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Raymond Keene vs Vladimir Kovacevic
"Ray of Sunshine" (game of the day Jan-29-2006)
Amsterdam IBM-B (1973), Amsterdam NED, rd 11, Jul-30
Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack: General (A06)  ·  1-0



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Given 55 times; par: 45 [what's this?]

Annotations by Raymond Keene.      [405 more games annotated by Keene]

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Jan-10-15  alfiepa: Ra7 for me !!! ( three ) exlamative points :-)
Jan-10-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has an extra knight, but also a terrible gash in the castled king position. White is in fine position to storm into the breach.

22.Ra7!! (Not unusually deep, but very pretty.) Qxa7

There is no viable way to decline, e.g. Qd8 23.Nxc6 or 22... Qe8 23.Rxe7 allow tempo-gaining recovery of the piece followed by a finishing attack.

23.Nxc6 and now:

(A) 23... Qd7 (to defend f5) 24.Nxe7+ Kg7 (Kh8? 25.Bxf6#) 25.Qh5 Qxe7 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Bxf6+ Qxf6 28.Qxf6+ Kg8 29.Qxc6 and either the N or d-pawn must fall as well.

A.1) 24... Qxe7 25.Qxe7 Ne8|h5 (Ng4 26.Qg5#) 26.Qg5+ Ng7 27.Qxg7#

A.2) 25... h6 26.Nxf5+ Kg8 (Qxf5 27.Qxf5 Nbd7 28.Qxd7) 27.Bxf6 wins quickly.

A.3) 25... Rg8 26.Nxf5+ Kf8 27.Qxh6+! Ke8 28.Qxf6 with 2 pawns for the exchange plus a winning bind, e.g. 28... Qe6 29.Ng7+ wins

B) 23... Qa2 24.Nxe7+ Kg7 25.Nxf5+ Kg6 (Kg8 26.Ne7+ Kg7 27.Qg4+ Kh6 28.Nf5#) 26.Ne7+ Kh6 27.Qe3+ Kh5 (Kg7 28.Qg5+) 28.Qe5+ Kh6 29.Bc1+ Kg7 30.Qg5+ wins.

Line B seems to work for the other feasible queen moves at move 23. That's all I have time for.

Today I found my first (and only) candidate very quickly, unlike the previous 2 POTDs.

Time for review...

Jan-10-15  Strelets: One of the weaknesses that can be hard to overcome is the tendency to see a line like 21.Nxc6 Qxc6 22.Qe7 and stop calculating. White is clearly much better (the dark squares around Black's king are essentially Swiss cheese), but a much more creative possibility lies waiting in the wings; namely 21.Bxf5!! Grandmaster Keene finds and plays it and furthermore demonstrates in his notes that Kovačević was probably lost even with best defense. It goes back to the Alekhine principle: you've found a good move? Great, now look for a better one.
Jan-10-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Not sure why I failed to consider 25.Nxg8 in A.3, but fortunately, black resigned already!
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: A da da dum divergence lane beset a mecurial bind ash aids duo acts a better glide a rook up a7 aint half too bad padre f6 again sight long distance queen rich hue to gain e7 verdict um bless right rook a far go bad brother almighty rambles arriving to bat of beater riff f5 starts the ball rolling lane fetch amp dead an d7 a key in het up light giving his all why in wag brevity rail fetch dare feels about right lovely dispatch in at 22.Ra7 hush up hinch a lift hash head hop scotch in safe ho ho to have two fat ladies d7 angles e7 ment too line up again have spark low in c6 a sight d7 shouldnt have given leeway dipends badge c6 of honour reclaim assumes a vet antioch hive ascribe at path knight ford river tickle arbiter evermore nearly decisive aileron amazing grace c6 backs change in the wind knight an rook aethers affable aidings and abbetted alimony amorphs into a good white line on analogy rates aperture arrives at the gate a monarch g8 attunes his ear is there danger d7 surely there is it seems in manage augment axeings radiating outward it arduous in arrives to of age any og hurt d7 safe give eg affix a cut i curry favour ave a sure fag flange 7d glare focus an a3 tangle a mind over straight port of call for certainly an interesting line fall give spark training sights an eon glass ceiling rafflings railworks and rangeings too like f5,

