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Petar Popovic vs Dragan Kosic
Novi Sad (1992), rd 1
Caro-Kann Defense: Karpov. Smyslov Variation (B17)  ·  1-0



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Mar-08-09  johnlspouge: While <Terry McCracken>'s mode of expression displays a characteristically unimpressive degree of restraint, I agree that 23...Re4 is an adequate defense.
Mar-08-09  swarmoflocusts: <Terry McCracken>

While 23...Re4 certainly does look like an adequate defense, I believe your line is flawed:

<23. g5 Re4 24. Bxe4 Nxe4 25. Nd3 Nxg5 26. Nxb4 Ne4 is the mainline. >

After 26.Nxb4, superior to 26...Ne4 is 26...Bxg2+ 27.Kxg2 Qb7+ 28.Kg3 Qxb4.

Mar-08-09  TCS: For those without Fritz or the time to let the computer run for 10 hours please find the meat of Fritz's analysis of the position:

23.g5 Re4 24. Bxe4 Nxe4 25. Nd3 (25. Nf3 Qc6 26. Nd4 Qc5 27. Qe3 Nxg5 28. a3 $11 0.25/14) 25... Nxg5 26. Nxb4 Rc8 27. Rh4 a5 28. Nd3 $14 0.50/15

23.Kg1 Nd7 24.g5 (24. Nxf7 Qc6 25. Nxh6+ gxh6 26. f3 e5 27. Qd2 Rf4 28. Rh5 $15 -0.69/13) (24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. Rh3 (25. Rh5 Rd8 26. g5 Qd5 27. f3 g6 28. Rxh6 $17 -0.75/15) 25... Rd8 26. g5 Qd5 27. Rg3 hxg5 28. Qe3 $15 -0.44/15) 24... Nxe5 25.Qxe5 Qxe5 26. Rxe5 hxg5 27. Rxg5 f5 28. Rgh5 $11 -0.22/16)

Fritz also spent most of the afternoon looking at 23.Bg6 (something I looked at to weaken e6) unfortunately it goes nowhere:

23. Bg6 fxg6 24. Nd3 Nxg4 25. Rh3 (25. Kg1 Qc6 26. f4 h5 27. Rh4 Rc4 28. Rxg4 $19 -6.50/15) 25... Bd5 26. Kg1 Rc8 27. Qf1 Rf8 28. Qe2 $19 -5.12/14)

There is, as most of the posts amply point out, nothing clear after 23...Re4. As Terry McCracken points out in the first post the insanity is in Black's played moves - although no of us would have made the same mistakes ;-)

Mar-08-09  goodevans: Some interesting "banter" today indicating that feelings were running a bit high in some cases. My own feelings, as mentioned in my earlier postings, were of slight disappointment.

I can go with with <apoka>'s argument that this is a valid puzzle because it has a solution that's clearly better than any of the alternatives. Moreover, I'd have been proud to have played this in a game. It's just that it doesn't quite have the "wow" factor of most Sundays and feels more like a Friday-level to me.

Mar-08-09  jheiner: 23. White to play

Material is even. H-file is open and B King has modest defence. Dark squares around B King are weak. Watch counterplay on light long diagonal a8-h1.

Ideas. W could put together a fierce attack if he can gain enough tempos. The Rd4 is hanging. The Nf6 could be attacked with g5. And if the Kg8 moves to a dark square, the Ne5 could activate.

23.Qe3 Rd8
24.g5 hxg5 (24...N moves 25.gxh6 is crushing)
25.Qh3 (threatening immediate mate and covering the e6 square) Kf8 26.Ng6+!? (most speculative part of the sequence here) fxg6 27.Bxg6 Ke7 (B King is running)

Can't visualize the exact mate, and probably some counterplay I missed, but this is my shot. Didn't spend that long on it today. The weaknesses and tempo gaining moves jumped out.

Time to check.

Mar-08-09  jheiner: Ah! The solution was much more straightforward. Ng6 is crushing, since Qxe6+ Qf7 loses to Rh8+.

This certainly didn't feel like a Sunday puzzle. A good Saturday one, and a great study though.

Will have to run my sequence against Fritz, to see holes, but about to hop on a plane. Cheers.

Mar-08-09  jheiner: Ah, and the key mistake my sequence has is the response. 24.Ng4 attacking the Qe3. Terrible, should have seen that.
Mar-08-09  Anatoly21: Okay, 23. g5! was easy enough, but to see 24. Ng6!! takes real tactical insight. Got g5, but didn't find Ng6. I suppose this is a symptom of not being a grandmaster.
Mar-08-09  njchess: I got this one surprisingly quickly for a Sunday. I also saw the Re4 sequence but concluded that Black would have a difficult time regardless.
Mar-08-09  Marmot PFL: About all i got right here was the first move, although in retrospect it's not that complicated.
Mar-08-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: At first glance, the natural continuation in this position is 23.g5 to pry open the h-file. On closer examination, this doesn't work so well, e.g. 23.g5 hg 24.Qe3 (to gain a tempo for queen deployment) Rad1 (Rf4 may be even better) 25.Qxg5 (not Qh3?? Rh4 black wins) R8d5, white does not have any compelling continuation and black threatens Rg4.

