13 January 2014

Missed Opportunity for Gelfand

In Nakamura -- Gelfand during round three of the Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Boris Gelfand missed a tactical blow.

Black to move

This position is at Black's move 43. The game was drawn after White's move 59.


  1. I like how you give us the opportunity to lop off a great player. lol.
    1...Bxf3+, 2.KxBf3 e4+, 3.Bxe4 Qa3+, 4.Kg2 Qh3+, 5.Kf2 Qh4+, 6.Kf3 Qh3+, 7.Kf2 Qxg4 looks rather decisive for Black, since White's pieces are doing next to nothing and Black is basically mating. Took me about five minutes to dispatch White, from seeing the diagram. lol.

    You could say that it starts with a tactic ...Bxf3+, but really Black has a positional kill here. Great players like Gelfand are such great chessplayers (i.e., positional) that they will leave plenty of opportunities in their wake for us to feed off of like vultures. hehe.

    1. You found the first two moves, and then I'm not certain. I found the first but somehow overlooked the second. As I was watching the game, I saw Houdini's evaluation on the website suddenly jump to -11, then it went back to a fraction of a pawn. It was clear that Gelfand missed something. I set up the position on another board and started looking. The bishop sac was easy to spot, but somehow I missed the pawn move, which is critical. Then the rook or queen goes to the third rank, but I'm not certain of the sequence.

  2. That was very nice of you to set this problem up. Thanks, James! :-)

    I am not so hot at tactics after not studying them for too long. You got me studying tactics again. I spent 8 minutes on some problems tonight and still didn't get them right.

    Yes, the third move ...Qa3+ doesn't work because of Bd3 Ra3+, Kd2 (and then ...RxBd3, QxRd3 QxRc1 wouldn't really have accomplished much).

    Best appears 3...Qe5 when 4.Kf1 runs into ...Qf4+, and 4.Ra1?? leads to ...RxR, 5.QxR QxBe4+, 6.Kg1 QxQ, 7.KxQ d3, 8.c5 bxc, 9.b5 d2, 10.b6 d1Q, 11.b7 Qd8.

    Maybe Gelfand saw that first line, and then was exercising clock discipline and decided to make a sound move rather than risk his clock any further, it's hard to say. In olden times they had all day to find this stuff. hehe.