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Ilia Smirin vs Sam Sloan
World Open (2012), Philadelphia, PA USA, rd 2, Jul-05
King Pawn Game: Damiano Defense (C40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-19-12  scormus: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f6. I wonder if anyone has played 1 e4 f6, and if it's any less bad for B.
Jul-19-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has N+P for a bishop and a safer king position. At first glance, the black king position doesn't look bad, with a pawn shelter guarding the queen-side flank and the active R+B protecting the other side. White's only reasonable forcing move reveals the flaw.

19.Nf7+ leaves black without a good flight square, winning at least the exchange:

A) 19... Kc8 20.Nxd6+ followed by 21.Qxf8(+) wins a rook.

B) 19... Ke8 20.Nxd6+ cxd6 21.Re1+ K moves (Qe5 22.Rxe5+) 22.Qxf8(+) does the same.

C) 19... Ke7 20.Re1+ B(or Q)e5 (20... Kd7 21.Qf5#) 21.Rxe5+ Q(or B)e5 (Kd7 22.Qf5#) 22.Nxe5 Rxf3 23.Nxf3 with a trivially won ending.

D) 19... Kd7 20.Qf5+ Ke8 (Ke7 21.Re1+ Be5 22.Rxe5+ wins the Q) 21.Nxd6+ cxd6 22.Re1+ is similar to B.

E) 19... Rxf7 20.Qxf7 Qxc2 (otherwise black is P+ exchange down) 21.Re1 Kc8 (otherwise 22.Re8#) 22.Re8+ Kb7 23.Qb3+ exchanges down to an easily won ending (R for B).

The mates in C illustrate the power of Q+N operating against a weakened king position. Time for review...

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As to the questions over Smirin's third move, why play the standard recommendation-maybe this much weaker player has something up his sleeve, the more so as he's a known specialist in this line, dubious though it is?
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: It seems so simple once it is played--but I did not see it.
Jul-19-12  hugogomes: e4 e5 nf3 f6?! Bc4! is better. Nxe5 can be met with Qe7 regaining the pawn.
Jul-19-12  James D Flynn: 19.Nf2+ Rxf7(if Ke8 (if Kc8 20.Nxd6+ wins the R on f8 immediately else if Kd7 20.Qf5+ Ke8 21.Nxd6+ cxd6 22.Re1+ again either wins the R or if Qe5 23.Rxe5+ dxe5 with Q for R) 20.Nxd6+ cxd6 21.Re1+ Kd7 22.Qxf8 with a R up winning) 20.Qxf7 Qxc2 21.Re1 Kc8 22.Re8+ Kb7 23.Qb3+ Qxb3 24.axb3 and White is the exchange up with even pawns but the Black h pawn is indefensible and the K side pawns wil march to queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The idea here is that in addition to the rook attacking the queen,the queen is also attacking the rook! All white does is remove the defenders of the rook with checks.
Jul-19-12  M.Hassan: "Medium" White to play 19.?
White is a pawn up and has a Knight for a Bishop.

A) 19..........Ke7
20.Re1+ Be5
21.Rxe5+ Qxe5
22.Nxe5 Rxf3
23.(N or g)xf3
White ends up having a piece+pawn up

B) 19.........Ke8
20.Nxd6+ cxd6
21.Re1+ Kd7
White is at least a Rook up

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a knight and a pawn for a bishop.

Black threatens 19... Rxf3.

The black king remains in the center, a risky position. If the knight takes the bishop with check and king does not protect the rook then White will capture it. These ideas invite to play 19.Nf7+:

A) 19... Kc8 20.Nxd6+ cxd6 21.Qxf8+ + - [R+P].

B) 19... Kd7 20.Qf5+ Ke7(8) 21.Re1+ Be5 22.Rxe5+ wins the queen.

C) 19... Ke7 20.Re1+ Be5 (20... Kd7 21.Qf5#) 21.Rxe5+ Qxe5 (21... Kd7 22.Qf5#) 22.Nxe5 Rxf3 23.gxf3 + - [N+P].

D) 19... Ke8 20.Nxd6+ cxd6 (20... Ke7 21.Re1+ Kxd6 22.Qxf8+) 21.Re1+ Kd7 22.Qxf8, etc.

E) 19... Rxf7 20.Qxf7 Kc8 (due to the menace Qe6) 21.Qg8+ Kb7 (21... Kd7 22.Re1 with multiple threats) 22.Qb3+ simplifying to a won ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: It is not a given fact that <"Damiano's" Defense> is that bad - as the foegoing assumption has been put forward by <PhilFeeley> - , and <3.Nxe5 ...> after <1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6?!> is not a forced win - as it has been claimed by <hedgehOg> - , since Black is not forced to hit back at that daring Knight <3. ... fxe5?> but can retaliate with <3. ... Qe7!> - thank you for pointing out to that, dear <FSR>!, just have one more look at the game Schiffers vs Chigorin, 1897 !

