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Walter Browne vs Ljubomir Ljubojevic
"Big Browne" (game of the day Jun-08-2008)
Interpolis 2nd (1978), Tilburg NED, rd 2, Sep-02
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense Except Gligoric System (E53)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Nice finish. One threat is 24.Re7, but Qh5, Bc2 and Re3 are also a tad annoying.

The reason 14.Bd5 is so famous is its rarity; d4-d5 is by far the most common invasion of the d5 square.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I think 22...b4, followed by 23...Bd3, would have been better for black. It costs a ♙, but that's cheaper than a ♕.
Jun-08-08  pastpawn: <al wazir>: If 22 ... b4, then 23 ♗c2 seems very strong.
Jun-08-08  tshepo: well it was an impressive game
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: For me the strength of Bd5 is not that it exploits the pin on the e file, it is that it forces black to tie himself up in knots on the queenside, leading to a mating attack on the kingside.

14 ... Bxd5 fails to 15. Nxd5 when black must lose the bishop on b4 or his queen.

14. ... Ba8 falls to the same trap. 15. Bxa8 Rxa8 16. Nd5 and again the knight forks queen and bishop.

14. ... Ba6 (as played) requires the black knight to return home to protect the bishop after Qa4. This reinforces the pin on the f6 knight and makes black's whole queenside look artificial.

So the double !! is for what the move threatens, not the pin on the e file which makes it possible. As <An Englishman> says, the move is also quite rare. So Browne probably had to think it up for himself rather than remember it from another game.

Does that justify the double "!!" ? Beats me! I think that commentators award too many exclamation marks anyway, so I would have been happy with just the one !. But it is a fine move all the same.

Love the final position where white has a multitude of threats to choose from. The right time to resign.

Jun-08-08  JohnBoy: After yesterday's horse race, maybe we need a game where the former US champ gets crushed from the gates. Like J Grefe vs Browne, 1973 for instance. (I've always liked John Grefe!)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I have to fault <15...Bxc3> Why give up the Bishop pair? And I don't see the point of <18...Qb7>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <OhioChessFan> Agree - both moves seem suspect. I think that they were all part of a rather dubious plan that Black concocted to make the best of a poor position.

Black thinks - I need to do something about the bishop on a6. It either needs to be protected or moved. Nb8 is the only move to do this, but how then do we bring the bishop back into the game? We will probably need the queen to allow the bishop to return to b7. The queen is currently protecting the bishop on b4, so first we need to move that bishop. Bxc3 allows us to move the bishop with tempo and still have time for Nb8. Black may also have been worried about the Nd5 threat I mentioned in my last post.

18. ... Qb7 has a similar aim. Black needs to activate the bishop on a6. Just moving it to b7 loses the a7 pawn. So Qb7 prepares Nf6. After Qa3 black could continue with b4 and his pieces spring to life.

Of course, Qb7 allows 19. Bxf6 weakening the kingside. Black probably reckoned that this weakness would be outweighed by the activity of the queenside and by grabbing the open file with Rg8.

Browne's second d5 sacrifice (20. d5) puts paid to all of those ideas, by giving the white queen an express highway to the kingside.

So I think I can understand why Black played both moves. The trouble is that his plan was a little too slow in comparison to Browne's attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <pastpawn: If 22 ... b4, then 23 Bc2 seems very strong.>

22...b4 23. Bc2 f5 24. Qg5+ (24. Ng5 f6) Kh8 25. Bxf5 f6 26. Bxd7 fxg5 27. Bxe8 Rxe8. Black is down an exchange, but the two passers (pastpawns?) in the center are worth something.

Jun-08-08  ste10987: Why did he resign?? There's nothing wrong with black's position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <ste10987> Yes, Black's position is fine, but the jockey pulled him up in the stretch.

