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Vasilios Kotronias vs Sergey Grigoriants
European Championship (2009), Budva MNE, rd 11, Mar-17
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Knight Variation (B43)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-11-10  goodevans: <Jimfromprovidence> Yep. That should do it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Simply out of my depth.
Sep-11-10  wereman: I think 21.Qb7 is good too
Sep-11-10  hstevens129: For continuation, I've got:

29.Rc1 Bc7 (if Bishop doesn't block C-file, 30.Rc8 Rxc8 31.dxc8#) 30.Rxc7 Kxc7 (...Qxc7 31.Qh4#)
31.d8=Q+ Kc6 (...Kxd8 32.Qd7#)
32.Qhd7+ Kc5
33.Q8c7+ Qxc7
White has an overwhelming material advantage and will win soon.

I'm sure this isn't perfect. What else did people find?

Sep-11-10  Eduardo Leon: <PART 1>

Black's light-squared bishop is overloaded, having to protect c6, e6 and the e4 pawn. If it were removed, 20.♘c6+ would fork black's king and queen, and 20.♘e6# would be mate. So white uses this situation to bring one more piece (a very heavy one!) into the attack.


Capturing either the queen or the rook leads to huge material losses for black. More concretely, if 20...♗xb3??, then 21.♘c6 ♔c7 22.d8=♕++ and 23.♕xa5; and, after 20...♗xf7?? 21.♕xf7, black can only avoid mate by giving up his queen: 21...♕d5 22.♘e6+ ♕xe6 23.♕xe6.

Attempting to complete his development does not work either. After 20...♗d6 21.♕xe3 ♕xa4 22.b3 ♕a5 23.♕xe4!, white will win the overloaded bishop and use the weak c6 and e6 squares to force more material losses on black.

<20...♘xg2 21.♖c1!>

click for larger view

Exploiting this situation, white plays a move that simultaneously creates two new threats. The first one is 22.♕b6+ ♕xb6 23.♘xb6, and black cannot stop the penetration of the rook with ♖c8+. The second one is 22.♕b7!, winning at least the rook since 22...♗xb7?? would allow 23.♘e6#.


Covering e6, which stops the threat 22.♕b7. But white simply executes the other threat.

<22.♕b6+ ♕xb6 23.♘xb6>

click for larger view


Sep-11-10  Eduardo Leon: <PART 2>


Unfortunately for black, 23...♗xf7 allows the silly 24.♖c8+ ♖xc8 (24...♔e7 25.d8=♕#) 25.dxc8=♕+ ♔e7 26.♘f5#.

<24.♖xc5 ♗xf7 25.♘f5+>

The knight takes a little journey to take a pawn.

<26...♔e6 27.♘xg7+ ♔e7>

Of course, if 27...♔e5, then 28.♘xa8, directly.

<28.♘f5+ ♔e6 29.♘d4+>

click for larger view

The knight is back, and it is over for black. If 29...♔e7, then 30.♘xa8. If 29...♔d6, then 30.♖c6+ ♔e5 31.♘xa8, and now, if 31...♖xa8, then 32.♖c8.

Sep-11-10  wals: Way above me, left me gasping for air.
What would have been for me an obvious
20...Bxb3 would have turned into a frolic in the park for White. 21.Nc6+ Kc7 22.d8Q Kxc6 23.Qd7#.

Black's blunder:
(+1.75):16...Nxe3. Better,

Analysis by Rybka 4 x64: depth 16:

1. = (-0.10): 16...fxe6 17.a3 Qd6 18.Bc1 Qe5 19.Re1[] N5b6 20.Nxb6 Nxb6 21.Be3[] Bd6 22.Qh5+ g6 23.Qh3 0-0 24.Qxe6+ Rf7 25.Qxe5 Bxe5 26.Rad1 Re8 27.Bh3 Rfe7 28.b4 Nc4 29.Nc2 Nxe3 30.Nxe3 Bc3 31.Re2 a5

Again at 19...
(+6.46):19...Qa5. Better, Nxd1, +1.97,
or Qxb2, +2.14.

Black resigned at move 28, White being a pawn up and ahead +4.44 more than the equivalent of four pawns.

Sep-11-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Patzer2><(Problem: Find the mate-in-three after 20...Bxb3?)> Line A of my first post. Everybody wanted to grab the Qa5, as did I, but I noticed the mate when I was writing it up.
Sep-11-10  midi900: 20.Qb3! overloading the bishop

I got to this move by elimination since everything else just losses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <benveniste: As the game was played, White missed a second chance to play the same trick. 22. b3! would have brought the game to a quicker end.>

After 22...Qa5, how does that quicker end happen?

