Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Always Be Closing

#7  Najdorf-Stahlberg (click here to view the complete game at

In this game Najdorf's opponent has aimed straight from the opening for a draw, exchanging pieces wherever possible.  From the Black side this is always a risk as White can always hope for a small advantage from superior development.  On the other hand, exploiting this transient advantage takes great skill, but this is what Najdorf demonstrates in this poppin' gem of a game.

18. Nf5   Rad8
19. Rfd1  Nc8?!  (...Nd5)
20. Kf1   Rfe8
21. Ke2   Kf8
22. Rxd8  Rxd8
23. Rg1     Ne8      

White has centralized his king, defending his back ranks and freeing his rook to continue the assault on g7 that he began with Nf5.  
Bronstein:  A curious picture.  Black has absolutely no intention of playing g7-g6, even though that would relieve him of many of his later difficulties.  In the succeeding phase of the game, Black saddles himself with a number of weaknesses, advancing nearly every pawn but the one he should have.

24. Rg4!  Ne7
25. Nxe7  Kxe7

26. Re4+  Kf8
27. Ra4    a6
28. Rf4    f6?!  (...Nf6)
29. Rh4   h6
30. Rh5!

Bronstein:  An excellent move!  Having done its work on the fourth rank, the rook now goes to work on the fifth, where it restricts Black's pawns to complete passivity.  White begins to occupy more space by advancing his pawns and bringing up his king.

30. ....   Nc7
31. f4    Ke7
32.  Rc5  Rd6

33. Rc1?!   b6?!

White had been steadily gaining space but Bronstein suggests 33. f5 as the necessary conclusion to this plan, and instead Black should now play 33. ....  f5!  in order to hold the levee.

34. f5   c5
35. f4  Rc6
36. a4  b5
37. Bc2  Ne8
38. Be4  Rc7
39. Bd5  c4

White has maneuvered his pieces to support the advance of his e-pawn.

40. e4  Nd6
41. axb  axb

42. Ke3  Ra7
43. Rg1  Kf8
44. Kd4  Rc7
45.  Rc1  Nb7?

A key feature of this game is that Black's position was defensible at many points, including in the current position.  However, Black's ideas are now essentially passive, and this is a psychological burden to the defender.   After the long maneuvering and weakening of his position, Black makes a real error.  Seemingly improving the position of his knight he allows a nice combination.

46. Ra1   Nc5
47. Ra8+ Ke7
48. e5!    (With the knight on d6 this would not have been possible)
48. ...   Nb3+
49. Kc3  Nc1
50.  Rg8  Ne2+
51. Kd2  Nxf4
52. Rxg7+ Kd8
53. exf!   Rd7
54. Rxd7+ Kxd7
55. Bc6+!       and Black resigned since the promotion of the lead f-pawn or loss of material can't be stopped.  

Credit Najdorf's tenacity in constantly setting his opponent new problems to solve in an otherwise simple position.


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