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Laszlo Szabo vs Nikola Spiridonov
Slncev Brjag 18/80 (1974)
English Opening: Symmetrical. Fianchetto Variation (A34)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-17-20  Walter Glattke: Looking at the puzzle diagam, I found direct 25.Rxf7 Nxf7 26.Rf1 e6, but 27.Nh5 is not helpful then, so 27.Bxe6 Rb7 28.Ne4! Qa7!? (ask stockfish here) 29.Nf6+ Nxf6 30.Qxf6 all, what the clubplayers would play in the league competitions. 30.-Re8!? 31.Qxg6+ Kf8 (here is an option for Rf4-h4-h8) 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Rxf7+ Kd8 34.Qf6+ R7e7 35.g6 that wins. They played 33.Qf6+ Kf8 34.g6 Rxe6 35.Qh8+, could end with 35.-Ke7 36.Rxf7# There are options to 28.-Qa7 and 30.-Re8, otherwise the attack strikes through after Ne4 and not Nh5.
Apr-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: 26... Nf6 27. ?

click for larger view

Apr-17-20  Brenin: The first three moves were fairly easy, but 28 Ne4 wasn't so obvious (and perhaps not the best). Black's fate was sealed by 28 ... Qa7?; 28 ... d5 would have given a chance of counterplay, e.g. 29 cxd5 Qe2 30 Nf6+ Nxf6 31 Qxf6 Qxe3+. It's not enough, but it's better than the passive game continuation.
Apr-17-20  Brenin: <WorstPlayerEver>: 26 ... Nf6 27 Rxf6 (who needs rooks?) exf6 28 Qxf6, and Black is helpless against Qxg6+ and Nf5.
Apr-17-20  goodevans: I guess someone must be mining Szabo's games for puzzle material this month:

April 5 Szabo vs C Kottnauer, 1950

April 14 Szabo vs T van Scheltinga, 1947

Apr-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: <Brenin> Nope. It's 27. Qc2 😈

26... Nf6 27. Qc2 Kg7 28. gxf6+ exf6 29. Qf2 f5 30. Nxf5+ gxf5 31. Qxf5 Rg8 32. Kh2 Qb7 33. Bxf7 Kf8 34. Bd5+ Ke7 35. Qe6+ Kd8 36. Bxb7 Rxb7 37. Qxg8+ Kc7 38. Rf7+ Kb6 39. Qd8+ Ka7 40. Qxa5+ Kb8 41.Rf8#

26... Nf6 27. Qc2 Kh8 28. gxf6 Ne5 29. Qe4 g5 30. fxe7 (Re8 31. Rf6 Nf3+ 32. Kf2 Nd2 33. Rh6+ Kg7 34. Nf5#) Qc8 31. 31. exd8=Q+ Qxd8 32. Qf5 Qe7 33. Ne4 Rd8 34. Nxg5 Rg8 35. Bxg8 Kxg8 36. Rf2 Kh8 37. Rg2 Nf3+ 38. Qxf3 Kg7 39. Ne6+ Kh6 40. Qf5 Qg5 41. Qxg5+ Kh7 42. Qh4#

Apr-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: Oops, forgot one:

26... Nf6 27. Qc2 Kh7 28. Bxf7 Rg8 29. Rf4 d5 30. Rh4+ Kg7 31. Qxg6+ Kf8 32. Bxg8 Nxg8 33. Qxa6 Rd8 34. Rf4+ Ke8 35. Qc6+ Rd7 36. cxd5 Nf6 37. gxf6 exf6 38. Rxf6 Ke7 39. Qe6+ Kd8 40. Rf8+ Kc7 41. Qc6#

Apr-17-20  morfishine: I was able to conclude that the first move was 25.Rxf7, but this combination just seemed to get better and better with each move
Apr-17-20  Brenin: <WorstPlayerEver> Thanks. After 26 ... Nf6 both 27 Qc2 and 27 Rxf6 win, though after Qc2 the Black king can wriggle away with Kf8, e.g. 28 Qxg6 Ke8 29 Qxf7+ Kd7 30 gxf6 Re8. White is clearly winning, e.g. 31 Qe6+ Kc7 32 f7, but it's not mate.
Apr-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: <Brenin> It's mate but 5 moves later :P

26... Nf6 27. Qc2 Kf8 28. Qxg6 Ke8 29. Qxf7+ Kd7 30. gxf6 Re8 31. Qe6+ Kc7 32. f7 Rbd8 33. fxe8=Q Rxe8 34. Nf5 Qc8 35. Nxd6 Qxe6 36. Nxe8+ Kd7 37. Bxe6+ Kxe6 38. h4

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38... a4 39. h5 axb3 40. h6 bxa2 41. h7 a1=Q 42. Rxa1 Kf5 43. h8=Q Ke4 44. Ra3 Kf3 45. Qh5+ Kg3 46. Qg5+ Kf3 47. Qg2#

Apr-17-20  TheaN: Stumbled before the finish line.

A position like this requires some insight as to what the strengths and weaknesses are: clearly, Black's inactive on a blocked off queen side, but White's having trouble breaking through on the king side.

The key is disrupting Black's only defensive piece (Ne5) and breaking up the pawn shield.

