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Friedrich Saemisch vs Franz Herzog
"Sämisch's Immortal" (game of the day Jul-02-2008)
Reichenberg-Gablonz (1924), Liberec CSR, Aug-??
French Defense: Normal Variation (C10)  ·  1-0



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Given 22 times; par: 42 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-02-08  NewLine: I can't believe Black just sat back and watched White placing his queen and rook on the battlefront, while he just toying with his queen-side pieces!

Yet I couldn't believe how hard and furious would the punishment be!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: A brilliant game, but I can't help thinking that white had such an advantage by the 19th move that he did not need all of the fireworks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <26.Re1!! > looks like back rank mate in 1 move but it isn't.

click for larger view

While ♗d3 is necessary for mating ♖f1 is not.

Jul-02-08  arsen387: This game is a beauty!
Jul-02-08  eaglewing: <whiteshark: 26. Re1> So far true but what is your line? The same reaction like in the game to 26. ... h5 leads to:

26. Re1 h5 27. Rg7+ Kh6 28. Rxe4
but now 28. ... de 29. Bxe4 with the uncoverable mate threat on h7 has the problem Rd1#.

26. Re1 h5 27. Rxe4 dc and the bishop is under threat and square d1 weak. What did I overlook?

Jul-02-08  eaglewing: While the Qxh6+ attack and the end are nice, did Black have something better inbetween? I do not see the need for 29. ... b5. Knowing e5 and especially e6 to come would the Black moves on 29./30. not have been better Rd3 and Bc8 (I'm not sure which one first). The e6 attack is not possible then. Any clear busting of this Bc8 defense?
Jul-02-08  kellmano: Having played through this, I am surprised I have not seen it before. Fantastic stuff. My favourite move is probably 21. Nd7 leaving a choice of four captures.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <eaglewing: ... <26. Re1 h5 27. Rxe4 dc and the bishop is under threat and square d1 weak. What did I overlook?>> If 26.Re1 h5 27.Rexe4! dxc4 28.Re8+ cxd3 29.Rh8#

Rosition after 27.Rexe4:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Here's my computer checked look at Samisch's combination.

<21. Nd7!!>

This brilliant decoy clearance (sham) sacrifice exposes Black's weak and underprotected castled King to a decisive attack.


Whether Black accepts or declines the decoy Knight sham sacrifice, he loses:

If 21... Qxd7, then Wins after 22. Qxh6+ gxh6 23. Bxf6+ Bg7 24. Bxg7+ Kg8 25. Bxh6+ Kh8 26. Bg7+ Kg8 27. Bf6+ Kf8 28. Bh7 Qg4 29. Rxg4 Ke8 30. Bf5 Re6 31. Rg8+ Kd7 32. Rxd8+ Kc7 33. Bxe6 ;

If 21... Nxd7??, then 22. Qxh6+ Kg8 23. Qh7# follows.

If 21... Rexd7, then White wins quickly with 22. Qxh6+ gxh6 23. Bxf6+ Bg7 24. Rxg7 Qf4 25. Rh7+ Kg8 26. Rh8#.

Declining the offer with 21... Qf4 is relatively better, but White still wins a piece with a clear winning advantage after 22. Nxf6 Bc8 23. Rf3 Bxh3 24. Rxf4 dxc4 25. Bxc4 Be6 26. Ng4 Bxg4 27. Rxg4 .

<22. Qxh6+! gxh6 23. Bxf6+ Bg7 24. Rxg7>

Here, the discovered check threat leaves Black with nothing but losing options.

<24...Re4 25. Rg4+!>

Watch out Black! There goes that first dicovered check to force your next move.

<25...Kh7 26. f3!?>

This clever pinning combination wins slow but sure, but IMO makes it more difficult than necessary.

White can win quicker and easier with the strong reply 26. Re1!, when play could continue 26...Rde7 27. Bxe4+ dxe4 28. Rg7+ Kh8 29. Rd1 Ba6 (29... Qf4 30. Rd8+ Re8 31. Rxe8#) 30. Rxf7+ Kg8 31. Rxe7 Qb8 32. Rdd7 Qf8 33. Rg7+ Qxg7 34. Rxg7+ Kf8 35. b3 Bc8 36. Rxa7 .

