Throwback Thursday: Kavalek dissects two queen sacrifices

Chess champions and their queens

Timman was influenced by Mikhail Botvinnik’s advice to publish his analysis and create analytical debate. It finds space in the Dutch magazine Schaakbuletin, founded by Wim Andriessen in 1968.

It was a year of high hopes and disappointments in Czechoslovakia. The Prague Spring, when Czechs found the freedom to think, speak and write, impacted my failures and I started to have consistent good results. I finished just behind the winners in Sarajevo, I won the strongest Czechoslovakian championship of all time and I was able to follow two legends: I won in Amsterdam ahead of Bronstein, but the former world champion Vassily Smyslov beat me to Polanica Zdroj. During the second tournament, Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia and in September I left the country for good.

In November 1968 I won at The Hague, playing Timman for the first time. He was 17, an emerging chess master with a great love for the game. I watched his progress as a chess player and writer with interest. In 1975, when he announced his sacrifice as queen in his writings, he was already a solid grandmaster who was getting stronger day by day.

[Event “Amsterdam “] [Site “Amsterdam”] [Date “1975.??.??”] [Round “?”] [White “Timman, Jan H”] [Black “Kavalek, Lubomir”] [Result “0-1”] [ECO “B99”] [Annotator “GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post”] [SetUp “1”] [FEN “r1b1k2r/1pq1bpp1/pn1ppn1p/6B1/3NPP2/2NB3Q/PPP3PP/2KR3R w kq – 0 12”] [PlyCount “44”] [EventDate “1975.??.??”] [EventType “game”] [EventCountry “NED”] 12. Bh4 $6 {This retreat leads to a queen sacrifice.} ({Discouraged by this play, Timman tried later in the tournament} 12. f5 e5 13. Nb3 Bd7 14. Be3 $1 { against Dane Svend Hamman. He won the fight for control of the d5 square and won a victory in 29 moves.}) 12… e5 13. Nf5 g6 $5 $146 {[#]} ({ A novelty at the time. Walter Browne v Timman (Wijk aan Zee 1975 and later Lajos Portisch v Planinc (Ljubljana-Portoroz 1975) played} 13…Bxf5 {and both lost. After the move of text, white is obliged to sacrifice his queen. Of course, Timman knew that I was aware of this decision, because we briefly discussed it together in Wijk aan Zee, but we did not come to a clear conclusion. Upon reaching this position, I remembered my conversation with my friend Milan Vukcevich at the United States Championship in Oberlin. Milan tried to convince me that the Queen’s sacrifice is incorrect.}) 14. Nxe7 $6 { The Queen’s sacrifice is tempting since more White pieces are offered later.} ({Some computers suggest} 14 . Rhe1 gxf5 15. exf5 Kf8 $15) 14… Bxh3 15. Bxf6 Be6 $1 {Black must control the square d5.} (15… Bg4 $2 16. Ned5 $16) 16. f5 Rf8 $5 {Stronger than} (16… gxf5 17. exf5 Bd7 18. Be4 Rf8 19. Ned5 Nxd5 20. Nxd5 Qa5 21. Nc3 $11) 17. Bb5+ $6 the first was more cautious:} (17. fxe6 $1 fxe6 18. Bb5+ $1 axb5 $5 19. Nxb5 Qc5 20. Nxd6+ Qxd6 21. Rxd6 Nc4 $1 {Black is better, but White can still fight.}) 17… Bd7 $1 {The best.} ( 17.. .axb5 $6 18. Nxb5 Qxe7 19. Bxe7 Kxe7 20. fxe6 Nc4 $11) 18. Ned5 Nxd5 19. Nxd5 {That’s still Timman’s analysis.} Qa5 $1 {That should win for Black, but it’s not simple.} ({ Timman wrote that after} 19… Qc5 $2 20. b4 $1 {White wins, for example} Qc8 21. Nb6 $18) ({Also after} 19… Qb8 20. Bxd7+ Kxd7 21. Rd3 {Black’s heavy pieces are somehow crippled and the chances are unclear.}) 20. Bxd7+ Kxd7 {Material is reduced and Black has more light squares for his queen.} 21. a4 {Played after about 15 minutes. White threatens to win the queen with 22.b4 and Black must allow his queenside to be tied.} Qc5 $1 22. b4 Qc6 23. a5 {Timman was eager to create an outpost on b6, but that gives Black counter time.} ({Black should win after too} 23. Rhf1 Rac8 24. Kd2 Kg8 $19) 23… gxf5 $1 24. exf5 Kg8 { [#] Black finally found an open file for the rook.} 25. Nb6+ Ke8 $1 {Leaving the rook on a8 unprotected surprised Timman. He relied mostly on 25…Rc7, but the text move is stronger: Black begins offensive operations.} ({White is likely to fight after} 25…Rc7 26. Nd5+ Kb8 $2 27 .Ne7 Qc3 (27. .. Qxg2 28. Nxg8 Qxg8 29. Rxd6 Ka7 $11) 28. Nxg8 Qa3+ 29. Kd2 Qxb4+ 30. Kc1 $11) 26. g3 ({Fans didn’t like this move and preferred} 26. g4 $5 {but Black has a decisive attack after} Qc3 $1 27. Nxa8 (27. h3 Kb8 $19) 27… Qa3+ 28. Kd2 Kxg4 $19) ({Black also wins after} 26. Nxa8 $2 Rxg2 27. Kd2 Kxd2 28. Kxd2 Qxh1 $19) ( {Or after} 26. Rhg1 Rg4 27. Nxa8 Rc4 28. Rd2 Qa4 {win.}) 26… Rg4 $1 $19 {[#] Do not waste time escaping with the Rook on a8. The queen and the rook work harmoniously together.} 27. Rhe1 ({After} 27. Nxa8 Rc4 {White’s king is defenseless, although Black must be careful:} 28. Rhe1 Rxc2+ 29. Kb1 Qc4 $1 ({But step} 29… Qc3 $2 30. Rxe5+ $1 Kf8 31. Re8+ Kxe8 32. Bxc3 $18) 30. Rxe5+ Kf8 {And Black mates soon.}) 27… Kb8 28. Bxe5 {Equivalent to quitting , but White really doesn’t have much choice.} (28. Rxd6 Qxd6 29. Bxe5 Qxb4 30. Bc3+ Qe4 $19) (28. Rd3 Kxb4 29. Bxe5 dxe5 30. Rxe5+ Kf8 31. Nd7+ Kg7 32. Nxb8 Qg2 33. Nd7 Rc4 $19) 28… dxe5 29. Rxe5+ Kf8 30. Nd7+ Kg7 31. f6+ Kh7 32. Nxb8 Qc3 $1 33. Kdd5 (33. Re7 Qa1+ 34. Kd2 Kd4+ $19) 33… Kd4 $1 ({ The finishing touch, threatening 34…Qa1 Black now engulfs both rooks after} 33… Rd4 $1 34. Rxd4 Qa1+ 35. Kd2 Qxd4+ 36. Rc1 Qxe5 $19) 0-1

