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Valentina Gunina vs Marie Sebag
Cairns Cup (2019), St Louis, MO USA, rd 5, Feb-10
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B90)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-11-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: White to Play and Win after 29 ... Ke8.

Sharp game.

Feb-11-19  Illogic: Spectacular attacking game!!
Feb-11-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: It is striking to see how the four knights made a symmetrical square on move 19.
Feb-11-19  cliffordagoodman: The class of woman's chess throws down the Shirov/Shabalov motif with 7.g4
Feb-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Eh, who needs Tal when you have a smoking Gun(ina)?
Feb-14-19  morfishine: Game of the tournament! Now this is what I call chess
Feb-16-19  Everett: <Feb-11-19 cliffordagoodman: The class of woman's chess throws down the Shirov/Shabalov motif with 7.g4>

More like Keres Attack!

Feb-18-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Yes, this is the very thrill of chess. Big applause to both players.
Feb-18-19  noftox: It is baffling that Black refused to play 16...♘6xe5, protecting f7, hitting ♕g4 and unleashing ♗b7 at the same time. Especially in a position where e5-square would've been an eternal outpost for one of her Knights.
Feb-23-19  Everett: <eb-18-19 noftox: It is baffling that Black refused to play 16...♘6xe5, protecting f7, hitting ♕g4 and unleashing ♗b7 at the same time. Especially in a position where e5-square would've been an eternal outpost for one of her Knights.>

Interesting points, but doesn’t White get access to d4, f4, and perpetual pressure in the d6 pawn?

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Assessment of Black's best move after 16.fxe5> (part 1 of 5)

<<noftox> It is baffling that Black refused to play 16...N6xe5, protecting f7, hitting Qg4 and unleashing Bb7 at the same time.>

<<Everett> Interesting points, but doesn’t White get access to d4, f4, and perpetual pressure in the d6 pawn?>

Originally I tended to agree with <noftox>. From reviewing many Sicilian games over the years, particularly Najdorfs, it seemed to me that Black gets at least an equal game if he can plant a knight on the e5 outpost. So much so that Black sometimes sacrifices a pawn to achieve this, something that she didn't have to do in this game.

So, who's right, <noftox> or <Everett>? I ran an analysis with 3 engines (Houdini 6, Komodo 12.3, and Stockfish 10) at admittedly relatively low ply (I was more interested in a timely and quick assessment rather than a definitive one) and I got some results that might surprise both of you, as well as everyone else. They certainly surprised me.

(1) A composite of the evaluations by all 3 engines is that the best (but not by much and, in practice, equal) move by Black in this position is <neither> 16...N6xe5 or 16...dxe5 but 16...Qb6+. I haven't looked at the engine lines yet so I don't know why, so I'll leave that as an exercise for the student. ;-)

(2) 16...dxe5 was considered better than 16...N6xe5 (point to <Everett> and, of course, Sebag).

(3) Of the 2 knight recaptures, 16...N4xe5 was considered better than 16...N6xe5 by 2 of the 3 engines (Komodo and Stockfish) but again, not by much. Why? Again I don't know, so I suppose it's another exercise for the student! 16...N4xe5 addresses 2 of <noftox>'s points, protecting f7 and hitting the Qf4, so I suppose that Komodo and Stockfish considered the immediate availability of the semi-open c-file for counterplay by Black after 16...N4xe5 more important than Houdini's and <noftox>'s 16.N6xc5 unleashing the Bd7.

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Assessment of Black's best move after 16.fxe5> (part 2 of 5)

Here is a summary of the 3 engines' evaluations, sorted in order of ascending Ratings-Weighted Average (RWAvg) since it is <Black>'s move:

After 16.fxe5 we reach this position:


click for larger view

a. Moves not reported by the engines as one of their top 3 moves are considered to be null when calculating the averages.

<Black>'s Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 Stockfish 10

Move d=21 d=31 d=36 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

16...Qb6+ [-0.71] [-0.53] [-0.73] <[-0.66]> <[-0.66]> <1>

16...dxe5 [-0.44] [-0.67] [0.00] <[-0.37]> <[-0.34]> <2>

16...N6xe5 [-0.18] [------] [------] N/A N/A N/A

16...N4xe5 [------] [-0.29] [+0.20] N/A N/A N/A

b. Moves not reported by the 3 engines as one of their top 3 moves are considered to be evaluated equal to the evaluation of the 3rd best move less the average of the absolute differences between each of the evaluations. This is likely to be a more realistic value than just one centipawn below the evaluation of the 3rd best move.

