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Vladimir Kovacevic vs Predrag Nikolic
Vidmar Memorial (1989), Ljubljana/Rogaska Slatina YUG, rd 3, Jun-??
Queen Pawn Game: Symmetrical Variation. Pseudo-Catalan (D02)  ·  1-0



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Given 2 times; par: 67 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-10-08  hovik2003: I should admit this one was a real head-breaker, I saw 33.Rc1 right away with killer threats on eight rank, but after: 33...Qa6 (33...Rd8? runs into 34.Rc7), I considered after awhile 34.Qe3 (after spending lots of time on 34.Ne6 threatening check on f8 but again black plays 34...Ng7!, and 34.g4?! runs into 34...Rxd4 35.gxh5 Rxh4! holds for black after 36.Rc7 Qa1+ and rook must come back to c1) but in the main line after black's reply 34...Ng7! my brain was locked and didn't see any thing solid and winning for white until I got enlighted by cheating from the score sheet.
Feb-10-08  MiCrooks: Found Rc1 fairly quickly after seeing Ne6 didn't work, but did not see the relatively forcing variation after Qa6. Funny, Kovacevic missed his best continuation during the game as well! He played 38 Qe3 Kf7 but missed the point of the move! 39 Qh6 is crushing! Instead he played back to b3 and when Nikolic repeated the position he went in for Nf4 instead. While this appears to be winning, Black could play on with Qb7 instead of the blunder Qa1+.
Feb-10-08  whiteshark: Black could play <36...Qb7>

click for larger view

Now white is winning with

37.Qb4+ Ke8 38.Rxf6 Rf7 39.Qb5+ Kf8 40.Rd6 Kg8 41.Nc6 Ne8 42.Rd8 Rf8 43.Qd5+ Qf7 44.Qxf7+ Kxf7 45.Rd7+ Kg8 46.Rxa7 when he is ♙♙ up in a ♖♘ endgame.

Feb-10-08  hedgeh0g: Also got Rc1, but didn't get much from there on.
Feb-10-08  mistreaver: i know vladimir kovacevic in person he is my friend's grandpa but i had no idea he was a great chessplay untill now Oo
Feb-10-08  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane): White to play and win

Material: even. The White Qh6 has infiltrated Black's K-side and, given support, would have access to f8 and g7. The Rd1 has a discovered attack on Rd7, if the Nd4 moves, but presently ...Rxd1 is check. The Nd4 has the attractive square e6, supporting mate threats by the Qh6, but the Black Qa2 controls e6. The Nh5 has only one square, g7.

Candidates (33.): b3, Rc1


threatening 34.Rc8+ Kf7 35.Qf8# and 34.Rc7

33...Ng7 34.Rc8+ Kf7 35.Qxh7

threatening 36.Qg8+ Ke7 37.Qxa2 and 37.Qf8#, so the Q must move to avoid 35...Ke7 36.Qxg7+, with more material to come.

35...Qb1+ [Qa1+ is worse] 36.Kh2 Rxd4 37.Qg8+ Ke7 38.Qxg7+

and now, 38...Ke6 [Kd6 39.Rd8+] 39.Rc6+ loses the Rd4 without perpetual check.

All of the line is forced after 33...Ng7, so let's check the alternatives to meeting the original threat after 33.Rc1.

33...Rd8 34.Rc7 threatening 35.Qxh7 is fatal.

33...R other loses the Qa2 to the skewer threat after the original line, following 33...Ng7. Black has only one move.

33...Qd5 [Q other 34.Rc8+ leads to mate]

34.Rc8+ Rd8 [else, 35.Qxh7 wins at least a P] 35.Rc7+ Rd7

36.Ne6 (threatening 37.Qf8#) Kf7 [Qxe6 37.Rc8+ leads to Qf8#] [Ng7 37.Rc8+ threatening 38.Nxg7 and 38.Qxg7# wins]

37.Qxh7+ Kxe6 [Ng7 38.Qxg7+ does not help] 38.Qg8+ Kf5 [Kd6 39.Rxd7+ loses the Qd5] 39.Qc8 (pinning the Rd7 and threatening 40.Qxd7] Ke6 40.Qe8+ is curtains.

Time to peek. After 33.Rc1, I must have examined everything but the game line. LOL. Well, at least you now know why Nikolic played Qa6 ;>) The tough part of my analysis was justifying 36.Ne6, which is a very attractive move. Too bad Kovacevic never had to play it.

Time to check the kibitzing.

