Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Jesse Kraai vs Igor Novikov
Chessmaster US Championship 2005 (2004), San Diego, CA USA, rd 7, Dec-02
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  0-1



Get this game explained with Decode Chess
explore this opening
find similar games 1 more Kraai/I Novikov game
sac: 27...Ra4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To flip the board (so black is on the bottom) press the "I" key on your keyboard.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 27...Ra4 28. Bd4. Now what?
Sep-12-14  ChemMac: <al wazir: 27...Ra4 28. Bd4. Now what?> 28...Ne6 seems to win. If 29.NXa4 NXd4 30.Nc3 Ne2+31.NXe2 RXe2
Sep-12-14  shishio71: What if black did 28...Re4 instead? I'm just not seeing a cook for that move.
Sep-12-14  M.Hassan: Black to play 27...?
Black has a Rook for a Bishop.

<if 28.Nxa4 Qxd1>

28.Bd4 Re5!
29.Rd3 Qh1+
30.Kf2 Rxd4
<if 31.Rxd4 Qf3+ 32.Kg1 Qe3+ 33.Qf2 Rxg5+ 34.Rg4 Rxg4+ 35.Bg2 Rxg2+ 36.Kh1 Rxf2++ And White looses Queen and other material>

32.cxd3 Rf5+
33.Ke3 Qxf1
Black has extra Rook and Bishop and should win. Chessmaster evaluates mate in seven:

34.Ne4 Qc1+
35.Ke2 Ne6
36.Qxd6 Nf5+
37.Kf2 Qxb2+
38.Kf3 Qg2+
39.Ke3 Qe2+
40.Kd4 Qxd3#

Sep-12-14  patzer2: Saw nothing better than a perpetual after 27...Qh1+ 28. Kf2 Qf3+ 29. Kg1 Qh1+ etc.

The idea of a double Rook sacrifice to decoy and force mate with 27...Ra4!! 28. Nxa4 Re2! is no doubt something the computers find almost instantly.

Yet for me it's an amazing display of the skill of the Chess master, using the magic of Chess tactics, in turning what appears to be a forced draw into a winning attack with two consecutive stunning sacrifices.

Sep-12-14  M.Hassan: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Did White need to play 26.axb5? As far as I can tell, all it does is create a spectacular combination for Black that did not exist before>

Good Evening: Right on!

Sep-12-14  Moszkowski012273: Got to watch Jesse blitz with Maurice Ashley last time he was in NYC..... Cool dude.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Another interesting variation is 27...Ra4 28 b4?! Rxb4.

click for larger view

Note that the rook is safe because if 29 Qxb4?? then 29...Qe3#.

After 27...Ra4 28 b4?! Rxb4, black also threatens 29...Rg4+.

Sep-12-14  gofer: I looked at this position for quite a while thinking it was white to move and win. So I worked out black's
weaknesses. There aren't too many really...

Now looking at the position with black to move I am wondering whether I can dislodge Qh4 from protecting f2. If I can then Qe3# is in the offering! But that seems difficult to achieve. While Nc3 is stopping Ra4 and Re4. In short, I would rather like Nc3 to bugger off back to the box...

<27 ... b4>

28 Qxb4? Qe3#

28 Ne2/Ne4 Rxe2/Rxe4

28 Nd5 Bxd5
29 Rxd5 Ra1

28 Rd3 Re3!

<28 Bc4+ Ne6>

click for larger view

It looks like black wins a piece and the from there the game...


Oh! Not even close.

Sep-12-14  diagonalley: fabulous deflection which i completely failed to spot :-(
Sep-12-14  morfishine: Darn, I found <27...Ra4> 28.Nxa4 but didn't see 28...Re2, instead playing 28...Qxd1

<Jimfromprovidence> Excellent point


Sep-12-14  vlado23: <al wazir: 27...Ra4 28. Bd4. Now what?> 28.. Re2?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: It amazes me how difficult these puzzles may be, but as soon the solution is revealed, it seems so easy.
Sep-12-14  Refused: 27...?

I would love to play 27...Re2 with threat 28...Qh1# 28.Bxe2 Qg2# but that's not working right away because of 28.Nxe2

what about 27...Re4 with the threats of Rxh4 and Rg4? not working neither because of that pesty Knight on c3. That damn thing is keeping white's entire position together.

Let's try

a) 28.Nxa4 Re2
b) 28.Rd4 Ra1
c) 28.Bd4 Re5!! 29.Qg3 Qh1+ 30.Kf2 Rf5+ 31.Ke2 Rxd4

28.Rd4 was the line that gave me some problems. Re5-Qh1-Rf5 is a nasty threat, and at least I failed to find a a convincing defense for Black. if you find something let me know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pulo y Gata: Heard it's a good read, Lisa.
Sep-12-14  patzer2: Found this great excerpt from Jesse Kraai's Book "Lisa: A Chess Novel" at

<"Listen, Lisa: We tell our kids that they should learn, that they should go to school. We tell them that thinking, reading and art are the highest achievements. And we construct palaces for them to pursue these things – a thought palace with the noblest marble floors, wood paneling and vaulted ceilings. But then we say that the palace is not real, we say that it's only a training ground for the real world. We tell our children not to pursue music in earnest, or painting, or chess. We say they will not be able to earn a living with it. We tell them that they will not be able to become professionals with these arts.

