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Alexander Grischuk vs Veselin Topalov
Norway Chess (Blitz) (2015) (blitz), Hidle NOR, rd 3, Jun-15
Queen Pawn Game: Sarratt Attack (D00)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-14-16  gofer: My thoughts were...

36 ... Nf4+
37 Kh2 Qxc3
38 Nxc3 bxa4
39 bxa4 ...

and then we are really looking at a draw.

~~~

Yep. A garbage POTD...

Jun-14-16  devere: Stockfish 7 depth 48 has 36...Nf4+ 37.Kh2 -0.15
Jun-14-16  YetAnotherAmateur: Like everyone else, I saw the 36. ... Nf4+ 37. Kh2 line, and decided there was nothing of significance there unless white plays foolishly.

The closest I could find to something against good play: 36. ... Nf4+ 37. Kh2 Qxc3 38. Nxc3 b4
Then black has two possible plans: Nd3-c1-b3, creating a passed pawn on b4, or Ne2-d4, creating a passed pawn on d5. White can't stop both approaches, and counterattacking the a5 pawn with Nb5-d6-b7 is too slow.

Jun-14-16  1.e4effort: The white pony is protecting the lady. BN check at F4 is a stunning move. If the WN captures, the Q is dead. Move the K to threaten the BN and the WN dies. At this point W is lost. If he takes the Q then a BN fork at E4 seals the deal. Black is now ahead a p and the N - he should win unless he plays like me and screws the whole thing up.
Jun-14-16  Carlos0012358: <agb2002: Actually, I think this is far more interesting than the typical Tuesday puzzle> I agree that is it a nice puzzle. In fact, 36.Kf3 may have been the death move for White. After the Q exchange Black is left with N advantage and White get mulled. According to Stockfish, had While instead played 36.Kf1 he would have maintained N parity and coulda have played to a draw.
Jun-14-16  Cheapo by the Dozen: I thought 37 Kh2 was the cleanest defense.

Anyhow, the listed move is still good because it's a good trap, but that's about it.

Jun-14-16  eblunt: I liked the look of 36 .... Nxe5 for a while. 37 QxQ NxQ wins the pawn

37 dxe5 d4+ discovered check to win the Q

Unfortunately 38 Qf3 saves the queen.

Jun-14-16  1300patzer: Instead of Nf4+, what about Nxe5? In my head it looks worse for black, though I think he gets the knight back, but I am probably missing stuff.
Jun-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <FSR: This is not clear-cut enough to be a puzzle.>

I completely agree; also see the comment by <Once>: <*** Fritz agrees. He rates 36...Nf4+ as only -0.36 - a little over a third of a prawn. This doesn't seem to fit the CG definition of a winning move: ***>

I would suggest, however, that the position after 37. Kf3? would make a good Monday puzzle.

Grischuk (normally a strong blitz player) must have been extremely short of time to play 37. Kf3? (which I almost think deserves two question marks). Even though I am a terrible blitz player (and I mean <extremely> weak, probably in three-digit rating range, although I have never played a rated blitz game), I immediately saw that after 36. … Nf4+, putting the king on f3 would lose instantly. (After other replies, the calculations are much more involved.)

Rather interestingly, of the four blitz games between these players in the database, this is the only one with a decisive result, and surprisingly, it went in favor of Topalov (who is relatively weak at blitz for a super-GM).

Jun-14-16  YetAnotherAmateur: <1300patzer: Instead of Nf4+, what about Nxe5? In my head it looks worse for black, though I think he gets the knight back, but I am probably missing stuff.>

You are indeed missing stuff:
36. Nxe5 Qxc6
37. Nxc6 axb5
In this position, black's knight is stuck stopping white's b5 pawn, while white can shore up his defenses with f4, and maneuver Nc3-a4-c5 with very good chances to either push the b-pawn home or snag the a5 pawn and push the other b-pawn home.

Jun-14-16  gars: I am a very weak player, so I do not mind asking silly questions. Why not 38) Qxf6 ?
Jun-14-16  Patriot: I looked at today's puzzle and thought I must be having a dull mind kind of day.

I considered 36...Nf4+ 37.Kh2 Qxc3 38.Nxc3 Nd3 39.Kg2 Nc1. And I figured 37.Kf3 Nxe2 38.Qxc6 Nxd4+.

