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Dardo Sergio Botto vs Larry Christiansen
"Botto Mechanic" (game of the day May-14-2018)
Pan-American Youth Championship (1975), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 3, Apr-08
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Modern Variation (B61)  ·  0-1



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Given 17 times; par: 19 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-15-04  Lawrence: <JohnBoy>, only one "n".
Aug-17-04  patzer2: <JohnBoy> Welcome aboard! With yourself, clocked, Honza Cervenka, Karlzen, IM Lawrence Day and GM Keene there are some strong analysts on this site.

<Lawrence> <only one "n"> reminds me of

Jun-23-06  Caissanist: Christiansen gave 14..Rxg2 a "?!?!" when he annotated this game for Chess Life and Review, and added that "simply [Qf3] wins". He couldn't resist playing Rxg2 because the resulting combination was so beautiful, and because he expected Botto to fall for it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: I remember when this game originally appeared in the August 1975 Chess Life. Reading it again 34 years later, I find Christiansen's comments hilarious for their youthful cockiness. After "14. RxPch??!!" (Christiansen's punctuation), he writes, "Although this move and those that follow are flashy, they don't lead to a forced win. Simply 14...Q-KB6 wins. My decision was based on the beautiful 18th move and White's horrid play so far. At least it made the spectators happy." Then, after "18...QxN!!" (again, his punctuation), the comment is "My name's Morphy." Finally, after "19. Q-Q5??", he writes "As expected, Botto fails to find the correct defense" and goes on to analyze 19. Qh5, which he claims to be the best defense, ending with "and although White is worse, he can still hold".

OK, now a couple of points: First, as noted in previous comments here, 19. Bf7+! turns the tables to where Black has to play for a draw. Second and more importantly, if Christiansen liked that ...QxN move so much, he could still have played it after 14...Qf3 15. Ne3 (or 15. g3 Bh3 16. Ne3, transposing) Bh3 16. g3 (16. Qd1 Rxg2+ 17. Kh1 Qxe3!) Bh6 18. Qd1 Qxe3!! ("My name's Morphy.") and now:

a: 19. fxe3 Bxe3+ 22. Rf2 Rxf2! and the only defense to ...Rf1# is 23. Kh1, which leads to 23...Bg2+ 24. Kg1 Rc2#

b: 19. Qd5 Qf3 20. Qxf7+ Kd7 21. Be6+ Bxe6 wins

c: 19. Qh5 Qg5 20. Qxh3 Rxc4 or 20. Bxf7+ Kf8 21. Qxh3 Kxf7 leave Black a piece up.

d: 19. Bxf7+ Kxf7 20. Qh5+ Kf8 21. fxe3 Bxe3+ 22. Rf2 Bxf2+ (this time ...Rxf2 doesn't work, but there is a different win) 23. Kh1 Bg4 24. Qh6+ Kf7 25. Qf4 (25. h3 Bf3+ 26. Kh2 Be3# or 25. Rg1 Bf3+ 26. Rg2 Bxg2+ 27. Kxg2 Be3+) e5! and it's over.

So, this line still leads to a spectacular win, except this time the combination is sound. And, I'll bet it would have still made the spectators happy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Oh, cool... I guess I have to disqualify myself for this one, since the last post before today is mine. See that post for my brilliant and incredibly witty analysis. You will not leave disappointed. :)
Mar-14-10  dzechiel: Black to move (18...?) Black has two pawns for a rook. "Insane."

It doesn't take long to see that black is down serious material and allowing the exchange of queens will be the end of him.

Indeed, there only seems to be one move here for black that keeps the game alive...


This picks up a knight, threatens the now unprotected white bishop AND threatens mate (19 Qxc2 Qg5+ 20 Kh1 Qg2#). White does not have time to grab the black rook, in fact white only has time for

19 fxe3 Bxe3+ 20 Rf2

White can't move the king to the corner with 20 Kh1 as that would allow 20...Bg2#. The white rook must throw himself under the bus so that the black rook cannot control g2.

