Grandmaster Chess Blunders #1: Can you spot the mistake?

Grandmaster Chess Blunders #1: Can you spot the mistake?

Hello everybody it is jrobi. I wanted to do
kind of a fun video series here, get it started off. I’m going to put these out here once
in a while. And it is going to focus on trying to find the mistakes that Grandmasters have
made in the past. And thankfully they make mistakes, you know, on a fairly regular basis.
Obviously not as much as the weaker rated chess players in the world such as myself.
But they definitely make some crucial mistakes at tournament level play. And that’s good.
I think it is healthy for the game and it keeps things exciting. I think if all the
games were perfectly played obviously we’d end up with nothing but draws. So, you know,
from my end of things I think it is healthy to see Grandmasters make mistakes, and they
definitely do. Sometimes they are really huge mistakes. I was looking at game of Karpov’s
and a Queen was completely just dropped. And I thought that that was very interesting.
Like, I mean, you see it on occasion at amateur level play, but you definitely don’t see
it with a high degree of frequency at the Grandmaster level play. But that being said,
the series is going to be called Grandmaster Chess Blunders: Can you Spot the Mistake?
And this game was a very interesting game. I was kind of browsing through the games of
Nigel Short on my site yesterday. And I came across this game. It was played in 2008 at
the Olympiad. And Nigel Short was playing white and Peter Nielsen was playing black.
Now at the time Nigel Short was rated 2642 and Nielsen was rated 2662. So they are both,
you know, very strong Grandmasters. And they reached this position and Nielsen had just
played his Knight to G6. Now I’m thinking that the plan here at the time, you know,
if there was a plan, which I’m sure there was, was that after the Pawn takes the Knight
here on G6 the Queen can come in and take the Knight on E6. And that would kind of give
the Queen some options. It would be directly attacking the Pawn here on G4 and, you know,
it would kind of help break things open a little bit for black and get black out of
this cramped position. Because as we can see here we’ve got all these Pawns of blacks’
very close to its home rank. And whites’ are very, you know, they are nicely advanced.
So black is in a very cramped position. So I’m thinking that that’s what the plan
was that the Grandmaster had. Now you can definitely post what you might’ve thought
the Grandmaster was thinking. I definitely don’t claim to be a Grandmaster. But, you
know, it seemed that that might seem like a logical course of events to take place.
Unfortunately though however Knight to G6 was a crucial blunder. So what I’d like
you to do is pause the video, see if you can come up with white’s best move to capitalize
on black’s mistake here. And see if you can spot why this was such a devastating blunder.
In fact after white’s next move black resigns. So we definitely go ahead, pause the video,
and I’m going to dive into this solution here. So the Knight was played out to G6 and
Nigel Short probably was looking at this as if a gift had just been given to him, because
what he plays here is he plays Pawn captures Knight on G6. And I’m not sure how long
black took a look at this position before he resigned because, you know, the time isn’t
in the PGN file. But I would imagine that it probably wasn’t too long before black
realized that he made a crucial mistake by offering up that Knight onto G6. And the reason
is simply that this Knight cannot be taken. Now you might have come up with an alternative
reason why this Knight can’t be taken. And actually I posted this position on my blog
this morning. And I’ve had a couple of people respond to the blog post as well as on Twitter
to me, that one of the reasons that the Knight can’t be taken is because after the Queen
comes in to take the Knight, white has a brutal check here on H7. Now that’s going to force
the enemy King away to F8 and the resulting position is about a full Rook worth of material
in terms of positional strength. But the kicker is, is that it is actually not the best move
in this position, if the Knight is taken. Now let’s take a look at it. So once again
Nigel Short has just taken the Knight hrtr onto G6. And let’s suppose that his opponent
takes Knight back on E6. Now let’s take a look at a couple of things. First of all
we have this nice Pawn here on G6 now that is all of a sudden removing these two squares
from the enemy King from accessing. More importantly the Queen is now off at the back rank to defend
the King from a check. And that is where the beauty of the move comes. Simply Queen now
to B8 lands the check and it is going to be mate in one more move. So, for example, Queen
comes and hits a check. The only option for black in this position is to move the Queen
to C8 or to E8 both of which fail of course. Let’s just go to E8 for an example. And
here we go with the checkmate. So there’s a mate in two if that Knight would’ve been
taken. So Nigel Short’s opponent probably realized that he had just given Nigel Short
a completely free piece. And in the process of doing so of course gave him also the game.
And that is definitely why Nielsen resigned after Short took the Knight with the Pawn
on G6. And don’t feel too bad if you thought of the line Queen check here on H7 because,
you know, that is definitely a winning line as well. It is just definitely not as quick
as the forced mate if that Knight is taken. So take care, hope you enjoyed the video and
we will see you next time!

