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Igor Bondarevsky vs Vasily Smyslov
Moscow-ch (1945), Moscow URS, rd 16
Four Knights Game: Scotch Variation. Accepted (C47)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: 1/2

I think I put way too much time into all the considerable candidates, but the key move is in fact, the simplest it can be. Geez.

Apr-06-10  eblunt: I wonder if it's 'keep it simple' week? 21 ...♕b5 a simple fork, attacking both the d3♖ and a4♘ and lining up on the king for good measure, leaving the white queen with too much to do.
Apr-06-10  gus inn: <TheaN> Dont worry.Often progress is made when we spend a lot of time and energy .
Apr-06-10  zb2cr: <cocker>, I think you mean "Knight on the rim is dim." Not sure who that's attributed to, I have seen numerous chess writers quote it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Smyslov's stock and trade 21.Qb5 blows apart white's defence. Bondarevsky hits the wall, streets ahead is black. On paper white's poor floating knight is an island and issues decay man, the loan shark's out on a limb. 22.Rd4 provides security then Vasily in return renews it with interest.. Rea8. The coup on the queenside journals the win and consols him.
Apr-06-10  felixd: Pretty hard for a Tuesday, usually it's just a simple sacrifice that wins right away... I tried all kind of sacrifices, such as Rxa4, but did not find anything good. So I tried to simply win a piece, and found Qb5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i didn't see 21...Qb5, i was analyzing 21...Rxa4 22.Qxa4 Qxg2
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Tuesday (Easy)

Bondarevsky vs Smyslov, 1945 (21...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Down B for N+P. The White Kb1 has 1 legal move, a1, which the Black Ra7 x-rays through the White Na4 and Pa2. The White Na4 has no flight squares. It also is attacked once (Ra4) and defended once (Qc2), making it vulnerable to further attack. The Black Kg8 is secured from check, but vulnerable to back-rank mates.

Candidates (21...): Qb5

21…Qb5 (threatening 22…Qxa4 or 22…Rxa4)

22.b3 Rxa4

The Black Qb5 pins Pb3 to Kb1, preventing the recapture 23.bxa4. White cannot shake the pin and so loses Na4.

I missed the defense 22.Rd4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: I looked at 21...Qb5 22.Rd4 Re2 and missed the simple 23.Qb3 defense. If I saw that, perhaps I would've found the easy 22...Rea8.
Apr-06-10  fouard: Easy alright. 21...Rea8. The N has nowhere to go, and can't be defended by either 22 b3 or Rd4, because of 22...Qb5.
Apr-06-10  fouard: I see the game line has 21...Qb5 played first. My eye was lured by the vulnerable a-file, but it appears that 22 c4 Qa5 23 b3 Rb8 will work as well. The game line is quicker, tho.
Apr-06-10  desiobu: I tried 21...Qb5, but failed to consider 22. Rd4. 22...Rea8 is easy enough to spot though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eisenheim: chess is a game of absolutes. never leave a horse on the edge of the board, unless of course its needed there. this took me some time for an easy puzzle. at first i considered somehow having the Qxg2 move work and choking down the second rank, but the only move that would force the white Q there would be rxa4, and after capturing the pawn at g2, the white Q can resume her position so its a no go. then i remembered its an easy day so I revisited the horse on the edge of the board and saw the solution. b3 could not rescue it due to the pin and the white rook offering assistance is combatted by the black rook doubling up. and doubling rooks is another absolute, i.e. always do it unless, of course, there is a reason not to.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I missed this one-I was banking on the exchange sac at a4-I wasn't looking for a knight trap.

The main point in the text is that the natural protection move with the pawn,b3,is useless because the pin on the b-file. The move even blocks the queen's protection.

