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Ivan Sokolov vs David Howell
"Howell He Find Cover?" (game of the day Aug-28-2006)
Staunton Memorial (2006), Crowthorne ENG, rd 5, Aug-18
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Given 7 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-19-06  chessmoron: It's D85: Grünfeld, Exchange.
Aug-20-06  Albertan: Yes Chessmoron it certainly is. Howell was doing well until he erred by playing 34...Bxb5? He should have played 34...Bb7 instead and after 35.Rc1 Nc6 36.Rxc6!? Bxc6 37.Qf4+ Kd8 the game probably would have ended in a draw. On move 41 Howell blundered into a forced checkmate position and had to resign on move 44. If 44. Rd4+ Kg5 45. Qe7+ Kh6 46. Rh4# 1-0

Aug-20-06  euripides: 7 Qa4 is not mentioned in de Firmian's MCO, but I like the look of this approach to the exchange Gruenfeld. The first win by White in this line on Chessgames is Kasparov vs M Felder, 1988; perhaps Gazza knew something about the line. There are some nice games by Milov in the database: see

V Milov vs J Rowson, 2005

V Milov vs Krasenkow, 2005

Aug-20-06  Albertan: This is the earliest game in the database for this line: Khenkin vs Krasenkow, 1988

According to my Chessbase database IM Alexei Gavrilov is the leading practioner of this variation for White. However none of his games for this variation are in the database.

Aug-28-06  syracrophy: The earliest king hunt in history! After 44...Kg5 45.Qe7+ Kh5 46.Rh4# Charming!
Aug-28-06  Ger7ry: How does White refute 33. ... QxB?
Aug-28-06  positionalgenius: <Ger7ry>34.Qxh7+! and white has all sort of attacking possibilities.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Spielmann referred to a sacrifice such as 18.d5 and 19.e5 as an example of a "vacating sacrifice," whose objective is solely to put one piece on a better square (here the Bishop goes to d4). Almost always, only one pawn is sacrificed: here, White ultimately sacs three. Remarkable concept.

This game is also a good illustration why the author of "The Art of the Sacrifice" would indulge in such speculative sacs. Spielmann said that even if a sacrifice could be proven unsound by later analysis, it's very hard to find the right defense with the clock ticking. Black simply has too many places to send his King, and not enough time to determine which is best.

Aug-28-06  Petrocephalon: Good Evening to you too, Englishman.

I believe the move combination 18.d5 & 19.e5 is also referred to as "sealing and sweeping". In addition to clearing the dark squares for Black's bishop, d5 is "sealed", blocking in white's light-square bishop.

I couldn't work out the continuation to 33..Qxb4. The checks seemed to run out...

Aug-28-06  EmperorAtahualpa: <According to my Chessbase database IM Alexei Gavrilov is the leading practioner of this variation for White. However none of his games for this variation are in the database.>

<Albertan> Could you upload these games via the PGN Upload Utility please? Thanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Great game by Sokolov. There was no 'brilliancy' prize but this game would certainly have been a nominee.
Premium Chessgames Member We went ahead and added some more Alexei Gavrilov games. You can see some of them here: Games Like I Sokolov vs D Howell, 2006.
Aug-28-06  euripides: <cg> thanks !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<I believe the move combination 18.d5 & 19.e5 is also referred to as "sealing and sweeping".>>

Those are two of many, many terms from Kmoch's "Pawn Power In Chess" that have never really caught on.

Aug-28-06  outplayer: Wonderful pun! 22.Qc1!! with killing threats.
Where did black make his last mistake?
What to play after 31.Qh6?
Aug-28-06  euripides: After <33...Qxb4> White seems to have good chances of at least a perpetual by checking on the 7th and 8th ranks. If the king goes to d7, Rxd5+ looks dangerous, and if it goes to d8, white can play Bxc6 and then either skewer the king on the 8th rank or play Rxd5+. So <33 Bb4> seems to be at least good enough to play for a win without risk.

Is there a forced win, or did Sokolov just reckon this was the best attacking chance available to him ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: actually we did have a best game prize at the staunton memorial and it went to peter wells for his demolition of speelman in round 3.
Aug-28-06  syracrophy: <ray keene> Here is the game P Wells vs Speelman, 2006
Aug-28-06  fxenderby: Has any king received so sound a thrashing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I like a nice,classic king hunt-even if it only happened TEN days ago! After a few mate threats with white's queen and bishop,the black king is sent packing,lol.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: How about 22....Rac8?
Aug-28-06  hidude: whats with the fish tycoon download ad?
Aug-28-06  Petrocephalon: <Ohio> it looks to me that 22..Rac8 23.Qh6.

If either rook defends the 7th, Rfe1.

If Qd7, then h5 looks strong.

<Euripides> Thanks for the response.

<Eggman> I never read Pawn Power in Chess, but I think I came across the terminology here on Chessgames when a kibitzer cited Kmoch's book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Petrocephalon, you're right--Sealing and sweeping is Hans Kmoch's term, which he used in the book Pawn Power in Chess. Indeed, it's even more appropriate than Speilmann's term.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Howell's subtle error 34...Bb5? (34...Bb7 35. Rc1+ Nc6 = seems to hold) allows Sokolov to remove the guarding Queen's protection with 35. Bxb5!! for a winning pursuit attack against the exposed King.

Although it looks simple, the combination 35. Bxb5!! required some deep calculation on Sokolov's part, especially since his pawn deficit could cost him the game if he figures wrong.

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