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David Howell vs Roeland Pruijssers
World Junior Championship (2008), Gaziantep TUR, rd 2, Aug-04
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Between 1914 and 1918 more than 16 million civilians and military personnel died in what we now call World War I. They called it the Great War and the War to End all Wars, in the vain hope that we would learn our lesson and never allow it to happen again. That was before we realised that we would have to start putting numbers to our wars...

What made this war almost unique, and our link to today's puzzle, was the way that it was fought. Up to this point, wars had largely been fought in the open. Dashing cavalry officers with highly polished boots took their horses from the polo fields of England and galloped into battle with swords. The honest foot soldier plied his trade with musket and rifle that took an age to fire a single shot, one bullet at a time, reload, aim, fire, reload, aim, fire.

Then came the machine gun, and we started killing on an industrial scale. Now it wasn't just one bullet at a time, it was a hail of bullets. And put two machine guns near to each other with overlapping fields of fire, and the ground they covered would be a lethal killing zone.

So the two sides had no choice about how they fought the war. They had to hunker down in trenches where the machine guns couldn't get to them. And between the trenches was a patch of disputed land that neither side owned, called no-man's-land. The machine gun ruled here.

Chess models ancient warfare with chariots, archers and kings. But the way it is played also mirrors the trenches of the Great War. We hunker down in the trenches formed by our lines of pawns. And the no man's land between the pawns is made lethal by the criss-cross fire of pawn, bishop and knight.

So how do you win trench warfare? We tried two approaches. The first was sheer sacrifice. Whole regiments went "over the top" running, walking, staggering into no-man's land, to try to take the enemy trenches by force. The cost in human life was appalling.

Then some bright spark had an idea. Why don't we take one of those new-fangled motorcar things and encase it in armour thick enough to repeal machine gun bullets? It could then trundle over the barbed wire and the mud of no-man's land without being harmed. To stop the other side's spies from finding out about it, we called it a "tank", which could be anything from a water tank to a petrol tank.

Let's talk chess. In the starting position, we have typical trench warfare. Both kings have castled to hide behind pawns. The no-man's land between the pawns is dominated by bishops from both sides. The black heavy pieces are hanging back until it is safer to enter the disputed land.

But white has a rook on f3 - the first introduction of tanks into warfare. This rook could be a huge liability, or it could win the game for white by swinging over to g3 then crashing through on g7. The white queen has been braver still - she is on h5, almost on top of the black lines.

But we still need human sacrifice. With 31. Bxh6 and 32. Bxg7 (threatening Qh8#), the bishop offers up its own life and that of its comrade on c2 in order to strip away the defences for the queen and rook.

Let's give the final words to Wilfred Owen:

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.

Oct-30-10  Naugh: ♗xh6 almost gored my eye out, because it jumped into it so violently. I guess this is just the kind of position where it naturally suggests itself. I remember a game very well where I played such a sacrifice and won the game only 11 moves later. So here it is: Naugh (1500ish) vs hajo17(1550ish)

1.e2-e4 e7-e6 2.d2-d4 c7-c6 3.♘b1-c3 a7-a6 4.♘g1-f3 h7-h6 5.♗f1-c4 b7-b5 6.♗c4-d3 ♗f8-e7 7.O-O ♗c8-b7 8.a2-a3 ♘g8-f6 9.e4-e5 ♘f6-d5 10.♘c3xd5 c6xd5 11.b2-b4 ♗b7-c6 12.c2-c3 O-O 13.g2-g3 d7-d6 14.h2-h4 ♘b8-d7 15.e5xd6 ♗e7xd6

click for larger view

The point is reached! I have fortified the dark squares with my pawns and the light squared Bishop of black's is completely locked in, not even worth a pawn. The black dark squared Bishop is simply bighting on granite, my pawns are massive here. All of my minor pieces and my Queen point towards the King. So I feel a sacrificial attack against the Black King is justified. Here goes:

16.♗c1xh6 g7xh6 17.♘f3-e5
Trying to get rid of the defenders
17. ... ♘d7xe5 18.d4xe5 ♗d6xe5 19.♕d1-g4+
Now the sacrifice's intended victim is clear, the enemy king.

