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Borislav Ivkov vs Miguel Cuellar Gacharna
"A Knight in Tunisia" (game of the day Jun-02-2014)
Sousse Interzonal (1967), Sousse TUN, rd 11, Oct-29
Bird Opening: Dutch Variation (A03)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: There is an earlier example of Ivkov playing this "Polish Bird": Ivkov vs Unzicker, 1965. To use it against a strong GM such as Unzicker implies some confidence, so it was a good choice to throw a less renowned players such as Cuellar on his own resources.

The game is pretty much decided by Black's 19...Nxe5, leaving the pinned knight on c5 guarded only by a ticklish rook. That costs the exchange, and Ivkov spends the rest of the game seeing how many different ways his remaining knight can irritate Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: In some ways it's a strange choice of game for GOTD. There are few fireworks - although the final mate by a knight is relatively unusual.

Fritzie thinks that the first turning point comes here after 18. Ba3

click for larger view

From here 18...e5 (as played) looks very natural to hit at the strongly posted white knight on d4. But Fritzie blinks his red eye at this move, bumping the evaluation down from +0.5 to +1.5. Black loses a pawn or the exchange. As Phony has pointed out, black's position relies on the Rc8 protecting the Nc5. After 18....e5 19. Nxe5, White's knights can kick the black rook until it either has to abandon the knight or allow itself to be taken.

Instead of 18...e5, Fritzie recommends the scary looking 18...Qb6. This protects the black Nc5 but most of us would be wary of it because it opens the queen up to discovered attacks.

Odd game. White didn't so much win it as create the conditions where black could lose it.

Jun-02-14  morfishine: Neat final mate position where White's Horse figuratively & literally corrals the Black King
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Black was probably a bit dizzy when the game ended.
Jun-02-14  Eduardo Bermudez: A audacious Knight walking around the Chessboard in Tunez
Jun-02-14  cunctatorg: Despite this loss, the late IM Miguel Cuellar had to claim a series of victories against Top Grandmasters in the 1962 and 1967 INTERZONAL Tournaments!

Only a few IM have such a pride to present!! Not bad, eh?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight sneaks up like a snake to mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: A(nother) night in Tunisia.

Fischer vs Myagmarsuren, 1967

Jun-02-14  landogriffin: Was just wondering what would happen if black didn't play Re1??. One line was: 44...Rh1+ 45. Kg3 Rxh4 46. Nf4+ Kg5 47. Nxe5+ Kh5 48. Nf4+ Kg5 49. Rg6+ and white picks up the rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: I've won (and lost) a few games like this: sudden unexpected mates in endgame or semi-endgame positions.

Sometimes, when material is reduced to one or two pieces (plus pawns) each, players seem to relax their mate antennae, assuming - consciously or otherwise - that mate threats are no longer relevant.

Jun-02-14  Amarande: <Domdaniel> Indeed this is a common error, it seems, and it even happens to those of the very first tier:

Alekhine vs Fine, 1937

<landogriffin> The Rook is toast, indeed: besides your line, the only other moves that save the Rook (for the moment) while also preventing the mate, are 44 ... Rf1 or 44 ... Rc4, but then 45 Nf4+ of course forces the Rook to immediately be given up.

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