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Vasily Smyslov vs Anatoly Karpov
"Vasillage" (game of the day Oct-09-2012)
USSR Championship (1971), Leningrad URS, rd 9, Sep-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Pillsbury Variation (D41)  ·  1-0



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Given 71 times; par: 39 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-29-09  Bolgoljubov: It seems to me the strategic “general” White themes of this game are:

a] Heavy Pieces: Use two heavy pieces to create a battery on the E file that will created discovered threats (via the pinned E6 pawn) and allow the passage of the D pawn past Blacks’ E pawn. Use the third heavy piece to support the advance of the D pawn. The centrally located Queen, behind the D pawn, is used as a battery “spear” and as an anchor for the Bishop forays on the flanks.

b] Knights: Use one knight to initially anchor the D pawn and one to remove the D pawn blockader (at D5) in preparation for the D pawn advance. The F3 knight also defends the King (H2 direct, G2 shield) and exerts control on the G5 square.

c] Bishops: Use the bishops on the flanks to harass and interdict the black pieces on the D and E files, creating dis-coordination, weaknesses and lack of harmony in the Black position.

d] Pawns: Create and push the isolated pawn and leave the others basically where they are. Presumably, the isolated pawn will be exchanged for Blacks’ E pawn, so as to avoid a disadvantageous endgame, or pushed forward to Queen.

Are there any others?

Aug-10-10  Blunderdome: Typical Smyslov... 21. d5 22. d6 23. d7
Sep-29-10  sevenseaman: It looked Smyslov had many irons in the fire. The one that he pulled out was very unexpected.
May-20-11  Llawdogg: Nice queen maneuvers and queen sacrifice in order to queen the isolated queen pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  rilkefan: At a depth of 31 Stockfish says the very thematic 14.d4 was about a pawn better for white, main line ...Na5 15.Bg5 Rxc3 16.Qxc3 Qxd5 17.Rac1 (it doesn't hate the more natural Rad1) h6 18.Bxf6 Bxf6 19.Qb4 Nc6 20.Bh7+ Kxh7 21.Qxf8. Going down the line it's preferring 19...Qd8, a bit under a pawn advantage for white. I wouldn't be able I think to get a pawn's worth of play here, but Smyslov's another matter.

In the game line after 14.Bg5 g6 it evaluates the position as just a small edge for white, considering Bh6 and Bf4; the former is 0.2 at a depth of 25 and transposes immediately into the game line. It thinks Karpov should have played ...Nxc3 instead of ...a6, and ...exd5 instead of ...Qxd5. And ...Qh5 was a losing blunder - ...Qd7 held white to only (well, "only") a pawn advantage after 21.d5 exd5 22.Qxb6 Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Bg7.

May-17-12  Blunderdome: Any other games where a player pushes a pawn in his opponent's territory on three consecutive moves, endgames excluded?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Blunderdome> One game that comes to mind is Winawer vs Lasker, 1896, which I first saw in <The Fireside Book of Chess>.
May-17-12  Blunderdome: Hadn't seen it. That's quite a game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: I appreciate Smyslov's no nonsense strategy in this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: So why didn't white play 27. Qxf8+ (or 27. Qe8)? Yesterday I asked a similar question and someone answered, "Because he's only a 2000 player." That can't be the right answer here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: Well, he was probably a little short on time. Black is already dead and can't do anything. The one microscopic hope he has is to shatter the pawns with .....Bxf3. Re3 says that isn't going to happen. True, white passed up some immediate wins, but didn't spoil anything.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <al wazir> Because he's only a 2600 player?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Blunderdome: Any other games where a player pushes a pawn in his opponent's territory on three consecutive moves, endgames excluded?>

White played 2.e4, 3.e5, and 4.e6 in J M Bellon Lopez vs V Kovacevic, 1979, but I guess that doesn't count because 2.e4 wasn't "in his opponent's territory."