100 thoughts on “Grandmaster Chess Blunders #1: Can you spot the mistake?

  1. Well you always want to see some sort of mistake, because otherwise games will always be draws. Just not blunders as bad as the one on this video.

  2. Great video, jrobi! I saw the queen to b8, but i was thinking he could grab material from the pawns but dint notice actually that he could force checkmate, probably cuz i dint pause the video but just though quickly:)

  3. Good comment Jon – by trying to give away the knight he also gave Short the game immediately. The knight has to be taken, but can't. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  4. what do you sugeest is the best move for black in this case instead of Ng6………king moves to F7 looks to me intresting to me instread……….what do you suggest …

  5. Kf7 or Qe8 seem like the best alternatives in the position. White's positional strength is still there, but less than a point worth which I have seen drawn at the GM level plenty of times like in Corus this year. I think white "should" be able to win this, however.

  6. can you please advice on the Qe8 move ………I am not able to forsee any plan in moving the queen to e8…

  7. Excellent video Jrobi as usual. Fascinating initial position. It seems as if Short had a big positional advantage, and black got a little desperate. Checking with Rybka, it seems black's best was Kf7 – a kind of counterintuitive move.

  8. Here is some Rybka analysis:

    Nigel Short – Peter Heine Nielsen, 2008 Olympiad 2008
    2q3k1/1p2n1p1/2p1Np2/1pPp1P2/1P1P2P1/P7/6KQ/8 b – – 0 1

    Analysis by Rybka 2.3.2a mp 32-bit :

    1. +/- (1.24): 45…Kf7 46.Kg1 Qg8 47.Qd6 Qe8 48.Nd8+ Kg8 49.Qe6+ Kf8 50.Nxb7 Nc8 51.Qxe8+ Kxe8 52.Kg2
    2. +- (1.59): 45…Qe8 46.Qc7 Kh7 47.Qxb7 Kh6 48.Qc7 Kh7 49.Qf4 Kh8 50.Kf1 Qg8 51.Kg1 Qe8 52.Qc7
    3. +- (1.59): 45…Qa8 46.Qd6 Qe8 47.Qc7 Kh7 48.Qxb7 Kh6 49.Qc7 Kh7 50.Qf4 Kh8 51.Kf1 Qg8 52.Kg1

  9. What I gather from this, is that if the Black queen had moved to either e8 or a8, then the White queen coming to c7 or d6 would have made black's position even more difficult to play. Faced with this nightmare scenario, maybe Black tried to roll the last dice to try and encourage the Qh7+ line, but perhaps missing the deadly Qb8+ resource.

  10. ouch! quite the fatal blunder indeed. even if black doesn't capture the knight on e6 white can still mate on h7 with the support of the pawn and the knight attacking f8. great video!

  11. I like this new series "Grandmaster Blunders" as always your video is excellent! What software are you using to get such good diagrams?

    Keep up the good work!

