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Donald Griffith vs Kevin Hopps
St. Paul (1982), ?
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Polugayevsky Variation Simagin Line (B96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-01-09  David2009: David2009: <OBIT: [snip] So, after 30 minutes, I have decided the main line is 15. Nc7+ Qxc7 16. Nxe6 Qb6 17. Nc7+ Qxc7 18. Qe2+ Ne5 19. Qxe5+ Qxe5 20. Rd8#. > 30 minutes well spent, I'd say. An object lesson in the value of perseverance and checking. Better to spend 30 minutes and get it right than 5 minutes and get it wrong: <David2009: [snip] AH! 15 Nc7+ Qxc7 16 Nxe6 Qe5 and 17 Rhe1 threatens Nc7 mate. Let's go for this>.

Nice to see Black play on until checkmate, with Q to e5 occurring three times.

Aug-01-09  remolino: Black is a piece up but his/her King is stuck in the center and white's black bishop constraints the mobility of the king. King rook can come to attack if necessary.

I would go for 15.Nc7, Qxc7, 16. Nxe6 opening lines. The knight cannot be captured, the queen cannot be captured, lines are opened with too many forms of mate threat. This is what I would play OTB but will not calculate all variations now, a cursory check suggested too much attacking potential and mating patterns. Time to check.

Aug-01-09  jsheedy: 15. Nxe6 threatens mate in two in black takes the queen. Best defense seems to be 15...Be7, 16. Nec7+, Kd1 (or Kf1), 17. Bxe7+, Kxe7, 18. Qh4+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I'm trying to ascertain what is black's best move after 14 Ncxb5?

click for larger view

There are only 3 games in the CG data base with this continuation.Two followed with 14...h5 and one with 14...Rxa2. They were all losses for black.

14...Rxa2 looks pretty good, though, or maybe 14...f5 first, seeing 15 Qh4 then 15...Rxa2.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <Jimfromprovidence> H Van Riemsdijk vs D Verduga, 1978 This looks a little different than the ChessBase version, so I give the whole game score for that one.

[Event "Lone Pine op"]
[Site "Lone Pine"]
[Date "1978.??.??"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Van Riemsdijk, Herman C"]
[Black "Verduga Zavala, Denis"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B96"]
[WhiteElo "2375"]
[BlackElo "2355"]
[PlyCount "158"]
[EventDate "1978.04.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. Qe2 Nfd7 11. O-O-O Bb7 12. Qg4 Qxe5 13. Bxb5 axb5 14. Ncxb5 Rxa2 15. Kb1 h5 16. Qh4 Ra5 17. Bf4 Be7 18. Qg3 h4 19. Qc3 Rxb5 20. Bxe5 Rxe5 21. Rhe1 Rxe1 22. Rxe1 Bf6 23. Qb4 Bxg2 24. Nf5 Rh5 25. Nxg7+ Bxg7 26. Qg4 Rb5 27. Qxg7 h3 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qh4+ f6 30. Qh7+ Kd6 31. Qd3+ Rd5 32. Qa3+ Nc5 33. b4 Ne4 34. b5+ Rc5 35. Qd3+ Rd5 36. Qa3+ Rc5 37. Kc1 Nd7 38. Rd1+ Ke7 39. b6 Nd6 40. Qg3 Rd5 41. Rxd5 exd5 42. Qa3 Ke6 43. Qe3+ Kf7 44. Qg3 Ke7 45. Qf4 Nb7 46. Qc7 d4 47. Qc4 Kd6 48. Qxd4+ Kc6 49. Qa4+ Kd6 50. Qf4+ Kc5 51. Qe3+ Kd6 52. c4 Nbc5 53. Qf4+ Ke6 54. Qc7 f5 55. Kd2 Kf6 56. Ke3 Kg5 57. Qd6 Bb7 58. Qg3+ Kf6 59. Qxh3 Ne6 60. Qh8+ Kf7 61. Qh7+ Ng7 62. Qh4 Ne6 63. Qh7+ Ng7 64. h4 Nf6 65. Qh8 Ne6 66. Qb8 f4+ 67. Kd2 Ne4+ 68. Ke1 N4c5 69. Kf1 f3 70. Qe5 Kg8 71. h5 Ba6 72. Qg3+ Kh8 73. Qg4 Bb7 74. Kg1 Kh7 75. Qg6+ Kh8 76. h6 Be4 77. Qxe4 f2+ 78. Kg2 Nxe4 79. b7 Kh7 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <Jimfromprovidence>

Here is a snip from my analysis of this game:

14.Ncxb5!? ,
An interesting move, however it is not even the best line. (At least, not according to opening theory.)

