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Nigel Short vs Ruslan Pogorelov
Gibraltar Masters (2004), La Caleta GIB, rd 4, Jan-30
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation English Attack (B48)  ·  1-0



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Given 13 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Qxc4 (I admit it's in line with the Sicilian but it's no good here) just left the d6-square weak so black had problems developing, 14...d6? is bad due to 15.Be5!. the attack seemed almost too easy for a guy like Short.>

Great to read the old notes by the sharp analyst <karlzen> who should be in the chessgames hall of fame.

14...d6 is mentioned by Short, but he gives an even more drastic refutation than 15 Be5 which seems to work too.

15 Bxg7!

click for larger view

15...Bxg7 16 Qxd6 Bf6 17 Nd5! Bd8 (if 17...exd5 18 Qxf6) 18 b3 Qxe4 19 Qc6+

Sep-26-14  Boerboel Guy: <drukenknight: what happens after 35...Rb7?>

I take it that you mean 35...Rc7,
In which case white plays 36. Rf6

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I was with Short the first three moves. Then I wanted to play 27. Qg8+, followed by 28. Bxf6. I think that wins too.
Sep-26-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: White is down a piece and pawn. Snatching the exchange would still leave him down substantial material, and would give Black serious attacking potential as well, as in

24 Bxf6 Bxf6
25 Qxb4 Bc3

The other obvious tries are Qg2 or Qg5, as Black has an awkward time stopping Qg7#. Qg5 has the added virtue of pinning the rook against the bishop, and so some lines are:

24 Qg5 Kf8
25 Qxg7+ Ke8
26 Bxf6

White is now slightly ahead in material, and Black's king is under serious attack.

24 Qg5 g6
25 fxg6 Rxg6
26 Qxe7

White is down a pawn, but still has a significant attack.

24 Qg5 Rg6
25 Qxe7

Material is almost even, and Black is hard pressed to both avoid mate and save his rook. This line looks terrible for Black.

Over the board, the only one I'd feel I had to calculate further is the middle option, so let's say that the main line is:

24 Qg5 g6
25 fxg6 Rxg6
26 Qxe7 Qd7
27 Rxg6+ hxg6
28 Qf6, with the threat of Rg1/Rxg6+/Rh6#

Black's main options now look like:

28 ... Qf7???, but that allows 29 Qh8#.
28 ... e5, to be followed by 29 ... Bf5 unless White plays 29 Qxg6+. 29 ... Bb7, to bring the rook into play, but that doesn't answer the threat Rg1/Rxg6+/Rh6# 29 ... Ra7, ditto.

So the main line now extends to:

24 Qg5 g6
25 fxg6 Rxg6
26 Qxe7 Qd7
27 Rxg6+ hxg6
28 Qf6 e5
29 Qxg6+ Kf8
30 Bc5+

Black's queen is lost.

Sep-26-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Well, my answer was rather different than Short's ...
Sep-26-14  Mating Net: Rxg7, Qg5, and Rg1 are moves the tactical tiger yearns to make. I would wager that these first 3 moves are made automatically with little calculation. The trained attacker has to trust that the resulting overwhelming initiative will lead to mate or ruinous material losses.
Sep-26-14  dfcx: White is down a piece and a pawn. Taking the rook with bishop still leaves him down in material. So let's try something totally different!

24.Rxg7+! Kxg7 25. Qg5+ Kf8 26. Bxf6 Bxf6 27. Qxf6+ Ke8 28. Rg1

click for larger view

White has won a pawn so far with even better position. Possible game continuation: 28...Kd7 29. Qg7+ Kd6 30. f6 Bd7 31. f7

click for larger view

White is threatening to promote
31... Qc8 32. Qxh7
31... Qb6 32. f8=Q+ Rxf8 33. Qxf8+

Sep-26-14  dfcx: I see my move 26 is different from Short's, but I do not think his is better. After 26. Rg1 Ke8 27. Bxf6 Bxf6 28. Qxf6

click for larger view

position is identical to my line.
I do not think 26...Bf8 is better than Ke8.

Sep-26-14  plumbst: Difficult. White is down a bishop and a pawn.

White's material deficit means that he cannot just play 24.Bxf6?, letting Black consolidate with a winning material advantage. Neither Qg5 nor Qg2 are enough due to Rf7 and g6 respectively. So, looks like there's little choice but..

