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Matthias Wahls vs Reynaldo Vera
Capablanca Memorial-A (1996), Cienfuegos CUB, rd 2, May-??
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Amsterdam Variation (B93)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-21-11  knight knight: Black to play, two pawns down.

This must be 22...Bxh2+:

1) 23. Kf2? Qh4#

2) 23. Kxh2? Qh4+ 24. Kg1 Qg3+ 25. Qg2 Qxg2#

3) 23. Qxh2 Qxe3+:

a) 24. Qf2? Qg5+ 25. Kh2 (25. Qg2 Qxg2#, 25. Qg3 Qxg3#) Rxh6+ 26. Qh4 Rxh4#

b) 24. Rf2 Qg5+:

i) 25. Kf1 Qxb5+ bishop for pawn ahead

ii) 25. Rg2 Bxg2 26. Qxd6+ Kg8 rook for two pawns ahead

iii) 25. Rg2 Bxg2 26. Qxg2 Qxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Rxh6 exchange ahead

iv) 25. Qg2?? Bxg2 26. Rxg2 Qxb5 lots ahead

Time to check...

Apr-21-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: At first glance, white looks better with a two pawn advantage. The black Rh8 is trapped out of play and the black king looks none too safe on f8. Sure, white has a big hole in the castled position and black has control of the h1 diagonal, but the black queen can't get to the long diagonal and h2 is protected twice. However, twice is not enough...

22... Bxh2+!

The overburdened white queen and a loose bishop are the fatal weaknesses; white can't save the game:

A) 23.Kxh2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 Qg3+ wins.

B) 23.Kf2 Qh4#

C) 23.Qxh2 Qxe3+ 24.Rf2 (Qf2 Qg5+ 25.Kh2 Rxh6+ wins) Qg5+ 25.Rg2 (25.Kf1 Qxb5+) Bxg2 26.Qxd6+ (Qxg2 Qxb5+) Kg8 and white's counterplay ends immediately.

In a short game annotated by Reinfeld, he likened a controlling bishop on a long diagonal to a stiletto and that reference seems apt here.

Apr-21-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: I saw 24.... Rxh6 but thought I saw counterplay after 25.Qxd6+.
Apr-21-11  sevenseaman: The chips fell into place one after the other; I didn't even know when I'd done it, brother.
Apr-21-11  Patriot: I got it but didn't see it as quickly and clearly as I would like. 22...Bxh2+ was easily spotted but I didn't (quickly) see that after 23.Kxh2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 is the ONLY move so 24...Qg3+ 25.Qg2 Qxg2#. Let's just say my board vision was very slow this morning!

<Phony Benoni>

<In a real game, you would probably go with 22...Bxh2+, knowing you'd come out a piece ahead at least.>

This is true and mostly depends on the time remaining. In fast time controls you must quickly decide if a sacrifice is too speculative and dismiss it or go for it. Getting a piece back with check is usually very good so I would likely go for it.

<In a game, it's not necessary to see every detail several moves down the road before starting on the combination, as long as you see enough to begin the trip with certainty of success.>

I completely agree! This is an important skill to develop (i.e. knowing when to stop analyzing). Calculating everything out can help develop better visualization. This is ok for puzzle-solving but OTB you can't always do this.

Apr-21-11  cyclon: 22. -Bxh2+ 23.Qxh2 (Kxh2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 Qg3+ mates/Kf2 23. -Qh4X mates sraight away - that leaves only 23.Qxh2) -Qxe3+ 24.Rf2 (Qf2 Qg5+ 25.Kh2 Rxh6 mates next) -Rxh6 wins Queen for a Rook or mates from h1.
Apr-21-11  tacticalmonster: calculation is best used when there would be a permanent irreversible changes occurring like sacrifices inherent in most combination.

The need to be very precise in this new resultant position in our calculation is very important as there is not turning back. You are " burning your bridge behind you", as they say. Failure to do so often result in tactical oversights and blunders.

Apr-21-11  Patriot: <tacticalmonster> It's very true what you say about burning bridges, tactical oversights, and blunders. It's no fun to begin a combination and then the "oops" factor hits as you realize there is a key defense you missed! This usually results in losing the game or (if we're "lucky") the oversight won't hurt the combination. If time permits positions should be calculated until quiescence. But it's also important, as a developing player, to play risky sacrifices even if you can't figure it out completely. This helps one understand "what works and what doesn't".

I would argue that analysis itself or how a position is played depends a GREAT deal on how much time is left on the player's clock and/or the time control. This is something that is so important but rarely stressed in books. Puzzles allow people to spend as much time as they want to figure it out to the end, but during a game you must know when to start and when to stop calculating. I would bet many strong players would play a sacrifice without calculating everything out, but just far enough they "know" it's likely winning. This is a skill that comes with practice OTB where time is always a strong factor.

Apr-21-11  estrick: Sometimes I feel like a one trick pony. Bishop sack on h2 (or h7) is almost always the first thing I look for. Whenever I get that many pieces aimed at the other guy's king (queen, rook, & both bishops) I figure there's got to be a knockout combination in there somewhere.
Apr-21-11  Marmot PFL: This took me 15 minutes...

14 minutes trying to find wins for white, mostly beginning with Rxf7+

1 minute to realize that it was black's move, and discover that 22...Bxh2+ wins easily

Apr-21-11  ChessPieceFace: <Once> I've said it before, but it must be said again: I LOVE your analyses!!!

As for me, I might be getting a bit chess-blind. I spent forever looking for candidate moves...for white. When I gave up and looked at move 22, I noticed the position was slightly different than what I remembered...

Oh well...back to the drawing board.

