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Ralf Lau vs Vasilios Kotronias
Budapest (1988), Budapest HUN, rd 1, May-??
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1-0



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sac: 22.fxg6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-20-14  lostgalaxy: Theres no forcing move so i guess it has to be pawn take g6, pawn take knight, pawn take f7 and there you go.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I saw this, but while it seemed the best try--an intuitive sacrifice leading to connected passers on the King side--but 23...Ne5; 24.Nf4 looked unclear. Overall, I would have played the game continuation because it looked most entertaining.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I didn't get it, but I'm not convinced that white has a forced win. What happens after 27...Qe5 ?
Sep-20-14  Dr. J: After 22 fxg6!? fxg6, hasn't White just weakened his own position?
Sep-20-14  Wildairman: I think after 27...Qe5 28.Bg5!,Rd7 (not 28...Qe7 29.Qf5+! or 28...Be7 29.Qxe5!) 29.Ne6 white offers exchanges that will lead to promotion
Sep-20-14  plumbst: Very Difficult. Material is equal. White's knight is under attack.

With the middlegame just starting, White has a sneaky positional tactic.

22.fxg6! exd4 <Dr.J><22...fxg6 23.Ne6>

23.gxf7 [The threat is simply g6 and g7]

23...Bxg5 24.Bxg5 and Black' pawns are dropping

23...Ne5 24.g6! <24...Nxg6 25.Qf5+> Bh4 25.Qf5+ Qd7 26.Rg1 and the passed pawns are crushing

23...Ne3 (trying to guard f5) 24.g6! Bh4 25.Qf4 Bxe1 26.Rxe1. <26...Ng2 27.Qg4+> After White wins the rook back, Black's pawns are again dropping like flies.

Sep-20-14  plumbst: <al wazir> 27...Qe5 28.Qxe5 dxe5 29.Ne6 looks good.
Sep-20-14  plumbst: <lostgalaxy> Yes, even though it's a Saturday puzzle, the fact that you know there IS a winning move makes finding it much easier; over the board, the move would less likely come to mind.
Sep-20-14  gofer: If we give up the knight, we gain a huge long-term bet of Pf7! Okay it will take a while to benefit from it, but its there waiting to pay off...

<22 fxg6! ...>

22 ... fxg6
23 Ne6

<22 ... exd4>
<23 gxf7 ...>

Now white has to weather the storm, but the long-term solution is there waiting for when black's attack fizzles out. There is no way that I can calculate the next 10+ moves, but the bits I have played with are around a "2N + Q" attack, which doesn't have enough impetus to mate the white king, so black has to try bring in Bb7 or Be7 and that takes time that black just doesn't have also, if Bc1 has to be traded at some point or move from the c1-h6 diagonal Bxg5 still isn't available due to Qf5+ winning the bishop! So is the longterm bet a good one???

click for larger view


Well I was right... stop where I did. I thought black would try Na3+ or Na4 or something a little bit more attacking...

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens 22... exd4.

White has the possibility of obtaining two linked passed pawns with 22.fxg6 exd4 (22... fxg6 23.Ne6 wins the exchange) 23.gxf7 with several threats (g6-g7, Nxd4-e6, Nxd4-f5, etc.) and a large compensation for the material.

For example, 23... Ne5 24.g6 Bf8 (24... Nxg6 25.Qf5+ Qd7 26.Qxg6 is very good for White) 25.Qf6 Rh2 26.Nxd4 (26.g7 Bxg7 27.Qxg7 Qxf7 28.Qxf7 Nxf7 29.Nxd4 looks weaker) gets three pawns for the knight and an overwhelming position.

I don't have time for more.

Sep-20-14  diagonalley: "very difficult" indeed! ... (beyond my powers, but fascinating)
Sep-20-14  morfishine: This was difficult to find a theme. Finally saw the idea of a piece sac for two-connected passed pawns:


<22...exd4> Questions for Black are "Do I accept the piece and face the dreary prospect of holding off 2 connected passed pawns?" or "Do I toss an exchange with 22...fxg6 23.Ne6 and eliminate that possibility altogether?...Of couse, I don't get the piece here"


This was all I could really visualize as a plan. Black has a number of responses, one of which I didn't consider, namely the game continuation: 23...Ne3 (Duh)

Perhaps best now for Black is 23...Ne5 as suggested by <An Englishman>


Sep-20-14  goodevans: A knight for two advanced connected passed pawns would whet my appetite in any game, and if black declines the sac then the fork on e6 isn't difficult to see.

