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Israel Albert Horowitz vs Lubomir Kavalek
US Championship (1972), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Apr-23
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Opocensky Variation Traditional Line (B92)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-15-16  Howard: As Soltis relates in his book on the U.S. championship, Horowitz (who died less than a year later) proudly "slammed" a knight down on d5 with 16.Nd5??, and he seemed pleased with himself with that move.

Too bad it was a blunder, which quickly cost him the game.

Sep-15-17  RookFile: Evidently Horowitx thought ...Kh8 was a mistake. I think he didn't see that Kavalek could switch his queen over to g6 at the key moment.
Jan-04-18  BwanaVa: I have read that Horowitz was so pleased with the move, he said to a few folks "Not bad for a patzer!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: BwanaVa: yes, Hochburg related that in his book on the tournament.
Jul-13-20  nezhmet: He also said according to Hochberg, "It's like taking candy from a baby." It's Hall of Fame material to trash talk while committing a horrible blunder.
Jan-22-21  Petrosianic: Well, you can see his basic conception. Lift the QR up to h3, shedding a piece or so in the process. Then Bxf6, Rxf6, and Qxh7 mate. But he didn't see that the Queen covers h7 after Qxc2.

What if it didn't? Let's move Black's Queen from c7 to b8 and check out that position:

click for larger view

Running that through an engine, the eval is about the same as in the actual game (roughly +0.60). That's odd. And the engine recommends 16. Rf3, just as it did in the real game.

Let's try Horowitz's move. 16. Nd5. In that case, 16...Bxd5 is weak, just because it opens up the diagonal for the KB. But not horrible.

16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. exd5 Bd8 18. Bxf6 Nxf6 19. Rxf6 e4 20. Bxe4 Rxe4 21. Qxe4 Bxf6

click for larger view

That's odd. White's advantage, if there is one at all, is minimal. And Black's king is totally safe. This might bear more looking into...

Jan-22-21  Petrosianic: Okay, the reason that last line I gave led to nothing is that White's QR never got into the fray until it was over. Horowitz's conception was to bring the artillery up while Black was busy munching his KB. But Black never did that in my line, instead he played Bd8.

So, let's try it again, with Black being more cooperative this time:

click for larger view

16. Not-Bad-for-a-Patzer Bxd5 17. exd5 e4 18. Rad1 exd3 19. Rxd3

This is more like what Horowitz imagined. He's building up against the King, and Black's Queen can't cover h7 now:

click for larger view

...Qb6+ is good, but we're pretending the Queen is out of action, so find something else.

19...Bd8 20. Rh3

and this is about as close as we're going to get to what Horowitz was shooting for:

click for larger view

Is it good? Does it win? Well, no. 20...Re4 (made possible by Bd8) disrupts the whole attack. Even after all this, White <still> doesn't have time to exchange on f6 and mate on h7. And that's with Black being cooperative, not playing the very best moves, and keeping his Q out of it. A lot of attacks are stopped by monkey-wrench moves like that.

It's odd, it looks like White should have something, what with his space advantage, and open center.

I'd like to know how long Horowitz spent thinking about 16. Nd5.

Jan-22-21  Petrosianic: So, going back to the game position, and conceding that Nd5 is no good, who's better here?

click for larger view

It sure looks like White ought to have something. (More space, open position, Black spent a move on Kh8). At least according to 1940's understanding. If this position occurred in a Fred Reinfeld book, Black would be dead in 6 moves, tops. Problem is, there's just no obvious way to get at Black's King.

16. Rf3 b4, and where's the Knight go? d1 (blocks the Rooks), or a4 (out of play and dim on the rim)?

Alternately 16. Rf3 Ng8 (so that was the point of Kh8). If White's Black Squared Bishop comes off, Black is pretty safe. He can play h6 without worrying about annoying sacrifices there. Meanwhile, White's three other minors are all developed, but aren't really pointed at Black's King very well.

Actually, it looks like Black has equalized, Al just didn't know it.

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Featured in the Following Game Collection[what is this?]
Round 1 (Sunday, April 23)
from US Championship 1972 by Phony Benoni

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