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Raymond Keene vs Michael Basman
speed chess (1963) (blitz), Bognor, Nov-30
English Opening: Symmetrical. Anti-Benoni Variation Spielmann Defense (A33)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-21-13  newzild: I just checked with Rybka, which confirms that 19...Qf8! (instead of 19...Ne8??) is best for Black. Rybka then gives the following:

20. Bb4+ Kg8
21. Ba6 Be5
22. Ke2

(this was as far as I got in my own analysis, which I posted below up until 20. Kg8)

23. Rc1 Kg7
24. Rc8 Rxc8
25. Bxc8 Ne4

And Rybka says that White has no more than a half-pawn advantage in the ending.

I'm going to give myself a point for "solving" today's puzzle even though there is no win.

Sep-21-13  Mladja: What about 17.Bb5?
Sep-21-13  GrandMaesterPycelle: I missed the winning line after Ne8, but quickly saw 19.Qf8 looks like a good defence anyway, so I thought I had the entire idea wrong.
Sep-21-13  newzild: <al wazir: <Gypsy>: 19...Qe8 is even better for black: material equality and a position that is just mediocre.>

19...Qe8? loses the exchange to 20. Rxe8+ Nxe8 21. Bb5 Nc7 22. Bb6

Sep-21-13  Lykos: 23. Bd6 is better
Sep-21-13  gofer: This all looks too obvious! Give up the queen for back rank threats that cannot be defended against. The only questions is what will be the final tally when the dust clears?

<17 Ne7+ Qxe7+>
<18 Qxc8+ Bxc8>
<19 Rxc8+ ...>

Any other variation makes black either a whole rook down or an exchange down and and in real positional trouble. So I think after three moves we get here...

click for larger view

So black now has two choices; a) block with the queen and b) block with the knight.

19 ... Qe8
20 Rxe8+ Nxe8
21 Bb5 Nc7
22 Bc6 winning the exchange

19 ... Ne8
20 Bb5 Kf8
21 Rxf8+! Qxf8
22 Bb4+! winning a piece!

So black must put its queen in harms way, but not on e8.

<19 ... Qf8>
<20 Rxf8+ Kxf8>
<21 Bb4+ Kg8>
<22 Ba6 Bc7>
<23 Ke2>

click for larger view

White has a clear positional advantage with the two bishops and one less isolated pawn. But could you call this a "win"? I would imagine not - or at least not yet!!



I think Mr Basman could have done better... ...but, given his ceaseless good deeds for chess in the UK, he is quickly forgiven...

Sep-21-13  iamsheaf: this is one of those puzzles where a series of most natural moves leads to the I guess its not hard
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Sometimes, you've just got to hate facts. Those pesky little truths that glisten like globs of gristle in the delicious bouillabaisse of life.

For example, the scientists tell us that what we perceive as beauty is really a pre-programmed evolutionary instinct to make mini-mes with a healthy specimen of the opposite gender. The characteristics that we find appealing in a mate are more or less the ones that guarantee the survival of our personal DNA in the human gene pool.

So when you observe some dang fine example of masculinity or femininity (delete to taste), what you are really doing is playing they odds about the survival of the ... ahem ... fittest.

Talking of odds, here's the patented Once theory about why luck almost certainly does not exist. In a lottery or a game of roulette, the most popular numbers are those less than 30. That is because many people favour numbers which have some resonance for them - birth dates, house numbers, etc. And these are far more likely to be under 30 than over.

So we have the spinning roulette wheel or jiggling lottery balls, and the vast majority of people stroking rabbit's feet, or crossing fingers, or offering little prayers are rooting for the little numbers. If luck or prayer had any effect, then we ought to see the little number come up more often than the big numbers.

We don't. Sorry. The numbers fall evenly from high to low, just as random chance would predict. Those pesky little facts again.

Today's game is a case in point. It's a fine finish, a clever combination. I can even pat myself on the back for seeing most of it.

But then there's the problem of 19...Qf8. It doesn't bust the combination. It's not a reversal of fortune. But it does leave the win very unclear. Not a clean kill.

So how do we call this one? A busted puzzle? A fine example of speed chess where it would be wholly unreasonable to expect the players to see everything that modern silicon finds?

