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Yuri L Averbakh vs Oleg L Moiseev
Moscow-ch (1950)
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation General (B83)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-01-12  newzild: This was a very nice puzzle - interesting variations the whole way.

Various folks have mentioned the problem of 22...Qb8. My initial intention was 23. Ba7 Qa8 24. Bf3, but Black can interpose his knight. Better is 23. Rf7, when,as <Phony Benoni> points out, 23...Qd6 loses to 24. Ne4. So Black's best chance in this line is 22. Rd7 Qb8 23. Rf7 Qxe5 24. Qxe5 Bxf7, when White has a queen for rook and knight.

Nov-01-12  newzild: ... hmm. I just checked with Rybka and in fact 22. Rd7 Qb8 23. Ba7 is extremely nasty for Black because after 23...Qa8 24. Bf3 Nc6 25. Bxc6 Rxc6 26. Rf7! is killing. If Black tries 24...Nd5 instead then simply 25. Nxd5 exd5 26. Bxd5 wins.
Nov-01-12  Abdel Irada: <A drop in the ocean<<<>>>>

On this Dia do los Muertos, perhaps it is natural that our thoughts should tend toward offering a pig to propitiate the souls of the restless dead. In that spirit, we play the key sacrifice:

<22. Rd7!...<>>

Here we have an offer that Black can't *not* refuse, for his king will take his place in the underworld after 22. ...Bxd7??; 23. Nf7#.

This leaves a choice: Let the queen run away to either of two available retreat squares, hoping to fight another day, or give her up on the spot. It is my contention that the latter choice may be the more prudent.

<(1) 22. ...Qa5
23. Rf7!...>

This second rook offer presents Black with a dilemma, for it attacks an undefended bishop on f8 which can't move thanks to the mate threat on g7. Of course the rook is still immune, so this means a choice between moving the other bishop and taking his chances on a counterattack.

<(1.1) 23. ...Bc6/Bb5
24. Rxg7! >

Now Black is in real trouble. White threatens mate with 25. Rg8 and 25. Nf7, and although the second player can delay his doom, he cannot avoid it.

<(1.2) 23. ...Qa1†
24. Bg1, Bb5/Bc6
25. Rxg7, Nh6
26. Rg8†!, Nxg8
27. Nf7#>

Black can also give up the queen with 23. ...Qxe5, but this merely transposes to a position similar to but slightly weaker than that in variation (3) below.

<(2) 22. ...Qb8>

This offers more defensive options than line (1), but still seems insufficient.

<23. Rf7!...>

Black's dilemma revisited: Again, he can give up the queen on e5 to defuse the attack, although more disadvantageously than in line (3), or he can try to hold onto material parity as follows.

<(2.1) 23. ...Qd6
24. Ne4 >

Here Black has no reasonable alternative to sacrificing the queen on e5. He can consider 24. ...Qd5, but after 25. Bf3, Bc6/Bb5/Ba4; 26. Rxg7! his position implodes.

After the queen sac, on the other hand, he has only a slight material deficit, although after 24. ...Qxe5; 25. Qxe5, Bxf7; 26. Ng5 White has enough threats to retain a definite advantage.

<(2.2) 23. ...Bc6/Bb5
24. Rxg7! >

After this thematic double mate threat, there is no defense. And here even offering the queen does no good, for White will ignore her and mate on g8.

This returns us to what appears the most credible defense.

<(3) 22. ...Qxe5
23. Qxe5, Bxd7 <>>

White is left with a queen for a rook and knight, a nominal material advantage. But Black threatens to win a pawn on c2 (although White may be able to pick off the one on a6 in return), and I see no way for the first player to ice the game. At best, Averbakh can look forward to an eventual victory by attrition.

I would hesitate to call this a spoiler because White can make *some* progress, but it is hardly a path to conclusive victory.

Nov-01-12  Abdel Irada: I see Moiseev preferred to sac the queen on d7 rather than e5, but the difference between this and my variation (3) is essentially academic: Here the white queen is on g3 rather than e5.

In either case, it seems to me that the win for White was far from forced. Moiseev's later blunder cost him another piece, but had he not committed this mistake, the game might well have been drawn. (Even the final position is not an *easy* win. Black could still have tried to construct a fortress and hold out for some time, although he would almost certainly have succumbed to a long siege.)

Nov-01-12  Abdel Irada: <On this Dia do los Muertos....>

This should, of course, be "Dia <de> los Muertos."

Nov-01-12  Alphastar: <Phony Benoni: It occurs to me that <22.Rd7 Qb8 23.Rf7 Qd6 24.Ne4> is decisive, since the Bf8 can no longer be protected.>

Dat position :-)

Nov-01-12  morfishine: An intriguing position that caused me to sift through 22.Bh5 & 22.Rd4 before hitting on the right idea with <22.Rd7>. In fact, 22.Bh5 led me to 22.Rd7: Since 22.Bh5 aims to get the White rook to the 7th rank after 22...Bxh5 23.Rd7, lets just place the rook there straight away. (22...Bxd7 is impossible due to 23.Nf7 mate)

<22.Rd7> Disregarding Black giving up the Queen with 22...Qxd7 23.Nxd7 Bxd7, Black has two choices: 22...Qa5 & 22...Qb8

(1) <22...Qa5 23.Rf7> Threatens 24.Rxf8 while setting a little trap: If 23...Qa1+ 24.Rf1 Qxb2 25.Rxf8 Qxc3 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Nf7 mate; Per the above, 23...Bxf7 is answered by 24.Nf7 mate.

