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Alexander Kotov vs Wolfgang Unzicker
"Worried Zick" (game of the day Mar-27-2011)
Stockholm Interzonal (1952), Stockholm SWE, rd 7, Sep-25
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Line (E40)  ·  1-0



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Given 29 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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sac: 27.Nxg7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-28-07  Marmot PFL: I found 27.Bxh6 which also wins (27...gh6 28.Nxh6 Re6-e7 29.Nf5 Qg8 30.Rf3-Rg3 etc), and in fact it could also be played on move 26. But 27.Nxg7 as played is probably better.
Sep-28-07  YouRang: Okay, I pretty much got it. 27. Nxg6 was pretty obvious: (1) It undermines the h6 pawn, thus giving force to the Q+R battery. (2) It opens the g-file for Q or R.

If 27...Kxg7, the bishop comes into the attack *with check* 28. Bxh6+ Kg8. The line played was very pretty, but I found the simple 29. Bg7 (threat: Qxh7#) which I believe is also winning.

Given this, I expected black would decline the knight sac and limp along with a crippled position, although I didn't see a definite way to proceed.

Sep-28-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <realbrob: <ellhares> Well, you've been saying all the puzzles here are extremely easy for months, so you must be very strong. What's your rating?>

My guess is that this is the answer to your question

If my guess is correct, then it is just too bad that such a strong player seems to be unable or unwilling to make more enlightening contributions.

The presence of pre-adolescent instant-message abbreviations ("u" instead of "you", "r" instead of "are", etc) in his posts, and repeated requests for "free rybca" are enough clue for me to have an opinion (which I am going to keep to myself for now).

Sep-28-07  YouRang: <beginner64: Consider
27. Nxg7 Qxh4
28. Qxh4 Kxg7

At this point white is ahead, but with no clear attack line.>

click for larger view

Hmmm, I think white is so far ahead that a clear line of attack wouldn't be necessary for white to happily accept this position.

Still, white can proceed with 29. Rf6!

If 29...Nxf6 30. Bxh6+ mates soon.

If 29...Rxf6 30. exf6+ Kf8 <if 30...Nxf6 then 31. Bxh6+ & 32. Qxf6 win quickly> 31. Qxh6 & Qxh7 wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I couldn't come up with anything on this one. It looks like white had the correct combination of moves to pull it out. More power to him!
Sep-28-07  ConstantImprovement: Motifs:

1. Ng7:
2. Bh6:
3. Rg4+
4. Bg7:+, followed by Qh7:+
5. Rf7: (+)
6. Qf7: (+)

The starting move is 27. Ng7:.

I. 27. ... Rg6 28. Bh6: or Nf5, winning

II. 27. ... Rd6 28. Bh6: following Bg5 winning

III. 27. ... Kg7:

1. 28. Rg4+

a. 28. ... Ng5

a1. 29. Bg5: g5: 30. Rg5:+ Rg6 31. Rf7:+ Rf7: 32. Rg6:+ Kf8 33. Re6 Without a board, this looks strong. White might be winning.

a2. 29. Rg5:+?! Kf8 and the attack is difficult to continue.

a3. 28. ... Rg6 and Rf7:+, Qh6:+ and similar look promising.

Further analysis to follow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Kotov initiates a demolition of pawn structure tactic with 27. Nxg7!! to solve today's puzzle. The follow-up surprise deflection 30. e6! complete undermines the black position and makes for an amusing finish.

P.S. <Marmot PFL> I also selected the demolition 27. Bxh6! as my solution, but I did not run it through a computer program yet to verify if it wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: All the White's pieces are so dominantly placed that the combination flows like a volcano. If one gives a little thought, it's easy to spot 27.Nxg7 Kxg7 28.Bxh6+ Kg8 [ not ...Kh8 then 29.Bg7+ Kxg7 30.Qxh7+ Kf8 31.Qh8+ Ke7 32.Rxf7+ wins ] 29.Rg4+ Rg6 Here, White has to be careful & resist from playing 30.Rxg6+ fxg6 31.Qxg6+ Kh8 & again, White will have to do a lot of drill work to win. Therefore, 30.e6! & Black can't defend anymore.
Sep-28-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <patzer2: I also selected the demolition 27. Bxh6! as my solution, but I did not run it through a computer program yet to verify if it wins.>

Already verified (on the 1st page of kibitzing). Yes, it does win. Not as decisive as Nxg7, but probably easier to play OTB, as it does not rely on finding the unique winning move 30.e6. 29.Rg4+ is also uniquely winning, but easier to find. Any other move than Rg4+ and e6 drops most of the advantage that white enjoys.