Or do we just put it down to another example of pesky facts getting in the way of romanticism?

Sep-21-13  King Sacrificer: How can someone at this level can not see that defending by the queen is much better? That's just five moves ahead and straight calculation.

I assume that Basman was in time trouble or he was stunned by the sacs. This game is not over yet!

Sep-21-13  King Sacrificer: Forget about it. I didn't see it was speed chess.
Sep-21-13  TimothyLucasJaeger: Huh never even considered the knight blocks line. I saw ...Qf8 and it looked equalish so i figured i was stumped and gave up.... oh well.
Sep-21-13  Refused: 17.Ne7+ Qxe7
18.Qxc8+ Bxc8
19.Rxc8+ Qf8
20.Rxf8+ and somehow I run out of gas here.

My first thought was 19...Ne8 but 20.Bb5 Kf8 21.Rxe8+ Nxe8 22.Bc6 and white is winning.

19...Qe8 is a bit weaker than 19...Qf8,
because 19...Qe8 20.Rxe8 Nxe8 21.Bf3 will win a pawn on e4. The idea with Bb5-c6 is not working, because black still has Bc7, simply covering the Knight and unbinding the rook on a8. White still has a more pleasent endgame with his pair of Bishops and some play against the Isolani on d5, but it's no straight k.o. as I first thought.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: This combination seemed so simple yet so hard to find (at least for me).
Sep-21-13  bubuli55: Very difficult indeed. 5mins and I have nothing. Can't find a forcing move on Black. The only thing I can think of is < 17. Qb3 >

White's N is under attack and the Q is pinned. On Black side the a8 R is not connected.

< 17. Qb3 >

After that I have no clue how Black proceeds with the game.

Play the game

Sep-21-13  sfm: <Once: The characteristics that we find appealing in a mate are more or less the ones that guarantee the survival of our personal DNA in the human gene pool.>

Aha! Got it! So, in this forum we have to be careful not to confuse matters.

A checked mate: activity to BEGIN
A checkmate: activity is OVER

Sep-21-13  mistreaver: Saturday. White to play. Very difficult. 17?
At first sight white is losing a piece and cannot castle. But surely there is some tactic in the position.
I would probably examine
17 Ne7+! Qxe7 (else just take the rook)
18 Qxc8+ Bxc8
19 Rxc8+
and now
A) 18 ... Qe8
19 Rxe8+ Nxe8
and i can't find anything better then:
20 Bf3 Nf6
21 Bc3 and black is losing the d-pawn but the opposite coloured bishops remain. B) 18... Qf8
19 Rxf8+ Kxf8
20 Bb4+ Kg8
21 Bf3
and white has slight pressure.
C) 18... Ne8
19 Bb5 and i think this could be better for white.
I don't see anything concrete other then this exchanging operation. 17 Bb5, but i don't know what does that solve after Bc7. Time to check and see.
Yep, that's it. Not some puzzle, more like an exchanging operation, still some technique required after black's best defence.
Sep-21-13  BOSTER: <ray keene> <5 minutes and I saw all of it>.

My opinion that there is nothing to see at all in this <POTD> even playing <bullet> game. First black played 9...Bb8 and heard " You hit me" ,said the rook a8, and later we'll see that this stupid bishop b8 will be intervened between two roks.. Then black built the battery Bb8-Qd6 expecting that white would play 0-0.

After this black show twice how greedy he was playing 13...Qxb4, losing couple tempo, and 15...0-0 instead Bxc6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I also found 17. Ne7+ Qxe7 18. Qxc8+ Bxc8 19. Rxc8+ Qf8 20. Rxf8+ Kxf8 and couldn't find a winning continuation for White.

I didn't like this "puzzle."

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens 17... Rxc6.

The first idea that comes to mind is 17.Ne7+ Qxe7 (else loses a rook) 18.Qxc8+ Bxc8 (else drops the exchange) 19.Rxc8+ Qf8 (19... Ne8 20.Bb5 Kf8 21.Rxe8+ Qxe8 22.Bb4+ Qe7 (22... Kg8 23.Bxe7 + - [B]; 22... Bd6+ 23.Bxd6+ wins a bishop again) 23.Bxe7+ Kxe7 24.Bc6 wins the rook) 20.Rxf8+ Kxf8 21.Bb4+ Kg8 (21... Ke8 22.Bb5+ and 23.Bc6 wins the rook) 22.Ba6 and White has the bishop pair and the king better placed for the endgame but this is still far from a forced victory.

