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Paul Keres vs Vasily Smyslov
"The Pawn is Mightier Than the Sword" (game of the day Dec-17-2020)
Zuerich Candidates (1953), Zuerich SUI, rd 24, Oct-13
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Hedgehog System (A17)  ·  0-1



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Given 60 times; par: 51 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-13-12  ughaibu: Bull @#$%. You have far greater credibility as a historian of chess than I have, but your persistence with this nonsense is jeopordising that status.

The play-off games were not recorded, as far as I know, linking to any score from the play-off would be sufficient to show me to be wrong about this.

You're not a fool, are you? You understand that given two players, A and B, if A only needs a draw but B needs a win, then there is no surprise about A offering a draw as early as possible, neither is there any surprise about B refusing all offers of draws, for as long as possible. In the Needleman case, there were several players in A, so there is nothing surprising about them agreeing quick draws, is there? In B there was only one player, Needleman, so there is nothing surprising about him refusing draws, is there?

Sure you can repeat the claim to the next guy, but why would you? The "ganging up" claim was made by one excessively nationalistic journalist, it was denied by everyone else, including Needleman. In short, there is even less of a case for ganging up than there is with Bronstein's nonsense about Zurich, or Fischer's about Curacao. So, not only is supporting this nonsense beneath the level of your wit, it's also beneath the level of your integrity.

Jul-07-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Keres vs Smyslov, 1953.
Your score: 55 (par = 49)


Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: A justly famous game, a masterpiece of defensive ingenuity.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: "Don't Rook Back"
Mar-11-18  sakredkow: Grischuk asked if he remembers a "famous Steinitz game with a rook manouevre". His response: "No, but I remember a really famous game with Keres-Smyslov in Candidates 1953. White put rooks on h3 and h5, took on h7 - and lost."

Tweet from Tarjei Svenson following Grischuk-So game and interview in Berlin.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The questioner asked about this game specifically:

Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895

Mar-12-18  drleper: That part of the interview (about Keres - Smyslov) is here:

Although it's worth watching from the start, Grischuk in top form!

Mar-22-18  Howard: Incidentally, Soltis wrote a long two-part article for ChessCafe many years ago titled "Treachery In Zurich", and he touched upon this game, in fact.

One point to be made was that not only was Keres trailing Smyslov going into this game, but Keres had not yet taken his second-half bye..but Smyslov had. Thus, Keres needed to strive for a win at all costs here.

Too bad it backfired on him.

Mar-22-18  Marmot PFL: Keres at least twice could have forced a draw I think but needed to win.
Oct-13-18  Howard: Exactly where was the point-of-no-return in this game? Bronstein's book doesn't really specify where.

In other words, at one point did Keres throw away the draw for good?

Oct-13-18  Olavi: Usually 20.Dg4 is given (c3 21.Bxc3 Rxc3 22.Rxc3 Qxd4 23.Qxd4 Bxd4 24.Rc7).
Oct-13-18  SChesshevsky: <Howard> Could be going all out for the h-file attack after 18...g6 was all or nothing.

Might be very limited chances of success without ideas on fighting for the key f6, g7, h8 dark squares though.

Best examples I can think of for successful like attacks are the Dragon Yugo attack such as in Fischer - Puryo something. A Mongolian as Soltis notes in his Fischer book. And the famous Karpov - Korchnoi 74 game, and a win by Polgar in the Sicilian match with Kaidanov. I believe getting rid of Blacks DSB helped in all.

Also Spassky had some somewhat similar attack success in his Geller match where he played the Closed Sicilian three or four times. I think dealing with the bishop was important there too.

Jan-14-19  bunbun: This game is referenced in Grischuk's Thug Life Compilation #2 --

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Certainly one of the most significant games of Kere's career. Being just a half point behind Smyslov prior to this the 24th round game (out of 30) and with a bye scheduled for the 25th round Keres felt the need to play for a win though realistically he still would have had some chances had the game ended in a draw. Keres, a classical player throughout his career here played for an attack when the position did not warrant it.

Kasparov:"This was one of those "key moments", when a player's qualities are fully revealed. Was it an accident that Keres placed the game "on its end" and played in an uncustomary manner? No, I think that this great player was simply unable to withstand the savage tension in decisive, culminating moments on the very approaches to the chess heights."

This game started as an English but transposed into a position that can be reached in the Queen's Indian (E14) or the Queen's Gambit.

21 Qc1 was a clever trap: eg. 21..Bxg2 (21..cxb? 22 Qh6..Qxd4 23 Rg7+ and mates) 22 Bxg2..bxc 23 Qh6..Rc1+ 24 Bf1..Rxf1+ 25 Kxf1..b8(Q) 26 Ke2 and Black has only a perpetual.

