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Le Quang Liem vs Sergey Karjakin
SportAccord World Mind Games (Men, Basque) (2013) (other), Beijing CHN, rd 4, Dec-18
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Reshevsky Variation (E46)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I got the first three moves, but after 45. Re2 I would have played 45...Rxg4 46. Nxg4 Rxg4, with the double threat 47...Qg1# and 47...Rh4.

I didn't see that 48. Qe3 stops both. Too bad.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The path starts out clearly marked but quickly gets murky.

From the starting position we seem to have two equal moves. We can either play 42...Nxf4 or 42...Nxd4. After white recaptures the knight, we play 43...Qxf4 with this position:

click for larger view

White has no sensible way of protecting his d pawn as 44. Qd3 allows 44...Rxg4+ and white is in a whole heap of trouble. This means that black has won three pawns for his knight and has a chance of an attack against the newly exposed white king.

But neither I nor Fritzie can find a convincing clear-cut tactical continuation from here. He is muttering about an advantage of only -1 which is nice to have but not decisive.

Black ought to win because the extra white knight will find it hard to do anything useful and the black rooks will rampage on the freshly opened files. But if there is a clean kill here I can't see it.

This may be one of those positions where we need to trust our intuition rather than calculate variations. Black gets three pawns plus an attack for his sacrificed knight. What's more he has defused white's pawn roller on the kingside.

That has to be worth the investment, even if it doesn't lead to instant capitulation.

Jul-18-14  diagonalley: i couldn't manage to foresee a convincing continuation after 43.... QxP :-( (but that was probably a doddle for karjakin)
Jul-18-14  morfishine: <42...Nxf4> Attacking the White Queen; White is practically forced to accept the sacrifice as moving the Queen does not improve the position; I think 42...Nxd4 [attacking the White rook] results in a similar position

<43.exf4> forced <43...Qxf4> threatens 44...Qxd4+ recovering the piece

<44.Nf3> Evidently the only move to avoid returning the material while also protecting d4

<44...Rxg4+> Something must be conceded <45.Kf2>

click for larger view

In this position I pondered the following continuations:

(1) 45...Rg3 but White seems to be able to fight on after 46.Qh1

(2) 45...R8g6 threatens 46...Rh6 but White has the in-between move 46.Ne2

Since I figured I'm missing something critical and/or obvious, I decided to go ahead and check the game


Jul-18-14  gofer: The first two moves play themselves, but what is white's response?

<42 ... Nxf4>
<43 exf4 Qxf4>

click for larger view

Black has two simple threats;

44 ... Qxd4+ winning back the knight (and so netting 3+ pawns)

44 ... Rxg4+
45 Nxg4 Rxg4+ with a huge attack against a relatively defenseless king

But what is white's best defense????

44 Rf2? Qxd4

Rf2 is pinned so Nf7+ and Ng6+ are pointless. The delay of Rxg4+ just gives white even more problems to deal with. Now Ne5 is loose, but it is also the only piece really stopping Rxg4+.

44 Re2? Qxd4

Again white is struggling to make progress as its king is so exposed that no simple defence is evident.


Hmmm. I am with <Once> and Fritz. I struggled to see the clear win but the possibilities are endless. White has so much to defend against that the slightest slip leads to disaster...

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a rook for a knight and a pawn.

The first idea that comes to mind is 42... Nxd4 43.exd4 (else drop an important pawn) 43... Qxf4, threatening 44... Qxd4+:

A) 44.Ne2 Rxg4+ 45.Nxg4 (45.Kh1 Qe4+ 46.Kh2 Rh4 - +) 45... Rxg4+ 46.Kh1 Qe4+ 47.Kh2 Rh4 - +.

B) 44.Qd3 Rxg4+ 45.Nxg4 Qxg4+

B.1) 46.Kf1 Qg1+ 47.Ke2 Rg2+ followed by 48... Rg3+ and 49... Rxd3 - +.

B.2) 46.Kf2 Qg1+ as in B.1.

B.3) 46.Kh1 Qg1#.

B.4) 46.Kh2 Qf4+ 47.Kh1 (47.Kh3 Qh6#) 47... Qh4+ 48.Rh2 Qe1#.

C) 44.Rh2 (threatens 45.Ng6+) 44... Qxd4+ followed by 45... Qxe5.

