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Borek Bernard vs Tomas Civin
TCh-CZE 2002-3 (2003), Czech Rep CZE, rd 6
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B95)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Brilliant! Like an avalanche!
Aug-08-09  sfm: First move is (as so often before) easy to spot, but to see it through to the end takes real work.
Aug-08-09  Blunderdome: Cool, I got it.
Aug-08-09  sfm: Seems like Black should have tried 15.-,Be7/g7 instead of -,Bd7?
Aug-08-09  Peter Nemenyi: It doesn't take much familiarity with the Sicilian to know that the Nd5 sac is thematic in such positions, so the first move comes very easily. But the rest of the play may justify the difficulty level.
Aug-08-09  RandomVisitor: <Game comment 18.Qe3? Bc8 =>White is still winning, after 19.Qh6 or 19.Rd3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Looking at this position, the only move that appears to do something right away is 16. Nd5. In other words, if I don't take the shot here, it looks like it will be awhile before l get another one. So, my objective at this point is to convince myself the shot is worth taking.

First, 16. Nd5 threatens the queen, and if the queen moves I play Nxf6+. Surely that is good for me. So, the only response I need to analyze is 16...exd5. Then, after 17. exd5+, if Black plays 17...Be6 or 17...Ne6, I immediately get the piece back with 18. dxe6 with a good attack. That means the only move to think about is 17...Be7. So, I've decided the critical line starts 16. Nd5 exd5 17. exd5+ Be7.

Here's where it gets harder. First I looked at 18. Ne6 but didn't see anything too convincing. After studying the position awhile more, I decided the attack, if I have one, has to come along the e-file. So I considered 18. Qe3, but again didn't see anything too convincing. Then 18. Rxe7+ started to intrigue me. After 18...Kxe7 19. Qe3+ looked like a possibility at first, but it still looked unconvincing. Finally I came to 18. Rxe7+ Kxe7 19. Re1+, where White has a ton of pressure bearing down on e6. Now if 19...Ne6 20. dxe6, I regain all the material I sacrificed and maintain an attack - that's good enough for me. What's left is 19... Kf8, and here I see 20. Bg4! The threat is Bxd7. If 20...Bxg4? 21. Qh6+ Kg8 22. Re8#. This line appears to give me great compensation, so my move is 16. Nd5, with 16. Nd5 exd5 17. exd5+ Be7 18. Rxe7+ Kxe7 19. Re1+ Kf8 20. Bg4 as the main line.

Aug-08-09  RandomVisitor: There are multiple 18th moves for white that are also playable. Let's see what others come up with.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Ah, I see 19. Qe3+ was played, a move I looked at and discarded. But, as soon as I saw it was played, I realized that 19...Kf8 20. Qh6+ Ke8 (20...Kg8 21. Rd3 threatens 21. Rg3+ and mates) 21. Re1+ must be the idea.

I think 19. Re1+ is also good enough, but 19. Qe3+ makes the queen a more active piece. I'll let the other posters prove 19. Re1+ is inferior. :)

Aug-08-09  cyclon: Great play by White.
Aug-08-09  dzechiel: White to move (16?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

I have been looking at this for about five minutes, and so far all I have come up with is a list of candidate moves. I would like to consider:

- 16 e5
- 16 Nd5
- 16 Nxe6
- 16 Nf5
- 16 Bxf7+

My big concern is that most of these moves are met with 16...Rc8, threatening the knight on c3 AND the checkmate on c2.

Well, the only really forcing move I can find is

16 Nd5

On the queen, and also threatening 17 Nxf6+


Black does have the zwischenzug 16...Bh6+, but I think that white meets it with 17 f4.

17 exd5+ Be7

Any other move by black would give back the piece with interest. The white queen is now under attack, what to do?

OK, I finally gave up. While I did look at the rook sac 18 Rxe7+, I could not visualize the follow up, particularly the bishop sac on f7. I did notice that on 18 Qe3 that black could move his light squared bishop and hold the position.

This felt very tough to me, worse than some Sunday positions I have seen.

Aug-08-09  kap54: White missed a mate in 4 with 23.Qh6+ Kxf5 24.Qh5+ Ke4 25.Qd5+ Kf4 26.Rd4#. The text leaves white well ahead, but with mate much further away after 23...Bxe6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  White Star: 23) Rd5 (as played) threatens 24) Qh6++, but either 23)...h5 or let's say h6 then 24) Qg3+ and if 24)...Kh6 mate follows on g7 or 24)...Kh5 25) Ng7+ ..f5 26) Rxf5++; alternatively 23)...Bxd6 24) Qh6+ and Black loses massive amounts of material very quickly
Aug-08-09  lost in space: Not enough:

I saw 16. Nd5 exd5 17. exd5+ Be7 18. Rxe7 Kxe7 but then I missed the continuation (as I haven't found 20. Bxf7)


Aug-08-09  rodantero: 23...Be6 24.Qh6+ Kf7 25.Qg7+ Ke8 26.Qxc7 and black has no chance.
Aug-08-09  LIFE Master AJ: OK. I did something a little different for today's puzzle. (One student thought it might be helpful for me to go through a problem ... sort of "thinking out loud," or something to that effect. I have to write down every thought I have, no matter how good or bad.)