Jun-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black removes the defender by fork, then eventually regains queen by fork also.

OH what a knight!

Jun-14-16  YetAnotherAmateur: <gars> 38. Qxf6 isn't a legal move. You probably meant 38. Qxc6, in which case: 38. Qxc6 Nxd4+ (forking the king and queen)
39. Ke3/Kf4/Kg3/Kg2 Nxc6
And when the dust settles, black has a knight while white doesn't, which is enough to win him the game with all these pawns ready to be promoted still on the board.
Jun-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: This one fooled me completely. I saw the possible Nb4+ forcing the king to make a choice about the moves but I thought that black would play 37....Qxc3 expecting Nxc3 and the black Knight would take a pawn or two for the advantage. I totally missed the Nxd4 fork with check after 37. Kf3 Nxe2 38.Qxc6. So much for trying to keep your King close to the action. Wonderful!
Jun-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <FSR: This is not clear-cut enough to be a puzzle.>

I completely disagree. A position without a clear-cut solution if far more of a puzzle than a position with an obviously correct line of play.

Now, the game continuation is "Tuesday"-level. The support analysis is not. Which could mean a few things:

1) The position was not vetted carefully beforehand.

2) Somebody is trying to juice up the boredom of a usual Tuesday discussion.

3) We are being reminded of the importance of not making flashy moves hastily, even against Tuesday-level opposition.

As it happens, 36...Nf4+ is Black's best chance in any event, but that's not always the case. And any puzzle that sparks good analysis is not a bad puzzle.

Jun-14-16  LIzzard: <FSR> - I agree with you. To make this a winning move, white has to make a mistake, which is not exactly a puzzle...
Jun-14-16  gars: <YetAnotherAmateur> Thank you very much! As you have already seen, I am a very weak player!
Jun-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Think I got it. Kind of easy to see that it is not so easy.
Jun-14-16  morfishine: <Patriot> Your camaraderie over the years has taught me to keep "Puzzles" where they belong: learning tools and no more

One must learn to create their own winning positions which is far more involved than simply solving analyzing other people's positions to try to find the "best move" or "Solution"

But that shows the point of "Puzzles": pattern recognition and no more

Personally, I've moved on from solving "Puzzles" to instead: creating winning positions

*****

Jun-14-16  Patriot: <morf> That sounds interesting! I would love to see one of your creations!
Jun-14-16  Patriot: I forgot something very important in my first line: 38...b4 39.Nb5 Nd3 40.Kg2 and THEN 40...Nc1.

- It's not easy trying to text this stuff on the cell phone!

Jun-14-16  YouRang: <Phony Benoni: <FSR: This is not clear-cut enough to be a puzzle.> I completely disagree. A position without a clear-cut solution if far more of a puzzle than a position with an obviously correct line of play.

Now, the game continuation is "Tuesday"-level. The support analysis is not. Which could mean a few things:

1) The position was not vetted carefully beforehand.

2) Somebody is trying to juice up the boredom of a usual Tuesday discussion.

3) We are being reminded of the importance of not making flashy moves hastily, even against Tuesday-level opposition.

As it happens, 36...Nf4+ is Black's best chance in any event, but that's not always the case. And any puzzle that sparks good analysis is not a bad puzzle.>

Well, okay, but I think you're broadening the definition of "puzzle" a bit beyond the norm. :-)

I'm just writing it off as your case #1: <A position not carefully vetted beforehand>, hence not a good puzzle in the cg.com tradition.

Jun-15-16  Mendrys: Hmm..Perhaps the utility of a puzzle like this, where best play leads to a likely draw yet the OTB moves shows the "wrong" line, is that it gets us in the habit of checking more than just the obvious moves. That being said given Grischuk's horrible continuation and how easy it was to see that after 37. Kf1 there is no obvious win in sight I think the intent from CG was 36...Black to play and win. No big deal though, mistakes will be commited to the best of us.
Jun-15-16  morfishine: <Patriot> Well, I have lots of interesting games saved up over the past year, but these are all Chess960. Most people around here think Chess960 is not real chess. I disagree. It forces one to think on their toes instead of memorizing mammoth lines out to infinity

In any case, its loads of fun and I'll post some if you like over at my forum

*****

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