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Vasily Smyslov vs David Bronstein
Zuerich Candidates (1953), Zuerich SUI, rd 11, Sep-16
Reti Opening: Anglo-Slav Variation. London Defensive System (A12)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-17-03  Rookpawn: In his book on the 1953 Zurich Tournament, Bronstein says of 27... f4, "A serious error. Having written the winning move, 27... Rae8, down on my scoresheet, and with my hand already reaching for the rook, I changed my mind at the last moment, and spent the rest of the game regretting this lost opportunity."
Mar-17-03  corbinamman: I need help. I see that the knight is taboo b/c of Qxa1 and that b/c of the pin f4 threatens to win the knight. I also understand that white's kingside is wrecked to say the least, but that is the case through the whole game. Is it a win? Doesnt white just put the queen back on d1 and the only thing lost is a tempo? (albeit it a valuable one)
Mar-17-03  Spitecheck: Perhaps if Qd1 Corbina than Qd4 pinning the knight from a different direction would be a strong answer.
Apr-05-03  refutor: Rookpawn - that is a great quote...there is another one at the end of the game

"What conclusions can be drawn from this tense and interesting struggle? First : even in the most important games, one may, if conditions are right, employ a sacrifice which cannot be analyzed in detail (the sac on move 13); second : if a mistake or an inaccuracy occurs, there is no need to assume "all is lost" and mope - one must reorient oneself quickly, and find a new plan to fit the new situation."

I find the first comment interesting, a player ilke Petrosian, Smyslov or even Kasparov (a perfectionist) would not agree with that statement, while an optimistic player like Bronstein, Tal, Shirov or even Karpov (who is more practical to Kasparov's perfectionist) would agree with that. If you agree with the first statement, then by necessity, you have to agree with the second part.

Aug-04-05  sitzkrieg: Though player maybe might not have been able to see the consequence it is clear that u get some pawns and superior position for the piece. It is, i think, largely a matter of taste to continue the strugle like this but all would agree it cant be wrong. For the publis this is of course most fun to watch.

Seeing black not playing h6 but castling white already could have guessed blacks intentions of sacrificing the bishop. d4 is of course the in between move that makes the combination so strong.

Sep-15-05  ughaibu: Sitzkrieg: you think Bronstein drew this on purpose?
Dec-25-06  Mameluk: 14...Ba3!! would be a bummer.
Jun-30-08  Everett: <Mameluk>

What a great find! Much respect for discovering that on your own. Seems that Smyslov is lost after 14 moves!

Bronstein is the greatest innovator the chess world has ever seen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In the tournament book, Bronstein stated that he considered playing 14...Ba3!. He indicated that after 15.Bxa3, Black would get a third pawn with a strengthened attack: 15...Qxh4 16.Re1 (better is 16.Bd6, but Black still wins after 16...e5 17.Qxg4 Qxg4) Qxf2+ 17.Kh1 Qh4+ 18.Kg1. Black is clearly winning in this variation, and in all other lines after 14...Ba3!.

However, as Black in this line had to play with a material deficit (Bronstein indicated a rook down), he stated this influenced him to incorrectly decide to play 14...Nxf2? instead.

Smyslov clearly blundered with 14.e4??. Best was: (.39) (20 ply) 14.Nf3 Qc7 15.d3 c5 16.Nbd2 f5 17.b4 cxb4 18.Bxd4.

Sep-19-12  Conrad93: Bronstein played the better game throughout.

The major error was 27...f4.

The immediate pin 27...Rae8 wins the game.

Here's analysis from Houdini:

[Event "SWZ"]
[Site "SWZ"]
[Date "1953.09.16"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Vasily Smyslov"]
[Black "David Bronstein"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A12"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view

"] [PlyCount "25"]
[EventDate "1953.??.??"]

27... Rae8 28. Qxg3 Qxa1+ 29. Nf1 f4 30. Qh3 Qd4+ 31. Kh1 h6 32. Rg2 Re1 33. Rg1 Rf6 34. Qg4 Rfe6 35. Qh5 g5 36. Qh3 Kg7 37. Qg4 Re7 38. Bg2 R7e2 39. Bf3 Rf2 1/2-1/2

White is in zugzwang:

click for larger view

Sep-19-12  Conrad93: The nice thing about the position is that white is ahead, but his bishop is made useless and his knight has no safe place to go.

If 40.Nh2 is played, for example, black has the powerful 40...Ra1!:

click for larger view

White can't take the rook because of 41.Rxa1 Qxa1+ 42.Qg1(the only move)Qxg1+ 43.Kxg1 Rxd2 44.Ng4 Rxa2 45.Nf2 d2.

click for larger view

So, because of this, white plays 41.a4, but after the subtle move 41...c5! 42.Bxb7 Rxg1+ 43.Qxg1 Rxd2 44.Qxd4 cxd4 45.b4 Rb2 white is lost:

click for larger view

Sep-19-12  Conrad93: The pawn majority on the king side wins for black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Bronstein felt that..h6 which is usually played early in this variation of the Reti was unnecessary and a waste of time. 8 Nc3 is rarely played; 8 d3 or 8 d4 are much more popular. A disadvantage of 8 Nc3 was shown after 11..d4! which Smyslov must have underestimated. Smyslov should have played 14 Nf3 though Bronstein would still have been able to develop a powerful attack.

<Rookpawn: In his book on the 1953 Zurich Tournament, Bronstein says of 27... f4, "A serious error. Having written the winning move, 27... Rae8>

Sam Collins wrote a column in British Chess Magazine disagreeing with Bronstein's assessment that 27..f4 threw away the win. He felt that Black still would have had a chance to win with 32..Qxc3 33 dxc..d2 34 Rd1..Rd8 35 Kg1..h5 when White needs to return the piece as after 36 Nf2..Rfe8 Black is dominant.

Sep-02-13  Everett: If ever has a <missed brilliancy miniatures> week, this is just one of a few Bronstein games to be posted, with 14.. Black to move.

Here are some others:

Geller vs Bronstein, 1968

Bronstein vs Gulko, 1968

Bronstein vs Tal, 1982

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