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Evgeny Najer vs Neboisa Illijin
Groningen Open (1998), Groningen NED, rd 1, Dec-20
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-30-14  Gilmoy: So I would have guessed 34.Nxf7 Qxf7 35.h5

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with PP for N and some chance of pinning Black's Q.

It takes some sitting-on-hands to even consider <Black's> threat, which is the pin on 2. So of course the solution is to make a <quiet move first>. Go figure.

Ironically, <34.h5> is the kind of move we reject right away <because> it's a Sunday. <38.Rh4> was a nice touch, seeing that you get the Q back.

Mar-30-14  M.Hassan: "Insane"
White to play 34.? and exactly same material

White King and Queen being on the same row, Black will surely want to take advantage of that and put his Rook on b2 backed by the Knight. White can take advantage of that:

34.Bg2 Nc4
35.Bxd5! Rb2
36.Bxc4 Rxe2+
White Bishop captured a Bishop+Knight+Rook and black Queen is left with 5 pawns against a Rook+Knight+Bishop and 5 pawns. Not easy to win for Black

38.Rg2 Qa4
39.Kg3 Qxa2
40.h5 Qc2
41.hxg6 Qxc3+
42.Kh2 fxg6
43.Bxa6 c4
White is stronger but it may not be an easy win for White either.

Mar-30-14  morfishine: I had <34.h5> and 34...Rb1 with Black checking from <h1>

<Gilmoy> Yes, <38.Rh4> was a nice touch; so was <45.Bxf5> due to 45...Bxf5 46.Rd6+


Mar-30-14  Eduardo Leon: <34.h5>

Threatening 35.hxg6 fxg6 36.♘xe6 ♗xe6 37.♖xg6+.

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Obviously, the black king should not step into the "h" file. However, the obvious 37...♔f7 also loses instantly to 38.♕h5, and white has simultaenous threats against black's king, queen and bishop!

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By elimination, the only way to resist a little longer would be 37...♔f8 38.♕h5 ♗xa2 (or 38...♗f7) 39.♕h8+ ♔e7 40.♕f6+ ♔e8 41.♖h6 ♗g8.

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After 42...♕f7 white's attack would come to a halt. However, white can now play 42.♗e6!. Now, 42...♗xe6 loses to 43.♖h8+ ♔d7 44.♖h7+ ♔c6 45.♕xe6+ ♔b7 46.♖xc7+ ♔xc7.

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And 42...♕e7 loses to 43.♖h8 ♕xf6 44.exf6 ♔d8 45.♖xg8+ ♔c7 46.♖xb8 ♔xb8 47.f7.

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Now, all of the above was just a threat, not an actual variation!


Black's minor pieces are too far away from g6 to contribute to its defense. So his only way to contest white's threats is to make a threat of his own: 35...♖b2.


But it is not enough to stop white's attack.

<35...♖b2 36.gxf7+ ♔f8 37.♕xb2 ♘xb2 38.♖h4!>

Black must give up the queen, after which white is an exchange ahead.

Mar-30-14  Eduardo Leon: I messed up my analysis. :-( After 42.♗e6?, white can now begin a series of checks: 42...♖b2+ 43.♔g3 ♖g2+! 44.♔xg2 ♕b7+, and I have no idea how white could escape the perpetual. Better was 42.♖h8 ♕f7 43.♗e6 ♕xf6 44.exf6, as in the 42.♗e6? ♕e7? 43.♖h8 variation I suggested.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The theme here is similar to yesterday's. White has such a strong threat on the kingside that he is prepared to jettison material in order to push that threat home.

I spent a long time trying to make a knight sacrifice work. In an alternate dimension 34. Nxf7 or 34. Nxe6 might be a Tuesday/ Wednesday solution. But I just could not get them to shine, even when I tried sacking the rook as well. I soon had that nagging doubt that I had wandered down the wrong path.

