Portisch,Lajos - Kavalek,Lubomir
Blindfold-Live chess - Banska Stiavnica, 16.07.2011
[GM Lubomir Kavalek/Huffington Post]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 In 1975 in Wijk aan Zee, I won the Leo van Kuijk prize for the most spectacular game of the tournament against Lajos Portisch and the tradition of the spectacular prizes begun. As in this game, the Samisch variation of the King's Indian defense was played and I positionally sacrificed my queen for a mere bishop and a pawn and eventually the game was drawn.

I decided to accelerate Panno's idea to play on the queenside.

6.Nge2 0-0 7.Bg5
[For some reason, the bishop move too far has better results than the dominant 7.Be3 ]

7...a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.h4!?
[Portisch goes for the sharpest line. The positional answer is 9.Rc1 ]

9...b5 10.0-0-0
[Larry Christiansen's 10.h5!? is preferable. The white king is pretty safe in the middle.]

[The stopper 10...h5 makes it more difficult for white to ignite the attack, but in the blindfold game, with the eyes closed, you just go.]

11.h5 Nb4
I only found out after the game that everything was played before.

[Portisch makes a stronger move. In the game Wallach,K (2189)-Naroditsky,D (2242), Las Vegas 2008, white played 12.Nf4 c5 13.dxc5?! (13.hxg6 cxd4 14.Qxd4 hxg6 15.Nxg6 fxg6 16.e5 Be6 17.exf6 exf6 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Kf7 the game is roughly equal.) 13...Qa5=/+ 14.hxg6? (14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Bxc4 Qxc5 16.Bb3=/+ ) 14...Nxe4?! (The talented San Francisco junior missed 14...Nxa2+! 15.Nxa2 Qxa2-+ ) 15.Nfd5! Rb7 16.gxh7+ (16.Nxe4 Nxa2+ 17.Kb1+- ) The rest went: 16...Kh8 17.fxe4 Nxa2+ 18.Kc2 Bd7 19.Bxc4 Nxc3 20.Nxc3 Rxb2+ 21.Kxb2 Qa4 22.Bb3 Rb8 23.Qc2 Be6 24.Rd5 Bxd5 25.exd5 dxc5 26.Rh4 c4 27.Kc1 Qa1+ 28.Kd2 cxb3 29.Qd3 Qb2+ 30.Ke3 Qxg2 31.Bf4 Rc8 32.Ne2 b2 33.Qf5 e6 34.dxe6 fxe6 35.Qxe6 Qb7 36.Be5 Rd8 37.Nf4 Qe4+ 38.Kxe4 1/2-1/2 ]

I thought I should bring as many pieces as possible on the queenside to tickle the white king. [12...d5 did not cross my mind. 13.Bh6 gives white a powerful attack.; 12...Nd3+ 13.Bxd3 cxd3 would have slowed white's advances.]

[Lajos is playing it safe. He could have gain a clear advantage with 13.hxg6 cxd4 14.Bxf6 exf6 15.gxf7+ Rxf7 16.Qxd4 ]

[Bringing the queen out seems natural, but the computer engines scream for the stunning knight sacrifice: 13...Nfxd5! 14.exd5 (14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Qxd5 (15.exd5 Rxb2 16.Qxb2 Bxb2+ 17.Kxb2 Qb6+ 18.Kc2 Bd7 and black should win.) 15...Qa5! threatening 16...Bxb2+, black has a winning attack.) 14...Bxc3 15.bxc3 Qa5! 16.cxb4 Rxb4 17.Qc2 black doesn't have to win immediately and can bring more pieces to the attack with 17...Bd7 (17...Qa3+ 18.Kd2 Rb2 19.Rc1 Rxc2+ 20.Rxc2 Qb4+ 21.Ke2 (21.Ke3 f6 22.Bh6 Qe1+-+ ) 21...Qb1 22.Rxc4 Bb7-+ ) 18.Bxc4 Qa3+ 19.Kd2 Rb2 with a winning advantage.; The knight manuever 13...Nd7! seems also strong, for example 14.Bxc4 Ne5 15.Qe2 Nxc4 16.Qxc4 a5 17.e5 h6 18.Be3 Ba6 19.Qe4 Qb6 with a massive attack.]

14.Bxc4 Nd7!
I came to this idea one move too late. The knight wants to leap into the fray, creating havoc in white's camp. "As a former King's Indian player you know you should have known to keep the knight on f6 to defend your king," GM Jan Plachetka told me after the game, but I felt the knight could play a more ambitious role in the game.

At this point Lajos announced "pawn h5 to h6," but it was an obvious slip of the tongue and he quickly corrected himself with "pawn h5 takes g6."

I should have been punished for this reckless move. I was briefly contemplating to retake with the f-pawn, but I thought I could gain tempo by attacking the bishop. As a matter of fact [15...fxg6 was correct, for example 16.Bh6 Bxh6 17.Qxh6 Rf7 stops white's attack and after 18.a3 Qb6 white can't cash in the knight since after 19.axb4 Qxb4 20.Rd2 Qxc4 black is clearly on top.]

[Lajos could have finished the game with 16.gxh7+! Kh8 17.Bh6 when black would have had to resort to some acrobatics with 17...Bf6 18.Qe2 Rd8 but after 19.Rd2 making room for the king to move to the kingside, white enjoys sufficient material advantage to win.]

I must have been on another planet, thinking about previous misses and not paying attention to the situation on the board. But it was a decisive moment and I failed to fight back with [16...fxg6 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 and white has to be careful, for example 18.Qh6+ (18.Qe2 Qb6= (18...Bd7 ) ; 18.Nf5+! the best reply 18...Bxf5!? (18...Rxf5 19.Qh6+ Kf7 20.exf5 Bxf5 21.Qxh7+ Ke8 22.Qg8+ Kd7 23.Qxb8 Nxc4 24.Rh8+- ; 18...gxf5 19.Qh6+ Kf7 20.Qh5+ Ng6 21.Qxh7+ Ke8 22.Qxg6+ Kd8 23.a3 Qb6 24.Rd2+- ) 19.exf5 Qb6 (19...h5 is possible) 20.Rde1 Rxf5 21.Qh6+ Kf7 22.Qxh7+ Ke8 23.Na4 Qa5= ) 18...Kf7 19.Qxh7+ (19.Nf5! is still good here.) 19...Ke8 white went too far, burning bridges behind him. Black has a deadly attack, for example: 20.Bb3 c4 21.Ba4+ Bd7-+ ]

This led to a quick mate, but before we got there, lots of pieces disappeared from the live board. The spectators got their money's worth since every capture resulted in a swashbuckling duel on the live board.

17...Kxh7 18.Bxg7+ Kg8 19.Rh8+ Kxg7 20.Qh6# *