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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Sandro Mareco
Tradewise Gibraltar (2014), Catalan Bay GIB, rd 5, Feb-01
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B47)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-15-15  ozu: <morfishine> first two moves as well
Feb-15-15  waustad: Ditto.
Feb-15-15  wooden nickel: <"He who says he knows chess doesn't understand nothing." -Huebner> ... that's how I feel after seeing 15.Nf5! I wonder if it was a home prepared variation!? ... somehow it seems to work! For those of us that don't understand nothing, maybe 27.Qd4 (also 27.Qxd6) Rg8 28.Qg7 Rf8 29.Rxd6 looks interesting for White!

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The moves I went for were 27.Qxd6 Qc7 28.Qxc7 Rxc7 29.fxg6 hxg6, and white has 2 pawns for a knight. Black still has to prove the win, which'll probably take at least 20 moves or so. Nothing complicated.
Feb-15-15  lost in space: <<morfishine>:<27.Qd4> 27..Rf8 followed by <28.Qg7>

The idea <27.Qc3> then 28.Qc6+ escaped me>

Here the same.

Feb-15-15  HaydenB: YAWNzzzzz I saw Qc3 in 3 seconds and the follow up in 1 second; i'm an 1800 armchair player at best. I liked Aronians Insane endgame problem from last summer a lot better, you didnt see the point for at least 8 moves....
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: White is a rook down for nine pawns and a double crotchet. Black has a finagled extra tempo. Castling is no longer possible for either side. This suggests fxg7 Qxe6 g7 and g7xh8=N#.

Time to check.

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

Black threatens 27... Nc4 followed by 28... Qe3+.

Black has a number of weak spots, c6, d6, a1-h8, etc. White can try to exploit them with 27.Qc3:

A) 27... Rg8 28.Qc6+ (28.Qg7 looks risky, for example 28... Rf8 29.Qxh7 Nc4 30.Qg7 Qe3+ 31.Kb1 Re5 32.Rd3 (32.fxe5 Qc3) 32... Qe1+ 33.Rd1 Qc3)

A.1) 28... Nd7 29.Qc8#.

A.2) 28... Qd7 29.Qxb6 with an extra pawn and many threats (29.Qxa6, 29.Rxd6, 29.Rhe1, etc.).

A.3) 28... Rd7 29.Rxd6 looks very for White. For example, 29... Nc4 30.Qc8+ Ke7 31.Rxd7+ Qxd7 32.Re1+ Kd6 33.Qc5#.

A.4) 28... Kf8 29.Rxd6 Nd7 (29... Rb7 30.Rd8+ Ke7 31.Qd6#) 30.Qc8+ Re8 31.Qxd7 Qa8 (31... Qe3+ 32.Kb1 Qxf4 33.Qxe8+ Kxe8 34.Re1+ and mate in two) 31... Qa8 32.Rhd1 with an overwhelming position.

A.5) 28... Kd8 29.Rxd6+ Nd7 (29... Rd7 30.Qxb6+ with a winning ending) 30.Rhd1 f6 (else 31.f6 winning) 31.Qd5 Rf8 (else 32.gxf6 winning) 32.fxg6 hxg7 (else 33.g7) 33.f5 looks winning (33... Qe3+ 34.Kb1 Qxg5 35.Rxd7+ wins; 33... gxf5 34.g6 followed by g7, etc.).

B) 27... Rf8 28.Qc6+ as in A.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I preferred 30.Rhd1 in my A.5 line instead of 30.f6 because for some reason I didn't like to trade the rooks after 30... Re6 but missed the evident 30... gxf5, which more or less equalizes.

Better luck next time. I hope.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: There is more puzzle after 34...Qc7. (With a beautiful move 39 in one variation).

click for larger view

White to play and win.

Feb-15-15  Nick46: <wooden nickel: <"He who says he knows chess doesn't understand nothing." -Huebner> ...> You say I no damn nothing! Ha, I know damn all !
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Here's a look at the game and today's Sunday puzzle position (27. ?) with Fritz 12 and the Opening Explorer:

<5...Qc7> This is by far the most popular move in the Opening Explorer, but the results of this game suggest it may not be the best try here.

Instead, perhaps Black might be better off with 5...a3 as in Kasparov vs Anand, 2000 and W So vs Ivanchuk, 2014.

<9. Ngb5!> This is a new move in the Opening Explorer, which creates tremendous complications and gives White a strong initiative. As such, it might just be a serious challenge to the popularity of the 5...Qc7 line in the Taimanov Sicilian.

<10...Nd7!?> You'd think the second move of a piece in the first ten moves of the opening can't be good for Black, especially with the aggressive posting of White's pieces.

However, it's hard to find a good alternative. The computer initially suggests 10...a3.