I think the key to this position has to be a rapid and effective entry of the white queen. Because the QB is gone, white would like to operate the queen on dark squares; if possible, to get it to h6 and trap the king in the corner.

So I like:

23.Qe3 Rad8 24.Rxh6!

Destroying the K-side pawn shelter and undermining the Nf6 would seem to be worth a rook, but black is fully developed and mobile, so the complications must be fairly extensive. Let's look at acceptance first:

24...gxh6 25.Qxh6

A. 25...Qe7 26.Re3! threatening Rh3 (26.g5 appears to come up short against Qf8! when white plays Qe7 under less favorable circumstances) Ng4 27.Nxg4 Rxg4 28.Bh7+ (this maneuver often comes up in k-side attacks) Kh8 29.Bg6+ Kg8 30.Qh7+ and Qh8#. A.1 26...Rxd3 27.cxd3 Qf8 (else 28.Rh3) 28. Qxf6 and white is two clear pawns up. A.2 26...Qf8 27.Qxf6 Qg7 28.Qe7! Ba8 (or f6 29.Qxe6+) 29.Rh3! (threatening 30.Bh7+ Kh8 31.Nxf7+) Rf8 30.Rh7 wins.

B. 25...Nxg4 26.Qh7+ (Bh7+ doesn't seem to lead to anything better than perpetual check) Kf8 27.Ng6+! Ke8 28.Bb5+! Bc6 29.Qg8+ Kd7 30.Qxf7+ Kc8 31.Ne7+ Kb7 32.Bxc6+ with material advantage, but still complicated!

C. Declining with 24..Nxg4 looks tricky. It seems that white is forced to play 25.Nxg4 Rxg4 26.Rh8+ Kxh8 27.Qh3+ Kg8 28.Qxg4 with no apparent advantage. Perhaps white needs to start with Qd2.

Oh well, I've spent too much time on this, I think I'll post and see what happened.

Mar-08-09  WhiteRook48: it was insane to think 23 Bh7+ was the answer for me
Mar-08-09  c o r e: 23...Re4 looks a beauty. We should perhaps have another category for puzzles called "unsolvable".

I also spent some time looking at 23.g5 Ne4.

Did anyone else consider this move?

Mar-08-09  Terry McCracken: <swarmoflocusts: <Terry McCracken>

While 23...Re4 certainly does look like an adequate defense, I believe your line is flawed:

<23. g5 Re4 24. Bxe4 Nxe4 25. Nd3 Nxg5 26. Nxb4 Ne4 is the mainline. >

After 26.Nxb4, superior to 26...Ne4 is 26...Bxg2+ 27.Kxg2 Qb7+ 28.Kg3 Qxb4.>

You're right my line is flawed. 26..Bxg2+! is Best!

Thanks for the correction! I was tired and not exactly in the best of humour...Sorry everyone.

I guess what makes this a good puzzle in the end is finding the best resource to draw after seeing how Black will lose if he allows the King-side assualt.

Mar-08-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: Yikes - my first real miss of the week, but my second Sunday miss in a row. Why look for something relatively simple when you can find something long, complicated, and wrong?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bobsterman3000: So easy, yet so hard :-)

We all saw the obvious flank attack and rook sac themes, but finding a move like 24. Ng6 OTB is another matter entirely...

Mar-08-09  Lightboxes: <It's just that comments like g5 was obvious and puzzle is not the moves in 2 minutes. seem a bit strange.>...

I use a tactic that I think most people do not use on this website. I click on the game link, then squint my eyes or use my hands to block my line of sight to the move history on the right side of the board. Then I select move white 22, like this example. Then I click the next move once. Then I see what move Black 22 is. Then I move back one move and physically move the black piece for 22. Then all the moves 23 forward on not shown. This way, I'm using the board to try new moves and path variations.

Then after all that, I start at the beginning and quickly move through the game and study the player's style. There are many tactics I use to study the style that I will not list right now because there are many. The last move black made was the pawn. So I looked at the pawn.

However, in this game I happened to look at the game (on the homepage) and Ng6 before clicking on the gameboard link. Then I dismissed the move because the black queen could block. Then I did my whole squinty eye thing. I looked at the pawn and then combined the move with the Ng6. I do not try to see variations to the Nth move. Instead, I look at moves and decide whether or not I should dismiss them. I'm not trying to win, just solve a puzzle. Therefore, I only find the best move I think happens to be the best and give up in X amount of time depending on the puzzle and my interest at the time then see what was played and if there were any better moves.

