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Gedeon Barcza vs Vasily Smyslov
"Gedeon Little Dogies" (game of the day Jan-26-2012)
Moscow Olympiad Final-A (1956), Moscow URS, rd 4, Sep-13
Zukertort Opening: Symmetrical Variation (A04)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <whiteshark>
<28...a5!><should hold the game> Could you give details on how you reached that conclusion? After, say, 28...a5 29. a3, followed by creating a passed b-pawn, the result is not obvious to me at all.
Jan-26-12  erniecohen: <King Death: Maybe 26...Rd3+ 27.Ke2 Rd2+ 28.Ke1 Rd7 or 26...Rd7 right off are better but I think White still has the advantage>

26... ♖d5 27. ♗c3 a5 28. ♔e2 ♗f6 29. ♖c8+ ♔h7 30. ♗xf6 gxf6 31. a4 ♖d4 32. b3 ♖b4 33. ♖c3 ♔g6 1/2-1/2

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I somewhat get the pun.
Jan-26-12  King Death: <erniecohen> In the variation you give with 26...Rd5 27.Bc3 a5 28.Ke2 Bf6 29.Rc8+ Kh7 30.Bf6 gf 31.a4 Rd4 32.b3 Rb4 why should White play passively with 33.Rc3 Kg6 (which may or may not be equal but isn't "drawn" anyway)? He can play 33.Rc5 Rb3 34.Ra5 when Black is fighting to hold. This ending with the outside passed pawn is tougher for Black because of his weak kingside. If his pawns were intact it would be different.

Also after 26...Rd5 27.Bd4 is possible and 27...a6 or ...a5 28.Ke2 leave something to play for. This isn't "clearly headed for a draw" like you stated above although Black should have good drawing chances if he plays correctly.

Jan-26-12  erniecohen: Generally speaking, rook endings like this are drawn, even if one side has the outside passer, because Black can get back with his King to help before White can help with his. For example, 34...♔g6 35 ♖b5 ♖a3 36. a5 f5 37. ♔d2 ♔f6 38. ♔c2 ♔e7 39. ♔b2 ♖a4 40. ♔b3 ♖a1 41. ♖b7+ ♔d6 42. ♖a7 h5 43. a6 ♖b1+ 44. ♔c2 ♖a1 45. f4 ♔c5 46. ♔b2 ♖a5 47. ♖c7+ ♔d6 48. ♖xf7 ♖xa6 with a book draw, even with white's extra pawn (after the h-pawn falls).
Jan-26-12  parisattack: <NyP: This game was a remarkable one for several reasons. >

Good comment on Barcza! Yes, he was into the delicate touch in openings. Evans made a brief comment to that effect in MCO 10. I have most of the post-war Magyar Sakkelet magazines - lots of his games, annotations. I believe he was editor for a time.

Jan-26-12  TVCHESS3JAQUES: A clear example of pawn majority of two against one on the queenside.

Claro ejemplo de mayoría de peones de dos contra uno en el flanco de dama.

2 vs 1. Final

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Big reason why the Grunfeld endgame is good for black: the 2:1 Q-side pawn majority
Jan-26-12  Shams: <erniecohen> <Generally speaking, rook endings like this are drawn>

Could you define "like this"?

Jan-27-12  erniecohen: <Shams> all rook endings are drawn
Jan-27-12  Shams: <ernie> As I suspected, your "like this" was then a red herring.
Jan-27-12  King Death: <Shams> Ernie's always right. If you quote some variations he generalizes and if you offer a general opinion he runs off some analysis sometimes mentioning the use of an engine. That's been my experience with him anyway.
Jan-27-12  Shams: <King Death> Oh, I think <ernie>'s alright. I like his earlier stuff, like "Sisters of Mercy" and "Suzanne".
Jan-27-12  erniecohen: <Shams> I assumed you meant the question ironically, but basically, rook ending, even material, defeending king in position, defending majority not too cripled, no nasty tactical issue, passed pawn not too advanced, etc. :-)
Jan-27-12  Shams: <ernie> No, I was serious. Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <All rook endings are drawn.>

A perfect example of irony. Tarrasch was not intending this to be taken literally. Instead he meant that they are usually so difficult to win that you might as well consider them all drawn. Humour.

