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Paul Imbaud vs Strumilo
corr (1922) (correspondence)
Scandinavian Defense: Modern Variation (B01)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The real beauty of this is in the way black's king gets pulled down into a central vortex, with mate a constant threat. Meanwhile, the black queen on d8 and the white bishop on g5 -- which tend to be exchanged in similar combinations -- never move. Black deserves credit for putting up a tough defence -- but that's a corr phenomenon as much as the attack is.

As for holding 3 million games in a human memory, forget it. The psychologist George Miller wrote a famous paper showing that people have trouble holding on to *seven* distinct items at once. Not quite the same thing, I admit: but human memory is still a lot more limited than we like to think. And the brain has no logic circuits.

Sep-20-09  Blunderdome: I saw that Nxe5 could probably lead into a mating attack but couldn't calculate it to the end.
Sep-20-09  WarmasterKron: I looked at Nxe5, but only briefly before deciding it was a spoiler puzzle and I wouldn't be fooled. So I plumped for 9.O-O.

Ironically, I'd probably play Nxe5 OTB, more speculatively than anything else.

Sep-20-09  Eduardo Leon: <Jimfromprovidence>, you're right. In fact, in the line

<14. ... Qxg5 15. c3+ Ke3 16. fxg5 Ne5 17. 0-0>

if black plays

<17. ... Nxd3>

then he loses to the genius move

<18. Ng3!>

and now

<18. ... Ne5>

only delays the mate

<19. Rfe1+ Kf4 20. Rd4+ Kxg3 21. Re3+ Nf3 22. Rxf3#>

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: The moves leading up to Nxe5 in this game are sufficiently nondescript to where I wonder if this position can occur in other openings, even with colors reversed. For example, playing around with an openings database, I found a game played in 1986 by a 2480 player (I can't tell who the players were, just the ratings and date) that started 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 ed 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Nc6 8. Nb3. Here, 8...Nxe4!? 9. Bxd8? Bxf2+ transposes to the main line of the puzzle. However, with the Black bishop on c5, the critical line after 8...Nxe4 appears to be 9. Nxc5! Nxc3!, when 10. Bxd8 Nxd1 11. Bxc7 dxc5 12. Rxd1 Be6 takes all the fun out of this. A more interesting line looks like 10. Qh5!? g6.

At any rate, 8...Nxe4 was NOT played in the 1986 game - the move was 8...Bb4. It's a lot less interesting, but probably better. Oh well... this is just another one of those times where the move you'd really like to play isn't the objectively best choice.

Sep-20-09  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane):

Imbaud vs Strumilo, 1922 (9.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Ke8 has 2 legal moves. The White Bb3 attacks Pf7, ready to deflect or decoy its only protector, Ke8. The White Qd1 x-rays Bh5 through the White Nf3, and Nf3-g5 or Nf3-e5 attacks f7. The candidate 9.Bxf7+ is therefore worthy of examination. The White Ke1 is secured from check.

Candidates (9.): Bxf7+, Nxe5

[9.Bxf7+ Kxf7

(1’) 10.Ng5+ Qxg5 11.Bxg5 Bxd1 12.Kxd1 leaves White down N for P

(2’) 10.Nxe5+ Nxe5 11.Qxh5+ Ng3 12.Qf5+ Qf6 leaves White down N for 2P]

9.Nxe5 (threatening 10.Qxh5, winning a P)

9…Bxd1 [else, drop Pe5 for nothing]

10.Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Kd3

Candidates (12.): Nb5+, Ne4+

[12.Nb5+ Kxe5 13.f4+ Kf5 14.g4+ Bxg4 15.hxg4+ Kxg4 16.Be6+

The candidate 12.Nb5+ leaves Nb5 out of the action unnecessarily.]

12.Ne4+ Kxe5 13.f4+ Kd4 [Kf5 14.Ng3#]

<[I looked at 14.c3+, but could not see anything. The puzzle impresses me.]>

Sep-20-09  johnlspouge: < <Marmot PFL> wrote: [snip] Of course when you have 3 days or so per move and can move the pieces its all a bit easier. [snip] >

<Marmot>, <Marmot>, <Marmot>, thank you, thank you!!! Yes - it's a correspondence game!

Next Sunday might drive me to set up a board and move the pieces, but right now, I feel sooooooo much better about missing this one.

