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Gata Kamsky vs Joel Lautier
New York Open (1991), New York, NY USA, Mar-??
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-26-06  Chicago Chess Man: I agree, sweet game. White never lets black out of the defensive. I enjoy playing white against the French Defense, getting to build a massive kingside assault while most of black's pieces are stranded on the queenside. Although, mine aren't usually this successful.
Jul-18-09  dzechiel: White to move (33?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

If you are like me, one of the first things you did (after counting the material) was to count the attackers and defenders of f6. Then you said to yourself, "What's the big deal here? Doesn't

33 Nxf6

win a pawn and attack the queen? After all, if black plays 33...Bxf6 then 34 Bxf6+ looks really good!"

But, alas, black will, instead, respond:


Not only does this move remove the queen from danger, but it also attacks the knight again (simultaneously pinning it against the white queen) AND it threatens 34...Qxg2#. Is white prepared to go down this line?


I spent a lot of time on this, but came up with the wrong key move. I very much wanted to play a line that looked like...

33 Ng5 fxg5 34 Nxe5 Qd5 35 Nxf7+ Qxf7 36 Bxg5 Bxg5 37 Qxg5 Nc6 38 f6

with the idea of using the rook to sac on e8 allowing Qg7+. It was fanciful and I'm sure wrought with problems.

<sigh> I need another vacation. I'll try harder tomorrow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: 38...♗g6 39.♖xg6+ hxg6 40.♕xg6+ ♔f8 41.♗xd6+ looks conclusive.
Jul-18-09  SgtPepper: I got it today, first three moves, the rest is just black's despair. Great feeling.
Jul-18-09  acolyte: Was thinking same knight, different square. Anyone see the problem with 33. Nxe5 fxe5 34. Bxe7 Qxe7, and then advancing the f-pawn?
Jul-18-09  TheBish: Kamsky vs Lautier, 1991

White to play (33.?) "Very Difficult"

Material is even.

One way to go wrong is 33. Bxf6+? Bxf6 34. Nxf6 Qc6 and Black will win the knight thanks to the pin as well as the mate threat on g2. Ditto 33. Nxf6? Qc6 34. Rf2 Bxf6 35. Na5 Qd6 36. Nxb7 Nxb7 and White has nothing to show for the piece.

Correct is 33. Ncd6! The threat is 34. Nxf7+ Nxf7 35. Bxf6+ Bxf6 36. Qf8#. Black has many defensive tries, but White is winning in all lines.

A) 33...Bxd6 34. Bxf6+ Kg8 (34...Rxf6 35. Qxf6+ and 36. Qxd6 is easy) 35. Rf3 Rg7 (or 35...Bf8 36. Rg3+ Bg7 36. Bxg7) 36. Bxg7 Bxe4 (not 36...Nf7 37. Nf6# or 36...Qxg7 37. Rg3) 37. Rg3! (37. dxe4 Nf7 38. Qe6! Qxe6 39. fxe6 Ng5 40. Rf5 also wins, but is slower) Bxf5 38. Bxe5+ Bg6 (38...Kf7 39. Qf6+ Ke8 40. Rg8+ and mate next) 39. Rxg6+! hxg6 40. Qxg6+ Kf8 41. Bxd6+ wins the queen.

B) 33...Bf8 34. Nxf7+ Qxf7 35. Qxf6+ wins a whole rook after picking up the knight.

C) 33...Rf8 34. Bxf6+ Rxf6 (34...Bxf6 35. Qxf8# or 34...Kg8 35. Qg7#) 35. Nxf6, and White either wins the queen or mates, i.e. 35...Bxd6 36. Nxd7 or 35...Bxf6 36. Qf8 mate. Recurring theme here!

D) 33...Rg7 (best try) 34. Bxf6 Bxf6 35. Qxf6 and White will win the e5 pawn or more, since 35...Bxe4 36. dxe4! Qe7 (or 36...Nc6? 37. Qf8+ Rg8 38. Nf7+ wins the queen) 37. Qxe7 Rxe7 38. f6 Rd7 39. f7 Ne6 40. Nc4! wins a second pawn (but not 40. f8=Q+? Nxf8 41. Rxf8+ Kg7 and White must give back the knight).

