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Boris Gelfand vs Alexey Shirov
Rubinstein Memorial (1998), Polanica-Zdroj POL, rd 4, Aug-20
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Modern Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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sac: 23.Rd7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-06-12  lost in space: No, this was too high for me.

I saw that - in case the queen or a rook can come to the h-file Black is busted....but to achieve that with Rd7! never came to my mind.

I was focused on Kh2 Rh1 Kg1 or something like that - all of that was not forced enough. What happens if Black don't take the rook?

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Spent about 10 seconds trying before I realized these guys are far beyond us mere mortals. Then I gave up. Whew.
May-06-12  whiteshark: You're playing with fire!
May-06-12  polarx: What amazes me is how these masters can dig through dead-end combinations and skip the "noise" to find the one that, when shown, just seems to be so logical. You almost think "how could I miss this?". Just like in Sherlock Holmes's novels: "Elementary, my dear patzer!"

And by the way, trying to play a bit the role of Sherlock Holmes... Gelfand must have seen that Shirov played 20.Qb2 in order to corner his rook with 21.Qb4. So he already had Rd7 in mind when he played 21.Bc4. Otherwise Gelfand was just giving his rook or his bishop away. Did Shirov also see this but found no better continuation or was he simply outplayed?

White to move 21.? Über-insane.

May-06-12  morfishine: Found <23.Rd7> and was quite pleased because of it. What a concept: offering a whole rook to simply get Black's WSB off the d1-h5 diagonal.
May-06-12  James D Flynn: White is 2 pawns up but his position is hanging by a thread: his R on e7 is attacked by the Black Q, it has no squares on the 7 rank and if it moves off the 7th Black can simply take the B on f7. Therefore 23.Be6 and if Qxe7 24.Bxg4 and the resulting position is better for White : his N can come to e5 and his B to f5 opening the d1 to h5 diagonal for the Q. White can also bring his remaining R to h1 either by Kh2, Rh1, Kg1 or by f3, Kf2 ,Rh1. However it seems Black can win immediately by 23…. Bxf3. 23.Be6 Bxf3 24.Rxg7 Bxd1 25.Be5 and White threatens a discovered check with mate on his next move. However Black is a whole Q up and can afford to exchange his Q for a piece by either Qa5 or Qd6. A. 25…..Qa5 26.d5 and Black has no square on which to harass the B, if 26. ..Qc7 27.Rxc7+ Rf6 28.Bxf6#, if 26…..Qc3 27.Bxc3 Rac8 28.Be5 and the pieces are now even and the mating threats remain. B. 25…..Qd6 26.Bxd6 Kxg7 27.Bxf8+ Kxf8 28.Rxd1 Nb4 29.Bb3 a2 39.Ra1 Rb8 30.Bxa2 Ra8 31.Rb1 Nxa2 32.Ra1 and Blacks N is pinned and the White united passed pawns on e4 and d4 will advance and win the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Sailing along I dont see anything imminent except, maybe in d7 wrench

again lsb off g4 entice him to capture d7 and we brak it the pin on

queen in so it good mind for invest 23.rd7 bxd7 24.nxg5 qb6 to stop

invasion at h5 in disconnect line of sight 25.be6 qxe6 26.nxe6 bxe6

should win for white I proof in see get going central roller pawns and

rook it almost in knowledge boing Alexey back in bishop fine gentle

got dilemma it is in knowledge rb1 i like taking open file in with

later dominance cfile seventh rank etc. Dence in con feed rd7 queen is

freed bone to pick it ate in grading it air in clovers for Gelfand

truly it is a masterpiece in setting him up it genie hine queen gets

too patrol unguarded i especially it is liking loaming rook in d7

light has success it tempt in bxd7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: Not. Even. Close. And the solution is as spectacular as I've ever seen. But I'm as puzzled as some of the other correspondents; why is Black compelled to take the Rook? If Gelfand had played this move against me, I would have looked at any move *except* accepting the sacrifice. After all, it's Gelfand; he's a Super-GM; this can't be a blunder; he wants me to take the Rook; therefore, let us *not* take the Rook. Or was this a trap that required a level of competence far in excess of my own abilities?
May-06-12  Patriot: I didn't see it and finally gave up without finding anything good for white. I'm thinking 23.Rd7 is the only move that doesn't lose.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: One of the things I missed about that great, subtle move 23 Rd7 is that it sets up a skewer for white's bishop on d6.