24.Rxg7+! Kxg7. Black cannot decline as 25.Qg5 mates quickly.

25.Rg1+ Kf7/8 (25...Kh8 26.Qg5 also mates)

26.Qg5 Ke8. The toughest defense. (26...Bd7 26.Qh5+; 26...Bf8 27.Qxf6+ Ke8 28.Rg8 Qd6 29.fxe6 Qe7 30.Qh6! White will win material due to the hanging a8 rook; 26...Rg6 27.fxg6+ Ke8 28.gxh7 Bxg5 29.h8=Q+ Kd7 30.Rxg5 and despite even material, White has a huge attack and passed h-pawn)

27.Bxf6 Bxf6
28.Qxf6 Kd7 (Rg8+ was threatened)
29.Qg7+ Kd8 (29...Ke8 30.Qxh7; 29...Kd6 30.f6 and Black will have to give up his rook for the pawn)

30.Qxh7 Bd7
31.Rg8+ Kc7
32.Rxa8 Qxa8 (otherwise Black is down an exchange)
33.fxe6 Qf8 (if Black defends the bishop, White liquidates on d7 into a winning endgame) 34.Qxd7+ Kb6
35.a4! (stopping the perpetual) bxa3
36.e7 Qf6 (Qg7 is the same)
37.Qd8+ Kb7 (other moves fail for similar reasons)
38.Qc7+! Kxc7
39.e8=N+ and White wins.

Sep-26-14  plumbst: Hmm, yeah, the line that was played on the board temporarily had material equality again but White's attack is too strong due to Black's exposed king and White's control of the dark squares.
Sep-26-14  diagonalley: <al wazir> ..i'm with you again on this one though i wsn't 100% convinced it was decisive
Sep-26-14  morfishine: There are many famous games featuring a rook-sac on <g7> followed up by a Queen check on <g5>

24.Rxg7+ Kxg7 25.Qg5+ Kf7 26.Qh5+ Kf8 27.Qxh7 Ke8 28.Bxf6 Bxf6 29.Rg1

There are also many famous games featuring a Knight-sac on <d5> vs a Sicilian Defense


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: A neat jerk reaction would probably be 24.Bxf6, to make it a rook vs. 2 bishops, but of course, I just knew something like 24.Rxg7 would be played.
Sep-26-14  YetAnotherAmateur: I, like so many here, focused on 24. Bxf6 Bxf6, with my followup line being 25. Qh6 Bc3 (Bd4 and Be5 play out similarly) 26. f6.

That seemed to be winning to me:

A) 26. ... Bxf6 27. Qxf6 and white has recovered the bishop and still threatens mate.

B) 26. ... Qc7/Qd7 27. Rxg7 and black's queen is toast with still the threat of Qxg7#

C) 26. ... Kf8/Kf7 27. Qxg7 Ke8 28. f7+ Kd8/Kd7 29. Qg8 and the f-pawn promotes.

D) 26. ... Ra7 27. Rxg7+ Rxg7 28. fxg7 Bxg7 29. Rg1 and again white has recovered the bishop and maintained mating threats that black simply doesn't have the resources to counteract.

I'm certain Short played better than I did, but I'm not yet convinced that Bxf6 isn't also winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is one bishop and one pawn down.

Black threatens 24... exf4 and 24... Rxf4.

White can bring the queen quickly into the attack with 24.Rxg7+:

A) 24... Kxg5 25.Qg5+

A.1) 25... Kf7 26.Rg1 (the idea 26.Qh5+ Kf8 27.Qxh7 followed by Rg1 seems to fail to 27... e5 28.Bxe5 Qxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Bxf5+ 30.Qxf5 Rxf5 - +)

A.1.a) 26... Ke8 27.Bxf6 Bxf6 (27... Qb7 28.Qg8+ Bf8 (28... Kd7 29.Rg7) 29.Rg7 looks bad for Black) 28.Qxf6 Kd7 (due to 29.Rg7) 29.Rg7+ Kd6 30.fxe6 looks promising for White. For example, 30... Bxe6 31.Qf4+ Kc5 32.Rc7, winning the queen for a rook and a bishop.