<26... h5 27. Rg7+ Kh6 28. fxe4 dxc4 29. Bb1 b5>

Black can put up much more resistance with 29... Rd3, but White still wins after 30. Bxd3 cxd3 31. Rg3 Bc8 32. Bg5+ Kh7 33. Rf6 Bg4 34. Rxd3 b5 35. h3 Be6 36. Bf4 Qb6+ 37. Kh2 Kg7 38. Be5 Kh7 39. Rg3 Qd8 40. Rg5 Qd1 41. Rf3 Kh6 42. Rg8 f5 43. Rh8+ Kg6 44. Rg3+ Qg4 (44... Kf7 45. Rg7#) 45. hxg4 .

<30. e5 Rd3 31. e6 Qb6+ 32. Kh1 fxe6 33. Bxd3 cxd3 34. Rd7 c5 35. Bd8 Bxg2+ 36. Kg1! 1-0>

This final move refutes Black's attempt at a double attack swindle with 36. Kxg2?? Qc6+ 37. Kg1 Qxd7 and establishes a decisive double attack threat for White (Black must surrender the Queen for decisive material loss or get mated).

So, Black resigned in lieu of facing 36... Qc6 (36... Qxd8 37. Rxd8 Bxf1 38. Kxf1 c4 39. a4 a6 40. Rd6 ) 37. Rf6+ (here's that strong discovered check tactic again, helping force mate) 37...Kg5 38. Rg7+ Kh4 39. Rf3#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <eaglewing> You make a good point. If 29...Rd3, Black can put up more resistance and preserve some hope for a draw in case White makes a mistake. However, after 30. Bxd3 cxd3 31. Rg3 Bc8 32. Bg5+ Kh7 33. Rf6 White's advantage should be enough to win.

Yet White could have side stepped this complication altogether with the stronger 26. Re1!, when the win is never in doubt.

P.S.: For more detailed analysis, see my previous post.

Jul-02-08  TheBB: There aren't enough days in the week for Nd7 to ever be a puzzle...
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <TheBB> Actually we've had much tougher puzzles than 21. Nd7!! on both the Saturday and Sunday selections.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It did seem like fate dictated a white win. I don't think there's that many windmills in all of Holland,or even Iowa,for that matter.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Black needed to get rid of white's well-posted knight on e5.

So, he could have prevented this mess he got himself into with 18...Nd7.

click for larger view

Now if white follows with 19 Rg3, then 19...Nxe5. White cannot continue with 20 Qxh6 because of 20... Nxd3.

Jul-02-08  crwynn: Although the winning combination was quite different, some of the piece manuevers remind me of the Kramnik-Van Wely game a few days ago, both games featured a decisive blow with Nd7, uncovering the bishop on the long diagonal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Beautiful game! Somehow I'd never seen this one.
Jul-02-08  TheBB: <patzer2> Well, I wouldn't be able to judge.
Jul-03-08  Lutwidge: What tournament is this from? I've somehow never seen this game before.

Btw, Samisch was in some ways the Topalov of his time, a strong player with a remarkable wealth of beautiful losses to his colleagues, including Nimzo (of course), Alekhine, Capablanca, and probably several others to boot.

Jun-01-10  Dr. J: At move 26, 28, or 29, Black could play ... Rxd6 intending ... Rxf6. How does White refute?
Nov-10-10  sevenseaman: I thought Samisch gambled summat when he sacked his Q so early (22nd move). But he delivered an assured endgame. Insightful! However I find it easier now to resolve why didn't rise to the very top. I do not think he cared too much about winning, losing or posterity.
Feb-21-11  Rob Morrison: It's all very pretty, but white could have just played 22. Bxf6 and it's over.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Very pretty game.

<Rob Morrison: It's all very pretty, but white could have just played 22. Bxf6 and it's over.>

That was my preference but I am not sure that is stronger than what Samisch played - he would have had to convert a long queen versus rook and minor piece ending.

Note that 32..Qf2 33 Bxd3 doesn't help Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: What a stunning conception by Saemisch.

<black was lost after his third move> Good to know.

<It's all very pretty, but white could have just played 22. Bxf6 and it's over.> Spoilsport. :P

Oct-06-20  Jean Defuse: ...

This brilliant game was played in a club match, Reichenberg CC against Gablonz CC, in August 1924 in Reichenberg now Liberec.

Source: Shakhmaty Eshemesjachnyij Shurnal 1926, p. 13


Premium Chessgames Member
  nizmo11: After the sac forcing moves leading to here,

click for larger view

the shortest win was 26.Re1! The only defense against 27.R1xe4 is 27...Re7 (27...c5 28.cxd5) and then White has 28.Bxe4+ followed by Rg7,Rxf7,Rxe7.

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