I found this out because I looked long and hard at 23...Nb8?!

click for larger view

I liked this move because it keeps the knight pinned, attacks the rook and better protects the a pawn.

White can simply play 24 Rc7 to sidestep this attack, but he also has 24 Bd6!

click for larger view

Black can trade queens beginning with 24...Qxd4 or simply play 24...Qb6 and watch each side lose a rook and a bishop.

Either way it looks like white keeps his 2-pawn advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: My only idea was to somehow use the open h file with Q or R, possibly with Nxg5 idea. Diverting the black B by Rd7 never occurred to me. I see some are asking logically whether Bxd7 is forced. I don't have an engine. I'll come back when I have time to see some of the analysis by the stronger players. In relation to the coming WC match, some seem to forget how incredibly strong a player Gelfand was/is. The issue for both Anand and Gelfand is to what extent do you lose the little extra in your forties? My view is that, although Anand logically is the favorite, a well prepared and certainly motivated Gelfand is no pushover.
May-06-12  goldenbear: I found Rd7 instantly and after a few more seconds I realized that the threat is e5 (say, Qa5, then e5). This was an easy puzzle move to find since it is easy to check that Black has no useful moves other than Bxd7. Calculating the consequences of Bxd7 is just beyond my ability to visualize (although the follow-up moves are easy to see once you arrive at the position).
May-06-12  BOSTER: In the position on <POTD> black king without protection in open "h" file.

White rook ,whose invasion on the second black rank was welcome by all white army, now under attack by the queen on b4, has to make decision what to do?

Many theoreticians believe that you should stay on the second rank as long as possible. But white can "protect" the rook using the idea, that after Qxe7 and Ne5-Ng6 , they create the royal fork.

So, white has the great desire to reach "h" file very fast, and because <take the castle back> move is illegal by rules, (white king will be under attack by queen on b4), and untill now was not invented, but moves like Kh2,Rh1,Kg1-is too slow, white should try sacr. the rook e7.

Playing 23.Qc1 Qxe7 24.Ne5 Bxe5 25.Bxe5+ Kh7 doesn't give too much.

OK,let's try to give a bite 23.Rd7(protecting the d4 pawn and creating the threat Bd6), if 23....Bxd7 24.Nxg5 and the road to "h" file is opened.(Qh5).

May-06-12  goldenbear: <paulalbert> Yes, Bxd7 must be forced because of the dual threats of Bd6 and (if the queen moves) e5. If Qb5, the reply Rd5 is easy to calculate. This may be the most tenacious defence I suppose.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: e4-e5 is the threat that I had missed because White now can play Qd1-d3-g6 (if ...Qb6; e5-e6).
Premium Chessgames Member We regarded this as the twin puzzle to Gelfand vs Salov, 1996 because they both involve dropping a rook on d7 where the enemy bishop can snap it off. Is Rd7 Gelfand's signature tactic?
May-06-12  sevenseaman: This is a high quality game from WC contestant GM <Gelfand> and he has trounced GM <Shirov>, no less.

Many people think 23. Rd7 is weird or not logical. There are some who think <Shirov> should have left it alone (and played something else) as it wasn't forcing.

It turns out that I am familiar with the game from last year, though I honestly did not remember it till I saw my own old comments. There may have been some latent memory, I am not aware of such things, but I instantly saw the need for the move.

I have gone through all the comments from page 1 to 4. There are many who have questioned the logic of <23. Rd4>. I have listed them with their brief comment;

1. <Catilina> Rd7 says capture me doesn't seem to do_ anything very special there.

2. <Geronimo>: Wow. 23. Rd7 was not even on my list of possible sollutions. Guess that means I'm under 2000 ELO (!)

