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Vladimir Simagin vs Leonid Stein
USSR Championship 1961a (1961), Moscow URS, rd 5, Jan-17
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-12-05  offramp: A wild Poisoned Pawn game. In the following position, after 37...Kc8,

click for larger view

white is threatened with a mate in three. Also, all his pieces are en prise; but he finds a winning continuation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: This game won Simagin the prize for the most brilliant game in the 28th Soviet Championship. It would make a great Sunday puzzle. As <offramp>'s post above shows all White's pieces are attacked but he finds a magnificent continuation. Stein's defence is inventive and might well have have paid off against another player. A real diamond cut diamond game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: This gem deserves more attention.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: After this game, Stein was only 2 of 5. The round after he beat Petrosian, and went on an 10 of 14 run where he also beat Smyslov, Geller, Bronstein and Spassky.

I've started looking through the games trying to figure out which Stein was real, the one that lost here, or the one that came in the next day. Game Collection: USSR Championship 1961a User: Phony Benoni

Seen either way, this win by Simagin was a great achievement, and probably meant more to him as Stein mowed through the rest of the field.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: 31... Rxe3 was a bit hasty. Not only is that knight stuck, but the knight on d6 is also movebound.

Black has two alternative 31st moves,


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Each seem not only defensible, but probably winning. It is true White retains many of the same attacks as in the game, but the extra defensive piece around the King tips the balance back to him.

I analysed each with Rybka 2.2 on Deep Analysis overnight overnight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: After 31...Bc7 32 Rh8!

This shot is the lynch pin of White's play, but note how Black can take the forward more dangerous knight

32...Bxd6 33 Rxf8 Kc7 34 Rxd6 Rxe3 35 Rxd7+ Nxd7 36 Rf7 Rxe2! Another wild moment.

click for larger view

White cannot capture because of backrank mate, but he can still win if Black is not careful.

37 Qd1 (Threatening to take on d7, and hoping for 37...Qd3 38 Rxd7+!) 37...Kb6 38 Rxd7 Rxa2 39 Qg1 -1.30/18

This is the best Rybka could find for White, but he still faces two connected passed pawns.

Black wraps up the point with the fearless 39...Kc6 40 Rd1 Qb2 41 h4 b4 42 Rb1 Qd2 43 h5 Rc2 44 Qf1 Kc5 45 Qg1+ Kb5 46 Qf1+ Qe2 -1.93/19

But actually the win is even easier than the eval might suggest once the queens come off.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: The alternative on move 31 was to bring the rook back to c6, and use it as an extra piece of furniture when White's queen tries busting down the door.

After 31...Rc6 32 Rh8! Rxh8

(here if 32...Rxd6 33 Qxf6+ Kc7 34 Rxf8 and though still wild, White will emerge with the connected passed pawns)

33 Qxf6+ Kc7 34 Nxb5+ axb5 35 Qxe5+ Rd6 The rook can be an effective shield.

36 Rd3!

click for larger view

Tossing in the proverbial kitchen sink, deflecting the guard, but now Black has so much material, he can favorably sac the queen.

36...Qxd3 (if 36...Qc1+ 37 Nf1 Qc6 38 Rc3 wins the queen favorably to White)

37 Bxd3 Bxe3 38 Qxh8 Rxd3 39 Qe5+ -.84/18

White has an active Queen but Black's two Bishops and Rook should be better.

Sep-10-09  returnoftheking: Dazzling.
Mar-11-11  Gallison: Concur, This game is incredible!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: GM Lubomir Kavalek recently annotated this game in/for The Huffington Post:
May-13-17  zydeco: Here's the totally wild line given by Kavalek and his computer after 31....Bc7: 32.Rh8 Bxd6 33.Rxf8+ Kc7! 34.Qxf6 Rxe3 35.Qd8+ Kb7 36.Bf1 Bxf8 37.Rxd7+ Nxd7 38.Qxd7+ Kb6 39.Qd8+ Kc6 40.Qc8+ Kd6!! 41.Qxf8+ Ke5 and black is playing for the win.

Simagin calls 31.Rh4 'the only way'. If 31.Ng4 Rxh3 32.Nxe5 Rxh2+ 33.Kxh2 Qg3+ 34.Kh1 Qxe5

Stein could have forced a draw by repetition with 32....Ng6....but where's the fun in that? Stein played very well on defense by the way.

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