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Matthew Sadler vs Yannick Pelletier
"Pellet Gun" (game of the day Aug-03-2010)
Bundesliga -4 (2003), Bremer GER, rd 4
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Gligoric System Bernstein Defense (E56)  ·  0-1



Annotations by Yannick Pelletier.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-22-09  znprdx: <Jimfromprovidence:>interesting ....Rd5 25.Qh4 h6 26.h4 (or maybe right away)
Mar-22-09  stukkenjager: 17... Ne4! 18.fxe4 (18.Qd4 Ng6!!) 18...dxe4 19.Qb3 Kh8 20.Rxf7 Nf3+ 21.Bxf3 exf3 22.Rxf3 Qxf3 23.Qa4 Rac8! 24.Qf4 Qe2 25.e4 Rc6! 26.Qg3 Re8 (26...Rg6) (26...Qxe4) 27.Qh3 Qxe4 28.f3 Qc4 29.Bd2 Rce6 30.Rf2 Qxc5 31.Qh4 Qxa3 looks like a possible black win to me. (-3.45)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Thanks <once> <stukkenjager> and <znprdx> for your input after the variation 17... Ne4 18.fxe4 dxe4 19.Qb3 Kh8! 20.Rxf7 Nf3+ 21.Bxf3 exf3 22.Rxf3 Qxf3 24 Qa4.

It seems white's pawns were really ripe for plucking.

Mar-22-09  c o r e: Dang, <Once>, now I know why Fritz is so much better than me at this game. I never even considered 17.Rxb9!


Mar-22-09  Pawnage: <c o r e> I was gonna say that, but I was afraid <Once> would hit me :)
Mar-22-09  TheBish: Sadler vs Y Pelletier, 2003

Black to play (17...?) "Insane" (4 stars)

After several minutes thought, I believe the move must be 17...Ne4!! I came up with this after trying to find a way for Black to bring a rook to g6, and realizing there was no way to do that (without giving White ample time to defend). My next plan was to try to maneuver the f6 knight to a square that could attack f3 (like g5), thereby overwhelming White's defenses and forcing the win of the queen for a knight. So, being "insane", I went for the most insane looking knight move, and found 17...Ne4!! (!) An insane looking move that turns out to be crushing.

17...Ne4!! has three points:

(1) It threatens 18...Ng5, reaching my original objective.

(2) It threatens 18...Nxc3 19. Qc2 Nxe2+ 20. Qxe2 Nxf3+, winning White's queen (for a knight).

(3) If the knight is captured, then 18. fxe4 dxe4 attacks the queen, and sets up 19...Nf3+, for example 19. Bd2 Nf3+ 20. Bxf3 exf3, and Black must give up his queen to stop mate.

The best defensive try (after 17...Ne4!!) seems to be 18. Qd4, but then Black has 18...Ng6!, planning 19...Nh4, and there is no defense:

A) 19. Kh1 Nh4 20. Rg1 Nxf2 mate.

B) 19. fxe4 Nh4 20. Bf3 Nxf3+ and mate next move.

C) 19. Re1 Nh4 20. Bf1 Nxf3+ 21. Kh1 Qxh2 mate.

Black's best defense (after 17...Ne4) seems to be 18. fxe4 dxe4 19. f4 Rxd1 20. Bxd1, but then 20...Nf3+ 21. Bxf3 exf3 22. Rf2 Rd8, and White is busted. Let's see how close I got...

Mar-22-09  TheBish: Woo-hoo! Finally got a Sunday Insanity problem! (Sounds like a personal problem, but it's not!)
Mar-22-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: My previous post correctly nailed the game continuation, but I can't claim full credit for the correct analysis. My analysis line A.2 17....Ne4 18.fxe4 dxe4 19.Qb3 continued 19...exf3, which is not possible, because the pawn on f3 was already exchanged off. This is the problem of the "retained image" which may have caused a number of folks (including me, initially) to miss the defensive resource 19.Qb3 in the first place because of the phantom pawn on d5.

The correct response to 19.Qb3 (Kh8! discussed in earlier posts) is really the critical part of the solution.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <c o r e: Dang, <Once>, now I know why Fritz is so much better than me at this game. I never even considered 17.Rxb9! :)>

LOL!!! Rxb9! I really must learn to type more slowly!

<pawnage> No worries - I am a peaceful soul who is always ready to laugh at myself!

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Sunday March 22, 2009 puzzle solution, Black's surprise sham sacrifice in the center with 17...Ne4! undermines the weakened White castled position with multiple threats (amply described by Pelletier in the annotations to Black's 17th and White's 18th moves).

I found Pelletier's line 18. fxe4 dxe4 19. Qb3!? Kh8! 20. Rxf7 Nf3+ very instructive, as it illustrates a transition from a middle game advantage to a likely won endgame.

Aug-03-10  newzild: 17...Ne4.

Nice shot.

Aug-03-10  freedy1: I only have one question. Who was the Informant?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Marc Whitacre
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The only previous game in this variation was Bannik vs Petrosian, 1951, in which Bannik absolutely clobbers the great Petrosian. The innovation? Believe it or not, 12...Qc8. Petrosian played 12...Qc7, soon realized it was the wrong diagonal, but it was too late.