[The main line is 14.Rhe1.
For example, the following analysis was suggested by Polugaevsky. After the moves: 14.Rhe1 h5; 15.Qh4 Qc5; 16.Ncxb5 Rxa2!?; 17.Kb1 Bd5; (material, play) when Black has won all of the games in the CB database.

[ See MCO-15, page # 258; column # 27, and note # (m.). ]

Black hits the White Queen.

Either this is a case of Black forgetting his theory, or he was unaware of the tactical possibilities that were a part of this position. (The 'book' moves are 14...RxP/a2; and 14...f7-f5.)

click for larger view

Now we have reached the position for the "ChessGames" daily puzzle / POTD. (White to play and make hsi 15th move.)

[It was better for Black to play:
>/= 14...Rxa2; 15.Kb1 h5; 16.Qh4 Ra5;
(Unclear, maybe a little better for Black) and Black is OK.

Herman C. Van Riemsdijk (2375) -
Denis Verduga Zavala (2355); [B96]
ICT, "The Lone Pine Open"
Lone Pine, CA, USA; (R#8) / 1970.
White won a long game, 1-0 in a
total of 79 moves. ]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <LIFE Master AJ> I uploaded the PGN you provided from the Van Riemsdijk-Verduga contest.

It was quite an entertaining game, where black simply got outplayed from the mid-game on.

It looks like black was slightly ahead until 24...Rh5, which loses a pawn. 24...g6 was better.

So, 14...Rxa2 does look good in this line.

Aug-01-09  Slurpeeman: 15.Nf3 hxg4 16. Nxe5 and now white has threats of Nc7 and N/Rxd7 winning a piece. Even in case 15...Bxf3, Queen recaptures and the position is quite good for White
Aug-01-09  TheBish: D Griffith vs K Hopps, 1982

White to play (15.?) "Very Difficult"

Candidate moves: Rhe1, Nxe6, Nc7+

It's obvious that diverting the queen away from protection of the c7 square would lead to Nc7 mate, but White's queen is attacked as well. I tried for a long time to get 15. Rhe1 to work, but it falls short. Interesting is 15. Rhe1 hxg4 16. Rxe5 Nxe5 17. Nc6!? (threatening mates on c7 and d8), but 17...f6 breaks it up.

15. Nxe6?! is an interesting try (hoping for 15...Qxe6 16. Nc7# or 15...hxg4 16. Nbc7+ Qxc7 17. Nxc7#), but simply 15...fxe6 16. Nc7+ Kf7! (not 16...Qxc7 17. Qxe6+ Be7 18. Qxe7#) and White has no good way of continuing the attack.

By changing the move order, White can take on e6 with a critical tempo.

15. Nc7+!! Qxc7 16. Nxe6

Now White has managed to open the e-file against Black's king, and Black has no time for 16...hxg4 17. Nxc7#, or 16...fxe6 17. Qxe6+, mating as in the above line.

16...Qe5 (or other queen move) 17. Nc7+!

This clears the e-file for the cleanest finish, but 17. Rhe1 should win too.

17...Qxc7 18. Qe2+ Ne5 (or Qe5) 19. Qxe5+! Qxe5 20. Rd8 mate.

Aug-01-09  WhiteRook48: I was thinking Bf4
Aug-01-09  wals: The following may be of help to those wanting help
[Event "St. Paul"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1982.
[White "Donald Griffith"]
[Black "Kevin Hopps"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B96"]
[Annotator "Rybka 3 1-cpu (30m)"]
[PlyCount "39"]

♗96: Sicilian ♘ajdorf: 6 ♗g5 e6 7 f4, lines other than 7...♕b6 and 7...♗e7 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 (3. Bc4 Nc6 ) 3... cxd4 4. Nxd4 (4. Qxd4 Nc6 5. Qa4 Nf6 ) 4... Nf6 ♗lack threatens to win material: ♘f6xe4 5. Nc3 a6 ♗lack is behind in developement. ♗lack's piece can't move: f8 6. Bg5 (6. Be3 g6 ) 6... e6 7. f4 (7. Be2 Be7 ) 7... b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. Qe2 (10. Nf3 b4 11. Nb5 axb5 12. exf6 Rg8 ) 10... Nfd7 ♗lack threatens to win material: ♘d7xe5 11. O-O-O Bb7 12. Qg4 Qxe5 13. Bxb5 (13. Be2 should not be overlooked Nc6 14. Bf3 Nxd4 15. Bxb7 ) 13... axb5 ♗lack wins a piece 14. Ncxb5 h5 15. Nc7+ Decoy: c7 Qxc7 16. Nxe6 Qe5 17. Nc7+ ♙inning: e4 Qxc7 18. Qe2+ Ne5 19. Qxe5+ Qxe5 20. Rd8# 1-0

Aug-01-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: A wild position - white has invested a piece to get his pieces swarming around the black king stuck in the center. Obviously white's queen is under attack and white doesn't have time to move it without losing the initiative, e.g. 15.Qh4? f6 16.Bf4 g5 17.Bxe5 gxh4 18.Nc7+ Kf7 and white needs to take a tempo to save his precious bishop. So white needs to find a finishing combination or lose the game.

