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Victor Ciocaltea vs Ljubomir Masic
Asztalos mem (1971), Baja HUN, rd 10, May-??
Sicilian Defense: Classical. Anti-Fischer-Sozin Variation (B57)  ·  1-0



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Given 16 times; par: 27 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-24-07  Whitehat1963: Wow! Here's a game of the day candidate, for sure!

And take a look at the puzzle that begins after 19...g6. Awesome tactical exchange!

Jul-01-08  lopium: I agree with you Whitehat1963.
Jan-04-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is close, but black's bishop pair has rather limited scope, so white's minor pieces look stronger, especially with the support of a bigger pawn center. The more significant factor appears to be the weakened dark squares around the black castled king, which appear ripe for exploitation. The eye candy is 20.Nf5, but does it work? I think I'll try working this out tomorrow morning after a night's sleep....
Jan-04-15  diagonalley: VERY neat... got the basic idea, but wouldn't have had the courage to execute it OTB
Jan-04-15  pensiveyaks: What was black thinking when he played 17...exf4?He gave white the f file on a platter of gold.
Jan-04-15  morfishine: Since its a Sunday 'insane' puzzle, I figured White sacs his Queen for two minors:

<20.Qxf6> 20...Bxf6 21.Rxf6

click for larger view

White is angling for a position with Bd4 & Nh6, but he can't quite get there since Black has resource to trade down; at first I thought Black could not answer 21...Qc5, but he's ok after 22.Nf5 Qe5 23.Bd4 Qxf6 up an exchange :(

And when I saw 20.Nf5, all I could think was "oops"


Jan-04-15  Honey Blend: It was kind of convenient for me to dismiss the idea of 20. ♘f5 because, for example: 20. ♘f5 gxf5 21. ♕g5+ ♔h8 22. ♗d4 ♖g8 and now I'm not sure how to proceed with White here.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Ah, this gets us to the age-old question: how far do you need to see?

From the starting position, we first have to get <Morf's> 20. Qxf6 out of our heads. We get two pieces for the queen, but the attack stops there.

Then we need to cast around for an alternative. That's when 20. Nf5 appeals. It's a juicy move because - if it can be made to work - it threatens both Nxe7 (undermining the Nf6) and Nh6+/ Bd4.

But does it work? We need to check 20...gxf5 21. Qg5+ Kh8 22. Bd4

click for larger view

Yup, that works. Bxf6 is coming, either on the next move or after Rxf5.

The other black defence we have to consider is 20...Nh5, to which the critical reply has to be 21. Nh6+

click for larger view

And here, in human mode, I switched off. Getting a white knight safely to h6 (and keeping it there) is a strategic goal in and of itself. Couple that with a bishop on the long a1-h8 diagonal (after Bd4), plus control of the f file, plus a black knight on h5. There are enough plusses in the position to consider that white has the upper hand - even though material is level.

That means that the combination works. We have made strategic gains, we have not lost any material and black doesn't have any threats we can't easily sidestep. That means that we can play 20. Nf5 without fear.

After 21. Nh6+, black has two ways get out of check. He can play 21...Kh8 or 21...Kg7. For me that is a wholly new puzzle. When/if we get to that point we can start thinking again. That's when we might look at crazy sacs on f7. Or we could opt for more restrained attacks like Qf2 followed by g4. Or we could play Bd4 at some point.

Whatever. White has all the play and is having all the fun. OTB, that's enough to call 20. Nf5 sound.

So, no I didn't see 22. Qxf7. But then I'm not sure that I needed to or that Ciocaltea necessarily saw it either. White has other decent moves at that point such as Bd4+ or Qf2 or Qg4.

How much do we need to see? Do we have to calculate all the way to mate or to a material gain, or is it enough to accumulate positional plusses, such as a safe Nh6, Bd4 and control of the f file?

