is a handy entry point for the best attacker. (Qd2 gets the queen to h6, but Qe3 also eyes c5, e6, and e7.) Now the burden is on black to defend g7 and neutralize the bishop. Considering active defenses first:

A) 25... f5 26.Nxe6 fxe5 27.Qh6 Bf6 (Rf7 28.Rxg6+! forces mate in 3) 28.Rxg6+ (Ng5 Rf7 29.Nxf7 also wins) Kf7 29.Ng5+! Ke8 (Bxg5 30.Rg7+ Ke8 31.Qe6+ forces mate) 30.Rxe4+ Kd8 31.Bxf6+ wins

A.1) 27... Kf7 28.Qxh7+ Kxe6 (Ke8 29.Qxg6+) 29.Rxe4+ Kd6 30.Qxe7+ wins easily. A.2) 28... hxg6 29.Qxg6+ Kh8 30.Rg1! Rf7 31.Qh6+! Rh7 32.Bxf6+ forces mate.

B) 25... Ne5 26.Qh6 (primary threat 27.Nh5) Kh8 27.Rg5! f6 (Bxg5 28.Nxg5 wins) 28.Nxe6 Rf7 29.N4g5 finishes quickly.

C) 27... Bd5 28.Nf5! Rfe8! 29.Ned6! (Qh6? Bf8) Bxd6 30.Qxe8+ Rxe8 31.Rxe8+ N/Bxf8 32.Nh6#!

C.1) 28... Bxe4 29.Nh6# or Nxe7#

C.2) 28... Bf6 29.Bxf6 Bxe4 (Nxf6 30.Nxf6+ Kh8 31.Qh6 wins) 30.Qh6! Bxf3+ 31.Rg2 Bxg2+ 32.Kxg2 Qd5+ 33.Kg1 and Qg7# is not preventable.

C.3) 29... Bxf3+ 30.Qxf3 Bxd6 31.Nxd6 Rf8 (otherwise 32.Qxf7#) 32.Nxc8 leaves white a rook up.

D) 25... Rc4 26.Qh6 Rxd4 27.Nh5!? Qxh5 28.Qxh5 Rd5 should be won but may be tough to win, but sharper is 27.Nxe6! fxe6 28.Rxg6+! Kf7 (hxg6 29.Qxg6+ Kh8 30.Qh6+ Kg8 31.Rg1+ Bg5 (Kf7 32.Qg6#) 32.Rxg5+ Qxg5 33.Qxg5+ K moves 34.cxd4) 29.Rg7+ Ke8 30.Qxe6 Rxe4 31.Rxe7+ Kd8 32.Qxd7#

I don't see any better defenses. Time to see how the game went...

Oct-24-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: 25... Rc4 was the last defense I considered and I got very close to the game continuation.
Oct-24-10  adamico: <Jimfromprovidence>

As I briefly mentioned in my original response, I suppose it's a little subjective what constitutes an official "solution" to a problem and what is just "on the right track" or "partial credit" for not quite calculating far enough. Perhaps its a matter of personal preference for each individual player attempting a given puzzle. Here's a little more of what I was thinking in this position:

This is the classic kind of position that IM Jeremy Silman would have in one of his books (I highly recommend them as they have helped my positional chess immensely). He explains that one way GMs think is by finding weaknesses and then looking for ways to exploit them. In this way, you save time by making a more focused search for moves.

Once you find something that looks good, you try to find a way to make it work. (i.e. "I would like to get my queen involved in this attack, but black's bishops are controlling the king side. h6 looks like a great square for my queen because it is not being attacked. how can I get my queen there? Oh, d2 is a great avenue to get my queen there!" (or e3 seems to be equally good or possibly better). I said in my response that I had concluded that I did not need my d4 bishop to win this game, so if it was blocked out of the play by a black piece or taken, I would still be ok.

Consequently, in answer to your proposed move, I would actually answer Bf6 with Qh6, continuing with the plan and not going down the 26 Nxf6 line.

Oct-24-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: I set up Crafty Endgame Trainer with the following link:

Have fun. Crafty improved on my line C.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <Jimfromprovidence: I don't understand how "seeing" the first ....>

Yes, the easiest part of the puzzle was seeing the first move. In my earlier post I said it would be interesting to see what sort of shot a modern engine would make of it. Well, engines are fairly boring things and it decided to cut its losses. Depending on the depth, it tried various replies including Bf6. One thing they had in common was B gave up a piece. The machine then didn't think much of Qh6, preferring to grab the material advantage which it added to in the ensuing play. Just to satify my curiosity I had a look at Qh6; it looked promising but I couldn't see a neat win. Another thing my engine's replies had in common, not surprising, was they took the sting out of Qh6.

B might have a host of alternatives, but he can only play one of them. A bit like life really ....

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop and a knight for the bishop pair and a pawn.