But after 10... a6 11. Nd4 e5 12. Nf5 Bxf5 13. gxf5 O-O 14. Qd2 b5 15. O-O-O b4 16. Nd5 Nxd5 (16... Nxe4 17. Qd3 Nf6 18. Rhg1 Qb5 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 20. Qxd6 Qxe2) 17. Qxd5 exf4 18. Bxf4 Qb6 19. Rhg1 (+1.21 @ 20 depth) White has a strong attack and Black's prospects aren't pleasant.

<15. Nf5!?> This sacrifice works out well for White, but it wasn't essential. After simply 15. Qd2 , 15. h6 or 15. a3 White has a small but comfortable advantage.

<18...Nxe3!> Not 18...Nxb2?? 19. Qb1! .

<20. Qd2!> Not 20. Bxa8?? Qxe3+ .

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <21...Qa7> Perhaps Black's last best chance to survive and equalize is with the surprise move 21...Ne5! (diagram below):

click for larger view

From here (after 21...Ne5!) Fritz 12 indicates play might go 22. Bd5 (not 22. fxe5?? Qxe5 ; not 22. bxc5?? Nxf3+ ) 22... Qa7 23. h6 gxh6 24. fxe5 Bxg5 25. Bc6+ Bd7 26. Bxd7+ Qxd7 27. exd6 Kd8 28. O-O-O Re8 29. Rh3 Rc8 30. Qd4 Qc6 31. Rd2 Re4 32. Qa7 Rg4! 33. Rhh2 Rg1+ 34. Rd1 Rxd1+ 35. Kxd1 Qf3+ 36. Re2 Rc6 37. Qb8+ Kd7 38. Qa7+ Kxd6 39. Qd4+ Kc7 40. Qa7+ Kc8 41. Qa8+ Kd7 42. Qb7+ Kd6 43. Qxf7 Bxe3 44. Qe6+ Kc7 45. Qxe3 Qxe3 46. Rxe3 Rf6 =.

<22. 0-0-0> Strongest and best. Black is now struggling to find drawing chances.

<22...Bb7 23. Bxb7 Rxb7 24. h6 g6 25. Nd5 Nb6 26. Nxe7!>

This wins, but also strong is 26. Nxb6! Qxb6 27. Qc3 Rf8 28. Qc8+ Bd8 29. Rhe1+ .

<27. Qc3!> This winning move, which solves today's Sunday puzzle, is a follow-up to the combination begun a move earlier with 26. Nxe7!

<27...Rg8 28. Qc6+! Kd8>

If 28... Kf8, then 29. Qxd6 Qc7 30. Qxc7 Rxc7 31. Rd8+ Ke7 32. Rxg8 .

If 28... Rd7, then 29. Rxd6! wins, as play might continue 29...Kd8 30. Qxb6+ Qxb6 31. Rxb6 Kc7 32. Rxa6 Kb7 33. Rf6 Rc7 34. Rd1 Rgc8 35. Kb1 Ka8 36. Ra6+ Kb7 37. Rdd6 Rb8 38. Rab6+ Ka8 39. Rxb8+ Kxb8 40. Rd8+ Ka7 41. Rh8 f6 42. Rxh7 Rxh7 43. fxg6 Rh8 44. g7 Rg8 45. h7 Rxg7 46. h8=Q .

<29. Rxd6+ Nd7>

If 29... Rd7, then 30. Qxb6+ Qxb6 31. Rxb6 Kc7 32. Rxa6 Kb7 33. Rf6 .

<30. f6! Re6 31. Rxe6 fxe6 32. Rd1 Qc7 33. Qxa6 Qxf4+ 34. Rd2 Qf1+ 35. Kb2 Qc4 36. Qd6! Qc7 37. f7 1-0>

Black resigns in lieu of 37...Rh8 38. f8=Q+ Rxf8 39. Qxf8+ Kc7 40. Qd6+ Kd8 41. Rd3 Qb7 42. Qxe6 Qc7 43. Qg8+ Ke7 44. Qxh7+ Kd8 45. Qg7 Qa7 46. h7 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: I saw three candidates: Qxd6, fxg6,and Qd4. They each have winning chances and gain back a piece plus promote a Queen...per Houdini. I did not see Qc3/Qc6. The Black Queen getting counter play bothered me a bit but the Rook parry is nice and the ultimate push of the f pawn is the nice finish. I guess that is why I am a lower rated player, I did not see the sharper line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence> From your diagram, after 34...Qc7, Fritz 12 gives 35. Qxb5! when play might continue 35...Rh8 36. c4 e5 37. c5 Kc8 38. Qa6+ Kb8 39. Rd5! e4 40. Kb1 Nf8 41. c6 Qa7 42. Rb5+ Ka8 43. Qc8+ Qb8 44. Qxb8#.
Feb-15-15  dfcx: 27.Qc3 is really interesting, attacking h8 and c6, and opening up the d file for rook. 27...Rg8
28.Qc6+ Kd8 29.Rxd6+ Nd7 (Rd7? Qxb6) 30.f6 Re6 31.Rxe6 fxe6 32.Rd1 and white will play f7 soon and black lacks good defense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <patzer2> <From your diagram, after 34...Qc7, Fritz 12 gives 35. Qxb5! when play might continue 35...Rh8 36. c4 e5 37. c5 Kc8 38. Qa6+ Kb8 39. Rd5! e4 40. Kb1 Nf8 41. c6 Qa7 42. Rb5+ Ka8 43. Qc8+ Qb8 44. Qxb8#.>