19. ... ♗e5-g7
It's time to get a new attacker into the game.
20.♖f1-e1! ♔g8-h8 21.♖e1-e3 ♖f8-g8 22.♖e3-f3! ♗g7xc3 23.♕g4-h5 ♗c3-g7 24.♖f3xf7!! This is simply winning, simply because White almost controls as many squares around the Black King as Black does! 24. ... ♗c6-e8 25.♕h5-g6 ♗e8xf7 26.♕g6-h7#
I often like to give my second analyzed finish:
25♕xh6+!! ♗hx6 26. ♖h7#
Would really appreciate if somebody would comment on it. By the way, I'm pretty sure that my sacrifice was NOT sound.

Oct-30-10  lostgalaxy: 31.Bh7 seems another route

A. 31...Kxh7 32.Rxf7 Qxf7 [or 33.Qxh6+ follows] 33.Qxf7 followed by 34.Ra7

B. 31...Kh8 32.Rxf7 Qd8 33.Bxh6

C. 31...Kf8 32.Bxh6 followed by 33.Qg6

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The demolition sham sacrifice 31. Bxh6! initiates a decisive assault on the weakened Black castled position to solve today's Saturday puzzle.

I found the first two moves in the combination easy enough, but varied with 33. Rg3 , which also wins but is not quite as strong or clever as the follow-up 33. Bh6! .

Oct-30-10  fpinget: The question here is where exactly Black play wen wrong, and I think the answer is in move 24, playing 24...., Bd7 rather than b4 and then 25..., g6 was stronger to meet White's attack.

Great, instructive game.

Fernando Pinget, Sydney

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Naugh> I see ♔♔♔♔ otb. :D
Oct-30-10  C4gambit: it was so easy for me... saw the puzzle, wondered for a few minutes, then clicked on it, loaded the actual game, and saw what happened!

Knowing your limits can save a lot of unnecessary troubles!

Oct-30-10  timothee3331: <tacticalmonster> I also calculated 31.Bh7+ Kxh7 forced 32. Rxf7 but saw 32....Rxc1+! 33.Rxc1 Qd8 and Black is fine i believe since he controls the "corresponding squares" the white heavy pieces may use. I think Black may have a good advantage.

31.Bxh6! was then clearly an only move since a quiet move would relinquish the initiative and the other agressive moves have no purpose 31.Bg5 ? f6 is just a loss of time, 31.Rg3 ? is too slow.

The only remaining question is "is it good. I must admitt i did'nt manage to see the full attack.

I considered 31...f6 and 31...f5 to be the only other candidates but they aren't just worth any consideration so i quickly moved to 31...Rxc2 32.Bxg7 f5 33.Qh8 + Kf7 34.Qh5 ?! + oh no i forgot 34...Kg8! .

Howell found the very good 33.Bh6! and then Bg5! Nice game !

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is even.

Black threatens 31... Rxc2.

The black king defends f7. This suggests 31.Bh7+ Kxh7 (31... Kf8 32.Bg6) 32.Rxf7 but after 32... Rxc1+ (32... Qd8 33.Bxh6 Bg4 34.Rxg7+ Kh8 35.Qg6) 33.Rxc1 Qd8 34.Rc4 Bd2 Black seems to hold.

Another option is 31.Bg5:

A) 31... Qf8 32.Bh7+

A.1) 32... Kxh7 33.Rxf7

A.1.a) 33... Qh8 34.Bxh6 Kg8 35.Rxg7+ Qxg7 36.Bxg7 Kxg7 37.Ra7 Re7 38.Rxd7 Rxd7 39.Qg4+ Kf8 40.Qxd7 + -.

A.1.b) 33... Qg8 34.Qxh6#.

A.1.c) 33... Bg4 34.Qxh6+ Kg8 35.Qxg7#.

A.1.d) 33... Qxf7 34.Qxf7 hxg5 35.Qxd7 gxh4 36.Ra7 Rg8 31.Qg4 Kh6 32.Qxb4 + -.

A.2) 32... Kh8 33.Rxf7 + -.

B) 31... f6 32.Bxf6

B.1) 32... gxf6 33.Rg3+ Kf8 34.Qxh6+ Kg7 35.Qg7#.

