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Vladimir Kramnik vs Bosko Abramovic
Biel Interzonal (1993), Biel SUI, rd 2, Jul-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Harrwitz Attack (D37)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The sharp knight sac at h7-set this one off.
Feb-26-11  knight knight: Saturday, even material. Well the first move is presumably capturing one of those kingside pawns. Capturing on e6 or f7 might allow the black king an escape route via f7, g6 is protected thrice, so let's try h7 - 17. Nxh7 Nxh7 (refusal of capture leaves white a pawn up). Now g6 is protected only once, so let's go 18. Bxg6 - this also attacks the knight on h7. Black has a few responses:

a) 18...fxg6 19. Qxg6+ Kf8 20. Rxh7 mating on f7

b) 18...Nf8 19. Ne5 (threatening 20. Bxf7+) Nxg6 20. Nxg6 (threatening the bishop) 20...Bf8 21. Ne7+! anyway 21...Bxe7 22. Qh7+ Kf8 23. Qh8#, or 21...Kg7 22. Nxc8 Bxc8 white has a one-point material advantage (2P + R vs 2B), there might be more tho - 23. Qh7+ Kf6 24. Qh4+ ok I can't quite see a forced mate, but this is a winning position for white.

c) 18...Nf6 19. Ne5 again 19...Rf8 20. Bh7+ Kg7 21. Ng6 Nxh7 22. Rxh7+ Kxh7 23. Nxf8++ Kg7 (23...Kg8 24. Qh7+ Kxf8 25. Qh8#) 24. Qh7+ Kf6 25. Qh6+ Kf5 26. Qf4#

d) 18...Ng5 19. Nxg5 Bxg5 20. Bxf7+ Kxf7 21. Rh7+ Kf6 (21...Kf8 22. Qg6 Rc7 23. Rh8+ Ke7 24. Qxg5+ K moves 25. Rxa8 winning) 22. Qc5 Kg6 23. Rdh1 Rc7 24. f4 game over... actually black could try 24...Qe1+ 25. Rxe1 Rxh7 26. Qxg5+ Kf7 but this is a four-point material advantage winning position for white

Lots of variations, I like 17. Nxh7 tho, let's see what happened...

Feb-26-11  LoveThatJoker: I'm surprised no one aside from Mateo back in 2004 and myself has posted the complete and correct tactical justification behind 17. Nxh7!

It's easy to say that 17. Nxh7 is justified on positional means but that is only if White is able to see 17...Nxh7 18. Rxh7 Kxh7 19. Bxg6+


Feb-26-11  rilkefan: <David2009>: 17.Nxf7 the EGT defends with Kxf7 18.Rxh7+ Nxh7 19.Bxg6+ Kf8 20.Bxh7 <b4>. That's the move I missed. It looks a bit scary for black after 21.Ne5 Bf6 22.Nd7+ and Nxf6, but I still can't push the attack through.

Thanks a lot as ever for the Crafty link.

Feb-26-11  VincentL: "Very Difficult".

Instinct tells me that white will have to sacrifice two pieces here, or even three. Black´s artillery is mostly amassed on the Q side, and cannot get across quickly.

Black´s knight is the only useful defender (the bishop isn't contributing), so we need to remove it.

I cannot decide between 17. Nxh7 and 17. Nxf7 at the moment. But with Nxf7 black´s king has a better chance to escape via Ke8. So let´s look at the former.

17. Nxh7 Nxh7. Now perhaps 18. Rxh7 Kxh7 19. Bxg6+ fxg6 20. Rh1+ Kg8 21. Qxg6+ Kf8 22. Qh8 mate.

We need to consider black´s other options on each move.

In the above line, black can play 20..... Kf7. Now I think we need 21. Ne5 and black will not be able to avoid mate after 22. Qxg6+

On move 19, black can try 19....Kg7/Kg8/Kh8. Then after 20. Rh1 (+) white mates.

