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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Keres Crushes Lutikov

     In his 1945 book Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, George Orwell wrote about how the animals of Manor Farm overthrew their human masters and renamed the property Animal Farm. 
     They adopted the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is: All animals are equal. However, the animals were betrayed by their leaders, the pigs, and their revolutionary commandments were rewritten and compressed into one: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
     Likewise, in chess, some positions may be evaluated as equal, but some are more equal than others. That's the case in the Keres vs. Lutikov game given below...see the note to black's 10th move. 

     The year 1971 was a monumental one. Chess lost six players: IM Hans Mueller (1896-1971), the 1947 Austrian champion. IM Emil Richter (1894-1971), the 1948 Czech champion. IM and Correspondence GM Olaf Barda (1909-1971), six time Norwegian champion. IM Carel van den Berg (1924-1971)vthe Dutch correspondence champion in 1943. Jose Joaqin Araiza Munoz (1900-1971), the Mexican champion in 1957. And, Soviet GM Alexander Zaitsev (1935-1971) died of a blood clot after having a leg lengthened. 
     The chess world is also feeling the effects of an event that took place that year. By 1967, a chess program developed at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics had defeated one of the programmers. Then, in 1971 at the Institute of Control Sciences its successor named Kaissa was introduced. In 1972 the program played a correspondence match against readers of a popular Russian newspaper which was won by the readers, 1.5-0.5. Kaissa became the first world computer chess champion in 1974 in Stockholm. 
     The success of Kaissa can be explained by the many innovations it introduced. It was the first program to use bitboards. It was also armed with a 10,000 move opening book and it had a novel algorithm for move pruning. Other features included searching during the opponent's move, null-move heuristics and it had algorithms for time management. All new stuff at the time. 
     The development of Kaissa was stopped the Soviet government in 1980 when the decision was made that the programmer's time was better spent working on practical projects. 
     In January, 1971, the top 10 players were Fischer (2740), Spassky (2690), Korchnoi (2660), Larsen (2660), Petrosian (2640), Portisch (2630), Botvinnik (2630), Geller (2630), Polugaevesky (2630) and Tal (2620). 
     Of course, the biggest news story that year started in June when Bobby Fischer crushed Mark Taimanov 6-0 in the Candidates match in Vancouver in what was the first shutout of a GM in history. 
     When Taimanov returned to the USSR he was banned from playing outside the country for several years and was stripped of his title Honored Master of Sport title. That wasn't punishment enough so he was not allowed to give any more piano concerts andwas banned from writing any articles and was deprived of his monthly stipend. 
     Then in July Fischer beat Bent Larsen in Denver with the score of 6-0. Finally, in October Fischer defeated Tigran Petrosian in the Candidates match in Buenos Aires by scoring 5 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss to become challenger for the world championship. For his punishment Petrosian was fired from his job as editor of the Russian chess magazine 64. 
     With all that going on there was a tournament in Parnu, Estonia that escaped notice. Parnu is a holiday resort on the Baltic Sea with a fairly long chess tradition. Next to Tallinn it is the most important chess center in Estonia. 
     Paul Keres once lived in Parnu and it was while living there that in 1929 he played in his first tournament and played hundreds of correspondence games; he was also living there when he won the championship of Estonia in 1935. 
     Parnu also has one of the oldest chess clubs in Estonia. Founded in 1896, the Club celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1971 with a jubilee tournament that pitted several Soviet GMs against some of the best Estonian masters. 
     In the following game Paul Keres (January 7, 1916 – June 5, 1975) played a crushing sacrifice against Anatoly Lutikov (February 5, 1933 - October 23, 1989). At the time Lutikov was an IM, but he was awarded the GM title in 1974. He won the Moldovan championship six times:1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1977.

