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Lev Alburt vs Norman Weinstein
New York International (1984), New York, NY USA, rd 4
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-14-07  aragorn69: <Random Visitor> <<3. (-0.81): 23.exf6> gxf4 24.fxe7 Re8 25.Rd7 Rc7 26.Rad1 Kg7 27.R7d4 Qc5 28.Rxf4 f5 29.Rfd4 Rexe7 30.Bxe7 Rxe7 31.Rd6 Qa3 32.Rxc6 Qxa2 33.b4 Qa4 34.Rdd6 Qxb4 35.Rxa6>

Intersting that Rybka doesn't play 27.gxf4 as in the game. It must have a better move than 27.-Qb7 in store, probably 27.-Rxd7. And then?

Oct-14-07  ConstantImprovement: After computer analysis it shows that 28. ... Rd7: was a mistake.

28. ... f5 makes it much more difficult for white, who has to find some only moves.

29. Rg1+ (29. ... Bh5 transposes after the only black defense Re7:!.) Kh7 (Mate after anything else) 30. Bh5 (the only move) Re7:! 31. Bg6+ (the only move) Kg7 (fast mate against everything else) 32. Rd8 (the only move, after Bf5:+ and Bg6 white still has to find Rd8) and white will win after 32. ... Rc8 33. Rc8: Qc8: 34. Be7:.

The difficult thing, in my opinion, was
in the 29. Rg1 line to keep the possibility of Rd8 in mind. In the 29. Bh5-line it was necessary to see that after 29. ... Re7: 30. Rg1+ the move Kf8 does not work because of 31. Be7:#.

After 28. ... f5 white will only get an endgame with R-B-B against Q, which is still about 3.75 according to Fritz, but will be still not so easy to win.

Oct-14-07  officeplayer: So after 23.exf6, black was able to win with accurate play and this goes: 23. ... gxf4 24.fxe7 Re8. Here white made another mistake with 25.Rd7, as this line (which was also played in the game) is certainly much worse than the best: 25. gxf4 Qc7 26. Kh1 Kh7 27. Rg1 f5 28. Bh5 Rxe7 29. Bg6+ Kg7 30. Bxe7 Qxe7 31. Bxf5+ Kf8 32. Bg4 c5, reaching this position:

click for larger view

which is won for black, but with a lot more resistance from white.

If we continue the analysis of 25.Rd7, we will find out that with 25. ... Rc7! 26.Rad1 Kg7! black is still winning, while the immediate 25. ... Kg7? allows 26.Kh1! and now 26. ... Rc7 is met by 27.exf4! (or 27.Rg1!) 27. ...Rxd7 28.Rg1+ (or 28.exf4+) 28. ... Kh7 29.Bf6

click for larger view

and now black must return the queen: 29. ... Qd4 30. Rg7+ Kh8 31. Rxf7+ Qxf6 32. Rxf6 Rexe7 33. f5 exf5 34. Rxh6+ Kg8 35. Rxc6 Rd1+ 36. Kg2 Rg7+ 37.Kh3 Rdg1 38. Bd5+ Kh8 39. Rc8+ Kh7 40. a4 and it is not too clear if black could actually win (see diagram):

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: You'd think a move like White's 28 Kh1 should have set off Black's alarm bells. "Why is he doing that? Why is he letting me pick off his Rook? What's he got in mind?" It makes me wonder if Black was under time pressure.
Oct-14-07  officeplayer: 25.Rd7 Rc7! 26.Rad1 Kg7! Now white cannot play 27.gxf4? because after 27. ... Rxd7, white's Rd1 is under attack and he lacks a tempo(his king is still at g1) - see diagram.

click for larger view

Now the game continues: 28.Rxd7 Qc5 29.Kg2 and here, in reply to <PositionalTactician>, white is not winning, he is not even drawing, as you can see from the following continuation: 29.Kg2 a5! 30.e4? [better is 30.f5 exf5 31.Rc7 Qd4 32.Bxc6 Qd6 33.Bxe8 Qxc7 34.a4 f6 35.Bxb5 Qxe7, resulting in this:

click for larger view

where black has a serious material advantage]
30.e4 e5! 31.fxe5 Qxe5

click for larger view

now black has a positional advantage which can be easily turned into material (note the centralized black queen and the poor activity of the two white bishops).