Jan-04-15  M.Hassan: "Insane"
White to play 20.?
Whyite has a Knight for a Bishop.
A Knight sac. on f5 has the advantage that it opens up Black King's position and thee could be the possibility of getting the Knight back:

<if declined, 20...Kg7 21.Nxe7 Qxe7 22.Bd4 and Knight on f6 will fall>

21.Qg5+ Kh8
22.Bd4 and the Knight on f6 is pinned now
23.Rxf5 Rg8
24.Bxf6+ Bxf6
25.Qxf6+ Rg7
So far, White is a pawn ahead, it is not of advantage for Black to exchange Queens:

<25.Qxf6+ Qxf6 26.Rxf6 and both pawns on f7 and d6 become enprized>

26.Ref1 Qb6+
27.Kh1 Rc5
28.Nd5 Bxd5
And White mates next

Jan-04-15  M.Hassan: Correction:
<if declined, 20...Kh8(not g7) 21.Nxe7 Qxe7 22.Bd4 and knight on f6 will fall>
Jan-04-15  Nick46: Have steed will travel. That gallop from b3 to h6 in consecutive moves is quite something.
Jan-04-15  scholes: If black plays 21 ..KH8 then he is down only a pawn at the end of combination. 21 ..Kg7 and 25 ..Qg7 were blunders, so people seeing upto 21 Nh6 can claim partial credit.
Jan-04-15  varishnakov: 20.N-B5 (20...PxN 21.Q-N5+ K-R1 22.B-K4 and white will regain the material with an attack)
Jan-04-15  TheaN: Didn't think this one through long enough, for whatever reason I was obsessed with Ndxb5 instead of Nf5. I thought it wins a6, b5 and d6 for the knight, but instead black can defend d6 by moving the knight on f6 in time i.e. 20.Ndxb5 axb5 21.Nxb5 Qd7 22.Nxd6? Nh5 .
Jan-04-15  BOSTER: <pensiveyaks: What was black thinking when he played 17...exf4?>.

Who can read the thoughts of the stranger?

But it was mistake because black lost the control under d4,and the most important thing that he gave up the diagonal a1-h8 after the move 19...g6,which was only <an illusion> that white knight can't go to f5.

Jan-04-15  BOSTER: <pensiveyaks: What was black thinking when he played 17...exf4?>.

Who can read the thoughts of the stranger?

But it was mistake because black lost the control under d4,and the most important thing that he gave up the diagonal a1-h8 after the move 19...g6,which was only <an illusion> that white knight can't go to f5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop and a knight for the bishop pair.

White can try to weaken the black castle with 20.Nf5:

A) 20... gxf5 21.Qg5+ Kh8 22.Bd4

A.1) 22... Qd8 23.Rxf5 Rg8 24.Bxf6+ (24.Qh4 Rg8 25.Ref1 Kg7 26.Rxf6 Bxf6 27.Rxf6 Rxf6 28.Qg5+ Kf8 29.Bxf6 Qb6+ unclear) 24... Bxf6 25.Qxf6+ Rg7 (25... Qxf6 26.Rxf6 followed by Rxd6 or Rxf7 wins two pawns) 26.Qd4 and White has an extra pawn and threatens Rxf7, Ref1, Nd5-Bxd5-Rxd5, etc.

A.2) 22... Rg8 25.Bxf6+ Bxf6 26.Qxf6+ Rg7 27.Rxf5 Qd8 transposes to A.1.

B) 20... Nh5 21.Nh6+

B.1) 21... Kg7 22.Qxf7+

B.1.a) 22... Rxf7 23.Rxf7+ Kh8 24.Bd4+

B.1.a.i) 24... Bf6 25.Rxf6 Kg7 (25... Nxf6 26.Bxf6+ Qg7 27.Bxg7+ Kxg7 28.Ng4 + - [2N+P vs B]; 25... Qg7 26.Rxd6 + - [R+N+2P vs B]) 26.Rf7+ Kxh6 27.Be3+ g5 (27... Nf4 28.Bxf4+ g5 29.Bxg5+ Kxg5 30.Rxc7 + - [N+2P vs B]) 27.Rxc7 Rxc7 28.h4 + - [N+2P vs B] (28... Nf4 29.hxg5+ Kxg5 30.g3).

