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Hans-Joachim Hecht vs Raymond Keene
"Darn it to Hecht" (game of the day Jul-10-2013)
Clare Benedict Cup 13th (1966), Brunnen (Switzerland), rd 3, May-16
Caro-Kann Defense: Karpov. Smyslov Variation (B17)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < A Heckt-of-a nice win! >
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: <ray keene: i believe blacks play was fine-i had to play 25..ne8 when black wins>

Fine? Boy that's an understatement! The opening play was elegant.. textbook perfect! I saved the game because of that alone!

But 25.Rd5?! is probably the prettiest blunder I've seen in a long time. <The loss is unavoidable..> for black if he takes, and for white if ..Ne8!

A very unusual position indeed! Great GOTD

Jan-29-13  vinidivici: What a Hecht!!
Feb-13-13  solskytz: I loved the strategic idea, refuting ...b6.

There's a disharmony in black's position after this move, resulting from the position of both knights, and most particularly from the inability of the Nd5 to use b6 again.

What is lovely, is the exact method chosen by white, to expose, demonstrate and prove that indeed, black's position IS disharmonious.

It is an example of masterly play, how white plays upon this momentary inconvenience in the black position.

Note how after c4 (already a3 was a masterly move, denying yet another square of relief to the black knight), the knight has to go to e7, denying that same square to the queen, so that after Rd1, she has to go to e8, as Qc7 unfortunately runs into Bf4, inconveniencing her again, and this time really without any good square for her.

Playing thus, in order to send the Queen to e8, is just masterly.

A great player doesn't play for win of material or an attack necessarily - sometimes a whole manoeuver is dedicated just to misplace one enemy piece, or just to create some perceivable disharmony in his position.

Already to predict that the queen will need to go to e8, and to play for it through c4, is appreciable great play.

This comes from a knowledge, that in this kind of positions, with a king castled K-side with a somewhat weakened pawn defense, a knight on f6 that isn't adequately protected, and most important, with a rook on f8, that both hinders the king's flight and will in its turn be blocked, a queen is most unfortunately placed at e8. I won and lost countless games exactly because of the set of circumstances just described.

Recognizing it, seeing that it's inevitable and playing on purpose to reach it, is really remarkable from my point of view.

Mind you - this post is written on seeing the move ...Qe8 and nothing else. I still haven't looked at the rest of the game, to see if it indeed bears my predictions regarding it (the importance of the lack of flight space for the K, the state of the Nf6, the general congestion in the K-side resulting from the Qe8, Rf8, Kg8 combination).

Feb-13-13  solskytz: 23. Nd7 is a million dollar move!

One idea is Blackburn's mate - 23...Nxd7 24. Qh5!!! with inevitable destruction, as leads to 25. Bh7 checkmate.

I love to give this kind of special checkmates in my games - but to do it against Mr. Keene - of course the co-author of the brilliant BCO would never allow it - but he got both legs in the soup in this one...

Feb-13-13  solskytz: On reading the commentary, I begin to suspect that 23. Nd7 wasn't justified and just drops a piece, to a hard-to-see defense...

on replaying the game I did see 25. Rd5 before it came - but totally failed to consider the genius defense 25...Ne8. Very resourceful and shows how many unexpected possibilities the game contains!

It attacks the bishop. If the bishop goes back, ...f5 ends the attack. If still 26. Qh5, then after ...Nxf6, h7 is defended, and there's no long diagonal to support a mate in case of 27. Qxh7+ Nxh7 28. Bxh7+.


But still, before move 23, I would still say that white has quite the crushing position. Isn't 23. Ng4 going to accomplish something on the K-side?

I think that after something like 23. Ng4 Nxg4 24. Qxg4 Qc6 25. Kf1 Qh1+ 26. Ke2 white should be winning. Of course this is far from being a forced sequence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <solskytz> You are correct (mostly): Houdini 3 says that 23.Ng4! is crushing. Its main line is 23...Nxg4 24.Qxg4 f6 25.Qxe6+ Qxe6 26.Nxe6 and White wins more material. However, in the line you give with 24...Qc6, <now> 25.Rd5! wins. (Your 25.Kf1 Qh1+ 26.Ke2 slightly favors Black after 26...Qxh2 27.Nh3 Qg2 28.Qxg2 Bxg2.)
Feb-13-13  solskytz: <FSR> It's satisfactory to see that my chess understanding and vision is largely corroborated by the machine - even if I didn't see everything right :-)
Feb-15-13  solskytz: A bit of further elaboration of a thought stated earlier...

I want to come back to that moment in the game where Black suddenly finds out that he needs to misplace his Q at e8...

When you have to play Q to e8 in this kind of position, this is tantamount fo confessing in front of your opponent, to say "I really have no control over what is going to happen to my kingside for the rest of the game..."

Every alarm bell should be ringing!!!

My two cents

Jul-10-13  paramount: Finally, the game that deserves GOTD!!
Jul-10-13  andrewjsacks: Very fine performance by Hecht.
Jul-10-13  wingpawn: Oh dear, great attacking game by Hecht! The idea of 23. ♘d7!! ♘xd7 24. ♕h5! is pure beauty. Although having ♕e8 and ♙g6 on those squares that early in the middlegame is a good hint for White that something went really wrong in his opponent's game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: 25.Rd5!?! ... All-out Thermonuclear Hecht.
Jul-10-13  Abdel Irada: <When you have to play Q to e8 in this kind of position, this is tantamount fo confessing in front of your opponent, to say "I really have no control over what is going to happen to my kingside for the rest of the game...">

But did he *have* to play 16. ... Qe8? I see nothing wrong with the more natural 16. ...Qc7, but perhaps there's a wrinkle I haven't noticed.