Try playin the black side of this endgame against a decent chess engine. Then tell me that all rook endings are drawn.

Jan-27-12  King Death: <Once> And we don't think "humorous" when Tarrasch comes to mind that's for sure. Closely cropped hair, the pince nez and so on. Definitely a severe looking type of guy even for those days.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The advice I always heard was: "Rook endings a pawn up are always drawn; rook endings a pawn down are always lost."

As for Tarrasch, he had a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor. Wasn't it he who said: "White's position is balanced. It is weak on the queenside and equally weak on the kingside."

Jan-27-12  King Death: <Phony Benoni> That's one I bever heard, maybe it got lost with all of his aphorisms.
Jan-27-12  erniecohen: <<King Death> Ernie's always right.>

It's not my place to disagree, but I certainly didn't mean to offend anybody. In my comment beginning "generally speaking", I was referring to the position after your suggested improvement for White, but forgot to quote you. The line I gave was intended to illustrate how such good-looking positions nevertheless almost always end up as draws with accurate defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Shams> -- < I like his earlier stuff, like "Sisters of Mercy" and "Suzanne".>

Yes, of course, lyrically superior to his contemporaries -- but still a tad too earnest and angsty. Though angst has its place (it keeps hormonally challenged teenagers hiding in their bedrooms rather than drunkenly throwing up all over the furniture) ... and earnestness was said to be important by no less an authority than Saint Oscar.

Me, I like the later funnier stuff. He's like the precise metaphysical opposite of Woody Allen that way, the anti-Woody.

And he can still do sublime if pushed. But who'd push a legend, even one who describes himself as "a lazy bastard living in a suit" ...?

"So, what's a good-looking position like you doing on a board like mine?"

The game, oy, the game. The stem game for two generations of Reti/Barcza system players. I've had the tabiya after 11.Rac1 several times, and I've even played 12.e4 without knowing anyone had done so before. Korchnoi used this line against Karpov in '74 (around the time of Cohen's 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony', oddly enough) and Aronian has won a few games with it.

The best analysis I've seen is by the Cuban master Jose Vilela, who won a nice game against Alarcon in 2007 with 11.Rac1 Nd7 12.Nb5! -- 12.e4 doesn't work so well after ...Nd7, due to ...Nc5 harassing the Queen. Which didn't stop me from trying that a couple of times as well. Soundtrack? 'Field Commander Cohen', I guess ... those lines about urging Fidel Castro to abandon his castles.

"I know you need your sleep now ..."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: It should be noted that, in England at least, 'Ernie' was a very famous computer. Probably the first of our silicon brethren to acquire celebrity status, long before Fritz. The name was an acronym for 'Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment', or something: it produced pseudorandom numbers for a kind of state lottery in the 1950s.

Ernie's chess engine abilities are unknown, but I wouldn't put it past him. Or it.

Soundtrack? Jethro Tull, 'Thick as a Brick', circa 1972:

"Saying 'How's yer father?' and 'Good old Ernie coughed up a tenner on a premium bonds win' ..."

*flute part*

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This isn't a Zukertort Opening, it isn't symmetrical, and two Rongs don't make a Wright.

Soundtrack: 'Brown Sugar'. Work it out.

Nov-30-16  erniecohen: <KingDeath> After looking at it more carefully, I'm confident enough in my appraisal of the rook endgame (referred to in "like this" above) being drawn that I'm willing to give 100/1 odds, for up to $100 (vs $10k), that I can draw a postal with Black in the position after 34. ♖xa5. Any takers?

(Sorry for the 4.5 year delay in responding.)

May-22-19  Olavi: Interestingly, when Smyslov later reached the same position with white, he avoided the temporary pawn sacrifice 12.e4 (which has a crushing score on this database): Smyslov vs Bronstein, 1974
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