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Daniel Stellwagen vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Gyorgy Marx VI (2008), Paks HUN, rd 9, Aug-03
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-03-08  luzhin: 39.Be8(??) comes under the heading of brave but wrong.
Aug-04-08  achieve: Quite a tricky position, but 39...Be8 seems perfect!

However 41 Qxh4?? gives the Queen away -- it is trapped.

Instead 41 Bxf7 would have won "easily".

Stellwagen made the 1st time control and then plays a howler on move 41 - but it must have been very tense towards the TC and maybe he relaxed a bit and just missed Rh8 (?)

Pity though, Daniel played majestic upto move 41, and must have thought it was without danger to capture the h-pawn, passer AND quick to promote, hard to stop.

Aug-04-08  JonathanJ: i think that the first time control is between move 40 and move 41, so stellwagen was probably in deep time trouble when he played the blunder.
Aug-04-08  dumbgai: <JonathanJ> To my knowledge, White made time control when he played 40. Kc2. Therefore he could have and should have taken his time on his 41st move, although it's completely understandable that he just relaxed and carelessly played a normal-looking move.

<achieve> It's clear that 41. Bxf7 is a better move than Qxh4, but I don't see how White "easily" wins. The Black h-pawn is threatening to queen and the knight and bishop can't really help the White queen stop it.

Aug-04-08  percyblakeney: Maybe Vachier-Lagrave made the first mistake with 34. ... Qxh2. If Rd8 instead it looks like this after 35. Qd5 Qg1+ 36. Bd1 Qg7:

click for larger view

Black is threatening Qf8 and engines mean that white can't get a better result than a perpetual (for example 37. Qc5 Qg5+ and avoiding Kc2 Qg2+ Kc1 Qg5+ by moving the king to the b-file will lose to Qd2).

Aug-04-08  luzhin: Actually, achieve is right. After 39.Be8 Qg1+ 40.Kc2 Kg7 41.Bxf7, if Black plays 41...Rh8 then White wins with the pretty 42.Ne8+.
Aug-05-08  achieve: <dumdgai>: < It's clear that 41. Bxf7 is a better move than Qxh4, but I don't see how White "easily" wins. The Black h-pawn is threatening to queen and the knight and bishop can't really help the White queen stop it.> You're right, it isn't that easy, that's why I put the word in quotation marks.... The clear winning line needs to be calculated several moves ahead, and as <luzhin> showed, <Ne8> is the KEY move in the deciding maneuvre.

Here goes:

39. Ba4-e8 Qh2-g1+
40. Kc1-c2 Kg8-g7
41. Be8xf7 Qg1-g2+
42. Kc2-b3 Qg2-g5 <more checks are useless - Black would like to trade Queens under good conditions, IE promoting the H-pawn -- but White still has control >

43. Nd6-e8+

click for larger view

43 ... Rf8xe8
44. Bf7xe8 <Black is almost in ZUGZWANG here>

44 ... Qg5-h6
45. Qh5-f7+ Kg7-h8
46. Qf7-e7 h4-h3 <This Queen maneuvre threatening of course the mate on G8 -- yet the H-pawn could become dangerous>

47. Be8-f7 Kh8-h7 <forced> 48. Bf7-g6+ Kh7-h8
49. Qe7xf6+

click for larger view

... and to avoid mate Black would have to exchange Queens, after which there is time for the Bishop to h5-f3, to prevent the H-pawn from queening.


All in all I think that the H-pawn was indeed a threat in Stellwagen's eyes -- but the Ne8/Qf7-e7 combo should be in his reach, after the time control, I think.

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