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Grigory Serper vs Ivan Sokolov
CITS New York (1996), New York, NY USA, rd 7, Mar-29
English Opening: King's English Variation. General (A20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-18-20  jith1207: Got first two moves, didn't see the 27..Bf6 defense, and then went 28. Rf7 which seems to win, but couldn't foresee all the variations. Great Game.
Jul-18-20  jith1207: I like the double queen sac in the game text, the latter one being fatal, accepted or declined.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Solved this to my great surprise. White must have an answer for 31...Qh3, and I guess it consisted of 32.Nxg6+,hxg6; 33.Qh4+,Qxh4; 34.gxh4,Bxd3 (...Be2!?), but this seems to offer Black marginally better chances than the text.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got the first two moves but after that I was clueless. These players are way out of my class and this game is way out of my comfort zone.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Predrag3141: I saw from 26 Rxe5 through 28 Nd7, but the defense 28 ... Nd5 29 Qxd5 Bxc3 surprised me.

All looked lost for White until I found 30 Qe4. The threats of Nxf8 and Re8 overcome the temporary loss of a piece.

Jul-18-20  Walter Glattke: Black threatens Bxf1 Kxf1 Qh3+ mating, therefore 26.Rxe5 Bxf1 27.Re7 Bf6 (Qh3 Bxg7#) 28.Nd7 Nd5 29. Qxd5 cxd5 30.Bxf6+ Kg8 31.Rg7+ Kh8 32.Rxg6# or 30.-Rxf6 31.Rxc8+ Rf8 32.Rxf8#
Jul-18-20  Brenin: I got the first few moves, but preferred 28 Bxf6+ Rxf6 29 Nd7, opening up the c file to add to Black's problems, e.g. 29 ... Nd5 30 Qxd5 cxd5 31 Rxc8+ with mate to follow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black threatens Bxf1 followed by Qh3.

The bishop on c3 x-rays the black king. This suggests 26.Rxe5:

A) 26... Bxe5 27.Bxe5+ Rf6 28.Bxf6#.

B) 26... Bxf1 27.Re7

B.1) 27... Rg8 28.Bxg7+ Rxg7 29.Qc3

B.1.a) 29... Qf(g)8 30.Rxg7 Qxg7 31.Qxg7+ Kxg7 32.Nxa6 Nxa6 (32... Bxd3 33.Nxc7) 33.Kxf1 Nxb4 34.Rc3 + - [R vs N].

B.1.b) 29... Ne8 30.Ne6 Qb(d)8 31.Rxe8+ Qxe8 32.Qxg7#.

B.2) 27... Ne8 28.Bxg7+ Nxg7 29.Qc3 Rg8 30.Ne6 is similar to B.1.b.

C) 26... Ra7 27.Re7

C.1) 27... Rg8 28.Bxg7+ Rxg7 29.Qc3

C.1.a) 29... Qf(g)8 30.Rxg7 Qxg7 31.Qxg7+ Kxg7 32.Bxh3 wins a piece.

C.1.b) 29... Ne8 30.Bxh3 Qxh3? 31.Rxe8#.

C.2) 27... Ne8 28.Bxg7+ Nxg7 29.Rxa7 Bxf1 30.Qc3 Rg8 31.Kxf1 Qh3+ 32.Ke1 Qxh2 33.Qd4 wins a rook.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Missed both defenses 27... Bf6 and 27... Rf6.

Better luck tomorrow.

Jul-18-20  malt: I Had gone for 26.B:e5
Jul-18-20  malt: The Tinker is threatening ...B:f1 followed by ...Qh3

Had 26.B:e5 B:f1

(26...B:e5 27.R:e5 B:f1 28.Qb2
[28.R:e7 Nd5 29.Qb2+ Rf6]...Kg8 29.Re7 Rf7
30.R:f7 K:f7 31.K:f1 Qh3+ 32.Ke1 Ra8 )

27.B:g7+ K:g7 28.Re7+ Kh6

(28....Kf6 29.Rd7 Nd5 30.Qb2+Kf5 31.Qd4 )

29.Qd1 Be2 30.Qd2+ g5 31.h4 Rf5 32.Qb2 Qg8 33.N:a6 N:a6 34.R:c6+ Kh5 35.Re4 g4 36.Ree6 Qf8 37.Qh8 winning

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Re5 it was inevitable yes no?
Jul-18-20  Whitehat1963: Last move was quite a smack in the face!
Jul-18-20  Hercdon: The moves after 27 were not the best but this just illustrates white’s dominant position. Way out of my league
Jul-18-20  ByrneBabyByrne: Have you been personally injured by a beautiful mating combination? Call Sokolov to share the pain.
Jul-18-20  Walter Glattke: The Englishman offers 31.-Qh3! 32.Nxg6+, but 2B for R then. Possibly, too 32.Qxf3 Bxd3 33.Qxd3 Bxf8 with only a quality (R for B) for white. So, 31.-Bxd3 brought a surprise for black by ++#. Maybe overlooked, is a high level here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I wonder if black expected 26 Nxa6 after 25...Bh3? That way 26...Bxf1 happens.

click for larger view

The black bishop is untouchable by either the rook or the king and it appears that 27...Qh3 is unpreventable. It seems that white has to give up his queen with 27 Qd1 in order to take black's f pawn after 27...Qh3.

Jul-18-20  woodenplayer: <an Englishman> in fact, after playing around with Stockfish to analyze your line, it appears that Black might well get to a draw. However, play seems to be quite complex for both sides--certainly well above my ability to render a judgement with any confidence.
Jul-18-20  woodenplayer: <an Englishman> In fact, the variation 34. ... Bh3 seems to lead to almost even chances. Apparently the power of both Bishops on a board with scattered isolated pawns compensates for White being up a few pawns in material.
Jul-18-20  woodenplayer: Amazingly, Serper must have had something like the game line in mind when he played 25. Nc5 but the simpler (relatively speaking) 25. Qb2 looks like a less ambiguously winning position for White. Black's ep cannot be defended and given the threats of the powerful central N on e4, Black's hope of getting his Q to h3 is never going to come to fruition.
Jul-18-20  Andrew Chapman: <The Englishman offers 31.-Qh3! 32.Nxg6+, but 2B for R then. Possibly, too 32.Qxf3 Bxd3>33.Re8 instead of Qxd3
Jul-18-20  Brenin: The suggested line 31 ... Qh3 loses to 32 Qxf3, with White the exchange and two pawns ahead, and about to win the bishop on f1 or start a mating attack with Re8 or Qf7. For instance, if 32 ... Bxd3 then any of 33 Re8, Qf7, Ne6 or Qxd3 wins easily.
Jul-18-20  Kay Sadeeya: "Rook Knight my sweet prince".
Jul-18-20  Cheapo by the Dozen: This looked like a lot of puzzles, only usually we're on the other side. Indeed, I treated it as a defensive puzzle, with

26 Re3/Rxe5 Bxf1
27 Kxf1 Qh3+
28 Ke1 Qxh2
29 Ne4

being the first/best/only way I found to wriggle out of mate.

Over the board, given enough time, I would have correctly played 26 Rxe5, whether or not I convinced myself 27 Re7 would work.

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