Paul Keres - Anatoly Lutikov

Result: 1-0

Site: Parnu

Date: 1971

Ruy Lopez: Deferred Steinitz

[...] 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 a6 4.♗a4 d6 At the time this game was played the Steinitz Defense Deferred had recently become popular because it is solid positionally. Black gets a slightly cramped position, but he will have good counterchances in the middlegame and no positional weaknesses. 5.O-O At the time theory considered 5.Bxc6 to be one of the best lines for white, but curiously it was seldom played. 5...♘ge7 Black almost always plays either 5...Nf5 or 5...Bd7, but the idea behind 5...Nge7 is not bad. The idea is to play the N to g6 protect the important center square e5. At one time 5 . . . Bg4 6 h3 h5 was thought to be best for black, but by the time this game was played it was known to be too risky.
5...♗g4 6.h3 h5 7.♗xc6+ This gives better results than the more popular 7.d4
7.hxg4 is not a good idea as after 7...hxg4 8.d3 gxf3 9.♕xf3 ♕h4 10.♕h3 ♕xh3 11.gxh3 ♖xh3 black is better.
7...bxc6 8.d4 ♕f6 9.♘bd2 White is better.
6.d4 This offer od a P sacrifice is perfectly justified because it gives white a strong initiative. Being an aggressive player who did not like a passive defense, Lutikov declines the offer. 6...♘g6
6...exd4 7.c3 An interesting gambit. 7...dxc3 8.♘xc3 ♘g6 9.♘d4 ♗d7 10.♘f5 ♘ce7 11.♘d5 ♗xa4 12.♕xa4+ c6 13.♖e1 b5 14.♕a3 White has the advantage. Fedorov,V (2395)-Rios Parra,A (2285)/ Philadelphia 1992. Nite that black can't win the N with 14...cxd5 because wins wins after 15.♘xd6+ ♔d7 16.♘xf7
6...b5 7.♗b3 ♘xd4 8.♘xd4 exd4 9.c3 dxc3 10.♘xc3 ♘g6 11.f4 With a dangerous initiative. Kindermann,S (2530) -Castro Rojas,O (2320)/Novi Sad 1990
7.c4 Keres preferred this more aggressive moe to the then usual 7.c3 because it is obvious that black intendes to hold the strongpoint e5 at any cost. And, since Keres was not concerned about black playing ...exd4 he prepares to play d5 followed by c5 with Q-side play. 7...♗d7 8.♘c3 ♗e7 White has a difficult decision: Play 9.d5 and 10.b4 with play on the Q-side while black counters on the K-side with ... f5. Or, keep the position more open and use the d-file and place his N on the outpost d5. 9.dxe5 Keres opts for the latter plan because his pieces have more freedom and while both plans have their merits and the choice is a matter of taste, Keres, naturally, preferred the more open position. 9...♘gxe5 Keres thought 9...dxe5 was to be preferred because black's N already stands well on g6 while white's N on f3 blocks the Q's path to the K-side.
9...dxe5 10.h3 O-O 11.♗e3 ♗e6 12.♘d5 with only a very small advantage for white.
10.♘xe5 dxe5 White also gets the better game after 10...Nxe5. Keres makes the instructive comment that iIn this relatively quiet position, white has only slight positional advantages and it would seem that black should have little trouble equalizing. The engines agree, but Keres went on to point out that while this may be objectively true, experience had taught him that black will have to play very carefully and precisely to equalize fully. The reason is that the slightest inaccuracy on black's part can lead to very unpleasant consequences. He added that in practice positions like this are lost more often than you might think, especially by players who try to avoid a purely defensive game. In other words, positions are like pigs in that some positions are more equal than others. (10...♘xe5 11.f4 ♗xa4 12.♕xa4+ ♘d7 13.♗e3 O-O 14.♖ad1) 11.♗e3 O-O 12.