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Vasily Smyslov vs Boris Spassky
Amsterdam Candidates (1956), Amsterdam NED, rd 8, Apr-09
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  0-1



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sac: 53...Rxc4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Hesam7> I found a win in line C but didn't save it! I'll try to recreate it.

I remember it involved alternately running the b and d pawns after some improvement of the King position (Not Rxb6 right away, I don't think)

Apr-09-06  Hesam7: <tamar: <Hesam7> I found a win in line C but didn't save it! I'll try to recreate it.

I remember it involved alternately running the b and d pawns after some improvement of the King position (Not Rxb6 right away, I don't think)>

It should not be easy. And you are right about capturing b6, that is why I gave 56. Rxb6 a question mark in line [C]. I was just trying to show that it looks drawish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Hesam7> I think there are some wins even when White allows the a pawn to go. He has to go slow though, and get concessions. When I originally was trying to win against the computer, I took the b6 pawn right away, as in your line, and it effortlessly drew.

I missed in particular the difficulties of crossing over the 4th rank, which your 54...Re1 highlights by attacking the a4 pawn from a1.

Still I believe Smyslov, who was a very great endgame player, could have found the win over the board, even though parts of it are study-like. White does not risk losing, so it would have been perfect for Smyslov's tournament strategy.

This is the position that Smyslov would have had after 54...Re1

click for larger view

55 Rc6 is possible, but after 55...Ra1, the best move is 56 Rc4, so White can skip Rc6 and play 55 Rc4

click for larger view

Now Black must leave the e file, since if his King moves, he loses the option of Kxh4 and if 55...Re8 for example 56 Re4 makes White's task easier.

So the first part of the win is to see the King can get to e3 without losing any time.

Apr-10-06  Hesam7: <tamar> I have not looked at the rook ending after 55. rc4 myself but here is what my engine thinks: After:

51. Kf2 Rf5 52. Rxc7 Re5 53. Qxf3+ Nxf3 54. Kxf3 Re1 55. Rc4

click for larger view

Fruit gives the following:

55... Rf1 56. Ke3 Rb1 57. Rc6 Ra1 58. Rxb6 Rxa4 59. d4 Ra3 60. Kd2 Kxh4 61. d5 Rf3 62. d6 Rf7 63. Kd3 Kg5 64. Ra6 Kf5 65. Kd4 h5 66. Rxa5 Ke6 67. b6 Rf4 68. Ke3 Rb4 69. Rxh5 Rxb6 (eval: +1.67)

Depth: 25
5680M nodes
970K nodes/sec

Apr-10-06  Hesam7: <tamar> I think the following ending is crucial for understanding the whole situation:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Hesam7> From your diagram position, the winning idea is to walk the King up the f file Kf4-f5-e6 which restrains the Black King from taking on h4, then exchange b pawn for a pawn, reaching this known won position with Black on move:

click for larger view

Black can queen the pawn, but gets mated, or knight the pawn and lose it to Kf3.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Hesam 7 & tamar>

In your suggested line: 51.Kf2 Rf5 52.Rxc7 Re5 53.Qxf3 Rxf3 54.Kxf3 Re1 55.Rc4 Rf1+;

Now 56.Ke4!, wins in just a few moves.

56.Ke4! Kxh4 57.Kd5+ Kg5 58.Kc6 Rf6+ 59.Kc7 h5 60.d4 and White wins. Fritz 9's evaluation after 60.d4 is +3.31 at 18 ply.

Or 56.Ke4! Kxh4 57.Kd5+ Kg3 58.Rc6 h5 59.Rxb6 Rf5+ 60.Kc4 Rf4+ 61.d4 h4 62.Rh6! and White wins. Fritz 9's evaluation after 62.Rh6! is +5.50 at 18 ply.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: thanks for all the ideas <Hesam7 and Pawn and Two> 51 Kf2 looks to be a winner, but with many branches.

Perhaps its's time to turn back to Euwe's question mark on 50...Nf3 <sneaky pete>

Did Spassky get too aggressive, and would 50...Ng4 hold? Or even win?!

click for larger view

At first glance, Black has the White King in a box similar to the game.

Apr-11-06  Hesam7: <Pawn and two> Your line looks convincing.

<tamar> I agree, White is winning after 51. Kf2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Euwe also questionmarks 50... Nf3+ and recommends 50.. Ng4 keeping the white king locked up (51.Rc4? Rf1+ etc.).>

It's even worse than that though. Black has a forced win.

click for larger view

51 Re1 Kxh4 52 Qd1 Rf3 53 Re4 Rg3+ 54 Kh1 Rf2

click for larger view

Black's forces act as one unit, and White is forced to trade rook for knight

55 Rxg4 Rxg4 56 Qe1 Rf4 57 Kg1 -5.42/20
Shredder 8

Tough miss for Spassky, but he held his poise, while Smyslov may have been affected by staring at this possibility before Spassky chose to go with 50...Nf3+?