I wonder if some proud owner of a silicon monster has a refutation of 12...Qc8 and awaits the ideal moment to unleash it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Which daft plonker wrote Rxb9? Ooops, it was me.
Aug-03-10  sofouuk: <An Englishman: I wonder if some proud owner of a silicon monster has a refutation of 12...Qc8 and awaits the ideal moment to unleash it.> ... well funnily enough, I've played the white side of this variation in a correspondence game, but got my innovation in first with 12 c4! Ne5 13 cxd5 Bxf3 14 gxf3 Qxd5 15 Be2 Qxc5

click for larger view

and the bishop pair on an open board eventually won, albeit with a little help from my opponent ...

[Event " server game"]
[Site " "]
[Date "2007.7.29"]
[Round "NA"]
[White "sofouuk"]
[Black "jon107"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.e3 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.O-O O-O 8.a3 Ba5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Bg4 12.c4 Ne5 13.cxd5 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Qxd5 15.Be2 Qxc5 16.Bb2 Rad8 17.Bd4 Qd6 18.Qb3 Nc6 19.Bb2 Nd7 20.Rad1 Qc7 21.Kh1 Nb6 22.Rg1 Rxd1 23.Bxd1 g6 24.Qc3 f6 25.f4 Kg7 26.f5 Qd7 27.Qc2 Qf7 28.Bf3 Rc8 29.fxg6 hxg6 30.Qf5 Ne7 31.Qe4 Rc6 32.Bd4 Nc4 33.Qf4 Nxa3 34.Bxc6 Nxc6 35.Rd1 b5 36.Qe4 Nxd4 37.Rxd4 Nc4 38.Qc6 Nb6 39.Qxb5 Qb7+ 40.Kg1 Qc8 41.Re4 Qc1+ 42.Kg2 Qc8 43.Qe8 Qxe8 44.Rxe8 Kf7 45.Rb8 Ke6 46.Rb7 Nc8 47.Rc7 Nd6 48.Rxa7 g5 49.f3 Nc4 50.Kf2 Nd6 51.Ra4 Nb7 52.h4 ♗lack resigned 1-0

Aug-03-10  whiteshark: What in the world makes someone think that <13.Qc2> is a good move??
Aug-03-10  desiobu: <whiteshark> that might be the key mistake. After Bxf3 gxf3, f3 and h3 become terribly weak and leave the king really exposed.
Aug-03-10  Marmot PFL: <that might be the key mistake.>

Or 17 Rxb7? Kh1 looks more prudent.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Two knights and queen attack white's exposed king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <whiteshark: What in the world makes someone think that <13.Qc2> is a good move??>

Here's the position after black plays 11....Qc8:

click for larger view

White's thought process might have gone something like this:

"That bishop pin on my Nf3 is really annoying. And what is worse, black plans Ne5 to attack the pinned knight again, as well as hitting my Bd3. If too many pieces get exchanged my rubbish pawn structure will be a nightmare to defend in an endgame."

"I know! I'll take my queen out of the firing line, prevent Ne5, allow black to play Bxf3 and after gf and Kh1 I have a lovely half open g file to launch an attack from. Double rooks on the g file, chuck the f and h pawns down the board and win a brilliancy. No need to fear an endgame if you've mated in the middlegame."

"Who knows? In years to come, might run a Sunday POTD where the winning move is my 13. Qc2. And all the kibitzers will marvel at my skill and daring allowing my kingside pawn structure to be compromised in return for a swashbuckling attack."

Except of course it didn't quite work out that way...

Incidentally, Fritz doesn't mind 13. Qc2 (although he prefers Qa4, which also allows black to double white's pawns). Fritz thinks that 17. Rxb7 gives black a middling advantage (more than -1), but 18. Qd4 was the move that saw the eval plummet through the floor.

Aug-03-10  YetAnotherAmateur: Once: I agree that looks like the thought process, although what I have to wonder is why Be2 wasn't considered as an obvious alternative.

In any event, I really don't like white's position by move 13, primarily because of weak c1 bishop. The pinned knight is the least of white's problems.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I just revisited the variation offered in the annotations by Pelletier when the game first appeared as a puzzle in March 2009.

He stated “18.fxe4 dxe4 19.Qb3 Kh8! 20.Rxf7 Nf3+ 21.Bxf3 exf3 22.Rxf3 Qxf3 with the idea Rac8-c5“, as shown below.

click for larger view

Since the white king cannot move, black wants to get either of his rooks over to the g file to finish the job. 23 Qa4, however, prevents the d rook from moving to d5, then g5, so black follows with 23…Rac8 instead.

click for larger view

Notice that the a pawn is safe because if 24 Qxa7, 24…Rc6 wins instantly.

Now after 24 Qf4 Qe2 (refusing the exchange) 25 e4 (to open the c1-h6 diagonal for the bishop) 25...Rc6 26 Qg3 black finally has 26…Rg6.

click for larger view

This position should win white’s bishop in exchange for his h pawn, with a clear advantage for black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 17.Rxb7 blazing Saddlers hope Ne4 stacked it. Tips the balance stir up steeds and nighty night bedtime white. Throw 18.Qd4 dressing done horse gamely spots window Ng6. Crappier catch Rb8 Pelletier zaps away per black plays the wall like a shadow. Rearing rook sights material but safety rebounded on him.
Aug-03-10  whiteshark: <Once> Thanks for your fine explanation of likely thoughts. I probably overreacted with my comment. But I prefer my King safeguarded by an intact pawn structure. Take the BoBIII game - ♔f8 safeguarded only a holey ♙h6+♙f7 and an out on a limb ♖g6. I sweated blood most of the game. And learned a lot for that reason. :D
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