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Vasily Smyslov vs Cenek Kottnauer
Groningen (1946), Groningen NED, rd 14, Aug-30
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 21 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: 19 Bf4! looks even better. 19 ... Qxf4 20 Ra8+ A great winning combination by Smyslov.

I overlooked 19... Rb6. W still wins after 20 Rxb7+ Rxc6 21 Rxb8+ Kd7 22 Rxa7+ Rc7 23 Rxc8 but it is not as good as the game continuation. I console myself with being in good company <dzechiel, zooter, etc>

Apr-02-10  zooter: Ok, I just put this in an online chess engine (ChessLab's) and looks like the Ra8 line fails after Rxd7 Qxa8+ Ke7 too

Here is the evaluation. White is simply losing

-4.24 1. g4 Rd2 2. Qb7+ Kf6 3. Qf3+ Kg5 4. Qf4+ Kg6 5. Qe4+ Kf6

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Nasty threats of suffocating black. Nc5 and Cenek grasps it with both hands?.. dxc5 Bf4 puts Kottnauer to bed. He spent too long naval-gazing and results in coughing up a piece..Bd6 Bxd6 sweet dreams Rb6 Qxd7+ and goodnight. Smyslov's investment strategy pays off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult)

Smyslov vs C Kottnauer, 1946 (18.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Ke8 has 2 legal moves, both dark squares accessible to the White Bc1 with Bc1-g5. The White Qc6 pins Nd7 to Ke8. The White Rd1 x-rays the Black Nd7 and d8 through the Black Pd6. The Pd6 protects c5, so the candidate 18.Na4-c5 is attractive, because it forks the pinned Nd7 and its protector Rb7. The candidate also activates Ra1, so before any calculation, 18.Nc5 appears very attractive. The White Kg1 is secured from check but vulnerable to back-rank mate.

Candidates (18.): Nc5

18.Nc5 dxc5

I went for 19.<Rxd7>. Although I saw 19…Rb6, and I was unconvinced by 20.Ra8, I did not see anything better, i.e., 20.Bf4.

Apr-02-10  desiobu: I came up with 18.Nc5 dxc5 19.Rxd7 Rxd7 20.Ra8 Qxa8 21.Qxa8+ as well, but I have to dig into previous analysis to see if it works.

At a glance though, the game line is probably superior.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <desiobu: I came up with 18.Nc5 dxc5 19.Rxd7 Rxd7 20.Ra8 Qxa8 21.Qxa8+ as well, but I have to dig into previous analysis to see if it works.

At a glance though, the game line is probably superior.>

I chose that line also, but after checking with Fritz 8 it is not even the second-best line! After 21...Ke7 22.Qf3 (to protect d1), Black has 2 rooks for the queen and dynamic equality.

The line played is far superior and gives White a decisive advantage. The game could only continue with 21...Kxd7 22.Bxb8+, and White has won a piece.

For anyone interested, Fritz 8 likes 19. Bg5 better than Rxd7

Apr-02-10  njchess: I love this puzzle! White does have winning position given the inactivity and lack of coordination of Black's pieces.

18. Nc5 is fairly obvious given the pin of Black's knight by White's queen. 18. ... Rc7 (18. ... Rb6?? Qxd7++) 19. Nxd7 Rxc6 20. Nxb8 , or 18. ... dxc5.

At this point, White's attack could unravel with 19. Rxd7? Rxd7 20. Ra8 Qxa8 21. Qxa8+ leaving White with a queen, bishop and pawn to Black's two rooks and bishop. White should grab Black's exposed c-pawn as well. I spent a fair amount of time looking at this line and concluded that there is still a great deal of chess to be played with the outcome far from certain. Given the uncertainty of this line, I moved on.

That is when I hit upon 19. Bf4! This is a crushing move. 19. Bf4 Qxf4 20. Qc8+ Ke7 ▢ 21. Qxb7 or 19. ... Bd6 20. Bxd6 Rb6 21. Qxd7+ Kxd7 22. Bxb8+

Given that the game was played in 1946 when Smyslov's play was on the rise, I doubt he missed 19. Bf4. Time to check, and see when Black resigned.

