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Alex Sherzer vs Helgi Olafsson
19th World Open (1991), Philadelphia, PA USA, Jul-??
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1-0



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Given 27 times; par: 22 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-25-08  whiteshark: <vaskokibika: <My solution begins with <18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kf7 20.fxg5+> and I don't see a good defence for black.>>

click for larger view

This is a great continuation, too!
Now neither
<20...Kg6 21.Rxf8 e5 22.Be3 Qc4 23.Qf3 Qe6 24.Bb6 > nor <20...Kg8 21.Qf2 Nf6 22.Bb6 Qb8 23.gxf6 g5 24.f7+> works.

May-25-08  johnlspouge: Out of deference to those who dislike long posts, I am going to write a prolog. I went for

18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.fxg5+

Upon analysis, my lines appear adequate to win (although rarely with the mates I "foresaw"). In particular, however, the computer needed a lot of coaxing to show my line

20...Kg6 21.Rf6+

yields a win and not a perpetual check, and it preferred 20...Kg8 for Black and 20...Kg6 21.Rxf8 for White. I note that <MostlyAverageJoe> found at least one line where the White advantage sputtered. I will report back with computer-aided analysis, after I absorb the kibitzing.

Sunday (Insane): White to play and win.

Material: Even. White has a typical K-side attack in the Sicilian defense. The particular features of this attack include: the White Qg3 on the same file as the Black Kg8, separated by the White Ng5 and Black Pg7; the White Bd4 focused on Pg7, like Qg3; and the White Rd1 and Rf1, which will be active against Pd6 and Pf7, after the obscuring White pieces move. Only the White Nc3 and Be2 require activation. Black has two threats: Nxc2 and hxg5 (the latter apparently forcing the retreat of Ng5). The Ng5 is almost immune to capture, however, because after its capture, fxg5 opens the f-file for attack against Pf7.

Candidates (18.): Nxf7, Bh5

18.Bh5 (threatening 19.Bxf7+ 20.Nxe6)

To avoid outright loss of a P, Black must capture or threaten at least a piece, because the original Black threat

18…Nxc2 19.Bxf7+ Kh1 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Bxe6

leaves Black a P down and cramped in a dangerous position. The response

18…g6 19.Nxf7 (threatening 20.Qxg6+)

is also inadequate, so Black must accept the sacrifice of Ng5.

18…hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 [else, 20.Qh3#] 20.fxg5+

Black has 3 flight squares for Kf7 and 1 interposition. Black's most serious try 20…Kg6 seems to require White to throw Rf1 onto the fire.

(1) 20…Kg6 21.Rf6+

Black has 4 legal moves, of which 3 can be rapidly disposed of.

(1.1) 21…Kh5 22.Qf3+ and mate soon, with the aid of Bd4

(1.2) 21…Kh7 22.g6+ 23.Qh4 and mate soon

(1.3) 21…Nxf6 22.gxf6+ (threatening 23.fxg7 then 24.g8=Q or 24.Qxg7+ 25.Rf1)

Black is mated if Rd1 enters the K hunt with tempo at f1. The Bd4 and Qg3 can check Kg3 to either f7 or g8, however, at which point Pf6 disappears with f7+ or fxg7 and Rd1 enters with tempo at f1.

(1.4) 21…gxf6 22.gxf6+ (threatening 23.Qg5 24.Qh5+)

The same pattern prevails as in line (1.3), so Black is mated.

Any response to 20.fxg5+ other than 20…Kg6 rapidly undermines the Black position. White does not need to invest Rf1, which then supports the infiltration of Qg3 and blocks the Black K's flight at the f-file.

(2) 20…Kg8 21.Qf4 (threatening 22.Qf7+ 23.Qh4+ 24.g6 and mate soon)

21…Bc6 [Nf6 22.gxf6 (threatening 23.f7+) wins]

22.Qxf8+ Kh7 23.Rf7 (threatening 24.Rxg7+ Nxg7 25.Qxg7#)

Black must lose material and still face a potent mating attack.

(3) 20…Ke7 21.Qf4 Nf6 22.gxf6+

and as above, a massacre ensues.

(4) 20…Nf6 21.gxf6 g6 [else, 22.fxg7] 22.Qh4 (threatening 23.Qh7+)

and the Black position collapses.

