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Paul Keres vs Vasily Smyslov
USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Leningrad- Moscow URS, rd 17, Apr-23
Gruenfeld Defense: Russian Variation (D96)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Although white was a piece up, it is not easy to find any winning continuation for him as there are only a few pawns on the board and black king an rook are very active. Maybe white should have tried 66.Rb7 Ke5 67.Ra7 with idea to play b4. For example 67...Kd5 68.b4 Kc4 (68...h5 69.Nd3) 69.Rxe7 axb4 70.Rc7 looks like a right way to the victory.
Jun-05-03  Corben: Its astounishing the way Smyslov played in the edge of the weaknesses, always getting out of a seemingly bad position by the hand of his mastery use of the pieces; the young Smyslov even loses a bishop, but he proves how deep in resources a simple position can be and he is not lost at all. The question that arise after seeing such a talented young player in 1945 is: What could happen if he were able to dominate the smallest points of his style and reach perfection? The answer is the Championship he won against Botvinnik, that machine of logic and determination.
Premium Chessgames Member

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A fascinating tussle this one, warts and all. Here Smyslov parted company with a piece when he could draw simply by repetitive checking (..Rc1+, ..Rc2+). Presumably, he missed 61 Nf7

The players reached this position:

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Here 66 Na4 cleans up after 66..Re2 67 Rxa5 Rxe6 68 Nc5 and Black can choose how to lose: a) 68..Re2 69 b4 and 69..Rb2 loses to a Knight fork or b) 68..Re1+ 69 Kf2 Rb1 70 Ne6+ Kg4 (70..Ke4 71 Rh5 Rxb3 walks into another fork) 72 Nd4 h5 73 Re5

Keres' 66 Na6? allowed 66..a4! and suddenly after 67 Rb4+ Kg3 68 Rxa4 Rb2 Black has a mate threat! The rest of the game illustrates that the b-pawn was a lot more valuable than the e-pawn and Smyslov saves half a point.

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