Apr-02-10  TheChessGuy: Smyslov gets pinned with the label of "positional player," but many of his games have impressive tactical shots.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <tarek1> <19...Qxf4 20.Qxb7 threatening simply Qxd7#. This is more accurate than Ra8+ which helps Black. Now we got a rook for two minor pieces but the knight on d7 is dropping off.>

I got this line posted above except I diverged with 20...Bd6.

click for larger view

This move blocks the mate threat at d7 while threatening ...Qxh2+.

White counters with 21 g3, forcing 21...Qb4.

click for larger view

White now can play 22 Qc8+, winning the rook.

Apr-02-10  VincentL: In this "difficult" position, the first move I want to try is 18. Nc5

If black plays 18.....dxc5 then white continues 19. Rxd7 Rxd7 20. Ra8

Now black has the options Qxa8, Qd8 or Bd6. After the exchange of Q for R, white has a queen for two rooks - not really an advantage.

I am missing something here, and am going to check to see how the game went.

Apr-02-10  VincentL: Ah...19. Bf4. I didn't try that.
Apr-02-10  patzer2: In my 2004 post, I got mixed up on the move number in a side variation. If 18...Rc7, then as <Honza Cervenka> notes 19. Nxd7 Rxc6 20. Nxb8 wins easily.

P.S. As noted in my post on page 1 of the kibitzing, this problem appears under the pinning them in both the 1980 Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (#137) and in Reinfeld's 1001 Winning chess Sacrifices and Combinations (#55).

It's always good to have a reference point in the games here at to see how the winning position came about.

Apr-02-10  butilikefur: 18. Bf4 e5 19. Bxe5 dxe5 20. Rxd7 Rxd7 21. Nb6 Qc7 (or 21...Qb7) 22. Ra8+ Ke7 23. Nd5+ Rxd5 24. Re8+ mate
Apr-02-10  butilikefur: lol.. 22...Qxb6
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Friday 2 April 2010


Target: 6:00;000
Taken: ~2:30;000

Material: =

Candidates: Nc5, Qxb7... <[Nc5]>

I was looking at the key move instantly as it seems the most logical move, only to be diverted by a too coordinated defense by Black. After the spite try Qxb7 I went back and noticed it works.

White wants to get Ra1 into the party before Black gets the chance to castle (in which the outside pawns of White might be dubious in comparison to the Black king side majority... something completely different though). The Knight has to move, but White also wants to include the Knight into the attack. This happens in a spectacular way:

<18.Nc5!> simultaneously threatening the Knight on d7 and the Rook on b7. Aside capturing, Black has two alternatives to avoid the loss of a Rook, which is moving it to either a7 or c7. Lets consider the key of the position first, and capture the Knight.

<18....dxc5> the point in this position is that White opened up the a-file. and Black is, when capturing, forced to open the d-file. Two open files with Rooks on them cannot be good for Black.

<19.Ra8!> abusing the a-file. The alternative 19.Rxd7?!, part of the combination, meets the equalizing 19....Rb6!. After this move, Black is rather forced to take.

<19....Qxa8> and it's hard to consider that White is still winning even with a Rook and Knight down! Well, they'll both be retrieved in two moves.

<20.Rxd7> now it is playable. The major problem for Black here is the discovered check from the Rook. The alternative to capturing the Rook is moving the Bishop and creating a square:

<20....Be7 21.Rc7†! Kf8 (21....Kd8 22.Qd7‡ 1-0) 22.Rc8† Bd8 (22....Qxc8 23.Qxc8† Bd8 24.Qxd8‡ 1-0) 23.Rxa8 > but it doesn't work.

<20....Rxd7 21.Qxa8† Ke7 22.Qf3 > defending against Rd1†. Due to the coordination of the Black pieces, White is ahead in this position: Black cannot develop. 22....g6? 23.Bg5† and it's over. Moving the King might at one point allow another Qa8†. Before Black gets out, White wins.

What were these alternatives?

<18....Ra7> threatening the Rook on a1. The problem is, why would White care?

<19.Nxd7 > after 19....Rxd7 20.Ra8 White did not sac the Rook on d1 and that is a trivial win.