The tactical point that registered with me very quickly was that white would have Nc7# were it not for the ornery Qe5. This should have clued me into the winning combination in short order, but I'm sorry to say that it didn't. I was preoccupied trying to divert the queen from defense of c7 so I considered moves such moves as Rhe1 and Qf5, the latter with the idea 15.Qf5 exf5 16.Nc7+ Qxc7 17.Rhe1+, but after Be7 18.Rxe7+ Kf8 black is safe. Early on I also looked at 15.Nc7+ Qxc7 16.Nb5 and 15.Nxe6 fxe6 without finding the solution - so close and yet so far.

Finally, the right idea hit me:

15.Nc7+! Qxc7 16.Nxe6!

So simple - there isn't much calculation to do and everything is forced:

A) 16... hxg4 17.Nxc7#

B) 16... fxe6 17.Qxe6+ Be7 18.Qxe7#

C) 16...Qxc2+ 17.Kxc2 hxg4 (other moves, white saves queen) 18.Nc7#

D) 16... Q-(non-checking moves) 17.Nc7+ Qxc7 18.Qe2+ N(or Q)e5 19.Qxe5+ Q(or N)xe5 20.Rd8#

D.1) 19... Be7 20.Qxe7#

E) 16... Be7 17.Nxc7+ Kd8 18.Bxe7+ Kxc7/e7 19.Qxg7 with a huge material advantage

F) 16...f6 17.Nxc7+ Kd8 18.Ne6+ Ke7 (Kc8 19.Qc4+) 19.Qb4+ Kxe6 20.Qxb7 wins easily

G) 16...Na6 17.Nxc7+ Nxc7 18.Rhe1+ Ne6 19.Rxe6+ finishes.

Instructive and very pretty. I'll try to ace the week tomorrow, after a poor showing last week.

Aug-01-09  SBB: I actually got this one, I'm thoroughly surprised I found it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <Jimfromprovidence> I am gald I could be of assitance.

See my forum you inspired my next post there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Back on page 1 of this thread, <gofer> mentions 14...f5 15. Nxf5. The idea has some interesting points. For example, White definitely mates after 15...Qxb5? 16. Nd6+ Bxd6 17. Qxe6+ Kf8 18. Rhf1+ Nf6 19. Rxf6+ gxf6 20. Bh6#. White also gets some play after 14...Qxf5, although I'd rate this unclear.

However, I think 15...exf5! refutes White's idea. One key point is that the pawn on f5 allows ...Be4 to shield the e-file. After <gofer's> suggested 16. Qc4 (and I don't see what else White can play), Black can continue 16...Be7, preparing an escape square for his king if White plays after 17. Nc7+. Then:

17. Rhe1 Bxg5+ 18. Kb1 Be4 and suddenly Black's position looks fantastic. Then if 19. Nd6+ Ke7 20. Nxe4 fxe4 21. Rxe4 Ra5 and four pieces will be too much for the White queen.

17. Bxe7 Kxe7! 18. Nd6 Qxd6 (simplest here is to trade down, I think) 19. Rxd6 20. Kxd6 and Black has four pieces for the queen.

17. Nc7+ Kf8 18. Ne6+ Qxe6 19. Qxe6 Bxg5+ 20. Kb1 Be4 and again Black has four pieces for the queen. Once he gets his kingside rook into the game, he should be winning.

17. Nc7+ Kf8 18. Bxe7+ Kxe7 19. Nd5+ Bxd5 20. Rxd5 Qe3+. Black certainly looks good here, but an interesting finish would be 21. Kd1 Rc8! 22. Qxc8 Rxa2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <hedgeh0g>, I'm just guessing, but I would say yes--a game like this must have appeared in the Chess Informant. We won't know without Donald Griffith's input.
Aug-02-09  Albertan: <An Englishman: Good Evening: <hedgeh0g>, I'm just guessing, but I would say yes--a game like this must have appeared in the Chess Informant. We won't know without Donald Griffith's input.>

For your information, 7 games like this appear in the chessbase online database.

