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Yaroslav Zherebukh vs Hikaru Nakamura
US Championship (2017), St Louis, MO USA, rd 10, Apr-08
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical. Flohr Variation (B18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <Gilmoy: Black also threatens 22..Qxg3 :) and the weak back rank trumps any recapture.>

What about Qxg3, 23. Qe8+ Rxe8 24. fxg3 Rh8 25. Kf8? I admit that's just a temporary distraction, though because it leaves white a piece down.

Apr-15-17  protonchess: Qe2 can be answered by Re8, because both Nf6 and Bg6 guard that square. Or even better, Kg8! followed by Bf7.
Apr-15-17  not not: I put it in computer - the position after e6 sacrifice - and you are right, machine likes black better - slight advantage for black
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why didn't black play 20...Ng4, one move earlier with the same threat? If 21. Rxd7, then 21...Qxd7 22. Rd1 Qf5 (or 22...Qc7 23. Qa8+ Qb8 24. Qxb8+ Kxb8) 23. Qa8+ Kc7 24. Qxh8 Qxf2#.
Sep-27-18  nalinw: Given Blacks 20th move Stockfish chooses

20... Ng4 at an eval of -2.89

but given White's 21st move after

20.... e3 the eval is -3.88

Is this kind of difference reasonable for this kind of position?

Sep-27-18  landshark: My choice was 18...Rxh2 19. Rfd1 Rdh8 20. Qxa7 Ng4 21. Kf1 Nb6 - Winning for Black? Maybe, but not as incisive as the game continuation 20 -e3! I stared at this for quite a while and knew that -e3 was in the air, but just couldn't see how it worked at that point -
Sep-27-18  Count Wedgemore: <al wazir: Why didn't black play 20...Ng4, one move earlier with the same threat?>

He certainly could have. Both 20...e3 and 20...Ng4 are completely winning. But any other move and Black's advantage slips away. For instance: 20...Ne5? 21. Bd5 Nxd5 22. Rxd5 Nc6 23. Qa8+ Qb8 24. Qxb8+ Kxb8 and the position looks equal.

Sep-27-18  Walter Glattke: 18.-Rxh2 19.Kxh2? Ng4+ / 22.Qf3 Qxg3 23.Qxg3 Rh1# / 21.Rxd7 Nxd7 22.fxe3 Rxa1 2R for B+P
Sep-27-18  offramp: I play this as Black. I means I don't have to learn any opening theory.

click for larger view

White is just about level. The best thing he can do is develop, perhaps 14.Be3 is best. He played
14.Nxg6? and after 14...hxg6

click for larger view

...he was lost. Black has too many attacking options.

White players often play N (or B) takes Bg6. They seem to forget that the WSB on g6 is a load of rubbish, and that Black doesn't want it. "It'll do no harm to swap it off," forgetting that the h-file is now WIDE open.

Sep-27-18  saturn2: I considered 18...Rxh2 19. Nxe4 Rdh8 20. f3 Nxe4 21. fxe4 Rxg2+ 22. Kxg2 Qh2+

It might go on like
23. Kf3 Rh3+ 24. Kg4 Qg2+ 25. Kf4 g5+ 26. Kf5 g6#

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a knight for a bishop.

White threatens Qxa7 and Bxf7 (Nxe4 Qxh2#).

The possibility of attacking the white king with four pieces suggests 18... Rxh2:

A) 19.Kxh2 Ng4+ wins decisive material.

B) 19.Qxa7 Rdh8 (threatens 19... Rh1+ 20.Nxh1 Qh2#)

B.1) 20.Rfd1 Ng4 (threatens 20... Rh1+ 20.Nxh1 Rxh1+ 21.Kxh1 Qh2#)

B.1.a) 21.Qa8+ Nb8 22.Kf1 Ne3+ 23.fxe3 (else loses an exchange at least) 23... Qxg3 looks winning (24.Rd2 Rh1+ 25.Ke2 Qxg2#).

B.1.b) 21.Kf1 Nb6 22.Qa5 (due to Qc5; 22.Ke2 Rxg2 23.Rf1 Qc5 seems to win) 22... Ne3+ as above.

B.2) 20.Rfe1 Ng4 21.Kf1 e3 looks very good for Black (22.fxe3 Qxg3 wins; 22.Ne2 Rh1+ 23.Ng1 Rxg1+ 24.Kxg1 Rh1+ 25.Kxh1 Qh2#).

B.3) 20.Qa8+ Nb8 looks similar to previous lines.

