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Paul Keres vs Miguel Najdorf
Gothenburg Interzonal (1955), Gothenburg SWE, rd 14, Sep-07
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Goteborg (Argentine) (B98)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-30-03  sleepkid: Classic Keres! An incredible game, with head spinning variations. Keres attacks with verve right from the start!

Already a piece down, Keres' 22. Nd5!!? is incredible, though maybe not entirely sound. It certainly is intimidating.

One of the few times you will see Najdorf resign a piece up! However, Najdorf realized that he couldn't hold onto the piece, the two defensive tries (25. ...Qe8 26. Qxb5+ Kd8 27. Qb6+ Kd7 28. Qxd6# and 25. ...Qd8 26. Qxb5+ Kc7 27. Qc5+! Kb8 28. Bxd6+ Ka8 29. Rxe7 regaining the piece with a won position) being hopeless.

Loads of fun.

May-30-03  ughaibu: This variation was introduced simultaneously in three games in this round. I think Geller was the first to play Bg5, Spassky I think was the other white, the blacks were all Argentine and had specially prepared g5-Nd7 for the Soviets.
May-30-03  actual: After those three games, the rest of the games in this database starting <1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7  8. Qf3 h6  9. Bh4 g5  10. fxg5 Nfd7  11. Nxe6 fxe6  12. Qh5 Kf8  13. Bb5 > are draws
May-30-03  drukenknight: Ugi: The variation is known as "Goteborg" for site where it was introduced. Spassky/Pilnik and Geller/Panno are the other two. Both games are in the database:

Geller vs Panno, 1955

Spassky vs Pilnik, 1955

The problem here, I think is 10...Nd7, this will block the Bishop for certain. THe Bishop has an opening and now he doesnt. Opening and closing a diagonal for the B usually is bad.

Plus this will take a spot away from the other N. Yes the N can go to c6 but if the pawn recaptures there it will disconnect the h pawn.

Try it with 10...Nh7 see if that doesnt make it better.

Evans says the original idea was 13...Ne5 as you see in the Panno game. After witnessing Pannos destruction in the early round, Pilnik/Najdorf switched to 13....Kg7. But why not 13....Bxg5 trying to force exchanges, when ahead in material makes logical sense.

Same reasoning on the 18th move. Grabbing material when already ahead in material is often questionable why not 18...Qf8?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 22.Nd5 is good. For example 22...exd5 23.Qxd6+ Ke8 24.Qg6 Kd7 25.exd5 looks very promising for white, not to mention the possibility to repeat moves.
Jun-27-05  calman543: sleepkid, what if in your second line of analysis black played 26. ... Kd7 27. Qxd6+ Ke8 ? What would white do then?
Jun-28-05  Cyphelium: <calman543> 25.- ♕d8 26. ♕xb5+ ♔c7 27. ♕c5+ ♔d7 28. ♕xd6+ ♔e8 29. ♖f8+ wins the queen.
Jun-28-05  calman543: Cyph, how do you do the figurine notation?
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <calman543> Use the {} around your letters. Example, Nxd4 becomes ♘xd4. Also visit the help (upper right hand corner) page. you can do all your notations inside the then when you are done, close it with .
Jun-28-05  offramp: The figurine slook good but they are not too useful if someone else wants to cut & paste that analysis into - say - a PGN file.
Jul-15-05  calman543: Oops. My first question should have had "27... Kd7" not move 26. But it looks like Cyph caught it.
Sep-27-05  Queens Gambit: Beatifull game.
Jun-27-06  Kings Indian: 9...g5 looks strange, why not 9...Nxe4?
Jun-27-06  CapablancaFan: <Kings Indian><9...g5 looks strange, why not 9...Nxe4?> That loses a piece to 10.Bxe7! The purpose of 9...g5 was probably to open up the h-file for the rook, but Najdorf played it wrong.
Nov-04-09  howian1: This is one of the games thought to be brilliant with a black loss inevitable until a computer looks at the position, and shows just two before resignation, the position could probably be held.

Accepting the second sacrifice, exd5 23.Qxd6+ Ke8 24.Qg6 Kd7 25.exd5, R-a6! looks sufficient to require white to repeat moves for the draw. Beyond providing insight, the computer is showing us that the winner is right methodology is infecting much analysis, and the human tendency to become depressed upon defense, rather than the brilliancy of the game impacts the outcome.

Sep-02-10  dmillergp: the purpose of g5 is not to open up the file for the rook but to clear the square e5 for the knight
Jun-21-11  gothenburg: Bobby Ang, at BusinessWorld Online, provides an excellent series of articles on the history and theory of the Gothenburg variation, up to its present state. It is well worth the look!
Jan-15-12  fortheloveofchess:

Kasparov analyses this game along with two others which panned out similarly in this video. 13. Bb5! is discussed in some detail.

