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Igor Nikolayev vs Matthew O Gregory
RCC Saturday Open (2007), Rochester, NY, rd 1, Oct-27
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-12-17  groog: Very nice puzzle today.
Mar-12-17  nalinw: Yes - particularly when there are Knight checks as red herrings for patzers like me .....
Mar-12-17  Boerboel Guy: Excellent! Well played!!!
Mar-12-17  YouRang: Insane Sunday 23.?

click for larger view

Black's kingside is a bit vulnerable (made more noticeable by the fact that this is a puzzle).

If there's an attack to be launched, then the only move that looks like a viable attack launcher is <23.Rxf7+>, expecting <23...Kxf7 24.Qd5+>

click for larger view

This looks promising with a Q, N and R all poised to hunt down the black king. What is black's reply?

I should think that black wants the K off the f-file (so that white can't bring the R into the attack with check via Rf3+). Moving the K to the d-file allows Qe6+, which forces the K to the f-file anyway. This leaves only <24...Kg7>, which allows white to continue the assault with <25.Ne6+>

click for larger view

Things are getting hot for the black K. He doesn't want to be on the Q diagonal (f7 or g8) lest Nxd8+. He also can't go to the h-file, which loses rapidly to Rh3+ (e.g. 25...Kh7 26.Rh3+ Kg8 27.Nxd8+; 25...Kh6? 26.Rh3#). This leaves only <25...Kf6 26.Rf3+> forcing <26...Ke7>

click for larger view

This is where I went off the rails a bit with 27.Ng5 (threatening Qe6# and Rf7+). I was pretty sure white was better, but I was having a hard time seeing how to best proceed.

Checking with the computer, I see that 27.Nc5! was actually the best move (in fact, it's mate-in-8). Even so, the finishing touches were beyond my range.

Fortunately for white in this game, black made things easier with <25...Kh7?>, ending the game when he saw that he was forced into a discovered check on g8.

Mar-12-17  diagonalley: got first few moves, but didn't consider 27.N-B5! ... good puzzle, though not quite "insane"!
Mar-12-17  theo77: very elegant ending
Mar-12-17  Dionysius1: I like the position at 25... It reminds me of the lay up for Anastasia's Mate which I'm beginning to pick up on a lot more now. And 33. Ra6+ looks great. Maybe not hard to see for a tactical player, but I'd be dancing round the room if I saw it in a team match. (very distracting!)
Mar-12-17  mel gibson: I saw this one straight away -
at least the first few moves.

the computer says:

23. Rxf7+ (23. Rxf7+ (♖f1xf7+ ♔g7xf7
♕b5-d5+ ♔f7-g7 ♘d4-e6+ ♔g7-f6 ♖e3-f3+ ♔f6-e7 ♘e6-c5 ♘d7xc5 ♕d5-f7+ ♔e7-d6 ♖f3-f6+ ♘c5-e6 ♖f6xe6+ ♔d6-c5 b2-b4+ ♔c5-b5 ♕f7-f1+ ♖d8-d3 ♕f1xd3+ ♔b5-a4 ♖e6-a6+ b7xa6 ♕d3xa6+) +M13/15 50)

mate in 13.

Mar-12-17  gofer: Hmmm, I got the first 4 moves and then went wrong with <27 Ng5>, but I see I am in good company. I worked out the following...

click for larger view

27 ... Qd6
28 Qf7#

27 ... Nf8
28 Rf7+ Ke8
29 Rxf8+!!! Rxf8 (Kxf8 Qf7#)
30 Qe6# <Epaulette Mate>

27 ... Nc5
28 Qf7+ Kd6
29 Rf6+ Ne6
30 Qxe6+ Kc5 (Kc7 31 Rf7+ and mate in 3 more)
31 Ne4+ Kb5
32 Qb3+ Ka5
33 Qb4#

But what I missed was 27 ... Rdf8, which gives the king an escape square. The main reason to play <27 Nc5!> is that it stops <27 ... Rdf8> due to <28 Qxd7#>, so then Nxc5 becomes the only option.

I thought that I had found white a winning continuation (as follows), but I am probably wrong, because I can't beat <CRAFTY>.

<27 ... Rdf8>
<28 Rf7+ Rxf7>
<29 Qe6+ Kd8>
<30 Nxf7+ Kc7>
<31 Qd6+ Kc8>
<32 Qxb8+ Kxb8>

<33 Nxh8 ...>

click for larger view

Mar-12-17  mel gibson: < Mar-12-17 gofer: Hmmm, I got the first 4 moves and then went wrong with <27 Ng5>, but I see I am in good company. I worked out the following..>

It still requires a lot of skill to guarantee a checkmate.

