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Vasily Smyslov vs Isaac Boleslavsky
USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Leningrad- Moscow URS, rd 19, Apr-27
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C19)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-13-10  tratra: 41. Bc1 (threatening Rxh6#) Re1+ 42. Kf2 (..Re7 43. Rxh6#) Rxc1 43. Rg7+ Kh8 44. Rg8+ Kh7 45. R2g7#

Any legal black moves on move 42 will lead to Rh6 mate. Unless, black wants to prolong the agony of defeat by giving a useless check by the rook.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <zooter: The inglorious retreat 41.Bc1 does the job for white. Wait, you say there are ways to stop mate on h6?

a) 41...Re3 42.cxd4 transposes to line b >

42.Rg7+, etc. is quicker.

Apr-13-10  dzechiel: White to move (41?). Black has a knight and two pawns for a rook (about even). "Easy."

This took a minute or two, but I finally tumbled onto

41 Bc1

With the threat of 42 Rxh6#. At first I thought this didn't work because of


but after

42 Kf2

black is stuck. If he doesn't play 42...Rxc1 white will play 43 Rxh6#. But if he DOES play


then white gets to end it all with

43 Rg7+ Kh8 44 Rg8+ Kh7 45 R2g7#

Boleslavsky likely just resigned. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Tuesday 13 April 2010


Target: 1:25;000
Taken: 0:32;013

Material: unbalanced, White ♖ vs ♘+2♙

Candidates: Rg7†, Rxh6†, Bf8, <[Bc1]>

Seeing that the key move works only takes a second or so, seeing the key move is something entirely different. White wants to use his doubled Rooks on the g-file to mate Black or gain definite material (it is rather unclear now). In fact, White can use the h-file for that whilst bringing in his only passive piece.

<41.Bc1!> ends the situation there and then. White is threatening Rxh6‡, the only way to prevent that is to take the Bishop or interpose the diagonal. It is obvious Black wants to start with:

<41....Re1† 42.Kf2> as the immediate Re3 doesn't change the situation. Now, Black has two alternatives, Re3 and Rxc1, but both make no difference. Black may end his own misery by taking the rogue Bishop on c1:

<42....Rxc1 43.Rg7† Kh8 44.Rg8† Kh7 45.R2g7‡ 1-0> and the pawn on h6 does the job well done of trapping the Black King. Time to check if Black played this out or resigned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: 2/2

Fair enough to resign after Bc1, at least Black noticed that White noticed that he would mate Black. Or something like that.

Apr-13-10  gofer: Hmmm... doesn't have a lot of options! Black's bishop moves are pointless and black's pawn moves are too slow. So that leaves Rook and Knight moves...

41 ... Nf8 42 Rg7+ Kh8 43 Rg8+ Kh7 44 R2g7#
41 ... Re2/Re3/Re4/Re5/Re6 42 Rg7+ Kh8 43 Rg8+ Kh7 44 R2g7#

Perhaps black's best option is 41 ... Ne5 attacking Rg6, but even this is a little impotent. So white's control is complete, but what is white's best way of attacking!? Well obviously it is force the rook off e8 and e7 into a position where the two white rooks can play merry hell, with the mating combination above...

I have looked at this for a while, what I really want to play is 41 Bc1 ... 42 Rxh6#, but 41 ... Re1+ stops that. But then I thought well does that really matter? It does stop the mating attack on h6, but obviously not the one detailed above! So in reality losing one mating attack to gain the alternative mate is nothing to moan about!

41 Bc1 Re1+
42 Kf2

Now white has two mating threats and black is dead dead dead...

1) 43 Rxh6#
2) 43 Rg7+ Kh8 44 Rg8+ Kh7 45 R2g7#

42 ... Rxc1
43 Rg7+ Kh8
44 Rg8+ Kh7
45 R2g7#

Time to check...

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <41.Bc1>, because the Re8 is bound to cover g8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Very nice game by Smyslov.
Apr-13-10  zb2cr: Oh, blah. I saw 41. R2g3, to be followed by Rh3 and Rhxh6#. If 41. ... Re1+; 42. Kf2 and Black must return his Rook to e8 to prevent Rg8+ and R3g7#. I'm convinced this line works, but it's about 1 move slower than the line chosen by Smsylov and thus not optimal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Puzzles like this are 'so easy, they are hard.' After seeing the move I think "Oh, duh, how could I be so dense." I just wasn't looking for a move THAT direct. It may not even qualify as a combination ... it's simply purely winning by force alone.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Tuesday (Easy)

Smyslov vs Boleslavsky, 1941 (41.?)

