Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Endgame Humor

One last before we consign Zurich 1953 back to history...

20. Kotov-Najdorf  (click here to view on

White to move....any predictable course of moves would have Black win the d5-pawn, arrange to push his own pawn to d4, and start making dinner plans.  

22.  axb4!?

When a loss appears inevitable, reject the assumption!  Black must recalibrate to a new 
position and new strategy.

22. ....   Rxa1
23. bxc5  dxc5
24. Bxc5  Rd8       (Black may be hanging on to his dark-squared bishop too long - now ...Bxc3 and ... Qxd5 may be enough to bring it home)
25. d6     Ne8
26. Kg2  Bf8
27. N1e2  Nxd6
28. Qd5   Nb7
29. Qxf7+   Kxf7
30. Bxf8    Rxf8
31. Ng3    Nd6
32. Rd2   Ke6
33. Rd5   Rb8

All foreshadowing aside, all seems to be going to plan... soon the b-pawn will fall and Black will roll up White's position.

Bronstein:  ...but as the Eastern proverb has it: "If it weren't for the wolves, our goat could make it to Mecca."  But now to howling wolves appear, in the form of a pair of white knights...

34. Rxd6+!
Again, reject the assumption!   A second exchange tossed to the fire.

34. ......    Kxd6
35. Nxf5+  Kc6
36. Nxe4   Rxb2+
37. Kf3     Rb4
38. Nfg3   Raa4
39. h5       
Black is fortunate that he realizes in time that he can only, and must play for a draw.
39. .....    Ra3+
40. Kg4    Kd7
41. g6       hxg6
42. hxg6   Ke7
43. Nf5+   Ke6
44. Ng7+  Ke7
45. Nf5+   Ke6
46. g7       Ra8
47. Neg3  Rg8
48. Nh5   Rxf4+!
49. Kxf4   Rxg7!
50. Nhxg7+
1/2-1/2  (!)

Bronstein: This game might better belong in an adventure magazine than a tournament book.

And a possibly anachronistic story, consume with caution:

'As we can see, instead of simply offering a draw Najdorf decided to end the game with the joke moves given above, and after Kotov took the second rook he said "draw".

Kotov then looked up at Najdorf with a puzzled expression: "why?"

"Because it's a book draw." 

"Ah yes," responded Kotov "that used to be true". He then went on to explain to a horrified Najdorf about the old man in Tbilisi who had recently solved the problem about how to to mate the lone king with two knights. It took a few seconds before it dawned on Najdorf that Russians know how to tell jokes too.'

Nimzovich:  And so I close my book and bid a friendly, I hope, farewell to you, my readers.


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