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Friday, May 7, 2021

Two GMs Run Over At Palma 1966

     At the 1966 Palma International tournament GM Arturo Pomar got run over by a bull and GM Lajos Portisch got run over by an unknown Spanish master. 
     In Pomar's case the players got to visit a bull fighting and training facility where Mikhail Tal and Pomar courageously stood face to face with a bull, albeit a small one about the size of a donkey. Tal executed some classic bull fighter moves, but Pomar wasn't so lucky. The bull knocked him down and ran over him! Fortunately he was not hurt. 
     Most of the participants arrived in Palma straight from the Chess Olympiad that had taken place between October 23 and November 20, 1966, in Havana. Tal won the Palma tournament cleanly, scoring six successive wins at the start and only in the 7th round was he "stopped" when Matanovic held him to a draw. He did get challenged a bit when Pomar won two games in a row beating Portisch and Trifunovic. The fight for first was finally settled when Pomar lost his game against Dr. Heinz Lehmann.
     The virtually unknown Spanish master Augusto Menvielle Laccourreye (born 1938) had a real shot at gaining the IM title. In the process he engineered one of the most sensational wins in the tournament. In his game against Portisch (at the time one of the best players in the world) Menvielle played for a win from move one when he met Portisch's Sicilian with the Wing Gambit! His play was unsound, but violent, and it worked! 

     In the last round he needed a win against Pomar for his IM title. He tried by playing the Dutch Defense, but could only draw and the title eluded him. Today he holds the FIDE Master title.

Augusto Menvielle Laccourreye - Lajos Portisch

Result: 1-0

Site: Palma

Date: 1966.12.15

Sicilian Wing Gambit Deferred

[...] 1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 e6 3.b4 This delayed variation of the wing gambit is better than playing it immediately (2.b4) because black has already committed his P-structure with ...e6. Menvielle was harshly criticized by some for playing such a reckless choice against the mighty Portisch, but it worked. 3...cxb4 4.d4 d5 5.e5 This position resembles a French Defense except that black has an extra P. White hoped to use his extra space to generate a K-side attack. In his account of the tournament Yugoslav GM Trifunovic was extremely harsh in his criticism of white's opening claiming that black has a nearly winning position, but Stockfish puts black's advantage at a more realistic 0.69 whereas Komodo 12 evaluates the position at nearly 0.00. 5...b6 6.♗b5+
6.a3 ♗a6 7.♗xa6 ♘xa6 8.c3 is equal. Prusikin,M (2502)-Goldstern,F (2384)/Zurich 2001
6...♗d7 7.♗d3 ♘c6 8.a3 Frank Marshall ( a specialist in the WIng Gambit) often played a3 in order to open the a-file and to get his Q-side pieces into play.
8.O-O ♘ge7 9.♘bd2 ♘g6 10.g3 ♗e7 11.h4 O-O 12.♘b3 a5 13.♗e3 Black is better. Rahls,P (2340) -Hodgson,J (2535)/Biel Open 1992