Sep-20-09  megatacos: bf7 was such a nice move
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: This is a famous game. As I recall, the game continuation was 9.Nxe5!! Bxd1 10.Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Kd6 12.Ne4+! Kxe5 13.f4+ Kd4 14.Rxd1! with a winning attack. Luckily for White, this was a correspondence game, so he could analyze at his leisure.
Sep-20-09  johnlspouge: < <Domdaniel> wrote: [snip] As for holding 3 million games in a human memory, forget it. The psychologist George Miller wrote a famous paper showing that people have trouble holding on to *seven* distinct items at once. >

Hi, <Domdaniel>. The seven distinct items refer to short-term memory. For most people, e.g., a single phone number is all they can recall without rehearsal. Long-term memory holds much more information, otherwise none of us would function very well. (Maybe I am defeating my own argument, but you get the point...)

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I'm surprised that more people don't seem to be familiar with this game. I played it over many years ago from Fred Reinfeld's "Chess: Win in 20 Moves or Less" and Irving Chernev's "1000 Best Short Games of Chess."
Sep-20-09  TheBish: Imbaud vs Strumilo, 1922

White to play (9.?) "Insane"

It was pretty obvious what the move is here, with so few options! As usual, the insanity is in the details.

9. Nxe5!!

This wins at least a pawn (9...Nxe5 10. Qxh5), or much more if Black accepts the "Greek gift".

9...Bxd1 10. Bxf7+ Ke7 11. Bg5+ Kd6 12. Ne4+!

White is playing for mate! I found Ne4+ myself, but when I put this on Fritz 7, the silicon beast wanted to play 12. f4, which is unsatisfactory after 12...Qxg5 13. Ne4+ Ke7 14. Nxg5 Nxe5 15. fxe5 Bxc2 15. Rc1 h6 16. Rxc2 c6! and White will be a piece down.

12...Kxe5 13. f4+ Kd4 14. Rxd1!

Accepting nothing less than bagging the enemy king. Instead 14. Kd2? Bxc2! breaks up the mate, and 14. Bxd8 Bxc2 15. Bxc7 Bxd3 gives Black a winning two pawn advantage, with his king relatively safe. Now:

A) 14...Qxg5 15. c3+ Ke3 16. 0-0! Nd4 (or 16...Qh4 17. Rf3+ Ke2 18. Rd2+ Ke1 19. Rf1#, or 16...Qxf4 17. Rfe1#) 17. fxg5 Ne2+ 18. Kh1 Nf4 19. Rf3+ Ke2 20. Rd2+ Ke1 21. Re3+ Ne2 22. Rexe2+ Kf1 23. Ng3#.

B) 14...Be7? 15. Ke2! (or 15. Kd2) and mate in two after 15...Nd5 16. c3+ Nxd5 17. bxc3#.

C) 14...Ke3 15. 0-0! Bb4 16. c3! Nd4 (or 16...Qxd3 17. Rde1+ Qe2 18. Rf3+ Kxe4 19. Rxe2+ Kf5 20. g4#) 17. Rfe1 + Ne2+ 18. Kf1 Qxg5 19. fxg5 Bd6 20. Rxe2+ Kf4 21. Kg1! Bc5+ 22. d4! Bxd4+ 23. cxd4 Kf5 24. Rf1#.

Sep-20-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: I recall that this game was in a Reinfeld collection entitled "Win in 20 Moves or Less." I gave this book to a nephew a few years ago and it has probably been a few decades since I've actually played through the game or seen the notes. I'll take a shot at the puzzle, having the advantage that I know the theme is a king hunt and I have a rough idea how the game goes. As I attempted to visualize the solution, I wondered if this is one of those golden oldies that has been proven unsound by computer analysis or human analysis.

Based upon positional considerations alone, it seems somewhat surprising for white to have a significant advantage so early. Both sides have 3 developed minor pieces and a pawn in the center. But white has the advantage of the move and his force is mobilized to strike at the weak point f7. Probably black has erred by playing Bh5. In any case, white can initiate a classic king hunt with the move:


If black declines the queen with 9...Nxe5 (or Qe7), white has 10.Qxh5 with an extra pawn and a big positional advantage, so

black has no better option than accepting the sacrifice:

A) 9... Bxd1

Now white can suck the black king into enemy territory like a vacuum cleaner run amuck:

10.Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Kd6 12.Nd4+ Kxe5 13.f4+

So far, everything has been forced. Now there are two major branches. The first branch is straightforward:

A.1) 13... Kf5 14.g4+ Bxg4 15.hxg4+ Kxg4 16.Be6+ Kf3

All forced, but here I got stuck for a while before finding a solution:

17.Nd2+! Kg2 18.Bh3+! Kxh1 19.Nf3! and with the king trapped in the corner, black has no good defense against 20.O-O-O+ e.g.