The dark squares around the black castle look weak. Therefore, 25.Qe3, intending Qh6:

A) 25... Bh4 26.Qh6

A.1) 26... Bxe1 27.Nxe6 and mate in two.

A.2) 26... Qd8 27.Nxe6 Bf6 28.Nxd8 + -.

B) 25... Qd8 26.Qh6

B.1) 26... Nf6 27.Ng5 Re8 28.Nxe6 fxe6 29.Bxf6 Bxf6 30.Qxh7+ Kf8 31.Qf7#.

B.2) 26... Bf6 27.Nxe6 fxe6 28.Rxg6+

B.2.a) 28... hxg6 29.Qxh6+ Kh8 30.Qh5+ Kg7(8) 31.Rg1+ winning.

B.2.b) 28... Kh8 29.Nxf6 Nxf6 30.Rxf6 + -.

B.2.c) 28... Kf7 29.Qxh7+ Ke8 30.Nxf6+ Rxf6 (30... Nxf6 31.Rxe6+) 31.Rxf6 Nxf6 32.Rxe6+ Kf8 33.Rxf6+ wins.

C) 25... Rc6 26.Qh6 f6 27.Ng5 (27.Rxg6 hxg6 28.Qxg6 Bf7 29.Qh6 Rfc8 30.Rg1 Kf8 31.Qh8+ Bg8 32.Ne6+ Kf7 is unclear)

C.1) 27... Rfc8 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Nxe6+ and 30.Qf7#.

C.2) 27... fxg5 28.Nxe6 Kf7 29.Qxh7+ Ke8 30.Nxf8 + - (30... Nxf8 31.Qxe7#).

C.3) 27... Qxg5 28.Rxg5 fxg5 29.Nxe6 Kf7 30.Qxh7+ as in C.2.

D) 25... Bb3(c4) 26.Qh6 f6 27.Ng5

D.1) 27... fxg5 28.Nf5

D.1.a) 28... Rf7 29.Nxe7+ Kh8 (29... Rxe7 30.Rxe7 Bf7 31.Rxd7 + -) 30.Nxg6+ Kg8 31.Ne7+ Kh8 32.Nxc8 + -.

D.1.b) 28... Bf6 29.Bxf6 Rf7 30.Ne7+ Rxe7 31.Rxe7 + -.

D.2) 27... Rfe8 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Bg8 30.Ne6#.

E) 25... Bd5 26.Qh6

E.1) 26... f6 27.Nf5 Rf7 (27... Kf7 28.Qg7+ Ke6 29.Qxe7+ Kxf5 30.Nd6+ Kf4 31.Qe3#) 28.Nxe7+ Rxe7 29.Nxf6+ Nxf6 (29... Kh8 30.Nxd5+) 30.Rxe7 Bxf3+ 31.Rg2 Qa1+ 32.Bg1 + -.

E.2) 29... Bxe4 30.Nf5 (30.Rxe4 Bf6 31.Rh4 probably wins) Bxf3+ 31.Rg2 Bxg2+ 32.Kg1 Bf6 33.Bxf6 Qb6+ 34.Bd4 Qxd4+ 35.cxd4 gxf5 36.Kxg2 with the better endgame (36... Rc2+ 37.Kh1 Rxb2 38.Rg1+).

F) 25... Ne5 26.Qh6 followed by 27.Nh5, if 26... Nxf3 27.Nxe6 wins.

Oct-24-10  wals: Analysis Rybka 4 x 64

depth 17 :
Black blunder
(+4.51):24...Rf8. stepped the wrong way to Re8 to escape the Knight. Rd8,=0.00, was the go.

depth 17 :
White blunder
(+2.74):25.Qd2. Best, Qe3, +4.57.

depth 14 :
Black blunder
(+5.54):25...Rc4. Best, Bg4, +2.74.

depth 16 :
Black blunder
(+12.53):27...fxe6. Best, Qe5, +5.24.

depth 19 :
White blunder (for what it's worth)
(+9.44):29.Rg7. Best, Qg7+, +12.53.

Black's 31...Kc7, +22.99, best, Kc8, +
9.73, and Black's story ended on move 32.

Oct-24-10  wals: Correction
Move 24...stepped the wrong way with Re8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Uh I remember this game so it wasnt too difficult. Er I organise ng3 Nigel land with aplomb. It ardly lengthens the scope of knight but instead draws black in changing. Rook crab bishop how refreshing Mr Short. Saving SK I dont know 24..rd8?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 25.Qd2 good missed her tickle. Cane the kingside windmill black queen offside. After rf8 pretty little combination me x-ray feathers. It arm rook takes g6 grumpy tender Sergey king pit his wits but no avail. Boisterous play leggy ng7 queen hoping gallnut seduction technique.
Oct-24-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <agb2002> I'm glad you covered the E line (my line C) with 26.Qh6, which was my original plan. I saw some of the complications of your E.2 line and decided 26.Nf5 might be simpler.

26.Nf5 also reaches a won endgame with best play.