8...♘ge7 9.c3 This is inconsistent with his last move because after black's reply the a-file remains closed. 9...bxc3 10.♘xc3 h6 Preventing Ng5 which could prove unpleasant. 11.O-O ♘g6 12.♘b5 A time waster. 12...a6 13.♘c3 ♘h4 The threat is simple, ...Nxf3+ and ...Nxd4 14.♗e3 b5 Black prevents the advance of the a-Pawn and Rb1 with pressure on the b-file, but white is unconcerned about such strategy because he going for the throat. 15.♘xh4 ♕xh4 16.f4 g6 17.♔h1 Preparing for the advance of the g-Pawn. 17...h5 Which Portisch prevents. 18.f5 White had some positional plans, but he doesn't care to pussy foot around with such trifles. 18...gxf5 19.♗xf5 ♗h6
19...exf5 is just too dangerous. 20.♘xd5 and black's K is exposed and white has threats like Nb7+ or even Nf6+. Black's best chance is 20...O-O-O but after 21.♖f4 ♕g5 22.a4 white has the upper hand.
20.g3 ♕e7 21.♕xh5 This is a bad move that allows black to gain a clear advantage.
21.♗xh6 ♖xh6 22.♗c2 Black is slightly better, but white would still have some chance owing to the somewhat exposed black K.
21...♗g7 allows 22.♗h7 ♕f8 23.♖ac1 ♘e7 24.g4 and white still has a dangerous attack.
22.♘xd5 ♗xe3 23.♘f6+ ♔e7 24.♕f3 This allows black a crushing reply, but white is already lost...the end is only a matter of time. 24...♕h6 Crushing.
24...♗xd4 is less good. but still winning. 25.♘xd7 ♕h6 and wins.
25...♔xd7 This is bad because after the best line 26.♖ac1 ♗c5 27.♗xe6+ ♔c7 28.♕g2 ♔b6 29.♖xf7 when in this complicated position both sides have chances.
25.♖a2 ♖a7 A blunder. He had three perfectly good moves that keep the win in hand.
25...♘xd4 Best. 26.♕b7 ♘xf5 27.♕xd7+ ♔f8 28.♖xf5 exf5 29.♘d5 ♖e8 and wins
25...exf5 Not quite as effective, but still good enough. 26.♕xe3 ♕xe3 27.♘d5+ ♔f8 28.♘xe3 ♘xd4 with a won position.
(25...♗xd4 26.♗xe6 fxe6 27.♘xd7 ♔xd7 28.♖c2 ♖hc8 with a won position.) 26.♗e4 ♘xd4 Black's position is now lost, but there was nothing better.
26...♘d8 27.♘g4 ♕g5 28.♘xe3 and white has regained his piece and has a decisive advantage.
27.♘g8+ Nifty! 27...♖xg8
27...♔d8 28.♘xh6 ♘xf3 29.♘xf7+ ♔e7 30.♖xf3 ♖f8 31.♖xe3 ♖xf7 32.♖c2 is winning for white
28.♕xf7+ ♔d8 29.♕xg8+ ♔c7 30.♖f7 In his notes to this game Trifunovic mistakenly gave this move a ! when, in fact, it deserves a ? because it throws away all of white;s advantage. Trifunovic incorrectly claimed that black has no defense against the coming Rxd7+
30.♖d1 is correct. Then after 30...♘b3 31.♖c2+ ♗c5 32.♖c3 ♕h5 33.♗f3 ♕xe5 34.♖xb3 white wins
30...♕h5 Portisch misses his chance to equalize.
30...♕g5 results in complete equality whether white trades Qs or not. 31.♕h7 ♕d8 32.a4 bxa4 33.♖a3 ♘b3 with a complicated, unclear position.
31.♖xd7+ After this black is dead lost and white concludes the game accurately. 31...♔xd7 32.♕g7+ ♔d8 33.♕xa7 ♕xe5 34.♕a8+ ♔e7 35.♕b7+ ♔d8 36.♕a8+ ♔e7 37.♕b7+ ♔d8 38.♖a1 ♕f6 39.♕xa6 ♕f2 40.♕d6+
40.♕d6+ ♔c8 Black gets mated in 12 moves after 40. ..Ke8 41.♕e7 ♗d2 42.♗b7+ ♔b8 43.♗g2 ♔c8 44.♕e8+ ♔c7 45.♕e7+ ♔c8 46.♖f1 wins
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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Keres' Last Tournament