Now black has to make a decision. Does he go for the prosaic 20...Bxf2+ 21 Kh1 Rxc4 giving black two bishops and three pawns for the queen, *OR*, does he play


and go for all the marbles? I think the latter. The threatened discovered check is very powerful. If white doesn't come up with something really spectacular, black will simply play 21...Rf1#. Since this is a double check, white will have no adequate defence. Even trying to move the king in advance with

21 Kh1


21...Bg2+ 22 Kg1 Re2#

In fact, this whole line is so bad for white that I think he needed something different 'way back at the beginning of this combination. For instance, instead of 19 fxe3 (the capture of the queen), maybe white could try

19 Qd3

I don't think this works at all, but it's something different. After

19...Qg5+ 20 Qg3 Rxc4

black will pick up either the b-pawn or the e-pawn and have a comfortable advantage of two bishops and three pawns for a rook.

That's all the time for this evening, time to check and see how this went down.

Mar-14-10  Caissas Clown: A fairly "sane" puzzle .
This is Wednesday level.
Mar-14-10  Blunderdome: 18. Qxe3 doesn't win, but it is the best move in that position.
Mar-14-10  Quentinc: <Obit's> brilliant and witty analysis from Jan. 13 says it all. I figured that given the insane rating, the obvious ...Qxe3 had a refutation, but for some reason didn't see the obvious 19. Qh5. Then it turns out White could have done even better with 19. Bxf7+ first.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: I remembered this game from the 2004 discussion, so no credit for me; however, shouldn't the real puzzle be 19.White to play?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I saw 18...Qxe3 for black, but thought that 19 Bb5+ followed by 20 Qh5 was a credible defense for white. Missed 19 Bxf7+.

Where's the insanity?

Mar-14-10  SuperPatzer77: <dzechiel> Welcome back!! I sure love reading your commentaries.

Awfully glad to see you back, <dzechiel>!!!

<dzechiel> Your analysis is correct.

Take care of your eyes, OK?


Mar-14-10  lost in space: Have not got it.

18. Qxe3 (only move) 19. Bxf7!
(not 19. fxe3 Bxe3+ 20. Rf2 Rxf2 21. Qa4+ Kd8 22. Qa5+ b6 23. Qxa7 Rf1#)

(not 19. Qxc2 Qg5+ 20. Kh1 Qg2#)

(not 19. Qd5 Qf3 20. Qxf7 Kd7 21. Bb5+ (21. Be6+ Bxe6) 21...Rc6 22. Qg8 Bg5)

(maybe playable is 19. Qh5 Qg5+ 20. Qxg5 Bxg5 21. Bb3 Rc3; Black is better but white not totally lost)

19. Kd8
(not 19...Kxf7 20. fxe3 Bxe3 21. Rf2 Bxf2 (21...Rxf2 22. Qb3+ Be6 23. Qxe3) 22. Kh1 Rc3 23. Qd2 and Black will lose this)

20. Qh5 Qg5+ 21. Qxg5 22. Bb3 Rc3 =

click for larger view

Mar-14-10  mrsaturdaypants: I have never actually gotten a Sunday puzzle all the way through. I think I might have a chance this time.

I looked at Bxe3, but after 19 Qxf3 there's nothing. Then Qxd1, but no attack seems to build from there. Then I got excited for a minute about Qf4, followed by Qg5. But 19 Ng2 and 20 Qf3 hold easily.

So I went back to the beginning. The white king is stalemated. Only the knight on e3 prevents mate. And the queens are staring at each other. Finally I saw Qxe3.


(a) 19 fxe3 Bxf3 20 Rf2 (Kh1 Bg2#) Rxf2 21 Qe1 or Qd3...Rf1# (pretty and amusing)

(b) 19 Qxc2 Qg5+ 20 Kh1 Qg2#

Other white moves can't take the sting out of Qg5, now that white's knight is off the board.

