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Nigel Short vs Jan Timman
Staunton Memorial (2008), London ENG, rd 2, Aug-08
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense. Rio Gambit Accepted (C67)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: I don't think White is better in the final position- his compensation for the exchange has largely evaporated.

A missed opportunity for Short, whose opening play was both creative and powerful. In many ways it's reminiscent of the 1993 match with Kasparov, where Short got several winning positions with White but fell apart in time trouble.

Aug-10-08  notyetagm: White to play: 19 ?

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<Ulhumbrus: The move 19 Nd6!! (Keene) does several useful things at once. To list a few examples, 1. It removes an obstruction on the e file. This is an ingredient of the combination Nxc6+

2. It obstructs the sixth rank and so the defence of the c6 pawn from the black Queen, and that is another ingredient of the combination Nxc6+

3. It attacks f7 a second time a threatens Nf7+, so it acquires a third combinatorial ingredient.

4. It controls the squares c8 and e8 and prevents the black King from fleeing from a check given by a N landing on f7 or c6. By controlling these two squares it can be said to acquire two more combinatorial ingredients.

It is rare for a single move to accomplish so much useful work.>

(VAR) Position after 19 ♘e4-d6!!

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Aug-10-08  notyetagm: White to play: 19 ?

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Short probably would have won the coveted <Notyetagm Tactical Blow Of The Year Award> for 2008 if he had found the stunning 19 ♘e4-d6!!.

(VAR) Position after 19 ♘e4-d6!!

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Aug-10-08  notyetagm: Not to insult GM Short but I don't think a GM who excelled at <KNIGHT PLAY> like Nimzowitsch or Anand would have missed that killer blow 19 ♘e4-d6!!.

Anand probably would have seen that move in a blitz game, he is so strong at using the knights.

Aug-10-08  notyetagm: From

White to play: 19 ?

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<19.Qb3? Missing the crusher 19.Nd6!!, which wins at once: 19...Qxd6 (19...cxd6 20.Nxc6+ Nxc6 21.Qxe6) 20.Nf7+ Kd7 21.Nxd6.

Naturally, silicon bodies such as Fritz spot this immediately, as also did the carbon-based entity of tournament director Ray Keene, although he did have the considerable advantage of having been forewarned that there was something in the position. Nigel, alas, had neither computer chip nor soothsayer to prompt him, but it is still a little surprising that he should have missed such a tactical blow. However, even the move played retains a clear advantage for White.>

(VAR) Position after 19 ♘e4-d6!!

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And now an illustration of these winning variations:

(VAR) 19 ... ♕e6x♘d6 <deflection from f7, decoy to d6> 20 ♘e5-f7+ <knight fork> ♔d8-d7 21 ♘f7x♕d6

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(VAR) 19 ... c7x♘d6 <line-closing> 20 ♘e5xc6+ <discovered attack with check> ♘e7x♘c6 21 ♕e3x♕e6

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An extremely beautiful tactical blow, definitely worthy of the !!-annotation that all the annotators give it. 19 ♘e4-d6!! and the resulting variations involve the tactical themes <KNIGHT FORK>, <DEFLECTION>, <DECOY>, <LINE-CLOSING>, and <DISCOVERED ATTACK>. Wow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Did you just have a chessgasm?
Aug-11-08  ravel5184: First to put this in a collection BESIDES <notyetagm>!
Aug-11-08  mckmac: < ravel5184 > Next to put this game in a collection -- after < notyetagm > and < ravel5184 >.
Aug-13-08  notyetagm: <ToTheDeath: Did you just have a chessgasm?>


I would have had a "chessgasm" if I had played 19 ♘e4-d6!! in an actual USCF rated game. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Would the spectators have showered the board with coins if Short had found 19.♘d6?

Feb-16-09  notyetagm: 19 ?

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<GrahamClayton: Would the spectators have showered the board with coins if Short had found 19.Nd6?>

I would have thrown a gold coin to Nigel for finding 19 ♘e4-d6!!. :-)

19 ♘e4-d6!!

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Mar-09-11  SetNoEscapeOn: It's a beautiful move, but I am still surprised Short didn't find it. The ideas are simple.
Mar-09-11  BobCrisp: <Ray> is a tactical maniac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <SetNoEscapeOn> If it's so simple, are you a 2900 player? Your comment is simplistic.

