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Aleksandar Kovacevic vs Boris Gelfand
Belgrade Investbank (1997), Belgrade SRB, rd 8, Nov-20
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The strategy of black playing ..h5 in the Najdorf was relatively new when this game was played. The game was played in the 8th round. In the same round Ljubojevic played 10..Qc7 against Shirov and managed to draw (game not in database) although Gelfand's 10..Rc8 seems more effective. 15..Bg5 was new; 15..Qc7 had been played previously. Gelfand gives 21 Qxh5..Qb6 22 Re2..a5 with compensation for the pawn. 23 Ka1..Ra4 24 Re4?..Qb3! would have been cute. Instead of regaining the pawn with 23..Rxc3 with approximate equality Gelfand played for the attack with 23..Rfc8. In time pressure Kovacevic missed the best defense 27 Qe4..Rxd4 (27..exd? 28 Qe8+..Kg7 29 Re7 and wins) 28 cxd..Rc4 29 Rd1 when white would have had reasonable drawing chances.
Apr-11-23  Brenin: 40 ... Rxb2, and if 41 Rxb2 then d2 and the d-pawn promotes. White could try 41 Qf4 to nullify the discovered check, but then 41 ... Rxb1+ 42 Kxb1 Qg1+ and 43 ... d2 wins.
Apr-11-23  King.Arthur.Brazil: Really easy, after: 40...Rxb2 41. Rxb2 d2, there's no way to stop d1=♕. End
Apr-11-23  Mayankk: Black's d3 pawn is pinned against its own c2 Rook, as d2 to march the lawn ahead leads to Qxc2. Black can convert this liability into an asset by the forceful 40 ... Rxb2. Now if 41 Rxb2, it has created an opponent pin at b2, while also displacing it from control of the first rank.

Hence 40 ... Rxb2 41 Rxb2 d2. And now White has to give up its Queen to prevent the d2 pawn from Queening, resulting in a winning Q vs R endgame for Black.

Apr-11-23  King.Arthur.Brazil: <Brenin>, I understand your point, however, if White -in your line- played Qf4 before, then 42. Kxb1 Qg1+ 43. Kb2 d2? 44. Qxd2... of course. I guess you though this sequence with the White ♕ at e4.
Apr-11-23  jrredfield: I didn't get this one. What makes it tricky (beyond Tuesday level IMO) is that there is no quick gain for Black, no quick mate nor big win of material for several moves.

In consulting Komodo Dragon, I see that it disagrees with the text move, a further indication of the tricky position here. Black can't advance the pawn with 40 ... d2 since White's Q can then capture the rook and after that the advanced Black pawn. So it favors 40 ... Re2.

40 ... Re2 41 Qe6 Rxe6 42 dxe6 d2 43 e7 d1Q.

Apr-11-23  jrredfield: White is bottled up to the extent that numerous moves by Black will win. Besides 40 ... Re2, Qc4, Rxb2, Rc4, Rc5, Rc7 and a few others all will give Black a commanding edge here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  takebackok: Easy peasy Tuesday
Apr-11-23  EasilyConfused: 41 Qf4 is a pretty good defense. Many ways Black could lose the advantage
Apr-11-23  Allderdice83: <White could try 41 Qf4 to nullify the discovered check, but then 41 ... Rxb1+ 42 Kxb1 Qg1+ and 43 ... d2 wins.>

After 42 ... Qg1+? 43. Qc1! and I can't see any win for Black. White might actually win if Black plays it wrong from there.

Instead, how about 42 ... Qc5, keeping control of the diagonal and planning 43 ... Qc2+? The game might then go 43. Qd2 Qxd5 44. Qe3+ Kb8 45. Qe8+ Kc7 46. Qe7+ Kb6 47. Qe3+ Kb5, or 44. f4 Qf3 45. a4 Qxg3 46. a5 Qg1+ 47. Qc1 Qf2 48. Ka1 d2 49. Qd1 Qe1. The second of these looks like a clear win for Black; the first looks like a likely but more difficult win for Black. But obviously it's not as clear as if White just plays into the trap by taking the rook.

Apr-11-23  Cecco: Yes, it seems that 41 Qf4 is white's best reply, psychologically, because black wins with a complicated maneuver (at least for me). On the chessboard I would have been discouraged from playing 40 ... Rxb2 if that reply had occurred to me. I would have preferred the simpler 40 ... Re2.
Apr-11-23  saturn2: 40...Rxb2 41.Rxb2 d2. The Rb2 is pinned and cannot stop the free pawn.
Apr-11-23  agb2002: Black is one pawn down.

The passed pawn suggests 40... Rxb2 or 40... Re2 (40... d2 loses to 41.Qxc2). In the case of 40... Rxb2:

A) 41.Rxb2 d2 wins decisive material.

B) 41.Qe4 Rxb1+ 42.Kxb1 Qg1+ 43.Kb2 d2 wins decisive material.


In the case of 40... Re2 41.g4 d2 42.Qc2 (or 42.Rd1 Re1 43.Qb1 Qg1) 42... Re1 43.Rd1 Qg1 wins decisive material.