White to play and win.

Material: R for N+2P. The Black Kh7 has 1 legal move, the dark square h8. The Black Re8 bears the absolute burden of preventing mate:

[1]Rg7+ Kh8 [2]Rg8+ Kh7 [3]R2g7#

The White Ba3 requires activation. The Black Re8 prevents a threat of lawnmower mate:

[1]Bc1 (threatening [2]Rxh6#)

The White Kg1’s vulnerability to Re8-e1+ apparently prevents this variation, but Re8 is now overburdened.

Candidates (41.): Bc1


The Black Re8 cannot prevent both mate threats; he can only prolong the agony:

41…Re1+ 42.Kf2 Re2+ 43.Kxe2 d3+ 44.Kf1

White now executes a mate.

Apr-13-10  Major Dude: This should have been a Monday puzzle. Pretty easy to figure out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: 41.Bc1 came to mind almost instantly and then I saw 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rxc1 and dismissed it.

So I thought about preventing 41...Re1+ by playing 41.Kf2 first, but there's a big problem and that is 41...d3. For example, 42.Bc1 Re2+ 43.Kf1 Rxg2.

Next I considered 41.Rg7+ Kh8 and realized it would be mate if not for the e8-rook and went back to the original idea, 41.Bc1!.

And now it's more apparent that 41...Re1+ 42.Kf2 Rxc1 43.Rg7+ Kh8 44.Rg8+ Kh7 45.R1g7#.

So the problem in my analysis is that I made a quiescence error from the beginning, not looking one step further after 42...Rxc1.

Lesson: Always look at least 1-ply further after a piece is apparently "lost for nothing".

Apr-13-10  atakantmac: i think this puzzle must be monday's
Apr-13-10  desiobu: Bc1 and white will mate one way or another.
Apr-13-10  A Karpov Fan: got it
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The solution is on the quiet side-just a little retreat but even so,mate is inescapable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Can a daring plan like Bc1 find fruition? Provincially yes, picking 40.Ba3 leaves the bare necessities, mate in seven. Park said piece on the back rank ..exd4 Bc1 and black's rook trip pales in comparison. I gave this a long hard stare and the trade furnishes white's attack Re1+ Kf2 Rxc1 Rg7+ Kh8 Rg8+ Kh7. The rook's encroach Rg7# it is sat, I vanquish thinks Smylsov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <zb2cr>After 41. R2g3 Ne5 stops the mate. I'm guessing this is why 40...ed was played, although the White bishop moving from c5 to a3 made it pretty obvious he was heading to c1. White could have played 40. R2g3 instead of 40. Ba3 and mated just as effectively.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: The black king is pressed against a wall next to a g-file which is controlled by white's rook battery. To make matters worse, the black king is limited to the 7th & 8th because of his own h6 pawn. Sad for black.

It looks like 41.Bc1 (hitting Ph6 to threaten 42.Rxh6#) ends it.

Even if black captures our bishop with 41...Re1+ (or blocks it with 41...Re3), he loses because when black moves his rook, he leaves the 8th rank unguarded, thus enabling a 2nd mating threat: Rg7+ Kh8 / Rg8+ Kh7 / R2g7#.

Apr-13-10  patzer2: Smyslov's 41. Bc1! solves today's Tuesday puzzle with a winning attack after 41...Re1+ in 42. Kf2 , when White has a double attack to counter Black's double attack with a triple threat that includes the loss of the Black Rook as well as mate-in-one or mate-in-two.
Apr-13-10  JG27Pyth: Is <chrisowen> machine-translated?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I loved 35 f5, forcing a queen trade and setting up a nice outpost for a piece on g6.

click for larger view

After the queen trade white's pieces are so well-positioned. Very impressive.

click for larger view

Apr-13-10  geeker: It so happens that I played over this game last week. Have been re-reading Smyslov's "125 Selected Games"...
Premium Chessgames Member
  monopole2313: Played 41.Bd6 to forestall ...Ne5 and ...Nf8. The mate after R->g3->h3->h6 is otherwise unimpeded. Smyslov's play against the French was generally admirable.
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