May-25-08  TrueBlue: saw the first move and didn't expect black was stupid enough to take the knight, so I considered some other lines like f6.
May-25-08  johnlspouge: <<dzechiel> wrote: Wow, not even close. <MAJ or JS> are there any chances in the line I chose?>

<dzechiel>, the line appears a good second choice.

<<MostlyAverageJoe> wrote: [snip] Engine analysis shows this as the likely play in that line [snip] >

Toga II 1.3.1 agrees with <MAJ>'s monster up to 25...Nxc2, so I have little to add to his analysis of 18.Nxf7.

As my candidates show, I considered 18.Nxf7 but discarded it quickly, because it looked premature. From practice with the puzzles, I now enumerate my <inactive> pieces (as well as my threats) and favor specifically those threats that activate them. Once I saw 18.Bh5, I did not look back - a sea change from the indecision I used to have after Thursdays.

May-25-08  TrueBlue: I think the key to today's puzzle is to realize that the knight on g5 is immune to capture. It's in great position, so why move it? This means white has the tempo and can attack with his next move. Nh5 is obviously the best move, where h4 also deserves consideration.
May-25-08  johnlspouge: The following is a Mom-and-Pop Toga II 1.3.1 analysis, under the usual conditions and after the <move> I entered.

[ply 15/69, time 05:56, value +2.39]

18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.<fxg5+> Kg8 21.Qf2 Nf6 22.Bb6 Qb8 23.gxf6 g5 24.Bxd8 Rxd8 25.Qe2 Be8 26.Qg4 Bh6 27.Qh3 Bf8 28.Qxe6+ Kh7 29.Qb3 a5

The computer improves my lines for 20.<fxg5+> with 21.Qf2 (instead of 21.Qf4), because 21.Qf2 adds the threat of 22.Bb6, forcing Qc7 away from its lateral defense of the K-side.

The game line looks like a big improvement on the other possibilities, however.

May-25-08  DarthStapler: Didn't get it
May-25-08  Marmot PFL: This was a well played attack that black seemed to lose without any obvious mistakes. (I felt the same way when I played Sherzer, like I was playing well but his attack kept growing and eventually broke through). In any case after finding the first three moves I missed the key 21.Rxf8+!, although OTB at move 21 I believe I would find it. I didn't even consider <johnlspouge> Tal like idea 19.Bxf7+! (don't get sore, sac some more) when black can't defend by returning one or even both pieces. That is some deep analysis.
May-25-08  Rama: Black he denudes his K-side. Why? 11. ... Rd8, puts the Rook on a closed file and then 12. ... Bd7, buries it. Bf8 and Ne8 complete the ruin of this whole variation.

This gives the waiting move 11. Kh1! an exclamation point -- it prompted the error sequence, lulled black to sleep.

May-26-08  zenpharaohs: MostlyAverageJoe: "I contemplated 18.Bh5 for a while, but it seemed to me that Nxf7 would be the solution."

That is exactly what I did. And eventually I decided on Nxf7. Well Bh5 was the right answer, and Nxf7 looked OK at first but not after I turned the computer loose on it.

May-27-08  kevin86: White's piece sacrifices cleared out the black king side like a tear gas attack.
May-27-08  patzer2: White's 18. Bh5! builds a likely decisive attack against the weakened Black castled position, and solves the Sunday May 25, 2008 puzzle. See <johnlspouge>'s posts for analysis of a strong continuation.
Jan-08-21  Walter Glattke: My first view was 18.Nxf7 Kxf7 (19.Qxg7? Nxg7!) 19.Bh5+ Ke7 20.Qg6 so 19.-Kg8 20.Qg6 Bc6 21.f5 e5 22.Be3 Nxc2 23.Bxh6 seems to be defendable, hence 18.Bh5 Nd6 19.e5 Nf5 20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Qh3 Nxc2 seems to ne defendable, if not 18.-hxg5.
Jan-08-21  Walter Glattke: Ah, 18.Nd6 bot possible, so attack then.
Jan-08-21  Refused: After dismissing 18.Nxf7 Kxf7 19.Bh5+ as going nowhere.