Oct-14-07  zb2cr: Missed, missed, missed. I never even THOUGHT of 28. Kh1.
Oct-14-07  xrt999: phew! White's pawn on e7 is brutal. No matter what, black has almost no play.

Of course, if black had just played 27...Rxd7, instead of the suspect Qb7, he wouldnt be in the puzzle mess, and <maybe> still have a chance.

after 27...Rxd7 the g-file is now useless to white and the game would continue to revolve around the pawn on e-7.

I looked at a few variations after 27...Rxd7 and unfortunately for black the outcome is the same: white's pawn on e7 is just brutal! black is lost after 24.fxe7

Oct-14-07  Marmot PFL: This was a hard one. The Kh1 Rg1+ idea I saw right away but rejected it at first because Kh7 Be4+ is answered by f5. When I did finf Bf6 and Rg7+ I thought (like yesterday) that it was maybe just a draw, but even that is not bad with a 2 bishops and a pawn for a queen. Beautiful game by Lev Alburt.
Oct-14-07  clocked: <xrt999> what variations?

27...Rxd7 28.Rxd7 Qc5 29.Kg2 (29.e4 Qc1+) f6

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: As I was having a glance at the position, a couple of crazy thoughts flashed into my mind 28.Rxc7 & 28.Rd8 but soon discarded them & with the help of my intuition I immediately embarked on 28.Kh1 plan & after ...Rxd7 29.Rg1+ Kh7 30.Bf6! with fatal threats ...Rd5 [ with the idea of 31.Be4+ then ...Rf5 ] 31.Rg7+ Kh8 32.Rxf7+ Kg8 33.Rg7+ Kh8 White can draw with perpetuals but 34.e4! Rc5 35.Rg5+ Kh7 36.Rxc5 & White should win. Of course, the text move ...Rd7 also loses to 35.Bh5 & Black's agony will end soon.
Oct-14-07  ounos: OMG! I predicted the whole sequence of moves till the end (even the inaccuracies) in matter of seconds*! How smart I feel!

(* I just won't tell how many seconds :-P)

Oct-14-07  DiscerningKing: Very Nice..but black position was BUSTED after 22...g5?? LOL
Oct-14-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <ConstantImprovement: After computer analysis it shows that 28. ... Rd7: was a mistake ... After 28. ... f5 white will only get an endgame with R-B-B against Q, which is still about 3.75 according to Fritz, but will be still not so easy to win.>

What version of Fritz are you running and for how long?

Hiarcs tells me that 28. ... f5 is much worse than 28. ... Rd7, and Fritz 10 agrees. At the end of your line, Fritz10 got the valuation of about +7 after less than a minute, and after I let it run for another 15 minutes, the eval of that line is +8.83.

After some bishop & rook dance, white ends up exchanging its bishops for Q and is left with a rook advantage. Something like this (including your line):

28... f5 29. Rg1+ Kh7 30. Bh5 Rxe7 31. Bg6+ Kg7 $18 7.22/18 32. Rd8 Rc8 33. Rxc8 Qxc8 34. Bxe7 Qh8 35. Bh5+ Kh7 36. Bf7 Qc8 37. Bg6+ Kg7 38. Be8+ Kh7 39. Bf6 Qxe8 40. Rg7+ Kh8 41. Re7+ Kg8 42. Rxe8+ Kf7

click for larger view

and now white has an easy win.

Oct-14-07  znprdx: Sometimes it seems we lose track of the human element of Chess the G A M E What made this CG position <28.White to move> interesting is that at first glance it is less than obvious that there are even drawing chances. Kh1 looks like a blind desperate attempt at some kind of perpetual. I can understand going back to an earlier stage in the game when the position is a crush - but this idea of claiming to identify such a position and then grinding out reams of computer analysis misses the point. Who really knows maybe it was at a completely different phase - >reductio absurdium< to somewhere before even the 10th move. After all Chess is a draw - with odds for White to win because of the first check: which might be mate :) What I am trying to express is we should try to aim for analysis that reflects our collective perceptions, knowledge and experiences. The digital diversion at times is delusional - get real: 21 ply? Now we are asking what program was used and how long it runs - why not just let us set up the position and go through the variations? DUH that is not how we PLAY....
Oct-14-07  tal lover: I found the right line, but i tought that 30...Rd4 was forced to prevent Bf4, and made all analyzes in this line, i missed the defense 30...Rd5
Oct-14-07  TheaN: YAHHOOOOOOO!


