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Alexander Kotov vs Vasily Smyslov
Budapest Candidates (1950), Budapest HUN, rd 16, May-11
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Zurich Variation (E33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Breunor: Can anyone help on this - why does Smyslov play 13 Bb6?>

It's an interesting question. Fritzie certainly prefers 13...Bc7. After a few minutes chewing on it, 13...Bc7 is slightly ahead with = 0.25, with 13...Bb6 in second place as 0.53. The problem with 13...Bb6 for the engine is that a subsequent white Na4 either allows the bishop to be exchanged or prompts black to play Bc7 anyway.

I guess it comes down to personal preferences. Fritz, being a mostly cold-hearted materialist, probably rates bishops slightly more than knights and doesn't want to double pawns. Smyslov probably wanted to inhibit white from playing the pawn break e4 as you have suggested. My guess is that he wouldn't have minded if his b pawns were doubled, as that would give him an open a file and make it risky for white to castle on either wing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: Maybe he wanted to keep the option
of queenside O-O-O.
(because kingside was broken pawns)

After Rc1 white may have tactics
with Nb5.

Probably wanted to keep him guessing.

Mar-30-10  Patriot: 13...Bb6; That's a strange move since the bishop hits a wall of pawns. I used to play similar moves and my coach told me it's a positional mistake. That is, of course, unless there is a tactical reason. I wondered if he was considering ...c5 or ...Bxd4 at some point.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: This puzzle took me ~7 or so minutes to figure out, a good bit longer than the avg. easy puzzle takes me to solve. Although, once I saw 42...♖f2+!, it was easy to see the following moves. It's a good deflection sac that gets the ♔ on its 2nd rank so it can be checked by the other ♖ & the ♕ can deliver the fatal blow.
Mar-30-10  fyad reject: stared at this for ten minutes looking for some mate with Qg3 or Rg3, then considered possible good-looking preparatory moves like Bxf4 or Rb2 but couldnt find anything

looking at all possible checks, i eventually found the "solution" but gave up in despair because it seemed like it just trades two rooks for a queen after 44. ... Rxe2 45. Kxe2 and i couldnt find a mating continuation

i saw that we are already up a ton of material and making disadvantageous trades can be good when it clears the board but i felt like there had to be something better. guess i was wrong

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <fyad reject> Yes, examining all the checks is how I figured this puzzle out. I try to ALWAYS examine ALL checks & captures on every move (where applicable). A chess player who used to play in tournaments told me that a long time ago, & it has stuck w/ me ever since. Does anybody know which chess book 1st mentioned that?
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: agb2002: <turbo231: < agb2002: (CG) The games Kotov vs Smyslov, 1953 and Kotov vs Smyslov, 1953 are the same.> I'm confused what are you trying to say? >

The same game appeared twice in the database (#1084362 and #1084365). CG has deleted the game #1084365 and my original post, that one you refer to.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <agb2002> wrote: [snip] The same game appeared twice in the database (#1084362 and #1084365). CG has deleted the game #1084365 and my original post, that one you refer to. >

Hi, <agb2002>. I posted about your original post. <CG> deleted my reply also.

Let's see how many times we can refer to your original post, before they give up ;>)

Mar-30-10  micartouse: This took a a little less than a minute for me. The key was to realize the following points:

-Black has to find something forcing or will lose.
-When three heavy pieces are gunning for the enemy king, one is often sacrificed either as a clearance or guard removal. Here, the queen is in back, suggesting that its superior checking power is being blocked by the friendly rook.

With this in mind, I looked at the possible rook sacs and noticed that ...Rf2+ is the key.

Mar-30-10  Patriot: <fyad reject> It sounds like you did pretty good!
Mar-30-10  ruzon: <TheaN: <45....Qg2† 46.Kd3> 46.Ke1 (46.Kd1 Qf1† 47.Kd2 Qf2† winning the Rook) 46....Qg1† winning the Bishop.>

Even better is 46...Ba5+ Kd1 47. Qd2#.