rapunzels hair feels raucously ravissimo sweet account accents on light to prove a win c4 as a good start accrue and accost queen house rules gammy catch mag caught cage man mash tier hatter giddy on game count seat in be 22...Qxa7 23.Nxc6 Qd7 or chest erm in a tour free again to try 23.Ba3 24.Nxa7 Bxb2 one point behind beyond a nagging tendency to favour light create a passer vent ash c4 well on the way cuff of the wisp chalk up am plus 24.Nxe7+ better eg i ment h5 comes headed it fine ive if calf aim g8 as left low grateful and good aim in no time like over h5 after band like g5 break see if you clear up again creak c6,

confide and bonafide in fiefdom g8 hunt and gets going queen knight church of reason e7 capture off queen sidestep wrong in for measure fifth of a dram figure gift it was a fish around in a jiffy bags flick back luft miffed it eddy a wave in e7 nifty in lights camp i wag fine flipside black on the end finish horse foil pilfer d7 quiff to casual rift fir bank flit over in among horse fulfil i got five get a whiff fix again fizzle out sift and gift in rich eternal knight exactly engages a bib i gas ebbings and flow ecumens off burnin g8 effigies eggings on elegies soar engross epidural equator quench e7 errings in side of caution a safe entered domain e7 eunichs march everyone at extents inter glides egghead eg ghost g8 an ghoul f8 out of commission change of clothes and direction as heading ghoulash serve at g8 check he to give eh to gain hogger it haggle in head h5 borough bet rough gem trough gel over h5 sage block blink blank black bags each be at gas balance eg a basic call h5 baulk lane g5 up ply in light at give 24...Kg7 25.Qh5 pieces a oomph queen hades beckons for black on a cycle kind of bust after a d7 applies the trade light wins the exchange off re you f6 too have in sight flocks around a g8 again rage off g8 calm despatch a monarch g8 retakes gainsake swarming a nest hone h5 an overs 25...Rg8 26.Nxg8 Kxg8 27.Bxf6 or go g5 queen piece behind yet capture g8 and king ghosting along back rank a b2 ulterior motive gains f6 and black shattered plus very weak dark squares.

Jan-10-15  thegoldenband: This is one of those positions I find so interesting, in that I spotted 22. Ra7 almost instantly and knew it was the right move, even though my calculations afterward were desultory at best. Yet I'm not a particularly strong player, and surely am not 1/10 as strong as Keene's opponent who overlooked it.

So why do I spot it and other, better players don't? Maybe my laziness and lack of talent are a weird asset in positions like these, looking for thunderbolt moves or outlandish choices because I know Dvoretskyian precision is beyond me.

I'm the same way in pool, going for ridiculous low-percentage trick shots and occasionally making them, while I can't consistently make routine shots. Ah, well.

Jan-10-15  Bycotron: Move 22, white to play.

White has sacrificed a piece and enjoys good prospects against black's King in consequence. The pawn structure around his Majesty is damaged and white's Bishop enjoys a deadly view of things to come.

The immediate tactical idea that springs to mind is removing the guard of the Be7, capturing it, and subsequently capturing the Nf6 and mating the black King.

The two direct attempts (22.Nxc6 and 22.Nxf5) do not appear to lead to a clear result. eg 22.Nxf5 Qxf5 23.Qxe7 Nbd7 or 22.Nxc6 Qxc6 23.Qxe7 Nbd7.

White now realizes that he must kill that Nf6 without allowing Nbd7 defending it. One idea immediately presents itself if a player is bold enough to spot it.

22.Ra7 with the idea that the Be7 will fall with check, hopefully buying time to kill the Nf6.

23.Nxc6 Qc7 unfortunately her Majesty cannot defend the Nf6! 24.Nxe7+ Kg7 and black wants to play Nbd7 next as in the previous line 25.Nxf5+ gaining time and giving the Queen access to g4 and h5 if the Nf6 should be pinned to the black King by the Bb2. 25...Kg6 is the only square that defends the Nf6 (else 26.Bxf6) 26.Ne7+ Kg7 again the only square that defends the Nf6 (else 27.Bxf6) 27.Qg4+ 1-0

I feel like I saw that rather clearly and quickly (~5 minutes), now I just hope this answer is correct. I tell ya, for a class A player who hasn't played much in four years I feel like these puzzles are a good way to help me get back into the game! Hail!!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Interesting combination. Maybe not Saturday levels of complexity, but fun all the same.