<Black>'s Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 Stockfish 10

Move d=21 d=31 d=36 <Avg> <RWAvg> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ----------- -----------

16...Qb6+ [-0.71] [-0.53] [-0.73] <[-0.66]> <[-0.66]> <1>

16...dxe5 [-0.44] [-0.67] [0.00] <[-0.37]> <[-0.34]> <1>

16...N4xe5 [+0.09] [-0.29] [+0.20] <[0.00]> <[+0.01]> <2>

16...N6xe5 [-0.18] [-0.03] [+0.67] <[+0.15]> <[+0.19]> <2>

True Rank: 1 = [ 16...Qb6+, 16...dxe5 ]; 2 = [ 16...N4xe5, 16...N6xe5 ]

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Assessment of Black's best move after 16.fxe5> (part 3 of 5)

And here is a summary of how the 3 engines ranked their top 3 moves, without regard for the value of the evaluation.

<Black>'s Houdini 6 Komodo 12.3 Stockfish 10

Move d=21 d=31 d=36 <AvgRank> <TrueRank>

---------- ---------- ----------- ---------- ---------- -----------

16...Qb6+ 1 2 1 <1.3> <1>

16...dxe5 2 1 2 <1.7> <1>

16...N4xe5 4 3 3 <3.3> <2>

16...N6xe5 3 4 4 <3.7> <2>

True Rank: 1 = [ 16...Qb6+, 16...dxe5 ]; 2 = [ 16...N4xe5, 16...N6xe5 ]

Here's a detailed analysis and evaluation of each move by the 3 engines:

<Detailed Analysis after 16.fxe5 16...Qb6+>


click for larger view

<Houdini 6>, PV=`1, [-0.71], d=21: <Black is slightly better>

17.Rf2 dxe5 18.Qf3 0-0-0 19.cxb4 Nxb4 20.Nc3 Nd3 21.Bf1 Nxf2 22.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 23.Kxf2 Nd6 24.Bg2 h6 25.Nxa5 hxg5 26.hxg5 Be7 27.Nxb7 Nxb7 28.Be3 Bc5 29.Nd5 Bd4

<Komodo 12.3>, PV=2, [+-0.53], d=31: <Black is slightly better>

17.Kh2 N6xe5 18.Qg3 bxc3 19.bxc3 g6 20.Nbd4 Bg7 21.Nf4 0-0 22.Nd5 Bxd5 23.exd5 Nd7 24.Bf4 Qc5 25.Rab1 Rae8 26.Rb5 Qa3 27.Rf2 Nc5 28.h5 Ne4 29.Bxe4 Bxd4 30.cxd4 Qxg3+ 31.Bxg3 Rxe4 32.hxg6 hxg6 33.Rf4 Re3 <Stockfish 10>, PV=2, [0.00], d=36: <Equal>

17.Nbd4 dxe5 18.g6 Be7 19.gxf7+ Kf8 20.b3 bxc3 21.bxc4 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 exd4 23.Qg3 Rd8 24.Rb1 Qxb1 25.Bg5 Qb4 26.Bh6 gxh6 27.Qe5 Rg8 28.fxg8Q+ Kxg8 29.Qe6+ Kh8 30.Qe5+ Kg8

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Assessment of Black's best move after 16.fxe5> (part 4 of 5)

<Detailed Analysis after 16.fxe5 16...dxe5>


click for larger view

<Houdini 6>, PV=2, [-0.44], d=21: <Equal>

17.Qf3 Qc7 18.Kh1 a4 19.Nd2 Nb6 20.cxb4 Bxb4 21.a3 Bd6 22.Qf2 0-0 23.Nf3 Na5 24.Nc3 Qc6 25.Be3 Nbc4 26.Nd5 Qb5 27.Nc3 Qxb2 28.Qxb2 Nxb2 29.Nb5 Nbc4

<Komodo 12.3>, PV=1, [+-0.67], d=31: <White is slightly better>

17.Qf3 Qc7 18.cxb4 axb4 19.Rf2 N4a5 20.Nxa5 Rxa5 21.Be3 Bc5 22.Rc1 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 0-0 24.h5 Qe7 25.Ng3 Nd4 26.Nf5 Nxf5 27.exf5 Bxg2 28.f6 Qd7 29.Rxg2 g6 30.hxg6 hxg6 31.Kh2 Qd4 32.Qxd4 exd4 33.Rc4 Rd8 34.Rxb4