♘d5 ♖c8 Keres did not like this move and his explanation is very instructive. Black wants to case his cramped position by playing ...Bg5 and in order to do that he needs to have his c-Pawn protected in case white exchanges Bs. Keres points out that black's plan easily thwarted, and the move 12...Rc8 in no way improves his position. The general rule in cramped positions is to try to ease the pressure by exchanging pieces, even that must be done carefully. Keres remarked that to him the strange looking retreat 12...Nb8 looked to be the right idea because it improves the position of black's pieces. If white wants to avoid exchanges and retreat13. Bc2, then black can choose between 13...b5 and 13...Be6 followed by 14...Nd7, preparing ...c6.
12...♘b8 Now white's best plan is probably to let black do the exchanging and play 13.c5 ♗xa4 14.♕xa4 ♘c6 15.♖fd1 with an excellent game.
13.♕h5 g6 14.♕f3 After this retreat black gets some counterplay and so better was 14.Qh6
14.♕h6 b5 15.cxb5 ♘d4 16.♖ad1 axb5 and white can continue with the forceful 17.♖xd4 bxa4 (17...exd4 18.♗xd4 f6 19.♗b3 and black is about to get slaughtered.) 18.♖d2 with a significant advantage.
14...b5 This leads to a difficult game for black, but it is his best practical chance because it eases his cramped position. At least he will get out of his cramped position and forces white to play vigorously to exploit his slight advantage. (14...♘d4 15.♗xd4 exd4 16.♗xd7 ♕xd7 17.♖ad1 is good for white.) 15.cxb5 axb5 A logical recapture, but it is very wrong.
15...♘d4 would have allowed white no more than a slight advantage after 16.♗xd4 exd4 17.♕d3 ♖e8 18.♕xd4 axb5 19.♗c2 c5
16.♗xb5 Spielmann wrote that sometimes you must sacrifice or your advantage will disappear and that is the case here. Keres sacrifices the exchange in return for a promising attacking position. The modest retreat 16.Bb3 allows black to equalize after 16...Nd4! 16...♘d4 17.♗xd4 ♗xb5 18.♗xe5 ♗xf1 19.♖xf1 This is the correct move. White's sacrifice of the exchange has netted him two good Ps plus he has a positional superiority. It's not going to be easy for black to parry the threats to his K and psychologically an aggressive player like Lutikov will be uncomfortable defending a passive position.
19.♘f6+ looks inviting, but after 19...♗xf6 20.♗xf6 ♕d6 21.♖xf1 white's win is more difficult that in the game.
19...f6 This eventually leads to a fatal weakening of his Ks position, but the alternative was not satisfactory either.
19...c6 20.♘xe7+ ♕xe7 21.♗f6 ♕e6 22.♖d1 white has an excellent position.
20.♗c3 c6 21.♘f4 ♖f7 22.h4 Black has managed to drive white's well placed pieces from their dominating positions in the center, but the weakness of his Ks position begins to make itself felt. The h-Pawn threatens to tear apart the K's position and if white can play e5 and open the long diagonal then black's position will be even worse. 22...♗d6 23.h5 ♕c7 Lutikov finally crumbles. This move prepares a nice tactical defense in the event of 24.hxg6, but even it would have been inadequate. (23...g5 24.♘e2 ♕d7+⁠−) 24.♘e6 Safest as at the board it was difficult to spot white's correct continuation to avoid black's attempt at counterplay.
24.hxg6 hxg6 25.♘xg6 ♗h2+ 26.♔h1 ♖h7 and white still has the winning 27.♕g4 ♔f7 28.♘h4 ♖g8 29.♕f5 ♖h6 (29...♖xh4 30.♕xf6+ ♔e8 31.♕xh4) 30.♖d1 ♗d6 31.g3
24...♕d7 25.hxg6 hxg6 26.♕g4 ♔h7 27.♗xf6 A nice finishing touch. 27...♗f4 (27...♖xf6 28.♘g5+ picks up the Q.) 28.♕xf4 Black resigned.
28.♕xf4 ♔g8 29.♘g5 ♖ff8 30.e5 ♖ce8 31.♕c4+ ♖f7 32.♖e1 ♕b7 33.♖e3 and black's K is in a mating net.
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