A very difficult move for Black <23>: If the DSB moves, then 24.Qxg7 mate; and if the WSB moves, then 24.Rxg7 (clearing <f7>) 24...Bxg7 25.Nf7 mate or 24...Nf6 25.Rg8+ Nxg8 26.Nf7 mate

(2) <22...Qb8 23.Rf7> with the same threats as (1)


Wow, Black decided to avoid all that and give up the Queen for two pieces; Admittedly, some very interesting jousting resulted

Nov-01-12  gars: Well, I thought about 22) Rd7 but did not see the checkmate after 22)... Bxd7. A clear case of "amaurosis scacchistica", if <infohunter> lets me use a Latin phrase. Shame on me!
Nov-01-12  David2009: Averbakh vs O Moiseev, 1950 White 22? 22.Rd7 gets Black's attention: 22...Qb8 (other Queen retreats are possible but ot Bxd7?? 23.Nf7#) 23.Rf7 GOOT! seeing 23...Bf8 moves Qxg8# or 23...Be8 moves e.g 23...Bb5 24.Rxg7 seeing Bxg7 25. Nf7#. Time to check:

click for larger view

Surrendering the Queen after 22.Rd7 is an excellent pragmatic decision by Black. Crafty End Game Trainer approves (link: but defends differently as Black (24...Nf6 instead of 24...Ne7). I leave to chess enthusiasts the task of finishing the robot off - without silicon help if they can.

Nov-01-12  zb2cr: Found the key move 22. Rd7. Lacked the time to follow up all the way. Half-credit for me.
Nov-01-12  fokers13: Got it fast,and weirdly enough only looked at Qxd7 as an answer where i assumed white to be winning due to his slight material advantage and black's awkward piece placement,which proved to be the case.
Nov-01-12  David2009: Averbakh vs O Moiseev, 1950 postscript: How does Crafty End Game Trainer defend against the alternative line 22.Rd7 Qb8

click for larger view

23.Rf7 ? Time to find out (link: No surprises: the robot once again continues 23...Qxe4, the defence pointed out earlier by <newzild> and <Abdel Irada>.

<Phony Benoni: It occurs to me that <22.Rd7 Qb8 23.Rf7 Qd6 24.Ne4> is decisive, since the f8 can no longer be protected.> Here's a further link to this position ( naturally, the EGT once again responds 24...Qxe5.

These variations should in theory be becoming progressively easier to win as White and I had a quick go at the last one. I rapidly gained two Pawns only to have to disgorge one, then miscalculated to draw. I am sure you will all do better: enjoy exploring the various variations!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: My move was Rd8,but it wasn't forceful enough.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Tin feed hi meld rookd7 to elevate each in blood brother c7 can

retreat to b8 in go ring for queen takes in freedom knight enact in

f7 good to cut off lines of communication as king stuck in h8

alleviate pressure by bishop ellucidate in first rookd7 again queen

take d7 knight bombing along in low d7 rush to get 23.Bxd7 and the

rest is childsplay queen do the time warp in b8 all cases closed in

success the perp. 23.rookf7 in sussed black has to give up his queen

or suffer the indignity of getting mated after d6 ne4! find no

recompense in going mind also in weave the threads together it i

shunt rook probings event heave now in manage face, the music free

clop-ne5 to d7 at choose queens knees up c7 capture e8 capture in

what again it you in think, of tempt b8 in chance again for dim view light will add penitance for k q b r it amounts to much in look

again very it is debatable in snatch rook devious counter-play in

might it drum up five versus four tenant it knightg8 in grateful in

empty it dogger in peeve flank it defence in clink again exclaim

ford7! river flows from myth queend7 ensconce lower in e5 green

gauge in bishope8 terminal decline tail set to wag queen forged a

path in rounding o supplicate bishop to queen.

Nov-01-12  gofer: The first was easy to see, the second was tricky,
the final blow even more so...

So am I close?

<22 Rd7 ...>

22 ... Qb8 starts a queen hunt with 23 Ba7, so is not an option!

<22 ... Qa5>
<23 Rf7! ...>

The rook is still immune, but black can now cause problems on white's back rank!

<24 ... Qa1+>
<25 Nd1 ...>

Finally the <GOOT> is in place. White threatens Rxf8.

Ng8 moving loses.
Bf8 moving loses.

But what is really nice is that white is also threatening...

26 Ng6+ hxg6
27 Qh4+ Nh6
28 Rxf8+ Kh7
29 Bxh6 gxh6
30 Qe7+ mating!

So Be8 really must move!