That works, but what works better after 34...Qc7 is 35 f7.

click for larger view

Play could continue 35...Rf8 36 Qxe6 (with threat of Qf6+) Kc8 37 Qe7 (with threat of Rxd7) Rd8.

White now wins beautifully with 39 Rd5! (with threat of 40 Rc5.)

click for larger view

Black is in some kind of zugzwang, is he not?

Feb-15-15  houtenton: <Cheapo by the Dozen> I agree on your idea of 27 Qxd6; it was my first idea too.

27 Qxd6 Qd7?
28 Qxb6 with an fatal attack on the black Q.
So the only answer seems to be Nd7. White can possibly continue with 29 The1. Without having the time to control it, it looks also an easy way to win the game for white.

Feb-15-15  nalinw: Like many others I also thought that 27.Qd4 Rg8 followed by

28. Qg7 Rf8
29. f6

wins as Black is forced to give up a Rook for the queening h pawn. Note that the King cannot leave e1 without leaving the f8 Rook unguarded.

Black can counter attack with Nc5 etc. but it seems that a timely Rhe1 will delay the attack.

However what if Black plays an immediate

27.... Rf8?


28. Qg7 f6 - before White does it

spoils everything :-(

So it seems 27 ... Rg8 was not so accurate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence> Nice find but after 34... Qc7 35. f7! Rf8 36. Qxe6 Kc8 37. Qe7 Rd8 38. Rd5! (diagram below)

click for larger view

38...Qf4+ 39. Kb2 Qc7 (diagram below)

click for larger view

The try 40. Rc5?? would now be a mistake due to 40...Nxc5 41. f8=Q Na4+! 42. Kc1 Rxf8 43. Qxf8+ Qd8 .

Instead, White wins with 40. Rd3! Kb7 41. Rxd7 Rxd7 42. Qe4+ Qc6 43. Qxc6+ Kxc6 44. f8=Q .

Feb-15-15  wooden nickel: There's a video on this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <wooden nickel> Thanks! Only part of the video played, but got enough to appreciate Joel Benjamin's recommendation that the alternative 7...a6 is better than 5...a6. Seems after 5...a6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Bd3 White has the better pawn structure and the lone pawn on a6 is potentially weak. Point of 5...Qc7 is that the Queen can capture after 6. Nxc6 and avoid the weakness.
Feb-15-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: Qc3 was the last thing I thought of, but by then I'd concluded this was another Sunday problem I wouldn't solve, and didn't stick with it long enough to see Qc6+
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <patzer2> <Nice find but after 34... Qc7 35. f7! Rf8 36. Qxe6 Kc8 37. Qe7 Rd8 38. Rd5! 38...Qf4+ 39. Kb2 Qc7 9. Kb2 Qc7 The try 40. Rc5?? would now be a mistake due to 40...Nxc5 41. f8=Q Na4+! 42. Kc1 Rxf8 43. Qxf8+ Qd8 .

Instead, White wins with 40. Rd3! Kb7 41. Rxd7 Rxd7 42. Qe4+ Qc6 43. Qxc6+ Kxc6 44. f8=Q .>

You have reaffirmed the validity of 38 Rd5. Playing 38...Qf4+ changes nothing.

After 39. Kb2 Qc7 white moves his rook to another position on the d file, supported now by a different piece on the c file. The white king now fills the role of the b4 pawn. (The position after 40 Rd3 is below).

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jimfromprovidence><You have reaffirmed the validity of 38 Rd5. Playing 38...Qf4+ changes nothing> I agree 38. Rd5! is valid and winning.

However, 38...Qf4+ 39. Kb2 Qc7 does change one thing. After 38...Qf4+ 39. Kb2 Qc7, it renders the <threat of 40. Rc5> a losing proposition (i.e. 38...Qf4+ 39. Kb2 Qc7 40. Rc5?? Nxc5 ) and necessitates a different plan (e.g. 40. Rd3! ).

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