Jul-18-14  hedgeh0g: The White position collapses after 42...Nxf4 or 42...Nxd4 as Black's heavy pieces come flooding in.
Premium Chessgames Member
  pittpanther: Why doesn't white play 43. Qf3 and then take the knight on the next move?
Jul-18-14  hedgeh0g: <pittpanther> 43.Qf3 Nh5
Jul-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: I originally thought the move was 42 ... Nxf4. White is down the exchange and Black is threatening to capture White's queen with check, so that's pretty forcing. However, I don't see what to do against 43 Qf3, which seems to win the knight more safely than 43 exf4 does.

That said, 42 ... Nxd4 looks like a decent substitute. If White declines the sacrifice, Black is up the exchange. The strongest counterplay I see for White is in the line

42 ... Nxd4
43 Rg2 Ne6
44 g5 Qe7

I hope that's really a winning endgame.

Either way, accepting the sacrifice isn't good for White, with my main line being:

42 ... Nxf4/Nxd4
43 exf4/exd4 Qxf4
44 Ne2 Qf5
45 Rd2 Rxg4+
46 Nxg4 Rxg4+
47 Kh2 Qf2+
48 Kh1 Rh4

and Black wins the queen.

Alternatively, there's

44 Rf2 Qxd4

If White moves the e5 knight, ... Rxg4+ gives Black rook and 3 pawns for 2 knights, and a nasty attack as well. I'll call that a decisive advantage without calculating it out. Note that White's rook is pinned, inhibiting 45 Nf7+ and 45 Re2 alike.

Jul-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: I didn't foresee White's actual defense. Oh well.
Jul-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Ahh. Right above me is the answer to the decline-and-pin try.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Ooh. Miscalculation: 42...Qxe5 43.fxe5 43...Rxg4+ is good, but white doesn't have to give up the queen or anything. :|
Jul-18-14  Castleinthesky: For once, I got a Friday-although, of course, I did not see it through to the end. The knight sacrifice seemed like the only viable option to bust open the kingside. I could see getting at least two pawns out of the exchange and a great attack with initiative.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mrcomputer55: I see a immediate win for black on move 52!

Rf2 mate in three or White loses his queen!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mrcomputer55: I like simple mates with queen and rook, why the great. Karjakin didn't saw it?

From Bonaire

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I saw the knight sac,but nothing more. Black clearly has the better position despite being down two knights for a rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Mrcomputer55> Good spot! Your move (52...Rf2+) is mate in three.

Karjakin's move (52...Qf4+) is mate in six - although three of those moves are useless piece-chucks. After the game continuation of 52...Qf4+ 53. Kh1 Qc1+ we get to here:

click for larger view

Now black threatens 54. Kh2 Qg1#

The only way that white can delay the mate is by comically throwing away three successive pieces - Nd1, Re1 and Qf1+

So admittedly Karjakin's mate does take a little longer, but the outcome is never in doubt. When GM's see a forced mate they sometimes play it without looking to see if there is a shorter one.

Jul-18-14  dfcx: I saw the first two moves for black with 42...Nxf4 43. exf4 Qxf4. But I do not see how to proceed if white plays

44. Re2 Qxd4+ 45. Kf1

Now black still has a slight advantage but I do not think it's an easy win.

Jul-18-14  Chris321: ya i saw the kt sac,then after the black q takes pawn on f4 the open lines that the q and two rooks get are just too much fire power on the white king,he can wriggle a bit but its all in vain,black has just too much attacking power here,all the white pieces are very unco ordinated suddenly after the sac.
Jul-19-14  TheBish: Le Quang Liem vs Karjakin, 2013

Black to play (42...?) "Difficult"

Black is up an exchange for a pawn. What elements might contribute to a tactic here for Black? White has an undefended rook at c2, which might come into play in some lines. Also White's pawn shield is a little loose in front of his king, so maybe a sacrifice is in order to break it open.


Also good is 42...Nxd4, with pretty much the same effect. The difference is, if the knight offer is declined, in this line it is better placed to follow with 43...Ng6 to trade off White's best placed piece (Ne5) which is the glue to White's position.

(A) 43. exf4 Qxf4 and the dual threats on d4 and g4 lead to a winning attack, e.g. 44. Ne2 Rxg4+ 45. Nxg4 Rxg4+ 46. Kh1 Qe4+ and the undefended rook comes back to haunt White; or 44. Qd3 Rxg4+! 45. Nxg4 Qxg4+! with a winning attack.

(B) 43. Qf3 Nh5! extricates the knight after which Black should have a fairly simple technical win.

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