Like (I suspect) just about everyone else, I started by looking at 21. Nxc6 Qxc6 22. Qxe7 undermining the Nf6. But we start the position a piece down and I'm not seeing how to make progress against a move like 22...Nbd7

click for larger view

So look again. And that's when I noticed a potential bounce in the position. 22. Ra7 Qxa7 deflects the queen away from the protection of c6. This means that we can bounce our knight off the Qa7 and into e7 with gain of time.

That gives us this fantasy line: 22. Ra7 Qxa7 23. Nxc6 Queen moves 24. Nxe7+ Kg7 25. Qe5.

Ordinarily I'd give a diagram showing where we've ended up. But I can't do that because I don't where the black queen moved to on move 23.

This is where we need to wrap a cold towel around our bonces and look through each black response. The key position is this one after 23. Nxc6

click for larger view

The black queen is overworked. She wants to be on d7 to guard f5. She also wants to be on c7 to prevent a later Qe5. And there is nothing she can do to prevent Nxe7+

From here, Fritzie wants to bail out into the line quoted by Ray Keene with 23...Ba3. This gives up the black queen for several white pieces.

The game continuation is 23... Qd7. From here the move I picked in human mode is 24. Nxe7+ Kg7 25. Qe5

click for larger view

Black has no sensible way to prevent Qxf6+, after which carnage happens.

Instead black could have played 23...Qc7 to counter Qe5 and leave room for Nbd7. But that then loses to 24. Nxe7+ Kg7 25. Nxf5+ and the black king is going to get mated.

Ray's continuation of 25. Qh5 also works and has the merit of continuing the sacrifices. Black was right to resign when he did.

Good game.

Jan-10-15  BOSTER: <ray keene: too many wins against not so strong opponents>.

Two years later after the POTD game.

This is pos. from the game Bronstein vs Keene,1975-76.

click for larger view

No comments.

Jan-10-15  Bycotron: So while I was just at breakfast with my wife, I realized I overlooked at least one possible defense for black...

22.Ra7 Qxa7
23.Nxc6 Qd7 defending the f5 pawn
24.Nxe7+ Kg7
25.Qe5 Qe6
26.Nxf5+ Kg6
27.Ne7+ Kg7
28.Qg5+ 1-0

Maybe not perfect, but not bad for analysis over crepes without a chess board in sight. Reminds me of playing blindfolded at the old chess club.

Jan-10-15  Bycotron: @ Once, it seems you spotted the same 23...Qd7 as I did over breakfast and you also chose the same 25.Qe5 as I did, instead of Keene's 25.Qh5.

I believe 25...Qe6 is a sensible way for black to defend the Nf6 and thus prevent your suggested 26.Qxf6 follow-up. Therefore, 26.Nxf5+ as I suggested is the correct way for white to win in the 25.Qe5 line. My previous post shown how white wins with 26.Nxf5+ Kg6/g8, but it is also easy to win against the only other move 26...Kh8

27.Qxf6+ Qxf6
28.Bxf6+ Kg8
29.Nh6# is a pretty finish

Jan-10-15  M.Hassan: "Difficult"
White to play 22.?
White is a Knight down

I wasted quite a bit of time by going through the line of 22.Nxf5 Qxf5 23.Qxe7 Nfd7 until i found that keeping the Knight and not loosing it,is the most important factor towards solution of puzzle, so:

22.Ra7 Qxa7
23.Nxf5 Nc8
<if 24...Nxh5 long diagonal is now exposed and White Bishop is controlling it 25.Nh6#>

25........Rd8 providing room for King's escape
<if....Kf8 27.Qxf7#> 26.........Kh8
27.Qg5 Qxf2+ out of desparation
28.Kxf2 Bc5+
29.Kg2 d4

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 23 Nxf5 is also interesting

click for larger view

The threat is 24 Nxd7 with mate to follow.

Black has to find 23...h6. Then after 24 Nxe7+ Kh7 white has 25 Bxf6 with strong pressure on the kingside.

click for larger view

Jan-10-15  mqhelisi: I took too much time pondering on

21. Ra7 Ra8(that one is also lost(positional-ly and tempo-wise) but when playing for time is way better because f8 is now free.

