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Paul Keres vs Gedeon Barcza
Przepiorka Memorial (1950), Szczawno-Zdroj POL, rd 14, Jul-07
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Cozio Defense (C70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-28-08  ToTheDeath: Black's problems in this game stemmed from his poor choice of opening.

Here are my comments, based on my own analysis and John Nunn's Keres- In Search of Perfection.

<5...f6?!> Black wanted to stop any Ng5 and most likely feared 5... Ng6 6. h4 or 5... h6 6. d4.

<7... Na5> If 7... Bg4 8. Nxe5! Nxe5 9. f3 with a better game for White.

<8...g6> If 8... Be6, 9. b4 Nc4 10. Bb3 is bad for Black.

<10.... dxe5> Or 10... fxe5 11. b4 Nac6 12. Bb3

<12... Bd7> Trying to challenge the b3 bishop with ...Be6. If 12...Qd3 13. Bb2 Bg4 14. h3 Bd7 15. Bc2 Qd6 16. Qe2 is better for White.

<13...Bg4> 13... Qc8 14. Ne3 Be6 15. Nd5 O-O? 16. Nxc7 would be gruesome.

<16... Nd8> 16... O-O 17. Rd1 Qc8 18. Nd5 again with advantage to White.

<20... Nd6?> 20... Nxd5 21. exd5 Qd7 22. c5 is necessary, though White is much better.

<21. b5!?> A strong move, except that Keres and Nunn both missed the brutally powerful shot 21. Bh6!! winning in all variations.

The proof:

21... Bxh6 22. Nxf6+ Kf7 (or 22... Kf8 23. Nxe5 winning the queen; 22... Kd8 23. Nxe5 likewise) 23. b5 axb5 (23... Qc5 24. Nd7) 24. cxb5+ Qc4 25. Nxe5+

That's 4 different variations with 4 different Queen traps!

Back to the game:

<24... b6> Probably forced. 24... Bf8 25. b6 c6 26. Nxe5 fxe5 27. Rxe5+ Kd8 28. Rd1 is a rout.

<29. R5d2> This is OK, but as Nunn points out 29. a4! Be7 30. a5 bxa5 31. b6 is lights out.

<29... d5!> A correct offer of a pawn for counterplay.

<36... Bd4?> This loses prettily, but otherwise 37.a5 will be too much to bear.

<37. Rxd4! Rc5> If 37... exd4 38. Nxb6 Rc1+ 39. Kh2 Qd8 40. a5 is hopeless.

<40. d7> Black is powerless to stop the pawn from queening.

May-11-15  zydeco: <ToTheDeath> Nice analysis with 21.Bh6!! It's usually hard to improve on Keres' games -- especially when a grandmaster like Nunn has been there first.

Actually, the queen can sort of get away after 21.Bh6 Bxh6 22.Nxf6+ Kd8 23.Nxe5 Qb6 24.c5 Qa7 (if 24....Qb5 25.a4 Qe2 26.Ra2) but white looks to be completely winning with 25.cxd6.

As for the opening, Keres would try these kinds of experiments all the time as black in the Ruy Lopez -- finding different ways to overprotect e5. It feels like Barcza wanted to use Keres' style of play against him (with 5....f6). Unfortunately, the a2-g8 diagonal ends up completely ventilated and Barcza is never able to castle.

May-11-15  ToTheDeath: Wow, I completely forgot about this game. Thanks for bringing it up again and for the compliment. A little known gem by Keres.
May-11-15  parisattack: Indeed, another Board with Excitement by Keres.
Aug-19-19  clement41: Today I was solving the position after black‚Äôs 20 ...Nd6, in a Bent Larsen book. It was presented as a positional play diagram.
But the position looked highly tactical to me, hence I first checked tactical moves. In less than 5 minutes I found 21 Bh6 and the subsequent combination. Yet, I play at a 2000 FIDE level. How come Keres, Larsen (who gives 21 b5 in the book, without mentioning 21 Bh6 at all), and Nunn all missed it and I found it?

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