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Karel Opocensky vs Ludek Pachman
"Checkmate in Prague" (game of the day Jan-16-2021)
Prague (1945), rd 3
Catalan Opening: General (E00)  ·  1-0



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sac: 15.Bxh6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
May-11-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: Decent Monday puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: For those who may not know:: <Checkmate in Prague> was the title of Pachman's story of his life as a political dissident in Czechoslovakia, which included imprisonment and torture.
Jan-16-21  CRAZYGOD: Thanks for info Phony Benoni
Jan-16-21  Brenin: Black was doomed after accepting the sacrificed B with 15 ... gxh6, though it is hard to see a safe way of declining (15 ... f5?). Maybe 14 ... Nd5 and 15 ... f6 was the best way to defend the K-side, instead of tempting fate with 14 ... h6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 14...h6 was a suicide. But black position seems to be quite uncomfortable anyway, so to look for improvements is necessary earlier. I don't like 9...Bxc3 (why not just simply 9...Nc6?) and also taking of the Pawn 13...Nxc3 could have been more reasonable, though I see that then white can force draw by repetition after 13...Nxc3 14.Qc2 b5 15.Bf1 Qc5 16.Be3 Qa3 17.Bc1 Qc5 18.Be3 etc., which was probably the reason why Pachman avoided it. 13...f6 was a possibility too. Instead of 14...h6 black should have played rather 14...Nd5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: For better understanding of this game it is useful to note that in 1945 Ludek Pachman was already a rising chess star despite of his youth (not yet 21), and arguably the best Czech player along with Jan Foltys, while Karel Opocensky was then nearly 53, and even at his peak in 1920s and 1930s he was never seen as the best Czech or Czechoslovak player despite of being a four-time champion of the country, as there were always some stronger or internationally more successful contemporaries around like Richard Reti or Karel Treybal, and later Salo Flohr or Jan Foltys. Their only game before this one was won by young Pachman (see Opocensky vs Pachman, 1943). So Pachman was a slight favorite in this encounter, and was not playing for draw but here he got a lesson that old lion can still bite. And yet another lesson followed in the 8th round, as this was a double-round robin tournament. (see Pachman vs Opocensky, 1945)
Jan-16-21  Ironmanth: Swift and murderous end. Interestingly, Ludek Pachman's name arises in the biography of Emil Zatopek, "Today We Die a Little, the Greatest Runner of All Time", a great read, by Richard Askwith. Y'all stay safe out there, today!
Jan-16-21  Brenin: Thanks, <Ironmanth>, for that Pachman-Zatopek connection. They were my lifelong Czech heroes. In the late 1960s I learned my openings from Pachman's series, when the skeletal MCO was the only English-language alternative. Zatopek, after his 1952 Olympic triple gold, was my running hero, and a highlight of my athletics career was shaking his hand to receive a prize in the Bruges 25K.
Jan-16-21  RandomVisitor: After 11.Re1 black is ok

click for larger view


<60/74 1:42:52 0.00 11...h6> 12.Bc1 d6 13.Ba3 Rd8 14.Rb1 Qa6 15.Qb3 Nc7 16.c4 Nc6 17.Nb5 Ne8 18.Red1 e5 19.Nxd6 Be6 20.Nxb7 Bxc4 21.Rxd8 Rxd8

Later, 13...Nxc3 could be tried,

click for larger view

but after 14.Qc2 b5 15.Bf1 Qc5 16.Be3 Qa3 17.Bc1 Qc5 18.Be3 black saves the piece at the cost of repeating the position...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Stockfish agree with Honza that 14 h6 opened the door, but maybe isn't completely lost.

Best is:

1) +0.49 (24 ply) 14...Nd5 15.Rc1 f6 16.exf6 Nxf6 17.Qd2 Rf7 18.Re2 Bd7 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Re4 Qc5 21.Rb1 f5 22.Rd4 Be8 23.Rd6 e5 24.Bh3 Kh8 25.Rd8 Rxd8 26.Qxd8 Rf8 27.Rxb7 Qxc3 28.Rxa7

After h6:

1) +1.38 (26 ply) 15.Bxh6 f5 16.Bd2 Qa4 17.Qh5 Bd7 18.Qg6 Qg4 19.Qxg4 fxg4 20.Re4 Be8 21.Rxg4 Bh5 22.Rb4 Rad8 23.Be3 Nd5 24.Rxb7 Nxe3 25.fxe3 Rd3 26.Rxa7 Rxc3 27.a4 c5 28.a5 Rxe3

As Brenin said, 15 f5 would have kept him in the game although in trouble, but gxh6 was outright lost:

1) +1.06 (26 ply) 15...f5 16.Bg5 Bd7 17.Qb3 Be8 18.Red1 Bh5 19.Rd4 Qxb3 20.axb3 a5 21.h3 Nd5 22.Rc1 Nb6 23.Rd6 a4 24.bxa4 Bf7 25.Rb1 Nc4 26.Rxb7 Rxa4 27.Be7 Rc8 28.Rxc6 Ra1+ 29.Kh2 Rxc6 30.Rb8+ Kh7 31.Bxc6

2) +4.18 (26 ply) 15...gxh6 16.Re4 f5 17.Rxc4 Nxc4 18.Qd4 Nb6 19.a4 Rf7 20.Bf3 Kh7 21.c4 Nd7 22.a5 Nf8 23.a6 Rd7 24.Qh4 Ng6 25.Qf6 Rb8 26.axb7 Rbxb7 27.Bxc6 Rf7 28.Bxb7 Rxf6 29.exf6 Bxb7 30.Rxa7 Ne5 31.Rxb7+ Kg6 32.f7 Nxf7 33.c5

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: After 15...f5 white is not forced to retreat with Bishop. 16.exf6 e.p.! gxh6 17.Qh5! (immediate 17.Re4 allows Qc5 and black still has some defense) 17....Rxf6 (what else?) 18.Re4 Qxc3 19.Qe8+! Kh7 (or 19...Rf8 20.Rg4+ +-) 20.Rg4!! (diagram) and black cannot prevent a mate.

click for larger view

For example, 20...Qxa1+ 21.Bf1 Bd7 22.Qe7+ Rf7 23.Qxf7+ Kh8 24.Qg6 with Qxh6# coming next.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: As usual Honza is correct! (Btw Honza, just want to say how much I appreciate your posts!)

After 15 f5 15 gxf6 the computer gives:

1) +2.75 (27 ply) 16...Rxf6 17.Bg5 Rf5 18.Be4 Bd7 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Re7 Be6 21.Be3 Bf7 22.Qd4 Qe2 23.Rxb7 Re8 24.Rc1 c5 25.Qf4 Nc4 26.Rb8 Rxb8 27.Qxb8+ Kh7 28.Qf4 Nxe3 29.Qxe3 Qxa2 30.Qxc5 Bd5 31.Re1 Be4 32.c4 Kg8 33.Qc8+ Kh7 34.Qe6

If instead black plays 16 gxf6, as Honza said, mate will occur in 8 moves or less.

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