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Veselin Topalov vs Wesley So
London Chess Classic (2016), London ENG, rd 6, Dec-15
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Giuoco Pianissimo (C53)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-13-18  leRevenant: To top it off, it wasn't so easy.
Aug-13-18  erimiro1: A new "very easy" level :-). 19.-f5 looked almost obvious, and the idea of pressing the B on g3 seemed natural, the rest was less simple to calculate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: <Penguincw: (do people still come here)>. I do and I am left handed although I would not appear in the same sentence as "competitive chess" (except this one). <lost in space: Goodbye> My view would be we should give <CG> time and space to develop their pieces. Meanwhile the randomness is quite exciting.
Aug-13-18  et1: Hello Penguincw: I am a leftie and I do not know of any lefhander who is really a top chess player. May be chess lacks imagination and creativity and we need it. Enjoy the day.
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  malt: Hi Southpaw, got the puzzle, nice one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: Monday, and no less than 5 Q-sacs available! This is the "Easy" thing - it is easy - very! - see that they are not exactly smashing.

What then? Black has very few moves that "does" anything at all. 19.-,f5 forces 20.exf and after -,Nxf6 a lot of things are clearly to happen, with -,Nh5 or -,Rf7 being worth considering. But I stopped thinking, as "I must have missed something simpler, Mondays can't be that complicated". Well, they can!

Thanks to Comier and Patzer2 for the interesting analysis. So, 14.-,g4 was weak, eh? But that move essentially won the game rapidly.

That's chess. A game of luck, but you have the power to greatly influence the odds along the way.

Aug-13-18  stacase: <Penguincw: ... Here's a Monday puzzle. White to move>

Bishop takes h7 check .... Knight takes f7 check forking Black's King and Queen.

Thanks for a nice & easy Monday Queen Sac.

Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: Put up a Sunday puzzle, I don't think anyone attempted it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  transpose: Such an easy puzzle for a Monday morning. I shall now take up checkers. I think I remember how to play that game.
Aug-13-18  Walter Glattke: No sac, 1.Bxh7+ Kh8 2.Nf7#
Aug-13-18  Akabara: This was a very enjoyable puzzle!

White's black squares are super weak, that's the key thing in that position. There is some space advantage, and it's almost Zugswang for white, it's worth noticing in a puzzle.

The appealing sac
19... Bxf2?
20. Rxf2! Qe3? (in hope of pinning rook + getting the pesky bishop back) 21. Nf1! doesn't work, and in every line isn't very successful, due to this Nf1 being a monster of a defender.

So what's left? Positional play I'd say. White has one hope of relieving pressure, and that's playing on the kingside, specifically g4 is a target. This hints at

19. ...f5!

as a candidate move. Fortunately, it is also a compelling move. If white doesn't take it, he has no counter play (I tried 20. Ra4 d4 21. xd4 f4 winning at least a full bishop, with serious mate threat a limited white counterplay), and therefore has to engage into

20. xf6,

which has the advantage of opening a column for white (there's some play here) but black has now all his pieces playing, save for his Ra8. I tried to explore a bit 20.... Rxf6? (in order to double down on the mate threat) which didn't lead anywhere, I was more comfortable with the following

20..... Nxf6
21. Ra4

with some positional advantage. I was thinking maybe d4 here, the move Rf7 looks mysterious to me as it allows counterplay. The position looks very strong, but there's still some work to do, and it should be at least a thursday puzzle to understand what's going on at this stage.

Aug-13-18  Walter Glattke: 26.Qe5 27.Nf3 Rxf3 28.Qxf3 Nf1++ 29.Kh3(h1) Qh2# / 28.Bxf3 Nf1++ 29.Kh3 Qg3# Queen sac: 28.Rxc8+ Qxc8 29.Qd4+ Bxd4 30.gxf3 Ne2+ 31.Kg2 Qg3+ and mate next.
Aug-13-18  lzromeu: timezone trouble
Here in Brazil is still monday, not thursday neither friday. Where is the Queen sac?
Premium Chessgames Member
  cu8sfan: Is it just me or is this the second Monday in a row that was awfully hard?
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  Dionysius1: Hi <Akabara>. I see where you're coming from. But I don't understand 21. ♖a4. Can you or anyone else explain why it was a good idea or necessary? Thanks, Dion
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  moronovich: <cu8sfan: Is it just me or is this the second Monday in a row that was awfully hard?>

Groundhog Day ? :)

Aug-13-18  Strelets: <Izromeu> Glad to hear I'm not the only person from the Americas with this problem.
Aug-13-18  ajile: Wow I got this in 5 seconds.
---------------------No just kidding.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: So ues the solution is officially 1.Bxh7+ Kh8 2.Nxf7# 1-0.


<ChessHigherCat>, <stacase>, <Walter Glattke>

Yep, Monday queen sac would be too easy. Although this mate in 2 is easy too. Even if you didn't know mate was coming, I think taking a free pawn and then royal fork is easy to spot.


Thanks <saturn2>.


<Oxspawn>, <et1>

I think someone mentioned Aronian may be left-handed, but unsurprisngly, it's mostly right-handed. But if 1 in every 10 people is left-handed, someone in the top 10 must be the southpaw.

<Oxspawn: <Penguincw: (do people still come here)>. I do>

I thought I saw it being a bit empty the last few days, but then realized it was the weekend. POTD isn't very popular on weekends, so that must explain the fewer comments.

< malt>

Hello. Are you a lefty too? And thanks. As for your Sunday puzzle, don't be surprised no one attempts the Sunday puzzles. ;)

Aug-14-18  Akabara: Hi <Dionysius1>! The move Ra4 (in most lines) wasn't exactly EASY to me (it is a move that promotes rook play on a rank rather than a file and thus is typically harder to see), but I did find it at some point!

For me, the general idea is that white is really starved on good move. Ra4 achieves a number of things that places it high on the candidate move list: - attacks the target g4
- defends weak/sensitive squares d4 e4 f4
- activates a rook: not only it gets immediate play on the 4th rank, it also gets prospects of being placed in any open file subsequently.

So at this point I think it's just a matter of timing before it happens for white (because barring timing gains, I don't see any way black prevents this).

Aug-14-18  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even. At first glance, black would seem to be trailing in development, with two pieces on their original squares. In fact, both bishops are on strong lines, especially the DSB, which aims directly at the white king and pins the f-pawn. Black's pawn advances on the king side would typically weaken the king's castled position, but in this case the big space advantage provides more than ample compensation. By mobilizing Rf8, Nh7 and Bc8, to complement the strong queen position, a winning attack will result.

19... f5! looks like the logical continuation, threatening f4 to trap the bishop and weaken f2. One line might be:

20.ef Nxf6 21.Nb3 (white must break the f-pawn pin) Ne4 22.Nd4 Rf6 23.Bd3 (23.Nxc6 Nxg3 24.Nxa7 Nxe2+ wins a piece) Nxg3 24.fg Qe3+ 25.Kh1 Rh6#

Obviously not attempting to be comprehensive here. Time for review...

Aug-14-18  CHESSTTCAMPS: The 21.Ra4 defense (which leads to more complex play) did not occur to me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: hanks <Akabara> and <CHESSTTCAMPS>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: 18. Bd3 instead of blunder 18. Be2
The point is: Be2 is locked up after c5-c4, now White simply has Bc2
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: I see what you mean <WorstPlayerEver> but in fact Black never did advance the c pawn and block White's WSB in.
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