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Etienne Bacrot vs Rauf Mamedov
Gashimov Memorial (Group B) (2014), Shamkir AZE, rd 5, Apr-24
Dutch Defense: Leningrad. Matulovic Variation (A89)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-24-14  Zuainedison: What about 22...dxc5?
Premium Chessgames Member
  sbevan: <Zuainedison: What about 22...dxc5?>

Good question.
Ba3 and the Q has to move as Bxc5 threatened with a fork on the Q and the R at f8. So after the Q moves, Bxc5 anyway and the a7 P falls as the R on f8 still has to move. That's why Qa5 IMHO as it stops Ba3 but misses Bxb7 and c6.

Could be more than that but that's what springs to mind.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: My first impression is that 22....dxc5 is met by the shot 23.Nxf5, with Rxd7 and mayhem to follow.
Apr-11-15  shivasuri4: <perfidious> is right. 22...dxc5 can't be met with 23.Ba3 as the knight is en prise. Black would gladly give his rook for a bishop and a knight.
Apr-11-15  yadasampati: Intuition must be more than just an idea that pops up. After studying the position for about 1 minute, the move c5! became prominent in my mind, although i could not fully explain it. Lucky guess? I can not exclude that, but it seems more probable to me that our subconscious mind is able to apply stored knowledge and intelligence and pass the conclusion to our conscious mind. The art is to filter out the good conclusions from the wrong ones :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: My choice was 22. c5, and if 22...dxc5 then 23. Nxf5 exf5/gxf5 24. Rxd7. But I had absolutely zero ideas about how to continue after any other move by black.
Apr-11-15  stst: The "Easiest" within "Very Difficult":
22.Nxf5 Bxb2
23.Qxb2+ Kg8

Of course this could not happen, else it should not be tagged "Very Difficult."

One possible line could be (but doubt it should be):
22.Nxf5 exf5
23.Bxg7+ Kxg7 (cannot allow BxR if let go)
24.Qb2+ Kg8
25.Bd5 (pinning the N) Be6
26.Bxe6 Rxe6
27.c5 dxc5

Surely other possibilities exist,.... might follow up later tomorrow (CA now, but very late *#!)

Apr-11-15  Ehrenfest: 22.c5 I did find, but not why Mamedov resigned. His position seems awkward but no more than that, not lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <stst> I also looked at <22. Nxf5> believing it to win, unfortunately it does not appear to work.

I disregarded <22.c5> completely; I was fixated with attacking on the K-side and sacrificing the poor N.

<22. Nxf5> exf5 23. Bxg7+ Kxg7 24. Qb2+ Kg8 25. Bd5 Be6 (or 25... Bc6) 26. Bxe6 Rxe6 27. c5 dxc5 28. Rd7

click for larger view

and now <28... Qc6> followed by <Ne5> brings White's show to an end.

Apr-11-15  diagonalley: well, i got 22.P-B5 PxP 23.NxBP ... allowing the rook on Q1 to penetrate ... but i wasn't sure it was winning... (i didn't consider black's reply at move 22)
Apr-11-15  Nick46: <Ehrenfest:> Your conclusion cheers me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

The bishop on d7 is defenseless. This suggests 22.c5:

A) 22... dxc5 23.Nxf5

A.1) 23... exf5 24.Bxg7+ Kxg7 25.Rxd7 Rb8 (due to 26.Rxb7) 26.Qc4 and Black will lose a pawn with a much worse position (26... Rfc8 27.Qxf7+ wins).

A.2) 23... gxf5 24.Bxg7+ Kxg7 25.Rxd7 Rb8 26.Qh5 (threatens 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qf6+ Kg8 29.Bf3 followed by Bh5)

A.2.a) 26... Kg8 27.Rc4 looks very bad for Black. For example, 27... h6 28.Qg6+ Kh8 29.Rxf7 wins the knight.

A.2.b) 26... h6 27.g4 with the double threat gxf5, opening the g-file for the attack, and g5, destroying the black castle. For example, 27... f4 28.exf4 and Black wil lose more pawns to protect the king.

