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Vasily Smyslov vs Herman Pilnik
Amsterdam Candidates (1956), Amsterdam NED, rd 18, Apr-30
Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Classical Variation. Modern Defense (D78)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-18-07  znprdx: znprdx: Although e6 is an appealing theme(my initial knee-jerk choice) it requires poor defence by Black: 42...b5 is a clearcut blunder. White could probably have gone directly for 42.Kf4 Black's ...44. is useless - at least Ke5. All in all the actual play (by both sides) is rather unconvicing - there are many resourceful alternatives. The position is certainly interesting, I can't wait to see the commentary :) - although I see that 42...Kd6 has been busted - ok back to the drawing board - pun intended
Oct-18-07  dzechiel: <Honza Cervenka: There was very good reason for it. If 42.Kf4?, then 42...Rd5 with threat Rf5+ and RxP turns the table in black's favour.>

Good catch! I should have seen that and realized that 42 Kf4 leaves white open for a decisive check. Thanks.

Oct-18-07  YouRang: *groan* -- A combination of miscalculation and hasty analysis led me to guess that 40. b4??! was the right move.

After looking at the results of this move, I can no longer recommend miscalculation or hasty analysis. :-(

Oct-18-07  gambitfan: I almost immediately felt that 40 e6 was the right move...

but after 40... fe 41 f7! and black cannot stop the queening pawn...

If 41... ♖d8 42 ♖d1! (sacrifice of deviation)

Is my solution not better than the moves of the text ?

Oct-18-07  TrueBlue: I still don't see it, sorry guys. What happens after 42. .. Kd6, I don't see how white can save the pawn or put any pressure on black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <gambitfan>: 40. e6 fxe6 41. f7? Rd8 42. Rd1 Rf8.

I am hopeless at endgames, probably because my games seldom last that long. I gave up on this puzzle without making a serious attempt to solve it.

But it's clear that the ♙ on f6 is white's best prospect for promotion. It seems to me that 40. f4 offers good chances. If 40...gxf3, then 41. Kxf3 Rd3+ 42. Ke4. Now if 42...Rxb3, then 43. e6. If 42...Rd4+, then 43. Kf5.

If black doesn't take the f-♙ en passant, then white plays 41. f5, followed by 42. e6.

Oct-18-07  TrueBlue: or 42.. Rd5 for that mater ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The key to this one is in the second move-not the first. White must play to the eighth before black gets to his first.

Someone suggested 40 b4 my response to that move would be BINGO!! or maybe AFTER! lol

Oct-18-07  awfulhangover: I was sure it was 40. e6, but didn't find the winning line. So I thought it was 40. Ra8, then e6. It was wrong order. Blah. Only 2/4 this week. A shame, indeed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: In end games, one has to be very precise otherwise the winning advantage will either be neutralised or one be at the receiving end! Here, 40.e6 looks conspicuous ...fxe6 forced, any other move loses. 41.Ra8 to support the f-pawn ...Rd7 42.Ke4 & the King will march to support the f-pawn & Black has no adequate defense to stop the f-pawn.
Oct-18-07  xrt999: <TrueBlue: I still don't see it, sorry guys. What happens after 42. .. Kd6,>

after 42...Kd6 here is one continuation:

40. e6 fxe6
41. Ra8 Rd7
42. Ke4 Kd6
43. Ra2 b6
44. Kf4 Rf7
45. Rd2+ Kc6
46. Kg5 Rf8
47. Kg6 Kb5
48. Rd6 Rg8+
49. Kh7 Ra8
50. f7 c4
51. bxc4+ Kxc4
52. Rxe6 b5
53. Re8 Ra7
54. Kg8 Rxf7
55. Kxf7 Kd3
56. Kg6 b4
57. Kxh5 b3
58. Re3+ Kd4
59. Rxb3 Ke5

Oct-18-07  simsan: I don't know how much you need to see in order to claim I got this one. At least I felt much more comfortable today than the last two days :-)

My analysis was the following:
Black threatens to move his king to gobble up my two greatest assets (the advanced e and f pawns) by Kd5. The first move therefore has to be e6.
Fxe6 is then a forced response.
If I respond by advancing the f pawn immediatly, then the black response Rd8 will beat my rook to the f-file, thus I have to move Ra8. Now Rd7 is forced as it is the only way to stop my pawn. At this point my king should start moving north in order to protect and possibly help advance the f pawn, thus Ke4 is the logical move.

At this point, however, I got a little bit lost in the variations, but I felt I was on to the right track (and peeked)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, 40. e6! is the pawn break to assure White a winning passed pawn combination. See <fm avari viraf>, <Random Visitor> and <Honza Cervenka>'s posts above for deep analysis and commentary.
Oct-18-07  Aurora: 40.e6! makes the breakthrough.
Oct-18-07  Fezzik: I was surprised by the complexity of the line that xrt999 showed so I set up the position and played it out against Fritz. Here's what I came up with:

Smyslov,V - Pilnik,H [D77]
Candidates Tournament Amsterdam (18), 1956

<42...Kd6 43.Ra1> (43.Kf4 Rf7 44.Kg5 Ke5) <43...Rd8> (43...Rf7 44.Rd1+ Kc7 45.Ke5) <44.Kf4!>

(<44.Rd1+ Kc7 45.Rxd8?? White loses this pawn ending! Here's a sample line: 45...Kxd8 46.Ke5 Kd7 47.f7 Ke7 48.f8Q+ Kxf8 49.Kxe6 Kg7 50.Kd5 Kf6 51.Kxc5 Ke5 52.Kb6 Kd4 53.b4 Kc4 54.b5<<>>>)

<44...b5 45.Kg5> White's plan is simple and effective: to push the King to g7 and the pawn to f8. The following line is one game I played against Fritz. 45...Rb8 46.Kg6 c4 47.bxc4 bxc4 48.f7 Kd5 (48...Ke7 49.Kg7 ) 49.Kg7 Ke4 50.f8Q Rxf8 51.Kxf8 Kf3 52.Ra2 I didn't understand why the previous poster had played 42.Ra2! instead of 42.Ra1, but this is the key difference. White has lost a tempo compared to my line. It doesn't matter in this position, but 43.Ra2! proved to be more accurate.