Oct-09-12  Abdel Irada: Passed pawns must be pushed ... and pushed ... and pushed.
Oct-09-12  Olavi: <Blunderdome: Any other games where a player pushes a pawn in his opponent's territory on three consecutive moves, endgames excluded?>

Marshall vs Alekhine, 1924

There's also a famous Kotov game with a similar pawn walk, I'll try to find that one.

Oct-09-12  Olavi: This isn't exactly the same, but have a look at moves 35-37.

Euwe vs Keres, 1938

Oct-09-12  Olavi: Yes this one Kotov vs Ragozin, 1949

It didn't happen in the game, but read the kibitzing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 20...Qh5 was a grave mistake but Smyslov did not find the most crushing continuation after 21.d5 Nd8, i. e. 22.Bg5! Of course, Smyslov's continuation was not bad but after that Karpov could have put up more stubborn resistence playing 23...Rf8!? 24.Rd6 Bxf3 25.Qxf3 Qxf3! 26.gxf3 Rb5 etc. The win seems to be far from sure here, and it is definitely harder task to win such an ending with bad Pawn structure.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: From a dim and dusty corner of what passes for a brain these days, I recall the term "excelsior pawn". The precise definition seems to vary from source to source, but the guts of it are a pawn that makes several successive moves.

More often seen in compositions than OTBs. There's a famous Sam Lloyd puzzle:

But I have also seen authors use it when it doesn't refer to all six/ seven moves from starting square to promotion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <al wazir: So why didn't white play 27. Qxf8+ (or 27. Qe8)?>

I think white had reached that happy stage in the game where he had a multitude of ways to win. By move 27, Black was tied up and could only wait for the axe to fall. In cases like that, it is often pointless trying to sift through many winning moves to find the best. Far better to play a line that you know wins rather than burn time looking for the best amongst (almost) equals.

Fritzie finds no fewer than seven moves which give white an advantage of +2 or more. The strongest move is the surprising 27. Rxe6 (+4.5), but after that we get three moves all clustered around 3.8-3.99 - 27. Re3, 27. Nd4 and 27. Qb8.

27. Qxf8 comes in at +2.25 and 27. Qe8 gets an eval of +1.2.

In human mode, the move that appeals to me is 27. Re3 as played. There's one simple reason for this. White is winning but we mustn't give black any counterplay. One black move that I don't like the look of is Bxf3, wrecking the pawn cover around my king.

I'm also a little nervous about the loose bishop on b3. So Re3-Red3 makes a lot of practical sense. It secures the third rank and both minor bits sitting there. It doubles majors on the half open file.

But if Qxf8 works on move 28, why isn't it so strong on move 27? Fritzie gives this: 27. Qxf8+ Qxf8 28. d8=Q Bxf3

click for larger view

White is still winning, but black is getting a bit too frisky for my liking. The obvious 29. gxf3 leaves the white kingside full of holes.

By contrast, the game line brings us to here:

click for larger view

Now Bxf3 does not have the same annoyance factor because we can recapture with the Re3.

Fritzie doesn't give much eval difference between the two positions. But I know which one I would rather play as white.

Oct-09-12  newzild: What a superb game. Brilliantly instructive from move 17 onwards.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: <There's one simple reason for this. White is winning but we mustn't give black any counterplay. >

That's exactly right. That's how titled players think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White ends up a piece ahead!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tatarch: Good late week puzzle at move 20 or 21.
Oct-09-12  Abdel Irada: <Once>: <There's a famous Sam Lloyd puzzle:>

I visited that page, and the problem is definitely enjoyable. But I should add a caveat: The actual page to which the link will take you is:

This is owing to a problem with Wikipedia's system of page naming and its interaction with the <> coding. Any URL containing parentheses will be truncated just ahead of them, so that such links will take one to a general page (usually a disambiguation page) whose URL doesn't contain the parenthetical material.

From there, of course, it is generally easy to find a link to the page you wanted. I'm not sure if there's a solution to this, but it's as well to be aware of it.

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