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Alexey Shirov vs Kevin Spraggett
Gibraltar Masters (2005), La Caleta GIB, rd 9, Feb-02
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Modern Variation (B42)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-25-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I have seen this combination before in a famous old game. Does anyone remember that game?
Jan-25-06  Steppenwolf: YouRang, what you miss is that white can then take the Nd7 and threaten both the rook and the bishop WHILE still putting pressure on the king, via Qh3 if black moves the queen, or attack on the g7 if black moves the bishop. Black is lost, well lost.
Jan-25-06  YouRang: <Steppenwolf> Actually, I didn't miss that -- I agree that Black is lost either way.

My point was to counter <RankAndFile>'s assertion that the b2 bishop had nothing to do with the combination.

With 34. Qh6#, it is immediate mate, thanks to the b2 bishop. With 34. Qh3+, white is winning, but mate is not imminent. Therefore, the b2 bishop is relevant to the combination.

Jan-25-06  Hakoon: Took me maybe 5 minutes to get that puzzle. But eh, im still a beginner at chess and i've been looking the puzzle here for only a few days so I'm proud to have finally solved a puzzle here hehe!
Jan-25-06  YouRang: <Hakoon> What matters most is that you kept working until you solved it, rather than peeking at the answer. :)
Jan-25-06  AniamL: White still needs to maintain flawless play to win after 34.♕h3+ ♕h5 35.♕xd7 ♖e7. Black still has some life.
Jan-25-06  YouRang: <AniamL> Some life, yes, but not really good quality life. :)

After 35...Re7, White has 36. Qd8 (threatening the f8 bishop) 36...Qf8 (to protect it), then 37. Rf1 and Black appears to be in a serious jam.

Jan-25-06  RankAndFile: <TopaLove><YouRang> Maybe I didn't word it correctly, but my point remains the same...34Qh5? 35.Qxd7+! and the material loss is just too much too overcome. Like I say, either queen move loses for black.
Jan-25-06  LIFE Master AJ: I must agree with <YouRang>, without the White bishop on b2, the whole combo breaks down. (Definitely not mate.)
Jan-25-06  morpstau: Maybe I didn't word it correctly, but my point remains the same...34Qh5? 35.Qxd7+! and the material loss is just too much too overcome. Like I say, either queen move loses for black. hytrreer
Jan-25-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It's trivial, but after 34 Qh3+ Qh5 certainly doesn't deserve a question mark; it is the only move that prevents mate. 34 Qh3+, on the other hand, deserves as many question marks as can be mustered.
Jan-25-06  beenthere240: <morpstau><RankAndFile><whoEveryouAre> Agreed 34. Qh3 is a blunder for the ages. It is perhaps the worst move available. Only a donkey would pick that move. A computer would pick 34. Nh6+ followed by 35. Qh6 mate. Why pick a worse, stupider move. Unless you're a donkey? (Maybe 34. Ra1 is worse.) Not disrespect intended toward our floppy eared comembers, of course.
Jan-25-06  beenthere240: Ooops. 33. Ng6+ is what the computer would pick. But really, trying to defend 33. Ng6+ followed by 34, Qh3+ is really pathetic. Just admit you missed 34. Qh6 + and move on.
Jan-25-06  strobane: If 34. Qh3+ wins, how can you call it a blunder, let alone a blunder for the ages?
Jan-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It can be called "shocking oversight" or "wretched error" if you prefer.
Jan-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  cu8sfan: 34.♕h3+ doesn't win because of 34...♕h5! The black queen is protected by the pawn on g6.
Jan-26-06  strobane: 34. Qh3+ Qh5 35. Qxd7 Re7 36. Qe8 wins the Bishop on f8
Jan-27-06  YouRang: <strobane: 34. Qh3+ Qh5 35. Qxd7 Re7 36. Qe8 wins the Bishop on f8> I think you meant 36. Qd8 (not e8). I mentioned this line above, and I think you are right. Black can protect the f8 bishop with 36...Qf5 (or first try 36...Qc5+ 37. Kh1 Qf5), but eventually, either move falls when white moves his rook to f1.
Dec-11-09  Jim Bartle: John Watson wrote this, apparently about this game:

"There are times when his brain (Shirov's) seems to short-circuit, as in one of his games against Spraggett. After a strongly played game Shirov sank into thought, only to be interrupt by his opponent resigning. What had happened? It turned out that Shirov could give mate in two, a possibility that, until then, he had not seen himself."

Sep-27-10  chillowack: <RankAndFile: The pinning of the g7 pawn has nothing to do with the ensuing combonation. Sure Qh6++ mate was there, but even if the pawn wasn't pinned Qh3 still mates.> I'm afraid this isn't correct at all. Qh3 doesn't mate, nor is it a very strong move. Shirov, in *New In Chess*, considered that maneuver dubious.

The winning combination (which Shirov didn't see--Spraggett pointed it out to him after resigning!) is only possible because of the Bb2.

Oct-14-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Jim Bartle: John Watson wrote this, apparently about this game:

"There are times when his brain (Shirov's) seems to short-circuit, as in one of his games against Spraggett. After a strongly played game Shirov sank into thought, only to be interrupt by his opponent resigning. What had happened? It turned out that Shirov could give mate in two, a possibility that, until then, he had not seen himself.">

ahah! Jan Timman also wrote that one (word for word) in his book On The Attack :(

Mar-29-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Greco's Mate


click for larger view

32...Kh8 allows a variation of Greco's Mate pattern. Raking bishops are usually not necessary. One bishop, one knight, and one rook (perhaps sacrifice or substitute the queen) can do the job if coordinated together.

There are some variations of Greco's Mate. The f-pawn needs to be advanced or removed. With a bishop (or queen) covering g8 and a pawn on g7, a g-file escape is ruled out. White mates with a rook (or queen) on the open h-file.

The pattern is named after the famous 17th century Italian chess player <Gioachino Greco>. Greco's Mate should not be confused with Greco's famous bishop sacrifice on h7.

* Gioachino Greco page. Most of Greco's brevities against NN were deliberately composed for chess instruction to the world's lasting benefit.

Here's a variation of Greco's Mate where the knight robs the pinned h-pawn:


click for larger view

Perhaps the most famous version seen below is the ...h6 vs. Ng5, Qh5 variation. The knight is sacrificed to open the h-file.


click for larger view

1.Qg6 hxNg5 (else 2.Qh7#) 2.Qh5#

Links to Greco's Mate:

* https://chessfox.com/grecos-mate/

* https://www.chesstactics.org/mating...

* https://chesslover.livejournal.com/...

Be aware that Anastasia's Mate (minus the bishop) against an exposed king on the h-file is similar to Greco's Mate.


click for larger view

Anastasia's Mate has a knight cut-off escape.

Once again, let's advocate for the classic book "The Art of the Checkmate" by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn. It has two chapters on Greco's Mate. The original Dover publication is in English Descriptive notation. There is an updated 21st Century Edition as well. This is NOT a beginners book, as it features some of the all-time great mating combinations.

Mar-30-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's an uncommon variation of Greco's Mate, a Black pawn roller: Hamppe vs Steinitz, 1860
Apr-03-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's a Greco's Mate miniature (18.QxBh6#) variation for White.

E J Diemer vs Schonfuss, 1954

If the f-pawn has been moved/re-moved in front of the castled king, Greco's Mate variations come in handy!

Apr-05-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Here's another knight sacrifice against the Sicilian for Greco's Mate! N Lopes vs U O'Boyle, 2008

Around move 25, this mate pattern was not very likely, but one thing leads to another with active pieces.

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