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Raymond Keene vs Karl Robatsch
"Smells Like Keene Spirit" (game of the day Oct-27-2010)
18th Clare Benedict (1971), Madrid ESP, Mar-14
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E08)  ·  1-0



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Given 68 times; par: 31 [what's this?]

Annotations by Stockfish (Computer).      [25210 more games annotated by Stockfish]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-28-10  eykca: What a fun game to watch. Your notes were instructive and readable even if the alternatives weren't carried to completion.
Nov-02-10  njchess: Brilliant game GM Keene.
Feb-24-12  King Sacrificer: Great play GM Keene. But i don't umderstand the annotation at move 18:

"After the game Robatsch suggested 18...f6 but this fails to 19 d6! Bxg2 20 Qb3+ c4 21 Qxc4+ Ne6 22 Nxe6 Bxf1 23 Kxf1 etc."

Doesn't Black have a 20...Bd5 or 21...Bd5 option here?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <King Sacrifice> After <18...f6 19.d6 Bxg2 20.Qb3+>

click for larger view

20...Bd5 is useless because the bishop isn't protected; the pawn on d6 cuts off the queen.

Feb-24-12  King Sacrificer: Thanks Phony Benoni. I forgot the d-pawn. <facepalm>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <King Sacrificer> Easy to do; the d-pawn sort of disappears once it advances. Sort of an Unretained Image. I had to look at a diagram before it hit me.
Feb-01-13  Cemoblanca: I've learned so much from your annotations Mr. Keene. Thank you very much for this nice effort, sir.

Keep it up & all the best! :)


Great sound! ;)

Jul-06-14  celtrusco: Elegant style! I wish to play chess like that someday.
Jul-06-14  celtrusco: This game... listening Chet Baker...
Jul-06-14  celtrusco: I like Nirvana, but is another thing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I got 21.Rxf7 Kxf7, but planned on 22.Ng5+, but now looking back, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. :| I thought the king would be deflected, and I can pick up the knight, and.

Forget it. I'll see you puzzle solvers on Monday!

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Now I paused to think for 50 minutes before continuing with the combination. White is winning but some of the variations demand precise calculation.>

Yes, GM Keene. That is very appropriate for a Sunday puzzle ;)

Aug-23-15  Robespierre: Just a quick note from an advanced beginner to thank Mr Ray Keene cordially for providing such clear & highly elucidating notes to his games! Grazie, grazie!
Aug-23-15  diagonalley: fabulous finish! ... well out of <diagonalley>'s league! :-(
Aug-23-15  patzer2: Greatly appreciate all the well annotated games provided by GM Keene here at

Today's game and Sunday puzzle (21. ?) offers an insight into the preparation, planning and calculating ability that separates me and a lot of other club players from a GM.

I made a wild guess the Sunday solution was 21. Rxf7!!, but I got lost in the difficulty of trying to calculate the follow-up to this complicated King hunt combination.

Without the prompt this was puzzle, in an OTB game I would have played 21. Qb3?! when 21...Qd7 or 21...Ba6 favor Black.

Not much to add to GM Keene's annotations, except for the possibility 22...Kg8.

If 22...Kg8, Deep Fritz 14 indicates White wins with 23. Nf6+! as play might continue 23...gxf6 (23... Kf7 24. Nxe8+ Kxe8 25. Qxg6+ Kd7 26. Qe6+ Kc7 27. Rf7+ Kb8 28. Qe5+ Kc8 29. Bh3+ Qd7 30. Rf8#) 24. Qxg6+ Kh8 25. Qxh6+ Kg8 26. Rxf6 Re7 27. Rg6+ Kf7 28. Rg7+ Ke8 29. Qg6+ Kd7 30. Qe6+ Kc7 31. Rxe7+ Qxe7 32. Qxe7+ Kb8 33. Qd6+ Kc8 34. Bh3#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Now that is fascinating. Ray tells us that he played the winning move (21. Rxf7) after only a few minutes thought. He hadn't calculated it to a winning - instead he had used his judgement that "there had to be a mate".

It is only after 21...Kxf7 22. Rf1+ Ke7 that he invested 50 minutes (!) into calculating the variations.

I wonder how many other GMs think like this? Do they calculate every move or do they play speculative sacrifices relying on positional judgement?

I suppose that's the difference between a GM and us humble foot soldiers. First, Ray plays a speculative sacrifice relying on judgement that the resulting position has to be winning. And a couple of moves later he spends 50 minutes working out the variations.

