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Vladimir Simagin vs Ratmir Kholmov
Uzhgorod, USSR (1966)
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: Looks like a nice combination here.
44…… Ng4+
45. hxg4 Rh6+
46. Kg1 Rd1++
If the king moves on move 45, the mate just comes more quickly (Rd1)

Got this quickly but frankly was helped by their being so few pieces, of which only one can deliver a check. So there had to be a reason not to play Ng4+ and I could not see one. Over the board would I have seen this combination? Possibly but not certainly.

As often happens in these positions set as puzzles, I am struck by how impotent the losing side’s pieces have become. Difficult to see a really effective move for white if it was his/her? turn. Ne5?

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Geez, isn't Simigin a chess author? Maybe this was a blitz event, or something like that. Very thematic Bruce Pandolfini level tactical shot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: The power of ♖♖ (as soon as circumstances permit)!
Jul-31-12  andyatchess: Nice one
Jul-31-12  James D Flynn: Thanks OBIT for the correction to my analysis of the Sunday puzzle. 44……Ng4+ 45.hxg4(if Kg1or h1 Rd1#) Rh6+ 46.Kg1 Rd1#.
Jul-31-12  David2009: Simagin vs Kholmov, 1966 Black 44?

44...Ng4+ etc. Will it be "Mate in three" week?
<Once>: < I think it is much easier to spot that 44...Ng4+ wins than it would have been to see that 44. Bxc7 loses.> Well put!

Here's the position at move 43:

click for larger view

with an interactive link to Crafty End Game Trainer:

The unambitious robot allows a draw by repetition in the sequence 43.Bf4 Nf6 44.g3 Nd5 45.Bc1 f4 46.Bc1 f5 47.Ne3 f4 48.Nxd5 fxg3+ 49.fxg3 Rxd5 50.Bf4 c6 51.Kg2 Kg7 52.Kf3 Rd3+ 53.Kg4 Rd5 54.Kf3 Rd3+ = : but can White do better?

Jul-31-12  jffun1958: 44. ... Ng4+ 45. hxe4 Rh6+ 46. K~1 Re1#
45. K~1 46. Re1#
Jul-31-12  KingV93: ♘g4+ opens the h-file and White is mated on the first rank. Not stupendously obvious unless you know there is a tactical shot available.
Jul-31-12  Castleinthesky: This puzzle is an excellent example of two chess caveats 1) Don't be too greedy and 2) Don't leave the king unprotected. On the move prior to the puzzle, white decides to snatch blacks c7 pawn and leaves the h6 square unguarded, setting up the combination for the puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Simagin docking his bishop hat stand c7 in ogle ng4 wins by a

length, pleasant it good health for Kholmov ie gnaw at kingh2 a mate

in three pieces coordinate well it remains to be seen whether it is

drawn if ti enforced in came to blows over ne3 depth to plug hole e3

in with rook coming to c6 repetition dote is flipping a script

surplus to requirement bc7 in g4 ok.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight sac opens the way for a two-dimensional back rank mate:

44...♘g4+ 45 ♔g or h1 ♖d1#

or 45 hxg4 ♖h6+ 46 ♔g1 ♖d1#

Jul-31-12  Crispy Seagull: A knight check on g4 assures mate in 2 or 3. If the king retreats to the back rank, Rd1#. If pawn takes, Rh6+ forces the king to the back rank for the same mate.
Jul-31-12  YetAnotherAmateur: <Once> How I'd not get caught be this is noticing that my opponent just left c7 hanging to do something else. So whatever he has in mind is probably worth more than a pawn. Ergo, I shouldn't take the pawn but instead focus on what the knight can do on f6 that it couldn't do on d7.