19.....Kg8 20. Rh1 and then 21. Bxg7+ Kxf7 22. Ne5+ Ke8 23. RH8+ Bf8 24. Qg6+ Ke7 25. Qf7+ Kd6 26. Qd7 mate

19.....Kg7 20. Rh1 Kf6 21. Rh6 Bd6 (or other move) 22. Bxf7+ followed bg Qg6+ and Rh8 mate.

19.....Kh8 20. Bxf7 (best I think) and now mate will follow with Rh1+ or Qg6+

On move 18 black could play 18.....Kf8. Now I think we need 19. Ne5 (to stop the escape route via d7) and then after Rxf7+ and Bxg6 mate will follow (with the queen).

On move 17, the first move, black could decline the knight sacrifice. Something like 17....f5 would offer resistance. Then I think it must be 18. Nxf8 Bxf8 19. Rh8+ Kxh8 20. Rh1+ Kg7 and now I am not sure. Perhaps 21. Ng5 Re8 22. Rh7+ Kg8. I don't see how to continue here.

One line is 19. Bxf5 exf5 20. Qb3+ Kg7 21. Rh7+ Kxh7 22. Qf7+ Kh8 (or....Kh6 23. Rh1 mate) 23. Rh1+ Bh6 24. Rxh6 mate.

But if 19.....gxf5 I don't see the way forward. Maybe 20. Ng5 Re8 21. Nxe6 Rxe6 22. Qxf5 Rh6 23. Rxh6 Bxh6 24. Qg6+ Bg7 25. Rh1. But this isn´t winning. The black king can escape and white is down in material.

I am out of time and have not completely solved this. Let´s see what happened in the game and what the other kibitzes suggest.

Feb-26-11  VincentL: Wow. 17....c5. I didn't consider this at all.
Feb-26-11  LoveThatJoker: <VincentL> You didn't have to consider 17...c5. Black is merely refusing the sac and accepting the loss of a pawn and the opening of the h-file.


PS. Good on you for finding the real tactical solution, man! So far I can only see two people deserving of points.

Feb-26-11  knight knight: After 17. Nxh7 Nxh7 18. Bxg6 Nf8 19. Ne5, NagaSkaki 5.12 (mini chess engine) continues with the nice line:

19...fxg6 20. Nxg6 Bf6 21. Nxf8 Kxf8 22. Qg6 Qd8 23. Rh7 Rc7 24. Rxc7 Qxc7 25. Qxf6+ Qf7 26. Qh8+ Qg8 27. Rh1! (nice) Bc8 28. Qf6+ Ke8 29. Rh8 Qxh8 30. Qxh8+ with a won position

Conclude that both 18. Bxg6 and 18. Rxh7 are winning after 17...Nxh7.

Kramnik's line is the best tho!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I went in for 17. Nxh7 Nxh7 18. Rxh7 Kxh7 19. Rh1+ Kg7 and now 20. Bxg6
Feb-26-11  Patriot: In yesterday's puzzle I missed the key line and draw. But someone's post yesterday said something subtle that helped me get today's puzzle position. Here's the phrase: "The convergence of White's minor pieces on g7 suggests 25.Bxg7". This was one key clue <agb2002> used to solve yesterday's problem which stuck with me to solve today's.

My approach is to look at all forcing candidates (i.e. "checks, captures, and threats") but it's nice to have a clue on where to look first. The question here is "Where do the pieces converge?" The answer is h7, which is defended exactly the number of times it is defended. So at first glance, any captures there look suicidal.

Before embarking on this mission I did look at other possibilities such as Nxf7, Nxe6, Bxg6, and Rxh7. But the idea of where the pieces converge made me more persistent with the attack on h7. So I started 17.Nxh7 Nxh7 (an obviously strong move to consider) and then I wanted to play 18.Bxg6 because after 18...fxg6 19.Qxg6+ gets the piece back with a very strong attack. Obviously 18...fxg6 is bad and I wondered about 18...Nf8 to add more support to g6. Then I looked at 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.Ne5+ and just couldn't turn it into a win. Then I questioned the stronger capture, 18.Rxh7. 18...Kxh7 19.Bxg6+ fxg6 20.Ne5! Bingo! This is the key. The g6 pawn/square is extremely weak and white threatens to immediately invade with 21.Qxg6+. After 20...Rg8, 21.Rh1+ is too much to handle.