Seriously, see <An Englishman>'s comment above. <"Nice finish. One threat is 24.Re7, but Qh5, Bc2 and Re3 are also a tad annoying.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 15...Ba5 seems like the better move to play at this point.

click for larger view

It's difficult to see how either side can gain an edge now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Once: <Black thinks - I need to do something about the bishop on a6. It either needs to be protected or moved. Nb8 is the only move to do this, but how then do we bring the bishop back into the game>

<15....Ba5> is the other half of the defend or move choice. It has the same long term problem, in it seems to be burying a minor piece. I think either one would have been preferable to the game move though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Okay, I see <JFP> found the same <Ba5> idea. Though cramped, those nice diagonals seem like decent compensation.
Jun-08-08  Marmot PFL: I feel sorry for anyone that bet on Big Brown. Many people were saying on race day that he was sick and would be lucky to finish in the top 4. Probably he would have scratched if the race was not so important, and should have anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <JimFromProvidence & OhioChessFan>. You're right, Ba5 does protect the Bishop on a6. I'd instinctively ruled it out because of the apparent Noah's ark trap with a3 and b4 (a problem I have with visualisation). It just feels wrong for black to self-pin his Ba5 in this way.

So how about 15. ... Ba5 16. a3 Qd6 17. Ba2. With b4 in the wings, black's best response may be to capture on c3 after all. And after that we still have the problem of defending the bishop on a6, so maybe we have to think about Nb8 too.

I'd rather be white, but I dertainly agree that I don't see a crushing position yet. 18. Qb7 seems to be when black goes wrong.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I am trying to work this one out. I think I'd prefer Nb8, but I don't see any quick ways for White to take advantage of the Bishops if Ba5. White is better in any case. 18. Qb7 looks like a wasted move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Here's the text position after 17…b5.

click for larger view

<Once> <So how about 15. ... Ba5 16. a3 Qd6 17. Ba2. With b4 in the wings, black's best response may be to capture on c3 after all. And after that we still have the problem of defending the bishop on a6, so maybe we have to think about Nb8 too.>

Here’s the position after 17 …Bxc3 in your suggested continuation.

click for larger view

Black looks a little better here than the text, especially his knight at d7. I'm not sure if white is better off taking the bishop by 18 bxc3 or Rxc3.

Either way, I'm not seeing a clear way forward for white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I ran the position for Black's 15th move thru Fritz at 22 plies

Nb8 -.38
Ba5 -.65
Bxc3 -.92

I'm a little surprised he likes Nb8 that much better. Going to have a look at 18.....Qb7 now. That has got to be a blunder.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: A quick run on Black's 18th shows Fritz thinks Qb7 is a blunder, eval of -1.60, preferring Qc7 and Qd8 at about -.90 each. Qc7 makes a lot of sense, since it gets Queens off the board before White could give up the Bishop pair with Bxf6. Qd8 causes a retreat of Qa3, then Bb7 and Black looks a lot better than the game continuation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Hmm, not sure why I put all the negative values in my posts. I'm sure everyone knows White is better.
Jun-08-08  Some call me Tim: <Pawsome> I agree. This is a player who was strong enough to become a GM pre-inflation yet all anyone remembers is his loss of a few blitz games to Fischer when Fischer couldn't muster the courage to face official tournament competition. Here is an example of Biyiasis's handiwork: Biyiasas vs J Grefe, 1980
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Big Brown didn't look like himself on Saturday. Maybe,he was involved in too much peopleplay the night before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <jimfromprovidence> The difficulty I have with Ba5 is that I think it just delays the problem with the bishop on a6. If white plays a3, black may be forced to capture on c3 anyway, so there is not much gained over the game line. Black wastes a tempo with two bishop moves and white adds a3 (which does not seem to be critical).

The line I suggested adds Qd6 and Ba2 (not featured in your diagram). I think this helps black as it unpins the queen and forces the white bishop to retreat.

True, I don't see a clear line for white in either variation. But more importantly black still has the problem of what to do to protect his queenside especially the Ba6. White has a pleasant edge but not enough to win.

I think we are all agreed that Qb7 was the real problem move for black.

Jun-18-08  pastpawn: <al wazir> Yes, those would be pastpawns :). I think that after 22 ... b4 23 ♗c2 f5 , 24 ♖e7 wins the ♕, as 25 ♘g5 is threatened .
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