Apr-21-11  tacticalmonster: < patriot > You made a valid point. In real life, positions are rarely so cut and dry like the puzzle here. Some combination are so complex even computer would spend some time figuring it out. In cases like these, evaluation of position and intuition are great tools to work with and something I definitely want to work on.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one I saw immediately,then confirmed my choice of moves. The on-the-bias checks and threats lead to a mate threat at h1. White must lose his queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: For me, 24...Rxh6 below, was much tougher to find than 24...Qg5+.

click for larger view

There is a lot to go through.

There are two checking moves that white has at his disposal that have to be looked at. First is 25 Qxh6+, but that obviously not work because the black queen guards that square.

Secondly, I had to see, as noticed by <CHESSTTCAMPS>, that 25 Qxd6+ is no threat after 25...Kg8.

click for larger view

And lastly, the counterattacking move 25 Re1 goes nowhere.

click for larger view

After 25...Rxh2, 26 Rxe3 does not work because of 26...Rh1#.

click for larger view

Apr-21-11  Medieval Knight: I sort of got it. I found 22...Bxh2+ and analyzed 23.Kxh2 and 23.Kf2, but didn't analyze 23.Qxh2 (What actually happened!). Good God, my head is in the clouds today!
Apr-21-11  VincentL: "Medium"

22,,,, Bxh2+ is the obvious candidate. Does it win? Letīs see.

(a) 23. Kxh2 Qh4+ 24. Kg1 Qg3+ 25. Qg2 Qxe3+ 26. Qf2 Qg6+ 27. Kh2 Rxh6 and mate follows

So far so good.

(b) 23. Qxh2 Qxe3+ 24. Rf2 Now Qg5+ doesnīt work on account of Kf1, so it must be 24,,,,,Rxh6 Now white must play 25. Qxh6 to stop immmediate mate on h1. 25.... Qxh6 leaving black a Q for R up.

If 24. Qf2 Qg5+ 25. Kh2 Rxh6 mate (or 25.Qg2 Qxg2 mate).

(c) 23. Kf2 (only other move) Qh4 mate.

This seems to be it. Quite easy today.

Letīs check.

Apr-21-11  VincentL: Yes, nailed it.
Apr-21-11  DarthStapler: Got most of it
Apr-21-11  wals: Rybka 4 x 64
Game was even move 15.Qd4 =0.00.
d 15 : time 2 min :
Black error 15...e5, +0.62. Best,

1. = (0.13): 15...Bxh1 16.Qxh8[] Qb7 17.0-0-0 b4 18.Bd4 bxa3 19.bxa3 Bf3 20.Re1 e6 21.Bg7 Ke7 22.Bf6+ Ke8 23.Re3 Bd5 24.Bg7 Ke7 25.Bd4 Be4 26.Qxh7 Rc8 27.Rc3

White error
d 15 : 2 min :
21.Qe2, -0.53. Best,

1. = (-0.22): 21.Qb3 Rc7 22.Kf2 Bxh2 23.Ke2 Kg7 24.Rae1 Bg3 25.Kd2 Bxe1+ 26.Rxe1 Kg8 27.Bf4 Be4 28.Qb4 d5 29.Kc1 2. (-0.28): 21.Qd3 h6[] 22.gxh6 Qh4 23.Rf2 Bxh2+[] 24.Kf1 Rh7 25.Rc1 Be4 26.Qd2 Bg3 27.Ba6 Qh1+ 28.Ke2 Qh5+ 29.Ke1 Re8 30.Rd1 Bxf2+ 31.Kxf2

White blunder
22.gxh6, -15.25. Best, Rf2, =-0.53.

Apr-21-11  LIFE Master AJ: Got it. (Simple combo based on the Q+B mate in the corner.)

I thought that PxP/h6 was a bad mistake, but I was not sure.

Apr-21-11  LIFE Master AJ: [Event "Capablanca Memorial Elite 31st"]
[Site "Cienfuegos"]
[Date "1996.??.??"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Wahls, Matthias"]
[Black "Vera Gonzalez Quevedo, Reynaldo"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B93"]
[WhiteElo "2555"]
[BlackElo "2495"]
[PlyCount "48"]
[EventDate "1996.05.??"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "13"]
[EventCountry "CUB"]
[EventCategory "12"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1996.10.01"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 Qc7 7. Qf3 g6 8. Be3 b5 9. a3 Nbd7 10. g4 Nc5 11. g5 Nfxe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Qxe4 Bb7 14. Nxb5 axb5 15. Qd4 e5 16. fxe5 Bg7 17. Bxb5+ Kf8 18. O-O Bxe5 19. Qc4 Qe7 20. c3 Rc8 21. Qe2 h6 22. gxh6 Bxh2+ 23. Qxh2 Qxe3+ 24. Rf2 Rxh6 0-1

Apr-21-11  LIFE Master AJ: The above is the PGN file for the game ... just in case (like me) you wanted to find this game in the ChessBase database.
Apr-21-11  stst: late again, some subtle variations:
(A) 23.QxB QxB+
24.Rf2 (if 24.Qf2 Qg5+, 25.Kh2 RxP#; or 25.Qg2 QxQ#) RxP 25.Qxd6+ Kg8
26.Bc6 BxB
27.QxB (forced, else Rh1#) RxQ and W can resign without the Q. (B) 23.KxB Qh4+
24.Kg1 Qg3+
25.Qg2 will lose the Q, else mate.
bed time ....
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: GM Vera just absolutely put the wood on GM Wahls! Vera made a great choice by playing the Najdorf against Wahls b/c Wahls never has beaten anybody that has played the Najdorf against him when he played white (to my knowledge). If he has beaten it, it hasn't happened very often. Auf wiedersehen Mr. Wahls!
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I take that back. I found 1 game that he won w/ the white pieces against the najdorf in the database.:
Still he has a horrendous record against it. 1 win, 7 losses & 14 draws against it!
search thread:   
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