B.2) 32... Qf7 33.Bh7+ Kf8 34.Bxg7+ + -.

B.3) 32... Qf8 33.Ra7 + -.

C) 31... g6 32.Qxh6 Qf8 33.Qxf8+ Rxf8 (33... Kxf8 34.Bxg6) 34.Ra7 Rxc2 (34... Be8 35.Bd3 threatening Be7 or Bh6) 35.Rxd7 Rxb2 36.Bh6 Ra8 37.Rfxf7 + - (threatens mate in four).

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I saw 31.Bxh6 Rxc2 32.Bxg7 but had the impression that 32... f5 provided enough defense.

However, 31.Bg5 also seems to win although not so quickly. According to Fritz 12, 33.Ra7 in my line C is much better than 33.Qxf8+, for example 33... Qxh6 34.Bxh6 Rxc2 35.Rxd7 Bd2 36.Bxd2 Rxd2 37.Rfxf7 + - (3.29).

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It took a bishop to peel back the king's protection. The king was left naked and unprotected by his pieces.
Oct-30-10  sfm: First move was obvious, but to see it through to the end...
Oct-30-10  BOSTER: The black advanced h6 pawn is the target for attack. White has no time to protect or move his Bishop on c2. So,they play 31.Bxh6 because the try 31.Rxf7 Qxf7 32. Bg6 Qf8 is not promissing. 31... Rxc2 32.Bxg7- the demolition of the pawn structure, defending the black King. 32...Kxg7 33. Rg3+ Kf6 (Kf8 Qh8#) 34.Qg5# ,or 31. Bxh6 Rxc2 32.Bxg7 f5 33.Qh8+ Kf7 34.Qh7 and white wins. This is not about this game,but is related to chess. How I noticed <Once> has found nice job as online operator in the program "You have questions, I have answer". If you have question about FEN or when <CG> is going to represent 3D picture ask him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 31 Bxh6 31...f5 seems to provide the best defense for black, blocking the bishop from getting to h7.

It looks like white has to take the f pawn to make progress so 32 Bxf5 Bxf5 could follow.

click for larger view

I'm going to try 33 Rxf5 (threatening Rg5). Now, after 33...gxh6 34 Qxh6, below, white threatens to win the queen with Rg5.

click for larger view

I think that black has no good choices here. Best might be 34...Bd2, sacrificing the bishop and putting white ahead three pawns.

Oct-30-10  shubhamkuse: the main move to solution was obivos......
but its continuation reqiures serious calculations... way to go Bxh6!!!!!!
Oct-30-10  scormus: Difficult, and I didnt get it :(

I "found" 31 Bxh6 but didnt see the winning line after ... Rxc2. And I wasnt sure if that was the best defense. 31 ... g6 fails 32 Bxg6 fxg6 33 Qxg6+ Kh8 34 Bg7+ Kg8 35 Bxe5+.

I was also worried about what about 31 ... f5? One thing Ive learned, when things are difficult we can rely on <Jim> to see what the rest of of miss.

<Once .... war to end all wars> the only lesson we learn from history is ................

Oct-30-10  wals: Not even close.

Analysis Rybka 4 x 64

depth 21 : 7 min :
Black blunder
(+1.93):29...Rc8. Best, e4, -0.93.

depth 18 : 5 min :
Black blunder
(+6.93):30...Qe7. Best, g6, +1.78.

depth 16 : 3 min :
Black blunder
(+11.36):31...Rxc2. Best, Rc4, +8.05.

33...Rc4, +23.88, and overwhelmed Black called 'enough' move 37.

Oct-30-10  Marmot PFL: I spent very little time on this, but was taken by the idea 31 Bh7+ Kxh7 32 Rxf7, overlooking 32...Rxc1+ which kills the attack.
Oct-30-10  Patriot: I should not have tried to solve this late last night. I had 3 candidates: Rxf7, Bh7+, Bxh6.

31.Rxf7 looked wrong after 31...Qxf7 32.Bh7+ Kf8 33.Bg6 Qf6.

31.Bh7+ looks more forcing (the move I chose). I missed the key line which could be based in a counting mistake or thought process error. 31...Kxh7 32.Rxf7 Rxc1+ 33.Rxc1 Qd8 and now white's attack is dead and with less material.