I guess. >_>.

I got the right idea, up until Black's 30th move. About 28....f5; aside from all analysis, it's quite even to spot that bringing the ♗ in by h5 is fatal.

30....c5?!! stumped me. I never considered Rd4 or Rd5, but I guess the game shows that they're met by either Bh5 or e4 with Bh5 with the ♗ going to h5 . I count that as correct from my part.

However, c5 is a different story. Ok, I deploy the windmill and win the f7 pawn, and I win the Queen for the Bishop. This is, for as far as I see, only two pawns for an exchange when I blow the final tactic from the windmill:

30....c5 31.Rg7+ Kh8 32.Rxf7+ Kg8 33.Rg7+ Kh8 34.Bxb7 Rxb7 (what else?) 35.Rg5+ Kh7 36.Rxc5.

Even giving back the exchange immediately is even suffient for the draw, I guess:

36....Rb(e)xe7. I don't know, but this seems drawish. Because this wasn't played, and I would've played 31.e4 on Rd5, I'm giving myself the full point, and a complete week.


Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: I'd expect a better game from Alburt Weinstein....
Oct-14-07  tal lover: <TheaN> c5 is an interesting line , but i think to claim that you solve the puzzle, you should had annalize: 30...c5,30...Rd4,30...Rd5, and you like me only annalyzed one of this lines
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <znprdx>: I think you have a point. What <RV> with Fritz, and <MAJ> with Hiarcs, and the rest of us with or without engines are doing, is *analysis*. It isn't identical with what went through Alburt's mind before he sacrificed his ♕ on move 23; probably it's very different.

My guess is that Alburt saw only the themes, not the details, and from that he judged that there was a high probability of a win. I very much doubt whether he analyzed the line actually played in the game for more than six or eight plies.

I would really, really like to know what *did* go through his mind. I would also like to know what the winning percentage is in GM games for deep sacrifices like this. I'm sure it's much less than 100%.

Oct-15-07  TheaN: <c5 is an interesting line , but i think to claim that you solve the puzzle, you should had annalize: 30...c5,30...Rd4,30...Rd5, and you like me only annalyzed one of this lines>

I'd like to see it differently: being sure that allowing the Bishop either on e4 (with immediate #) or on h5 was losing Rd4 and Rd5 are discarded immediately. I have to admit that I missed the ideas of Rxe4 and Rf5 respectively, but as white's e-pawn is free for pressure, it was easy to spot how to refute Rd5. Rd4 is immediately met by Bh5. Although I missed these answers directly, I got the winning themes right.

c5, on the other hand, does not win. I've analysed this line, and for what I know, a lot of people missed it. In a Sunday puzzle there are partial points to get if I'm honest: for best plans of defense, and for best plans of attack. For as far as I know, I did both, as I think Rd4 or Rd5 are no reasonable, if at all best, defenses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A very quiet key move:28 ♔h1!!!,lol.

I really liked how this one ended-with a windmill,a battery ,and the capture of a rook--sounds like an episode of MYTHBUSTERS.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the October 14, 2007 Puzzle solution,
Albert plays 28...Kh1!! offering up a Rook as a sham sacrifice, as a follow-up to the surprise Queen sacrifice after 23. exf6!? With the advanced passed pawn on e7 and the windmill of discovered check threats Albert creates, the Black King is helpless against White's multiple threats.

See <Random Visitor>'s post for the refutation to Albert's speculative 23. exf6!? sacrifice. Hopefully computer analysis and home preparation doens't kill too many such fasicinating attempts by GMs in the future.

Oct-18-07  aragorn69: <technical draw: I'd expect a better game from Alburt Weinstein....> LOL. That has to be one of the wittiest posts of the year!
Jan-16-18  Howard: This game was briefly alluded to in the latest issue of American Chess Magazine.

Never knew that Alburt and Weinstein had once crossed swords though.

Aug-21-20  Whitehat1963: Remarkably gutsy (although not entirely accurate) game from the Player of the Day!
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