Mar-12-17  morfishine: I figured <23.Rxf7+> followed by <24.Qd5+> and White breaks-in, but that last move was a doozy


Mar-12-17  saturn2: Black points at h2. After Rxf7 the black king cannot rest anymore. The first few moves were not that difficult. I had rather expected the black king gets mated at the h file than at the a file.
Mar-12-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: The first few moves are easy to see. But given how little material White has left, it does NOT follow that we'd all know to follow our inner Spielmann and play the line on faith over the board.

Actually calculating all the way to the end would be challenging as well.

Mar-12-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: The loser has three games in the database, all against the same (much higher rated) opponent, all brilliant attacks.

The winner is a user of this site, but only has one comment ever posted.

Mar-12-17  Sularus: got the first three moves easily but failed to mate
Mar-12-17  ChessHigherCat: Great game, thanks CG. I'm with the "saw the first couple moves but so what?" crowd. Nikolayev looks like the last-generation liquid-crystal chess terminator in his photo on the profile page.
Mar-12-17  Abdel Irada: ∞

<<+> Say! Whose file *is* this, anyway? <+>>

What a pickle our knight is in. He's attacked by a pawn, and moreover, if the pawn takes him, it will do so with dangerous threats involving ...Qxh2+, because as anyone can see, Black controls the open h-file, so often decisive in kingside attacks.

So, we should obviously retreat the knight, right?

Of course not. This is a puzzle; whatever the solution is, the key move is *not* going to be 23. Nf3.

So, how about saccing him? We could mess up Black's kingside with 23. Ne6+, or even 23. Nf5+, and sometimes breaking up the pawn structure can lead to a break*through*.

But there's better: Ignore the threat and toss a rook at f7. After all, it's a puzzle, yes?

Well, okay. The real reason is that removing that pawn entices the king, brings the queen into the game with gain of tempo, and (perhaps most importantly) destroys the protection of the important square e6 from that knight still patiently standing on d4.

<<+> 23. Rxf7+! ... >

We will begin with the acceptance of the sacrifice as usual:

1) <<+> 23. ...Kxf7 >

This is the most natural response. Any other simply loses time and material for no compensation, although analysis will show whether it might prolong the game.

<<+> 24. Qd5+ ...>

Here Black is best advised to avoid moves that let White bring the rook to f3 with check, so

1.1) <<+> 24. ...Kg7>

is essentially forced.

(Not so good are

1.2) <24. ...Ke7?/...Ke8? 25. Qe6+, Kf8 26. Rf3+, Kg7 27. Qe7+>, with mate to follow, or

1.3) <24. ...Kf8? 25. Rf3+, Kg7> (25. ...Ke7/e8? 26. Qe6#) <26. Qe7+>, mating as above.)

<<+> 25. Ne6+ ...>

And I hope you enjoy that femur in your royal trachea!

Now the king must move. He has five options.

1.1.1) <25. ...Kh6?? 26. Rh3#>

1.1.2) <25. ...Kh7 26. Rh3+, Kg8 27. Ng5+, Kg7/f8 28. Qf7#>

1.1.3) <25. ...Kg8 26. Ng5+, Kg7 27. Qf7+, Kh6 28. Rh3+!, Kxg5 29. Qe7+>, with mate in two.

1.1.4) <25. ...Kf7? 26. Ng5+> wins by transposition to one of the preceding lines. (Also, 26. Nxd8++ is not bad.)

1.1.5) <<+> 25. ...Kf6!>

This is a clever attempt to turn the femur into a stumbling block, because the knight occupies the square White's queen craves.

<<+> 26. Rf3+, Ke7
27. Ng5 ...>

What else? We can't afford to take the rook at the cost of ending our attack while still behind on material, so we create threats on f7 and e6. These can be parried with only one move:

<<+> 27. ...Rdf8
28. Rf7+, Rxf7
29. Qe6+!, Kd8 >

Not 29. ...Kf8?? 30. Qxf7#.

<<+> 30. Nxf7+, Kc7 >

Worse is 30. ...Kc8 31. Nxh8 : winning advantage to White, with an extra pawn, safer king, and more active pieces.

<<+> 31. Qd6+, Kc8
32. Qxb8+, Kxb8
33. Nxh8, Nf8
34. Nf7, Nd7
35. Kf2 >

White is a solid pawn up with a better pawn structure, while Black will find it hard to hold his e- and g-pawns for long. He can pick up White's b-pawn in exchange for the e-pawn, but that leaves his knight far away on b2 when White gets his kingside pawns rolling with h4 (followed perhaps by attacking the now-immobilized g-pawn). This leads to a race which White wins handily.


Now let's look at declining the rook. There are two ways to do this.