Sep-11-10  Eduardo Leon: Fusilli: 20.♕b3 ♗d6 21.♕xe3 ♕xa4 22.b3 ♕a5 23.♕xe4!
Sep-11-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: From the game position after move 21 (below), I thought that white missed an easier win after 21.Ne6+:

click for larger view

I set up this position using the Crafty Endgame Trainer and Crafty quickly showed what I'd missed after 21.Ne6+ Be6 22.Qxe6 Qxg5!. At this point, I thought that white might be in trouble, but I played on with 23.Rf2 Bxh2+!? 24.Kxh2 Ng4+ 25.Kg1 Nxf2 26.Qb6+! Ke7 (forced) 27.Qxf2 Raf8 28.Qc5+ Qxc5 29.Nxc5 Rf5 30.b4 e3 31.Re1 Re5 32.Bh3 Rf8 33.Nb7 h5 34.d8=Q+ Rxd8 35.Nxd8 Kxd8 36.Bf1 Re6 37.Be2 and white went on to win.

Not as good as the game line and probably black's play can be improved.

Sep-11-10  M.Hassan: <goodevans>: Thank you for your posts. I realized that although my line may have had a good start but in several moves becomes "shaky" and an excellent move of 22...Qf5 as you mentioned stalls the attack together with the fact that Black does not have to accept the second sac. By the way, what is crafty? Thanks again
Sep-12-10  Al2009: Goodevans, I won REAL games and tournaments, using computers just to book the hotel.

It seems here many people are too much computer addicted, but I know dozens patzerns leaving pieces "en prise" in real games and trying to cheat playing online with computers.

What I mean is that I would prefer people using THEIR OWN BRAINS, when playing chess and analysing.

Kramnik did not see a mate in one when he played with the computer in Barhein, but I respect very much Kramnik, and for me computer is nothing.

I found brilliant moves (check under my name, the comments to the games Ni Hua - Hoyos/ Tal - Gasic/ Quinteros - Fischer etc.) just thinking alone with no computer assistance.

There are young people unable even to calculate 2+2 because they always use computers.

Switch off your computers when playing or analyzing chess, chess should be a way to train your mind, even if your calculations are not as good as the ones from computers.

Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: <Al2009>, please do not offend those of us who actually could get 20.♕b3+ and (some of) the subsequent moves without using a computer.

In my case in particular, proof of the fact I did not use a computer is a missed a simple mate in one of the lines: 20...♗xb3?? 21.♘c6+ ♔c7 22.d8=♕++, and then I said white would follow with 23.♕xa5, completely ignoring that 22...♔xc6, which is an only move, can be replied with 23.♕d7#.

Most puzzle solvers use computers mainly to verify their analyses (of course, only an analysis the poster can come up with on his own does really count as a solution). In my case, I do not even use computers to verify my solutions, because I do not have a chess program.


In your analysis, you got 20...♘xg2 (indeed, the best defense) 21.♖c1! ♗d6, but now overlooked the simple 22.♕b7! ♖b8 (22...♕e1+ 23.♖xe1 ♘f4 24.♕xd5!) 23.♕c8+. As I said in my solution, the move 21.♖c1! wins because it creates two threats (22.♕b6+ and 22.♕b7! and black can counter only one of them.

Sep-12-10  Al2009: Eduardo Leon, what I meant is that I am not interested in good analysis coming from people using computers, in the same way as I am not interested to see a 200 mt. race between Usain Bolt and someone driving a Ferrari.

And I prefer as well to forget the way by which "runners" like Ben Johnson, or Marion Jones got their "records".

Don't forget that it was a REAL player, a GM whose name is Vasilios Kotronias, who played 20. Qb3! in this game.

Therefore, if a meet Kotronias and say to him: "Hey, don't you think 20. Ne6+, Bxe6 21. Rxf8+ etc. could be better than 20. Qb3?" (as I was thinking) I am sure that he would have said: "No, and I can let you see why"

But this would be OK because this would be a REAL analysis coming from a REAL gm who found a winning move in a REAL game.

And that's what happens when I analyse a game in a tournament with my challenger, in the post mortem analysis...

I suggest a line (maybe not perfect) then my challenger try to suggest another line (maybe not perfect), etc., and we try to undestrand what we played: mistakes, good moves, etc., but we think BY OURSELVES, we don't use any computer program at all.

Unfortunately the problem is that there are less and less people playing chess in tournaments, and more and more people playing dangerous and hazardous sports like poker, also because the massive use of computers made chess less fascinating than in the past. (it's not the only reason, of course, but it is one of the main reasons).