I went to the page and used an index card to hide the game score. I scrolled slowly down the page just far enough to be able to see the download, and went ahead and grabbed the file and then I opened it with ChessBase. (My eyes are not what they used to be, squinting at these small diagrams is giving me headaches.)

If you use the "TRAINING TAB" in CB, you can go through the moves, without seeing the notation.

OK ... I check the website again, and I see I have to get to the position after Black's 15th move. (A few seconds later I am there. Hmmm, White plays b2-b4?!? in the Sicilian? I had always thought that was bad.)

First step is to evaluate the position. I think I would have to say that White is definitely better. White has already castled, and every one of his pieces are developed to fairly natural posts. Black's position, on the other hand, is downright ugly here. (Perhaps the only positive thing that I can say about Black's game is that he has a bulwark of center pawns and that e6 appears to be adequately defended ... for the moment, anyway. With Black's doubled buttons, I don't even think I would count the Bishop pair as an advantage for Black.)

OK. I am looking for sacks. I don't see anything easy. Well how about we go after Black's undefended button on f6? First try is Qh4, but Black can defend easily enough with Be7. (On a second look, it looks like 16.Qh4 is a blunder, as 16...QxN/c3; is probably winning for BLACK!) Well, what if I set up Qh4? Maybe 16.Re3 first? Oh, no, 16...Be3; looks good for Black again. OK, all that leaves are the two Knight leaps, Nd5 and Nf5. Nf5 does not look all that forcing. So what about Nd5? After 16.Nd5, it looks like Black is forced to capture, otherwise I get the Pawn on f6 for free. So: 16.Nd5, exd5; 17.exd5+, Be7; hmmm, that looks like a dead end. So much for any really simple solutions! (Well, what did you expect, it IS a Saturday problem after all!)

Now I go back to slow moves. Maybe 16.Kb2 to set up a bunch of cool threats? (Sometimes a quiet move like this is the key.) Here, however, I have got to chunk that. 16...Rc8; and Black is organizing his pieces (with threats), and now my Queen can't move off the third rank, anyway.

OK, its time to admit I am initially stumped. What was the most forcing move that I looked at? It had to have been 16.Nd5!? (At least that move opened a file for my Rooks. And according to the "Morphy Principle," line opening is the only way to force a quick decision in a position where one side is dominant.)

Aug-08-09  LIFE Master AJ: Maybe I gave up on Nd5 too early!? Let's try going a few ply deeper!

OK, again: 16.Nd5 exd5; 17.exd5+ Be7; Black has blocked the e-file. Now what? Maybe I will simply threaten mate with Qe3, especially seeing that my Queen is now attacked by Black's Bishop on c8. So now 18.Qe3, but Black just plays 18...Bc8. Now 19.Qh6, Rg8; and 20.QxP/h7. (I analyze this position in my head for around 3-5 minutes.) This looks promising, but I am not sure this is best. Did I have something more forceful? Let's back up to the position after 16.Nd5 exd5; 17.exd5+ Be7. What about 18.Qh4!?, taking advantage of the pin. If Black does nothing, I can take on f6, and win with pressure down the e-file. However, Black has a lot of possible moves here, he might just play 18...Kf8 as well. Also, after 18.Qh4, Black can play 18...Qc3. (w/counterplay) Do I really want to allow that?

Once more: 16.Nd5 exd5; 17.exd5+ Be7. What if I sack the Rook on e7? 18.RxB/e7+, KxR; (I think Black has to take, maybe later I should come back and analyze this some more.) OK, the natural move is: 19.Re1+. Of course, Black plays 19...Kf8. Now what do I have? I don't see much ... and my Queen is hanging again. So ... 20.Qe3. Ah-ha, now I have a ton of threats ... WAIT!! Can't Black just play 20...Kg7 and now what's the follow-up? Hmmm, I really thought (that) I had something there. Now I remember Alburt's advice about changing the move order in a variation ... to make it work.

16.Nd5 exd5; 17.exd5+ Be7; 18.Rxe7+ KxR/e7; 19.Qe3+. (Now I don't have to worry about my Queen hanging anymore.) Surely Black is not going to give back the piece, so let's look at 19...Kf8. OK, now I have 20.Qh6+, with two likely responses. (The BK goes to g8 or e7. Maybe even e8, but I don't see that square as helping, I could just nab the f6-pawn with my Queen.)

So #1.) 20...Kg8. Oh-oh, I play 21.Rd3, and I think Black is in big trouble. (Scratch 20...Kg8.)

Now # 2.) 20...Ke7. Now 21.Re1+. If the King goes to d8, (again) I grab the f6-button but this time with check, so that's out. Now it looks like Black is FORCED to give back material on e6. OOOps!!! I just glanced at the diagram, there is a BN on d8, so my last variation is impssible.

