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Efim Geller vs Boris Spassky
"In the Zonal" (game of the day Sep-10-2009)
USSR Zonal (1964), Moscow URS, rd 10, Mar-02
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Modern Steinitz Defense (C72)  ·  0-1



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Given 23 times; par: 41 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-10-09  ungeneral: I think if white had played 27. Qe2 instead defending the f2 square and preparing to potentially exchange the queen for a rook and minor piece, white could have emerged with a slight advantage. I tend to think the queen sacrifice was not entirely sound...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Ungeneral> If <27.Qe2>:

click for larger view

<27...Be4+ 28.Kg3> (28.Kh2 Rf2+ and Black winds up a piece ahead) <28...Nf1+ 29.Kh4 g5+ 30.Kh5 Ng3+ 31.Kh6 Rf6#.> 27.Bxd5 was played to stop this line.

Sep-10-09  desiobu: Phony Benoni, slight error in that otherwise excellent line, 30...Ng3+ 31. Bxg3.

I still agree 27. Bxd5 was a better try

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Oh drat. Well, my lunch hour is over and I can't work on it now. Somebody find something!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Somebody> has said, that a ♔ may make a nobleman but he cannot make a gentleman.
Sep-10-09  ungeneral: <desiobu> Why do you think 27.Bxd5 was a better try? After 27 .. Be4+ 28. Kg3 Nf1+ 29. Kh4 g5+ 30. Kh5 Bg6+ 31 Kh6, black has no further checks and white can begin to rebuild.

What am I missing?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Phony Benoni> Herr Fritz offers this finish to your otherwise excellent line:

27. Qe2 Be4+ 28. Kg3 Nf1+ 29. Kh4 h6!

click for larger view

And now white is royally stuffed. Like a kipper. Done for. An ex player. Pining for the fyords, etc.

Black's threat is 30...Bg5+ 31. Kh5 g6#

Fritz reckons that the least worst from here is 30. Qxe3 going a rook down. Everything else leads to a forced mate.

Sep-10-09  ungeneral: what about 30 Be5 though? This prevents 31..g6#
Sep-10-09  SuperPatzer77: <ungeneral: what about 30 Be5 though? This prevents 31..g6#>

30. Be5 Bg5+, 31. Kh5 Ng3+! (deflects the White Bishop from the e5 square) 32. Bxg3 (forced) g6# 0-1

<ungeneral> You've overlooked the deflection with 31...Ng3+! - this move unpins the Black g-pawn and forces mate with 32...g6#.

Kudos to you, <Once>!!


Sep-10-09  WhiteRook48: a fantastic queenless attack by Spassky
Sep-10-09  SirChrislov: The white Q remains in her original square the entire game. she is useless!! 31...Bf2#
Sep-10-09  ycbaywtb: that is an excellent point, how many GM's have resigned without moving their queen once in the whole game, and with 30 moves played?
Sep-10-09  Eduardo Leon: Perhaps

<13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nxe4 15. f4>

was better.

Sep-11-09  RandomVisitor: <Eduardo Leon><13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nxe4 15. f4> might continue 15...Nxd2 16.Qxd2 Be4 17.Bc2 Bxc2 18.Qxc2 Qd7 or 18...c6 with chances to withstand the pawn storm.

Better in that line might be <15.Nxe4> dxe4 16.Qd5 c5 with a white advantage.

The last chance for white might be <21.Nxe4> Bxe4 22.Bc2 fxe5 23.Rxf8+ Rxf8 24.Bxe4 dxe4 25.dxe5 Qe6 26.Qd4 Qxa2 27.Rc7 Bd8 28.Rc8 Qb1+ 29.Kh2 Qd3 30.Qd6 with a balanced position.

Sep-13-09  SuperPatzer77: <Once> Your analysis is really superb!!

After 27. Rxf8, <Once>'s commentary is as follows:

28. Qe2 Be4+, 29. Kg3 Nf1+, 30. Kh4 h6!! (setting up the mating net) below:

a) 31. g5 Bxg5+, 32. Kg4 Bf5+, 33. Kf3 (33. Kh5?? g6#) Bxh3+!, 34. Bf4 (forced) Rxf4#

b) 31. Kh5? g6+, 32. Kh4 Bg5#

c) 31. Be5 (<ungeneral>'s idea - pins the Black g-pawn and prevents g6# - however, it doesn't help stop the inevitable checkmate) Bg5+, 32. Kh5 Ng3+! (deflection unpins the menacing Black g-pawn) 33. Bxg3 (forced) g6#

d) 31. Bf4!? Bxf4!, 32. g5 Bxg5+, 33. Kg4 Rf4+ 34. Kh5 Rh4# or g6#

e) 31. Bf4!? Bxf4!, 32. Qxe4 Bg5+, 33. Kh5 Ng3+, 34. Kg6 Rf6#

f) 31. Bf4!? Bxf4! 32. Qxf1 (instead of Qxe4) g5+!, 33. Kh5 Kg7! (setting up the mating trap and threatening Bg6#) 34. Bc2 (desperate move) Bxc2, 35. Qd3 Bxd3 - mates in next move.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: An amazing game. Spassky tactical skill was already very high. There are many things to say about this glorious game. For instance :

A)15.Bxd5 Rd8 16.Bxc6 Rxd1 17.Rxd1 was a key variation. The point is that Black has to sacrifice the exchange now (17...Rb8 18.Ba7).

B) 21.Bf4? is played with the idea exf6 and Rc7. But it is a mistake losing the game. Maybe Geller calculated until 23.Rc7 but 'underestimated' 23...Qxc7!!.

Apr-20-13  Poisonpawns: SPASSKY!!
Jan-01-14  jerseybob: Spassky was a Marshall Attack maven. Here, with his daring 11..d5!?, he transposes into an inferior sort of Marshall Declined, akin to the so-called "Thomas Emery Variation"(which occurs in the normal Marshall when white plays 9.d4 instead of 9.ed). And unlike in the Emery line, it's now WHITE to move, because black has wasted 2 tempos with his d-pawn. But Geller, instead of the indicated 13.Ne5!, gets a "better idea"!
Apr-08-15  A.T PhoneHome: This is one of the best chess games I've ever seen, hands down. Ladies and gentlemen, Boris Vasilievich Spassky has advanced!

Spassky would mate with ...Bf2#.

Feb-08-19  Allanur: When Boris Spassky played chess his pieces did not move, they danced. His pieces coordinate in a preporterious way. He is the real artist of chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Allanur: When Boris Spassky played chess his pieces did not move, they danced. His pieces coordinate in a preporterious way. He is the real artist of chess.>


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  cSete: A agree MohdSalah. Spassky looked to be on pretty thin ice before he abandoned his queen. Could have been quite uncomfortable for Boris.
Mar-29-20  ZonszeinP: This is the kind of game that made Fischer reconsider playing on FIDE events...


Jun-18-20  ewan14: Boris certainly had '' nerves of iron '' in these years
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  MissScarlett: And hair of steel:
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