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Andre Lilienthal vs Viacheslav Ragozin
"Rags to Riches" (game of the day Apr-11-2010)
Moscow (1935), Moscow URS, rd 2, Feb-16
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Accelerated (E24)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-10-07  ughaibu: Sanyas: A comparison from Benzol: R Kobs vs P Hammer, 1987
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: After 40...c3, Kotov and Yudovich stated in "The Soviet School of Chess", <A subtle, and the only, path to victory. White would retain the chance for attacking the enemy King both after 40...Kf8 41.Re3 with the threat of 42.Qh4, and after 40...Qa8 41.Qb4.>

As we will see, Kotov and Yudovich's evaluation was incorrect. White could still have obtained a draw after 40...c3. Also, in the additional variation they give, 40...Qa8 41.Qb4 Qa3, the game is equal.

A.J. Goldsby, in his review of this game,, stated he considered White's move, 41.Re8+, to be the critical point of the game, <So I do think that this might have been "the losing move".>

Goldsby stated that White should have tried, 41.Ra1 Qd6 42.Re8+ Kh7 43.Re5 b2, with an unclear position.

Goldsby also noted that Andy Soltis, in his annotations for this game, made no comment regarding White's 41st move.

The tournament book, "Moscow 1935 - International Chess Tournament", made no comment regarding White's choice of moves at move 41.

However, Fritz showed that White did miss a clear draw. Best was 41.Ra1! Qd6, (not 41...b2? 42.Rxa3 Nxa3 43.Qxc3 b1Q 44.Re1), 42.Re8+ Kh7 43.Re3!, with an equal position.

At this point, Black could try: (.00 (26 ply) 43...Qg6 44.Rb1 b2 45.Qh4+ Qh6 46.Qe1 Qg6, or (.00) (26 ply) 43...b2 44.Rb1 Qb4 45.Rxb2 Qxb2 46.Qh4+ Kg8 47.Qd8+, with an equal position in either line.

Jul-15-08  myschkin: <whiteshark> good question :) do you have a forum to discuss??
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: LOL :D
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <myschkin> ...
Jan-19-10  BISHOP TAL: Here 2 passed pawns make 2 minor peices worth more than 2 major peices
Jan-19-10  ChessKnightsOfLondon: What about 34 Rxc4 followed up by d5. I think this should be enough for a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <ChessKnightsOfLondon & BISHOP TAL> If 34.Rxc4??, Fritz shows Black is winning: 34...bxc4! (-4.14) (25 ply) 35.Rd1 Ba4 36.Ra1 Bb3 37.Rb1 Nxd4.

At move 34, Fritz indicated White had several moves that would allow him to retain an advantage: (.85) (22 ply) 34.Rca2 Qxd4 35.Qxd4 Nxd4 36.Rd1, or (.82) (22 ply) 34.Rb2 Qxd4 35.Qxd4 Nxd4 36.Kg1, or, as played in the game, (.70) (22 ply) 34.Rd1 b4 35.Rb2 b3. This position is very complicated, and a deeper analysis would be required to determine if White can maintain this edge.

As late as move 38, Fritz indicates White had an advantage: (.84) (21 ply) 38.Qd2 Nb5 39.Re3.

After 38.Qb4? Nb5 39.Re7 Qa3 40.Qe1 c3, the position was equal:

click for larger view

Kotov and Yudovich in "The Soviet School of Chess", stated that 40...c3 was the only path to victory for Black. However, White can draw with: (.00) (24 ply) 41.Ra1! Qd6 42.Re8+ Kh7 43.Re3 b2 44.Rb1 Qg6 45.Qh4+ Qh6 46.Qe1 Qg6, or (.00) (24 ply) 44...Qb4, (or 44...Qa3), 45.Rxb2 Qxb2 46.Qh4+ Kg8 47.Qd8+.