<18....Rc7> a tricky defense that might be a troublesome counter. However, White can again play:

<19.Nxd7! Rxc6 20.Nxb8 Rxc2 21.Ra8 > Black has some compensation for the piece but it isn't enough. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: 4/5

<zooter>, you must have used a wrong position in that final analysis. I just put the entire Ra8 line in my Rybka, and after 22.Qf3 it is no -4. However, it is incorrect as she's evaluating this as a beautiful <0.00>, if Black overcomes his troubles. One way of doing so is 22....f6:

click for larger view

With Kf7 coming, etc. Oh, on a side note, 19.Rxd7 is the same, as 19....Rxd7 is forced. 19....Rb6 20.Qa4 with +4. So both Ra8 and Rxd7 evaluate the same, but draw instead of win.

Apr-02-10  wals: Rybka 3 1-cpu : 3071mb hash: depth 17 :

Black's errors. 13...Nxe5 (+ 1.26) was inferior to dxe5 (+0.19).

18...dxc5 (+ 5.96)
was inferior to Rc7 (+ 3.20).

Apr-02-10  tarek1: <Jimfromprovidence> You're completely right I had overlooked this Bd6 defense. Still losing but better than the line I posted.
I always try to look for resources for the defender, thanks for pointing this out :)
Apr-02-10  this is a sign: I came up with <18...dxc5 19.Rxd7 Rxd7 20.Ra8 Qxa8 21.Qxa8+ Ke7 22.Qf3>. Obviously, this is not a winning line (more like draw-ish) but it's the closest I came to solving a difficult Friday puzzle. :)
Apr-02-10  krakukas: Hi I'm new here. Is <18.Nc5 Rc7 19.Nxd7 Qc8> worth considering? Black isn't a piece down since white knight is lost after <20.Nf6++ Ke7 21.Qxd6+ Kxf6>. What do you think?
Apr-02-10  BeautyInChess: Krakukas, yes. I was thinking the same thing, I'm surprised no one else mentioned this line. Given this line <18.Nc5 Rc7 19.Nxd7 Qc8> I think 20. Nf6 looks best then there are two ways to go. And they both lose for black!

First if 20. ... Kd8 21. Rxd6! Ke7 ( Not 21. ... Bxd6 as 22. Qxd6 Rd7 23. Qxd7 Qxd7 24. Nxd7 Kxd7 when white is up a piece) 22. Ra7! and Jordan fades back ... swish and that's the game. So, 20 ... Kd8 is out.

The only other option is 20. ... Ke7
which is immediately answered by Ra7!

Apr-02-10  BeautyInChess: Actually, in the line with 21. ... Bxd6 22.Qxd6 Rd7 23. Nxd7 Qxd7 24. Ra8# Or if not white is up two pieces. At any rate black can't play Bxd6 without losing, and nothing else helps. This is just my analysis over the board without comp help. I'm sure there's a better continuation out there, but the point is black is lost on Rc7, and Qc8.
Apr-02-10  zb2cr: ARRRGHH! I was able to deduce that 18. Nc5 was the initial move, but I didn't find a good follow-up. Isn't it ironic that when I see it demonstrated, it seems so clear--but when I am looking for it myself, I can't find it except in the simpler puzzles?
Apr-02-10  krakukas: 18.Nc5 Rc7 19.Nxd7 Qc8 20.Nf6++ if <20. ...Kd8> there is just <21.Qe8#> with the f6 knight and Rc7 Qc8 blocking the King. <20. ... Ke7> and 21.Ra7 is good indeed. Anyway, it's a part of solution I guess.
Apr-02-10  tacticalmonster: 1) Black king was stuck in the center. Black kingside pieces were totally out of play

2) White had an unpleasant pin on d7 knight. The d1 rook has an indirect influence on the pin as well.

3) White had an open a file at his disposal. The a4 knight currently got in the way

4) Black queen was oddwardly placed. She was vulnerable to tactic on the backrank.

Candidate: 18 Nc5

a) 18 Rc7 19 Nxd7 Rxd7 (19 Rxc6 20 Nxb8 ) 20 Ra8

b) 18 Qc7 19 Qxb7 Qxc5 20 Ra7

c) 18 dxc5 19 Rxd7 Rxd7 (19 Rb6 20 Qa4 Rb4 21 Rb7+ Rxa4 22 Rxb8+ Kd7 23 Rxa4 ) 20 Ra8 Qxa8 (20 Ke7 21 Qxc5+ Kf6 22 Qg5#) 21 Qxa8+ Rd8 22 Qa4+ Ke7 23 Bd2!

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