That is alternatively faster than we would play and then slower. Odd. Most odd.

I must confess that I have never spent 50 minutes on a single move. I am not sure if I could hold the variations in my head for that length of time.

The judgement thing I can do. Today I had the game continuation up to 23...Kd7. But the 50 minutes of fine calculation? Not this soldier. That's simply not in my arsenal.

It's Sunday. A day for being humbled and waiting for Monday.

Aug-23-15  jith1207: It's not every Sunday I get it right. In fact, once in a blue moon. I will watch out for tonight's sky.
Aug-23-15  patzer2: In addition to GM Keene's suggested improvement for Black of 20...Qe7! = to , Fritz also likes 20...Qd7! = to (-0.41 @ 24 depth).
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is the biggest load of Robatsch I've ever seen.
Aug-23-15  morfishine: Since it was a Sunday <21.Rxf7> fit the bill continuing 21...Kxf7 22.Rf1+ and here is where it was difficult for me: 22...Kg8 looked better than 22...Ke7 mainly because I didn't appreciate the strength of 22...Kg8 <23.Nf6+>; But 22...Ke7 23.d6+ Kd7 24.Rf7+ just looked awful for Black; Of course, I didn't see the finishing cross-pin, really terrific game by GM Keene

<patzer2> I much enjoyed your frank posting today especially considering you posted on this game 10 years ago

<offramp> lol


Aug-23-15  wooden nickel: <Keene: I played this sacrifice after only a few minutes thought. It is clear that both 21...Rxe4 22 Qxe4 or 22 Rxb7 Rg4 23 Qf5 and 21...Kxf7 22 Rf1+ Kg8 23 Nf6+ gxf6 24 Qxg6+ Kh8 25 Qxh6+ Kg8 26 Qg6+ Kh8 27 Rxf6 Re7 28 Be4! are inadequate, and I felt that after 21...Kxf7 22 Rf1+ Ke7 there had to be a mate.> Oops, I didn't even consider 21... Rxe4, good thing it doesn't work. But which move is really the best i.e. surest way to win after 24... Ne7

click for larger view

25.Qa4+ or Qd1 or Bh3+

Aug-23-15  patzer2: <morfishine> Thanks!
Aug-23-15  patzer2: <wooden nickel><But which move is really the best i.e. surest way to win after 24... Ne7> Deep Fritz 14 prefers 25. Bh3+ (+25.78 @ 23 depth), but the program also indicates GM Keene's 25. Qa4+! (+6.09 @ 22 depth) forces the game finish with a clearly decisive result.

The Fritz second choice is the surprising 25. Qd1 (+6.13 @ 23 depth).

I prefer GM Keene's forcing 25. Qa4+! as it's easier for me to comprehend.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

The pawn on d5 is immune at the moment (Bxd5 Rxd5 Qxd5 Nf6+).

The pawn on f7 protects the knight and is protected by the king only. This leads to consider 21.Rxf7:

A) 21... Kxf7 22.Rf1+

A.1) 22... Kg8 23.Nf6+

A.1.a) 23... gxf6 24.Qxg6+

A.1.a.i) 24... Kf8 25.Rxf6+ Qxf6 (25... Ke7 26.Q(R)f7# or 26.Qg7#) 26.Qxf6+ Kg8 27.Qg6+ followed by 28.Qxh6+ + - [Q+3P vs 2R].

A.1.a.ii) 24... Kh8 25.Qxh6+ Kg8 26.Qg6+ Kf8 (26... Kh8 27.Rf5 wins) 27.Rxf6+ transposes to A.1.a.i.

A.1.b) 23... Kh8 24.Qxg6 transposes to A.1.a.

A.1.c) 23... Kf7 24.Nxe8+

A.1.c.i) 24... Kxe8 25.Qxg6+ Kd7 (25... Ke7 26.Rf7+ Ke8 27.Rxg7+ Kf8 28.Qf7#) 26.Qxg7+ Kd6 (26... Kc8 27.Rf8 wins) 27.Qxb7 or 27.Rf6+ wins.

A.1.c.ii) 24... Kg8 25.Nf6+ Kf7 (25... gxf6 26.Qxg6+ is similar to A.1.a) 26.Nh5+ wins decisive material.

A.1.c.iii) 24... Ke7 25.Qxg6 Qxe8 26.Qe6+ Kd8 27.Qd6+ Kc8 (27... Qd7 28.Rf8#) 28.Bh3+ Qe6 29.Bxe6#.