Now this would be very tough to find during a game--knowing it's a puzzle makes it easier. But noting the coordination of pieces is a good start to help us "home in" on the right moves and avoid a lot of bad analysis.

Feb-26-11  BOSTER: You should be very bold man to caslle 10...0-0 in the open "h" file. And the pieces on the "a" file: Qa5, Ba6,pa7 and rook a8 the flank which is completely opposite where the main buttle should be, reminds the poor spectators ,who without ticket penetrate on the balkony to view this show. In such position every knight sacr. will win the game for white.
Feb-26-11  alachabre: Black's castle is weak on the black squares, at least as far as pawns are concerned, but Black has the dark bishop and White does not. White's got plenty of weapons aimed at the white squares, so I smell a brutal assault, something on the order of third Ypres.

The first candidate:

17. Nxf7 Kxf7
18. Rxh7+ Nxh7
19. Bxg6+ Kg7
20. Bxh7

So that's pretty good for White, where are improvements in the defense?

18. ... Ke8
19. Bxg6+ Nxg6
20. Qxg6+

No improvement there.

17. ... Kg7
18. Ne5

And White has a grip on the kingside. How about

19. ... Kf8

A subtle refinement, but keeps the king out of a mating net after capture on h7. So before I waste too much time recalculating this variation, I want to look at another candidate.

17. Bxg6 hxg6

I don't instinctively see anything stemming from this.

17. Rxh7 Bxg5
18. Nxg5 Nxh7

And again, the momentum just isn't there.

17. Nxe6

Doesn't do enough to disrupt the castle.

Well, since there is ample opportunity for Black to go wrong after

17. Nxf7

and White has plenty of play even if Black plays accurately, AND the clock is ticking,

17. Nxf7 it is.

Ok, one more candidate I didn't look at yet. Intercourse the flag.

17. Nxh7 Nxh7
18. Bxg6 Nf8
19. Bh7+ Kg7
20. Qe4 or

19. ... Kh8
20. Ne5

Hmm, I don't know, this variation seems better, I don't think either attack ends terribly for White.

17. Nxf7 has a better chance of a big payoff, but
17. Nxh7 seems more solid overall. Personally, I would probably play Nxf7 just because I saw more danger there for Black, but I will bet the master plays Nxh7.

Feb-26-11  ounos: I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Especially Black's attempt to defend was cunning and delightful - good try.
Feb-26-11  naruto00122: <TuxedoKnight> very nice web page, I didn't know more than half of the Chess Traps you got there...

And you chose very wisely your "Legendary Games" ^^

Feb-26-11  stst: One main line:
17. Nxh7 NxN
18. RxN KxR
19. Ne5 Bf6
20. BxP+ PxB
21. QxP+ Kh8
22. Nf7#

17. Nxh7 is somewhat preferred to 17. Rxh7, for after 17...BxN, 18. NxB, W's N can't go e5, losing the tempo of threatening g6.

Of course there're still many sub-variations, but it's in the amateur's opinion more direct than the ex-champ's meandering route.

Feb-26-11  WhiteRook48: I tried 17 Nxh7 and then switched to 17 Rxh7 AAAARGH
Feb-26-11  M.Hassan: "Very Difficult" White to play 17.?
White is a pawn up and has a Knight for a Bishop.
I saw this line first:

17.Nxh7 Nxh7
18.Bxg6 fxg6
19.Qxg6+ Kf8
21.Rxh7 Qc7 just to move a piece

But, what if Black declines taking the Knight on h7?

