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Dardo Sergio Botto vs Larry Christiansen
"Botto Mechanic" (game of the day May-14-2018)
2nd Pan American Junior Ch (1975), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 3
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 3 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-14-10  sfm: <RandomVisitor: After 18...Qxe3 19.Bxf7+ ...+0.08> IMO, all "beauty" is really gone now.
Mar-14-10  remolino: The knight prevents the mate on g2 which suggests looking for opportunities to remove it.

18...QxNe3 19.fxe3 (19.Qxc2 Qg5, 20.Kh1 Qg2++), 19...Bxe3+ 20.Rf2 (20.Kh1 Bg2++), 20.Rxf2

This seems too easy for a Sunday, so I would not be surprised if I went wrong with this line. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane):

D Botto vs Christiansen, 1975 (18...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: B+2P for R+N. The White Kg1 is stalemated. Black threatens 18…Qg2#, which Ne3 has the absolute burden of preventing. White threatens 19.Qxf3, snuffing the Black attack. Black should therefore examine 18…Qxe3, as the last attacking possibility of a piece otherwise forced to withdraw. The Black Ke8 is vulnerable to Bc4xf7+, but is otherwise secured from check.

Candidates (18...): Qxe3

18…Qxe3 (threatening 19…Qg5+ 20.Kh1 Qg2#)

(1) White can accept the sacrifice:

19.fxe3 Bxe3+ 20.Rf2 [Kh1 Bg2#]

20…Rxf2 (threatening 21…Rf1+#)

21.Bxf7+ Kf8

Black mates with his double check, now that White has no checks.

Given (1), White must counter-attack or defend against 19…Qg5+.

(2) 19.Qh5 Qg5+ 20.Qxg5 Bxg5 (threatening 21…Rxc4 or 21…Bxf8)

With 20…Bg5, Black prevents the double defense 21.Rfc1 of Rf1 and Bc4 by run-and-protect. By winning at least the exchange, Black is up at least 2P.

(3) 19.Bxf7+ Kf8 20.Qh5

(avoiding (1) and preventing mate starting with 20…Qg5+)

Best play follows (2), so Black is up at least a P.

I missed the game defense, as usual.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <OBIT> thanks for the very illuminating commentary, and the Christiansen notes. I'll take some satisfaction that he also thought that in the game continuation 19 Qh5 was the best defense, even if Bxf7+ was actually better and B's advantage (if any) is small. After another wasted Sunday I can sleep peacefully tonight thinking at last I understand this (insane) puzzle.

As he remarked, he might have played 14 Qf3 instead and surely it would have won, even without him playing Qxe3 ;-)

But in your line (c) 19 (not 20 I think) Qxf7+ (instead of Bxf7+) Kd8 20 Qxg8 Qxg8 21 Bxg8 Bxf1 22 Kxf1 looks rather drawish. Maybe your friend Morphy can refute this or find an improvement ;-)

Of course, he always had the boring 17 ... Qxd1 winning at least the exchange whatever W does.

Even so, I like to think he correctly judged the spectator situation as well as his opponent's playing strength. I can empathise with that - a plodding points win over an inferior opponent leaves the crowd feeling let down and some bad reports in next day's sports pages

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: I enjoyed to analyze this. I went for 19.Qh5 though. Christiansen's punctation reminds me of <The Unbearable Lightness of youth>. :)
Mar-14-10  CapnSaltine: Welcome back dzechiel, I read your posts every day. It's kind of like a blog to me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: I really like this combo and remember watching a video by Larry commenting on this very game!
Mar-14-10  Rama: sfm, when I stopped trying to play "correctly" and instead concentrated merely on finding good moves and playing better than my opponent, my rating climbed 400 points. Give it a try. :)

This was LC's point, I think: he figured he could outplay DB -- and he did!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I would think Christiansen chops off the knight.. 18..Qxe3 d'you do it too? throws him and does martial. Art of rocking the ramparts is activate the castle and catapult the pieces in. The gentle way no kidding is after 19.Qd5 Qf3 the samish thrust striking g2 yet here Larry is the sensei.
Mar-14-10  RandomVisitor: After 7...Rc8:

click for larger view

Rybka 3: <d=21>

<[+0.31] 8.f4> Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Qb6 10.Qxb6 axb6 11.Bd3 Bc6

[+0.29] 8.0-0-0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Qa5 10.Bd2 a6 11.Kb1 Qc5 12.Qxc5 Rxc5

Mar-14-10  patzer2: <sfm><Unchessic statement. Chess is about playing the best move. Not pseudo-beauty that the "opponent may fall for".> Interesting comment, which holds a lot of truth!

However, there is also a lot of truth in the quote: <After we have paid our dutiful respects to such frigid virtues as calculation, foresight, self-control and the like, we always come back to the thought that speculative attack is the lifeblood of chess. — Fred Reinfeld>

P.S.: To some extent, I suspect all strong Masters play on a continuum between "best play" and "speculative sacrifice." For example Tal was more likely to play the unclear sacrifice, while Petrosian was more inclined to strong positional play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <Rama and others saying Christiansen played all this figuring his opponent would misplay the defense>Um, let's think about this. In the game, the key position arose for Black at move 14. Christiansen says he played 14...Rxg2 (or, to quote Christiansen, "14...RxPch??!!"), knowing full well the move was dubious but confident his opponent would not find the refutation.

