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Alireza Firouzja vs Richard Rapport
Norway Chess (2021), Stavanger NOR, rd 10, Sep-17
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  suenteus po 147: I was surprised to see Firouzja accept the exchange sac for pressure on the e-file, but it paid off well. I'm guessing that Rapport resigned because he was going to be down a bishop no matter what he did. 32...g6 is met with 33.Qxg6+, and 32...Kg8 33.Nf5 means that white will be a piece up at least.
Sep-17-21  nok: Can you play like Tal against modern defenders?


Sep-18-21  otc: Great game overall, especially by Firouzja of course as he won.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: White took 40 minutes to play 13. B-f4, which created a huge time deficit. He seemed to have figured out the rest of the game during that deep think. Black faced a formidable defensive challenge. The computer evals suggested he had a very narrow road to equality but it is hard to keep finding the top engine choice. As I recall 25?.Bxd6 was not an engine fave.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Sorry i mean 13?Bxd5 was the first errant move according to the computer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Whoops 17?Bxd5.
Sep-19-21  sudoplatov: I checked a bit with Stockfish. It thinks that 13...Be6 is an error and 13...dxe5 is much better. I need to look with a version that goes deeper.
Sep-19-21  sudoplatov: Looking deeper is interesting. Evaluations change each ply. The position seems too complicated for the computer. I think the problem is that the quiescent positions are not easy to evaluate after all the forcing moves have been checked. The preference is for 16...g6 rather than ...f6, both are almost a Pawn better for Black (so White does have lots of positional compensation).

As in other comments, 17...Bxd5 is seen as a blunder and 17...Qd7 or ...Kf7 are supposedly better.

The big blunder (according to an online Stockfish at around 30 plies) is 20...Rc6; 20...Rc8 is evaluated as even but the game move is about a Pawnsworth better for White. Tal (and Marshall and Alekhine) scored lots of points in these types of positions (Lasker too, but generally more positionally than tatically).

Sep-19-21  fisayo123: <Looking deeper is interesting. Evaluations change each ply. The position seems too complicated for the computer.>

No such thing, especially in middlegames.

It depends on what depth you're looking at it at. Depth 30 is nothing special

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: <fisayo123: <Looking deeper is interesting. Evaluations change each ply. The position seems too complicated for the computer.>

No such thing, especially in middlegames.

It depends on what depth you're looking at it at. Depth 30 is nothing special>

+1, in complicated middlegames you can very-very rarely rely on depth 30, sometimes even depth 40 is insufficient.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: <sudoplatov> Here you are, Stockfish-current (commit 5b47b4e6c04719e66559efe91e505569e0f7aafa), 14 threads, 53G memory, 1.9T syzygy-tablebases (these are not very-very interesting details)...

@ depth 56 (but this is!) on Black's #13:

click for larger view

<56 [+0.00] 13.... Be6 14.Rxa1 Rc8 15.b3 Qa5 16.Nd5 dxe5 17.Bxe5 Bxd5 18.cxd5 Rd8 19.d6 e6 20.Rd1 Qb5 21.g3 Qd7 22.h4 f6 23.Rd3 Qc6 24.Qg4 Bxd6 25.Rc3 Qd5 26.Qxg7 Rf8 27.Bxd6 Rxd6 28.Qxh7 Rd7 29.Rc8+ Rd8 30.Qg6+ Rf7 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.h5 Qd1+ 33.Kg2 Qd5 34.g4 f5 35.Qg8+ Rf8 36.Qg6+ (1427.78)>

@ depth 56 on Black's #16 (I wanted 16...g5 so hard, but now I think it achieves very little - please note, the Fish is nowhere near 100% certain that this 16...f6 is the most precise move, as it thinks quite a lot on other possibilities):

click for larger view

<56 [-0.55] 16.... f6 17.Nf3 Kf7 18.Rd1 g6 19.h3 Qd7 20.Nd4 Rxc4 21.Nb6 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 Qb5 23.Qxb7 Bg7 24.b3 f5 25.Rd1 Bf6 26.Be3 Rc8 27.Qf3 Rc2 28.Nd5 Be5 29.Nf4 Rxa2 30.Nxe6 Kxe6 31.b4 Ra1 32.Rxa1 Bxa1 33.g3 Bf6 34.Qa8 Kf7 35.h4 Be5 36.Qd8 Bg7 37.Qc8 Qe2 38.Qd8 Bf6 39.Bh6 Qe1+ 40.Kg2 Qe4+ 41.Kg1 Bg7 42.Be3 Qb7 43.Qd3 Qc6 44.Qb3+ Qe6 45.Qd3 Be5 46.h5 Kg7 47.hxg6 hxg6 48.Bd4 Bxd4 49.Qxd4+ Kf7 50.Qd2 Ke8 51.Qd3 (1632.63)>