After the game continuation, 41.Re8+ Bxe8 42.Qxe8+ Kh7 43.Qxf7 Qa8, Fritz indicates White still had at least one line that would lead to a draw: (-.42) (27 ply) 44.Qf5+! Kh8 45.Re1 Nd6 46.Qg6 b2 47.Kh2 Qb8 48.g3, (-.38) (25 ply) 48...Kg8 49.Kg2 Qf8 50.h4 Qf6 51.Qd3 Qf5 52.Qxc3 b1Q 53.Rxb1 Qxb1 54.Qc6 Nf5, (.00) (21 ply) 55.Qxd5+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Soltie does a good job of analyzing the tactical subtleties of the game from moves 13-26. Ragozin's defense during this phase of the game is as good as his counterattack later.
Apr-11-10  twillitiger: Instead of preparing e3-e4, White should have played g2-g4 (e.g. 17.g4 or 19.g4). The idea is to start a kingside attack with Qh4, g5, Ng3 (or Kh1, Rg1). What do other people think?
Apr-11-10  Jorgen Nilsson: 29.Nf5!? and white is ok.
Apr-11-10  didiablito: MARVELOUS game!
Apr-11-10  Chess Network: Awwww...all that prep work for e4 and it never came (Rxe3). Nice strategic struggle. Those connected passed pawns on the 6th rank for black were usual! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Haven't studied this game anywhere near as in depth as Senior Master A.J. Goldsby, who gives the exchange sacrifice 27...Rxe3!? a double exclamation (i.e. 27...Rxe3!!) at

For now, I'll list it as an interesting true sacrifice for the following reasons:

(1) I don't believe there's any way Ragozin had figured out all the complications when he made the sacrifice.

(2) Even after looking at this with computer analysis for two days, I'm still totally confused by the fluctuation in computer evaluations, where many lines start off as winning and then tapering off to draws or losses after 27...Rxe3!? (or 27...Rxe3!!)

(3) Haven't had enough time to study this amazing game in the kind of depth it deserves.

One particularly interesting try at refuting the sacrifice that Fritz 10 comes up with after 27...Rxe3!? 28. Bxe3 Rxe3is 29. Bf5!, which leads to some awesome complications but appears to offer White practical chances for a lasting advantage.

One interesting possibility after 27...Rxe3!? 28. Bxe3 Rxe3 29. Bf5! is 29...Bxf5 (perhaps a better alternative here for Black is 29... Be6 30. Bxe6 Qxe6 31. Rxb5 ) 30. Nxf5 Ng6 31. Qg5 Rxc3 32. Rba2 Qc7 33. Ra8+ Kh7 34. R8a7 Qf4 35. h4 Kg8 36. Ne7+ Kh7 37. Nxg6 Qxg5 38. Nf8+ Kg8 39. hxg5 Kxf8 40. gxf6 gxf6 41. Rb1 .

Note that I'm not saying 29. Bf5! refutes the sacrifice, but it's an interesting and promising possibility definitely worth exploring.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The passed twins rule this one late!
Apr-12-10  Jim Bartle: I haven't seen many games with a double exchange sacrifice. But here's one I like:

Granda-Zuniga vs Judit Polgar, 1992

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: The link - given by patzer2 (and others) is now incorrect. GeoCities ceased operations in Oct. of 2009.

The (new/correct) link is:

Sep-25-10  sevenseaman: In spite of the exchange sacrifices(daring and well considered)the game looks sedate till we come to the actual pawn push. Even there Ragozin is circumspect in not promoting prematurely, handing White a draw via the repeatable Q checks on f5 and f8.

AJ must have debated many candidates. Overall one has to concede this game merits a place in AJ's top 10, though I will say a Steinitz game should have been there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Sorry! (Can't please everyone.)

See this link ... maybe you can find what you are looking for.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: In terms of breadth and depth ... this still has to be one of the greatest master games I have ever looked at.)

The other is: Kasparov vs Topalov, 1999.

Oct-08-11  sicilianhugefun: This game is absolutely spectacular!!
It illustrates the principle that 2 connecting pawns on the 6th rank is stronger than a lone Rook
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: A few of my posts back - I give my web page for this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:

My video on this chess game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wow. Even though in the final position black is down a full rook, the connected passed pawns are sufficent the turn 1-0 to 0-1.
Nov-01-13  kereru: Don't want to ruin anyone's favourite game for them, but that move 29.Bf5! does look pretty good. As pointed out by patzer, Black doesn't have time for 29...Bxf5 30.Nxf5 Ng6 (30...Rxc3? 31.Ra8 ) 31.Qg5 Rxc3, white gets a winning attack (check it with an engine). So black probably has to play 29...Bc6 when white has time to defend the c-pawn with 30.Ne2. Black may still be able to draw but it's not pleasant.

27...Rxe3! was still probably the best move.

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