Saemisch Attack

I have analyzed the Saemisch Attack vs. the Alekhine Defense in these pages before. Recently, a reader sent me a game he played based on some of my advice, asking me how he could have improved. Here is some analysis.

Michelangelooo (2125) - vovuha (2208) [B02]

4th Chess.com Tournament (2001-2200)/Chess.com (1) 2008


1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Nc3 Nxc3 4. bxc3 d6 5. f4 dxe5 6. fxe5 Qd5










7. d4!?

I wrote that in my correspondence game I was "fantasizing" about this pawn sac idea. I'm not certain that's what I would have played, however, especially since I am really taken with the idea of delaying the d4 push for as long as possible in this line, as the Knight often finds a good square at d4 to hit the Bishop at f5.

 

Better is 7. Nf3! Bg4

Alternatives also seem to favor White:

a) 7... Bf5 8. Be2 e6 9. O-O

b) 7... Nc6 was played in the stem game of this line: 8. d4 Qe4+ 9. Kf2 Bg4 10. Bd3 Qd5 (10... Bxf3 11. Bxe4 Bxd1 12. Rxd1 e6 13. Rb1 Spajl - Roi, Czechia 1996 -- two Bishops again.) 11. Qe2 e6 12. Be4! Qd7 13. Rb1 (stronger is 13. Qb5! with a similar idea) 13... Rb8 14. Rf1 Be7 15. Kg1 Bh5 16. Qd3 Bg6 17. Bxg6 hxg6 18. c4 b6 19. c3 Rd8 20. Bg5 Na5 21. Rf2 O-O 22. h4!? Nc6 23. Rbf1 Qe8 24. Qe4 Rb8 25. Bxe7 Nxe7 26. g4! Qc6 27. Qd3 f6 28. exf6 gxf6 29. Nd2 (better 29. h5!) 29... f5 30. Nf3 Qd6 31. Ne5 Kg7 32. Rg2 Rbd8 33. Qe3 c5 34. Rd1 (34. gxf5 exf5 35. d5) 34... cxd4 35. cxd4 Nc6 36. Nxc6 Qxc6 37. Qe5+ Kh7 38. h5 g5 39. Qe3 Kh6 40. Re1 Qxc4 41. Qxe6+ Qxe6 42. Rxe6+ Kh7 43. Re7+ Kh8 44. Rd2 fxg4 45. Rxa7 Rf6 46. Kg2 Rfd6 47. Ra4 Rf8 48. d5 Rf5 49. Rad4 Kg7 50. Kg3 Kh6 51. Kxg4 Re5 52. a4 Kh7 53. Rd1 Kg7 54. R1d3 Kh7 1/2-1/2 Mattison,H-Gruenfeld,E/ Carlsbad 1929, and white clearly had the better prospects throughout and even in the final position.

 

8. d4 c5

Instead, 8... Bxf3?! 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3 has got to be better for white due to the two Bishops, open lines, and strong pawn center.

 

9. Be2 Nc6 10. O-O!? cxd4?! 11. cxd4 e6

Not 11... Bxf3?! 12. Bxf3 Qxd4+ 13. Qxd4 Nxd4 14. Bxb7 Rd8 (14... Rb8 15. Rb1) 15. c3! Rd7 16. Ba6 Nc6 17. e6 fxe6 18. Bb5 Rc7 19. Rb1! (19. Bf4!?) 19... e5 20. Bxc6+ Rxc6 21. Rb8+ Kd7 22. Rfxf8 Rxf8 23. Rxf8 Rxc3 24. Bb2

 

12. Rb1 Qd7 13. Ng5 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 Be7 15. c3 Bxg5 16. Bxg5 h6 17. Bc1 Ne7 18. Qf3 Nd5 19. c4 Nb6 20. c5 Nd5 21. c6 bxc6 22. Ba3 f5 23. exf6 gxf6 24. Rb3 Kd8 25. Rfb1 Rh7 26. Qg3 Nb6 27. Rxb6 axb6 28. Qg8+ Qe8 29. Qxh7 Rxa3 1-0 Tal,M-Podgaets,M/Sochi 1970.

 

7... Bf5 8. Nf3

a) 8. Be2!? Qxg2 (8... Qe4 9. Qd3) 9. Bf3 Qg6 10. Bxb7 Be4 11. Bxa8 Bxh1! (11... Bxa8 12. Nf3 Qe4+ 13. Kf2) 12. Nf3 enters a weird but interesting territory.

