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David Howell vs Jeffery Xiong
Winter Classic (2017), Saint Louis, rd 2, Mar-12
Queen's Indian Defense: Kasparov-Petrosian. Hedgehog Variation (E17)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-20-17  Andrew Chapman: Why 17... Nf6? It seems to free White's bishop and lose a pawn, without any obvious necessity. Andrew
Mar-20-17  protonchess: White does have the obvious threat (too obvious to mention?) of 18. Qxh7. What else can Black do about it? Maybe 17. .. Rg7, but that just postpones the painful decision after 18. Bh3! and White ends up even more active than in the game.
Mar-22-17  crwynn: You also have to remember black can't castle long after 16.Qd3 unless he brings his kt back to defend d7 (16...Qc7? 17.Nb5).
Mar-22-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: There are several candidate moves to answer the threat of ..Qxh7

1) Rg7
2) h6
3) Nd4
4) Rg6
5) d6

The moves get better as you go down the list. But I agree, the immediate 17. ..Nf6?! looks dubious. In the final analysis tho, i think it will take some number crunching with the engines to get more objective evals with this complicated position.

Mar-22-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: It may be simply that Jeffrey chose Nf6 because he didn't like the idea of giving white an outside passer that could be pushed quickly. whereas if he drops the f pawn he still has opposition with the e pawn and white will not so quickly advance his e or f pawns and uncover the king.
Mar-23-17  protonchess: .. Rg6 and .. Nd4 are worth looking at, but I don't like .. d6 at all, it weakens the pawn chain that shelters BK (and will do so for many more moves because castling is difficult). 17. .. d6 18. Qxh7 Nf6 19. Qh3, I think B is in big trouble.
Mar-25-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < protonchess: .. Rg6 and .. Nd4 are worth looking at, but I don't like ..d6 at all, it weakens the pawn chain that shelters BK (and will do so for many more moves because castling is difficult). 17. .. d6 18. Qxh7 Nf6 19. Qh3, I think B is in big trouble. >

..Rg6 was my personal early choice, but ..d6 18. Qxh7 Nf6 19. Qh3 Nd4 20. Kf1 e5 21. Nxd4 Bxg2+ 22. Rxg2 cxd4 23. Rxg8+ Nxg8 24. Qh5+ Kf8 25. Ne4 Qe8 doesn't look so bad for black as compared to any of the other lines. And in the ..d6 line black does not castle, but keeps the K on the same side as white's passer. Also look at the pawn chain. It does have a cramping effect on white.

Keep in mind small defects can be found with any of the candidate moves. That's just a result of the opening line, so assessments must be objective and relative.

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