    Gens Un Sum,


  12. Ultimately if the white knight were to be taken or not its a mate . . . if he doesnt take the knight then Qh7# . . . and if he does take knight . . . queen to back rank check and then checkmate. . . pretty solid play

  13. I have one on my channel currently and hope to do more. Thanks for checking out the vid and posting the idea!

  14. It's Aquarium with Rybka 3. Great software. I have a video on how to get it up and running on my channel.

  15. I'm pleased to see I caught onto it. When you put the Queen on h7, I thought I was wrong about the diagonal line. But then you showed it much later. Lots of suspense on the real answer, but it's nice to throw in there haha. Good video, short and effective.

  16. after fxg6 it's forced mate.

    there's nothing black can do, if he doesn't take the knight on e6 there is mate in 1 Qh7#


  17. I don't think he resigned because of the free knight, I think he resigned because if he does not take the knigth then Qh7 is mate. so actualy there is a forced mate after the black knight is captured no matter what happens

  18. tournament games can go on for hours…. probably kind of fries your brain lol. Chess is also a game of mental endurance.

  19. As there is no promise of a win for white, in terms of a particular move strategy or order, perfect play from both would be a draw.

  20. @peon17 Why don't we know? Sorry for being a chess newb, but it seems so easy to me. Just hook up to chess computers and see who would win. Why haven't this been done?

  21. @theoak111 I am still saying that perfect play will result in a draw until a computer "solves" chess, which it hasn't due to the sheer amount of options available as the game progresses. Also, the high percentage of draws in top level tournaments/matches would seem to support it as well. Checkers, on the other hand, has been "solved" by the computers.

  22. Wow…I paused the vid and was about to respond and go, hey, black just gave the game, but I resumed the vid and you explained it. xP

    Nice vid! 😀

  23. @jrobichess Since white moves first, he has a slight advantage, that of a Zenon's turtle. Although this advantage becomes practically zero after 50 or 60 turns, it's still there, mathematically speaking.

  24. @PachinkoTendo Computers would have to prove it like they did with checkers, which hasn't happened yet – though I am sure has been attempted. Currently, perfect play from both sides as we know it leads to a drawn game. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  25. @jrobichess So has there been a perfect game played by both sides? In all the draws (or losses by white) ever played, how do you know white didn't make a mistake at some point? If white has never played a perfect game, how do you know he wouldn't win that?

  26. @Hedning1390 Computers would have to solve the game to prove otherwise. Until then, perfect play by both sides would lead to a draw.

  27. @jrobichess Yes, I know that that is what you assert. What I was asking was how you know that. If computers solve the game then what? If computers actually prove that white can win if playing perfectly then the truth changes? Or was it always true that white could win even before computers solved it?

    Whichever is the correct answer is not contingent on whether chess is solved or not. If computers prove one possibility to be correct in the future, it is correct now as well.

  28. @Hedning1390 The computers have to prove it first, until then there is no absolute path to victory for white that has been discovered. However, checkers has been solved by the computers. =)

  29. @jrobichess That no path has been discovered is not the same as no path exists. You keep asserting that perfect game leads to a draw. I just want some justification for that, some argument or logical pathway leading to that conclusion.
    Also, what has checkers to do with anything?

  30. @MilitaryMan006 i was gonna say the same… i thumbed up your comment so people can see.. with all respect its seems this guy doesnt know shit…

  31. @chupaconcha2

    Jrobi makes plenty of amateurish mistakes, but he very clearly states that Qh7+ was not the best move and proceeds down the Qb8 line. I'm not sure what the confusion is.

  32. @MilitaryMan006 u tried to make the maker of the video look foolish when you made yourself look foolish because after the black queen takes the knight and queen plays H7 its not checkmate because he has the f8 square free now the knight is gone…

  33. After the blunder, taking the knight with the queen is actually the best move. There is no other move to prevent mate in 1 with Qh7.

  34. Even without the blunder, it was a hopeless position for black at this point, black would not be able to stop white from promoting eventually.

  35. He just typed it wrong. What he means is, when he captures, Qb8 gives checkmate, and if he doesn't capture, Qh7 will give checkmate. (I think)

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