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Vasily Smyslov vs Alexander Kotov
Moscow (1947), Moscow URS, rd 1, Nov-26
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: A year earlier Kotov had played the same unusual system (with 5..b6) against Smyslov. In that game Smyslov had played 6 Be3 and had gone on to win; here he varied with 6 f4. Kotov thought Black had done well in the opening but thought that 13..0-0 and 14..f6 would have been an improvement. 17..Nd4?, however, was a serious positional error that left White with the advantage; better was 17..Nf5 first . Smyslov missed the ooprtunity to press his advantage with 22 c6!..Nxc6 23 Ne4..0-0 24 Nc5.. Rc7 25 Nxb7..Qxb7 26 Rc5 and White will regain his pawn with the better game. 23 Qf3? led to a good endgame for Black; it was better for White to keep the queens on. Kotov said that the g5 break should have been prepared by transferring the knight to e7 and the king to c6; by playing the break too quickly White was given unnecessary counterplay. 36..Bf6, activating the bishop, would have been more precise. 42 Ke2..Rxh4 43 Kxd2..f5! would have been winning for Black. 44..Bh6! was a clever piece sacrifice leading to a winning endgame. Care was still needed: the alternative 50..e2? 51 Rxh6+..Kxh6 52 Bf4+ would have turned the tables in White's favor.

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