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Lev Aronin vs Vasily Smyslov
USSR Championship (1951), Moscow URS, rd 17, Dec-13
Pirc Defense: Classical Variation. Two Knights System (B08)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  waddayaplay: Aronin adjucated his 41st move. Instead of playing Rxc6, he thought he could win in the pawn endgame.

Had Smyslov played as expected, with 45...Kf7, white had come to the conclusion that he would have advanced his king to the queenside and won. However, Smyslov surprised him with 45..hxg and 46...g4, and if white now would try his luck on the queenside with 50.Kc4, black would even win after ..f5!

Feb-04-10  AESTRADAR: 45.g4 this pawn ending is almost a study when Aronin made this move he was sure to win but Smyslov replay 45...hxg3 supressing the counterplay associated to ...f6-f5 o g5-g4 now the white king intens to go to c4
Feb-17-10  whiteshark: "...Aronin had a totally winning position in the last round against Vasily Smyslov and therefore did not seriously analyse the adjourned position. He missed a hidden, very neat, drawing variation found by Smyslov, who had done his homework brilliantly, and had to settle for a draw, missing qualification by half a point for the Interzonal Tournament in 1955. Aronin's style of play reminds me of Mikhail Botvinnik and Semyon Furman, very positional and safe but occasionally also using his combinative talent."

—David Bronstein , The Sorcerer's Apprentice


Feb-18-10  ycbaywtb: thank you for sharing this story, it's the little things sometimes
Mar-04-10  whiteshark: " This dropped half-point cost Aronin an Interzonal qualification, <and haunted him for the rest of his career. He was never the same player again>. "

-- Stephen Giddins, 101 Chess Endgame Tips (# 7)

Aug-04-10  BISHOP TAL: The importance of this game to Aronin and, what I see at the board im suprised he diddnt take it more seriously, If somthing is going to go wrong with his win,after the forced peice trade, its going to be on his kingside.
Jun-15-12  Cemoblanca: "In the old days when games were adjourned after 40 moves, there were a few top grandmasters who never resigned before resuming the game, even if they were a queen down! Some said that the opponent might have an accicdent and not survive the night. There is a famous case: the game Aronin -Smyslov, USR Ch 1951, was adjourned in a completely winning endgame for Aronin, who would win a medal in the Soviet Championship and qualify for Interzonal. He and his friend celebrated the victory so hard (in the famous Soviet style reastaurant Praga) that in the morning he fell into a fantastic Smyslovs trap and destroyed his entire chess career! But the main reason to not resign in a lost position was given by Yugoslav GM Milan Matulovic: he did not want to see his loss in the morning newspapers! Generally he never appeared on the next day, not even to check whether his opponent was alive." ~ GM Adrian Mikhalchishin
Jun-20-12  vinidivici: with my calculation, Aronin had a big chance to win. i would do 42.Rxc6.
May-24-13  nisarg1: Even after all the exchanges is it completely drawn? How will it go after
45. Ke2
a)f5 b)Kg6 ?
May-24-13  Nerwal: Probably 45. ♔e2 f5 46. exf5+ ♔xf5, then g4 hxg4 ♔xg4. Black will create his own passed pawn with ♔f4, e4-e3, then ♔xe3-f2xg2, and the queen endgame will be drawn.

Still I don't understand the psychology behind white's mistake. This is completely insane to go for the pawn endgame instead of 42. ♖xc6 or 42. ♔e2, which win without any difficulty at all and certainly as easy as any won pawn endgame. Why would one even think of trading the ♘f5 for this awful bishop ?

Jan-03-14  whiteshark: "It is curious that Karen [Grigorian] studied for a time with <Lev Aronin>, an outstand­ ing player and theoretician, who was also burdened with serious mental problems.

One of the critical games in Aronin's chess career was his meet­ing with <Smyslov> in the 19th USSR Championship in 1951. It was ad­journed in a position where practically any move would have led to a win for White. However, Aronin, who had a whole day for analysis, went into a pawn ending, which allowed his opponent a study-like way to save the game.

Karen later remembered <that whenever he called in him, Aronin would be sitting at that position, pensively moving the pieces about." <>>

from Genna Sosonko's <Russian Silhouettes>

May-03-15  m.okun: After the 48th move it becomes clear that the black king shouldn't aspire in the center at all.
May-04-15  SpiritedReposte: In the final position, blacks win if White plays Kc4? ...f5! is very instructive.

click for larger view

If I'm seeing this right, exf5 ...e4! makes a magic force field paving the way for promotion. White can only push his passed pawns, one even outside and protected, to be devoured by the black king before he must leave the square of the e pawn.

click for larger view


May-12-15  Howard: But exactly where was the missed win ?
May-12-15  Retireborn: As <vinidivici> points there's no reason not to play 42.Rxc6, or even 43.Rc8 and then Rxc-pawn.

White's insistence on simplifying into a pawn endgame cost him the win.

May-28-15  m.okun: To Howard:
I think, 42. Rc6, but not to go for exchanges.
May-28-15  sicilianhugefun: A strong player Aronin was..
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Ran a couple moves through the engine:

+2.63 (23 ply) 42.Ke2 c5 43.Rxc5 Bf8 44.Rc6 Rb7 45.Kf3 Rb6 46.Rc8 Kf7 47.Rc7+ Kg6 48.Rxa7 Rc6 49.Ra8 Kf7 50.Ne3 Bd6 51.Ra7+ Ke6 52.Rb7 Bc5 53.Nd5 Rc8 54.g3 f5 55.Rg7 fxe4+ 56.Kxe4 Bxf2 57.Rg6+ Kd7 58.gxh4

+2.55 (23 ply) 42. Rxc6 Bf8 43.Ne3 Be7 44.Ke2 a5 45.Ra6 Bd8 46.Nd5 Kf7 47.Kf3 f5 48.c4 bxc3 49.bxc3 fxe4+ 50.Kxe4 Rb7 51.b4 axb4 52.cxb4 Kf8 53.Ra8 Ke8 54.Kxe5 Kd7 55.Ra6 Be7

Inexplicable to trade an outposted Knight for a bad Bishop.

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