<dzechiel: I would really like to know how much of this combination Kovacevic saw when he made the first move.>

I believe 33.Rc1 can be made with complete confidence and without much calculation. The move 33.Rc1 is easily the most aggressive of the alternatives, and it throws Black completely on the defensive. I hunger for the mental exercise of calculating the juicy combinations CG throws out, and hence I calculate consequences, even for a move like 33.Rc1. I looked at 33.b3 briefly first, e.g., but it is a lot less aggressive and no more positional than 33.Rc1.

<An Englishman: Still not convinced this is a forced win; perhaps a silicon monster can assist.> <MostlyAverageJoe: white had a completely crushing 39.Qh6!>

I believe my lines win demonstrate a win for White on every alternative, except 33...Qa6. (Although in one line I contented myself with demonstrating a P gain, the line forces the Black K to run in the open.) My impression is that there is just enough flame to burn Black completely, and I would be surprised if 33...Qa6 were a saving clause. In particular, if <MAJ> has closed off 33...Qa6, I do not believe anything else is going to save Black.

<znprdx: Finally!! ...there is a glimmer of hope in the general acknowledgment by many today both directly and indirectly, that maybe - just maybe – it is NOT necessary to presume that when a player makes a strong, often unexpected, even unique key move to a potentially winning sequence, that ALL was seen and calculated...>

Replace "ALL" with "NOT ALL", and you have my side of our continuing discussion.

Your statement today is noticeably weaker than previous statements, and quite appropriately so. In particular, I do not disagree with it. A little mysticism supported by a lot of critical logic is a very healthy mix.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <MAJ> <Actually, in move 39 both players blundered....

Black reciprocated with 39...Ke7? -- he should've played 39.Qa1! which (according to Hiarcs) is most likely a draw.>

Great find 39 Qa1. I completely missed it.

Feb-10-08  Jason Frost: Got the first couple of moves but coulden't find a direct win after that
Premium Chessgames Member
  Viewer Deluxe: The puzzle is way above my level. Only after reading your comments I noticed (as <Dilbertarian> and <MostlyAverageJoe> pointed out) that 39.Qh6 is very strong. Here is another convincing possibility for White in that line: (39.Qh6 Nd6 40.Nf8 Ke8
(40...Qxe2 41.Qxh7+ Kxf8 42.Qxd7)
(40...Qb7 41.Rxd6 Rxd6 42.Qxh7+)
41.Nxh7 Kd8 42.Qf8+ Ne8 43.Re6)
Feb-10-08  wals: Acting insanely
33.Qf8+...K x f8 34. Ne6+...Ke7 dead end
33.Qh6-e3...Kf7 going nowhere
33.Qh6-c1...Rd8 34. Ne6...R x R 35.Q x R
no idea ( retain for study)
Feb-10-08  Dr. J: < mariola: Player white was Croatian grandmaster Vlatko Kovacevic ( 2499 ELO ), not Serbian player Vladimir Kovacevic ! > If so, please use the "suggest a correction" button (just below the Kibitz box).
Feb-10-08  HOTDOG: 40...Qa1+? loses immediately.Black had to play 40...Kd8 or 40...Kf8 to avoid moves as 41.Rc8,41.Qg8 and 41.Qe6+,or also play 40...Qb7 with the idea to organize a barrier on the 7th rank
Feb-10-08  hovik2003: Kovacevic is Serbian no matter where they come from(Former Yugoslavia), very common name in sports, we have another one Goran Kovacevic as great football player and another one as top tennis player, I am sure there are couple of mores if I recall correctly have been past Olympic champions.
Feb-10-08  johnlspouge: <An Englishman: Still not convinced this is a forced win; perhaps a silicon monster can assist.>

Toga II 1.3.1 verified the lines I gave, with the usual caveat that it kept throwing its Q near the end of the line. With Toga, I also checked <stukkenjager>'s careful analysis of the game line (which appears to be unattributed computer analysis). According to Toga, best play yields the following least decisive result:

33.Rc1 Qa6 34.Qe3 Ng7 35.Qb3+

[Toga prefers <35.h5> (threatening 36.h6) gxh5 36.Nf5]

<35…Kh8> instead of 35…Kf8

36.Qf3 (threatening 37.Qa8+ and 37.Rc8+, as <Eyal> pointed out)

36…Kg8 37.Qxf6 Qb7 (to prevent 38.Nc6 39.Ne7+) 38.Nc6

and the passed Pe2 ensures White’s win.