This is a beautiful idea, and it's unfortunate it remained only in the notes.

Mar-17-11  Shams: <perfidious> I think your comment is a bit unfair. I bet GM Short would agree with <SetNoEscapeOn>, the ideas aren't that hard to find. Anyway, he didn't say *he* would find the move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Shams> While I agree that <set> didn't say straight out that he would find the move, and that the tactical motifs are relatively simple once one has got to the position, there's no mistaking the implication.
Mar-17-11  Shams: <perfidious> Are you sure? I think you might have mistaken it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I think that a player of Short's caliber should have seen 19.Nd6. After all, he had benefit of thinking about and playing the previous moves and he should have seen the possibility of 19.Nf6 after 18.Ne4. Why else did he play 18.Ne4? Yet the knight never moved again.

Of course, it's easy for me to sit back and say that. My theory is that he spent more time that he expected in his earlier moves and didn't think he had the time to fully calculate the consequences of 19.Nd6. And, as a result of being short (pardon the pun) on time he offered to exchange queens by 20.Qb3. Why would he do that instead of pressing his attack given that black's king is stuck in the center of the board and black's k-side pieces somewhat uncoordinated?

But, just to make sure there's no misunderstanding, I wouldn't have seen 19.Nd6 and probably would have played 19.c4 to stop Nd5. The position is then considered even by both Houdini and Stockfish, and somewhat better for black by Rybka.

Mar-18-11  Shams: I couldn't find it online but I do remember Short making some comments after the game, having been shown the winning shot he missed. Probably self-effacing stuff as we might expect. These days he might turn it into a song.
Mar-18-11  fab4: These things happen in chess. What else can you say. Every player has an oversight .. Every.

Timman used to make me laugh as a key writer in the start up of the New in Chess magazine.. He would annotate his games regularly, and ofcouse,because he lost a few of these , there would be blunders from his side. Yet he would always use the term 'chess blindness' .. never admit to just blundering .. lol

Mar-18-11  Jim Bartle: At least he did annotate some of his losses. I bet a lot of players don't.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Jim> Petrosian once remarked on this in annotating the following game: Petrosian vs Fischer, 1970.
Mar-23-11  BobCrisp: <Spassky> summed it up nicely:

<Of course I will also include some analyses, but nothing serious. I don't like that. But I want to be very honest. If I didn't see something I would like to say, "Here I was blind, I didn't see this." I don't like this <Botvinnik> formula (in a solemn voice), "At this moment I had forgotten about something." No, he didn't forget it, he didn't see it! Haha, I had forgotten!>

<You can't blame only <Botvinnik>for this.>

<No, no, there are many others. <Polu> is always forgetting something. <Karpov>, too, even <Kasparov>. <Alekhine> was also forgetting a lot of things. But <Fischer> was more honest, <Bobby> was more honest, yes.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Bob> That whole business with Botvinnik is rather funny; I can picture him in my mind's eye with those horn-rimmed glasses he wore in the sixties, intoning that line of patter.

Now I've figured out why I never got above the low 2300s-I always 'forgot' things!

One funny tale (at least in retrospect) was a game I had with an opponent rated about 2100. I'd just spent a long while analysing a complex line which led to a losing position, moved on to an alternative, which I also rejected, eventually returned to the first bad line, played it and realised to my horror what I'd done-after I'd already committed myself down the road to perdition.

My opponent duly found the winning line, and soon after, I gave up the ghost.

One question for the multitudes: does this qualify as 'forgetting' in the same manner as the illustrious Mikhail Moiseevich, et al ?

As an aside, Alekhine didn't always forget; after all, he managed to embellish, or even create, a few games on the way.

The inference I draw in AA's case is that he didn't feel the treasure trove of his genius was enough to persuade the moneyed men to bankroll a possible match with Capablanca. Anything to grease the skids a little.

Aug-04-12  King Crusher: 19 Nd6 is fairly standard but,without spending too much time analysing feel that 19..Nd5 might be playable. White wins back the exchange but still has two undeveloped pieces. Short may have decided that a long term positional advantage was a better option.
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