18.Nhg5 Bxg5
19.Nxg5 b4
20.f4 Bxd3
And now white is up by 2 pawns.Time to check

Feb-26-11  45kg of weed: Nxh7 is for sure an excellent move, only an genious would spot that. Which he is.
Feb-26-11  Dr. J: <mateo: 17. Nxh7 !! 17…Nxh7 18.Rxh7 !! Kxh7 19.Bxg6+ ! Kg7 20.Bxf7 ! Kxf7 21.Ne5+ Ke8 22.Qg6+ Kd8 23.Qxe6 .>

While I don't doubt that this is winning, White is still down in material, and must still prove the win after 23...Qc7. Hence I found 22.Rh1 a little more convincing, e.g., 22...Qf7 23.Qg6+ Kd8 24.Rh8+ Bf8 25.Qxe6.

Feb-27-11  knight knight: <Dr.J> 23...Q/Rc7 24. Qg8+ Bf8 25. Qxf8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Phony Benoni: <Richard Taylor> Was this the Kramnik sacrifice on f7 that you remember?>

I cant recall - it might have been as that was the year after I first got a computer and then I started playing chess online...I saw the game live...I am not sure if it was so direct as that...but I cant recall. I think such sacrifices are initially based on a "hunch" then you calculate...

Kramnik is a much sharper player than he is often given credit for...thanks for the link to that game.

Feb-27-11  micartouse: <Was this the Kramnik sacrifice on f7 that you remember?>

I think Richard Taylor was thinking about this game, which was receiving publicity at the time:

Kramnik vs Deep Fritz, 2002

Feb-27-11  tacticalmonster: 1) Black has a weak h7 pawn.

2) White wants to destroy the e6-f7-g6-h7 light square pawn chains.

3) White should include the WQ into the attack visa Bxg6

4) White can bring the d1 rook into the attack visa the half-open h-file

5) White can target the potential f7 weakness and further pressure g6 pawn visa Ne5

6) White should seek to eliminate the f8 knight by sacrificing

7) White must watch out for the c5 break that would give black counterplay.

8) The weak dark square weakness around Black King isn't as important because White lacks dark square bishop.

9) White shouldn't allow Bxg5 as it removes one of White's light square attacker

Candidate: 17 Nxh7

a) 17...Nxh7 18 Rxh7 Kxh7 19 Bxg6+ Kg7 (19...fxg6 20 Ne5 Rg8 21 Rh1+ Bh4 22 Rxh4+ Kg7 23 Qxg6+ Kf8 24 Qf7#)20 Bxf7 Kxf7 (20...Rh8 21 Qg6+ Kf8 22 Bxe6 any 23 Qf7#) 21 Ne5+ Ke8 22 Rh1! c5 (22...Kd8 23 Rh1+ Kc7 24 Qxc6+ Kb8 25 Nd7#) 23 Rh1+ Bf8 24 Qg6+ Kd8 25 Qf7! Qc7 26 Rxf8#

b) 17...c5 18 Nxf8 cxd4 19 Qe2 Bxf8 20 exd4 up a pawn with the threat of Bxg6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <micartouse: <Was this the Kramnik sacrifice on f7 that you remember?>

I think Richard Taylor was thinking about this game, which was receiving publicity at the time:

Kramnik vs Deep Fritz, 2002 >

Yes, that looks like the game ...I thought: "He might sac on f7" and then he did fact I think I commented that he might. I was played live when I started getting back into chess.

Mar-07-11  Dr. J: After many, many tries against Crafty at I finally won with this interesting variation:

17 Nxh7 c5 18 Nxf8 cxd4 19 Nxg6!? Rxc2 20 Nxe7+ Kf8 21 Ng6+ (I never got anywhere with 21 Bxc2 Kxe7 22 Nxd4 Bb7.) fxg6 22 Bxc2 dxe3?! (may be a mistake) 23 Rh8+ Ke7

click for larger view

.24 Rh7+! (After 24 Rxa8 Bb7, Black's counterattack is good for at least a draw.) Kf8 25 fxe3 Kg8 26 Rdd7 Rc8?! (a mistake, perhaps, as I now seem to have a forced win, but White's attack is very strong) 27 Ne5 Qe1+ 28 Bd1 Qxd1+ 29 Rxd1 Kxh7 30 Rd7+ Kg8 31 Rxa7 Rc5 32 Nd3 Rd5 33 Nb4 winning a piece.

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