"It's the biggest regret of my life, Lisa, that I believed them. Because if you ask the same people: What is important? What gives your life meaning? What gives you joy? You always get a fumbling toward the beautiful. A song. An insight. A harmony that not only explained their self to the world, but elevated them, for a timeless moment, beyond all the stuff around us that points to death."

Lisa began to cry, for this was the truth she was looking for. This was chess.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The solution Flohred me! I would have never thought of the winning move at all!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Now that was fun! It's a time lord combination. Sonic screwdrivers at the ready, let's pop into the Time And Relative Dimensions in Space machine (aka the TARDIS) and work this one out backwards.

Your not-even Monday thought is to play Qh1 and cry "A mate! A mate! It's a checkmate, I tell you."

But there's a problem, as the randy Dalek discovered whilst dismounting from the rubbish bin. In our starting position, the black queen covered f2. But once she gets to h1, that protection has disappeared.

So we need to cover f2 and then play Qh1. And that means that the Doctor needs a glamorous assistant with dark eyes that could melt a cyberman's cold heart ...

Oh. Where was I? I got distracted for a mo. Ah, yes. An assistant. That was it. We need to cover f2.

And that's when you think of 27...Re2

click for larger view

No, really, you do. You are thinking about 27...Re2, aren't you?

With 27... Re2 we've travelled through time to ... ooh, let's say a Wednesday, shall we? The idea is that 28. Bxe2 loses to Qg2# and a pass move loses to Qh1#.

And any move that has two mate threats in it simply has to be considered.

But there's another problem. There's a weeping angel knight on c3, just ready to snaffle our rook landing on e2. We've got to get rid of the knight before we can play Re2.

How do we get rid of the Nc3? We can't capture it, so can we entice it to move?

This makes us travel through time again to a Thursday. Ish. How about Ra4? This threatens the white Qa4 and coincidentally the utterly joyous Rg4+.

So to recap, the plan is Ra4 and if Nxa4 then Re2 and the queen mates on h1 or g2. Or in chess-speak ... 27. Ra4 Nxa4 28. Re2

Ah, but it's not quite so easy. If 27... Ra4, white can hang on grimly with either 28. b4 or 28. Bd4. And here we are into Friday or Saturday territory as we try to figure out a way to pile on the pressure.

Fritzie finds 27...Ra4 28. Bd4 Re5 with the idea of Qh1+ and Rf5+. Nasty but white isn't quite finished yet.

I can't claim to have seen it all - especially the Bd4 adventure - but I was happily giving away both rooks as per the mainline.

When I wasn't being distracted ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a rook for a bishop.

White has defense against 27... Qh1+, 27... Qg2+ and 27... Qe3+, and 27... Re2 is met with 28.Nxe2. This last detail suggests 27... Ra4, trying to divert at least one defender:

A) 28.Nxa4 Re2 and the threat 29... Qh1# seems unavoidable (29.Bxe2 Qg2#).

B) 28.Rd4 Ra1 29.Nd1 (29.Qf2 Qh1#; 29.Rd1 Rxd1 - +) 29... Rxd1 - +.

C) 28.Bd4 Ne6

C.1) 29.Rd3 Rxd4 30.Rxd4 (30.Rxf3 Rxh4 - + [R]) 30... Nxd4 31.Qxd4 Qh1+ 32.Kf2 Qxh2+ 33.Bg2 Qxg2#.

C.2) 29.Nxa4 Nxd4 30.Nc3 (30.Qxd4 Qa1+ as in C.1; 30.Rxd4 Re2 as in A) 30... Qe3+ 31.Qf2 Nf3+ 32.Kg2 Nxh2+ 33.Kg1 (33.Nd5 Bxd5+ 34.Rxd5 Qe4+ 35.Kxh2 Qxd5 - + [R+P vs B]) 33... Nf3+ 34.Kg2 Ne1+ 35.Kg1 Qxg5+ loks winning.

C.3) 29.Nxb5 Nxd4 30.Nxd4 (30.Qxd4 Qa1+ as in C.1; 30.Rxd4 Re2 as in A) 30... Rxd4 wins (31.Qxd4 Qa1+ as in C.1; 31.Rxd4 Re2 as in A).

D) 28.Rd3 Rxh4 29.Rxf3 Bxf3, etc.

E) 28.b4 Rxb4

E.1) 29.Qxb4 Qh1+ 30.Kf2 Qxh2+ 31.Bg2 Qxg2#.

E.2) 29.Rd4 Rb1 30.Nxb1 Re2 as in A.

E.3) Other moves look similar to previous lines.