That's when the "simple" (ha!) 34. h5 seemed to make more sense. The knight and rook are doing such useful attacking jobs that it doesn't seem right to give them away. So bring another piece into the attack.

I didn't consider the Nc4/Rb2 defence in part because I didn't think that black had time for it. He surely has to do something about the kingside attack and so doesn't have time to go annoying the queen - arguably white's least useful attacking piece at the moment.

Fritzie doesn't get too excited about the position. After a few minutes of whirring he finds 34. h5 and gives it a slightly sniffy +1.3. Nice to have but not exactly decisive.

He "thinks" that 34...Qb7 is black's best reply, keeping the evals around the +1.3 mark. He doesn't care much for the plan of 34...Nc4/ 35...Rb2. His little red tut-tut light comes on and he starts muttering about evals over +2.5.

So all told, this is a good Sunday bone to chew on, but not a great puzzle per se. The winning move (34. h5) is not all that difficult to find. Unless someone finds a better line than my steam-driven Fritz it's not particularly decisive either.

There are enjoyable fireworks in the game, but only if Black wanders down a sub-optimal line. With best play, this should probably not have been as conclusive as it appeared.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I guess 34.Nxf7 would not have worked out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Like others, I looked at both Nxf7 and Nxe6 thinking an insane Sunday puzzle had to involve an immediate sacrifice. The pawn lever h5 involves the nice tactic that if taken then the Ne6 discovered check from the white Rg4 wins a lot of material. The real brilliance by Najer was to see that he could allow the Rb2 pin on his own Q and emerge finally in an exchange and P ahead endgame that he finished off quite nicely; the sequence starting with 43 f5+ could make a nice puzzle.

This game as a whole is interesting because Najer used the closed variation versus the Sicilian that is not seen much at the top level anymore. I still remember well the Spassky vs. Geller Match 1968 where Boris used it very effectively against Geller's Sicilian.

At the higher level Short tried it against Nakamura in 2013, but lost:

Short vs Nakamura, 2013

Mar-30-14  BOSTER: White to play 23.

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When almost all white pieces on the kings side, and when the black queen has the duty to defend bishop b7, I guess the standart move here is f5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black is probably considering 34... Rb1.

The obvious move is 34.h5:

A) 34... gxh5 35.Nxe6+ Kh8 (35... hxg4 36.Qxg4+ Kh8(7) 37.Qg7#; 35... Kh7 36.Rg7+ Kh6 37.Rh7+ Kxh7 38.Qxh5+ and mate in two) 36.Nxc7 wins.

B) 34... Rb1 35.hxg6

B.1) 35... Rh1+ 36.Kg3

B.1.a) 36... Rg1+ 37.Bg2

B.1.a.i) 37... Rxg2+ 38.Qxg2 Bxg2 39.gxf7+ Qxf7 (39... Kf8(g7) 40.Nxe6+ Kxf7 41.Nxc7 + - [R+2P vs B]; 39... Kh8 40.f8=Q#) 40.Nxf7 ends up an exchange and a pawn ahead.

B.1.a.ii) 37... fxg6 38.Kh2

B.1.a.ii.*) 38... Rxg2+ 39.Rxg2 Bxg2 40.Qxg2 and White looks better due to the threats Nxe6, Qa8+ and Ne4.

B.1.a.ii.**) 38... Ra1 39.Bxd5 exd5 40.e6 fxe6 41.Qxe6+ seems to win.

B.1.a.iii) 37... Bxg2 38.gxf7+ looks similar to B.1.a.i.

B.1.b) 36... fxg6 37.Bg2 either transposes or is similar to previous lines.

B.2) 35... fxg6 36.Bg2 either transposes or is similar to previous lines.

C) 34... Qb7 35.hxg6 fxg6 (35... Qb7 36.gxf7+ Kg7 37.Qxb7 Rxb7+ 38.Kg3 Rxa2 39.Rh4 seems to win) 36.Qd3 Qb2+ 37.Bg2 Kg7 38.Nxe6 looks winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: I got this one pretty easily ... I really do not think it qualifies as insane.

