A. Lilienthal - V. Ragozin   

GM Andor Lilienthal (2648)  - GM Vyacheslav Ragozin (2587) 
 Moscow, RUS;  (Rd. # 2)    1935   

[A.J. Goldsby I]

One of the prettiest games of chess ever played. One of the true masterpieces 
of the chessboard. A great game!!! 

White plays very logically and is preparing for a big push in the center, when ... 

My annotations here are based primarily on those of 
GM Andy Soltis,
 in his book, "The 100 Best." 
( "The 100 Best Games of the 20th Century, Ranked." )

1. d4 Nf62. c4 e63. Nc3 Bb44. a3 Bxc3+5. bxc3 c56. f3 d5;  

7. e3 0-08. cxd5 exd59. Bd3 Nc610. Ne2 Re811. 0-0 a6!
Black begins a rare, but promising plan of Queen-side expansion. 


12. Qe1 b513. Qf2 Be614. h3 Ra7!15. Bd2 Qb616. Rfb1! Rae7

17. a4 c418. Bc2 Bc8
The computers give A  VERY  LARGE  ADVANTAGE  ("+/")  
to White  here!!  


19. Ng3 h5!;  (Maybe - '!!')   A magnificent move. 
(A very good move, featuring both restraint and prophylaxis.)  

Most books tell you to avoid weakening your King-side, (You might wind up 
opening your King up to a mating attack.); but Black completely ignores that 
conventional little piece of wisdom here. 


20.Ne2,  The computers all consider this move forced. 

[20.e4!? h4! ].  


20...Nd821. Ra2! Bd722. axb5 axb523. Rba1 Bc824. Rb2 Bd7

25. Qh4! Ne6!26. Kh1 Nf827. Ng3
White has played well. His position looks MUCH better and he is ready to 
start shoving his center pawns ... and maybe ram them down Black's throat. 
In addition, Black's QB looks very bad, and his Queen-side pawns appear 
firmly fixed. 

What can Black do? 

[ 27.Nf4!? ].  


Now comes one of the best, the prettiest, and one of the most 
shocking moves ever played on the chess board. 


27...Rxe3!!; (Maybe - '!!!!!')  Why does Black play this move?

28. Bxe3 Rxe329. Nxh5 Nxh530. Qxh5 Bc6;  
This move is forced to protect d5. 

31. Qg5!?, (Maybe - '!')  Looks good, even winning, in fact. 

[ 31.f4 ]. 


31...Rxc3!!; (Maybe - '!!!') An amazing second exchange sacrifice. 


32. Qd2 Rxc2!; (Maybe - '!!') 
It almost appears as if Black is playing "give-away." 

[ Most of my students want to play the move: 32...Rxf3;  in this position. ]. 

33.Rxc2 Ne6

Most computers consider this position winning for ... WHITE!! 
(An evaluation of  "+/-"  here.).  

34.Rd1 b4
Now it becomes clear what Black was playing for, his Queen-side pawns 
have become VERY dangerous. The only question is, can they win?  


35. Rb2 b3; Forced. 
Black avoids a little trap. 


[ 35...c3?; 36.Qxc3! bxc3; 37.Rxb6, "+/-" ].  

36. Qc3 Nc7
37. Re2 Qa7!?38. Qb4 Nb539. Re7 Qa3!;  

40. Qe1!,  A good move. 
Swapping Queens allows Black's pawns to sail in for promotion.

[One sample variation: 40.Qxa3?! Nxa3; 41.Ra7!? c3; 42.Rxa3? c2;  
43.Rc1 b2; 44.Rxc2 b1Q+; 45.Kh2 Qxc2; "-/+" ].  

41. Re8+!?,  (Maybe - '?!') The critical move. 
(And the turning point of the game.) 

[ 41.Ra1!?, (Maybe - '!') 
This may be the best move for White, although it is not 
clear if White can even save the game at this point. ].  

(Black is already a little better here, according to computer analysis.)


42. Qxe8+ Kh7;  
Now the only hope for White is a perpetual check.  


43. Qxf7 Qa8!44. Re1 Nd645. Qc7 c2!46. Qxd6 b2

47. Qf4 Qc6!,   White Resigns,  0 - 1. 

One of the greatest chess games ever played. It also features a very unique 
and original idea. A double exchange-sacrifice at the GM-level is very rare,
in my experience. (And the only other examples I could find were to mate 
the opposing King, or to win material. This is the only game I could find 
where this type of sacrifice occurred simply to liberate pawns to advance.) 

GM A. Soltis calls this game, "A glittering lesson between material and position." 
(Soltis gives out like 11 exclams and two double-exclams to this game. 
On top of that, he finds NOT ONE MOVE that White made that was 
worthy of a question mark, or even a dubious appellation.) 

 I consider this the third greatest chess game ever played. 

Copyright, (c);  A.J. Goldsby, 2001.

0 - 1

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Click  HERE  to go to my web page on my Geo-Cities web site,
where I examine this game in  GREAT  detail!!!
(But there is only 1 diagram, so you  have  to use a chess board & set!)

This is a MUCH shortened copy of the game than the version that exits in my database. 
(I had to shorten it for publication. The other version was simply 
too difficult to convert to an HTML document.) 

The original "ChessBase" file contains a fair look at the opening of this game, 
 "The Nimzo-Indian Defense."
This includes all the lines and all the notes that are in MCO.
 (Relevant to the Samisch Variation.)
  This would be a great asset to have, if you wanted to study this opening. 

If you would like a copy of this game, please contact me. 

 Copyright, () A.J. Goldsby I.

  A.J. Goldsby,  2001 - 2004.   A.J. Goldsby,  2006.

   Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2006.  All rights reserved.  

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