Sep-12-14  TheBish: J Kraai vs I Novikov, 2004

Black to play (27...?) "Difficult"

Black is already technically winning, being up the exchange (rook for bishop), but with White's king naked (the emperor has no clothes!), we are looking for the knockout punch, i.e. a quick mate or win of substantial material.

One move we can disgard of right away is 27...b4? 28. Bc4+ d5 29. Nxd5 (threatening 30. Ne7#) and of course if 29..Bxd5 30. Bxd5+ wins the queen. But if we can somehow compel the knight to move, we will have at our disposal the move ...Re2! (threatening ...Qh1#) and the Bf1 is overworked, in that it must guard against mate on g2 (if Bxe2, ...Qg2# is the result). This led me to look at a move involving Black's strongest piece that wasn't involved in the attack.

27...Ra4! attacks White's queen and also threatens the lethal blow 28...Rg4+, so the rook must either be captured or blocked:

(a) 28. Nxa4 Re2! and there is no defence to 29...Qh1#.

(b) 28. Rd4 Re1 with dual threats of 29...Rxf1# and 29...Qg2# (and if 29. Qf2 Qh1#).

(c) 28. Bd4 (best try) Re5! with dual threats of 29...Rf5 (threatening ...Qh1#) and 29...Rxd4. Now:

(c1) 29. Qg3 Qh1+ 30. Kf2 Rf5+ 31. Ke2 Rxd4 32. Rxd4 Qxf1+ is crushing.

(c2) 29. Nxa4 Rf5 (or 29...Re2) and mate on h1 is next.

(c3) 29. Qh3 Rxg5+ is easy.

(c4) 29. Rd3 Qh1+ 30. Kf2 Rf5+ will win the Bf1 with a continuing attack.


White folded quickly; now I need to check my analysis against the best defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: The double-R deflection is a bit like Rubinstein's Immortal. Different threat axes, but similar ideas: once you have one threat in place (Qe3/Qg2#), everything else becomes deflection-bait. Rooks are very good at insisting, because they hunt sideways (Rg4+ or Rg2+), so the defender can't just ignore them.

I saw most of the constraints, including Re2 overworking Bf1, and Ra4 to cut the Q from f2. Didn't quite put it together ... but the instant I saw <28.Nxa4> I said <Shirley you can't do that, it's mate>. So -- maybe I <did> see enough.

Sep-12-14  morfishine: <Jimfromprovidence> I meant excellent point<S> !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: If White's knight were not there, Black would win on the spot with Re2 and mate on the next move.

Therefore 27...Ra4!, attacking the queen and threatening a fatal check on g4.

As White must not capture the rook he has to block the 4th rank:

a) 28.b4 is futile: Black simply plays Rxb4, and the wQ must not recapture due to Qe3#.

b) After 28.Rd4 Ra1 White can prevent the mate on f1 only by giving up his queen (Qh3) or by interposing at d1, but after 29.Nd1 or 29.Rd1 Rxd1 30.Nxd1 Black now can play Re2.

c) If White plays 28.Bd4, the black knight enters with 28...Ne6, attacking the pinned bishop. Now:

c1) After 29.Nxa4 Nxd4 the Re2-motif is back again, now accompanied by a new Ne2-threat. White can prevent mate with 30.Qg3, but after 31...Qxd1 he is a rook down.

c2) 29.Qe1 Qh1+ 30.Kf2 Qxh2+ 31.Ke3 Nxd4+, winning the queen.

c3) 29.Rd3 Rxd4 30.Rxd4 Nxd4, and since 31.Qxd4 Qh1+ leads to mate, White must not recapture and remains a rook down.

Very interesting puzzle, but imho not that difficult for Friday. Or did I miss something?

Sep-13-14  patzer2: Earlier, White missed an opportunity for winning chances with 21. Rg3!! to .

After 21. Rg3!! play might continue 21...Qh1+ 22. Kf2 Qxa1 23. Rg1! Qxb2 24. Nd5! Qxd4+ 25. Qxd4 Bxd5 26. Qxd5 Nbd7 27. Rf1 Ne5 28. Kg2! to .

Sep-13-14  patzer2: Now 21. ? (White to move) would make for an extremely difficult Sunday puzzle.
search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Var (B84) 0-1 27...?
from Sicheveningen Invited Fredthebear by fredthebear
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Var (B84) 0-1 27...?
from Ruys Raps/Cisilian Snaps Boosted by Fredthebear by fredthebear
27...? (Friday, September 12)
from POTD Sicilian Defense 4 by takchess
27...? (Friday, September 12)
from Puzzle of the Day 2014 by Phony Benoni
27...? (September 12, 2014)
from Friday Puzzles, 2011-2017 by Phony Benoni
Deflecting Sacrifice on Move 27) Ra4 by Black.
from Sacrifices by ISeth
27...? (September 12, 2014)
from Friday Puzzles, 2011-2017 by docjan
27. ...?
from Favorite problems of the day (3) by Gambit86
27...Ra4! sets up 28...Re2
from Deflection by patzer2
nimzo indiangames
by tanu123

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC