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Zurab Azmaiparashvili vs Alexey Shirov
Lvov Zonal (1990), Lvov URS, rd 3, Feb-??
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Queen's Knight Variation (A16)  ·  0-1



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sac: 36...Qxf1+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-16-05  YouRang: Got it pretty quickly after seeing the predicament of the white king -- it faces mate threats from Qxf1 or any back rank mate should the f1 square be unblocked.

My first idea was to deflect the white queen from its protection of f1, and the first move to consider was Rxc6. While that doesn't necessarily deflect the white queen, it does open the b file (after bxc6) for the b8 rook to find it's ideal spot at b1, which in turn allows the queen to be used as a battering ram with 32...Qxf1+.

Nov-16-05  JGreene82884: 36...Rb1 makes the rook sacrifice futile. the white bishop must be eliminated, or else it disrupt Shirov's plans.
Nov-16-05  alphee: This one was not too hard to find as the question ended up being "how to win the battle on f1?" and the answer looked like "bring more ressources through b1 by removing the b5 protection as there is no obvious/easy way to get rid of the d4 queen...". And it worked.
Nov-16-05  ice lemon tea: i think today's puzzle should start at move 34 since 34..Rfc8 is the starting point of the black's winning combination.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I had the answer except I played Rb1 a move sooner-not as forceful,but I think it works.
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  benveniste: I found the 35. ... ♖xc6 move, but assumed white would not take the rook due to the threat of 36 ... ♖b1. So this is the 3rd puzzle in 4 days where I found a less elegant solution than actually played.
Nov-16-05  Guest1825: Did anyone calculate defensive variations, starting with 36.Qe2 ? I think white can go down fighting with counterplay of 37.a6. Am I right? Or does this just create another forced variation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < Guest1825: Did anyone calculate defensive variations, starting with 36.Qe2 ?> Yes, and this seems to prolong the game the longest, by one extra move (mate in 6 instead of mate in 5): <35...Rxc6> 36.Qe2 Rxc3 37.f4 Qd1 38.Kf2 c1Q and mate in two. Other variations seem shorter; eg., 37.b6(a6) Qxf1+ 38.Qxf1 c1Q and mate in one.
Nov-16-05  doglikegroove: <JGreene82884>, I disagree. The rook sacrifice is necessary to draw the pawn off of the b-file in order to allow 36..Rb1 as a single move. As for the bishop, it is pinned and after Rb1 and a sitting duck. Although, if you can avoid the mate after Rb1, I'd enjoy seeing the line.
Nov-16-05  BishopofBlunder: I got this one easy, for I have lost many a game in this manner.
Nov-16-05  Halldor: Found this rather easily. White threatens Nxe7+ with a fork, so something forcing had to be done. The first row is weak. The white queen can't move away from defending the bishop, so sacrificing the exchange will clear the way for the rook to b1, and then everything is obvious. – Very good puzzle!
Nov-16-05  alexandrovm: Very beautiful combination, and I did look the result, I'm with not much time...
Nov-16-05  chess man: I found this right away. It seemed rather easy for a Thursday puzzle.
Nov-16-05  aw1988: This is a Wednesday puzzle...
Nov-16-05  YouRang: <chess man> This was the Wednesday puzzle. Stay tuned...
Nov-16-05  chess man: Right. I keep thinking it's Thursday. I wish it was!
Nov-16-05  greyfox: ive got it in 15 sec.. maybe im getting stronger.. or it is just easy?!
Nov-16-05  Guest1825: <gypsy> That's nice! Wait. Are you sure that other defensive variations are shorter? I'm thinking there's a defensive fight that's tougher...or am I wrong? What's a crafty analysis for 36.g4 ?
Nov-16-05  lentil: hey. time is relative... it's thursday where i live!
Nov-17-05  Guest1825: I put the position into Fritz 8.0 and it decided on 36.Qe2 with checkmate in 40. So I had to plug in 36.g4 and white survived until an ugly double-queen checkmate at move 43.

If you're gonna lose anyway, you might as well find a way to destroy the opponents beautiful checkmate. I think if Zurab had played 36.g4, this game would not be a puzzle of the day. The checkmate created is just so ugly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < Guest1825: I put the position into Fritz 8.0 and it decided on 36.Qe2 with checkmate in 40. So I had to plug in 36.g4 and white survived until an ugly double-queen checkmate at move 43. > Good point. I wonder where my brain turned off the computations: 36.g4 Rxc4 37.Rxh3 Rxg4+ 38.Rg3 Qc1 would have been meticulously dilligent, but I am sure my brain did not go past the 36.g4 Rxc4.
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  LIFE Master AJ: I have Shirov's book of his games. (Fire On Board," Volumes one and two.)

Is this game in there? (Too lazy to look myself, I guess.)

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  patzer2: The recent daily puzzle solution 35...Rxc6! and the surprise followup 36...Qxf1+! neatly remove the guard to create a winning pin (anchored by a passed pawn).

However, the decisive turning point in the game was White's dubious reply 19. a4?! This speculative, unsound foray gives Black a near decisive advantage after the Knight Fork 19...Na3 . Instead, White could have held with the solid 19. Nd5!

Fritz 8 (@ 17 depth & 1275 kN/s) indicates the possibilities after 19. Nd5! (defense by counter attack) leave White with near even chances:

1. (-0.34): 19...Ndb6 20.Nxb6 Nxb6 21.Bc3 Bxc3 22.Qxc3 Bd7 23.e5 Na4 24.Qd2 Bxb5 25.Rfc1 Bc6

2. = (-0.13): 19...Nxa3 20.Qa2 Nxb5 21.Qxa7 Nxa7 22.Rxb8 Nxb8 23.Nxe7+ Kh8 24.Nxc8 Nxc8 25.Rb1 Nc6 26.Rb7 N8e7

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: This game is not in Shirov's book I looked. (But the game against Piket, Groningen 1990/91 is equally exciting.)
Sep-21-10  sevenseaman: A well executed endgame.
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