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Jonathan Rowson vs Ivan Sokolov
2nd Milk Tournament (2003), Selfoss ISL, rd 3, Oct-31
Italian Game: Classical Variation. Greco Gambit (C53)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Soklov wins a wild tactical game as Black with four minor pieces against White's queen and two knights. Black's mate in three after White's 39. Kf3 is a nice tactical shot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Black's precise and accurate play following his Queen sacrifice at move 16 is fascinating, chock full of tactical threats against the exposed White King and Queen. White has a slight "material advantage," but can make nothing of it against the harrassment of Black's active minor pieces.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Rowson apparently prepared 5 d4 for this game as he had never played it before. Steinitz preferred 10 Be3 in this line. 11 Be3 was new; 11 0-0 had been played previously.

Sokolov on 15..Nxf2:
"Entering complications that are difficult to assess. However, other moves would have given White a dangerous attack."

When Sokolov played 16..Nxd1? (16..Qh3 was better) he felt that Rowson's 18 Re2? was forced; they both missed that 18 Rg1!..Be6 19 Nxd5!..Nxd5 20 Qg3..g6 21 Nxg6 would have been winning for White. Rowson avoided the sharp endgame 27 Nxb6..Bxb3 28 Nxa8..Nf1+ 29 Ke1..Ba4 30 Nxa7..Nxh2 31 Nxc7..h5 but his choice was also very double-edged. 28 Qa3 maintaining control of of the f-file would have been better. Even stronger for Black would have been 29..Rf2+ 30 Kc3..Re2 and if 31 Qh5 then a cute variation is 31..Rc2+ 32 Kh4..Rxb2+ 33 Kc3..Rc2+ 34 Kb4..Nd5+! 35 Nxd5..a5+ 36 Nxa5..c5+ 37 Ka4..Rxa2#. 35,,Re6 would have been stronger though this move would have been difficult to find in time trouble. With seconds left White missed that 37 Nge7+ would have forced a repetition as 37..Kf8 38 Qxh7 would have been strong for White (the point is that the queen covers d3 in this line); instead after 37 Nce7+? White was quickly mated.

A great fighting game - Sokolov consistently plays interesting chess.

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