Monday, May 26, 2014

Sixty Memorable Annotations

#27: Reshevsky - Kotov, Zurich 1953

22 Nxd4
"The triumph of good development and precise play.
With an extra pawn and the better position, the rest is a matter of technique."

Miguel Najdorf, Zurich 1953 (Russell Enterprises Inc)

And so we reach the end of my little trilogy of posts (On Plans and Advice for Beginners; BORP? XXX) on an exchange sacrifice that never happened. Reshevsky didn't play it, Najdorf doesn’t mention it as a possibility in Zurich 1953 and neither does Bronstein in Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953.

Was 22 Rxd4 not worth thinking about at all?

Recently Angus and I have been meeting up at the local coffee house to play through some games from Zurich ’53. One time we picked Reshevsky - Kotov to look at and when we got to move 22 ...

White to play

... we stumbled upon an opportunity for some ISE practice.

With Karpov-Malaniuk in mind (Back in the USSR), it occurred to me that White could try capturing on d4 with the rook instead of the knight. It seemed that Black would have to take the material and yet after 22 Rxd4 Bxd4, 23 Qxd4 there would be a pretty good chance that he would get killed on the long diagonal.

We flicked out a few more moves - 23 ... Bc6, 24 Qc3 Rxe4, 25 Rxe4 Bxe4, 26 Bb2 f6, 27 Ng5

Black to play

bringing us to the position we had on the blog a couple of weeks ago. Angus suggested a couple of possible defensive ideas for Black and I remember asking (myself as much as him),

'Why bother with any of this when you can just win a pawn?'

So we didn’t bother. We moved on. We Didn’t Analyse Unnecessary Tactics. It was only later on that some silicon-assisted analysis proved to me that Rxd4 was also winning for White after all.

I suppose Nxd4 is the practical choice for a real game. Especially if you are approaching time trouble as Reshevsky apparently was.

Shame really. The exchange sac is a very nice idea. It does require a certain amount of calculation, though - our starting position from BORP? XXX is 10 moves away - and as Nunn points out, tactical analysis is an error prone activity. My last couple of posts certainly prove that. The irony is, the errors in my analysis were nearly all failing to spot winning ideas for White, rather than overlooking good defensive tries for Black.

2014 ISE Count: 39
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Derek Cauliflower said...

I have mulled over the position for several hours. I had several short breaks during which I drank generous quantities of ribena and brandy. After this period of reflection I came to the conclusion that I have no idea what I would do (or what day it is for that matter). I am now about to fold some cardboard boxes while I writhe around in agony. I shall also create some more sock puppets which I will us the next time I am down at the chess club. Rhubarb anyone?

Anonymous said...

Coming soon!
New line of chess t-shirts in various colours (Red, Blue, Green).
Emblazoned with the text:
Attention all Ray Keane fans, please place orders! They will sell out fast...

Jonathan B said...

Is that apropos of anything to do with this post Nonny?

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall some Karpov game in "Play like a Grandmaster" quite relevant to this post. Something along the lines of GM kibitzers getting very excited about the possibility of an exchange sac, which got the post-game response by Karpov of "Sacrifice? Why?".


ejh said...

Yup. It's diagram 48, page 70 in my old Batsford paperback. Position after Black's 26th here. See comment for 24 November 2005, or below here:

The grandmasters in the press centre were having a lively discussion about the possibility of an exchange sacrifice on f6...and decided that White would have a dangerous attack.

"Sacrifice? Why?" was Karpov's reaction..."There is a regrouping available that underlines straightaway the hopelessness of Black's position."

Jonathan B said...

Thanks for the tip off Richard. That’s very helpful.