OK, so, if we are buying Christiansen's explanation, he intentionally made a dubious move when he had the winning move 14...Qf3. (By the way, 14...Bh3 also wins but requires analyzing a second main line after 15. Ne3, while 15. g3 transposes to the 14...Qf3 line.) He says he played the dubious move because he liked Black's 18th move so much, but, interestingly, the same beautiful move is possible 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!!

No, it seems clear that Christiansen assessed this position incorrectly during the game. Point #1: Any winning move, no matter how prosaic, is better than a flashy move that does not win. Point #2: In this case, the continuation after 14...Qf3 is hardly prosaic; in fact, it most likely would have led to the same spectacular queen sacrifice. Christiansen did not play 14...Rxg2?! because he thought his opponent would botch the defense. He played it because he thought he was about to uncork a brilliancy for the ages.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: As for White's defense, 19. Bxf7+ is best -- at minimum it steals a pawn while setting the trap 19...Kxf7?? In response, Black has 19...Bd8 or 19...Bf8. (My automatic preference would be for 19...Kf8 to retain the threat of capturing the bishop, but in all the main lines the bishop ends up moving anyway.) In 1975, my thinking was that White is much better after 19. Bxf7+. Nowadays, though, I have more respect for the two bishops and feel Black has full compensation for the slight material disadvantage.

I have to agree with <An Englishman>: Maybe the real puzzle is to find White's move after 18...Qxe3. This is a Thursday or Friday puzzle to find 18...Qxe3, a Saturday puzzle to find 19. Bxf7, and a Sunday puzzle to see why 14...Qf3 is better than 14...Rxg2. :)

Mar-14-10  James Bowman: My day I saw Qxf3 quickly in about 1 minute as the mate threats that follow are obvious, I did not work out all lines but playing the game through nothing but straight forward tactics and defence after the psuedo sack of her Majesty. Reminds me more of the old school combative chess.Cool game but not a Sunday puzzle to my mind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diocletian: Help please with software here. I see there's been a change, and to see the solution board for the puzzles I need to install the plugin Java Runtime. Clicking on install downloads for a while and then says FAILED and offers the option "manual install". Clicking on this downloads xpiinstall.exe and clicking on this program then just freezes and does nothing. I have a blank solution board to the puzzles and to all games too. I hope someone has some simple solution, thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <OBIT the real puzzle> Absolutely!
Mar-14-10  Shah Mat: @ sfm: who says it's about the best move? according to whom? by what standard is a move deemed best? black won this game with a great combination.

chess is a game of the mind. if a move has psychological value, if it has appeal, if it is a sacrifice, if it is part of a beautiful combination, if it is not what a patzer with Rybka tells you it should be, is it not the best move if it's winning?

what an absurd statement regarding a game as bloody and ruthless as chess.

Mar-14-10  rapidcitychess: This is insane!? What about the simple
Mar-14-10  jmi: <rapidcitychess: This is insane!? What about the simple 18...Bxe3??>

*hint* Your Queen is looking a little unprotected on f3.

Mar-14-10  patzer2: < seems clear that Christiansen assessed this position incorrectly during the game.> Indeed! Not only was the winning 14...Qf3! missed in the game, but this move was also missed by several GM analysts when Informant included <14...Rxg2+!>!? as the solution to number 1663 in their "Encyclopedia of Chess Middleames" (1980).

P.S.: Though to be fair, the saving 19. Bxf7+! = is difficult to find without the help of strong Chess programs which were not available in 1980.

Mar-14-10  patzer2: <Diocletian> Try the <help> button at the top of the page, and then when you get to the help FAQ list go to item number 24:

<24. Help! I can't see the games!>

Mar-14-10  ajg507: Diocletian, same problem here. Fixed it by going to java website and updating from there.
Mar-14-10  patzer2: For today's Sunday puzzle, 18...Qxe6! sacs the Queen for a mating attack, relying on some key discovered checks if Black takes the Queen, and a bit of clever attack and defense (e.g. as in the game) if he doesn't.

The most interesting aspect of today's game and kibitzing, IMO, is the discussion of 14...Rxg2!? and the saving 19. Bxf7+!= -- which Christiansen missed in the game and Informant missed in the publication of their popular 1980 book of Middlegame tactics.

Instead of 14...Rxg2!?, Black wins clearly with 14...Qf3! 15. Ne3 Bh6 16. Bb5+ Kd8 17. g3 Bh6 18. Qd1 (almost identical to today's Sunday puzzle position)

click for larger view

18...Qxe3! 19. Qh5 Bg4 20. Qxf7 Qg5 .

Mar-14-10  gofer: Insane? This took a couple of minutes... I must have missed something!

18 ... Qxe3

Threatening 19 ... Qg5+ 20 Kh1 Qg2#

19 fxe3 Bxe3+
20 Rf2 (Kh1 Bg2#) Rxf2 threatening 21 ... Rf1#
21 Kh1 Bg2+
22 Kg1 Rd2#

19 Qh5 Qf3
20 Qxf7+ Kd7
21 Qg8 Rxc4
22 Qg3 Qxg3
23 hxg3 Bxf1
24 Kxf1 Rc1+ winning

There must be a really good defense, but I can't see it white can attack f7 but it seems pretty pointless.. ...time to check...

Mar-14-10  rapidcitychess: <jmi> That is why I am only 1500. Of course If I was Christainsen, I would be looking at it longer. I only looked at the tactics.I should look at the threats in the puzzle. Still, I do not feel to smart.
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