 

b) 8. Kf2!? has been played here to avoid the check, with ideas like Nf3, Bd3 and possibly c4 as in the game, e.g.: 8... e6 9. Nf3 c5 10. Be3 (better seems 10. Bb5+ Nd7 11. c4 Qe4 12. c3) 10... Nc6 11. c4?! Qd7! 12. c3 Rd8 13. Qd2 Be7 14. Rd1 Qc7 15. Be2 O-O (15... Be4!?) 16. Rhf1 Bg4 17. Qb2 f6 18. exf6 Bxf6 19. dxc5 Bxf3 20. Bxf3 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Qxh2 22. Qxb7 Ne5 23. Ke2 Bg5 (23... Bh4) 24. Bg1 Qf4 25. Qe4 Qxe4+? (25... Nxf3=) 26. Bxe4 Rc8 27. Rd6 Kf7 28. Ra6 Rc7 29. c6 Nxc4 30. Bh2 Rc8 31. c7 Nb6 32. Bb7 e5 33. Bxe5 Bf6 34. Rxb6 Bxe5 35. Bxc8 axb6 36. Be6+ 1-0 Borngaesser,R-Juergensen,M.

 

c) 8. Be3!? Qe4 9. Kd2!? was the novel idea in Hajdu--Vamos, Hungary 2001, though White's King looks very insecure -- so maybe instead 9. Qf3!? Qxc2 10. Qxb7.

 

8... Qe4+ 9. Kf2!

This seems to gain a tempo on 9. Be2!? Qxc2 10. Qxc2 Bxc2 11. e6 f6 12. O-O (12. d5?! Be4 13. c4 c6) 12... c6 (12... Bf5 13. Ng5 Bg6 14. Nh3) 13. Bc4 g5 but castling might allow White to get a Rook to the b-file, though to what end I'm not sure: 14. Rf2 Bg6 15. a4 Na6 16. Rb2 O-O-O 17. h4 h6!

 

9... Qxc2+ 10. Qxc2 Bxc2










11. e6! f6!?

11... fxe6?! 12. Bc4 followed by Ng5 looks good for White. This was where my original analysis concluded. I did not consider 11...f6, which does seem stronger. Black has his sights set on winning the e-pawn. But I think White can hold it.

 

12. Bf4

The culprit? This move looks like a wasted tempo in the end, since black is allowed to gain time with g5 and he wants to play c6 anyway. And I'm not sure where this Bishop belongs best. Meanwhile, I know I want to play Bc4 to support the e-pawn and that I want to get a Rook to the b-file somehow. So better appears to be 12. Bc4 c6 13. a4 g5 (13... Bxa4 14. Rxa4 b5 15. Ra5 bxc4 16. Bf4 g5 17. Rb1!! gxf4?? 18. Rxa7!) 14. Ra2 Bg6 15. Rb2 b6 16. Re1 and White has plenty of compensation, but that doesn't mean the position is going to be easy to play. This is the type of position I might play the Black side of against the computer so it can teach me how to push the advantage.

 

12... c6 13. Bc4 g5!

This is the best idea for Black, to develop the kingside while maintaining a retreat for the ligh-squared Bishop.

 

14. Be3?!

I think this is the real mistake. Having put the Bishop at f4, it makes no sense to go back to e3. Why not stay on the better diagonal?

 

14. Bg3 looks better to me, e.g.: 14... Na6 (14... h5 15. h4 or 14... b5 15. Bb3! look good for White too) 15. a4 and the Bishop at g3 supports queenside pressure.

 

14... Na6

 










15. Bxa6?!

This move is always tempting but usually wrong. Instead 15. d5! must be correct: 15... Nc7! (15... cxd5?! 16. Bb5+!? (16. Bxd5 O-O-O 17. Bc4) 16... Kd8 17. Rac1 Be4 18. Rhd1 Nc7 19. Bd7) 16. dxc6 bxc6 17. Rhe1 e.g.: 17... Bg7 18. Nd4 Be4 19. Bxg5.

 

15... bxa6 16. g4 h5!

After this move, I don't see great prospects for White, though Michelangelooo plays with great fighting spirit through the rest. The improvement had to come sooner.

 

17. h3 Be4 18. c4 Rb8 19. gxh5 Rxh5 20. Kg3 Bf5 21. d5 cxd5 22. cxd5 Rd8 23. Rad1 Be4 24. Rd4 f5 25. Rxe4! fxe4 26. Nxg5 Rxd5 27. Kg4 Rh6 28. Rc1 Rg6 29. Rc8+ Rd8 30. Rc7 Bh6 31. Kf5 Rf6+ 32. Ke5 Rf1 33. h4 Bg7+ 34. Kxe4 Re1 35. Nf3 Re2 36. a3 Kf8 37. Rxa7 Bh6 38. Ng5 Bxg5 39. hxg5 Rd6 40. Kf3 Re1 41. Bc5 Rdxe6 42. Bb4 R1e3+ 43. Kg4 Kf7

0-1

[Michael Goeller]

download pgn

Game in PGN

Bibliography

The Saemisch Surprise

Saemisch Surprise Revisited