A.1.b) 26... Bb7 27.Qh5+ Kf8 (27... Rg6 28.fxg6+ followed by 29.gxh7 + -, if 28... hxg6 29.Qxg6+ Kf8 30.Qg8#) 28.Qxh7 looks bad for Black (28... Ke8 29.Bxf6 and if 29... Bxf6 30.Rg8#).

A.2) 25... Kf8 26.Bxf6 Bxf6 (else 27.Rg1, threatening 28.Qg8#) 27.Qxf6+ Ke8 28.Rg1 transposes to A.1.a.

A.3) 25... Kh8 26.Bxf6+ Bxf6 27.Qxf6+ Kg8 28.Rg1#.

B) 24... Kf8 25.Qg5

B.1) 25... Ke8 26.Bxf6 Bxf6 27.Qxf6 looks winning.

B.2) 25... Bd8 26.Rg8+ Ke7 (26... Kf7 27.Qg7#) 27.Qxf6+ Kd6 28.Rxd8+ wins.

B.3) 25... Rf7 26.Rg8#.

B.4) 25... exf5 26.Rg8+ Kf7 27.Qg7+ Ke6 28.Re8+ and 29.Qxe7#.

B.5) 25... e5 26.Rg8+ Kf7 27.Qg7#.

C) 24... Kh8 25.Rxe7 e5 26.Qg5 Rg6 27.Be5+ Kg8 28.Rg7+ Kh8 (28... Rxg7 29.Qxg7#; 28... Kf8 29.Qe7#) 29.Rxg6+ Qf6 30.B(Q)xf6#.

Sep-26-14  David2009: Short vs R Pogorelov, 2004 Fine win by Short. Hers's the critical position after the first three moves by White:

click for larger view

I could not visualise this accurately from the puzzle position (except to note that White is R and B down), but once it is in front of me it is clear that Black has no good defence. In particular White threatens Qg8 mate, missed in my from-puzzle visualisation.

<Mating Net: Rxg7, Qg5, and Rg1 are moves the tactical tiger yearns to make....> Well put.

Sep-26-14  JG27Pyth: Finding the speculative sac, not so hard... calculating to certainty -- insane!
Sep-26-14  Clodhopper: If 24. Rxg7 is a Saturday puzzler, 20. Nd5 must be a February 29th puzzler
Sep-26-14  kevin86: The rook sac blows up the position like a bomb!
Sep-26-14  David2009: There is a nice alternative variation if Black plays 22...Bf6 (instead of Rf6) to reach

click for larger view

White now wins with 23.e7 Bxd4 24.Qxd4! g6 forced to stave off mate 25.exf8=Q+ etc.

Sep-26-14  njchess: Got this one easily enough. White needs to take advantage of Black's poor development by playing a forcing move, or else Black will consolidate his position.

Black's ♖ on F6 is decidedly out of position. Capturing with the ♗ was the only other move that I seriously considered, but all it did was improve Black's position after the re-capture with his ♗.

Therefore, 24. ♖xg7 was the only candidate for me. I calculated 24. ♖xg7+ ♔xg7 25. ♕g5 ♔f7 26. ♖g1 ♗f8 27. ♕xf6+ ♔e8 28. ♖g8 ♕d6 29. fe6! .

Sep-26-14  Moszkowski012273: 31.Qh5+... was a stronger continuation.
Sep-27-14  Moszkowski012273: Dude you've frikkin lost it...
Sep-04-16  tigreton: It's not easy to sacrifice a piece when the upcoming lines are not so clear. Well, for a player like Nigel they certainly would be much more clear, but there's certain degree of risk in it and hope in the resulting attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The plan of ..Nxd4, ..Ne7 and ..Nc6 is seen sometimes in the Taimanov but has the disadvantage of being slow and also taking the king knight away from the kingside leaving the king vulnerable. 10 Kb1 was new; 10 Be3 had been played once previously. 11..Ne5 did nothing to advance Black's development further complicating Black's defensive task. 23..h6 24 h4!..dxe 25 Qg2 would also have given White a decisive attack. The rook sacrifice 24 Rxg7+! was necessary as 24 Qg2..g6 25 Bxf6..Bxf6 26 fxg..Qc3 27 gxh7+..Kf7 would not have been sufficient.
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