I always put short comments because I don't want to type all of stuff I just typed above. If someone calls me on it, then I'll respond. I'm only concerned about putting my 2 cents worth.

Mar-08-09  TheBish: P Popovic vs D Kosic, 1992

White to play (23.?) "Insane" (4 stars)

I only considered one move here - the right one! (At least I think it is.) Material is even, and for White's attack to succeed, he needs to open the h-file for his rook.

23. g5! hxg5 (if the knight moves instead, then gxh6 wins a pawn and increases the attack) 24. Ng6!!

I almost dismissed 24. Ng6 because of a defense I found for Black, but then I found a brilliant answer for White! More on that later. After 24. Ng6!!:

A) 24...fxg6 25. Qxe6+ Qf7 (or 25...Kf8 26. Rh8+ Ng8 27. Rxg8 mate) 26. Rh8+ Kxh8 27. Qxf7 Rd7 28. Qxg6, and with a queen and pawn for rook and knight, White has a winning material advantage.

B) 24...Nh7 25. Rxh7! fxg6 (or 25...Kxh7 26. Qh5+ Kg8 27. Qh8 mate) 26. Qxe6+! Kxh7 (or 26...Qf7 27. Rh8+, winning the queen as in line A) 27. Qxg6+ Kg8 (or Kh8) 28. Re8+ Rxe8 29. Qxe8 mate.

C) 24...Bxg2+! (the move I missed earlier) 25. Kxg2 Qc6+ (or Qb7+) 26. Qe4!! - the answer!

Now 26...Nxe4 or Rxe4 allows 27. Rh8 mate, so forced is 26...Qxe4+ 27. Rxe4 fxg6 28. Rxd4, and White has won a rook.

So in retrospect, after 23. g5! Black should retreat the knight and allow 24. gxh6, which should ultimately win for White, but Black can at least hold out longer and hope for a blunder.

Time to check!

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I usually do not see even the major trick in the "insane" puzzles but this week I did. Saw g5 to get things rolling and then saw the follow up Ng6 with the weakness at e6 if the knight is captured.

Did not solve the puzzle on a strict standard of solution, nailing down the win in all variations, but I don't mind too much--I am happy as a clam with what I did see.

Mar-09-09  TheBish: I'm surprised to see so many posts talking about 23...Re4 (which was most likely discovered by Fritz), and a few people commented on the possibility of lines involving ...Bxg2+, yet nobody (except me) mentioned the line 23. g5! hxg5 24. Ng6!! Bxg2+ 25. Kxg2 Qc6+ 26. Qe4!!. I'm sure that if Fritz (or Rybka, etc.) had discovered this line, it would have been discussed! Of course, a computer wouldn't likely show this line since, of course, it is inferior for Black (losing a rook instead of queen for rook and knight). But a human would have to see this line before playing 24. Ng6!! I believe Popovic saw this line, and probably Kosic saw it as well. I saw it only after realizing that White could get away with some pretty outrageous moves (like 26. Qe4!!), since when the dust clears, Black is still facing mate!

Despite the criticisms of this puzzle, I think it is quite worthy of being a Sunday ("Insane") level puzzle, more difficult than the majority of Friday problems. Those that say it wasn't that difficult, or flawed, or whatever, probably haven't seen all the details that are involved!

Mar-09-09  TCS: TCS: <The Bish> 23.g5! hxg5 24.Ng6!! Bxg2+ 25.Kxg2 Qc6+ 26.Qe4!!

In your line 26.Qe4 would be outrageous, 26.Be4 would also finish off the game

Fritz did spend time on 24. Ng6 but all the analysis for 24...Bxg2+ showed nothing good for Black.

As for 23...Re4, I hope to think that some of us have learned that a defensive exchange sacrifice is an acceptable way out of a problem and don't need Fritz to 'tell' us this. Its this creative response perhaps that makes this puzzle 'insane'

Mar-09-09  RandomVisitor: I have:

23.g5 <Re4>
24.Bxe4 Nxe4
25.Nd3 Nxg5
26.Nxb4 Bxg2+
27.Kxg2 Qb7+
28.Kg3 Qxb4
29.f4 Nh7
30.Qe4 Qf8 0.33/19 and Black might hold

Mar-09-09  Lightboxes: Typo Fix: The last move black made was the pawn.
The last move WHITE made was the pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Sunday, March 8, 2009 puzzle, White's deflection 23. g5! leads to a winning surprise attack on Black's now weakened castled position after 23...hxg5? 24. Ng6! .

Instead of 23...hxg5?, Black should try <RV>'s defensive move 23...Re4!? with some chances of surviving a complicated exchange down position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Was 23...hxg5 an error?
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