Hence my second instinct would be 44. Ne3, opening up the attack on c5, stopping Ng4+ and Nd5, and blocking the rook's lines of attacks a bit. Not sure if that's winning, since I didn't have the time to calculate a lot of lines, but it at least doesn't seem like an immediate loss.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Hmm, I'm not so sure. If we always assume that our opponent has a clever idea in mind, we would rarely take advantage of his mistakes. Sure, we should be on our guard if t'other fella offers us a free prawn. But we should at least take a look at it.
Jul-31-12  dragon player: This puzzle is a contains a really nice mate:

45.hxg4 Rh6+
46.Kg1 Rd1#

Time to check.


Yes, white foresaw it and resigned.


Jul-31-12  smitha1: I agree with <YetAnotherAmateur>: Simagin's sense of danger let him down here.

Ancient Greek tragedies often featured a mortal that was excellent in every way. The problem was that their success led to arrogance (hubris is the grand term), which caused them to lose contact with reality, leading to their death. That's why they were called tragedies.

Now observe Simagin: a fighter of the highest order, who had turned many bruising battles into stunning wins. Not quite a chess god like Tal or Petrosian, but still a mortal of note. In this game he had battled resourcefully. The exchange sac had not given him as much as he had hoped, but he had squeezed out every milligram from it. Maybe he could smell the draw he had fought so hard for. It must have been close to the end of the session, and he must have sensed the first signs of adjournment: envelopes being readied, and the buzz of expectation. His opponent must have been showing signs of weariness too. As Kholmov moved the Knight tiredly to f6, Simagin probably said to himself "My pressure is paying off! See my opponent blunder. Now I take this Pawn, I put on some more pressure, I win another Pawn, then I win the game."

In a word, the Russian succumbed to exactly the same fault as Odysseus 3,000 years before: hubris.

What should he have done? Instead of taking the Pawn, he should have pinched himself and asked why his very strong opponent would give away a pawn so easily.

So whenever you think that you are just so clever, look again: you might be joining Odysseus and Simagin as victims of the hubris trap.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Could have been a residual time trouble (when players continue to play blitz-like even after time-control is done).
Jul-31-12  YetAnotherAmateur: <Once> It's not assuming my opponent always has a clever idea in mind, but confirming that he doesn't before taking what appears to be a gift.
Jul-31-12  DarthStapler: Got it easily
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: This is a beautiful little puzzle!

45 hxg4 Rh6+
46 Kg1 Rd1#

Elegant. (Of course White cannot save himself by refusing the knight, either.)

Jul-31-12  Patriot: 44...Ng4+ 45.hxg4 Rh6+ 46.Kg1 Rd1#

It's easy but how about with 2 minutes remaining on the clock? I solved it in 10-15 seconds but that's a long time with only 2 minutes left. The real trick is seeing this stuff while playing real games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: <Once> <Smitha1> <YetAnother Amateur> If you are a strong player I am sure you can develop a selective sense of caution... If you are accustomed to your game falling apart (unexpectedly but predictably) at almost any moment, you smell danger everywhere - and then this sense becomes useless since it either immobilises you or makes you fatalistic (the more common Achilles' Heel of the ancients). Why is he giving me this pawn? Because it is written that he will punish me on move 44, that's why. But what can I do? The gods have decreed it, and I must blunder. Watch my hand... there it has grasped you bishop of betrayal and now you must destroy the pawn of iniquity and I must suffer the knight of ignominy.....
Jul-31-12  master of defence: Why 16.Rxe7? I can´t understand it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: After playing through the game, I think that Simagin believed that Kholmov was simply abandoning the low-value c7-pawn for initiative. This was a game of deep concepts about material-for-structure-and-initiative tradeoffs and the strike against White king really came out of 'nowhere'. I don't think White suspected any danger in his SE sector; but he probably half expected Black to eventually trade back one of the c-pawns in order to soften White long-term pressure...

Well, my -2c-.

Jul-31-12  stst: N sac:
44..... Ng4+
45.hxg4 Rh6+
46.Kg1 Rd1#

If 45.Kh1 or Kg1, Rd1#

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