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Nadezhda Kosintseva vs Emanuel Berg
"Berglary" (game of the day Feb-11-2011)
Corus Group C (2007), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 8, Jan-21
French Defense: Normal Variation (C10)  ·  0-1



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sac: 32...Qe5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-11-11  goodevans: Moves 27 to 29 white plays three moves with her N and black responds with three moves with his KR. At the end of this sequence black has brought his R into play, but what has white achieved?

Maybe white had been reckoning on 29 Ne6+ but then realised that this doesn't do much either.

Feb-11-11  JuliusDS: How about 19.Bf4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Phony Benoni: White apparently falls victim to the My Opponent Is Playing Like Such An Idiot There's Gotta Be a Sacrifice In There Somewhere Syndrome. There is no known cure, only preventive patience.>

Now that is the funniest thing I have read in a long long time, and so true. Bravo!

Feb-11-11  moodini: This Berg seems to be a repeat offender E Berg vs Bareev, 2005
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Beautiful, isn't it? Those who find this game bizarre may be unfamiliar with the mysterious depths of the French Defence, where undevelopment is a deadly threat.

Actually, I've been playing the French for 30 years and even I find this one bizarre. I've tried the "Right lads, it's move 14, everyone back home now" approach a few times. I tend to get squashed.

3...h6 is quite respectable after 3.Nd2, when White's slower development means that Black can get away with a waiting move. But 3.Nc3 h6 is much riskier. Berg must be an ice-man.

Note just how quickly Black re-emerges after undeveloping. Like a coiled spring. Beautiful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The last twist: If 42...♘xg4?? 43 ♖xf8#

iceBERG dead ahead! (spoken 4/15/1912.)

Feb-11-11  SuperPatzer77: Truly amazing!!! We wonder how the Black pieces except the pawns go back to the original position when it was Black's 14th move. It was Black's win after the 14th move!!! LOL LOL LOL

Totally unbelievable!!!!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: There's a weird logic going on here. At first it looks just 100% weird and zero% logic, but as <Domdaniel> rightly says, in the Fremch <undevelopment is a deadly threat>.

Here's the first interesting move: 3...h6:

click for larger view

Black more normally plays a committal move at this point, such as 3...Bb4 (the Winawer) or 3...Nf6 (the classical). But both of those moves allow white to follow a different counter-attacking plan - eg to meet 3...Nf6 with 4. e5 and f4.

So black's 3...h6 is a waiting move. Now it's white's turn and black gets to react. If white plays 4. e5, it doesn't hit a knight on f6 and so doesn't come with tempo. If white plays 4. Nf3 then he is ruling out a an immediate f4 (ie to support e5). The Bc1 doesn't know where it wants to move to next. Moving the Bf1 allows c5 (as in the game) or my favourite b6 followed by Ba6 to exchange off black's bad bishop.

The other popular waiting move for black is 3...Be7 (more usually seen against the Tarrasch). Same principles.

Fast forward. By the time that we get to 9. e5, it turns out that black is now playing the white side of an advance french type position with advanced pawns on d4 and e5.

click for larger view

These pawns cramp white badly. White doesn't have enough free space for all his pieces. In particular his knights have few safe spaces. The Ne2 can only go to g3. The Nf3 has only awkward sideways or backwards movws to make.

And this gives black a simple plan. He needs to avoid the exchange of pieces (as this would ease white's cramped position) and then he needs to throw his pawns forwards to embarrass the immobile white knights.

And that is why black retreats all of his pieces. He wants to avoid piece exchanges to keep white hemmed in. The centre is locked so the loss of time isn't really significant. Black's much greater control of space means that he can happily uncoil from his back rank. White has to operate in a much smaller space - and would really like to exchange off a few pieces.

Fast forward again to the position after 11...Bd6

click for larger view

White's plan is to play Nh4-f5 and force an exchange of minor pieces. So black first hops his knight out of the way (12...Ng8) and then he tucks his bishop safely away (13...Bf8). That way the move Nf5 doesn't fork black's bishop and knight. Throw in a token 14. b5 Nb8 and we get to here:

click for larger view

Black's back rank retreats have trapped the white Nf5. White can do nothing to prevent g6 from winning this knight as it has no safe retreat squares.