BTW, history is highly unfair, the so-called <"Damiano's" Defense> has wrongly been attributed to Pedro Damiano , please read the Spanish-language version of an interview with <Damiano>'s biographer <Mario Silva Araujo>, herewith the link ; there is a German-language version too, herewith the link: , but no English version.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Sammy in slug it rich in really it walloped by a capri Smirin Sloan smuggles the Damiano once again yet cant expect a serious fight it he in jerky stages too lift in f7+ kingd7 felled in manage it fetch in e8 hale why come to standoff chaps it down d6+ cxd6 and fare no better e1+ seals the deal spot the doggerel i should think square off in finally it hope in relax escry it noose in 4.exd5 remind to say it honour in knighth6 a bumbler fun b2 gets nowhere ignoble defeat a twine the hands of a staple pro duck in f7 round the bend.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I should have separated sublines Ke7 and Ke8 in line B because after 20... Ke8 the obvious 21.Nxd6+ is much simpler than 21.Re1+ Be7 22.Qe6 Qb4 23.Rd1 with a winning attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <scormus: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f6. I wonder if anyone has played 1 e4 f6, and if it's any less bad for B.>

Yes. That would be the Krazy-Kat Defense, or Barnes Defence if you prefer. Hey, it beat Morphy. Morphy vs T W Barnes, 1858 It probably is better than Damiano's. At least Black can play ...e6 (as Barnes did) covering up the a2-g8 diagonal.

<Nightsurfer> I'm well aware of Schiffers vs Chigorin, 1897. Chigorin lost his queen for two minor pieces, but Schiffers blundered and Chigorin should have won an immortal brilliancy. Chigorin had the opportunity on both moves 22 and 23, but missed it and only drew. Black to play and win:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Nightsurfer> And yes, as I previously explained, Damiano <condemned> 2...f6 and analyzed 3.Nxe5! George Walker called the latter move Damiano's Gambit - which makes much more sense than calling 2...f6? Damiano's Defense. As I wrote in Wikipedia:

<Ironically, the opening is named after the Portuguese master Pedro Damiano (14801544), who condemned it as weak. In 1847, Howard Staunton wrote of 2...f6, "This move occurs in the old work of Damiano, who gives some ingenious variations on it. Lopez, and later authors, have hence entitled it 'Damiano's Gambit.' "[6] Staunton's contemporary George Walker instead, more logically, reserved the term "Damiano Gambit" for the knight sacrifice played by White on the third move: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6 3.Nxe5.[7] Staunton referred to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6, a highly respected move then and now, as "Damiano's defence to the K. Kt.'s opening".[8]>

Jul-19-12  LoveThatJoker: <FSR> Starting the count from move '1...', I have come up with the following solution to the problem from the 1897 Schiffers vs Chigorin encounter:

<1...Rh1+! 2. Nxh1 Bh2+!! 3. Kxh2 Rh8+ 4. Kg3>

(4. Kg1 Rxh1#)

<4...Nf5+ 5. Kf4/Kg4 Rh4#>


Jul-19-12  bachbeet: Nf7+ is the best move because it causes too many problems for black. And, white's check with the rook is the killer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <LoveThatJoker> Correct! Chigorin must have kicked himself for missing that one. Just think - that would have been not only a glorious combination, but the greatest victory with Damiano's Defense ever.
Jul-20-12  LoveThatJoker: <FSR> Tremendous combination!

I agree with you that had Chigorin found it and played it OTB, that this game would still be considered one of the all-time greats (especially for Damiano's Defense, indeed).


PS. Thank you for this link that you posted earlier,!

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Here is a good article on Damiano's, taken from that Kenilworthian link (, which really does seem to have just about everything online there is about the opening: <Nightsurfer> - the Chess Cafe article has a good discussion of Schiffers-Chigorin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nightsurfer: Hi <FSR>, thank you so much for your information, very interesting!
Jul-20-12  mrbasso: 3.Nxe5 doesn't deserve an exclamation mark.
Jul-21-12  blazerdoodle: Maybe Smirin thought it would be more fun. Maybe S.Sloan just simply enjoys playing it. It is more fun than a lot of these stodgey safe and boring mind numbing games. Well, I mean, at my level, way down here, off the drop from your perched noses.
Jul-21-12  blazerdoodle: Take that.

Nice analysis. Thanks. The rest of you might laugh your way out of it, but, well, I need it.

Jul-21-12  blazerdoodle: I think I take this way to seriously. *Memethecat: Its a bit like the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, a lot of fun to play, unless your intent on winning.

Excellent statement. I think the reason to play it is to have fun and look for that crazy chance because your opponent just didn't take it seriously.

Bronsteint praised the response ...Nxe5 and said this kind of move made chess fun, at least, in the copy I have.

Jul-31-12  blazerdoodle: The reason he probably played in the World Open is simply, he probably knows a bunch of guys there. Maybe he has friends he wanted to see. It could be because he likes to travel. Maybe he took his family. Maybe he just likes to play chess and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
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