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Nikolai Kopilov vs Paul Keres
USSR Championship (1951), Moscow URS, rd 2, Nov-14
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-21-09  DrGridlock: I've been interested in Nimzowitsch's 4 ... d5 system in the Sicilian. Emms and Palliser's book, "Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian" states that "Paul Keres employed 4 ... d5!? as a surprise weapon."

This is the only game of Keres I can find in the Chessgames database with this opening. While Keres emerges from the opening with an even position, the game gets away from at 48 ... Bd8. Rybka likes the reply 48 ... Kf7 (.44) better than the game continuation (1.41).

Rybka gives Kf7, a4 Ke6, a5 Rxd7, Ra8 Kd5, Rc8 Rd8, Rxd8+ Bxd8, a6 Kc6, and at least for the moment Black has stopped White's pawn march.

Since the opening wasn't the source of his defeat, I wonder why Keres never came back to 4 ... d5.

Jun-26-14  jerseybob: DrGridlock: To possibly answer your question, check the game Benko-Sandrin, U.S. Open 1963, in this database. Benko's 5.ed seems a major improvement over Kopylov's 5.Nc6. As for this game, you criticize a non-existent move, "48..Bd8". You meant 48..f5, right? 48..f5 definitely hastens black's defeat, but even after 48..Kf7 I'd rather have the white side.
Jun-16-15  zydeco: <Dr Gridlock> You mean 43....Kf7 instead of 43....Bd8.

It seems like a fairly cunning psychological decision by Kopylov on move 6 to go into an ending where he'll have a safe, persistent, minuscule advantage - with the idea that Keres will get impatient with a prolonged defense.

I think 20....e5 is the wrong decision - the d-pawn turns out to be weak. Black may be better off playing 20....Rd7 and then a slow buildup with something like ....Be7, ....f6, .....Kf7 before pushing ....e5.

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