In the Bxh6 line, there are several winning variants for white in each step which I analyzed in detail - hence my conclusion that it might be easier to play for low-ELO patzers like myself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <MostlyAverageJoe> Thanks for pointing out the analysis (your post) on page 1, veifying 27. Bxh6! is another wining demolition.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: My first try was Bxh6, but I couldn't get it to work; so I tried again and came up with Nxg7--and that worked.
Sep-28-07  ConstantImprovement: Continuation:

In the 27. Ng7: Kg7: 28. Rg4+ Ng5 29. Bg5: g5: 30. Rg5:+ line above, 30. ... Kf8 instead of 30. ... Rg6 loses to 31. Qh8+ Ke7 32. Rf7:+ Kf7: 33. Qd8:, winning the queen and the game.

But after 27. Ng7: Kg7: 28. Rg4+ there are still

b. Kh8 and c. Kf8.

b. 28. ... Kh8
b1. 29. Bh6:?! f5! with g7 and h7 protected.
b2. 29. Rf7: Rf7: 30. Qf7: winning the e6-rook because of the mate threat.

c. 28. ... Kf8 29. Bh6:+
c1. 29. ... Ke8 30. Rg8+, winning the queen
c2. 29. ... Ke7 30. Qf7:#
c3. 29. ... Rh6: 30. Qh6:+
c3.1 30. ... Ke8 31. Rg8+, winning
c3.2 30. ... Ke7 31. Qh7: with too many threats (31. Rf7:+ seems not to be necessary.)

Sep-28-07  xrt999: I would play Nxh6. after 27.Nxh6, black has 2 choices 27...Rxh6 or gxh6. The knight must be taken because of the threat Nxf7 forking queen and king. Black can take back with the f rook, but just loses the rook and the exchange because the rook on f1 protects the f7 square and there is no way to defend. Black is sunk. 27...Rxh6 just loses a rook. 27...gxh6 is followed by 28.Bxh6, and white has a doubled queen and rook bearing down on the knight pinned to the king, and after the bishop moves, (even with the option of discovery on the black queen with 29.Bg5), white is threatening mate on h7 with 30.Qxh7. I really dont see the 28th move for black to protect against this threatened mate and this is what I would play. The only real move for black is 28...Rxh6 and black is down the exchange and in huge trouble. In the actual game 27....kg7 is not forced and leads to the "solution" whereas my line is more forced, threatening mate on h7 or loss of the exchage...
Sep-28-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <xrt999: I really dont see the 28th move for black to protect against this threatened mate and this is what I would play.>

After your proposed line:

27. Nxh6 gxh6 28. Bxh6

black can get rid of most of the threat by playing 28 ... Qg8, which protects against the mate and guards the pawn on f6. About the only useful thing white can do now is 29. Bg5 with Bf6+ to follow, forcing a R-B exchange for the black who also has a big problem with a possible Q-K skewer on the g-file. So, the next 2 moves are:

28. ... Qg8 29. Bg5

and now black can try to defuse the situation with 29... Qg6! (which is rather easy to find: black has one piece extra, so a simplification is in order, starting with Q exchange). Something like this might result:

30. Bf6+ Rxf6 31. Rxf6 Qxh5 32. Rxh5 Kg7 33. Rf3 Nf8 (with the idea of playing Ng6 next):

click for larger view

and now white will need to work on the win. In the long run, the extra pawn worth of material advantage might prevail for white, but it won't be a walk in the park.