But wait! That's good for me! It means that after 21.Re1+, Black is 100% FORCED to give back material. So what does Black stick on d7? (If it was me, I'd use the Knight.) So: 21...Ne6; 22.Nf5+, Ke8; (Remember, d8 is off-limits, due to the QxP/f6+ threat.) Now what? For a few seconds, I don't see anything, but what about 23.QxP/f6? Now I threaten the Rook on h8, and a mate on e7. Conclusion? White wins.

Time to check: I am getting tired, and I have been at this for several hours now.

Aug-08-09  LIFE Master AJ: Nothing what I had envisioned, maybe Black was forced to interpose on e6 earlier than I thought.
Aug-08-09  remolino: 16. Nd5
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Powerful and fashionable play.
Aug-08-09  TheBish: B Bernard vs T Civin, 2003

White to play (16.?) "Very Difficult"

The first move is not so difficult for fans of the Sicilian (which this obviously is), as knight sacs are quite standard, especially ones opening the e-file.

16. Nd5!

Black can accept or refuse the knight, but either way, White will force open lines!

A) 16...exd5 17. exd5+ Be7 (if 17...Be6 or 17...Ne6, 18. dxe6 followed by exf7+ is strong) 18. Rxe7+!! (the only way to continue the attack; not 18. Qe3 Bc8) Kxe7 19. Re1+ Kf8 (or 19...Be6 20. dxe6 fxe6 21. Nxe6 is a winning attack, as is 19...Ne6 20. Bxf7! Kxf7 21. dxe6+) 20. Bg4 (obvious but strong) and now:

A1) 20...Bxg4 21. Qh6+ Kg8 22. Re8#

A2) 20...Rb7 21. Qh6+ Kg8 22. Bxd7 Qxd7 23. Re3 and wins.

A3) 20...h5 21. Bxd7 Nb7 (or 21...Rb7 22. Re8+ Kg7 23. Nf5+ mating) 22. Ne6+! fxe6 23. Qxe6 Rh7 24. Qxf6+ Kg8 25. Qg6+! Kh8 (or 25...Rg7 26. Re8+ Rxe8 27. Qxe8+ Kh7 28. Bf5+ Kh6 29. Qe6+ Kg5 30. h4+ Kxh4 31. Qf6+ Kg5 32. g3#) 26. Re8+ Rxe8 27. Qxe8+ Kg7 28. Qe7+ Kg6 (or 28...Kh6 29. Qf6#, or 28...Kg8 29. Be6+ Kh8 30. Qf8#) 29. Be8+ Kf5 30. Qe6+ Kg5 31. Qg6+ Kf4 32. Qf6+ Ke4 33. Bg6+ Kxd5 34. Qf3+ Ke6 35. Qf5+ Ke7 36. Bxh7 is an easy win.

B) 16...Qb7 (Qa7 is similar) 17. Nxf6+ Ke7 18. Nf5+! (forcing an opening to the king) and now:

B1) 18...Kxf6 19. Qh4+ Ke5 20. f4#.

B2) 18...exf5 19. Nd5+ Ke8 20. exf5+ wins the piece back with a crushing attack, e.g. 20...Be7 21. Nf6+ Kf8 22. Bf3 Bxf6 (or 22...Bc6 23. Qh6#) 23. Qh6+ Bg7 24. Qxd6+ Kg8 25. Bxb7 Rxb7 26. Qe7.

Aug-08-09  RandomVisitor: Black's problems seem to start with 9...Nc5. After 9...Be7 we have:

click for larger view

[-0.08] d=17 10.Qg3 b5 11.a3

[-0.08] d=16 10.a3 0-0 11.Qg3 Nh5 12.Qg4

Aug-08-09  mig55: 18 Qf3 seems to win faster.
Aug-08-09  David2009: Saturday's puzzle B Bernard vs T Civin, 2003 White to play 16? Very difficult 16 Nd5 immediately doesn't work: exd5 17 eXd5+ Be7 and now what? Insteead 16 Nf5 hoping for exf5 17 exf5+ Be7 18 Rxe7+ wins; meanwhile 17 Nd5 is a threat if Black does nothing (e.g. 16...e5 or 16 ...Be7). A more promising Black plan is 16.. Bc6, but 17 Nd5 is still good. Too many defensive possibilities for me to calculate them all: 16 Nf5 is sound so I'll play it. ===========
White played Nd5 after all and still won! Time to read the annotations and to study the other kibitzes from the uzual suspects <OBIT, dzechiel,LIFE Master AJ,TheBish,remolino, whiteshark and others>.
Aug-08-09  David2009: <dzechiel: [snip] 16 Nf5 ... met with 16...Rc8, threatening the knight on c3 AND the checkmate on c2>. Exactly. So when I play 16 Nf5 after 16...Rc8 I am busted: losing a won game. Classy analysis by <dzechiel>. Now why didn't I spot that?
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