In 1984, with the injection of money from the publisher Elsevier, Andriessen transformed his magazine into an English publication New to chess and Timman became editor.

Timman’s sacrifice did not go as he hoped. Today, it could have been checked by analysis engines beforehand. I don’t think Timman viewed computers as friendly creatures. He took pride in inventing ideas on his own.

But computers are here to stay as part of hybrid man-machine preparation. The queen’s entertaining sacrifice in the Caruana-Nakamura game, from London last month, is a case in point. Nakamura tweaked the computer analysis, but it backfired. Caruana’s two minor pieces became stronger than the queen.

[Event “8th London Classic “] [Site “?”] [Date “2016.??.??”] [Round “?”] [White “Caruana, Fabiano”] [Black “Nakamura, Hikaru”] [Result “1-0”] [ECO “B96”] [WhiteElo “2823”] [BlackElo “2779”] [Annotator “GM Lubomir Kavalek/The Huffington Post”] [PlyCount “63”] [EventDate “2016.12.07”] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 h6 8. Bh4 Qb6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bf2 Qc7 11. Qf3 Nbd7 12. OOO b5 13. g4 g5 14. h4 gxf4 15. Be2 b4 $2 {Nakamura plays a new move, injecting a pawn sacrifice.} ({After the immediate} 15… Ne5 16. Qxf4 Nexg4 17. Bxg4 e5 {he wants to prevent} 18. Nd5 $5 ({The Queen’s Sacrifice} 18. Qxf6 Bxf6 19. Nd5 Qd8 20. Nf5 {is possible and leads to roughly even play. It’s been known for several months.}) 18… Nxd5 19. Qf3 $1 {[#] with the white edge, for example} Bxg4 20. Qxg4 Nf6 21. Qf3 exd4 22. Bxd4 $16) 16. axb4 Ne5 17. Qxf4 Nexg4 18. Bxg4 e5 19. Qxf6 $3 { Queen sacrifice is the only right way to continue and Caruana gets an extra pawn.} ({After} 19. Nd5 $2 Nxd5 20. Qf3 Nxb4 {Black has an almost decisive advantage.}) 19… Bxf6 20. Nd5 Qd8 {[#]} 21. Nf5 $1 {This powerful plug, threatening 22.Bb6, is the best move. Two minor pieces for the queen offer nice compensation. White dominates the light squares and open folders. There are several variations in support of this view. Nakamura got it wrong or the computer did it. Either way, it was a sad end to his opening preparation.} Kb8 ({After} 21… Bxf5 22. Bxf5 Kb8 {White can create dangerous threats by running his c-pawn:} 23. c4 OO 24. c5 $1 $18) 22. Nxf6+ Qxf6 23. Rxd6 {A human touch.} ({Computers prefer more strength} 23. Nxd6+ Ke7 ( 23… Kf8 24. Bf5 $18) 24. Bc5 $1 Qf4+ (24… Bxg4 25. Nb5+ Ke6 26. Nc7#) 25. Kb1 Qxg4 26. Nxc8+ Ke8 27. Nd6+ Ke7 28. Nf5+ Ke8 29. Khg1 {threatening 30.Ng7+, White should win.}) 23. .. Fe6 24. Rhd1 OO {[#]} ({After} 24… Rxb4 25. Rxe6+ fxe6 26. Bh5+ Kf8 27. Bc5+ {wins.}) 25. h5 $1 {A nice move, preparing 26. Bh4 to chase the Black Queen to the square of the corner h8. } Qg5+ (25… Rxb4 26. Bh4 Bxf5 27. Bxf6 Bxg4 28. Re1 $16) 26. Be3 Qf6 27. Nxh6+ Kh8 28. Bf5 Qe7 $6 { Loses in place, but the other moves don’t save Black either :} (28… Qh4 29. Rg1 Qxh5 30. Rdd1 Qf3 31. Rde1 $18) (28… Rfe8 29. Rg1 $18) 29. b5 $6 ({ Immediate} 29. Nxf7+ $1 Qxf7 30. Rxe6 {would have been more powerful and faster.}) 29… Qe8 30. Nxf7+ Rxf7 31. Rxe6 Qxb5 32. Kh6+ (32. Kh6+ Kg7 33. Rg1+ Kf8 34. Kh8+ Ke7 35. Rxb8 Qxb8 36. Bc5+ $18) 1 -0

Images of London Chess Classic and SachInfo

Original column hereCopyright Huffington Post


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