All in all, black's idea to retreat everything to the back rank is logical. He wants to avoid exchanges, push white back with his pawns and then redevelop his pieces with interest.

A piece up, black's strategy after that is simply to exchange pieces and keep from getting mated. The exchange sac to force Qxh2+ was a nice touch.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Another example of attacking by retreating: Dzindzichashvili vs Zacharov, 1957
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The irony is that, despite appearances to the contrary, Black is better for most of the game.
Feb-11-11  YoungEd: My first reaction was the same as that of <goodevans>. White's ♘ ends up in a worse spot, after chasing the Black ♖ where it wants to go!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: It *is* a French. As they put it in gay Paree, "Reculez pour mieux sauter".

Take a step back for a better jump.

Feb-11-11  psmith: Amazing.
Feb-11-11  psmith: 20. Nf4 looks like it might give White some chances. I've been playing around with it with Fritz 5.32. Anyone have a better engine to analyze it with?
Feb-11-11  WhiteRook48: nice, especially the picturesque 42...Qxf2+ at the end as an in-between move (42...Nxg4?? 43 Rxf8#)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Black won even though they had a slow develeopment!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Would love to have Tal-Petrosian play this one out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: As I was saying, I think reaction here falls into two camps: French players, such as <Once> and me, with a strong temptation to say "Told you so". And people more used to open games and the classical rules of development, who reckon White must have blundered badly to lose such an overwhelming position.

But White was never winning: she was going wrong by move 10 or so, and Black is always better after that. The piece sac is White's best try, but it falls short.

And White is completely lost near the end. Another nice alternate line is 41.Rxd7 instead of Qf3.

Black doesn't recapture, but plays 41...Re8+ and mates. If White tries to protect the Rf2, then 41...Re8+ 42.Kf3 Qd1+ and mate next move.

John Watson, in 'Dangerous Weapons: the French', devotes a chapter to 3.Nc3 h6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Dom: But White was never winning: she was going wrong by move 10 or so, and Black is always better after that. >

I'm with <psmith> 20. Nf4 and I think White is better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Ohio> I'll take another look at it, in that case.

With so many folk being sucked into that new-fangled play zone, it may soon just be the two of us left out here. Among the nominal English-speakers, anyhow.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: My playing amounts to having a go at Little Chess Partner and resigning 15 moves in after I hang a Knight. Per 20. Nf4, I now think White is much better. I wish I had a decent computer/engine setup to decide for me. Although that's a position ripe for silicon misevaluation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: < Although that's a position ripe for silicon misevaluation.> I agree. I did a quick run through with Fritz yesterday and had the impression (at fairly low ply) of a slight Black edge, clearly getting very large near the end. But move 20 looks very double-edged to my (sub-)human eye, and I don't have an engine working right now. I was a bit surprised to find that several of Black's 'strange-looking' moves were judged optimal by the abacus - for the type of tactical reason that <Once> describes, I guess.

I like this game so much, though - a proper dissection is required, with silicon assistance and grain of salt.

The computer that's been playing the French as long as I have hasn't been, um, born yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Ohio> Interim report: yep. I accept that 20.Nf4 is a strong move, leading to better positions for White than anything in the game.

Evaluating those positions is a whole nother story. Black doesn't get a centralized Queen, which is important, and any exposure of the Black King looks dangerous without counterplay.

Without getting into engine spew, the plausible 20...Nf6 is one of those moves that gets worse the deeper you look. Maybe 20...f6 is playable, but it creates new light square problems and Black is forced to defend.

OTB, I have to agree that 20.Nf4 would offer good winning chances. Much better than that weird Qb1-b3 maneuver, anyhow.

But it's still too unclear to be sure, and it makes my engine cry.

Jan-19-17  ColeTrane: Great pun
May-24-18  Saniyat24: this really was a burglary...!
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