I decided to check 18.Bh5 which looks way more promising. 18...g6 19.Nxf7 looks busted
18...hxg5 19.fxg5 (now the pawn f7 is a real reason to worry) 19...g6 20.Bxg6 fxg6 21.Rxf8+ (the bishop has to leave the stage, now the black squares and the open f-file should make short work of the king.) 21...Kxf8 22.Qf3+ (Qf4+ also works) Kg8 23.Rf1 curtains.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Almost certainly sheer luck (combined with easier-than-usual puzzles), but in this week I had all of the puzzles practically instantly so far. Probably there is hope for me - probably not.
Jan-08-21  Brenin: If you see what looks like a good move, look for a better one. At first glance, 18 Nxf7 looked obvious to me, but it doesn't work as clearly as I would wish, whereas 18 Bh5, inviting the fatal opening of the f-file with hxg5 fxg, or of the long diagonal with g6, looks better. Black obliged by playing both.
Jan-08-21  TheaN: I tunnel visioned 18.Nxf7?! which is probably key in this position. Given <18.Bh5! hxg5> else Nxf7 with disaster <19.fxg5 +-> and Black has no proper defense against the f-file.

Instead, the direct 18.Nxf7?! runs into a very nifty defense: 18....Kxf7, refute a sac by accepting it, 19.Bh5+ Kg8 (Ke7 20.Qg6 +- disaster) 20.Qg6:

click for larger view

Even though Black is on very thin ice here, he can escape. The obvious 20....Bc6?, to expose a defender to f7, fails on 21.Qxe6+ Kh7 (Kh8 22.Qxh6+ +-) 22.Qg6+ Kg8 23.Nd5! +- and the demolish on the king side is enough for a huge White advantage, even if trading a piece on d5.

Instead, 20....Nf6!, White is lacking pieces to break through. Though it seems Black allows 21.Bxf6 winning back the piece, after 21....Be8! Black skewers queen and bishop.

White's best is a cascade of exchanges: 22.Bxd8! Bxg6 23.Bxc7 Bxh5 24.Bxd6 Bxd1 25.Rxd1 Nxc2 26.Bxf8 Kxf8, ten consecutive captures, then after 27.Rd7 ±:

click for larger view

White has an awesome endgame. Given 18.Bh5 decides immediately, sub optimal at best.

Jan-08-21  Cellist: I chose 18. Nxf7, to be followed by Kxf7 19. Bh5+ Kg8 20. Qg6. But the advantage is small then. I considered 18. f5, too, but that loses.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Ebbs it vain Nxf7 achtung javelin flows it again ebullient victory Bh5 hibiscus clutch javelin accident mindful javelin ebullient victory knights bavarian quaints inopportune figure it is of four leglock victory plat-du-jour crew javelined it was pigeonholed its kaputz thought jibe-us victory wind-fitz macabre caxtons i victory ebullient hoedown totupadd doubles initiate victory daccord javelin Bh5 ointment?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Bishop on the flipside no?
Jan-08-21  cormier: May-25-08 Rama: Black he denudes his K-side. Why? 11. ... Rd8, puts the Rook on a closed file and then 12. ... Bd7, buries it. Bf8 and Ne8 complete the ruin of this whole variation.

This gives the waiting move 11. Kh1! an exclamation point -- it prompted the error sequence, lulled black to sleep.

Jan-08-21  agb2002: Black threatens hxg5.

The black king is the only defender of f7. This suggests Nxf7 and Bh5.

In the case of 18.Nxf7:

A) 18... Kxf7 19.Bh5+

A.1) 19... Ke7 20.Qg6 d5 21.e5 Nd6 22.exd6+ Kxd6 (22... Qxd6 23.Qf7#) 23.Be5+ wins decisive material.

A.2) 19... Kg8 20.Qg6 Bc6 (due to Qf7+ and Qxf8) 21.Qxe6+ and White has perpetual at least.

B) 18... e5 19.Nxh6+ looks winning.


In the case of 18.Bh5:

A) 18... hxg5 19.fxg5 looks very good for White. For example: 19... g6 20.Bxg6 fxg6 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Qf4+ followed by Rf1 seems to win.

B) 18... g6 19.Nxf7 looks crushing.


I'd play 18.Bh5 because the line A.2 of 18.Nxf7 is a bit unclear.

Jan-08-21  messachess: A little tricky but not all that difficult.
Jan-08-21  5hrsolver: Did not get it. I got too focused on 18.Nxf7 although I briefly considered 18.Bh5.
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