E) 33...Bxe4 34. Nxf7+ Kg8 (or 34...Nxf7 35. Bxf6+ Bxf6 36. Qf8#) 35. Nxd8 Bxf5 36. Bxf6 Bxd8 37. Rxf5 Bxf6 38. Qxf6 is crushing.

Time to (finally) see the game!

Jul-18-09  TheBish: Nailed it! Don't think I've seen this before. It's possible, but I had to work out all the variations as I didn't remember it (if I had seen it once upon a time).
Jul-18-09  radu stancu: <acolyte: Was thinking same knight, different square. Anyone see the problem with 33. Nxe5 fxe5 34. Bxe7 Qxe7, and then advancing the f-pawn?>

35. f6 Qf8 36. Qxf8 (36. Qg5 Bxe4 37. dxe4 Nc6) Rxf8 37. Ng5 Bd5 and black has a piece for a pawn, with no compensation as white's f pawn is not supported enough.

Jul-18-09  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult)

Kamsky vs Lautier, 1991 (33.?)

White to play and win.

Material: N for B. The Black Kh8 has 1 legal move. White has a focused attack on Pf6, with Ne4, Bh4, and Qh6 outnumbering the defense by Be7 and Rf7. The Black Qd7 can fork f6 with a mate threat Qd7-c6 on g2, however. The Black Be7 and Rf7 also bear the absolute burden of preventing Qh6-f8#. The White Nc4 and Ne4 have an array of dark-square targets. The White Ne4 has increased priority as a candidate, because Bb7 can capture it. The White Rf1 backs Pf5, suggesting a possible clearance with 33.Nxe5. The White Kg1 is secured against check.

Candidates (33.): Nxf6, Bxf6+, Nxe5, Ncd6, Ned6

[33.Nxf6 Qc6 (threatening 34…Qxg2# and pinning Nf6 to Qh6) wins Nf6]

[33.Bxf6+ Bxf6 34.Nxf6 Qc6 (threatening 35…Qxg2# and pinning Nf6 to Qh6) wins Nf6]

[33.Nxe5 fxe5 34.Bxe7 Qxe7 goes nowhere]

The Black defense depends on the mate threat Qd7-c6 and the dark-square B.

33.Ncd6 (threatening 34.Nxf7+ Nxf7 35.Bxf6+ Bxf6 36.Qxf6+ winning R+P for N)

(1) 33…Rf8 34.Nxf6 (threatening 35.Qxh7# or 35.Nxd7) wins at least a P

(2) 33…Rg7 34.Bxf6 wins at least a P

(3) 33…Bxd6 34.Bxf6+ Kg8 [Rxf6 35.Qxf6+drops R+P for N]

35.<Qg5+> Kf8 [Rg7 36.Bxg7 Qxg7 37.Qxd8+ drops R+P for B]


Black has lost a P and cannot attempt to equalize with repetition:

36.Rg7 Qf6+ 37.Rf7 Qh8#

<[Toga II 1.3.1 evaluates 35.Qg5+ at about +1.8 P, enough to demonstrate a win, but it evaluates the game variation at better than +8.0 P.>

Jul-18-09  Summerfruit: Material is even.

White would like to capture the pawn at f6, but at the moment it is indirectly defended by the move Qc6 (threatening mate).

