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Gideon Stahlberg vs Paul Keres
Bad Nauheim (1936), Bad Nauheim GER, rd 9, May-24
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E26)  ·  0-1



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Given 31 times; par: 37 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Try the puzzle position after 27...Nf3 without black's a pawn on the board.

click for larger view

Doing that helped me understand better why 27...Nf3 works in the first place.

Dec-01-11  BOSTER: What can I say?
I saw 27...Rh3 even before I saw Bishop on d7.
I did not notice an elephant.
Dec-01-11  YouRang: Embarrassingly, I also "found" 27...Rh3 (threat Qxh2#).

If 28.gxh3, then 28...Qxe4+ 29.Kg1 Qe3+ 30.Kf1 (30.Kg2 Qf3+ 31.Kg1 Nf2#) Qe2+ 31.Kg1 Nf3+ 32.Kh1 Qxh2#.

Overlooked white's "other" reply: 28.Bxh3! :-(

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Genus una sumus, the rolling pawn formation as employed by dexterous Capablanca this time nonchalant in Keres aint cuffs and boots it one for spar two d rook as you white GS in face small cooperation in chap h2 a bird fine seed cage I tinge nf3 with a sorrow mottos at oh vienna rook behold o thy mother a bone of him shall not be broken.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: 27...Rf3 was the first move that came to mind--but I wrongly thought it was refuted by 28 g3. Did not see that 28... Rd2 is still decisive with the unanswerable threat of Rxh2 mate.

I've always loved the games of Keres.

Dec-01-11  morfishine: <sevenseaman> Beautiful puzzle

<Patriot> I only hit on the variation <28.g3> on the drive into to work, then finally realized it fails too

Dec-01-11  SuperPatzer77: <<Patriot> I don't see a defense. White could throw in a useless check with 28.Rb8+ Qxb8 or a useless interposition after 28.gxf3 Rd2 (29.f4 Qxf4). One idea was 29.Rb8+ Qxb8 30.e5 Qxe5 31.f4 but 31...Qd5+ settles things pretty quickly.>

White to move (See diagram below:)

click for larger view

29. Rb8+ Qxb8, 30. e5 (or f4) Qb1+ (mates in next move) - See Chessttcamps' commentary.


Dec-01-11  Nullifidian: Unusually for an OTB chess game, there's only one set of moves that gives mate in 6, except for Black's penultimate move.

27. ♘f3 ♙gxf3 28. ♖d2 ♙f4 29. ♕xf4 ♖b8+ 30. ♕xb8

Now there are two different endings, depending on how Black moves:

30... ♙e5 31. ♕b1+ ♕d1 32. ♕xd1#
30... ♔g1 31. ♕xh2+ (♕b1+ mates as above) ♔f2 32. ♕f2# or ♕h1#

Dec-01-11  Rosbach: Found Nf3 quick but had a hard time finding Rd2.
Also looked at White's move 23. as many others. Shortly considered 23. Rc1 but this could be countered by 23...Rxc1. 24. Qxc1 Qxg3!
Dec-01-11  BOSTER: <ventricule> <Rh3 temptation, weird case of generalized blind spot>.

From one side white bishop is not supposed to be here, but from other side this is test of our consentration. It is difficult to see chess pieces, when girls are always around <alluring> us.

Dec-01-11  Patriot: <SuperPatzer77> Good catch! That certainly makes it easier! I was distracted by the idea of mating on h2 and forgot about looking for other forcing candidates.
Dec-01-11  Patriot: <morfishine> <<Patriot> I only hit on the variation <28.g3> on the drive into to work, then finally realized it fails too>

I've done that before! Good job on solving it!

Dec-01-11  stst: since WK is at corner, the focal points are g2 & h2, where h2 is under Bk Q's attack. Plan therefore is to have Bk R on 2nd rank eyeing for h2. How to get to h2? The obvious move would be loosening g2P, by Nf3,which also happens to attack h2. So W cannot let N stay there, PxN is natural, next for Bk is Rd2, and W's R and Q are too remote for rescue, while the Bk K has nowhere to go.
Dec-01-11  sevenseaman: <BOSTER> Good barb; gave me a chuckle.
Dec-01-11  thegoldenband: I spotted both 27...Nf3 and 27...Rh3 right away as possibilities against the h2-square, but was more drawn to the latter move -- since, lazily, it seemed more forcing and easier -- until I saw 28. Bxh3. Oops.