Granted, there are a few complications to calculate but the key move is so obvious this can hardly be considered proper Saturday fare.

Sep-20-14  Hesam7: Black's position seems to be losing shortly after the opening. For example I tried 17...Nbc4:

click for larger view

18 Qc1 Nd3 19 cd3 (19 Rd3? b4!) 19...Ne3 20 Qe3 Qd7 (Black has to support e6 otherwise 21 g6! wins on the spot) 21 g6! fg6 22 f5 gf5 (22...e5 23 Ne6 Bf6 24 Qg1 g5 loses even faster) 23 ef5 e5 24 Ne6 Bf6 25 Rc1

click for larger view

And White should be winning.

Therefore any improvement must come even earlier. Playing around with Stockfish, I think the culprit is 13...Be7?, this move loses a tempo in a very sharp position. Instead 13...Rc8 is better, for example if we continue as in the game: 14 h4 Nfd7 15 g5 hg5 16 hg5 Nb6 17 f4 now Black can play 17...Nbc4 18 Qe2 (already 18 Qc1 is a mistake) 18...Nd3 19 cd3 Ne3 20 Qe3 Qb6! (with 13...Be7 instead of 13...Rc8 White would have won with 21 Nd5! here) 21 g6 (not so dangerous here; 21 Nd5 draws as well) 21...e5 22 gf7 Kf7 23 fe5 de5

click for larger view

And surprisingly Black is fine here after both 24 Nf5 Qe3 25 Ne3 Bc5 and 24 Qf3 Qf6 25 Nd5 Qf3 26 Nf3 Rh5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < plumbst: ..the fact that you know there IS a winning move makes finding it much easier; over the board, the move would less likely come to mind. >

Yes there is some truth to what you say, but in this case the problem for me was not "seeing" the idea. I considered it almost immediately. It is an enticing idea.. the piece sac for 3 pawns (g6, f7, d4). The problem comes in when the tree of analysis is long and complex, with many possible sub-variations. And after Ne3 it would involve another exchange sac. It becomes difficult to clearly predict the outcome, which in itself makes one less sure over the board.

It's like in the Sinquefield Caruana-Topalov game with the sac 24.Bxe6! Fab took some time on this move, and in the after game interview he was asked about why he took so much time, did it take him a while to find the move? and of course the answer was no, but it IS a piece sac, and he was being very cautious to make sure it was sound. The point is, it had the potential to be the winning or losing move!

Now in this game, after 22. fxg6 exd4 23. gxf7 Ne3 24. Nxd4 Nxd1 25. Rxd1 white has 3 pawns for a rook. Frankly, that's a scarey sacrifice OTB! So the tendency is to think.. Ok white is reasonably assured to to get back a piece (like a bishop) but will it be enough?

And in the actual game, black resigns after playing 29.Qxd1? only then seeing that f8=Q! threatens mate at c7. Now, did white see this from move 22 (8 moves ahead)? Possibly. But it is more likely that in all the variations he could see, he had activity and complications, and mustered up his courage to play on his gut instinct. In either case, it paid off.

Sep-20-14  vajeer: Wouldn't 24.g6 win too?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The knight was a small price to pay to get two connectors- which will soon take over the game.
Sep-20-14  Clodhopper: I got this one, so it must not be a worthy Sunday puzzler. I didn't see all the variations all the way to the end, but I could see that the position after 26. g5-g6 is a complete win for white.
Sep-20-14  Conrad93: <After 22 fxg6!? fxg6, hasn't White just weakened his own position?>

White has 23. Ne6, which forks the rook and bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <plumbst: 27...Qe5 28.Qxe5 dxe5 29.Ne6> Nd7.

A) 30. Nxd8 Kxd8 31. Bg5+ (31. Rg1 Bg7) Kc7 32. Rf1 Bg7. Black is bottled up and white has two connected passed ♙s for his piece, but I don't see any way to make progress.

B) 30. g7 Nxg7 31. Bxg7 Rh7 32. Ne6 Rdh8. Black has an exchange for two ♙s.

C) 30. Nxf8 Rdxf8 31. g7 Rhg8! Whichever ♖ white takes, the other one will recapture, and then the second ♙ is blocked, e.g., 32. fxg8=Q Rxg8 33. Bh6 Kd8 34. Rf1 Ke7. Now what?

Jan-07-21  Timwestlund: "Man-Eating Monster" If you read the name of the player with the white pieces twice you will understand it.

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