<Stockfish 10>, PV=1, [-0.73], d=36: <Black is slightly better>

17.Rf2 a4 18.Qf3 Qc7 19.Nd2 N6a5 20.Kh2 Nxd2 21.Bxd2 b3 22.Ng3 a3 23.axb3 Nxb3 24.Ra2 axb2 25.Rxb2 Nxd2 26.Rfxd2 Ba3 27.Nf5 0-0 28.Rb1 Ra4 29.Qd3 Bc5 30.Qd7 Qxd7 31.Rxd7 Bxe4 32.Bxe4 Rxe4 33.Rb5 Rc4 34.Rd5 Bf2 35.Rd7 Bxh4 36.Nxh4 Rxh4+ 37.Kg3 Rc4 38.Rxe5 Rxc3+ 39.Kh4 Rc2

<Detailed Analysis after 16.fxe5 N6xe5 >


click for larger view

<Houdini 6>, PV=3, [-0.18], d=21: <Equal>

17.Qg3 h6 18.Nbd4 hxg5 19.Bxg5 Qb8 20.b3 Nb2 21.cxb4 axb4 22.Nf4 Qa7 23.Qf2 Ba6 24.Qxb2 Bxf1 25.Kxf1 f6 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Nf5 Qa6+ 28.Kg1 Qb6+

<Komodo 12.3> and <Stockfish 10> did not consider 16...N6xe5 to be among their top 3 moves.

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Assessment of Black's best move after 16.fxe5> (part 5 of 5)

<Detailed Analysis after 16.fxe5 N4xe5 >


click for larger view

<Houdini 6> did not consider 16...N4xe5 to be among its top 3 moves.

<Komodo 12.3>, PV=3, [-0.29], d=31: <Equal>

17.Qg3 g6 18.Nf4 Bg7 19.Nd5 0-0 20.Nf6+ Bxf6 21.gxf6 Ba6 22.Rd1 Be2 23.Rd2 Bg4 24.Rf2 Nb8 25.Qf4 Kh8 26.Bd2 Nbd7 27.cxb4 axb4 28.Bxb4 Qb6 29.Qd2 Be6 30.Qxd6 Qxd6 31.Bxd6 Bxb3 32.Bxf8 Nxf8 33.a3 Ne6 34.Rd2 Rc8 35.Rf1

<Stockfish 10>, PV=3, [+0.20], d=36: <Equal>

17.Qg3 bxc3 18.bxc3 Ba6 19.Nbd4 g6 20.Nxc6 Nxc6 21.Rf2 Bg7 22.Nf4 Be5 23.Qf3 0-0 24.Nd5 Kh8 25.Bf4 Bxf4 26.Qxf4 Bc4 27.Rd1 Ne5 28.Bh3 Rb8 29.Ne3 Qe7 30.Nxc4 Nxc4 31.Qf6+ Qxf6 32.Rxf6 Rb2 33.Rf2 Re8 34.Rxb2 Nxb2 35.Rxd6

I personally doubt that a consensus will ever be reached as to which move is best after 16.fxe5.

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  mckmac: Terrific battle. Daniel King has just uploaded a video on this game. He briefly looks at the engine resource 17...Qb6+ 18.Kh1 Nd8, and offers the opinion that "...remarkably, White is short of moves here"


click for larger view

https://youtu.be/d6exmoj1n78

The cg Stockfish gives this (6min) -0.73 (27 ply) 19.Rd1 Ne6 20.Rf1 Qc7 21.cxb4 Bxb4 22.Nc3 Bxc3 23.Qxc3 O-O 24.Nd2 Rfc8 25.a3 Ba6 26.Nxc4 Bxc4 27.Rf2 Rd8 28.b3 Qb6 29.Be3 Qxb3 30.Qxb3 Bxb3 31.Rd2 Rxd2 32.Bxd2 Bc4 33.Bc3 f6 34.gxf6 gxf6

Feb-23-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <mckmac>, perhaps King's assessment of the position is not quite so curious as all that: White's queenside is entombed and she will have to further her opponent's development to free up that wing. The variation you offer per Stockfish is telling, if odd-looking, with the white rook shuffling to d1, then back to f1, thereby granting two tempi to free Black's position.
Mar-12-19  Everett: Thanks <AK> for all that comp. work. Good to see I'm not losing my mind completely when looking at a position. Was likely just lucky this time though... ;-)
Jun-05-19  Imran Iskandar: Unbelievable game!
Jun-16-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: In Soltis column today. He praises 21 Bh3! and especially the spectacular 23 g6! which he claims is the key move making the attack work. Eventhe last move is very nice.
Aug-18-19  WTHarvey: White mates in 2.


click for larger view

Solution (in reverse)
31.Qd7# Rxf8 30.Rf8+

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