Then I put in the effort to calculate the consequences of 27...Nf3, and quickly saw that it would win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: This game is from the last round at Bad Nauheim 1936. Keres had to win this game to tie for first, as Alekhine had the good fortune to win his final game, when his opponent missed a clear drawing line.

In the opening, it is interesting to note that after 10...Ba6, the position is the same as in the famous AVRO 1938 game - Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938

click for larger view

Instead of 11.Bxa6, or 11.f3 as Keres preferred, Stahlberg played 11.Bc2. Keres in, "The Road to the Top", stated: <Stahlberg wants to keep his bishop to support the advance e3-e4, but the black bishop on a6 is too well placed and noticeably impedes White's plans.>

Fritz prefers the following continuation: (.09) (26 ply) 11.Bxa6 Nxa6 12.Qd3 c4 13.Qc2 Re8 14.f3 Nc7 15.Re1, or 11.f3 Re8 12.bxa6 Nxa6 13.Qd3 c4 14.Qc2 Nc7 15.Re1.

As noted by <RandomVisitor>, Stahlberg missed his best continuation at move 17: (.34) (28 ply) 17.Bf5! Rxe1+ 18.Qxe1 Ra8 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Be3 Nxf5 21.Nxf5 Qd7.

Stahlberg's continuation was White's 2nd best, but it was not nearly as good as the 17.Bf5! continuation. Interestingly, the game follows Fritz's analysis for the next six moves: (-.42) (28 ply) 17.Rxe8+? Qxe8 18.cxd4 Nxd4 19.Ba4 Qe5 20.Rb1 Nd5 21.Bb2 Nc3 22.Bxc3 Rxc3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: The next critical point in this game was at move 23:

click for larger view

Fritz indicates White's best continuation was: (-.55) (28 ply) 23.Qd2! Ne6 24.Ne4 Rxa3 25.f4 Qc7 26.Qb4 Qb6+ 27.Qxb6 axb6, and then (-.57) (26 ply) 28.f5! Rxa4 29.fxe6 Rxe4 30.Rxb6 Kf8 31.Rxa6 Rxe6, and White should draw this ending.

Keres did not mention 23.Qd2!, nor did he indicate that 24. Kh1? was an error. Instead, he pointed out that 23.Kh1 temporarily protected the a-pawn, because if 23...Rxa3??, then 24.Qxd4!

Keres stated that if 23.Ne4, Black could play 23...Rd3 with advantage, (-1.03) (28 ply) 23.Ne4? Rd3 24.Qe1 h6. He also indicated he could capture on a3, if White played 23.Ne4. However, this capture would have been a serious error: 23.Ne4? Rxa3?? 24.f4!! is winning for White, as the Black Queen is overloaded, having to protect the Knight on d4, and to guard the b8 square.

White had only one good move, and that was 24.Qd2!. After 23.Kh1?, White was in serious trouble: (-1.32) (28 ply) 23.Kh1? h6 24.Qd2 Rxa3 25.Re1 Qc5, (-1.71) (28 ply) 26.Ne4 Qb6 27.Bc2 f5 28.Rb1 Nxc2 29.Qxc2 Qa5 30.Qc6 Qe5 31.Qc1 Ra4, or (-1.74) (28 ply) 26.Bd7 Bd3 27.Qf4 Qe7 28.Qb8+ Kh7 29.Qe8 Qb4 30.Bg4 Bg6 31.Bh5 Bxh5 32.Nxh5 Ne6. I believe Black should win in these variations, with the eventual advance of his a-pawn.

Instead of Fritz's suggestion 23...h6!, Keres played 23...h5. Black still has a good advantage, but Fritz indicates some survival chances for White with the move 24.Qd2!: (-1.02) (27 ply) 23...h5 24.Qd2! Re3 25.h3 Rd3 26.Qf2 Rxa3 27.Re1 Ne2 28.Nxe2 Rxa4 29.Ng3 Ra1 30.Rxa1 Qxa1+ 31.Kh2 h4 32.Ne4 Qe5+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In my last posting, the beginning of the 2nd to the last paragraph should read; <White had only one good move, and that was 23.Qd2!>

At his 24th move, White best chance was again 24.Qd2!. Instead, he played 24.Bd7?, apparently with the idea of stopping the h4-h3 threat.

