Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Rafee Persitz "Swindle"

In the following game (Rafee Persitz [Israel] - Julio Salas Romo, [Chile], Leipzig Olympiad, 1960, 2nd final), Rafee Persitz, who had recently passed away, showed his natural talent for endgames. This version of the game (slightly different from the game given in Chessbase 9's databases, incidentally) is given in Moshe Czerniak's book, Israel be'Olympiadot ha'Sachmat ['Israel in the Chess Olympiads'] (Tel Aviv: Rotem Press, 1979), p. 68. The annotations are Czerniak's.

On the previous page of that book Czerniak notes that it's a pity Persitz doesn't spend more time on chess -- he could have become 'a strong international master'. Like others, Czerniak was very impressed, not only with Persitz's play, but with the fact that it was a natural talent. For Persitz, chess was always a hobby, something he did in his spare time. To play this well when spending so little on the game is surely a sign of genius.

White is in a difficult position. He has no sufficient defense against Rd6-h6 or Bh6-e3.

30. f4 Rd6

Here Black missed an interesting possibility: 30. ... exf4 31. gxf4 Rxf4! 32. Qxf4 Bh5 33. Qf5 Qh2+ 34. Kf2 Bg3+ (or 34. ... Rf8) 35. Ke2 Qxg2+ 36. Rf2 Qxf2+ and Black has a superior rook ending. [I'd say. Black is a piece up for nothing -- A.P.]

31. f5

Coming to terms with the loss of the exchange (31. ...Bh6 32. Rfe1).

31. ... Rh6 32. Qc2?

Better is 32. Qe2, to keep the black queen defending g4.

32. ... Qh2+ 33. Kf2 Rh3 34. Rd3 Bh6! 35. Qe2 Be3+ 36. Rxe3 dxe3+ 37. Qxe3 Rc8!

38. d6?!

Both players are very short of time. White, having no sufficient defense to Black's threats (38. Qd3 Rxg3+! or 38. Qg5+ Kf7) decides to pose a problem to his opponent.

38. ... Rxg3?

A natural move, but at the same time a decisive mistake. Correct was 38. ... Rc2+ 39. Ke1 Qxe3+ (39. ... Qxg2? 40. Qg5+) and Black wins.

39. Qg5+ Kh8 40. Qf6+ Kg8 41. Qe6+ Kg7 42. f6+ Kh6 43. f7+ Kg7

43. ... Kh5 44. Qf5+ Kh6 45. f8=Q also loses.

44. Qxe5+ Kg6 45. Qf5+ Kg7 46. Qg5+! Kxf7 47. Ke1+

And White wins. [According to Chessbase 9's database, Black resigned a few moves -- A.P.]

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