     The games of some players just never grow old because their games are, if not instructive, just enjoyable to play over. One such player was Paul Keres (January 7, 1916 – June 5, 1975, age 59) who was among the world's top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s. 
     In 1974 his health declined to the point that he did not play any major tournaments that year. Vancouver 1975 was the first big class tournament in Canada; it took place from May 17 to 25. 
     Ten rounds were played in nine days and against doctors' orders, Keres played and went through the tournament without any strain.
     An amusing anecdote is that the scoresheets used were new fangled no-carbon ones and for unknown reasons, perhaps lack of trust in them, Keres made duplicate copies of his scoresheets. 
     Keres defeated Denis Allen, James McCormick, Craig Barnes, Bruce Harper, John Watson, Peter Cleghorn and Walter Browne. He was held to draws by Gyozo Forintos, Elod Macskasy and Duncan Suttles. Keres died of a heart attack in Helsinki while returning to Estonia from Vancouver. 
     In the last game of his life he defeated Walter Browne in the last round. In the following game he handily defeats John Watson, a US National Master at the time.

Paul Keres - John Watson

Result: 1-0

Site: Vancouver Open

Date: 1975

Torre Attack

[...] 1.d4 ♘f6 2.♘f3 c5 In the Torre Attack white aims for quick and harmonious development. He bolsters P s4 Pawn with c2–c3, then often enforces e2–e4 to obtain attacking chances on the K-side. White's exact strategy will depend on the type of setup black employs. 3.c3 b6 Here black develops according to the Q-Indian scheme in an attempt to control e4. 4.♗g5 e6 5.♘bd2 h6
5...♗b7 6.e4 h6 7.♗xf6 ♕xf6 is equal. Drozdov,A (2347)-Bykhovsky,A (2455)/Tel Aviv 2002
6.♗xf6 ♕xf6 7.e4 cxd4 8.cxd4 with equality. Olbrich,M (2295)-Paehtz,E (2340)/Dresden 2000
6...♗e7 7.e4 O-O 8.♗d3 ♗a6 This move exchanges off white's potentially dangerous B, but has the disadvantage of leaving his N misplaced and it's going to take him too much time to reposition it. It's interesting to note that even with his light squared B missing Keres is still able to mount a formidable K-side attack. (8...d5 9.e5 ♘fd7 10.♗xe7 ♕xe7 11.O-O ♗b7 with equality.)
8...♗b7 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.e5 ♘h5 11.♗xe7 ♕xe7 12.O-O d6 13.exd6 ♕xd6 14.♗e4 Even with the isolated c-Pawn black has achieved equality.
9.♗xa6 ♘xa6 10.e5 ♘e8 11.♗xe7 ♕xe7 12.♕a4 Watch how Keres' Q as if by magic ends up harassing black's K on the other side of the board. 12...♘ec7 13.♘e4 cxd4 14.♕xd4 ♘c5 15.♖d1
15.♘f6+ is interesting. If 15...gxf6 16.exf6 and black has to give up the Q to avoid mate.
15.♘f6+ ♔h8 After this white has no more than equality after 16.♘h5 ♖fd8 17.O-O
15...♘xe4 16.♕xe4 ♖fd8 17.O-O d5 18.♕g4 Technically the position is equal, but it's amazing to watch Keres built up a K-side attack with so little material especially with his light squared B missing. 18...♕c5 19.♘d4 ♖e8 This is the beginning of black's downfall because it's a waste of time and removing the guard from the f-Pawn will have consequences. The immediate 19...Nb5 was correct.
19...♘b5 20.♘b3 ♕c4 equalizes 21.f4 a5 22.♖f3 a4 23.♖g3 g6 24.♘d2 ♕c5+ 25.♔h1 a3 and with careful defense black has sufficient play. Here's how Stockfish conducted a Shootout... 26.f5 exf5 27.♕xf5 ♕e7 28.bxa3 ♖xa3 29.e6 ♕xe6 30.♕xe6 fxe6 31.♖xg6+ ♔h7 32.♖xe6 ♘xc3 33.♖c1 d4 34.h3 ♖d7 35.♖xb6 ♖xa2 36.♘f3 ♘d5 37.♖b3 ♘f4 38.♖d1 d3 39.♘e5 ♖da7 40.♘xd3 ♖d7 41.♘f2 ♖xd1+ 42.♘xd1 draw
20.♖d3 The R joins the attack. 20...♘b5 21.♖g3 g6 The weakness of black's K is fatal as he has no pieces that can readily come to the Ks defense. 22.♘b3 ♕e7 (22...♕c4 is no longer effective because of 23.f4) 23.h4 ♔h7 24.♖f3 ♖ec8 His best chance was 24...h5 stopping the advance of white's h-Pawn. 25.♖f4 a5 26.h5 g5 This only results in a further weakening of his K.
26...♖g8 was relatively best. Then after 27.♕f3 ♖af8 28.♕e3 black can hang on with 28...f5
27.♖f6 ♖c4 28.f4 ♖g8 29.♘d2 The N joining in the attack will result in a quick end. 29...gxf4
29...♖g7 There is no salvation in sacrificing the exchange. 30.♘xc4 ♕c5+ 31.♔h2 ♕xc4 32.♖xh6+ ♔xh6 33.fxg5+ ♔h7 34.g6+ fxg6 35.hxg6+ ♔h6 36.♕h3+ ♔g5 37.♕e3+ ♔h5 38.♖f4 and wins
30.♖xh6+ Perhaps an elementary tactic, but still stunning. 30...♔xh6 31.♕xg8 ♕c5+ 32.♔h2 ♕e3
32...♕c8 33.♕xf7 ♕e8 34.♕xe8 ♔g7 35.♘xc4 ♘d4 36.cxd4 f3 37.♖xf3 a4 38.♕g6+ ♔h8 39.♖f8#
33.♕h8+ Black resigned. (33.♕h8+ ♔g5 34.♘f3+ ♕xf3 35.gxf3 ♔h4 36.♖g1 f5 37.♕f6+ ♔xh5 38.♕g5#)
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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Do You Like Sacrifices?