A.3) 23... Bxb2 24.Qxb2+ e5 (24... Kg8 25.Qg7#) 25.Rxd7 gxf5 26.Rxb7 wins a pawn with a winning position. For example, 26... Qa5 27.Rcd1 Nd8 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Qxe5+ and mate in two.

A.4) 23... e5 24.Nxg7 Rd8 (24... Kxg7 25.Rxd7 wins a piece) 25.Nh5 gxh5 (due to 26.Nf4; 26... Kg8 27.Nf4 exf4 28.gxf4 gets an extra pawn, the bishop pair and a strong attack) 26.Qxh5 with a similar conclusion as the preceding subline.

B) 22... Qa5 23.cxd6

B.1) 23... Qxa2 24.Ra1 wins the queen.

B.2) 23... Nxd6 24.Nf3

B.2.a) 24... Qa6 25.Qxa6 bxa6 26.Rxd6 wins the knight.

B.2.b) 24... Qb6 25.Ba3 wins material (25... Nb5 26.Bxf8).

B.2.c) 24... Qxa2 25.Bxg7+ wins the queen.

B.3) 23... Rc8 24.Bxb7 wins a pawn with a much better position.

B.4) 23... b5 24.Rc7 with a much better position. For example, 24... Rd8 25.Rxd7 Rxd7 26.Nxe6 looks winning.

C) 22... Qa6 23.Qxa6 bxa6 24.cxd6 followed by Ba3 wins a pawn with a much better ending.

Apr-11-15  gofer: I like c5 and Nxf5, both attacking Bd7. I think both can be played one after the other, but I think c5 probably comes first.

<22 c5 ...>

22 ... dxc5
23 Nxf5

23 ... exf5/gxf5 24 Bxg7+ Kxg7 25 Rxd7

23 ... Bxb2 24 Qxb2+ e5 25 Rxd7 gxf5 26 Rxb7

22 ... Qc7
23 cxd6

<22 ... Qa5>
<23 Bxb7! ...>

Black cannot allow the passed pawn, so must go the following route into a losing endgame...

<23 ... dxc5>
<24 Nxf5 ...>

24 ... exf5
25 Rxd7 Bxb2
26 Qxb2+ Kg8
27 Bd5

click for larger view

24 ... gxf5
25 Rxd7 Rd8
26 Bxg7+ Kg8
27 Re7

click for larger view

Black has four(!) very weak pawns and a queen out of position and white threatens b5 doubling the rooks on the seventh and Qf6 starting all sorts of mischief and also Bb7 and always take the long route to Nf7 (via f3 and h5) if Pd6 get hoovered up...


Okay, I think that's a point then, perhaps I was a little bit wrong about c5 and Nxf5 being inter-changeable...

Apr-11-15  morfishine: The most natural looking move is the c5 break: <22.c5>

I figured the primary candidate for Black's response was <22...dxc5> which as <perfidious> points out, invites 'mayhem' after another natural move <23.Nxf5> and Black's position is being ripped apart after 23...exf5 24.Rxd7 Bxb2 25.Qxb2+ Kg8 26.Rxb7 Qd6 27.Rxa7

I looked at other Black responses, but not 22...Qa5

I guess that means Black was on the losing trend no matter what he played

FWIW: I toyed with 22.Nxf5 for a few seconds before realizing the move was best played after 22.c5


Apr-11-15  TheaN: Saturday 11 April 2015 <22.?>

So far I've been on 5/5 this week, something that I haven't been able to attain in quite a while. Hence, I decided to put a bit more thought into the weekend puzzles this week.

White controls the queenside and piece pressure on the center, black expanded on the kingside and holds with the small center. Material is dead even, and the pieces on both sides seem to be decently developed. Black has only one problem, and that is the fragility of his small center. White would want to break on the queenside now in order to abuse the backward pawns on d6 and e6.

This suggest <22.c5!>. Picturing these kind of moves is tricky, but they are logical. By attacking both the queen on b6 and the pawn on d6, white commits black to either surrender the small center or reposition the queen to an infavorable square.

