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John Nunn vs Andrei Sokolov
Dubai Olympiad (1986), Dubai UAE, rd 6, Nov-21
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen Variation (B46)  ·  1-0



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Given 31 times; par: 28 [what's this?]

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find similar games 3 more Nunn/A Sokolov games
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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: A truly brilliant game by GM John Nunn!!!

This 'partie' can also be found in several books. (GM N. McDonald's book, "Chess: The art of logical thinking.")

This game is also now posted on my domain. (

Mar-31-06  notyetagm: Dr. Nunn ends the game with 25 ♖xd5!, a beautiful exploitation of <overworked> pieces.

Which Black piece is defending the d5-knight? The Black d6-queen must <defend> the e7-mating focal point so it does not defend the e5-knight (25 ... ♕xd5? 26 ♕e7#). The Black e6-pawn must <block> the 6th rank in order to prevent the White f6-queen from capturing the Black d6-queen (25 ... exd5? 26 ♕x♕).

So no Black piece is actually defending the Black d5-knight since both of this piece's apparent defenders are <overworked>, performing more important tasks. Thus it's not one attacker two defenders on the Black d5-knight but one attacker zero defenders.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: The moves 15.e5 and 16.Ne4 are nice! Its amazing how many moves the knight on d4 is left en prise.

It seems as though black can't capture on d4 on move 16... but I'm not sure why. Can anyone comment?

Mar-31-06  dakgootje: <Check It Out: It seems as though black can't capture on d4 on move 16... but I'm not sure why. Can anyone comment?> Because of 17 Nd6+ winning the queen because of the knight fork.

Nice game btw, would make an easy puzzle the last moves i think

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I can't believe I overlooked that...Thx!
Apr-18-06  TenFeetTall: OK, here we are in Nunn-Sokolov -
remarkably similar to Lasker-Pirc btw, except that Sokolov tries to be cute by saving on the move ...Nf6 - perhaps so he won't get sacced on there. After Nunn's consequent 12 Qg4! (an f6-knight would have covered that square) and particularly the snappy 15 e5!! - a very strong CLEARANCE
sacrifice - he ends up getting blistered even worse than Pirc, if that's possible. I can't tell if all these run-on sentences are irritating. It's certainly not by design. It's for the requisite INSTRUCTION of the newbie.
Why not 14...Bxd4?? Anybody?
Well, for one, 15 Qf7+! Kd8 16 e7+!! - ouch! THAAAAAAANKS, kiddies! Back to school!
Apr-18-06  TenFeetTall: Or again, 16...Kd8? - rather than
16...Qc7?, which just walks into that pin?
Well, for one thing, Black's game is a mess, isn't it? Do we really need variations after 16...Kd8? We've already played the clearance sac. Let's just move our knight to b3 - 17 Nb3! and hold our nose while looking at Black's position. And how about 17...h4? right away?
Well, why did Sokolov play the move he played, instead of that? That often will answer the question. It looks as if he's trying to guard the...yes, that's right - the G6 square. No chance of any accident happening there? With Qg6+! popped in at the appropriate moment? OK, now Lasker-Pirc was the SIGNATURE
game, the earliest SALIENT example showing why the time-wasting maneuver of ...Na5? and then ...Nc4? ....wasted time. And again, why isn't the strong looking move of f5! not played by White more often out of a straight Scheveningen? (correctly spelled!!) That's right, because it weakens the e5-square, allowing a knight, say, on c6, to pop in there.
But if Black is going to play
...Na5? and then further waste critical time by moving the relevant knight a THIRD time and then trading it off - well, then, I suppose f5! would be rather strong in that case.
In fact, it might be blistering.
Apr-18-06  TenFeetTall: Come to think of it, 17 Rad1! looks
fairly tough as well against 16...Kd8? ( 17...exd4 18 Nxf6!, etc. - 17...Bd7 18 Nc5! etc.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ:
Apr-15-10  mobiegobie: I think that the problem for black in both games[Lasker-Pirc Moscow 1935 and the above game] is one of moves order[maybe more so in the above game]. Blacks problems start on move two with the quick 2...e6 rather than the more correct(I think) 2..d6 which protects the e5 square and prepares Nf6. As for Lasker-Pirc[which is sadly not on the Db here]I agree that the 9...Na6? and 10..Nc4??[more so] neglects the center at blacks peril.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: A few years ago, a (former) student of mine asked, "Why not 11...e5!?; instead of what was played in the game?"

At first, I blew it off as a silly question. However, while my answer - and my analysis - was enough to answer my student's curiosity, it did nothing to satisfy my own internal questions.

I was just flipping through a file ... which runs around 80 pages (MS Word) ... and I came across a note to myself about this game.

Long story - made short? Now, in about 45 minutes, I was able to thoroughly sate my inquisitive nature ... with a little help from my friends. (And Fritz 12!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: The line is (now) posted on the web page - the link is given above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Nunn annotated this in his best games collection and mentioned that Sokolov rejected 11....Nf6 'for tactical reasons'.

This game provides a piquant dual of sorts with today's POTD, Lasker vs Pirc, 1935.

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