40... Re2 looks simpler to me.

Apr-11-23  AlicesKnight: Found ...Rxb2 fairly quickly. Chasing the black K-side Ps gave no way back for the white Q to help.
Apr-11-23  agb2002: I would like to know why I saw 41.Qe4 after 40... Rxb2 but not 41.Qf4.
Apr-11-23  Brenin: <King.Arthur.Brazil, Allderdice83>: Thank you. 41 Qf4 was a typo (1am is not kind to my few remaining brain cells!), and I intended to write Qe4. In fact, 41 Qf4 is a better defence, but I think Black still wins after 41 ... Qb6+ 42 Qb4 Qg1+, followed by Qf2+ and d2.
Apr-11-23  saturn2: <Brenin> After 41.Qf4 <Qb6> makes no sense. You probably mean 41....Rxb1 42.Kxb1 Qb6

Apart from that 42...Qc3 fiollowed by Qb3 and Qxd5 looks winning.

Apr-11-23  mel gibson: I also chose 40...Rxb2

Stockfish 15 chooses a different ply:

40... Re2

(40. .. Re2 (Rc2-e2 Qf5-f4 Qd4xf4 g3xf4 d3-d2 Rb1-d1 Re2-e1 Ka1-b1 Re1xd1+ Kb1-c2 Rd1-f1 Kc2xd2 Rf1xf3 Kd2-e2 Rf3xf4 Ke2-e3 Rf4-f1 Ke3-e2 Rf1-b1 Ke2-e3 Rb1xb2 Ke3-f4 Ka7-b6 Kf4-f5 a6-a5 Kf5-e6 Kb6-c5 Ke6-e7 a5-a4 Ke7-d8 Rb2-b3 Kd8-e8 Rb3xa3 Ke8-f7 Ra3-b3 Kf7-e8 a4-a3 Ke8-f7 Rb3-f3+ Kf7-e6 a3-a2 Ke6-d7 a2-a1Q Kd7-c7 Qa1-h8 Kc7xb7 Rf3-f7+ Kb7-a6 Qh8-a8+) +M25/68 1024)

Black wins _ mate in 25.

When White resigns:

40. a3 Rxb2
41. Rxb2 d2

(d3-d2 Ka1-a2 Qd4-c4+ Ka2-a1 d2-d1Q+ Qf5-b1 Qc4-d4 Qb1xd1 Qd4xd1+ Ka1-a2 Qd1xf3 Rb2-d2 a6-a5 a3-a4 Qf3xg3 Rd2-b2 Qg3-d3 Rb2-b3 Qd3xd5 Ka2-a3 Qd5-c5+ Ka3-b2 Qc5-d4+ Kb2-c2 Qd4xa4 Kc2-c3 b7-b5 Rb3-b2 Qa4-d1 Rb2-d2 b5-b4+ Kc3-d3 Qd1-f3+ Kd3-c2 Qf3-c3+ Kc2-d1 b4-b3 Kd1-e2 b3-b2 Rd2xb2 Qc3xb2+ Ke2-d3 a5-a4 Kd3-c4 Qb2-d2 Kc4-b5 Qd2-c2 Kb5-a5 a4-a3 Ka5-b4 a3-a2 Kb4-b5 a2-a1Q Kb5-b4 Qa1-a4+) +M28/64 1590 0-1

Black wins _ mate in 28.

Stockfish gets stuck on the game line 40...Rxb2 :

40. a3 Rxb2
41. Rxb2

(41. Qf4 (Qf5-f4 Qd4xf4)
-24.94/42 3334) 0-1

Score for White -24.94 depth 42.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Home dj coy Rxb2 again ask I Re2 fluff coffin abe leeway dub chi eddy add hinch its Re2 bye Rxb2 duff...
Apr-11-23  Stanco: Naturally, 40.Rxg7 is the move 41....Rxg7 42.e7 etc...
Apr-11-23  TheaN: Missed White's main defensive idea. Of course Black can play <40....Rxb2 -+> without real issues given 41.Rxb2 d2 -+ is curtains, but <41.Qf4!> is kind of complicated. However, Black made time control and should be fine to find <41....Rxb1+ 42.Kxb2 Qb6+! -+> and White's still losing due to the d-pawn. Instead, 40....Re2 -+ is even simpler as there's no way for White to prevent the d-pawn's advance, and now there's no potential counterattack: 41.g4 (Rd1?? Qxb2#) d2 42.Rd1 Re1 43.Qc2/Qb1 Qg1 -+ and d1's overloaded.
Apr-11-23  King.Arthur.Brazil: <Mel Gibson> Sorry, but I disagree from 'fishouse' again. There's no need for 44....Qd4? You can simplify and be more effective with: 44... Qxb1+ 45. Rxb1 Qxd5. You win the ♙, threatened 46... Qxf3 and there's no Rb3. And 46. Rf1? lose his ♖ too, with Qd4+. 45. Kb1 Qxd5 doesn't change much the position, Black will win more one ♙ or two!

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