Black can decline, but no square is really great for the black queen:

A) <22....Qc7> bad idea. <23.cxd6> if <23....Qxd6 24.Nxf5 > black collapses.

B) <22....Qa6> black cannot trade in a worse position <23.Qxa6 bxa6 24.cxd6 Nxd6 25.Rc7 > white claims the queenside, great pressure on the backward pieces and shortly also a7 & a6.

C) <22....Qd8> does not really challenge white's expanse. <23.Bxb7> and if <23....dxc5> simply <24.Rxc5 > and white is at least up a crucial pawn.

C) <22....Qa5> this move closely follows the accepted line with white having an additional pawn, if it follows <23.Bxb7 dxc5>: c5 is defended, but white can play <24.Nxf5! >. See the accepted line for more details.

If accepted, white follows the principle of variation C.

D) <22....dxc5 23.Nxf5!> black cannot ignore the sudden exposure of the long diagonal. White threatens Bxg7+ or Nxg7, as well as Rxd7. Other important key elements are that if the black queen moves, Rxc5 regains the c-pawn, when black captures the knight with the g-pawn h5 becomes weak and with the e-pawn the center. Bxb2 does not gain much for black after Qxb2+, winning a tempo and weakening the center.

If black tries to block the diagonal he loses:

D1) <23....e5 24.Nxg7 >.

D2) <23....Be5 24.Rxd7>, if 24....gxf5? 25.Rxf7! , if <24....exf5 25.Rxb7 > and the black position collapses.

Capturing on b2 does not work as it forces black to capture with the g-pawn and weaken the center:

D3) <23....Bxb2 24.Qxb2+ e5 25.Rxd7 gxf5 26.Bd5 >

Capturing on f5 is the only possibility, yet the position is weakened:

D4) <23....exf5?!> tries to keep the pawn structure intact but it creates weaknesses in the center similar as in D3 <24.Rxd7> if <24....Rb8> to protect b7, <25.Bd5 > should decide.

D4) <23....gxf5 24.Rxd7 Rb8> for the moment white is not really threatening anything, however, capturing towards the center created a weakness on the kingside. <25.Bxg7+!> all the time black could Bxb2 was not a good move. Now white returns the favor. <25....Kxg7 26.Qh5!> having solved the long diagonal, white can invade on the freshly vacanted square h5. Typical in this position is that white is not necessarily threatening anything, but black's in a complete bind. Black's best try is to counterattack on the queenside <26....Qa5?!> but this leaves e6 unprotected <27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qf6+ Kg8 29.Qxe6 > änd white forcefully invades the black kingside.

Apr-11-15  TheaN: 6/6, damn that's been a while. Nailed this 95%-ish, definitely counting it as I got the ideas right. I would say not all variations after Nxf5! are really necessary, but great if you saw them.

Perhaps 23....Qd8 24.Bxb7?! was my weakest variation after 24....dxc5 25.Rxc5 Qb6! which I had missed:

click for larger view

This is a puzzle in itself, as white gains the upperhand with 26.Bc6! Qxc5 27.Bxd7 and black can't avoid losing the exchange back, ie 27....Re7 28.Nxe6! is simply playable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: 22 c5 is certainly logical, and strong, leaving B with rather bleak prospects.

After that I found it impossible to see any clear line, basically because both W and B seem to have alternatives at most of the next moves.

Quick engine analysis shows that for B none of the alternatives lose dramatically but none of them get him out of the mire. W has alternatives as well, eg the engine's choice 23 cxd6. But 23 Bxb7 comes out just as good and IMO looks more positive.

I suspect the point of this puzzle is to teach us not to go for the eye-catching but mistaken 22 Nxf5? but to find the quieter move that unravels B's position

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Chase the queen away and shove the pawn into black's gut!
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Got c5 right by instinct and intuition, but all the variations to justify it way beyond my pay grade.
Apr-11-15  Whitehat1963: What's the finish?

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