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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Attacking With Vladimir Vukovic

     Vladimir Vukovic (August 26, 1898 -November 18, 1975) was a Yugoslav (Croatian) chess writer, theoretician, player, arbiter and journalist. Chessmetrics assigns him his highest rating of 2559 on its rating list of August 1926 placing him at number 33 in world. 
     Vukovic edited the monthly chess magazine Sahovski Glasnik (Chess Journal), the official periodical of the Yugoslavian chess federation. Although he authored Razvoj sahovskih ideja (The development of chess ideas) and The Chess Sacrifice, he is best known today as the author of the widely regarded classic The Art of Attack in Chess, which expounds the both the basic principles as well as complex forms of attack on the King. If you've never read the book it's worth the investment even if it does contain analytical errors which are readily pointed out by engines. That doesn't really matter because the book shows you ideas that work against humans. 

     At Debrecen 1925, Hans Kmoch had what was probably his finest result, winning by a margin of 1.5 points. He and Geza Nagy were the leaders at the halfway point with 4.5-1.5 scores, but then both lost in round 7 and Johner took over the lead, but then he ended up falling back after drawing with Gruenfeld and losing to Tartakower. 
     In round 8 Nagy and Kmoch drew against each other giving both of them a score of 5-3. Then something amazing happened! Kmoch won 5 games in a row while Nagy lost 5 in a row! 
     It was an odd tournament in that only five players finished over 50 percent while nine of the players finished with minus scores. 

     In the following game Vukovic demonstrated how to conduct a classic attack using a Rook to control the open h-file.

Vladimir Vukovic - Arpad Vajda

Result: 1-0

Site: Debrecen

Date: 1925

Queen's Gambit Declined

[...] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.♘c3 ♘f6 4.♗g5 ♘bd7 5.e3 ♗e7 6.♘f3 O-O 7.♖c1 c6 8.a3 a6 9.♕c2 dxc4 10.♗xc4 b5 11.♗a2 c5 12.♖d1
12.O-O ♗b7 13.dxc5 ♘xc5 14.♖fd1 ♕b6 15.♗b1 Now black should play 15...Nce4 with equality. Instead he played a natural looking move that turned out to be a losing blunder. 15...g6 16.b4 This is the only move that wins! 16...♘ce4 17.♘xe4 ♗xe4 18.♕b2 ♗xb1 19.♗xf6 ♗xf6 20.♕xf6 ♗f5 21.♘e5 ♖a7 22.♘d7 ♕d8 23.♕xd8 ♖xd8 24.♘f6+ ♔g7 25.♘h5+ gxh5 26.♖xd8 Black resigned. Bitkinin,L (2128) -Yaksin,O (2322)/Kazan 2008
(12.dxc5 ♗xc5 13.♗b1 g6±) 12...c4 Black will come to regret this because it releases the pressure on the center. He had two reasonable moves: 12...b4 and 12...cxd4 13.♗b1 h6 A risky move! Better was 13...Bb7 with approximate equality. (13...♗b7 14.e4 ♘h5 15.♗xe7 ♕xe7 16.O-O ♖ad8 17.♖fe1 with equal chances.) 14.h4 Is it OK for black to take the offered B or is it better to decline it? Komodo doesn't think it matters much evaluating both moves at abour 1.25 Ps in white's favor. 14...♖e8 For a human this is no doubt the best move!
14...hxg5 Stockfish on the other hand soundly condemns this move. After 15.hxg5 Threatening mate on h7 15...g6 16.♘e5 Even better than Vukovic's recommended 16.gxf6 16...♘xe5 17.dxe5 ♘d7 18.♕e4 and black has to surrender the R with 18...Kg7 or else 18...♖b8 19.♕h4 mates next move.
15.♘e5 ♗b7 Black wisely refuses to take the offered B and hopes that eventually it will have to retreat. As it is, as a result of his 12th move black can only play for a Q-side counterattack, but in this position that takes way too much time and white is able to crank up his K-side pressure. 16.♖h3 This is a typical maneuver designed to get the R into play as quickly as possible. From here the R can go to g3 if required. If not, it makes room to double on the h-file if required. 16...♘f8 Black has no good answer to the threat of Bxh6
16...♗xg2 is successfully mey by 17.♖g3 hxg5 18.hxg5 ♗b7 19.g6 ♖f8 20.gxf7+ ♖xf7 21.♘xf7 and white has won the exchange because if 21...♔xf7 22.♕g6+ mates in two.
17.♗xh6 ♘h5
17...gxh6 18.♖g3+ ♘g4 19.♘xg4 wins for white. 19...♘g6 20.♘xh6+ ♔f8 21.♘xf7 etc.
18.♕e2 g6
18...♗xg2 is still unplayable because after 19.♕xh5 ♘g6 (19...♗xh3 20.♕xf7+ mate next move.) 20.♘xf7 ♕c7 (20...♔xf7 21.♕xg6+ mate next move.) 21.♗xg7 and wins.
19.g4 ♘g7 20.h5 ♗f6 Now all that is left is for white to begin mop up operations.
20...f6 doesn't change the outcome of the game 21.♘xg6 ♗d6 22.♗xg7 ♔xg7 23.h6+ ♔g8 24.♕c2 ♘h7 and now the quickest win is 25.♘e5 ♖e7 26.♕g6+ ♔f8 27.g5 and there is no way for black to save the game.
21.hxg6 ♗xe5 22.gxf7+ ♔xf7 (22...♔h8 23.♗f4+ ♘h5 24.♗xe5+ ♕f6 25.♗xf6#) 23.dxe5 ♕a5 24.e4 ♖e7 25.♗g5 ♖d7 26.♕f3+ ♔g8 27.♗f6 b4 28.axb4 ♕xb4 29.♖xd7 ♘xd7 30.♕e3 ♕f8 31.♕g5 ♘c5 32.♕g6 ♖a7
32...♘d7 is met by 33.g5 ♘xe5 34.♗xe5 ♖d8 35.♖h7 ♖d7 36.♘d5 c3 37.♗xg7 ♖xg7 38.♖xg7+ ♕xg7 39.♘f6+ ♔h8 40.♕e8+ ♕f8 41.♕xf8#
33.♖h7 ♗c6
33...♗a8 doesn't improve anything 34.♕h6 ♘d3+ 35.♗xd3 cxd3 36.g5 ♗xe4 37.♘xe4 ♕b4+ 38.♘d2 ♕e4+ 39.♘xe4 d2+ 40.♘xd2 a5 41.♖xg7+ ♖xg7 42.♕xg7#
34.♕h6 Black resigned. A forceful game by Vukovic.
34.♕h6 ♘d3+ 35.♗xd3 cxd3 36.♖h8+ ♔f7 37.♖xf8+ ♔xf8 38.♕h8+ ♔f7 39.♕xg7+ ♔e8 40.♕g8+ ♔d7 41.♕d8#
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