Am I wrong?

34.h5, Nc4;

(If ...PxP/h5; then Rh4 and QxP/h5, it looks like a wipe out. If Black plays ...f5; <to prevent mate> then PxP/f6 e.p. looks terminal for Black.)

35.hxg6, Rb2;
What else can Black do?

36.g6xf7+, Kf8; 37.QxR/b2!, NxQ/b2; 38.Rh4! The threat is Rh8+ and promotes, other than give-away, I don't see a way to stop it, the best Black can do is an exchange down ending.

OK, time to post this and take a look, I hope I have not embarrassed myself - this happens on Sundays sometimes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: White's play was very fine and artistic, I did not see the fine conclusion that GM Najer found here.
Mar-30-14  JG27Pyth: @<once>

You may want to upgrade your analysis software/hardware . Stockfish 64bit and a newish cpu find h5 nearly instantly -- and the eval holds around +3.0 thru 30 ply.

I think finding the Nc4 defense was the critical element. Qb7 may be objectively best... but it's passive-ish. It makes no one nervous. Nc4 does. One needs to calculate that White can weather the -- Nc4, Rb2, -- counterattack before playing h5. (And, though your intuition would have been validated in this position, I don't think it's enough to say 'black doesn't have time' in that position. The Q sac needed to be calculated for full credit, imho.)

I did some playing around with engine moves after the Qb7 defense -- and to me it was just annoying. The inhuman calculating strengths of engines is never more obvious than in tactically complex positions with active queens. Black defended with non-obvious moves I'd never consider and White effectively countered them and built it's advantage with attacking moves vastly deeper and more accurate than I can manage.

Ok, so I'm a patzer, still, I wonder if in a decade or so computer chess middle-games will in effect lose contact with human chess -- employing maneuvers accurate at such a depth as to be essentially worthless (incomprehensible) to even the best human players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: BTW, I forget to mention that I spent close to an hour on this one Saturday night, and another 45 (or so) minutes on it Sunday morning. (Like others, I wasted a LOT of time on Knight sacks ... finally deciding that the immediate Knight "bombs" were not really getting anywhere.)
Mar-31-14  patzer2: The Sunday puzzle solution 34. h5! was on a superficial level easy to understand. The simple idea is the pawn is untouchable, since 34. h5! gxh5?? 35. Nxe6+! (position below)

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gives White an easy win. For example, here (position above) it's mate-two after 35...hxg4? 36. Qxg4+ Kh7(or 36...Kh8) 37. Qg7#.

Where it got deep for me was after 34...Nc4 (threatening the Queen-winning pin 35...Rb2) when White played the deeply calculated 35. hxg6!! (position below).

click for larger view

Here, White is essentially saying go ahead and pin and win my Queen, because I have a plan to force you to give up your Queen in return (also leaving you the exchange down for your Queen-winning pin) in order to avoid the promotion of my pawn.

Computer analysis on Fritz 12 confirms White's follow-up play after 35...Rb2 with 36.gxf7+! Kf8 37. Qxb2 Nxb2 38. Rh4! Qxf7 39. Nxf7 was practically perfect.

However, for me, 35. hxg6!! was at an insane level of difficulty and required computer analysis to understand the complications.

Apr-20-14  Conrad93: <I messed up my analysis. :-( After 42.Be6?, white can now begin a series of checks: 42...Rb2+ 43.Kg3 Rg2+! 44.Kxg2 Qb7+, and I have no idea how white could escape the perpetual. Better was 42.Rh8 Qf7 43.Be6 Qxf6 44.exf6, as in the 42.Be6? Qe7? 43.Rh8 variation I suggested.>

Your analysis is a bunch of junk, you moron.

Try double checking with an engine.

Apr-20-14  Conrad93: And those checks are obvious to any decent patzer.

No need to give out the entire analysis.

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