Mar-30-10  remolino: ...Rf2+
Mar-30-10  Cushion: Rf2+ appears to force mate nicely.
Mar-30-10  lippizan: <kevin86: I took the pipe on this one-my Rb2?? falls victim to the mate in two at h7.


Same here. Didn't realize that the Bishop is eyeing at h7.

OUCH, too.

Mar-30-10  MaxxLange: a very good puzzle. Smyslov week is going to be so great!
Mar-30-10  Skylark: After Qe2 blocking the check, I further analysed that Rx Kx Qg2 and Ba5 leads to mate in pretty much every variation... am I wrong?
Mar-30-10  turbo231: I beat RYBKA, CHESSMASTER, DRAGON 46,ENGINE CLASSIC2,GNU,ANMON560,CRAFTY, then I played Fruit2.3.1 and was mated in the first game had to resign the second game!
Then I played fruit against GNU, fruit mated GNU with white. I played Fruit vs Rybka of coarse I gave Rybka black, after about 70 more moves it ended in a draw.

What Kotov and all the chess engines except Fruit did wrong was interpose with their Queen. Fruit interposed with his bishop at b1b2, black took the bishop and checked the King. White moved to the first rank e1 because black's rook was on c2 he couldn't do anything. White had a bishop at h2 guarding g1 so black couldn't use his Queen. all he could do was g7 white rh4-g4 Qg7-f8 rg4-g8+ Qf8xg8
ne7xg8 bc7-a5+
kd3-d1 rc2-d2+
kd1-c1 kh8xg8
The end game was as follows black had a rook, bishop and knight. White had a Queen and a dark square bishop. These computers are amazing. I don't know why Rybka didn't see the line or chessmaster and the others, but Fruit saw it. So no one solved this puzzle except Fruit 2.3.1

Mar-30-10  turbo231: I made a mistake I meant to say the bishop interposed at c3 not c2.
Mar-30-10  turbo231: No he did interpose at c2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <turbo231> I think we are going to need some move numbers to work out the line you are proposing. But let me suggest a theory...

After black plays 43...Rb2+ we get this position:

click for larger view

Now if white interposes with the Bb1, it just gets taken and the variation continues as before: 44. Bc2 Rxc2+

click for larger view

From here, we have 45. Kf3 Qg2# or 45. Ke1 Qg1# or 45. Kf1 Qg2+ 46. Ke1 Qg1#. So white's best is 45. Qe2 and we are back into the main line.

But I think the clue to this mystery is your sentence: "White had a bishop at h2 guarding g1 so black couldn't use his Queen." I think that bishop at h2 is really a pawn, so white isn't guarding g1 at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Johnlspouge and Once,

Thanks for the help!

Jun-05-13  zydeco: <Jim from Providence > I don't see the win after 31.Nh6: 31.....Rg7 32.Qc2 Ra8 33.Bxh7 Nxh7 34.Rxg7 Kxg7 35.Nxf7 (what else?) Kxf7 36.Rxh7+ Kf8 37.Rh8+ Ke7 and the king (just barely) gets away.

Kotov was shattered that he blew this game -- and cost himself an automatic qualification for the next candidates tournaments. His version of it is that he was completely winning by move 20, decided to putter around and wait for the adjournment to analyze it out, passed up 'several easy wins,' then got sick of 'pointless maneuvering' and, with seconds left, played his combination with 38.Qe2 and 39.Rxh7+ -- only to overlook 43.....Rf2+. In hindsight, his combination was perfectly correct: he just needed an extra preparatory move (Kf3 or Bd3).

Jun-05-13  Shams: <zydeco> 34.Qxh7+ in that line.
Jun-05-13  zydeco: <Shams> nice
Dec-18-18  PJs Studio: Poor Kotov. Black is SO busted at move 39. White plays 39.Bd3 and 40.Ne7!! Devistates black. 39.Rxh7? is a very unfortunate blunder. Because it’s a complex 6 half moves later he needed to see 42...Rxf2!! Winning.

A shame. A great illustration of why it’s so hard to become a titled player. Sniffing out danger isn’t enough, you must calculate sometimes four or five complex moves ahead, and you can’t (as Kotov did here) miss anything.

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