So deflection is called for:


a) 33...Bxd6 34.Bxf6+ Kg8 35.Bxd8 Qxd8 36.Nxd6 Rg7/e7/d7/c7 37.Nxb7 Rxb7 38.Qe6+ and wins a second pawn.

b) 33...Rf8 34.Nxb7

b1: 34...Nxb7 35.Nxf6 Rxf6 36.Bxf6+ Bxf6 37.Qxf6+ and wins.

b2: 34...Qxb7 35.Bxf6+ Rxf6 (Kg8/Bxf6 36.Qg7#/Qxf8#) 36.Nxf6 and wins.

c) 33...Rg7 34.Nxb7 Nxb7/Qxb7 35.Bxf6 Bxf6 and white is a pawn up and enjoys a better position.

d) 33...Bxe4 34.Nxf7+ Nxf7 35.Bxf6+ Kg8/Bxf6 36.Qg7#/Qf8#

Jul-18-09  Summerfruit: My analysis was flawed in line


a) 33...Bxd6 34.Bxf6+ Kg8 35.Bxd8

as this allows 35...Bxe4 (instead of 35...Qxd8) winning for black.

I was pleased to be on the right track, but miscalculated along the way.

Jul-18-09  whiteshark: After 33.Ncd6 it's more ore less forced
Jul-18-09  David2009: Saturday's problem Kamsky vs Lautier, 1991 33 Nxf6 - what's the catch? Aha. 33 Nxf6 Qc6! threatens mate and pins/wins the N. Something more subtle is needed. [NOTE: Without the warning 'Very difficult' I might have fallen for Nxf6]. Instead 33 Ncd6! Bxd6 34 Bxf6+ Kg8 (34 Rxf6 loses on material) 35 Rf3 Bf8 36 Rg3+ Bg7 37 Bxe5 with a strong attack and two pawns for the N. Am I right?

More or less. 37 Bxe5 in my line is unnecessary slow, since 37 Bxg7 wins immediately - I had not seen the looming N fork on f6. Yesterday and today, my sight of the board is bad four or so moves into a combination. Time to read and learn from the other kibitzes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A brilliant 33rd leads to black's quick downfall!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has the bishop pair for B+N and his f pawn is threatened three times but defended only twice. However, the direct 33.Bxf6+ Bxf6 34.Nxf6 Qc6 loses a piece because 35.Ne4 would drop the queen. Similarly, 33.Nxf6 Qc6 is losing for White.

This suggests a further weakening of f6 with 33.Ncd6:

A) 33... Bxd6 34.Bxf6+

A.1) 34... Rxf6 35.Qxf6+ and 36.Qxd6 + -.

A.2) 34... Kg8 35.Rf3 Bf8 36.Rg3+

A.2.a) 34... Bg7 35.Bxg7 Bxe4 (35... Rxg7 36.Nf6+) 36.Bxe5+ + -.

A.2.b) 34... Rg7 35.Bxg7 Bxg7 36.Nf6+ Kf8 (36... Kh8 37.Qxh7#; 36... Kf7 37.Qxg7+) 37. Nxd7+ + -.

B) 33... Bxe4 34.Nxf7+

B.1) 34... Kg8 35.Nxd8

B.1.a) 35... Bxf5 36.Nc6 Qxc6 37.Rxf5 + -.

B.1.b) 35... Bxd3 36.Ne6 Bd6 (36... Kf7 37.Qxh7+ Ke8 38.Qg6#) 37.Bxf6 + -.

B.1.c) 35... B(Q)xd8 36.dxe5 + -.

B.2) 34... Nxf7 35.Bxf6+ Bxf6 36.Qxf6+ Kg8 37.dxe4 + -.

C) 33... Rf8 34.Bxf6+ Rxf6 (34... Bxf6 35.Qxf8#; 34... Kg8 35.Qg7#) 35.Nxf6 Bxf6 36.Qf8#.

D) 33... Rg7 34.Bxf6 Bxf6 (34... Bxd6 35.Qxg7+ Qxg7 36.Bxg7+ Kxg7 37.Nxd6 + -) 35.Qxf6

D.1) 35... Nf7 36.Nxf7+ Qxf7 37.Qxe5 + -.

D.2) 35... Nc6 36.Qf8+ Rg8 37.Nf7+ Qxf7 38.Qxf7 + -.