31.Bxh6 Rxc2 32.Bxg7 threatening 33.Qh8#. This is where a simple matter of being tired screwed up my thinking. 32...Kxg7 33.Rg3+ Kh7?? -- an illegal move. I thought the pawn was still on h6!

I'm sure if I had been a little more awake I would've chosen the correct move. Oh well...

Oct-30-10  Marmot PFL: Through Wednesday my first idea in the position is usually correct. This week Thursday and Friday followed that pattern too, so i got overconfident.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <scormus> < I was also worried about what about 31 ... f5? One thing Ive learned, when things are difficult we can rely on <Jim> to see what the rest of of miss.>

Me plus liberal use of Rybka freeware.

I think people had trouble seeing the value of white's 2nd move in this puzzle because white's 3rd move (33 Bh6) was not that obvious.

After 31 Bxh6 Rxc2 32 Bxg7 f5 white also had 33 Qh8+, forcing 33...Kf7.

click for larger view

33 Qh8+ was more straightforward to me. The threat now is 34 Qh7, below (followed by Bh6+).

click for larger view

Black has to give up major material to stop this threat.

Note that white has use of his a rook as an ace in the hole if black tries something like 34 ...Rf8. Now, 35 Bxf8 Kxf8 36 Ra8+ could follow.

Oct-30-10  BOSTER: <Jim> <After 31. Bxh6 Rxc2 32.Bxg7 f5 white also had 33.Qh8>. I respect your novelty , but this line exactly in my comment (but without the diagram).
Oct-30-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, but white has substantial force directed at black's kingside castled position, while black's bishops and rooks are contributing little to its defense. Normally, the Ra1 and Bc1 sitting on their original squares would be cited as evidence of a development lag, but these pieces are very active, the rook on an open file and the bishop pointed at the key target h6. Black threatens 31... Rxc2, but white should not waste time redeploying the LSB to a safe place. From the puzzle position, within a couple minutes of consideration, I found and liked 31.Bg5. However, I soon decided the following move yields a more decisive advantage and is best played immediately:

31.Bh7+! A diversion to reinforce the attack on f7. Black has no satisfactory options:

A) 31... Kxh7 32.Rxf7 Qxf7 (Bg4? or Qd8? 33.Qxh6+) 33.Qxf7 and black, with a decisive material deficit, is overextended trying to defend the LSB and the king:

A.1) 33... Bg4 34.h5 Kh8 (Rf8 35.Qg6+ wins) 35.Bxh6! Rg8 (gxh6 36.Ra7) 36.Ra7 Rc1+ 37.Kh2 wins, the threat of Bxg7+ unstoppable.

A.2) 33... Bb5 34.h5 Bc5 (to keep rook out of a7) 35.Bxh6! Rg8 (Kxh6 36.Qg6#) 36.Bxg7! Rxg7 37.Qf5+ Kh8 38.Qxc8+ Rg8 39.Qb7 cleans up.

A.3) 33... Rcd8 34.h5 Rf8 35.Qg6+ Kh8 36.Bxh6! gxh6 37.Qxh6+ Kg8 38.Qg6+ Kh8 39.h6 Rg8 40.Qf6+ Kh7 41.Ra7 Bc5 42.Rxd7! Rxd7 43.Qf5+ Kxh6 44.Qxd7 with a won ending.

B) 31... Kh8 32.Rxf7 Qd8 33.Bxh6! wins quickly

C) 31... Kf8 32.Bxh6! (stronger than Bg6) f6 (gxh6 Qxh6#) 33.Qg6 f5 (Qf7 34.Rxf6 wins) 34.Rg3 and the threat of 35.Bxg7+ is decisive.

Let's see how it played out...

Oct-30-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: Unfortunately, this was a classic "long analysis, wrong analysis" - a big fat D- for me. The flaw with 31... Bh7+ has already been pointed out, although white may be able to salvage a draw. I set up the Crafty Endgame Trainer with the puzzle position: . Have fun trying out your pet line. BTW, my first candidate 31.Bg5 turns out better than the other (though not as good as the game continuation) and leads to a better ending.
Oct-30-10  lostgalaxy: Handshake chessttcamps! :-)
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