Another option is 17.Bb4 but loses to 17... Rxc6 18.Bxd6 Rxc7 19.Rxc7 Bxd6.

I'd play 17.Ne7+.

Sep-21-13  patcheck: 17. Ne7+ Qxe7 (17. … Kf8 or Kh8 18. Nxc8 and white wins easily) 18. Qxc8+ Bxc8 (if not white has won a rook against a knight with better position) 19. Rxc8+

A) 19. … Qe8 or f8 20. Rxe8+ or Rxf8+ and white won the exchange.

B) 19. … Ne8 20. Bb5 Kf8 (any black f, g or h pawn would allow 21. Rxe8+ and white would stay with a piece up, for instance : 20. … f6 21. Rxe8 Kf7 22. Rxe7 Kxe7) 21. Ke2 [threatening 22. Bb4 Bd6 (22. … Qxb4 23. Rxe8#) 23. Rxa8 Bxb4 24. Rxe8+ and white wins the exchange)

B1) 21. … a5 22. Bc1 (with the threat 24. Ba3 Qxa3 25. Rxe8#) 23. … Bc7 (I don’t see a best defense) 24. Rxa8 Bd8 25.Ba3 Qxa3 26. Rxd8 (threatening 27. Rxe8#) Qxa2+(what else) 27. Kf3 and I think that white will be able to stay with two rooks and a bishop against the black queen although black would have possibilities with it’s a pawn.

… but I feel lazy to analyze more so, in conclusion I think that white should begin with :

17. Ne7+ Qxe7 18. Qxc8+ Bxc8 19. Rxc8+ Ne8 20. Bb5 Kf8 and may follow with 21. Ke2

Sep-21-13  patcheck: Errors or imprecise views in my post.

First : 17. Ne7+ Qxe7 18. Qxc8+ Bxc8 19. Rxc8+ Qf8 20. Rxf8+ doesn't win the exchange and could be black best defense.

Second : After 17. Ne7+ Qxe7 18. Qxc8+ Bxc8 19. Rxc8+ Ne8 20. Bb5 Kf8 my idea 21. Ke2 may be correct but the game line is much better because it wins on the spot : 21. Rxe8+ Qxe8 22. Bb4+ Qe7 23. Bxe7+ Kxe7 24. Bc6

Sep-21-13  galdur: 19...Ne8 = Blitz Blunder. Black isn´t too badly off after 19...Qf8 20.Rxf8+ Kxf8.
Sep-22-13  Abdel Irada: <gofer: ...19 ... Ne8
20 Bb5 Kf8
21 Rxf8+! Qxf8
22 Bb4+! winning a piece!>

Apparently the piece White won was the king, when he took it on f8? ;-)

Sep-22-13  Abdel Irada: <<•> Holy simplification, Basman! <•>>

In this blitz game, from an approximately equal position with at best a tiny positional edge thanks to his two bishops, White has the opportunity to show rare technique with the following exciting combination:

<<•> 17. Ne7†, Qxe7

18. Qxc8†, Bxc8

19. Rxc8† ... >

Black is now invited to get greedy and lose (as I presume from the "1-0" that he did in the game): (a) 19. ...Ne8? 20. Bb5, Kf8 21. Rxe8†, Qxe8 22. Bb4†, Bd6 23. Bxd6†, Qe7 24. Bxe7†, Kxe7 25. Ke2 , when White is a piece ahead.

<<•> 19. ...Qf8

20. Bb4†, Kg8 >

(Not (b) 20. ...Ke8? 21. Bb5† followed by 22. Bc6 .)

And after his brilliancy, White emerges with what he started with: a minuscule positional advantage conferred by two active bishops.

This is almost enough to make one forswear fancy combinations and take another look at 17. Bb5. White still has a minimal edge, but he affords Black more opportunities to err. :-S

Sep-22-13  Abdel Irada: <Once>: I appreciate the alliteration, but do globs of gristle genuinely glisten? I thought it was gobs of grease that did that, sometimes with the added bonus of iridescing.

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