D.3) 35... Qe7 36.Qxe7 Rxe7 37.f6 Rf7 (37... Rc7 38.f7 Nxf7 39.Rxf7 + -) 38.Nxf7 + -.

Jul-18-09  PinnedPiece: Did not get the first move, thought it was 33.Nxe5.

Game ends, because forced moves lead to this:

click for larger view

Jul-18-09  cyclon: This one was difficult, yes.
Jul-18-09  TheChessGuy: Kamsky was really brilliant back in the day.
Jul-18-09  sileps: I got the first three moves. I somehow managed to miss 35.Rf3 though. I tried to force a checkmate without the rook because it was in such an awkward attacking position. oops
Jul-18-09  wals: Gata Kamsky - Joel Lautier, It (open) New York 1991

Analysis by Rybka 3 1-cpu: 12 ply

1. (9.71): 35.Rf3

2. (1.10): 35.Qg5

Jul-18-09  gofer: 33 Ncd6

33 ... Bxe4 34 Nxf7+ Kg8 (Nxf7 35 Bxf6 Bxf6 36 Qf8#) 35 Nxd8 Ba8 (Qxd8 36 Bxf6 Bxf6 37 Nxf6 Qe7/Qf7 38 dxe4 winning a piece) 36 Bxf6 Bxf6 37 Qxf6+ winning a piece!

33 ... Qc6 34 Nxf7+ Kg8 (Nxf7 35 Bxf6 Qxf6 36 Qxf6 Bxf6 37 Nxf6 winning) 35 Nxd8 winning

33 ... Bxd6 34 Bxf6+ Rxf6 (Kg8 35 Rf3 winning is real style :-)) 35 Qxf6+ Kg8 (Qg7 36 Qxd8+ Qg8 Qxd6 winning) 36 Nxd6 winning

33 ... Rf8 34 Bxf6+ Rxf6 (Bxf6 35 Qxf8#) 35 Nxf6 Bxd6 (Bxf6 36 Qf8#) 36 Nxd7 winning

33 ... Rg7 34 Bxb7 Qxb7 (Nxb7 leaves the a6 pawn very vunerable) 35 Bxf6 Bxf6 36 Qxf6

In this last variation I have taken the play on a bit with black playing 36 ... Qe7 or 36 ... Nf7 or 36 ... Nc6 but the all seem to loose because the three pawns on f5 g2 and h2 quickly link up and charge down the king's side and black has to avoid the white queen casually taking the black pawn on e5 and also other threats like the a and b pawn charge down the queen's side and really it must be lost for black...

So even if this isn't the perfect answer that maybe I was looking for I think its enough...

Time to check and see what I have missed...


Jul-18-09  gofer: errr... ...when I wrote...

33 ... Bxd6 34 Bxf6+ Rxf6 (Kg8 35 Rf3 winning is real style :-)) 35 Qxf6+ Kg8 (Qg7 36 Qxd8+ Qg8 Qxd6 winning) 36 Nxd6 winning

I have to admit I missed the defense that was actually played. What I saw was...

33 ... Bxd6 34 Bxf6+ Kg8 35 Rf3 Bf8 36 Rg3+ Bg7 37 Bxg7 Rxg7 38 Nf6+ winning the queen.

So perhaps I did't seen everything, but I saw most of it... 8/10 for effort!

Jul-18-09  ohfluckaduck: I don't see the point to black's 30... Kh8? Qe8 seems better

30... Qe8. 31. Qh4 Qd8 seems to hold

Premium Chessgames Member
  sackman: Too hard for me, congratulations to those who got this and thank you for the in depth analyses!
Jul-18-09  lippizan: <whiteshark> 33 Ncd6 does not necessarily lead to the same ending. Black's responses are indeed forced, but 35 Rf3 is somewhat less intuitive because the move is not an attack per se, but rather a preparation for the attack. At this stage of the game, you don't typically make a move that appears to give your opponent some tempo. I chose 33 Ncd6 but missed 35 Rf3 for that very reason. Probably the same case with <sileps>.
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