If that's it, it's easy once you see Qxe3. Unless I've missed something, this will turn out to be one of the easier Sunday puzzles ever. But I'll still count it.

Time to check.

Mar-14-10  mrsaturdaypants: Oh hamburgers.

I can't even quite understand <Obit>'s spectacular line (I don't get why 23...Bg4 works), but <Jimfromprovidence> does, so between them I'm rather sure that's right. Especially since I missed the latter's 19 Bb5+ and 20 Qh5, which sure seems to hold. I need to get better at looking for counterattacks and aggressive defenses.

Fun one, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: B is down R for 2p and had Q and R en pris so I'm thinking, this has to something forcing.

W wants to # on g2 but the WN is stopping it. If 18 ...Bxe3 the Q goes. I thought I'd seen it with 18... Qxe3 19 fxe3 Bxe3+ and B #s in every variation, e.g. 20 Rf2 Rxf2 21 Kh1 Bg2+ 22 Kg1 Re2#. But then I remembered it was Sunday. W does not have to take the proffered Q. I could see nothing for B after 19 Qh5. W will get the chance to + on f7 and again on g with tempo and the vital g2 is covered.

I tried lots of variations and the best I could find was 19 ... Qxe4 20 Qxf7+ hd8 21 Qg8+ Kc7 22 Bh5 (if 22 ...Qxb4 23 Rb1, if ...Qd4 23 Rad1). W threatens to win back the exchane and Bg5. If 23 Qb3 then B exchanges Qs takes the R and the ending is won.

But 19 Qd5 would prevent that line, so 19... Qf5 and it looks similar after 20 Qxf7+ except W's B is en pris to the R ad the e-pawn is still there.

Have I made it at last? Let's check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Oh, W did play Qd5 and it's quite different from Qa5 as shes not attacking the B on h3 or covering f3. W can stop the # with e5 but then B wins material.

And ... Kd7 was better than my Kd8
But after 19 Qh5 Qxe4 W would have the "safer" 21 Qxh3 and he's OK. Funny, I thought of that but it looked a bit boring and I got so wrapped up in the Qxc7+ line it went out of my mind. I think my brain needs a multi-cpu ;-)

Mar-14-10  GaeBulg: I saw Qxe3, but I missed the game's defense for White...
Mar-14-10  zb2cr: Hald credit for me. I saw 18. ... Qxe3 but did not find White's best defense 19. Bxf7+, nor the game line.
Mar-14-10  goodevans: 18 ... Qxe3+ was an easy spot for a Sunday puzzle. I think the only thing that might qualify this as being "insane" is that there are numerous defences to consider and I have to admit to not having checked them all.
Mar-14-10  ounos: Ouch, stupid me, I saw 20. ...Bxf2+, leading to nowhere, so I couldn't make Qxe3 work.
Mar-14-10  sfm: Easiest ever?
Mar-14-10  RandomVisitor: After 18...Qxe3 19.Bxf7+

click for larger view

Rybka 3: <d=20>

<[-0.18] 19...Kd8> 20.Qh5 Qg5+ 21.Qxg5 Bxg5 22.Bb3 Rc3 23.Rfd1 Bg4 24.Rd5 b6 25.Rb1 a6 26.b5

[+0.08] 19...Kf8 20.Qh5 Qg5+ 21.Qxg5 Bxg5 22.Bb3 Rc3

Mar-14-10  sfm: "He couldn't resist playing Rxg2 because the resulting combination was so beautiful, and because he expected Botto to fall for it." Unchessic statement. Chess is about playing the best move. Not pseudo-beauty that the "opponent may fall for".
Mar-14-10  WhenHarryMetSally: Wild guess: but I"m thinking 18....Qxe3 and it puts white in a very precarious situation and I can't really think of a good response white can make. All roads lead to death.

Time to check.

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