Oct-24-10  BOSTER: Black 24.Rf8 was the mistake, playing bishop f8 they sacr.the exchange and white has not too much.
Oct-24-10  Patriot: I looked at this for a short while last night and gave up. I didn't consider Qd2 or Qe3.

<adamico> <This is the classic kind of position that IM Jeremy Silman would have in one of his books (I highly recommend them as they have helped my positional chess immensely)>

I'm a big fan of Silman's books as well. He's a terrific writer and a strong player. But I won't recommend them to anyone below "class A" or "expert". I used to study his thinking technique and tried to apply it in my own games. My rating stayed at 1300 because the problems in my games were far more basic than what Silman addressed. Most class players suffer simple tactical oversights, counting errors, poor time management, and lack basic thought processes that help them survive move to move.

There are so many chess books on the market but how many really strike a chord at what ills a class player?

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <CHESSTTCAMPS: <agb2002> I'm glad you covered the E line (my line C) with 26.Qh6, which was my original plan. I saw some of the complications of your E.2 line and decided 26.Nf5 might be simpler.

26.Nf5 also reaches a won endgame with best play.>

I considered Nf5 but preferred to stick to my initial plan with Qh6. Congratulations for finding the game continuation, I didn't even imagine that possibility.

Oct-24-10  adamico: <Patriot> You make a good point about the level of player who would benefit from Silman's books.

I admittedly have not had a chance to fully test out my chess since reading Silman. I just started law school last month and have yet to enter a classically timed event since reading Silman over the summer. What I will say though is that I have seen myself earning more positional victories in online blitz games (but also making more tactical oversights as I practice assimilating positional thinking into my play while not sacrificing tactical precision).

Relatively new to the game (I only started playing tournament chess 3 years ago), I relied heavily on calculating ability and tactics rather than having an understanding of the finer points of the game. Knowing this to be the case, I sought a way to improve my understanding of positional chess. After reading My System by Aron Nimzowitsch, I had difficulty knowing where to turn next to improve my game, and then I found Silman. I intend to read Silman again at some point because I am sure there were things that went over my head. But for now, I'm sure I have at least somewhat benefited from the positional lessons and now it's just a matter of learning how to pack it all together in to my play over the board.

Oct-24-10  gofer: Imagine, if you will, the following position after 26 Qh6.

click for larger view

27 Nh5 creates an unstoppable mate. So I want to get my queen to h6, but I doubt that it is going to get there. I can't get there by h4-h6 but I can still make black worry about it getting there by e3-h6!!!

25 Qe3 ...

Now we have multiple threats. Qh6 is terminal for black if the a1-h8 diagonal is still controlled by white. So black must try to block it. But all attempts lose. The point being that the black queen cannot use the 5th rank while Bd4, Ne4 and Ng7 are controlling it. Also, if black tries moving Rc8 onto the fifth rank it is too slow! The Nd7, Be7 and Bd6 moves are all awful. f5 and f6 give up Be6! So I can't see any defense.

Time to check...

Oct-24-10  patzer2: Short's 25. Qd2!, which solves today's Sunday puzzle, prepares to reposition the Queen to h6 for a decisive attack on the weakened castled position.

Karjakin's last chance to put up any significant resistance would have been 24...Red8 instead of 24...Rf8 . Earlier, 17...c4 appears to allow Black a comfortable position with a small advantage.

Oct-24-10  LIFE Master AJ: My two candidates were 25.Nh5 and 25.Qd2. I did NOT see the whole combination in the game ... so I guess I miss today's puzzle.
Oct-24-10  Patriot: <adamico> To be fair, it may be a good idea to read over Silman's books just to get a taste for positional concepts since they can help you arrive at positions leading to tactics. The main focus though should be tactics and simply learning to calculate better until a player reaches "class A" or "expert", but that's just my opinion.

I recommend reading NM Dan Heisman's "Novice Nooks". There's a lot of practical advice covering many areas of the game that you may find useful. Here's a link:

Oct-24-10  LIFE Master AJ: I missed 28.RxP/g6+! when doing my calculations ...
Oct-25-10  patzer2: <LIFE Master AJ> The move I missed in the followup was 27. Nxe6! , which apparently is much stronger than 27. cxd4 .

I find it hard to consider capturing a protected piece as being a stronger possibility when one of my opponent's unprotected pieces is en prise.

Oct-25-10  njchess: I got this once I realized that Black could defend against Nh5 with f6. Even then, it still took me a couple of minutes to find Qd2. After Qd2 followed by Qh6, Black must take White's dark squared bishop or it's checkmate.

Therefore, Black's rook moves were anticipated. It then took me a few seconds more to find White's backward knight fork response, ruining Black's defense position in the process. With that move, I felt like I was on the right track.

I stopped calculating after Rxg6 because I felt that White's material at the point of attack, along with his gain in tempo was too much for Black's poor defensive position.

My only regret is that the match wasn't closer between GM Short and GM Karjakin.

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