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Duncan Suttles vs Herbert Avram
64th US Open (1963), Chicago, IL USA, rd 2, Aug-12
Nimzowitsch Defense: Kennedy Variation. Main Line (B00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-01-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Crumb. My most recent post had a typo of "Bb4" in the main line when I meant "Bb6".
Mar-01-14  LAK: Not a difficult puzzle today.

The Knight sacrifice is thematic in such positions. So, really, the starting position for the puzzle is after the insertion of the moves: 16. Nxd5 cxd5 17. Qxd5. In the resulting position it is immediately evident that Black is playing without his Knights and his Rh8; if we squint real hard we see that even his Re8 is on the "wrong side of the board." Meanwhile, White is playing with all his pieces. It's a no-brainer.

It takes but a little thought and calculation to see that Black's only real move is 17. ... Kc7. After that, White can follow up in multiple ways, and they all seem to win. I went with the most straight-forward: 18. Ba5+. The idea being that after 18. ... Bb6, 19. Bxb5 opens up the d-file to the Rd1, and mayhem ensues.

Stockfish prefers, by a large margin, 18. Be4, although I find its moves, shall we say, non-human.

Here's Stockfish's evaluation of best play:

18. Be4 Rb8 19. f5 Rhd8 20. fxg6 Be8 21. Qb3 Rxd2 22. Rxd2 Rc8 23. Nd4 a6 24. gxf7 Nxf7 25. Bf5 Rd8 26. Ne6+ Kb6 27. Nxd8 Nxd8 28. Kb1 Nc6 29. Qd5 g6 30. Bc8 Nb4 31. Qe6+ Qxe6 32. Bxe6 g5 33. Bf5 Bc6 34. g4 hxg4 35. hxg4 Bd5 36. a3 + (7.85) Depth: 30/48 0:01:05 391 MN

Interestingly, after Suttles' 18. Nd4, Stockfish prefers to continue with 18. ... b4. I found that to be revealing about the nature of the position.

18. Nd4 b4 19. Be4 Rb8 20. Nc6 Be6 21. Qd3 Qd7 22. Qa6 Qc8 23. Qa5+ Bb6 24. Qa4 Bf5 25. Bxb4 Bxe4 26. Rxe4 Kb7 27. Nxa7 Bxa7 28. Rd7+ Qxd7 29. Qxd7+ Ka8 30. Bd6 Rb7 31. Qc6 Nf5 32. Rb4 Nxd6 33. exd6 Rb8 34. Rxb7 Rxb7 35. d7 Be3+ 36. Kb1 + (6.59--) Depth: 32/52 0:01:07 414 MN

Mar-01-14  LAK: Stockfish on the 18. Ba5+ Bb6 19. Bxb5 plan:

18. Ba5+ Bb6 19. Bxb5 Bxb5 20. Qxb5 Bxa5 21. Qxa5+ Kb8 22. Rd3 Ka8 23. e6 Rc8 24. Rd7 Qc5 25. Qxc5 Rxc5 26. e7 Rcc8 27. Nd4 Kb8 28. f5 Nf4 29. Re3 Nxg2 30. Rb3+ Ka8 31. Rbb7 + (4.01--) Depth: 33/55 0:01:15 456 MN

By the way, in this variation it really prefers to continue with 19. Be4, giving White a nearly +8 edge.

Mar-01-14  morfishine: <16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Qxd5> is straightforward and decisive. I tried a variety of moves here for Black at move <17> and all failed.

What I found interesting is pondering "why?" and the answer is also straightforward: By move <16> Black is positionally busted because White has an overwhelming advantage at the point of attack, namely the Queenside area bounded by <a5-a8-d8-d5>. Prior to White move <16>, White has Q+2N+2B+2R active and available for the assault, while Black only has Q+2B that he can call on; With Black's Knights and rooks passive and unable to participate, he finds himself outnumbered and outgunned.


Mar-01-14  PJs Studio: I got it up to 18. Nd4. When I first saw it I couldn't believe black just didn't play 18... Bxd4 because it draws the queen off of the deadly h1-a8 diagonal. 18 Be4?
Mar-01-14  gofer: Black has two dim knights and a dumb rook. So white can afford to "live a little"...

<16 Nxd5 ...>

16 ... Qf8?
17 Nc3

White has only won a pawn, but now owns the centre of the board and black's development is going backwards. I don't think black can refuse the sacrifice, but the alternative looks very bleak...

<16 ... cxd5>
<17 Qxd5 ...>

click for larger view

Okay, white has gained contol of the light squares around the king and is ready to unleash a can of whoop-ass with Be4 and Ba5 both of which seal in the black king. So definitely a nice position for white, but hardly a "done deal".

What is black's best defense?

Well some are disasterous!

17 ... Rd8?/Be6?/Bf5?
18 Qa8+ Kc7
19 Ba5+ Bb6
20 Qxa7+ Kc8
21 Qxb6

17 ... Kb8?
18 Be4 Bf5
19 Qa8+ Kc7
20 Ba5+ Bb6
21 Qb7#

So it looks like stopping Qa8+ followed by Ba5+ is key to black's defense.