A.1.d) 23... Kf8 24.Nxe8+ transposes to A.1.c.

A.2) 22... Ke7 23.d6+

A.2.a) 23... Kd7 24.Rf7+

A.2.a.i) 24... Kc8 25.d7+ Qxd7 (25... Kb8 26.dxe8=Q Qxe8 27.Rxb7+ followed by 28.Nd6+ wins) 26.Rxd7 Kxd7 27.Nxc5+ bxc5 28.Bxb7 Rab8 29.Qxg6 Rxb7 30.Qxg7+ Kc8 31.Qxh6 + - [Q+3P vs 2R] (31... Rxb2 32.Qc6+ Kd8 33.Qf6+ and 34.Qxb2).

A.2.a.ii) 24... Ke6 25.Ng5+ Qxg5 (25... hxg5 26.Qxg6+ Qf6 (26... Ke5 27.Rf5#) 27.Rxf6+ gxf6 28.Bxb7 + - [Q+B+P vs 2R]; 25... Kxd6 26.Qxg6+ wins decisive material; 25... Ke5 26.Qf5+ Kxd6 27.Qxg6+ transposes to the previous subline) 26.hxg5 Kxf7 (26... Bxg2 27.Qxg6+ followed by 28.Kxg2 wins) 27.Bxb7 Rab8 28.Qf5+ Kg8 (28... Ke7 29.Qxg6 Rxb7 30.Qxg7+ and 31.Qxb7 wins) 29.Bd5+ Kh7 30.Bf7 wins decisive material.

A.2.a.iii) 24... Ne7 25.Qa4+ Kc8 (25... Bc6 26.Bh3#) 26.d7+ Kc7 (26... Qxd7 27.Bh3 Qxh3 28.Qxe8+ Kc7 29.Rxe7+ Qd7 30.Qxd7+ Kb8 31.Qc7#) 27.dxe8=Q Qxe8 28.Qxe8 Rxe8 29.Rxg7 with an extra pawn and the better ending.

A.2.a.iv) 24... Re7 25.dxe7 Nxe7 26.Rxg7 with an extra pawn and a much better position.

A.2.b) 23... Ke6 24.Bh3+

A.2.b.i) 24... Ke5 25.Rf5+ Ke6 26.Rxc5+ Kf7 27.Rc7+ followed by 28.Rxb7 with two pawns for the exchange and attack.

A.2.b.ii) 24... Kd5 25.Nc3+ Kc6 (25... Kc4 26.Qa4#; 25... Ke5 26.Qf5+ Kxd6 27.Rd1+ Kc7 28.Rxd8 Raxd8 29.Qxg6 + - [Q+N vs 2R]; 25... Kxd6 26.Rd1+ as in the previous subline) 26.Qa4+ Kxd6 27.Rd1+ Kc7 (27... Ke7 28.Rxd8 Raxd8 29.Bxb7 + - [Q+B vs 2R]) 28.Nb5+ Kb8 (28... Kc6 29.Bg2+ wins) 29.Rxd8+ Rxd8 30.Qg4 Ne5 (else 31.Qf4+ wins) 31.Qxg7 Nd7 32.Bxd6 wins.

A.2.c) 23... Qxd6 24.Nxd6 Bxg2 (24... Kxd6 25.Qxg6+ etc.) 25.Rf7+ Kxd6 26.Qxg6+ Re6 27.Qd3+ Bd5 28.Rd7+ Kxd7 29.Qxd5+ followed by 30.Qxa8 wins.

B) 21... Rb8 22.Ng5

B.1) 22... hxg5 23.Qxg6 wins.

B.2) 22... Ne5(h8) 23.Qh7#.

Aug-23-15  BOSTER: In the <puzzle> pos. white has open "f" file, united rooks, advanced pawn d5, knight e4, which controls f6 and d6, more space, more open lines and the move.

From other side black has undefended bishop b7, rook a8-out of the play, knight g6 almost hanging in the air-attacked by the queen c2 through Ne4, f7 pawn is weakness.

The sacr.21.Rxf7 is standard in such pos., and if Kxf7 another white rook reloaded to f1. After Kg8 Nf6+ destroying all black shield.

After Kd7,white has d6 check and black king has to move somewhere on white squares, where white rook f1, bishopg2 and queen c2 are waiting for him.

I'd not put 2 exclamation points after 21.Rxf7,how did GM R.Keene

So, <Smells> Like Keene Spirit>, but

this is not the same like "Scent of a Woman".

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