And I know players (even very strong!) who dropped to play chess because sometimes you discover cheaters using computer devices, and going too often to the toilet, even in live games.

Of course you can have a different opinion, but one should see real facts, and real facts say: chess are losing players and now they have a very low mediatic appeal, in comparison with the years of Fischer and Kasparov...

Sep-12-10  Al2009: Ah, Edoardo Leon, i forgot the last important thing I wanted to say...

There is a very good chessbook, a wonderful book, whose name is: "Think, play, train like a grandmaster" and it was written many years ago, by a great chess instructor and gm like Alexander Kotov.

In that book Kotov disclosed the method by which he learned to analyse, and by which he made a rapid progress, becoming grandmaster just in a few years.

The method from Kotov is also a fascinating way to learn to UNDERSTAND and LOVE chess, to be proud to discover by yourself the most fascinating plans and combinations.

Of course his method is not "perfect", and cannot change all the players in grandmasters, and cannot assure that even grandmasters make mistakes.

But it teaches you to analyse and LOVE chess by using your own brain, and NOT computers.

I am not quite sure that today many players (especially younger players) really love chess.

They use computers, they try to get the "right" move or analysis, but I see also that many of them do not really get pleasure in playing chess, and many of them stop to play after some years.

Unfortunately we don't have anymore great chess teachers like Alexander Kotov...

Sep-12-10  goodevans: <M.Hassan: By the way, what is crafty?>

Check under <David2009>'s posts. I think you'll enjoy it (despite what <Al2009> might think!).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: IMHO, it is okay if someone uses a computer, although I don't (<Eduardo>, thanks for the response to my question... if I had used a computer I wouldn't have needed it!) Some people work on the puzzles to get some training, some others look at them because they love the beauty and aesthetics of chess. This puzzle-solving is not a competition. Or at least I don't see it that way. It is good etiquette to disclose you are using a computer, though.

What I find irritating is when someone posts "I solved it in five seconds" on a Friday-Sunday puzzle. What they normally mean is that they figured (or guessed) the first move in five seconds, but the challenge is to calculate the sequences correctly, not to just guess the first move. Sometimes the first move is obvious.

My point is: someone saying "Rybka shows this" and it refutes my line is saying "Rybka calculates better than you"... well, duh! But someone saying "I solved it in five seconds" is telling me "I'm way better than you", when chances are they aren't, and even if they were, it is not good etiquette to suggest it that way.

Just my two cents.

Sep-12-10  Eduardo Leon: <Some people work on the puzzles to get some training, some others look at them because they love the beauty and aesthetics of chess. This puzzle-solving is not a competition. Or at least I don't see it that way.>

It is a competition, but not against other kibitzers, rather, against yourself and how you used to do at solving these puzzles in previous weeks. It is true that some people take these puzzles as a "Hey! My dick is bigger than yours!" contest, however.

<It is good etiquette to disclose you are using a computer, though.>

Indeed. I for one like <Once>'s style. He tries to solve the puzzle himself, and, when the answer is not clear, verifies his analysis using Fritz. And, when he cannot solve the puzzle, he is sincere about it and presents it in a way that is fun to read.

Among those who do not use computers, not even to check out whether their solutions were right or not, I especially like <agb2002> and <dzechiel>. They are very methodical and disciplined about solving these puzzles. From what I see, the difference between their styles is that <agb2002> writes out his whole calculation, as if he were an engine (with lines A, A.1, A.2, B, etc.) and <dzechiel> prefers describing his thought process and explaining the concepts that ran through his mind.

And, among those who discuss solutions with other kibitzers, I especially like <Jimfromprovidence>.

<What I find irritating is when someone posts "I solved it in five seconds" on a Friday-Sunday puzzle. What they normally mean is that they figured (or guessed) the first move in five seconds, but the challenge is to calculate the sequences correctly, not to just guess the first move. Sometimes the first move is obvious.>

Agreed. 20.♕b3 is self-suggesting (aka inviting, which is not the same as obvious, aka evidently correct) to anyone who can understand that white must "keep the fire burning" lest he lose material himself. Other "self-suggesting" moves are 20.♘e6+ and 20.♖xf8+, but they do not lead anywhere. But self-suggesting moves could be wrong. If someone goes for a self-suggesting move without calculating the consequences to the point the win or the draw can be achieved by a simple mechanical procedure, they are not really solving the puzzle.

So it took me five seconds to conclude 20.♕b3, 20.♘e6+ and 20.♖xf8+ were worth analyzing. Fortunately, it did not take me much (i.e., more than five minutes) to conclude the latter two were not worth analyzing <much>.