<17 ... Bb6>

Now the tricky bit, get greedy and play Bxb5? Probably not, better to keep black in the corner and threaten to unleash a rook re-loader and also Bb4 causing hayhem!

<18 Be4 ...>

click for larger view

White is threatening 19 Qb7+ Kd8 20 Bb4.

I see nothing for black in this line...


Black found <17 ... Kc7> which does put up a better defence than <17 ... Bb6>. Pity I missed it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Like usual, I found the pretty obvious 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Qxd5, but I got nothing else.
Mar-01-14  mrknightly: I have followed for years, and this is the first Avram game I have seen, which for me is disappointing since he was a friend and mentor. If you want to see what he can do, check out Avram v. Fischer, 1957, West Orange Open. Herb told the story that after the game, Fischer got up angry with tears in his eyes and stormed off. Years later Herb was playing in a tournament, and the game needed to be adjudicated. And, guess who the adjudicator was, Fischer, of course. Anyway, Herb claimed he had a pawn advantage and a winning position, but Fischer came over to the table, looked at Herb not at the board, and said,"Avram loses." Unfortunately, I do not know what tournament this was. Herb was a good and kind man, a proud WWII veteran, and a master in both bridge and backgammon. The last time I saw him, he was in his eighties, and had just returned from a backgammon tournament in Las Vegas. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery.
Mar-01-14  GlennOliver: Thank you for sharing that, mrknightly.
Mar-01-14  thegoodanarchist: Isn't anyone going to describe White's play as "Suttle"? Or "anything but Suttle"?

Oh well, <I> thought it was funny.

Mar-01-14  Nick46: <GlennOliver: Thank you for sharing that, mrknightly.> hear hear. Fischer might have been a chess great but he was evidently a pathetic sort of human being.
Mar-01-14  BOSTER: <dzechiel > I guess you are not a <strange bird.> Nice to see you.
Mar-01-14  onur87: we have an easy puzzle again and again for an amateur. we cant see a move excluding 16. N*d5. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Rather than retreat, the winner sacrifices! Seems to be a theme this week!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens 16... dxe4.

White seems to achieve a dangerous attack with 16.Nxd5 cxd5 (16... Qd8 17.Nc3 and Black is a pawn down with a very ugly position and White threatens 17.Nxb5, 17.Nd4) 17.Qxd5 (threatens 18.Qa8+ Kc7 19.Ba5+ Bb6 20.Qxa7+, etc. and 18.Be4):

A) 17... Kb8 18.Be4 Be6 (18... Kc7(8) 19.Qb7+ Kd8 20.Qb8+ Bc8 21.Ba5#) 19.Qa8+ Kc7 20.Ba5+ Bb6 21.Qb7#.

B) 17... Bb6 18.Be4

B.1) 18... Bf5 19.Qa8+ Kd7 (19... Kc7 20.Qb7+ Kd8 21.Bb4+ and mate soon) 20.Qc6+ Kd8 21.Bb4+ wins.

B.2) 18... Qe6 19.Qb7+ Kd8 20.Bb4 Bc7 21.Qa8+ Bb8 22.Qxb8#.

C) 17... Bf5 18.Qa8+ Kd7 (18... Kc7 18.Ba5+ Kd7 19.Bxf5#) 19.Qb7+ Kd8 (19... Ke6 20.Qc6+ Bd6 21.Nd4#) 20.Ba5+ Bb6 21.Bxf5+ wins.

Mar-01-14  mel gibson: I saw this one in only 10 seconds.
It should not have been classed as difficult.
Mar-01-14  chessiya: What about 18...Bxd4? It does lead to black loss but after almost hundred moves any one quicker than that pls post..
Mar-01-14  morfishine: FWIW: I thought Black's best try was 17...Bb6
Mar-01-14  FICSwoodpusher: H Avram vs Fischer, 1957
Mar-01-14  Everett: <Lak> after the initial moves, I only considered 18.Be4, fwiw.
Mar-01-14  WhiteRook48: I am a total MORON. I thought the answer was exd6 e.p. and I failed to notice the ENTIRE TIME that there was a bishop on d7
Mar-01-14  Patriot: Material is even. Black threatens 16...dxe4.

I would play 16.Nxd5 here. 16...exd5 17.Qxd5 snags a few pawns for the knight and threatens 18.Qa8+ Kc7 19.Ba5+ Bb6 20.Qxa7+.

Mar-01-14  Everett: <Patriot: Material is even. Black threatens 16...dxe4. I would play 16.Nxd5 here. 16...exd5 17.Qxd5 snags a few pawns for the knight and threatens 18.Qa8+ Kc7 19.Ba5+ Bb6 20.Qxa7+.>

I like this taut and clear response. No need to overthink it. Just bang it out and note the compensation.

Mar-02-14  Moszkowski012273: 15.Qe4... was actually a pretty bad move
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"The "District of Columbia expert, Herbert Avram, was upset by Duncan Suttles of Reno, Nev., whose speculative piece sacrifice proves successful after 30 moves."> -- "New York Times", August 14, 1963.

Remember, this was 1963. Suttes was still a "Promising Junior", while Avram had been a recognized master for over two decades (The word "expert" is not to be taken in its sense as a rating class.)

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