     If you do, you'll like the following game from a tournament in Parana, Argentina in 1949 between Raul Sanguinetti and Paul Michel. Using an opening that was considered inferior for many years the 16-year old Sanguinetti's sacrifices destroyed the position of black's King. 
     Raul Sanguinetti was born in Parana on February 2, 1933. He won the Argentine Championship seven times (1956, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1973 and 1974) and scored many successes in South American tournaments and the Olympiads in a career that stretched into the late 1970s. FIDE awarded him the Grandmaster title in 1982. He passed away in Buenos Aires at the age of 67 on August 6, 2000.
     IM Paul (Pablo) Michel (December27, 1905 – September 14, 1977) was a German-Argentine master. In August–September 1939, he was a member of the German team at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. He played at second board (+3 –0 =11), and won team gold medal. When World War II was broke out, Michel along with all German players (Eliskases, Engels, Becker, Reinhardt) decided to stay permanently in Argentina.

Raul Sanguineti - Paul Michel

Result: 1-0

Site: Parana

Date: 1949

French Defense

[...] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.♘c3 ♘f6 4.e5 ♘fd7 5.♘ce2 c5 6.c3 ♘c6
6...cxd4 was suggested by Pirc 15 years earlier with his analysis running 7.cxd4 f6 8.f4 with complications.
7.f4 f6 8.♘f3 cxd4 This is questionable as black should postpone exchanges in the center.
8...♕b6 9.a3 Introduced by Spielmann. 9...♗e7 with equal chances.
9.cxd4 ♗b4+ 10.♘c3
10.♗d2 ♗xd2+ 11.♕xd2 O-O 12.h4 is equal. Ter-Sahakyan,S (2568)-Ravi,T (2302)/ Chennai 2013
10...fxe5 11.fxe5 O-O 12.♗e3
12.♗d3 ♖xf3 13.♕xf3 ♕h4+ 14.♔d1 ♘xd4 15.♕f4 ♕h5+ 16.g4 ♕xe5 17.♖f1 ♕xf4 18.♗xf4 and black is better. Minasian,A (2580)-Lputian,S (2580)/Erevan 1996
12...♘b6 This is actually black best move and it's sufficient to maintain equality.
12...♗e7 Fortifying the position of black's K was suggested at the time, but the move is actually a mistake. After 13.♗d3 ♘b4 14.♗b1 ♖f7 15.h4 White has the makings of a strong K-side attack.
13.♗d3 ♘c4 14.♗xc4 dxc4 The exchange of white's B looks like a success for black, but the disadvantage is that he has lost time. Additionally, black is hindered by the need to defend his c-Pawn. 15.O-O ♘e7 16.♕e2 Black should now play 16...Nf5 and then ...Bd7. 16...♗xc3 17.bxc3 ♕c7 This fatally misplaces his Q.
17...♗d7 18.♘g5 h6 19.♖xf8+ ♕xf8 20.♖f1 ♕e8 21.♘f7 ♘f5 22.♘d6 ♘xd6 23.exd6 ♕g6 24.♕xc4 ♖f8 25.♖xf8+ ♔xf8 would have at least offered him some chances of defending.
18.♘g5 It's something of a surprise that this attack is so strong even without white's light squared B. The main reason for white's successful attack is his control of the f-file. From now on be on the lookout for sacrifices! 18...♗d7 19.♕h5 h6 20.♖f7 ♕d8 This loses brilliantly, but he was already lost.
20...hxg5 was relatively best, but after 21.♖xe7 ♖ae8 22.♖xg7+ ♔xg7 23.♗xg5 ♗c6 24.♗f6+ ♖xf6 25.exf6+ ♔xf6 26.♖f1+ white wins
(20...♗e8 is met by 21.♖xf8+ ♔xf8 22.♘xe6+ ♔g8 23.♕g4 and wins) 21.♖af1 The bombardment begins... three sacrifices in a row. 21...♘f5
21...hxg5 is met by 22.♗xg5 and now his best chance is 22...♘f5 23.♗xd8 ♖xf7 24.♗g5 ♖af8 but even here white has a winning advantage.
22.♖1xf5 exf5 23.♖xg7+ ♔xg7 White has but one winning move and Samguinetti finds it. 24.♘e6+ Brilliant! 24...♗xe6 25.♗xh6+ ♔h7 26.♗g5+ White wins not only the Q, but also the B. 26...♔g7 27.♕h6+ ♔f7 28.♗xd8 ♖axd8 29.♕f6+ ♔g8 30.♕xe6+ ♔g7 31.♕e7+
31.♕e7+ ♔g6 32.♕xb7 ♖f7 33.♕c6+ and the Rs are no match for the Q and Ps.
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