@depth 51 on Black's #17 (while checking the live move feed I was dumbfounded why Rapport did not go for the rather obvious 17...Kf7 - was he annoyed by the f3 knight, giving a check from e5 or g5?):

click for larger view

<51 [-0.63] 17.... Kf7 18.Rd1 g6 19.h3 Qd7 20.Nd4 Rxc4 21.Nb6 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 Qb5 23.Qxb7 Bg7 24.b3 f5 25.Rd1 Rc8 26.Bg5 Re8 27.Be3 Qe2 28.Rd2 Qe1+ 29.Kh2 Bc3 30.Rd5 Bf6 31.Rd2 f4 32.Bxf4 Be5 33.Bxe5 Qxd2 34.Qf3+ Kg8 35.Bg3 Qd4 36.Qc6 Kf7 37.Qf3+ Qf6 38.Qd3 h5 39.h4 Rg8 40.a4 g5 41.Nd7 Bxd7 42.Qxd7 Rg6 43.Qd5+ Qe6 44.Qf3+ Kg8 45.Qxh5 Qf6 46.Kg1 Rh6 47.Qg4 Qg6 48.b4 gxh4 49.Qxg6+ Rxg6 50.Bxh4 (1410.41)>

@depth 56 on Black's #20:

click for larger view

<56 [+0.00] 20.... Rc8 21.Re1 Kf7 22.Nd4 Re8 23.b5 e5 24.Qd5+ Kg6 25.Nf3 h6 26.bxa6 Kh7 27.Qe4+ g6 28.a7 Bxd6 29.Be3 f5 30.Qd5 e4 31.Rd1 exf3 32.Qxd6 Qxd6 33.Rxd6 Rd8 34.Rxd8 Rxd8 35.gxf3 Kg7 36.Kf1 Kf7 37.Ke2 Rc8 38.Kd3 g5 39.Bb6 Ke6 40.Bc7 Ra8 41.Bb8 Kd5 42.h3 f4 43.Kc3 Kc5 44.Kb3 b5 45.a3 Kb6 46.Kb4 Ka6 47.Kc5 Ka5 48.Kd5 Kb6 49.Ke5 Ka6 50.Ke4 Rxa7 51.Bxa7 Kxa7 52.Kf5 Ka6 53.Kg6 Ka5 54.Kxh6 Ka4 55.Kxg5 Kxa3 (1476.39)>

DISCLAIMER: trusting blindly an engine output without sense for criticism is almost always a huge failure, so do NOT try this at home, kids.

Sep-22-21  tivrfoa: why 24...fxe5 is bad? :(
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  fredthebear: DM Blog:
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  fredthebear: "All the action was taking place in this game" says GM Daniel King. Here's his video:
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  fredthebear: <Sep-22-21 tivrfoa: why 24...fxe5 is bad? :( >

Anytime captures are involved, it's usually best to ask the computer for deadly accuracy. Stockfish says:

1) +7.27 (26 ply) 25.Nf3 Qxd6 26.Nxe5+ Qxe5 27.Qxe5 h5 28.h4 Rd6 29.Qe4+ Kh6 30.Qxb7 Rf6 31.Qd5 g6 32.Qd4 Bg7 33.Re7 Rhf8 34.Qd7 Rg8 35.a4 Kh7 36.g3 Kh6 37.b5 axb5 38.axb5 Rb6 39.Kg2 Kh7 40.Qd5 Kh8

Note: If the Black queen does NOT capture the White knight (26...QxNe5) in the line shown above, the Black king comes under heavy fire. I didn't work out all the lines (moving the knight w/a lateral discovered check by the White queen is obviously good for White), but here's a kingside mate: 26...Kf6?? 27.Qf7+ Kg5 28.f4+ Kh4 (if 28...Kh6 29.Ng4#) 29.g3+ Kh3 30.Qf5#.

I must say that the retreat 25.Nf3 to set up all of the above would be easily missed by many humans. Alireza Firouzja is a tremendous tactician though.

If the White knight plays the obvious grab of the Black rook immediately, 25.NxRc6, it's closer to equal. Most mating attacks in the middlegame need three pieces, so White does not want to give up the knight-for-rook even though it wins the exchange (White is down a piece, so trading off is not to his advantage).

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