A.1.1) 19... Bb4+ 20.Ke2+ Be1 21.Rxe1#

A.1.2) 19... Qxg5 20.O-O-O+ Qg1 21.Rxg1#

However, the 2nd branch is much tougher.

A.2) 13... Kd4

It would be nice to play 14.Kd2 followed by c3, but 14... Bxc2! disrupts the mating net with white a Q (+N) down. This suggests that the best plan is to preserve the c-pawn and d-pawn to maintain the mating net:

14.Rxd1 (threatens Ke2 followed by c3#) and now:

A.2.1) 14... Qxg5 15.c3+! Ke3 16.fxg5 Kf4 17.O-O+! Ke5 18.g4! g6 19.Rf6! (threatening Re6+ then Re7#!) Nd8 20.Bb3 and the threats of R1f1-f5 or Re1 followed by d4# seem impossible to meet.

I don't have this worked out to the last detail, but it seems to be the right track.

Time to check.

Sep-21-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: Yikes - in A.1, I missed 14.Ng3# pointed out by <Eduardo Leon> (and probably others)! Oh well, it was fun working out the longer forcing variation.
Sep-21-09  patzer2: For the Sunday, Sep 20, 2009 puzzle solution, 9. Nxe5!! catches Black in an Opening Trap involving a very complicated pursuit and mate combination.

One option not discussed is if 19...Ke2, then 20. Rg3+ Ke1 21. Re3#.

The fact that strong computer programs have difficulty with the 9. Nxe5!! combination is a tribute to the beauty and complexity of this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <<Patzer2> "The fact that strong computer programs have difficulty with the 9. Nxe5!! combination is a tribute to the beauty and complexity of this game.">

Well said!

I am 51 years old. I have the books that you guys mentioned. However, while this one kinda looked familiar ... it did not really "stick in my head."

Sep-21-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: The coordination of the white pieces is extraordinary. One can probably come up with several dozen good puzzles out of this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <johnlspouge> You're right ... I was cheating slightly (or trying to show off) with the Miller/memory reference. Having said that, his article impressed me greatly when I first read it, years ago, in an essay collection.

I suppose the real point is that human memory (long or short term) is so totally different from computer memory that we confuse the issue by even using the same word for both.

Another interesting point is the way that GMs stored information before computers and databases. Polugayevsky was famously protective of his notebook (the handwritten kind) where he kept his opening research. And Tal was reputed to have a phenomenal memory for game scores.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Check out Tim Krabbe's Open Chess Diary, which features a later correspondence game that repeated this game through 14.Rxd1!, and another game that reached the same position, but with reversed colors (Black, now White, had the move P-QR4 thrown in). It's at (scroll down to No. 368)
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: <FSR: Check out Tim Krabbe's Open Chess Diary, which features a later correspondence game that repeated this game through 14.Rxd1!, and another game that reached the same position, but with reversed colors (Black, now White, had the move P-QR4 thrown in).>

SwitchingQuylthulg chessforum

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <OBIT> That 1986 game with 8.Nb3 Bb4 could have been Bellini, Fabio vs Belotti, Bruno, Italian ch, Cesenatico 1986 ... (0-1 in 34) -- though the ratings in my database are 2380 and 2355.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <OBIT>I see this is a correspondence game, so for sure Imbaud worked everything out to mate before he mailed 9. Nxe5. I'll bet it took hours.

Being a CC player myself, i wonder if Imbaud sent a few "conditional" moves in order to save on postage!

Oct-09-13  redwhitechess: Annotation by New york based chess columnist Hermann Helms, The Washington Times 1922
Mar-03-19  whiteshark: Duplicate to J Perrier vs F J Wellmuth, 1917 (or v.v.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 14... Bb4+ 15. c3+ Ke3 16. O-O Nd4 17. Rfe1+ Ne2+ 18. Kf1 Qxd3 19. Nf2 is an insane position:

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