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Alexey Shirov vs Vladimir Kramnik
PCA Qualifiers (1993), Groningen NED, rd 8, Dec-27
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Classical Variation (B65)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-05-13  bubuli55: My analysis was correct after all. when i first looked at this puzzle I checked out Rxg7 first and immediately gave up on it. Kramnik found a draw with Kh3 so he probably took that right away. Oh well. It happens.
Sep-05-13  TheaN: I find the discussion about starts for puzzle interesting.

7 days, 7 stars? Yes, give monday 1 star, tuesday 2, etc, till the conclusion hits halfway that it might be a redundant system. It's like labeling days in a data file, monday=1, tuesday=2, etc.

That said, CG uses an innovative system to divide seven days over five stars and allow half stars, for a total of ten difficulties. That Monday is one star, and Sunday five is nothing but a logical consequence. The nuance of Tuesday through Saturday to add or not to add a half star to a day gives the opportunity to create a 'slightly harder Tuesday' or 'below average Thursday' puzzle for example.

We should not forget, however, that ultimately any difficulty label of a puzzle is subjective. I think <MAJ> used to label puzzle based on a rating recognition system, and more often than not was a midweek puzzle harder than the average endweek puzzle. Regardless, most of the CG community would still spot such a puzzle with fair ease due to the routine of endweek puzzle only to remark "that this Wednesday puzzle feels like a Friday, Thursday at least".

Subjectivity, hard to measure.

Sep-05-13  TheaN: <bubuli55: 21... Qxc3 22. Bd3+ Rxd3 >

You already concluded yourself Kramnik was at fault here, not your analysis, but I still wanted to make a quick remark at the detail of at this line.

If anything, this line is more than the second due to forced simplification. Black still attains the same mating threats (Qd2+ or Qe1#) and defenses of the white mate (Rxh3) whilst gaining a bishop. The only way for white to 'justify' Bd3 is by claiming the 'exchange' with 23.Rxd3 Qxd3 24.cxd3 Rxg7 and white has a sole rook and is two bishops down. That's worse than being down a single piece after 22.Rxc3 Rxg7, which is already .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: What tournament is this from? What does, under the player's names, "Ch World (select) PCA" mean?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <Eggman> The 1993 PCA qualifying tournament (
Sep-05-13  DcGentle: The only issue I have with <chessgames>' puzzle rating system is the description "insane" of Sunday puzzles. This may be a bit tongue in cheek, but nevertheless we know that chess positions can be arbitrarily difficult, and in order to solve a position like this (DcGentle chessforum) you can spend several days easily, even with computer assistance.

So I would suggest the description "challenging" instead of "insane" for Sunday puzzles. This sounds more realistic.


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I think insane people are very upset by the Sunday puzzle... I'd call it psycho.
Sep-05-13  bubuli55: How about challinsacho. In chess there is no correct English or word. :)
Sep-05-13  Nick46: Until today I assumed a win was de rigueur.
Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: 21...Qxc3! brings home the bacon. For example:

a. 22. Rxc3 Rxg7

b. 22. bxc3 Ba3+ 23. Kb1 Rd1#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Here's what happens if white gets sloppy after 21...Qxc3 22 Rxc3 Rxg7 23 Rh3+ Kg8 and tries 24 Rgh4?? with the threat of 25 Rh8#.

click for larger view

24..Bg5+, with forced mate follows.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Qxc3 was missed-how about that:a closer that brings home the bacon!?

Black had to settle 4 a draw in a game that should have been won.

Sep-05-13  JG27Pyth: I'm amazed Kramnik didn't see that and it's a pity: the fire on the board queen sac refuted by a queen sac from mr. positional patience -- it'd make it's way into a lot of collections I think.
Sep-05-13  inad: Wow, Shirov missed an easier win two moves earlier!!!
Sep-05-13 Got it!

The key for me was the fact that either a luft is necessary for the black King, or h3 need to be covered in some way, any way. Although taking the B to create air prevents the mate, it's not really "decisive" and a search should be made for a better move. The only move I see that sufficiently covers h3 (via x-ray) is Qxc3, and once that's spotted the rest falls into place.

It's not a 4-star/insane puzzle. But it's a pretty motif.

Sep-05-13  Abdel Irada: <So I would suggest the description "challenging" instead of "insane" for Sunday puzzles. This sounds more realistic.>

"Insane" is often overstated, but "challenging" lacks all punch, plus the humor we enjoy in the designation now.

To accommodate the desire for a more measured but still catchy adjective that doesn't unnecessarily sacrifice theme, I humbly suggest <Out There, Man>. A tad colloquial, perhaps, but if it's good enough for a former president....

(And then there's always the utilitarian choice: <Neurotic>.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Personally I like "insane" - it has a wry humour about it. It doesn't make the puzzles and easier to solve, but it does keep me light hearted while I try to overcome the devious xxxx.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 21...Qxc3! appears to win, e.g. 22.Rxc3 (22.bxc3? Ba3+ 23.Kb1 Rd1#) Rxg7 23.Rh3+ Kg8 with an extra piece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Even though I have no idea what the follow up would be, I got the 1st move right. :)
Sep-05-13  quinlan: 21... Qxc3, of course! I can not understand how Kramnik missed that nice move! He wins in all cases, no matter what white could do.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <<bubuli55:>

Ouch! Totally missed it>

You are in good company with a one-time world champion :)

Sep-05-13  James D Flynn: Black is up a Q for a N and 2 pawns but he is faced with a mating threat by 22.Rh3+.Theobvios answer is to try the exchange sac by 21…..Rxg7 22.Rxg7+ Kh6 23.Rg8(not Rg4 f5 24.Rh3+ Bh5 wins) Kh7(else24.Rh3+) 24.Rg4(and there is no answer to the threat Rh3+ except to return material by Qxc3) Qxc3 25.Rxc3 which has only delayed h inevitable by one move. However,Qxc3 can be played earlier the diversion 21……Qxc3 22.Rxc3(not bxc3 Ba3+ 23.Kb1 Rd1#) Rxg7(now Black is up a B for 2pawns and White’s B on g4 is attacked , if he exchanges R he has no attack in compensation for the slight material deficit) but if he moves the R off the g file Black plays 24….Bg5+ and afte 25.Kb1 Rd1#)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I suspect Kramnik was so thrilled, cough cough, to find a draw, he didn't look for the win.
Sep-07-13  Abdel Irada: <OCF>, you really should set up an appointment with an otorhinolaryngologist at your earliest opportunity. What with all the coughing and the snorting, it sounds as though you may have an infection. (Moreover, the frequent yawns suggest sleep deprivation, which may also indicate an underlying problem.)

Dec-01-18  Howard: The late GM Shamkovich pointed out Qxc3
in an Inside Chess article many years ago.
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