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Ivan Sokolov vs Jan Timman
Sigeman and Co (1997), Malmo SWE, rd 6, Jun-??
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 7 Bb5+ is an interesting sideline that leads to particularly sharp positions when black responds 8..b5 and 9..b4. 17 Qe7..Qe7 18 Be7..Rfe8 19 Bd6..Bd3 is very good for black. 21..e5 would have been met by 22 Ne6. 25..Nc5 is met by 26 Bf7+..Rf7 27 Qa8..Rf8 28 Qf8+..Kf8 29 Re8+..Kf7 30 R1e7#.
27..Rc1 is answered by 28 Qf6..Re1+
29 Kh2..Kh7 30 Nf8..Qf8 31 g6..Kg8
32 Bf7+. Timman resigned in face of an unstoppable mate; 28..Qe1+ 29 Kh2..Qc3 30 Ne7+..Kg7 31 Qh6#.
Nov-08-08  dzechiel: White to move (26?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

I think I must be overlooking something obvious. It seems to me that the first move of this combination should be

26 Nxh5

This picks up a pawn and threatens 27 Rxd7 followed by 28 Nf6+, which just can't be bad. If black captures with



27 Qxf5

gets the piece back along with threats like 28 Bxf7+ or 28 Qg6+ Kh8 29 Qh6+ Kg8 30 g6 (although I see now this would allow black a draw after 30...Qxf2+ and 31...Qh4+.

I'm not sure what's actually happening here, I think I'm gonna check and see what actually took place.

Nov-08-08  dzechiel: As I suspected, I completely misunderstood the position. Yeah, white may be able to pick up a pawn, but why bother with the chicken feed when you can go after the enemy king?

Better luck tomorrow.

Nov-08-08  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle, White begins with the sham exchange sacrifice 26. Rxd7!! to force 26...Bxd7, which clears the way for a decisive attack on the weakened castled position with 27. Nxg6! .

In the final position, after 27...Qc3 28. Qxh5!, play might continue 28...Re8 29. Re5!! with a winning obstruction move to set up decisive mate threats (e.g. 29...Kg7 30. Qh6+ Kg8 31. Qh8#).

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult)

I Sokolov vs Timman, 1997 (26.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Kg8 has 3 legal moves. The Black K-side has a weak dark-square complex. White has a battery Re1 and Re7. The White Bd5 pins Pf7 to Kg8, and Re7 also attacks Pf7. The White Nf4 attacks Pg6, which because of the pin is defended only by Bf5. The Nf4 also attacks Ph5, so Pg6 is overburdened with 2 defensive tasks, defending Bf5 and Ph5, and after clearance of Nf4, Qf3 attacks Bf5. The White Kg1 is safe, although Pf2 is tender, being attacked by both Qc5 and Rc2.

Candidates (26.): Nxh5

26.Nxh5 Bg5

[26.gxh5 27.Qxf5 drops a P without compensation in a grim position]

27.Qxg5 Qxd5 [Qxf2+ 28.Kh1 drops B for P] [else, 28.Qxd7 wins a N]

28.Qxd7 (threatening 29.Nf6+)

White wins N+P.

Like <dzechiel>, I thought I missed something. Of course, in a real game, I would have been quite happy with the P. As they say in theater, I had better keep my day job :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got the first two moves, but then it seemed black had too many alternatives to check in my head. After peeking I think 27...Be6 28. Qf6 Qxf2+ 29. Qxf2 Rxf2 30. Nxf8 Bxd5 31. Kxf2 Kxf8 leaves black only an exchange down.
Nov-08-08  beginner64: <al wazir: 27..Be6 line>True, in the line that you play, indeed white is only an exchange up (Rook vs bishop, looks drawish), but consider this line:

27 ♘xg6 ♗e6 28. ♕xh5 fxg6 (..♕c3/♕d4 29. ♘e7+) 29. ♕xg6 ♔h8 30. ♕h6+ ♔g8 31. ♗xe6+ ♖f7 32. ♕g6+ ♔h8 33. ♕h5+ ♔g7/g8 34. ♕xf7+ (1-0).

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <beginner64>: You're right, 28. Qxh5 wins; but it's more of a struggle than you show because black has a potent Zwischenzug, Qxf2+:

27. Nxg6 Be6 28. Qxh5 Qxf2+ 29. Kh2 fxg6 30. Qxg6+ Kh8 31. Qh6+ (31. Qxe6? Qh4+, draw) Kg8 32. Bxe6+ Rf7 33. Bxf7+ Qxf7 (33...Kxf7 34. Qh7+ Kf8 35. Qh8+ Kf7 36. Qe8+ Kg7 37. Re7+) 34. g6 Qd7 (black cannot guard both e8 and g7) 35. g7 Qxg7 37. Re8+ Kf7 38. Re7+.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I got the first two moves
Nov-08-08  TheCap: Nope, not for me this day...
Nov-08-08  cyclon: Amazing "sudden-death" finale by Sokolov. Excellent Saturday puzzle!
Nov-08-08  Mendrys: Bah, I could have had this one. I was trying to make Nxg6 and Qxh5 work with white's excellent bishop pinning the f7 pawn but missed taking the knight to draw blacks defending bishop.