B.1.a.ii) 24... Nf6 25.Ref1 (threatening 25.R1xf6; 25.Rxf6 Kg7 (25... Bxf6 26.Bxf6+ as in the first subline of B.1.a.i) 26.Rf7+ Kxh6 27.Bg7+ Kg5 28.Re3 Qb6 and White's attack seems to lose steam) 25... Rf8 26.R1xf6 Rxf7 27.Rxf7#.

B.1.b) 22... Kh8 23.Bd4+

B.1.b.i) 23... Bf6 24.Rxf6 (threatening 25.Rxg6+) 24... Q(R)xf7 25.Rxf7+ and mate next.

B.1.b.ii) 23... Nf6 24.Rxf6 is similar to B.1.b.ii.

B.2) 21... Kh8 22.Nxf7+

B.2.a) 22... Rxf7 23.Qxf7 + - [R+P vs B]

B.2.b) 22... Kg8 23.Ng6+ wins a pawn at least while keeping the attack.

B.2.c) 22... Kg7 23.Qh6+ Kg8 24.Ng5 (24.Bd4, threatening 25.Qxh5 gxh5 26.Nh6#, looks unclear after 24... Rxf7 25.Rxf7 Kxf7 26.Qxh7+ Ke6 27.Qxg6+ Bf6) 24... Bxg5 25.Qxg5 with an extra pawn and attack.

C) 20... Rc(f)e8 21.Nxe7+ and 22.Qxf6 wins a piece.

Jan-04-15  sfm: Black could have fought on longer with 25.-,Kg7 26.Tf7++,KxN 27.Be3+,g5 28.RxQ,RxR 29.h4 Two pawn down the result should be the same, but there is still a fight to put up.
Jan-04-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has an isolated d-pawn that hampers mobility, a very passive DSB, and weakened dark squares on the K-side are asking to be invaded. A move such as 20.Qh6? Ng4 gives up the white DSB that is critical to attacking success.

20.Nf5! is a the logical continuation and is hardly a real sacrificial offer, given that white can recover the piece quickly on acceptance, with at least a one pawn profit:

A. 20... gxf5 21.Qg5+ Kh8 22.Bd4 Qd8 23.Rxf5 Rg8 (otherwise 24.Rxf6 wins immediately) 25.Bxf6+ Bxf6 26.Qxf6+ Rg7 (Qxf6 27.Rxf6 wins a second pawn) 27.R1f1 with an extra pawn at least, but there may be better ways of pressing the white initiative.

B. 20... Nh5 21.Bd4! gxf5 (Nxf4?? 22.Nh6#) 22.Qh6 (Qxf5? Ng7 23.Rf4!? Nxf5? 24.Rg4+ Ng7 25.Rxg7+ Kh8 26.Rxf7+ Kg8 27.Rg7+ - a windmill - at best appears to draw for white, but 23... f6 appears to hold the extra piece) fe 23.Qxh5 f6 (to prevent mate after 24.Qg4+) 24.Nxe4 Bxe4 25.Rxe4 Rf7 (f5? 26.Rg4+! fxg4 27.Qxg4+ etc. forces mate) 26.Rg4+ Kf8 (Rg7 27.Rxg7+ Kxg7 28.Qg5+ wins f-pawn and game) 27.Qh6+ Ke8 28.Rg8+ Rf8 29.Rxf8+ Bxf8 30.Qxf6 and the threat of 31.Re1+ decides.

I won't try to fill in the sidelines - time for review.

Jan-04-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Ouch! 21.Nh6+ occurred to me, but 22.Qxf7+ did not.
Jan-04-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: The following link allows you to play the puzzle position against Crafty.