Apr-06-10  rapidcitychess: Analysis: Queenside Knight is dominated. The piece is pinned to the a pawn. Does an exchange sacrifice work? Leads to 21... ♖xa4 22 ♕xa4 ♕xg2 23 ♕d1. In which black is far down in material. The g-file will comeback to haunt him.This is very good for white. How about piling on the Knight? Whit cannot defend his Knight enough. How do we achieve this? By 21...♕b4 Everything else leads to ♖d4. But this way allows him to pile on the Knight.♖ea8!
Apr-06-10  jussu: This is a really cool exercise, such a silent sequence that is easier to find in a real game than in a puzzle position. At first I spent a lot of time on Rxa4 with Qxg2 but that was just silly. Finally noticed that the knight was too stuck to spend a rook on it :)
Apr-06-10  Suji: Who has the advantage after:
21. ... Rxa4
22. Qxa4 Re2
23. Qa8+ Bf8
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Took an embarrassingly long time to get this one. I looked at 21... Rea8 (of course, if 22 Rd4? Qb5 transposes) 22 b3 Rxa4 23 bxa4 Rb8+ 24 Ka1 Ba3 and tried to make it work. But after 25 Rb1 B can make no more progress.
Apr-06-10  MaczynskiPratten: Maybe the psychologists could tell us why this one is so hard to spot? I struggled for some time to see Qb5 and missed Rea8 completely. First Tuesday I've missed for a long while :-(
Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: <MaczynskiPratten> I'm no psychologist, but I would say the reason is there are several reasonable looking moves such as 21...Rxa4 22.Qxa4 Qxg2 and threatening 23...Qxh1+; 21...Rea8; and 21...Qb5. And when you look at 21...Qb5, you have to see the subtle defense 22.Rd4 and that 22.b3 does not work. After 21...Qb5 22.Rd4, there are still several other subtle choices such as 22...Re2 and 22...Rea8.

In my opinion with all the subtle candidates, this was not an "easy" Tuesday puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Definitely a tough one. I was immediately attracted to the offside white knight which has no safe retreat squares, but it took several attempts before I found a way to snare it. 21...Rea8 22. b3 and all is safely gathered in. Similarly, 21....Qa4 22. b3 and we are not making any progrss.

Then inspiration! We need to attack the knight and pin the b pawn at the same time. When you see this, the move 21...Qb5 fairly leaps off the board. Then 22. Rd4 and we get to play the Rea8 move that we started thinking about much too long ago.

Why is this so hard to see? It's something we have noticed before - combinations involving trapped pieces can be hard to spot because so many pieces and squares are involved. The knight has four escape squares which need to be covered (b2, c3, c5 and b6). We need a black heavy piece on the b file to pin the b2 pawn against the white king on b1. And we need two black rooks to attack the knight along the a file.

This means that we need to hold in our mind more than double the number of pieces that we would need for, say, a pin or a fork.

There are also more focal points here than in a mating attack, which generally has only one or two focal points. Add to this the fact that black has several tempting moves and it is not hard to see why this is one of the toughest Tuesdays I can recall.

But here's a thought ... don't several chess writers say that a combination needs to involve a sacrifice? If so, where is the sac in today's puzzle?

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: It took me a few rounds of false starts to get it. But eventually I noticed that the knight on a4 had no flight square and was defended only by the queen.

I can double attack it with with my queen, but then playing b3 seems to defend -- UNLESS I double attack with my queen from the b5 square (i.e. 21...Qb5). In that case, the defense offered by 22.b3 is an illusion, since Pb3 is pinned.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I got the first move but I didn't find the response to Rd4
Apr-06-10  jussu: <Once>, Why does a puzzle have to be called a combination?

Then again, I think this aspect has something to do with the fact that many of us found this puzzle rather challenging. We don't expect calm butchering of a piece from a puzzle, we expect whacky sacs from them. Honestly, I think most of us would have found the solution in a practical game more easily than in a puzzle.

Apr-06-10  ZZer: I found 22...c5 as the response to Rd4. I think it also wins, doesn't it?
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