<25 ... Bb5>
<26 Rxg7! ...>

Black has forgotten why Be8 HAD to stay on e8! Game over!


Okay, so black "sensibly" didn't go for Qa5 or Qb8! But perhaps I should have seen that earlier! It took <Crafty EGT> only seconds!

Nov-01-12  stst: Just put out an alternative route other than the obvious 22. Rd7, even though it looks clumsy: 22.Rf1 h6
23.Bxh6 NxB
24.Rxf8+ Kh7
25.Bd3+ NxB
26.QxN+ Bg6
see how it actually goes....
Nov-01-12  stst: Yeah, it's not beyond my guess, 22.Rd7 is the nuisance move for Black, and Q takes, N takes Q, then go for the long wind...
Nov-01-12  morfishine: <stst> Why not an immediate <23.Rxf8> instead of <23.Bxh6>?

If White Plays <22.Rf1>, shouldn't Black at least try <22...Nf6> or <22...Bd6> or <22...Bc5> or <22...Be7> or <22....Qe7> instead of leaving his Bishop hanging on <f8> after 22...h6?

It seems 22.Rf1 h6 23.Rxf8 is totally lost for Black

...Just wondering

Nov-01-12  rudiment: Saw that Rd7 would give Black headaches but didn't see anything resembling the game continuation. What'll we call that, a half? A third?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Just a couple of quick observations...

White also has 23 Bf4 after 22...Qb8.

click for larger view

And in the text, black cannot play 24...Nxc2 after 24 Bf4 because of 25 Qd3!

click for larger view

Nov-01-12  Marmot PFL: Black was asking for it here with moves like 17...Ng8 ( 18 fe Nfd5) and 19...Be8 (19...Nf6). Playing an active opening then switching to a passive middlegame is not in the spirit of the Sicilian.
Nov-01-12  francis2012: I looking for a check because Black's ♔ is in the corner which is easily to attack ♘g6+? and ♘f7+? are my candidates here but after analysing it, It was a losing move until I found the key move, an awesome ♖ sac ♖d7! Δ ♖f7 that get Black's attention.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens Nxc2.

The black king can't move. This suggests 22.Rd7 to block the black queen and to divert the bishop on e8:

A) 22... Bxd7 23.Nf7#.

B) 22... Qa5 23.Rf7

B.1) 23... Bb5 24.Txg7 Qa1+ 25.Bd1 and mate soon.

B.2) 23... Qxe5 24.Qxe5 Bxf7 25.Ne4 + - [Q vs R+N], and attack. For example, 25... Rxc2 26.Ng5 Bg6 27.Bd1 Rc8 28.Nxe6 Nf6 29.Nxf8 Rxf8 30.Qxd6 and White looks winning.

B.3) 23... Bd6 24.Qxg7#.

C) 22... Qb8 23.Rf7 looks similar to B.

D) 22... Qxd7 23.Nxd7 Bxd7 24.h4 + - [Q vs R+N], and attack.

Nov-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <22. Rd7 Qa5>

(22...Qb8 23. Ba7 Qa8 24. Bf3 ; 22...Qxe5 23. Qxe5 ; 22...Qxd7 23. Nxd7 ; 22...Bxd7?? 23. Nf7#)

<23. Rf7! Bc6>

(23...Qa1+ 24. Rf1 Qxb2 25. Rxf8 Qxc3 26. Rxe8 ; 23...Ba4 is also possible for Black, but 23...Bc6 looks soundest)

<24. Rxg7!> 1-0

For example,

a) 24...Bxg7 25. Nf7#

b) 24...Qxe5 25. Rxg8#

C) 24...Ne7 25. Nf7#

D) 24...Nh6 25. Bxh6

E) 24...Qa1+ 25. Nd1 and all of White's threats are still alive, therefore Black must resign.


Nov-01-12  TheBish: Averbakh vs O Moiseev, 1950

White to play (22.?) "Medium", even material.

22. Rd7! brings another powerful weapon into the attack.

After 22...Qa5 (not 22...Bxd7? 23. Nf7#) 23. Rf7! attacks the Bf8 and the rook is still immune from capture. Naturally, the bishop on f8 can't move (23...Bc5 24. Qxg7#). If 23...Bb5 24. Rxg7! threatening both 25. Rxg8# and 25. Nf7#, and Black can't meet both threats.

If instead 22...Qb8, White has 23. Rf7 Qd6 (or 23...Bb5 24. Rxg7, again winning) 24. Rxg7!, taking advantage of the overworked Bf8 -- if 24...Bxg7 25. Nf7+ Bxf7 26. Qxd6 wins the queen.

Probably Black's best is (after 22. Rd7!) 22...Qxd7 23. Nxd7 Bxd7, with only a slight material gain for White, but Black's pieces will be no match for the strength of the queen. For example 24. Qh4 Nxc2?? 25. Bd3 wins the knight on c2 because of the mate threat. I'm curious to see how this ends...

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