Jan-15-12  JoergWalter: <fortheloveofchess> thanks for the link. very lucid presentation by Kasparov.
Jan-15-12  JoergWalter: Here are the 2 other games in that line. According to an old post it is not surprising that the soviet players played all the same line:

Spassky vs Pilnik, 1955

Geller vs Panno, 1955

<calman543: In an old issue of Chess Life magazine they printed the time used per move in each of the three games (called the Gothenburg Trilogy, I believe). The record showed that Spassky and Keres waited for over an hour (making no moves) for Geller to find the winning line.>

Jul-20-13  Hillebrand: Perhaps after 13. Bb5 it is best to play 13... Rh7? If 14. O-O+ then 14... Kg8 and the position looks fine for black, no?

The position presented visually (white to move):

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Hillebrand> Have a look at Gligoric vs Fischer, 1958
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Gaspariantz vs Eidlin, 1961 is also worth having a look at too.
Jul-20-13  Hillebrand: Benzol, those games end in draws both, even with Fischer playing white he could not squeeze a winning position after 13... Rh7. I think it demonstrates that 13. Bb5 is a fine refutation of the 9... g5 plan, but still, if the Argentinian players had played 13... Rh7 I think the Gothenburg Interzonal would be remembered as only the 'Argentinian Disappointment' rather than the tragedy it is now known as.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Hillebrand> but still, if the Argentinean players had played 13... Rh7 I think the Gothenburg Interzonal would be remembered as only the 'Argentinean Disappointment' rather than the tragedy it is now known as.>

Yes, but had Geller (who played 11.Nxe6 first, and then Keres and Spassky copied him), had instead played 11.Qh5 as indicated in, then it may very well still be remembered as the "Argentine Tragedy".

I checked to see what Stockfish 11 would say. At d=40 its top 5 moves were 11.Qh5 [+1.11], 11.Bg3 [+0.62], 11.0-0-0 [+0.38], and 11.Bf2 and 11.Nxe6 [0.00], no better than equal chances for both sides. Here are the moves for Stockfish's top 5 lines:

1. [+1.10]: 11.Qh5 Ne5 12.Bf2 Bxg5 13.Be2 Qe7 14.Nf3 Ng6 15.Nxg5 hxg5 16.Qf3 Nd7 17.0-0-0 b5 18.Qe3 Bb7 19.a3 Rc8 20.Kb1 Nde5 21.Qd2 Nf4 22.Bf1 Ng4 23.Bb6 Nf6 24.Qe1 Ng6 25.Ba5 Nd7 26.g3 Nge5 27.h4 Kf8 28.Bb4 Nc5 29.Bg2 gxh4 30.gxh4 f5 31.h5

2. [+0.62]: 11.Bg3 hxg5 12.0-0-0 Qa5 13.Be1 Qc7 14.Be2 Ne5 15.Qg3 Nbc6 16.Nxc6 Qxc6 17.a3 Bd7 18.Bf2 b5 19.h3 Qc7 20.Bd4 Bc6 21.Kb1 Rc8 22.Qf2 Rh7 23.Rhf1 Kf8 24.g3 Rb8 25.h4 gxh4 26.gxh4 Bxh4 27.Qf4 b4 28.axb4 Rxb4 29.b3 Qe7 30.Bxe5 dxe5 31.Qxe5 f6 32.Qd6 Qxd6 33.Rxd6 Bxe4

3. [+0.38]: 11.0-0-0 Ne5 12.Qf2 hxg5 13.Bg3 Nbd7 14.a4 Qc7 15.Kb1 Nc5 16.Nb3 f6 17.h4 gxh4 18.Bf4 Bd7 19.Nxc5 dxc5 20.Rxh4 Rxh4 21.Qxh4 0-0-0 22.Qh7 Re8 23.Be2 Qd8 24.Bxe5 Rh8 25.Qg7 Rg8 26.Qf7 Rf8 27.Qh5 Rh8 28.Qf3 fxe5 29.Bc4 Qg8 30.a5 Bc6 31.g4 Kb8 32.Qg3 Bf6 33.b3 Ka8 34.Na4 Bxa4 35.bxa4 Ka7 36.Rd7 Rh1+ 37.Ka2

4. [0.00]: 11.Bf2 hxg5 12.0-0-0 Ne5 13.Qg3 Nbd7 14.Kb1 b5 15.a3 Nf6 16.Be3 g4 17.h4 Bb7 18.Bd3 Rc8 19.Nde2 Qc7 20.Bg5 Qb6 21.Be3

5, [0.00]: 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Bb5 Rh7 14.0-0+ Kg8 15.g6 Rg7 16.Rf7 Bxh4 17.Qxh6 Rxf7 18.gxf7+ Kxf7 19.Qh7+ Ke8 20.Qg8+ Ke7 21.Qg7+ Ke8

But, of course, these lines might not hold up to close scrutiny. I am unfortunately very busy at the moment with other things so I don't have the time to go over these lines and vet them. Maybe someone will be interested in doing so. But if the [+1.10] evaluation for 11.Qh5 holds up, then the 3 Soviet players might very well have won their games anyway, in spite of the Argentinean's best preparations.

Of course, finding 11.Qh5 OTB would have been difficult; finding 11.Nxe6 was "easier" since the 11.Nxe6 is a thematic sacrifice in these types of Sicilian defenses, although maybe not in 1955. I would be surprised if the Argentineans did not consider it during their preparation but maybe they did and they couldn't find the forcing lines.

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