<25.Rxf7> as such, is not incredibly surprising. Threatens Rxe7+ followed by Rxe5 and Qxe5 after which White has accomplished what he wants: breaking the defense and, in fact, taking Ne5. Black's defenses aren't a plenty here: <25....Nxf7>.

Now the only reasonable way to continue is <26.Rf1>. Bxf7+ is way too slow and will surrender a full rook to which Black is more than happy throwing Ne8 at, giving him way too many options to defend. After Rf1, he has to do something about losing Nf7 outright.

26....Nc7? and Ng7? do nothing as the threat's Qg7# after 27.Rxf7 and there's not much against it. 26....Nf6 is an interesting alternative. I see a discussion about 27.Qc2 or Rxf6: I didn't really look at Qc2 and wasn't entirely convinced about Rxf6, so decided to go with 'just' 27.gxf6 +-. White still accomplishes everything he wants for an exchange... I'd sign for it.

Definitely better, and where I slipped up, is <26....e6 27.Bxe6 Rb7> where Black desperately tries to get the rooks to join.

Here I went with the sub optimal 28.Qd3. I was convinced there was no proper defense against the g-pawn, but Black can simply move the king up 28....Kg7! (Kh7 doesn't work because of Bxf7) and the White setup fails mostly (still a small plus). My vision failed me here.

Szabo's reload <28.Ne4! +-> must easily be the most beautiful move of the combination, in hindsight. Essentially he's saying, "go ahead, do something, I'll just get my last piece in". Black's paralyzed, and eventually White's going to invade via f6.

Wonderful combo.

Apr-17-20  TheaN: <Cheapo by the Dozen: (...) Then I went with 28 Qc2, which the engine likes even better than the game move.>

There are some great subtleties in the 28th move.

28.Ne4?! directly allows Black to activate his queen with 28....d5!? 29.cxd5 Qe2 +-. White's still winning but the queen invade could have been averted. Alas, Black's didn't play it.

My 28.Qd3? is too slow, 28....Kg7! is sufficient. White can not go back and will have to resort to the swashbuckling 29.Nf5+! ⩲. If 29.Qc3+? now, 29....Ne5 -+ Black has successfully regrouped.

So why does 28.Qc2! +- work? As there is a somewhat sneaky difference in 28....Kg7 29.Qb2+ Ne5?: White to play 30?:

click for larger view

Apr-17-20  WorstPlayerEver: SF takes another approach; not bothered too much by material:

28. Bd5 Rdd7 29. Ne4 Qa8 30. Rf6 Kf8 31. Rxg6 Qd8 32. h4 a4 33. Nf6 Nxf6 34. Rxf6 axb3 35. axb3 Qb6

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36. ?

Apr-17-20  Brenin: <TheaN> After 28 Qc2 Kg7 29 Qb2+ Ne5, 30 Qf2 looks good enough to win, as the Q will invade on f8 or (if 30 ... Nc7) f6. Keeping her out will be ruinously expensive.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I reckon full on fire yes?
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a knight.

White has Bxf7+, Rxf7, Qc2 and Nh5. The most promising maneuver seems to be 25.Rxf7+ Nxf7 26.Rf1 e6 27.Bxe6 Rb6 28.Ne4 with the idea 29.Nf6+ Nxf6 30.Qxf6 threatening Qxd8+, Bxf7+ and Qxg6+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Raffle fair no?
Apr-17-20  Walter Glattke: Saw the puzzle of worstplayer ever, think for 26.-Nf6 27.gxf6 e5 28.Qd3 Kh7 29.Bxf7 Rg8 30.Qe4 or 27.-exf6 28.Qf6 Rd7 29.Qxg6+ mating.
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <agb2002> you nailed it, as usual! When I first tried it seemed easy until 28. Went for Qc2 since it targeted g6 and could move freely along the 2nd rank. But the smart money was on Ne4, and my engine agrees.
Apr-17-20  messachess: Nice mate.
Apr-17-20  Brenin: <agb2002> I think you meant 27 ... Rb7, protecting f7, rather than 27 ... Rb6, which loses quickly to 28 Bxf7+. After 27 ... Rb7, both 28 Qc2 and 28 Bd5 seem stronger than the move 28 Ne4 played, which allows Black some counterplay with 28 ... d5 (see comments above).
Apr-17-20  alshatranji: The final position brought a smile to my face. Now after ke7, then rf7#, and the black king is blocked by his pieces, which was not possibly in the previous move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: 25.♖xf7!! is a brilliant move by GM Szabo!! He did a great job of calculating this long combination & it’s 1 of the best combos that I’ve seen in a pretty long time! There were some games where Szabo lost his focus & played some really bad blunders but there were a lot more games like this 1 where he played brilliantly. In fact I think that he was probably in the top 40 of all time at least though 1990 or so. I think he is a case of a player that was better than his rating. So much FIDE rating inflation has taken place that it’s tough to compare him w/ modern day players.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <goodevans> His games are being mined for this month’s puzzles w/ good reason!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <scormus><Brenin> After 26... e6 the f6 hole was so attractive to plonk the queen there...

Yes, I meant 27... Rb7.

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