Feb-10-08  johnlspouge: <hovik2003: Kovacevic is Serbian>

I had suspected that your native language was slavic, because of the slavic diminutive "ik" on your username. Out of curiosity, does your native language use angle brackets "<<" and ">>" for quotations, like Russian? (Quotation marks around angle brackets cause such a mess in CG! I hope you get the idea :)

If so, no wonder my quotation marks confused you yesterday, when I put them on a line separate from the username. I promise never to do it again :)

Feb-10-08  Steve Case: Hey! I got the first move with the rook! The rest? Holy cow!
Feb-10-08  DarthStapler: Didn't see it though
Feb-10-08  jovack: <johnlspouge> it is not "ik", but ic... pronounced ich although, hovik could be playing around with his name, but hovic is not a slavic name i've heard before
Feb-10-08  just a kid: I found 33.Rc1!I didn't get too deep into it,but in the lines I checked it was a straightfoward win.
Feb-10-08  RandomVisitor: As mentioned by others, 39...Qa1+ appears to draw, but white could have improved earlier.

click for larger view

(21-ply) Rybka2.3.2a
1. (0.02): 40.Kg2 Qd1 41.Qf3 Qd5 42.Nf4 Qxf3+ 43.Kxf3 Rc7 44.Rxc7+ Nxc7 45.Ke4 Ne6 46.Nd3 Ke7 47.Kd5 Kd7 48.b4 Nc7+ 49.Kc4 a6

2. (0.00): 40.Kh2 Qd1 41.Ng5+ Kg7 42.Qe3 fxg5 43.Qxe8 Qd4 44.hxg5 Qxf2+ 45.Kh3 Qf5+ 46.Kh2 Rf7 47.Rc8 Rf8 48.Qe7+ Rf7 49.Qe8 Rf8 50.Qe7+ Rf7 51.Qe8 Rf8 52.Qe7+ Rf7 53.Qe8 Rf8 54.Qe7+ Rf7 55.Qe8 Rf8 56.Qe7+ Rf7 57.Qe8 Rf8 58.Qe7+ Rf7 59.Qe8 Rf8 60.Qe7+ Rf7 61.Qe8 Rf8 62.Qe7+ Rf7

Feb-10-08  TrueBlue: not that difficult I think, I like Rc1, allows the rook to attack and black can't take the knight. Rc6, knight e6, and moving the g and h pawn are possible follow up moves. You don't expect me to exhaust all possibilities in a Sunday, do you?
Feb-10-08  TrueBlue: just for fun, something like this works, I believe:

33. Rc1 Qa6 34. Qe3 Ng7 35. Qb3+ Kf8 36. Rc6 Ne8 37. Ne6+ Ke7 38. Qe3 Qa1+

Feb-11-08  hovik2003: <johnlspouge>
I always have been fond of Yugoslav chess school starting from Gligoric and Ljuboevic to more recent masters like Minic, Velimirovic and Planinc for their wild and vivid style of attacking play. Actually my name is Armenian and "-ik" is diminutive suffix in Armenian and verbally means Little John, "Hov-" is shortened form of Bible name Hovaness which is same as Latin Johannes, Greek Ioannes, English John, German Johann, Spanish Juan, where they all derived from Hebrew Yohanan who is "John the Baptist"

I am a polyglot but being from Middle-East unfortunantly I don't speak any of Slavic Languages, but I am sure using quotation marks "..." is pretty common in most Indo-European sister languages in written form and literature, and I think brackets by being more modern invention are more mathematically and logically inclined so they fit better on computer languages and internet in general.

Feb-11-08  johnlspouge: <hovik2003>, many thanks for the reply. You essentially told me we have the same name. My wife, an <ex>-Belarussian, often refers to me as "Johnik".

<I am a polyglot but being from Middle-East unfortunantly I don't speak any of Slavic Languages.>

Please, consider yourself fortunate. I would have abandoned my attempts at Russian in discouragement, if I had not absorbed French and German to a reasonable level (conversation with a stranger over the phone) first. Fortunately, my two daughers are fluently bilingual. In case you want tougher challenges, however, I have heard that Hungarian and Chinese are more difficult than Russian.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Sunday Feb 10, 2008 puzzle solution, White's 33. Rc1!! seems to give White a decisive attack against Black's weak King position. However, in the line played, 39...Qa1+ seems to draw (see <RV>'s Rybka analysis). Yet, White can improve earlier with 35. h4! as pointed out by <johnlspouge>'s Toga analysis.
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