Although this game did not show Keres at his best Smyslov's 19..dxc! was a brilliant defense reminiscent of Karpov at his best.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Fighting chess. Smyslov seems to have understood this position better than keres.
Dec-17-20  Brenin: A masterpiece of counter-attacking defence by Smyslov.
Dec-17-20  saturn2: White's attack on the kingside is flashy but black wins on the queenside accessing the enemy king finally. It reminds of Geller- Euwe or Rotlevi - Rubenstein.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: 19...dxc4. Awesome cool under pressure.
Dec-17-20  Ironmanth: Hmmm...great game! Perhaps we could remove the much older inflammatory remarks?! Y'all please stay safe out there today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Smyslov handled the pressure.

<Ironmanth> I assume you are referring to the <Petrosianic vs ughaibu> exchange. I disagree. If you read that and then go on to read about the Needleman controversy at the heart of their disagreement, Gaston Needleman, you will find it all a very interesting affair, one I wouldn't have known about without the exchange on this page.

Dec-17-20  RandomVisitor: <TheAlchemist> pointed out back in 2005 that 16.c5! was likely better for white. Here we see the top 3 black replies:

click for larger view


<51/64 1:27:16 +1.09 16...Bf6 17.b4> bxc5 18.Rxc5 a6 19.Bd3 Be7 20.Rc1 Nb8 21.Qe2 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 Bd6 23.h3 Re8 24.Ne5 Re7 25.Qh5 g6 26.Qe2 Rc7

51/67 1:27:16 +1.30 16...a5 17.b4 axb4 18.axb4 Nxb4 19.Rb3 bxc5 20.dxc5 Bxc5 21.Ba3 Qe7 22.Qb1 d4 23.Bxb4 Bxb4 24.Rxb4 Bxf3 25.gxf3 Rc3 26.Bg2 Qd6

51/76 1:27:16 +1.48 16...bxc5 17.dxc5 Bf6 18.Rc2 a6 19.b4 Re8 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Rce2 Re7 22.Rd2 h5 23.Qb1 Rec7 24.h3 g6 25.a4 Nb8 26.Ne5 Nd7

Dec-17-20  RandomVisitor: After 16.Ne5 Nxe5 things are harder for white:

click for larger view


54/62 56:56 -0.21 17.dxe5 g6 18.cxd5 Rxc3 19.Bxc3 Bxd5 20.b4 Bg5 21.Bd2 Bf3 22.Qxf3 Qxd2 23.Rd1 Qb2 24.g3 a5 25.h4 Bd2 26.bxa5 bxa5 27.a4 Bc3

<54/55 56:56 -0.54 17.Rxe5 Bf6> 18.Re2 Qe7 19.Rec2 dxc4 20.Rxc4 Rxc4 21.bxc4 Rd8 22.h3 Qc7 23.Qd3 h6 24.Rd2 Rd7 25.Qc3 h5 26.Qb3 g6 27.Bc3 Bc6

Dec-17-20  RandomVisitor: After 19.Rch3, 19...dxc4 is better than the alternatives:

click for larger view


<38/55 07:46 -2.11 19...dxc4 20.Qg4 c3 21.Bxc3 Re8> 22.a4 Qd6 23.a5 Red8 24.a6 Ba8 25.Rd3 Bg7 26.Rhh3 Qd5 27.Bd2 h5 28.Qg5 Qxg5 29.Bxg5 Rd5

38/63 07:46 +3.32 19...Bg7 20.Rxh7 Qg5 21.Bc1 Qf6 22.Rxg7+ Qxg7 23.Bh6 Qf6 24.Qg4 dxc4 25.Bg5 Qg7 26.Qf4 f5 27.Bh6 Qc7 28.Bxc4 Bd5 29.Qg5 Qf7

38/62 07:46 +3.75 19...h6 20.Rxh6 Bg7 21.Qd2 Qf6 22.Rh7 dxc4 23.bxc4 b5 24.Rxg7+ Qxg7 25.d5 e5 26.d6 bxc4 27.d7 Rcd8 28.f4 Rxd7 29.Qxd7 Bc8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Smyslov was awesome during the Zurich tournament. Playing through his games is like drinking fine wine, he was such an incredible player. I've seen this game a few times but love replaying it!
Nov-19-21  tbontb: In a critical game, Keres gambles all on an attack against the enemy K, met with resolute defence by Smyslov. After 20.Rxh7 c3 White is simply lost. However, even Bronstein's much-quoted 20. Qg4 may be insufficient to draw against 20....c3 21.Bxc3 Qd6 which leaves Black clearly better in all variations.
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