2) <23. ...Kh6?
24. Rh3+, Kg5
25. Ne6+, Kg4
26. Qe2#>

3) <23. ...Kg8
24. Rxd7 >

White is a piece ahead. And Black can't get it back with 24. ...Rxd7 25. Qxd7, exd4? because of 26. Re8+.

It looks as though Black can escape (in variation 1.1.5) into a probably lost ending. Or he can try a different variation and lose faster.

Unless I'm going completely chess-blind and missed some hidden depths, this isn't really an "insane"-level puzzle.

Mar-12-17  Carlos0012358: Certainly 23.Rxf7+ Kxf7 24.Qd5+

Then perhaps
25.Ne6+ Kf6
26.Rf3+ Ke7
27.Nc5 Nxc5
28.Qf7+ Kd6
30.Rxe6 Kc5
31.b4+ Kb5
32.Qf1+ Rd3
33.Qxd3+ Ka4
34.Ra6+ bxa6

I think when a position leads to a series of forced moves the solution cannot be difficult, let alone insane. This was NOT a good Sunday puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens exd4 and the black queen x-rays h2.

The position of the black king invites to play 23.Rxf7+:

A) 23... Kxf7 24.Qd5+

A.1) 24... Ke7(8) 25.Qe6+ Kf8 26.Rf3+ Kg7 (26... Nf6 27.Qxf6+ Ke(g)8 28.Qf7#) 27.Qf7+ Kh6 28.Rh3+ Kg5 29.Ne6+ Kg4 30.Qf3#.

A.2) 24... Kf8 25.Rf3+ Kg7 (25... Ke7(8) 26.Qe6#; 25... Nf6 26.Rxf6+ and mate in two) 26.Ne6+ Kg8 (26... Kh6 27.Rh3#; 26... Kh7 27.Rh3+ Kg8 28.Nxd8+ Kg7(f8) 29.Qf7#) 27.Nxd8+ and mate soon.

A.3) 24... Kf6 25.Rf3+ Kg5 (25... Ke7 28.Qe6#; 25... Kg7 26.Qf7+ Kh6 27.Rh3+ as in A.1) 26.Ne6+ Kg4 (26... Kh5 27.Rh3+ Kg4 28.Qf3#; 26... Kh6 27.Rh3#) 27.Qe4+ Kh5 28.Rh3#.

A.4) 24... Kg7 25.Ne6+

A.4.a) 25... Kf7 26.Nxd8+ Ke8 (26... Ke7 27.Rf7+ Ke8(xd8) 28.Qxd7#; 26... Kf8 27.Qf7#; 26... Kg7 as in A.1) 27.Nxb7 + - [2P] and a number of threats.

A.4.b) 25... Kf6 26.Rf3+ Ke7 27.Ng7, with the double mate threat Qe6 and Rf7, looks winning (27... Rc8 28.Rf7+ Kd8 29.Qxd7#).

A.4.c) 25... Kg8 26.Nxd8+ and mate as in A.1.

A.4.d) 25... Kh7 26.Rh3+ Kg8 27.Nxd8+ Kf8(g7) 28.Qf7#.

A.4.e) 25... Kh6 26.Rh3#.

B) 23... Kg8 24.Rxd7 (24.Re7 Nb6 looks more complex but also winning)

B.1) 24... exd4 25.Qd5+ Kf8 26.Qf7#.

B.2) 24... Rxd7 25.Qxd7 exd4 26.Qd5+ Kf8 (26... Kh7 27.Rh3+ Kg7 28.Qxd4+ wins; 26... Kg7 27.Qxd4+ + - [2P] and attack) 27.Rf3+

B.2.a) 27... Ke8 28.Qe4+ followed by Qxd4+ + - [2P] and attack.

B.2.b) 27... Ke7 28.Rf7+ Ke8 29.Qd7#.

B.2.c) 27... Kg7 28.Qf7+ Kh6 29.Rh3+ Kg5 30.Qd5+ followed by Qxd4+ wins the rook.

C) 23... Kh6 24.Rh3+ Kg5 25.Ne6+ Kg4 26.Qe2#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: 27.Ng7 in my line A.4.b loses to 27... Rdf8 according to Stockfish.

I discarded Nc5 too quickly probably because the pattern

click for larger view

is a bit unusual to me.

Mar-12-17  nazgulord: Wow, what a combo!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  steinitzfan: To get the attack rolling here is easy. To see that it succeeds -- difficult.
Mar-12-17  TORRIDON: Isn't 27. Nc7 even quicker mate? It covers e8 usefully.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: 6/7 for the week, but did solve the Sunday puzzle. On to Monday!
Mar-14-17  Abdel Irada: ∞

It appears that I *have* missed some hidden depths. I glanced at 27. Nc5!, but never analyzed it properly to see that it wins.

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