Dec-14-07  keklik: Watching these knights being pushed off the board by white's centralisation is funny. But I honestly believe 25...Rg6 would have held it longer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: One thing about selecting a game for GOTD after it's been Puzzle of the Day is that the finish (beginning with <27.Nxg7>) has been picked to shreds already. So we can look at the rest of the game, and like yesterday this is one of those games where undevelopment reaps a fine reward. A common hint for beginners is not to castle too early, advertising the position of their king. Another application of this principle is that noncommittal development can work out if the opponent is not playing for a direct attack.

Let's look at the position after <21.Bc1>:

click for larger view

Despite his heavy back rank orientation, White is obviously thinking kingside attack here. The "hanging pawns" serve as a forward outpost shielding his pieces while restricting Black's movements. In particular, after <22.e5> the ♘c4 proves to have committed itself too soon and has no further say in the course of events. White effectively has an extra piece for his attack, and uses it effectively.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: 27 W to play looks like a good POTD. Ah, I see it was ;)

Nice classic position for W coming out of the Nimzo. center pawns and the pieces arranged on open lines, all ready for a raking attack on BK. Ah, I see <Phony Benoni> was thinking the same ;)

Mar-27-11  newzild: Remarkable that Black would abandon the centre so readily. Disaster guaranteed from move 19 onwards.
Mar-27-11  SimonWebbsTiger: Kotov included this game in his book "Grandmaster at Work"; the ever great Jimmy Adams translated a 1962 Russian book for publishers American Chess Promotions, 1990.

Kotov didn't think much of 16...h6 and suggested 16...c4, giving 17. Qc2 b5 18. e4 g6 19. e5 Nd7 20. f4 f5. He explained: Black should not allow the opening of the a1-h8 diagonal and must actively meet e4-e5/f2-f4

Mar-27-11  sevenseaman: Although he completes his development soon enough, one gets the feeling Black is late for office.

As <Phony Benoni> observes he castles into the eye of a brewing storm. His g and h pawns become easy targets.

White defends his central hanging pawns with couple of easy maneuvers and turns them into his strength.

27. Nxg7! This primed bomb was waiting to explode and blow away any semblance of a defense.

When the central 'e' pawn advances (30. e6) Black is without resource. He desperately needed his f7 pawn to stay out of trouble. The c7 R can avenge it but is no substitute.

A good game for Kotov but to my way of thinking it was as much lost as it was won.

<SimonWebbsTiger>'s insert <Kotov didn't think much of 16...h6 and suggested 16...c4, giving 17. Qc2 b5 18. e4 g6 19. e5 Nd7 20. f4 f5. He explained: Black should not allow the opening of the a1-h8 diagonal and must actively meet e4-e5/f2-f4> is worthy of some attention.

Mar-27-11  goldenbear: <SimonWebbsTiger> On a cursory glance and without having looked at this with a computer, I suggest 16.Rc7.
Mar-27-11  WhiteRook48: 30 e6 is a nice winner
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A sentence:Doctor,will I be any UNZICKER if I take my pills?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Let's have some fun, this beat is zick
I wanna take a ride on your dizco ztick
Aug-25-22  nummerzwei: < SimonWebbsTiger: Kotov included this game in his book "Grandmaster at Work"; the ever great Jimmy Adams translated a 1962 Russian book for publishers American Chess Promotions, 1990.

Kotov didn't think much of 16...h6 and suggested 16...c4, giving 17. Qc2 b5 18. e4 g6 19. e5 Nd7 20. f4 f5. He explained: Black should not allow the opening of the a1-h8 diagonal and must actively meet e4-e5/f2-f4>

The same comment appears in the book <The Art of the Middle Game> (1964) by Keres and Kotov. The suggested line doesn't work, though: After 20...f5,

click for larger view

the 'standard' 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.f5 in the vein of Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 doesn't lead to a great deal. But can't White sacrifice on f5? Indeed, Black is blown away by 21.Nxf5!! gxf5 22.Qxf5, e.g. 22...Kh8 23.Bc1 Rg8 24.Qh3 Qe7 25.f5

click for larger view

with an overwhelming position. It is more sensible to play 15...c4 immediately, when White can't even retreat to c2.

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