Apr-11-06  Hesam7: 50... Ng4 wins for Black. White simply can not do anything! Here is a line:

[A] 51. Re1 Rf3 52. Qe7 Rg3+ 53. Kh1 Rff3 54. Re5+ Nxe5 55. Qxe5+ Kxh4 56. Qe4+ Kh3

Other defenses for White lose even faster. Here is an example:

[B] 52. Qe1 Rf3 [52... Rf2? 52. d4! R8f3 53. Rc3 Rf1 54. Qxf1 Rxc3 ] 52. Qd1 Rg3+ 53. Kh1 Rf2 54. Rc2 Rgf3 [55. Rxf2?? Nxf2+] 55. Kg1 Rf1+

[C] 51. d4 Rf3 52. Rxc7 [52. Rc2 Rf1+ 53. Kg2 R8f2+ 54. Qxf2 Rxf2+ 55. Rxf2 Nxf2 56. Kxf2 Kxh4 57. Kf3 Kg5 ] 52... Rg3+ 53. Kh1 Rf2

[D] 52. Qe4 Rf2 53. ~ R8f3

Apr-11-06  Hesam7: <tamar> I see that our lines are basically the same! Anyway this game is very uncharactersitic of Symslov.
Apr-11-06  Hesam7: Smyslov misses another oppurtunity:

38. Qc4! Rf1 39. Kg2 R1f5 40. e4 Rf4 41. Rf2 Nf3 42. Kh1 Nxd4 43. Rxf4 Rxf4 44. Qxd4 Rh4 45. Qf6 Rxh2 46. Kg1 Rd2 47. Qf7 Kh8 48. Kf1

click for larger view

And now 48... Rxd3 loses to 49. e5!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <tamar & Hesam7> Fritz 9 agrees that Spassky missed a win at move 50.

Fritz 9, (21 ply) (-3.92), gives the following line: 50...Ng4! 51.Qe1 Rf3 52.Rxc7 Re3 53.Qc1 Rg3+ 54.Kh1 Ne3 55.Rg7 Rf1+ 56.Qxf1 Nxf1 and Black wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Hesam7> 38 Qc4 would be hard for me to see, but it works.

The next question is, does 39 Qc4 work as well. I have just begun investigating, but it looks like 38 Kg2 may throw away the win, since now 39 Nf3 has the threat of 40 Ne1+

Apr-12-06  Hesam7: <tamar> I think 38. Kg2? changed the evaluation from White winning to equal. 39. Qc4 does not win, but anyways it is better than 39. Qa8? which changes the evaluation from equal to Black winning:

39. Qc4 Nf3 40. Kh1 [Beside 40... Ne1+ there is also the threat of Rg5-Rg1] 40... Nh4 41. Rg2 [Again forced]

[A] 41... Nxg2 42. e4 Rf4 43. Kxg2 =

[B] 41... Rf1+ 42. Rg1 R1f2 43. Be5 Bxe5 44. Qxh4 Rxh2+ 45. Qxh2 Bxh2 46. Kxh2 =

First I thought that Smyslov should have been in very bad time trouble but then he rarely had time trouble. As mentioned below

Apr-12-06  goldenbear: Isn't White significantly better after 34.Bxe4+ dxe4 35.Qxf7+ Rfxf7 36.Rcg2 or 35.Rexf7 36.Rcg2...?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <tamar & Hesam7>

Both players certainly had winning chances in this game.

We have shown that Smyslov missed a win at moves 38 & 51.

We have also shown that Spassky missed wins at moves 39 & 50.

Spassky's winning chance st move 50 was due to Smyslov's error at his 50th move.

Instead of 50.Qe2+?, which allows Black to win by 50.Ng4!, White should have played 50.Qd5!.

Fritz 9 evaluation (.00) (21 ply).

50.Qd5! Rf5 51.Qe6 Ng4 52.d4 Rf3 53.Rc2 Rf8f4 54.Qe8+ Kxh4 55.Qe1+ Nf2 56.Rc3 Rxc3 57.Qxc3 Nh3+ and this position will be a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Going through the games chronologically, as we have been, with <Resignation Trap> giving the play by play, you get a sense that only in this game did Spassky get fully into the tournament.

He set Smyslov terrible problems, but it has to be pointed out that he got himself a lost position for the third time in the tournament, and sacrificed as the only way to continue resistance.

Smyslov on the other hand, was in cruise control, and mentally had to have pocketed the point after Spassky sacrificed in a bad position 33...Ne4 just before adjournment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: "Question: Does Spassky annotate this game in one of his books?"

I'm not aware of Spassky writing any books. As a matter of fact I have never seen any annotations by him in a book. He did not contribute to the book on his best games. Petrosian is another WC who did not write on his own games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Spassky did contribute to the annotations for the Second Piatigorsky Cup Tournament Book where all the players contributed, although very little by Fischer. The most interesting annotations are where both players annotated their contest. Surprising how two elite GMs can have very different perspectives on a position. Spassky commented on most of his games ( perhaps all, I didn't page through completely to check ). Paul Albert
Apr-13-06  offramp: Spassky says that he has written a book on the 1977 Candidates' Final match v Kortschnoi in Belgrade, but he says that no publisher is interested.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: "Spassky did contribute to the annotations for the Second Piatigorsky Cup Tournament Book where all the players contributed, although very little by Fischer. The most interesting annotations are where both players annotated their contest."

Yes, I forgot about this one. This is an excellent book. Getting comments from both participants is really useful in understanding the game.

Apr-19-14  Bartacus: White's 30th move was Kh1, to which Spassky responded ...f4, commencing an attack (though not a winning one). It seems to me White could have won a center pawn with simply 30 Bxf6 Qxf6 31 Q (or B) xd5. White should be able to repel Black's initiative.
Apr-19-14  goldenbear: For some reason, the "stupid-looking" 33.Bxe3 looks better to me than the "logical" 33.fxe3.
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