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Boris Spassky vs Lev Polugaevsky
USSR Championship 1961b (1961), Baku URS, rd 8, Nov-27
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Three Knights Variation (E21)  ·  1-0



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Given 26 times; par: 68 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-16-07  Grega: One of the finest games ever I think. Spassky's concept is great; length and depth of variations is not terrestrial but product of finest inspiration.
Mar-17-07  Maynard5: Some nice play by Spassky here. White rapidly neutralizes Black's threats on the kingside, then uses the f-file effectively, and finally creates an outside passed pawn on the h-file.
Mar-17-07  RookFile: This is a really funny game. You get the feeling that Lev Polugaevsky is playing completely logically, and is making threats. What does Spassky do? He just ignores the threats.... and wins.
Aug-11-07  sanyas: Spassky only played one innacurate move, the very last one. Instead 42.Qg7+ forces mate.
Aug-11-07  sanyas: But there is something to be said for the aesthetic effect of 42.d5.
Jul-06-09  Tomlinsky: I love this masterpiece by Spassky. 14.0-0 and dropping a pawn so flamboyantly is especialy wicked.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: A finely contested game that remained approximately equal until near the end.

At move 30, Fritz indicated the following evaluation and continuation: (.00) (22 ply) 30...Rxc3 31.Rxe6 Bxg2 32.Rh6 Rc2 33.Ke3 Rxa2 34.Rxh5 Ra3, or (.07) (22 ply) 30...Rxg2 31.Bxh5 Kd8 32.Rxe6 Rh2.

At move 34, the game was still approximately equal, (.05) (26 ply) 34...Rf2+! 35.Kg5 Rg2 36.d5 Bd7 37.h6 Bxe6 38.dxe6 Rf2 39.h7 Rf8. In this variation, the position after 39...Rf8 is totally equal.

Polugaevsky's 34...Rh2? was a serious error. At move 36, he erred again with 36...Rh1?. A longer resistance was possible with: (1.07) (27 ply) 36...Bxe6 37.Kxh2 Bg8 38.Bf5 Ke7 39.h7 Bxh7 40.Bxh7, (1.59) (26 ply) 40...d5 41.Bg8 dxc4 42.Bxc4 a4 43.Kg3 c6 44.Kf3 b5 45.Bg8 Kd6 46.Ke4 c5 47.Kd3, wins for White.

Better was 37...Rh3+ 38.Kxh3 Bxe6+ 39.Kg3 Bg8 40.Be4, or 37...Bxe6 38.Bxh1 Bg8 39.Be4, but by then his position was lost.

Apr-07-15  A.T PhoneHome: I personally liked how Spassky played <14.O-O>, inviting Polugaevsky to capture that pawn. After <15.Kh1 Nd7>, move <16.Rf4> was cunning as now Polugaevsky's Queen doesn't have that g5 escape square anymore.

Boris Spassky played excellent chess on the kingside! That h-file pawn was the last straw. Winning against Polugaevsky is no sloppy feat.

Aug-21-16  Dave12: Boris!
the concept of the free pawn reminds
Spassky vs Petrosian, 1969
Jul-24-17  Toribio3: Passed pawn is a criminal!
Aug-12-17  zydeco: Spassky didn't have much for most of this game. It's black's misfortune that 24....Rxf8 doesn't worK: 25.Rxf8+ Nxf8 26.h3 Bf5 27.Nxf5 exf5 28.Bd3.

Very instructive endgame play with 37.Bf3 and 38.Bg2 - and it turns out that the rook runs out of squares on the h-file.

Dec-27-21  Justin796: 14.0-0!...who needs engine's when you have Spassky!.there was another player who in retrospect played a lot of engine moves...Bobby something or other..wonder what became of Bobby?
Dec-27-21  Clement Fraud: <Justin796>

Bobby????? At some point down the line he acquired a role in Dallas (the TV show... I THINK); so he quit chess for acting!

Had Bobby been in Polugaevsky's place here, I think he would have sensed the danger and played 17... Rg7!?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Sadly, Bobby died at the age of 37. He was frail all his life, which not a lot of people knew at the time. Shame he didn't have a better life - everything that came out of that mouth of his was sweet, sweet music. The idol of a generation.
Dec-27-21  Brenin: <Dionysius1>: Yes, Bobby Darin is still missed. As well as a singer, songwriter and actor, he was a keen chess player: see
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Yes, I only saw that very recently. It would be nice to have a game of his here. Given his status he probably played an exhibition game against someone strong enough to be included.

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