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Evgeniy Podolchenko vs David Howell
"I Pod" (game of the day Dec-16-2022)
Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad (2010), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 7, Sep-28
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Classical Variation (D86)  ·  1-0



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sac: 25.Rxc6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-29-10  freakclub: Podolchenko's Immortal
Sep-29-10  kellmano: Yes absolutely great game. The kind of game that Howell sometimes wins. White's 33rd in particular is a beauty.

Question - How poor was Howell's play? At time his defensive manoueverings look totally aimless, bu perhaps there was simply nothing to do from around move 20

Jul-13-11  qqdos: cf. <Topalov vs Anand, Sofia (m/1) 2010> where Anand played 16...Qd6 instead of 16...Bb7. Topalov won a brilliant "homebrew" prize-winning game.
Jul-14-11  DrMAL: As I stated in Topalov vs Anand, 2010 16...Bb7 is more of a positional move whereas 16...Qd6 leads to a sharper position, the choice here is basically a matter of taste.

18.f5 is a bit premature (inaccurate compared with simply 18.Rxc8) where if black played 18...Rxc1 19.Qxc1 first before 19...Nc6 black gets a small advantage.

After 22...Qf8 white's pawn on f6 looks impressive but the game is dead even, white's attack has no way to succeed without a blunder. 23...Qg5 was probably best but the retreat 23...Qh4 was also OK. 23...h5 was also probably best but also no big deal.

The sac 25.Rxc6 was objectively a mistake. Of the two moves, 25...Bxc6 punishes it best but after 25...Rxc6 black is still slightly better anyway. After 25.e5 another mistake black's advantage is now solid but he must play very accurately.

27...Rc5 was a counter-mistake giving back most of black's advantage. If instead 27...Rh8 followed by 28...Kg8 (after either 28.Qg3 or 28.Qg5 or Kg8 later if white makes yet another mistake), white's attack is abated with black up the exchange for insufficient compensation. For example, 27...Rh8 28.Qg5 Kg8 29.Qf4 and white will get back the pawn but have nothing more. Eventually, black will free the rook on h8.

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Back to the game, after 28.Qg5 black's best was probably to simplify with 28...Bxg4 29.Qxg5 Rex5 holding an advantage. 28...Rh8 looks good at first (even if holding the tension was unnecessary) but here it was a bit inaccurate. The position is (unnecessarily) complicated here it helps to use an engine to make sure.

30...Bd7 was the best move for black but after 30...Ba6 the game is basically equal. 32...Rc1+ was a good plan but after 32.Kf2 black made a blunder with 32...d3 a try that was entirely too premature. Here, because of his earlier inaccuracy black should merely first nab the a-pawn (e.g., via 32...Rf1+ 33.Kg2 Ra1 34.Kg3 Rxa2) and then go for a draw by repetition with Ra1+ Kg2 Ra2+ etc. Note that black's queen can come in for a mate via a3 if white tries to avoid this.

Anyway, after the first blunder (32...d3) already enough to probably lose, black made an immediate second blunder with 33...fxe6 (insted of mandatory 33...Rf1+) and lost immediately. Not an "immortal" game for white, actually after his sac if black played correctly he would have had to struggle to maybe get a draw!

Jul-16-11  qqdos: <DrMAL> I didn't imagine you would allow "Immortal" to sneak past you, but nonetheless White must have been delighted to add this win (however imperfect)to his cv!
Jul-18-11  DrMAL: Yep I'd be happy to beat Howell any old way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This is an elegant conclusion by Podolchenko.
Jul-09-12  computer chess guy: 33. ♘h3 is a forced mate in 15: one variation is 33.Nh3 Rh8 34.Bd5 Rc4 35.Bxf7 Rxg4 36.Bxg6+ Kg8 37.Qxg4 Qc5+ 38.Kg2 Bb7+ 39.Be4+ Kf8 40.Qg7+ Ke8 41.Bxb7 Rf8 42.e6 Qc2+ 43.Nf2 Rxf6 44.Qxf6 Qa4 45.Rxh6 Qg4+ 46.Nxg4 b5 47. Rh8# (Houdini).
Dec-16-22  goodevans: 32.Kf2, Black to move. It's clear that Black is in dire straits and the only hope seems to be that the rush forward of White's pieces might allow for a perpetual check.

Would 32...Rf1+ been enough for a draw? Beyond me, but surely a much better try than the hopeless push for promotion with 32...d3.

Good GOTD.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why didn't black play 31...Bb7 ?

If 32. Bxb7, then 32...gxh5 33. Be4+ Kh8 34. Qf5 Rxg4+.

Dec-16-22  paavoh: @<al wazir>: Perhaps he saw White would not take on 32. Bxb7 but return to 32. Bd3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PeterLalic: 30.Rh5 was not only a cruel joke but a multi-purpose move. It overprotected e5, thereby threatening Qh4, g5, and Rxh6+.

If Black hadn't lost an exchange with 32...d3, what would have been White's plan? Was there a better alternative to doubling on the h-file that I am missing? e5-e6 appears thematic but risky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Unbelievably horrible pun, so bad that I didn't even check the game.
Dec-16-22  Mosaichino: 25 Tc6!! WOW Podolchenko!
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <paavoh: Perhaps he saw White would not take on 32. Bxb7 but return to 32. Bd3>, repeating the position.

A draw by repetition would have been a better outcome for black.

Jan-12-23  paavoh: @<al wazir>: Stockfish here gave this line: =0.00 (35 ply) 32.Bd3 Ba6 33.Ne6 fxe6 34.f7 Bxd3 35.Rxh6+ Kg7 36.Qf6+ Kxh6 37.fxg8=N+ Qxg8 38.Qh4+ Kg7 39.Qf6+ with a perpetual.

Any improvements?

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