I'm sure others will be chiming in later that it seems easier than most Saturday puzzles. It seems like it to me even though I didn't get it.

Nov-08-08  beginner64: <al wazir>Of course you are right. I did see that Qxf2 does not threaten mate, but indeed, playing it does bring the threat of Qxg2, which requires careful consideration. All in all, the line seems fine now.
Nov-08-08  goldfarbdj: I got a Saturday for once!
Nov-08-08  cyclon: <To Al Wazir and Beginner 64> If 27. -Be6 (instead of -Qc3), then instead of 28.Qxh5 (leaving guarding of the f2-square), I`d rather suggested 28.Qf6 (>29.Qh8X,`simply`) and if now proposed "Zwischenzug" 28-.Qxf2+ (-Qc3? 29.Ne7+ Kh7 30.Qh6X) then 29.Qxf2 Rxf2 30.Nxf8 WINS smoothly (but NOT 30.Kxf2? fxg6+ 31.Bf3 Bxa2, nor 30.Bxe6 fxe6 31.Nxf8 Rxf8 32.Rxe6 prolongs unnecessarily in the rook-endgame though favourable for white).
Nov-08-08  kirchhoff: I also thought the answer was 26. Nxh5.

In the game line, what happens after 28...Qg7? I don't see a mate or significant gain of material for white. Maybe 29. Re7 Be6...there's still complexity here and some possibilities for Black, but I'm probably missing something.

Nov-08-08  Samagonka: Much respect for those who got this one, I would never play 26 Rxd7 in a real game. I was totally on the wrong track...waiting for Monday.
Nov-08-08  cyclon: <To Kirchhoff> (..,what happens after 28.-Qg7? ..,etc.). Happens MATE. 29.Ne7X.
Nov-08-08  fporretto: In response to 27. Nxg6, would 27...Qxf2+ 28 Qxf2, Rxf2 29 Kxf2, Re8 hold out any drawing chances? An extra piece in a simplified endgame isn't always decisive, and White's Pawns aren't exactly healthy.
Nov-08-08  kirchhoff: <cyclon:> I have egg on my face. Thanks for the reply.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I too had white's first couple of moves but missed the reply Qc3 thinking it wasnt strong enough. In my defence I was giving Beefheart a listen and thought Nxh5 'a squid eating dough' at the time.
Nov-08-08  Antonius Blok: Damn! I didn't find it! i was looking for a Rook sac 26. Rxf7+ Rxf7 and then Nxh5 or something... Loosie combination wathever !!

When I miss a combination I try to find out what was the good thinking, and here It was:

We have a weak g6 pawn, and the f7 pawn is not able to defend it + The black bishop is protecting it but also protecting the black knight on d7 = If I take the knight it will send away his bishop, and after taking g6 with my knight I will have double pin (Rook on f8 and pawn on h5) and we know how dangerous is the last pin.

After that is just calculation, but It's easy to say it after reading the solution.

However, a master should make a real analysis (Not like us who are - in many cases - just trying all the possible sacrifices without reflexion)

Nov-08-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I saw 26.Rxd7 and the line in the game, but thought that 26..Bg4 defended adequately.

Looking now, 27.Bxf7+ leads to mate

27..Kh8 (27..Rxf7 28. Re8+, Rf8 29.Rxf8+,Qxf8 30.Qd5+ etc + -)28.Nxg6+,Kh7 29.Bd5+,Kxg6 30.Qd3+,Bf5 31.R1e6+,Kxg5 32.Rg7+,Bg6 33.Qxg6+,Kh4 34.Qg5 mate!

Nov-08-08  cyclon: <to fporretto> Are you serious? It`s almost impossible to compete even against 1st-class player with a healthy bishop or knight down (with pawns left in the end-game)! I`m not speaking of blitz here. Now, these players here in this game ARE Grandmasters which understands just about particle-level nuances, dynamics, tensions, timings etc. in the positions. It`s VERY easy to play chess weakly but EXTREMELY difficult to play it well.
Nov-08-08  felix90: hey i'd just looked 26...Bg4 the only move which can be useful for white now if he doesn't want to lose his rook is 27.B*f7+ But with 27...R*f7, 28.Qa8+ which looks keeping the advantage and saving the queen, but the easy 28...Rf8 leads now black to a material advantage if it's not a mate. There is interesting 29Qe4, but if black defends well he's ok with better materials.
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