Jul-10-13  DoctorD: 16. .. Qc7 17. Bf4 forces the knight to h5, maybe 17. .. Nh5 18. Be3 keeps up quite a pull. Maybe. It certainly is worth considering, both sides have to play well at that point.
Jul-10-13  Abdel Irada: After 16. ...Qc7 17. Bf4, Nh5 is surprisingly resilient.

White cannot, for example, win the exchange with 18. Qe4?!, f5 19. Qxa8?, Bb7 20. Qa7, Ra8 and the queen is trapped.

Safer for White is your 18. Be3, but then Black can consider 18. ...f5!? with counterplay in a sharp position or retreat 18. ...Nf6. (I'd hesitate to play 18. ...Bb7 because of tactics arising from 19. Nd7!, when White comes away with the two bishops.)

Jul-10-13  sundaresan: What about 27 ..QC5+ for black. This would win or draw for black as the White king is exposed.
Jul-10-13  Abdel Irada: <sundaresan: What about 27 ..QC5+ for black. This would win or draw for black as the White king is exposed.>

That almost works; I'm glad you brought it up.

However, it looks as though White eels out with the finesse 28. Kg2!, dxc4† 29. Kf1 . Black has a few spite checks and then must resign.

The point is that by taking on c4 with the pawn, Black loses that square for his queen, meaning that the white king can now take refuge from the checks on f1.

Jul-10-13  TheaN: An interesting double-swindle game. The idea of 25.Rd5?! which I once saw as similarly effective with a pawn blocking a bishop-queen battery for one move, is not working here due to 25....Ne8, but the 'simple' exd5 fails due to an explosion on the kingside. Nice.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Abdel Irada> -- <But did he *have* to play 16. ... Qe8?> I suspect that ...Qe8 is something of a Keene trademark -- there is a ...Qe8 line in the Nimzo-Indian where Keene is credited as the inventor. Compare various ...Qe8 lines in the Classical/Iljin-Zhenevsky Dutch, and also Qe1 for White in the King's Indian Attack.

Admittedly, ...Qe8 occurs a bit later in this game, when Black is already under pressure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Do we have a theme on picturesque mates this week? Today it's the rook and bishops.
Jul-10-13  Edeltalent: Here are the comments from Hecht himself (from the book "The best games of German Grandmasters", translated and slightly abridged by myself):

<12.... ♘bd5?!>
Too schematic! The threat Nb4 is easily paried, but the Knight won't be able to hold onto the d5-square after c4. 12...Nbd7 to relieve the pressure was better.

Also too schematic, loses time and decreases attacking changes on the kingside. 14.Bd2 to prepare long castle or 14.g4 should have been considered.

<16.... ♕e8?>
Artificial and bad. Correct was 16... Qc7 17.Bf4 Bd6 along with Bb7 and Rad8.

<17.... a4>
Just a loss of time! Positional things on the queenside are unimportant when the kingside will shortly be ablaze. Bb7 or Nc6 were more urgent.

<18.... ♘f5>
Downright provokes the following bajonet attack. With secured center and aggressive placement of the minor pieces I didn't have to be asked twice.

<21.... ♗b7>
Just in time. The otherwise deadly 22.Ng4 would now be paried with Qc6, which shows another disadvantage of White's short castle. Therefore the Ne5 has to hold still. White now hurries to mobilize the reservist on d1. With the following move, Rd1-d3-h3(g3) is prepared.

<22. ♗c2! g6?>
Fatally weakens the long diagonal. Only with 22...Nf5 Black could have lived. Now I could have easily won in a rather profane way with 23.Ng4 Nxg4 24.Qxg4 Qc6 25.Rd5 (another purpose of Bc2!) or even 25.Kf1 with the decisive threats Qh3, Qh4 or Qh5. But as a docile pupil of Kurt Paul Otto Joseph Richter I was already floating above the clouds and my eyes got wet seeing the following possibility:

<23. ♘d7!?? ♕xd7>
The storybook mate after 23...Nxd7 24.Qh5 gxh5 25.Bh7 is the main idea.

<25.... exd5??>
Indeed Keene allowed my brilliancy game. After the game Wolfgang Unzicker showed the refutation 25...Ne8! The seemingly mighty Bf6 of all things allows Black the saving tempo: 26.Bc3 Ng7! 27.Qg4 f5 28.Qh4 Nh5 and Black not only holds, but even wins!

<26.... ♗xf2+>
Keene had relied on this. But the brilliancy succeeds, because all white pieces are working together wonderfully.

<27.... ♘e4+>
After 27...Qc5+ 28.Kg2 his own d-pawn hinders Black: 28...d4+ 29.Kh3! Bc8+ 30.Kh4 Nf5+ 31.Bxf5 or 28...dxc4+ 29.Kf1!

<28. ♘xe4>
Now 28...Qxf6 fails to Nxf6 with check! Who would have thought that the quiet reserve on a1 would decide the day?

Jul-10-13  Edeltalent: By the way, I would have found 30.♘c3+, retreating the Knight to a natural square instead of randomly throwing it en prise somewhere, a more aesthetically pleasing finishing move.
Jul-10-13  celtrusco: Belleza, ajedrez que alienta a disfrutar jugando. Sacrificio de Torre, luego de la Dama, ojalá algún día pueda yo jugar así.

Beautifull, this chess encourages to enjoy the game. Sacrifice of a Rook, after the Queen, I hope one day I can play just like that.

Jul-10-13  DoctorD: I like <DomDaniel>'s point, it looks like Keene relied on an idea that fit his style (and was effective and innovative elsewhere) but just didn't work here. Exactly the sort of analytical "mistake" (pattern) we expect to see in a strong human, as opposed to a computer.
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