So that's the line I was following but on his I missed 25.Qh5!! that's a really good one

So possible continuation..
22. Rxd7 Nxd7
23.Qxe7 Re8
24.Qd6 Re6....Something like that

Jan-10-15  TheBish: Keene vs V Kovacevic, 1973

White to play (22.?) "Very Difficult"

White is down a piece, so he needs a knockout punch! How about...

22. Ra7! Qxa7 (forced) 23. Nxc6 Qd7

I don't think there is a significant difference between Qd7 and Qc7; Qd7 defends the f5 pawn while Qc7 defends the b6 knight, but defending f5 and the king seems more important.

24. Nxe7+ Kg7 25. Qh5! h6

Or 25...Qxe7 26. Qg5+ Kh8 27. Bxf6+ etc.

26. Nxf5+ Kg8 27. Nxh6+ and wins.

Jan-10-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: I imagine the answer is

22 Ra7 Qxa7
23 Nxf5

Then White threatens 24 Qg4+ and mate next. The three defensive tries I see for Black are ... Qa4, ... Kh8, and moving the rook.

23 ... Qa4
24 Nxe7+ Kg7
25 Qe5/Qh5

looks unpromising for Black. Let's move on.

23 ... Re8
24 Bxf6

will force mate, since 24 ... Bxf6 allows mate in 1.

Other rook moves allow Nxe7+/Bxf6 with a nice-looking position.

The last piece of the puzzle is

23 ... Kh8
24 Nxe7 Nbd7
25 Bxf6+ Nxf6
26 Qe5 Kg7
27 Qg5+ Kh8
28 Qxf6#

Jan-11-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: Well, I found a continuation similar to the one in the game, but less forcing.

Often when that happens it turns out I overlooked a defensive line ...

Jan-12-15  Moszkowski012273: 21.Bxf5... is actually the hard move to spot here. 22.Ra7... not so much. Also 25...Rg8 has to be played but STILL white wins the knight on b6.
Jan-12-15  mqhelisi: Arena 3.0 says the surviving move is to allow the queen to be taken 23....Ba3 now if queen taken its R+B+N vs Q+N and its got opportunity for black to even win although white is still got a very small advantage
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Hi Raymond

I really like this game and video annotated it here:

Do you think 1.b3 is weaker than 1.Nf3 d5 (say) 2.b3

I think 1.Nf3 might be a way of making 1.b3 more effective. Am I being too simplistic?!

Best wishes

Feb-20-17  Dionysius1: I kibitzed this on Spassky vs Averkin, 1973 Having just played through Keene vs V Kovacevic, 1973 with Keene's comments, I am changing my mind. Not about how much I like Spassky's style but thinking now it probably isn't the one true way to play chess. Spassky's style is so attractive to me because I learnt about tactics in a classical setting and that's what Spassky demonstrates so well. But Keene's games, which seem so frustrating and ugly to me, only do so (I think) because I haven't learnt to think of chess the way Nimzovitch did. For someone who has studied My System, Keene's way of playing is probably beautiful because it is the often successful demonstration of Nimzovitch's principles. Maybe then it comes down to whether Nimzovitch or the classical way of looking at chess is more beautiful, but that is almost in the realms of aesthetic philosophy. For the pragmatist I guess the answer to which is the more effective in combat has to be the classical system, because that seems to win more games.
Apr-15-18  morfishine: 1.Nf3 d5 2.b3 Bg4 3.Bb2 Nd7 4.g3 Bf3 5.ef3 Ngf6 6.f4 e6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.d3 a5 10.a4 c6 11.Nd2 b5 12.Qe2 ba4 13.Ra4 Nb6 14.Ra2 a4 15.Rfa1 ab3 16.Ra8 Na8 17.Nb3 Nb6 18.f5 ef5 19.Nd4 Qd7 20.Bh3 g6 21.Bf5 f5 22.Ra7 Qa7 23.Nc6 Qd7 24.Ne7 Kg7 25.Qh5
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Ray Keene writes in the latest Spectator that Friday the 27th September was his last column after 42 years.

He ends with this game.


Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I blogged about this game here with some new analysis I did recently:

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: Thanks for the comments on my game.
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