Keres could then have captured the a-pawn, with a winning advantage: (-1.89) (26 ply) 24...Rxa3 25.Qe1 Re3 26.Qf2 h4 27.Nf1 Bxf1 28.Rxf1 Qf4, (-2.09) (27 ply) 29.Qd2 g5 30.Qa5 Nxf3! 31.Rxf3 Rd3 32.Qa1 Qe5 33.Rf1 Qxa1 34.Rxa1 Rxd7, or (-2.35) (27 ply) 29.Re1 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 g6 31.h3 Qc7 32.Bb5 Nf5 33.Ba6 Qd6 34.Bc4 Ng3+ 35.Kh2 Qf4 36.Bb3 a5!.

Keres had another and even stronger winning variation: (-3.57) (26 ply) 24...h4! 25.Nf1 Be2 26.f4 Qd5! (26...Qxf4 is also very strong) 27.Qe1 h3 28.Bxh3 Rxh3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Instead of playing 24...h4!, or 24...Rxa3, with a clearly winning advantage, Keres played 24...Rd3?.

After 24...Rd3?, it is not clear if Black still has a winning advantage: (-.93) (26 ply) 24...Rd3? 25.Qa4!, (-.86) (27 ply) 25...Bb7.

After 25...Bb7, the game reached the final crisis:

click for larger view

Can White defend this position, or is Black winning? What is White's best line of defense?

Keres indicated the following lines: If 26.Qc4, and then 26...Rxf3 27.gxf3 Bxf3+ 28.Kg1 Qe3+ 29.Kf1, and Black has no winning chances in this variation.

Keres also indicated approximately equality after: 26.Qc4 Re3 27.Rxb7 Re1+ 28.Nf1 Ne2? (28...Qd5! is equal) 29.Rb1? (29.Qc8+! Kh7 30.Bf5+ with advantage) 30...Rxb1 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Qc2+ g6 32.Qxb1 Qd4 33.Ng3.

Keres stated that Black could win after 26.Qc4 with 26...Qe3: < 26...Qe3 ensures Black a decisive attack, since after 27.Nf1 or 27.Nf5, Black's 27...Qe2 would create threats on f3 and on the back rank that cannot be parried.>

However, Keres's analysis has a serious flaw. After 26.Qc4 Qe3?, White can play 27.Be8!, and Black has nothing better than 27...Bd5 28.Qxd5 Qxe8. White will soon win the h-pawn, and Black will be fortunate to obtain the draw: (1.19) (28 ply) 29.h4 Qe6 30.Qxh5 Rb3 31.Rxb3 Qxb3 32.Qc5, (-1.26) (26 ply) 32...Qb6 33.Qc8+ Kh7 34.Ne4 Ne6.

One can only wonder what would have happened had Stahlberg played 26.Qc4.

Keres also reviewed the move 26.Bh3, <...would have afforded White no salvation since after 26...h4 27.Nf1 (or 27.Ne4 Bxe4 28.fxe4 Rxh3!, etc.) 27...Qe2 there comes a decisive sacrifice on f3.>

Again Keres's analysis has a serious flaw. After 26.Bh3 h4 27.Nf1 Qe2 28.Qd7!, threatening the b7-bishop, and perpetual check on d8 and h4. A draw should be the outcome in this variation.

Based on Keres's analysis, it appears he was fortunate Stahlberg did not play either 26.Qc4 or 26.Bh3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In my analysis of 26.Qc4 Qe3? 27.Be8! Bd5 28.Qxd5 Qxe8, Fritz's continuations and evaluations should read as follows: (1.19) (28 ply) 29.h4 Qe6 30.Qxh5 Rb3 31.Rxb3 Qxb3 32.Qc5, <(1.26)> (26 ply) 32...Qb6 33.Qc8+ Kh7 34.Ne4 Ne6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After missing the very strong 24...h4!, Black's position was no longer clearly winning.

At move 26, White's best choices were 26.Qc4 or 26.Qb4. Either of these moves would have given White drawing chances.

White's third choice, 26.Bh3, would provide Black with strong winning chances.

Here is Fritz's analysis: (-.97) (30 ply) 26.Qc4 Rb3 27.Bf5 Rxb1+ 28.Bxb1 h4 29.Ne4 h3 30.Kg1 hxg2 31.Kxg2 Nf5, (-1.11) (26 ply) 32.Qc5 Nh4+ 33.Kh3 Nxf3 34.Qxe5 Nxe5, or (-1.14) (26 ply) 32.Qd3 g6 33.Qc3 Nh4+ 34.Kh3 Qxc3 35.Nxc3 Nxf3.