<52...g3! 53.fxg3 Kxg3 54.Kf7> I have to stop the h-pawn more than any other. My plan is to cut off the king with my Rook along the third rank and let my king kick up the loose pawns or force Black's King to the 8th rank and mate him.

(54.Rc2? Kxh4 55.Rxc4+ Kg3=) <54...Kxh4 55.Kxe6 Kg3 56.Kf5! h4 57.Ra3+ Kf2> I was surprised by this, but all roads lead to Rome here. <58.Ke4! Kg2 59.Kf4 Kf2>

(I expected Fritz to play 59...h3 so I looked at it afterwards. It loses more simply. 60.Ra2+ Kf1 61.Ke3 I use the same principle as I did on move 58.Ke4! The pawn on the h-file will die anyway but now the Black king also has to worry about his own life. 61...c3 62.Rc2 h2 63.Rxh2 Kg1 64.Rc2 Kf1 65.Rxc3 Kg1 66.Kf3 Kh1 67.Kg3 Kg1 68.Rc1#)

<60.Ra2+ Ke1 61.Ke3 Kd1 62.Rh2 c3 63.Kd3> And here Fritz said I had mate in 11. I didn't count, but I trust the computer.] 1-0


When analysing your own games, it's important to add ! marks to good moves. The computer will never acknowledge a good move, only bad ones. We humans need to reward ourselves for playing well. The computer will be our critics when we mess up!

Oct-18-07  zb2cr: Saw 40. e6, fxe6; 41. Ra8, Rd7--but that was it. My idea for White's 42nd was Rh8. Oh well.
Oct-18-07  zahbaz: First saw 40. b4. It was the most interesting move, yet looking at white's most advanced pawns, 40.e6 stuck out like a sore thumb with 41.Ra8 to follow.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I saw the forcing moves 40 e6 fxe6 41 Ra8 Rd7. Then I played 42 Rc8+. I thought that this move is solid because it puts black’s king in no-man’s land. If black responds 42… Kb5 then white can then slide his King up the e file and support the f pawn’s advance, which then can not be stopped. If Black plays 42 … Kd6 this eventually leads leaves his b, c and e pawns vulnerable to capture.

One possible continuation is 42 Rc8+ Kd6 43 Kf4 Rf7 44 Kg5 Ke5 45 Rxc5+ Kd6 46 Rc1 e5 47 Rc8 Ke6 48 Re8+ Kd7 49 Rxe5 Kd6. As a result, black loses his c and e pawns, while white still retains his passed pawn on f6.

I have been following this site for a couple of months now and have been contributing for about two works. To me, this week has seen the best group of puzzles I’ve witnessed to date. There may be very few pieces on the board, but the positions are still complex and require thoughtful analysis. Thanks.

Oct-18-07  TheaN: 4/4

Meh, not that 'Medium' to be honest: e6 is obvious, fxe6 is pretty much forced (or the same lines occur with the passed e-pawn), Ra8 to avoid the Rook to go to d8 is obvious, and Ke4 .

Oct-18-07  willyfly: Material is equal.

40 e6 sets up a basic pattern from which it depends on wether Black plays 41 fxe6 or defers to another move such as 41...♖d6 or 41...♖d8 in which case the e-♙ advances or captures the f7♙. If the e-♙ gets blockaded by the ♖ on e8 then the White ♔ can head for the h-♙ and the ♖ can't defend h-file and e-file at the same time. White has sentries at b3 and f2 to halt the progress of Black's c♙ and g♙. Black's ♔ is not positioned to make much of a contribution while White's ♖ and ♔ have great mobility.

Aside from these general observations I haven't been able to come up with a line which I feel is concrete enough to post. It depends a lot on Black's response so I'm going to look now and see what happened.

Thats good enough to say I got the right idea.

Oct-18-07  Madman99X: Give credit for these two for playing this out. How many would have settled for a draw after the queens were exchanged?
Oct-22-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <dzechiel: Well, I see that Smyslov's king ended up on f4 anyway, but a couple of moves after I wanted to put it there. I expect that there was a reason for this, perhaps <MAJ> can shed some light on the nuances of this endgame.>

I didn't really have much time to spend with last week puzzles & computer, and only now have gotten around to the difficulty evals. Two tidbits:

1) This seems to be more on Sat. level of difficulty.

2) <Honza Cervenka> and <Jimfromprovidence> are correct in their assessment of 42.Rc8 as being a better move than the 42. Ke4 played in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <whiteshark: ....But I don't know how many point (Smyslov) was ahead of Keres in Amsterdam....>

At the start of the final round, Smyslov was ahead by a full point over Keres and Geller.

Petrosian vs Keres, 1956 was a short draw, ending with a final position where Petrosian would certainly have played on in other circumstances, and Geller vs Szabo, 1956 saw Geller perhaps in the middlegame, then come undone.

Dec-18-12  JimNorCal: Amazing, humorous and alarming to watch the white pawns run forward starting move 33
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: According to the newspaper De Telegraaf, Pilnik did what he had promised before the game started and declined Smyslov's draw offers on the 11th and 28th move.
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