C) 19.Bxf7 Rdh8 20.Rfd1 Ng4 21.Qxa7 Rh1+ and mate in two.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The first move of today's Thursday puzzle (18...Rxh2!) was easy for me due to the royal, Knight fork threat 18...Rxh2! 19. Kxh2? Ng4+ -+ (-8.32 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 9).

If 18...Rxh2! 19. Kxh2? Ng4+ -+ (-8.32 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 9), play might continue 20. Kg1 (20. Kh3? Rh8+! 21. Kxg4 Nf6+ 22. Kg5 Qe5+ 23. Nf5 Qx5#) 20...Nxe3 (diagram below)

click for larger view

21. fxe3 (21. Re1 Nf5 -+, -8.60 @ 27 ply) 21...Qxg3 -+ (-62.00 @ 25 ply, Stockfish 9).

In the actual game, after 18...Rxh2!, White put up the strongest possible defense with 19. Rfd1 allowing 19...Rdh8! -+ (-2.90 @ 39 ply, Stockfish 9).

While 19...Rdh8! may be the strongest move available, it is not the only winning continuation. The simple reply 19...Kb8 20. Nf1 Rh4 -+ (-2.65 @ 39 ply, Stockfish 9), with the idea of holding an extra Black pawn going into the endgame, also wins.

P.S.: So where did White go wrong?

At evaluations below 30 ply, the computer indicates the losing move was 17. Qe2? allowing 17...Bxe3! -+ (-2.72 @ 30 ply, Stockfish 9). However, after deeper analysis of the best play line 17. Qf4 Bd6 18. Qg5 Ne5 19. Rad1 Nh7! 20. Qh4 f5 21. Bf4 Nd3 -+ (-1.78 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 9) it appears White is still on the brink of losing.

So for a last best chance improvement for White, 14. Qe2 Ne5 15. Nxg6 = (+0.18 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 9) is surely better than the game continuation 14. Nxg6?! hxg6 ⩱ (-0.56 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 9).

Sep-27-18  Karne: Glorious game from Hikaru.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The move I enjoyed most was 20...e3!, threatening the game continuation 20. Qxe3? Ng4 -+ when White must surrender the Queen to avoid a quick mate (e.g. 21. Qe4? Rh1+ 22. Nxh1 Rxh1+ 23. Kxh1 Qh2#).

After 20...e3!, the computer indicates White's best is 21. Qa8+ Nb8 22. Rd4 R2h4! 23. Rad1 (23.Rxh4 exf2+! 24. Kxf2 Rxh4 -+) 23...e2! 24. Rxh4 exd1(Q)+ 25. Bxd1 Rxh4 ( -+ (-5.26 @ 31 ply, Stockfish 9) with a clear win for Black.

Sep-27-18  Madman99X: Ironically, Houdini 6 gives Qe8+ as white's best move in the ending position. You know you're in trouble when the engine suggests a spite check.
Sep-27-18  Strelets: <Madman99X> Words to live by.
Sep-27-18  NBZ: <al wazir: Why didn't black play 20...Ng4, one move earlier with the same threat?>

I thought it was because White can play 21. Kf1. Black can still win by 21. ... e3 but the game continuation is cleaner in my opinion.

Oct-04-18  nalinw: Still in repeating mode
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Begin Again (Redemption):

Oct-04-18  Walter Glattke: CG, the colleagues of that Begin Again band, wants to know D) 19.Nxe4, e.g. 19.-Ng4 20.Qg3. Looks nice, but Maybe not correct.
Oct-04-18  gofer: <Booo! Shame! Shame!>
Oct-04-18  Walter Glattke: D) Black wins a piece with 19.Nxe4 Rh1+ 20.Kxh1 Rh8+ 21.Qh3 (21.Kg1 Qh2#) 21.-Rxh3+ 22.gxh3 Nxe4
Oct-04-18  saturn2: <Walter Glattke Black wins a piece with 19.Nxe4 Rh1+ >

Yes. Otherwise after

18...Rxh2 19. Nxe4 Nxe4 20. Qxe4 is not possible

because of 20.. Rh1+ 21. Kxh1 Rh8+ 22. Qh4 Rxh4+ etc.

I missed this when I posted the answer 19.Nxe4 last week.

Oct-04-18  sethoflagos: It's been a while since I looked at one of these, so it felt good to spot that 18...Rxh2 19.Kxh2 Ng4+ =carnage fairly quickly.

19...Rdh8 looked a fast enough attack to have the king struggling for an escape route after any other continuation. Fast enough not to worry about dropping the odd pawn here or there anyway.

Aug-19-22  GlennOliver: 22. ... Qg3 followed by
23. ... Ng4

looks appealing for Black, but ends in at best a draw.

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