Griffiths actually played this line again the following year in an over-the- board game: [Event "US op"]
[Site "Palo Alto"]
[Date "1981.??.??"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Griffith, Don"]
[Black "Pendergast, Michael J"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B96"]
[WhiteElo "2100"]
[BlackElo "1875"]
[PlyCount "43"]
[EventDate "1981.12.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "12"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.11.16"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. Qe2 Nfd7 11. O-O-O Bb7 12. Qg4 Qxe5 13. Bxb5 axb5 14. Ncxb5 h5 15. Nc7+ Qxc7 16. Nxe6 Qe5 17. Nc7+ Qxc7 18. Qe2+ Ne5 19. Qxe5+ Be7 20. Qxc7 Bxg5+ 21. Kb1 O-O 22. Qxb7 1-0

According to the chessbase online database the Griffith-Hopps game was played in the 1982 US Open in Saint Paul Minnesota.

I also found this game in Chess Informant:

[Event "USSR 22/(548)"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1976.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Vereziuk"]
[Black "Izhnin, A."]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "B96"]
[Annotator "Minic,D"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "1976.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7 10. Qe2 Nfd7 11. O-O-O Bb7 12. Qg4 Qxe5?! 13. Bxb5!? axb5 14. Ncxb5 h5?

(Playing 14... Be7 would have lead to an unclear position)

15. Nc7+!! Qxc7 16. Nxe6 Qe5
17. Nc7+! Qxc7 18. Qe2+ Ne5 19. Qxe5+!

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <SpoiltVictorianChild> Believe it or not, taking that pawn on e5 was not a maistake, its part of the line. And White's sack on b5 is not supposed to <win by force,> in fact (with best play); White will probably lose.

However, it takes nearly perfect play.

[For more info, see any good opening book, like: Modern Chess Openings, the 15th Edition. (MCO-15) By GM Nick de Firmian.]

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <Albertan>: <An Englishman> points out Bereziuk vs A Izhnin, 1976 on page 1 of this thread, which we note was played six years earlier. It seems likely Griffith knew the game - no doubt the Informant it appeared in came out well before 1982. If you're going to play anything as sharp and heavily analyzed as the Polugaevsky against strong competition, you'd better know all the traps.
Aug-02-09  njchess: I also recognized this sequence from Nunn's book, though since the book wasn't available in 1982, I credit White with finding this nifty mate over the board.
Aug-02-09  patzer2: For the Saturday August 1, 2009 puzzle solution, after Black's blunder14. h5?? (instead probably winning for White is 14.Rxa2! or 14. f5!? as discussed in several previous posts here) White initiates a winning decoy and deflection combination with 15. Nc7+!

The idea of the combination seems to be to force the Black Queen back and forth between c7 and e5 with a series of decoy and deflection sacrfices until the key position after 18. Qe2+ is reached when Black must either surrender the Queen with decisive material loss or concede a quick mate as in the game.

Aug-02-09  patzer2: OOps! I meant winning for Black is probably 14...Rxa2! or 14...f5! And of course the blunder is 14...h5??
Aug-04-09  Albertan: <OBIT: <Albertan>: <An Englishman> points out Bereziuk vs A Izhnin, 1976 on page 1 of this thread, which we note was played six years earlier. It seems likely Griffith knew the game - no doubt the Informant it appeared in came out well before 1982. If you're going to play anything as sharp and heavily analyzed as the Polugaevsky against strong competition, you'd better know all the traps.>

OBIT, thanks for pointing that out.Yes the Polugaevsky variation is extremely complex. I guess that is why Polugaevsky used it against Karpov in the Candidates match the two had in 1974. However, Polugaevsky lost three of the four games he played the Sicilian Defense against Karpov in that match!

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I have studied the Polug. for years, although always from the White side. Its a TOUGH line to play ... for both players! (One slip and Black is dead.)
Oct-22-19  laskereshevsky: I found another game with this variation in a 30 years old chess magazine, not a famous one. Both player are here on CG with a dozen of games but not this one.

Black resigned after 19. ♘xe6

[Event "30° Imperia Open"]
[Site "Imperia"]
[Date "1998.10.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Nicola Paglietti"]
[Black "Castelfranchi"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B96"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[EventDate "1988.10.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "8"]
[EventCountry "ITALY"]

1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. ♘xd4 ♘f6 5. ♘c3 a6 6. ♗g5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 ♕c7 10. ♕e2 ♘fd7 11. O-O-O ♗b7 12. ♕g4 ♕xe5 13. ♗xb5 axb5 14. ♘cxb5 h5 15. ♘c7+ ♕xc7 16. ♘xe6

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