Crafty saves a tempo on the game line by playing 21... Kh8 instead of 21... Kg7. Actually, the position that arises transposes to the same position reached by 21.Bd4.

Jan-04-15  the.raven: has anybody ever read <chrisowen>'s kibitz yet?

Anyway, great puzzle. I gave up as usual on Sunday after about 15 seconds when I saw nothing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For our first Sunday puzzle of the new year, White's sham sacrifice offer of a Knight with 20. Nf5!! is difficult because it leads to two entirely different sets of tactics, depending on whether Black accepts or declines.

If Black accepts the poisoned piece offer with 20. Nf5!! gxf5, then White demolishes Black's pawn cover and regains the piece with a winning pin after 20. Nf5!! gxf5 21. Qg5+ Kh8 22. Bd4 (as amusingly described by <Once>), when Fritz 12 indicates strong play might continue 22... Qd8 23. Rxf5 Rg8 24. Bxf6+ Bxf6 25. Qxf6+ Rg7 26. Qd4 Kg8 27. Ref1 Rc7 28. Ne2 Bc8 29. Rf6 Rg6 30. R6f2 Rc2 31. Nf4 Rxf2 32. Rxf2 Rg5 33. Nd5 Be6 34. Nf6+ Kg7 35. b4 h6 36. Ne8+ Kh7 37. Nxd6 Qd7 38. Qb6 Qe7 39. Rf1 Rg7 40. Qc5 Qh4 41. Qe5 Bh3 42. Ne8 Rxg2+ 43. Kh1 Qg5 44. Rxf7+ Kg8 45. Qxg5+ Rxg5 46. Rf2 Rg6 47. Nf6+ Kh8 48. d4 (-3.88 @ 20 depth).

If Black declines the sacrifice, as in the game, with 20...Nh5, then according to Fritz 12 (@ 20/48 depth), White secures a winning advantage with 21. Nh6+! (+2.75), 21. Qg4 (+2.02) or 21. Bd4 (+1.94).

After the game continuation 20...Nh5+ 21. Nh6+!, Black missed the strongest defense 21... Kh8, when White still secures a decisive advantage by winning an extra pair of passed central pawns after 22. Nxf7+ Kg7 23. Qh6+ Kg8 24. Ng5 Bxg5 25. Qxg5 Rce8 26. g4 Ng7 27. Nd5 Bxd5 28. Qxd5+ Ne6 29. Rxf8+ Kxf8 30. Rf1+ Kg7 31. g5 Qd7 32. Bd2 Rf8 33. Bc3+ Kg8 34. Bb4 Rxf1+ 35. Kxf1 Kf7 36. h4 Ke7 37. e5 Ke8 38. Bxd6 (+3.19 @ 20 depth, Fritz 12).

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Finding improvements for Black might start in the opening. The first 12 to 14 opening moves follow mainline Sicilian lines according to the opening explorer.

Fritz slightly prefers 14...h4= for Black which was good for the draw in the hard fought GM game Z Andriasian vs B Grachev, 2010.

Also, instead of 14...exf4?! 15. Qxf4 , Black appears to be equal with 14...0-0 =.

The last best chance to maximize resistance might be with 19...h5, though White is still winning after the Fritz 12 line 19... h5 20. Nf5 Ng4 21. Bd4 Ne5 22. Nxg7 Kxg7 23. Qg3+ Kh6 24. Be3+ Kh7 25. Rf5 Ng6 26. Bd4 f6 27. Rxh5+ Kg7 28. Rg5 Kf7 29. Rxg6 Rg8 30. Rxg8 Rxg8 31. Qh3 Qc8 32. Qh5+ Rg6 33. h3 Qf8 34. Be3 Kg7 35. Nd5 Bxd5 36. exd5 Qh8 37. Bh6+ Qxh6 38. Rxe7+ Kf8 39. Qxh6+ Rxh6 40. Re6 (+5.69 @ 20/39 depth).

Jan-05-15  Moszkowski012273: 24.Ref1... was a stronger continuation.

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