Saturday, February 17, 2007

En prise? En garde!

The first diagram shows a late middlegame position from the game Simagin-Zagoryansky, Ivanovo 1944. White has a bit more space and an active bishop but has not managed to land a decisive blow. Black is threatening to consolidate by playing his knight from e7 to g6 to f4, and if that happens the game will almost certainly end in a draw. If he wants something positive from the game, White must act quickly. With this in mind Simagin played

White sacrifices a pawn to open lines for his rooks and to prevent Black from consolidating his position.
If 1...Re6 2.f4 Rf8 (stronger than 2...exf4 3.Rhxf4 as given by Simagin) 3.gxh6+ Rxh6 4.Rg4+ Kh8 5.fxe5 Rxf1 6.Kxf1 dxe5 7.Rg5 Re6 8.Kf2 with advantage to White.
2.Rh7+ Kf8 3.Rfh1 Ke8?!
Although it was very hard to see in advance, this is the wrong idea. Black must play 3...Rf7 in order to challenge White's rooks.
4.Rg7 Rf7 5.Rh8+ Kd7?
It was not too late for 5...Rf8; for example 6.Rhh7 Rc7 7.Kh3 Rf4 8.Rxg5 Rf7 9.Rgh5 Rxh7 10.Rxh7 Rd7 and is defending his position successfully.
(second diagram)
After 5...Kd7 White appears to be at a standstill. 6.Rxc8 is met by 6...Rxg7 and 6.Rxf7 is met by 6...Rxh8. Is Black off the hook? No, not quite...
Amazing – with both rooks hanging White puts his only remaining piece en prise! The bishop can be taken in three different ways or not taken at all but it makes no difference: Black is losing.
If 6...Kxc6 then 7.Rxc8+ followed by 8.Rxf7 wins; if 6...Rxc6 then 7.Rxf7 wins; and if 6...Nxc6 then 7.Rxf7+ followed by 8.Rxc8 wins.
7.Rh6+ Rf6
Now what?
A pleasing “echo” of the previous move.
8...Kxd7 9.Rxf6 Re8 10.Rxg5
The win is now a matter of (not too difficult) technique. The remaining moves were:
10...Ng8 11.Rg7+ Ne7 12.Kg3 Rh8 13.Rff7 Re8 14.Kg4 Kd8 15.Kg5 a6 16.a4 a5 17.Kf6 Ng8+ 18.Kg6 Ne7+ 19.Kg5
19...Ng8 20.Rd7+ Kc8 21.Rc7+ Kb8 22.Rb7+
Black resigned.

You will not find this game in the big databases. I have taken it from Simagin's book Luchshie Partii (Best Games), which was published in 1963. “Vladimir Simagin was a real artist whose name is forever engraved in the annals of chess.” – Lev Hariton.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.