After 26.Qc4 Rb3, instead of 27.Bf5, White could try 27.Rxb3 Nxb3, but after: (-1.18) (28 ply) 28.Nf1 Qa1 29.Bb5 Nd2 30.Qe2 Nxf1 31.Qe8+ Kh7 32.Bd3+ Kh6 33.h4 Nd2+ 34.Kh2 g6 35.Qe3+ Kg7 36.Qxd2 Qd4 37.Qb4 Qxd3, (-1.61) (26 ply) 38.Qb2+ Kg8 39.Qxb7 Qxa3, Black's chances are better than in the 27.Bf5 line.

Another good try for White was 26.Qb4: (-.96) (30 ply) 26.Qb4 Bd5 27.Qb8+ Qxb8 28.Rxb8+ Kh7 29.Kg1 g6, (-1.07) 30 ply) 30.Rb2 Rxa3 31.Rd2 Ra1+ 32.Kf2 Ra2 33.Rxa2 Bxa2.

After either 26.Qc4 or 26.Qb4, it is not clear if Black has a decisive advantage.

The third choice for White, 26.Bh3, was clearly inferior: (-1.96) (30 ply) 26.Bh3 Rb3 27.Rd1 Rb2 28.f4 Qxf4 29.Qe8+ Kh7 30.Rf1 Rf2 31.Qe1 Rxf1+ 32.Qxf1 Qxf1+ 33.Nxf1, (-1.98) (28 ply) 33...Kg6 34.Bd7 Nc2 35.a4 Nd4 36.Nd2 Kf6 37.a5 Ke5 38.Kg1 Kd6 39.Ba4, (-2.55) (28 ply) 39...Kc5 40 Kf2 Kb4 41.Be8 Bd5 42.a6 Nb5 43.Bd7 Ka5, and Black is winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After Stahlberg's unfortunate choice of 26.Ne4?, Keres had the possibility of three beautiful winning moves, 26...Rxf3!, 26...Bxe4!, or 26...Nxf3.

click for larger view

Here is Fritz's analysis for each of these moves:

(-12.50) (26 ply) 26...Rxf3! 27.Bc6 (if 27.gxf3 Bxe4!) 27...Bxc6 28.Qxc6 Nxc6 29.gxf3 f5 30.Nf2 Qe3 31.Kg2 Qxa3.

(-11.42) (26 ply) 26...Bxe4! 27.Qxa7 Rd1+ 28.Rxd1 Nxf3 29.Qg1 (if 29.gxf3 Bxf3+ 30.Kg1 Qg5+ 31.Kf2 Qg2+ 32.Ke3 Qe2+ 33.Kd4 Qf2+) 29...Nxg1 30.Rxg1 Qd6.

(-6.34) (26 ply) 26...Nxf3 27.Ng3 (if 27.gxf3 Rxf3 28.Bc6 Rh3! 29.Qc2 Bxc6 30.Kg1 Bxe4.

Keres played 26...Bxe4!, and Stahlberg responded with 27.fxe4, which allowed Keres to play the beautiful final move, 27...Nf3!.

Jan-28-12  notyetagm: NOTE! Why sacrifice to open a line? To get at a target/weakness.

- enemy king (stalemated, trapped in corridor, exposed to check(++)) - defender
- important square, especially loose square near the king - alignments

1) Bersnstein vs Kotov Groningen 1946 traget: enemy king trapped on g-file

2) Chigorin vs Davidov St Petersburgh 1874 target: stalemated enemy king

3) Bronstein vs Korchnoi Moscow vs Leningrad 1962 target: enemy king trapped on g-file

4) Leko vs Grischuk Cap d'Adge 2003 target: White g2-king defender of loose f3-queen

5) Navara vs Grischuk FIDE World Cup (5.3) 2011 target: White f1-king defender of loose e1-rook

6) Karpov vs Salov Linares 1993 target: loose h8-sq next to enemy king

7) Kramnik vs Carlsen (Har-Zvi variation) Bilboa 2010 target: king trapped in corridor along 6th rank

8) Carlsen vs Kramnik (Shipov variation) Bilboa 2010 target: skewer alignment of king and undef rook

9) Carlsen vs Short London Chess Classic 2010 target: skewer of undef Black c8-,d8-bishops

10) Stahlberg vs Keres Bad Neuheim 1936 target: loose h2-sq near White h1-king

11) NN vs Capablanca Moscow ???? target: loose g2-sq near White g2-king


Stahlberg vs Keres, 1936 27 ... Ne5-f3! deflects White g2-pawn interposer of loose h2-sq

Jan-28-12  notyetagm: Game Collection: LOOSE SQUARES NEAR THE ENEMY KING
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