3. <Bare Beginner>: is that a Decoy Sacrifice?

4. <Skylark> I found 23. Rd7, but merely by accident because I didn't realise it hung the rook!

5.<Check It Out>: 23.Rd7 patzer hanging a rook or brilliant conception??

6. <M.Hassan> I could not solve this puzzle. Period The following is the solution through Chessmaster:

23.Rd7 Bxd7
24.Nxg5 Qb6
25.Be6 Be8 et al

7. <stalemate3844> i am not really sure about Rd7.I totally agree with dzechiel.If i played against gelfand it would be like "a patzer tricked by a super-GM" but Shirov should have seen that taking the rook is a total disaster.He should have tried something else.

8. <lost in space> Rd7! never came to my mind.

9. <An Englishman> But I'm as puzzled as some of the other correspondents; why is Black compelled to take the Rook?

10. <paulalbert> Diverting the black B by Rd7 never occurred to me. I see some are asking logically whether Bxd7 is forced.

And finally some comment where the posters see the point in the move.

11. <Jimfromprovidence>: One of the things I missed about that great, subtle move 23 Rd7 is that it sets up a skewer for white's bishop on d6.>

12. <goldenbear> I found Rd7 instantly

13. <BOSTER> 23.Rd7(protecting the d4 pawn and creating the threat Bd6)

14. <morfishine> Found <23.Rd7> and was quite pleased because of it. What a concept: offering a whole rook to simply get Black's WSB off the d1-h5 diagonal.

GM <Gelfand>'s need to decoy the Black LSB is <pressing enough>, but the angle so nicely brought out by <jimfromprovidence> and <BOSTER> puts the move in its proper perspective. 'It enables the Q-R skewer by the White DSB going to d6.

There you are. Its a tough move to find but it is very logical. GM <Shirov> was not decoyed, he had to respond to it. To <M.Hassan> I will say <Chessmaster> did give the move <23. Rd7>, it cannot be w/o some logic.

My own opinion is that it <23. Rd7> was a <brilliancy>.

I tried to take care but I may have missed some more comments related to the move. Please do not mind.

May-06-12  voyager39: I'd already given up on the Sunday puzzle yesterday...and needless to say I never got anywhere close to 23.Rd7!!!

Hats off to the master.

May-06-12  lemaire90: Same as voyager39... !!! Very hard problem.
May-06-12  stst: The Black B(@g4) is eyeing (pinning) the White N & Q, and as a Q-sac doesn't work for White, this B has to be distracted, and a R-sac, releasing the N, might work: 23.Rd7 BxR
24.Nxg5 ..
There-after, it could vary to a great extent,...though later, one of the Pawns may get a change to advance.... Too long a path to trace....
May-07-12  Abdel Irada: Most disheartening. I entirely overlooked 23. ♖d7! as "not forcing enough" and kept looking for Legal-style queen sacs with Ne5, either immediately or after a bishop retreat. Needless to say, none of them worked. But of course the text *is* quite forcing -- in a passive sense: If black doesn't take the rook, he's simply two pawns down.

The position after 23. ♖d7, ♗xd7; 24. ♘xg5 is promising, but I may have to spend some time to be sure it works against all defenses, having seen in two previous recent problems that the defender doesn't always find his best continuation over the board.

I will now examine the game and see what he did find.

May-09-12  LoveThatJoker: Sunday, May 6th, 2012

No answer submitted.

Lovely game from Gelfand here! The position after 33. Qe3 is absolutely precious:

click for larger view


PS. I finished this week with 5 out of 7 for a pass.

Sep-22-17  Saniyat24: One stunning move after another in this game...just when Shirov seems to have been closing in Gelfand plays 37.f5 and changes the complexion of the match...Black surely will lose material if it wants to stop the passed pawn, and is also facing an imminently deadly attack..."Fun with the f-pawn".
Dec-06-21  Cedroke: This is what we call the Pawnshop
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Unusual imbalance of material after 32.Qa3:

click for larger view

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