But 20.♕b3 ♘xg2 21.<♖c1>! was not obvious. Not even self-suggesting. I spent a lot of time trying to make 21.♘e6+ ♗xe6 22.♕xe6 ♗c5+ 23.♘xc5 ♕xc5+ 24.♔h1 work, with some success, but, in one particular line, all I got was a better endgame, which was probably winning, but then, it would have required more technique and patience than I expected from the overwhelming initial position.

And I would have settled for that solution if I had not found, completely by accident, that now that the king is trapped to the right (from the perspective of the white player), it must now be trapped to the left! And only <after> I considered 21.♖c1, it became "rather easily discoverable" that white was introducing two new threats. And then I spent another twenty minutes working out the details.

I would write out my thought process in my posts in this fashion, but I tend to spend very long times analyzing this puzzles and most of what I think is, well, not worth posting.

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: Speaking for myself, I like it when someone uses chess software to analyze a position. I want to know if my solution is really the best and also because it helps me improve my chess.
Sep-13-10  Al2009: doubledrooks, it is a commonplace that computers can "help" players to improve their chess level.

The only very useful things you can get from computers are databases of games, and a faster way to select openings, make researches, etc. that's OK!

But it is not true that studying computers' "style", and finding the right moves with computer's help - as someone believes - you can improve your chess level.

Computers - as Garry Kasparov pointed out - have no particular style.

They just select the moves that can "work", among millions they calculate, no matter they are "beautiful" or "ugly", or defensive like Petrosian's style, or aggressive like Tal's style.

But that doesn't help you to improve your chess level, in the same way as a student doesn't improve at all by giving a computer a mathematical problem just to get the solution.

You can improve JUST when you learn yourself to analyse more precisely and correctly, but you have to work, study and train yourself, in the way that great chess instructors (like Alexander Kotov for instance) suggested.

However, I also noticed that nobody (especially Leonardo Leon and goodevans) said a single word about the problem I outlined: why chess are losing players while other mind sports like poker and others (bridge etc.) are gaining new players.

It is because you have no answer, and you prefer not to face real problems...

Sep-13-10  Eduardo Leon: <However, I also noticed that nobody (especially <Eduardo> Leon and goodevans) said a single word about the problem I outlined: why chess are losing players while other mind sports like poker and others (bridge etc.) are gaining new players.>

Well, I cannot claim to have the ultimate explanation, but popularity is driven by perceptions, and those who do not know anything about chess and occasionally take a peek at the chess world often see the following: First, chess is mainly about computing (or calculating, however you want to call it), which is boring to ordinary people. Second, chess requires a big amount of training to get to a level in which the game is actually meaningful. To understand what chess is about requires learning legal movements (differences in the way pawns advance and capture pieces, knight moves in L, castling, en passant, three move repetition, fifty move rule), game phases, development (controlling the center, basic openings), positional play (weak squares, open files, etc.), tactical themes (pinned pieces, forks, intermediate moves), strategy (when to exchange pieces, pawn races, positional sacrifices), endgames (mainly pawn ones and rook ones). Third, those who take the long road and got at least a basic exposure of all of this, find out they need to spend even more time studying to actually get good at it. Also, the fact some of the best chess players exhibit really despicable behavior (Topalov, Kramnik, I am pointing at you!) does not help in the promotion of chess. And only then I would consider the effect of computers making the game rather boring.

Sep-14-10  Al2009: Hi Eduardo Leon.

Regarding the popularity of chess, I believe that it is 90% a problem of attractive communication of chess, as an exciting sport, and not just as a "boring" and arid exercise of calculation.

If you notice, whenever great champions with a fascinating, exciting, and attacking chess style like Tal, Fischer, Kasparov, etc. were dominating, many more people started to play chess, all over the world.

But now, I fear that in general chess has lost most of its fascination, because it is more and more difficult to make a chess game exciting for new players, as anybody can buy a chess engine and find the best moves.

As fas as the behavior of players is concerned, I don't remember a particularly bad episode from Kramnik and Topalov, but anyway, I don't believe people pay too much attention to the top players' behavior...

Bobby Fischer is well remembered also for his crazy behaviors (even spitting on letters!) but that made him even more "popular" for media and TV.

Sep-14-10  Rama: Patzer2, check that the black Queen covers c7 which wrecks your mate-in-three. Perhaps 23. Qxa5 is good enough. To play more sharply, 23. Bxe4+ looks deadly, or even 23. Qxa8+. Yes?
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