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Carlos Bielicki vs Vasily Smyslov
Capablanca Memorial (1964), Havana CUB, rd 17, Sep-19
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Quiet Line (A28)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-28-07  DarthStapler: I didn't see Rc4
Dec-28-07  UdayanOwen: Actually Johnlspouge, I blundered with my argument for a defensive plan against your puzzle solution....

When checking my analysis by moving the pieces, I found a simple way to bust my defensive plan:

28...h3 29.Kf1 Rde8, and now my suggestion 30.Rad1?? (upon which the whole active defense hinged) loses simply to 30...Qg2+ 31.Ke2 Rxe3 32.Kd2 Qd5+ (this is the move I missed in this line.... bad calculation) 33.Kc1 Rxe1 .

Just so you know, I wasn't specifically aiming to refute your solution, I just thought it was a really interesting and logical way to try and win, and thought it would be a really interesting position to analyze (then I thought my 'defence' made an interesting post).

I spent a fair bit of time to no avail trying to defend the position for white before I settled (erroneously) on the defence based on 30.Rad1??.... I like the smooth logic of the plan for black after 29...Rde8, and if there is a defence that prevents black gaining a winning advantage, it is hard to find.

Of course the game continuation is a much cleaner and stronger way to win, but your analysis is quite creative I think.

Dec-28-07  zenpharaohs: UdayanOwen: "Johnlspouge, your plans were very logical, but I think I may have found an antidote:

After 28...h3 29.Kf1 Rde8"

Actually the antidote to 29 ... Rde8 is probably 30 Qb3.

In that position 30 Rad1 is met with this forcing line:

30 Rad1 Qg2+
31 Ke2 Rxe3+
32 Kd2 Qd5+
33 Kc1 Rxe1
34 f3 Rxd1+
35 Qxd1 Qxd1+
36 Kxd1 Re3

White now is down a rook and two pawns to a bishop, and can either choose between another pawn gone or letting black exchange the rook for the bishop and promotion of the h pawn.


29 ... Rde8
30 Qb3 Rd4
31 Rad1 Rg4
32 Rd7 Rxg3
33 Qf7+ Qxf7
34 Rxf7 Rg2
35 Rf3

Black still has a pawn advantage, but white has weathered the storm.


29 ... Rde8?

gives away the store.

Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: Half credit? I missed Rg4 and found:
28. ... h3
29. Kf1 Rc4
30. Qb2 Rd3
31. Bf4 Rdc3

I think this is enough to win, but not nearly as pretty.

Dec-28-07  johnlspouge: <UdayanOwen: your analysis is quite creative>

Thanks (with some embarassment about my hack variation on Smyslov's brilliancy). Smyslov has a marvellously fluent and logical style, and believe me, I would emulate it more closely, if I knew where to begin.

I certainly followed the logic of the position as I saw it. I lack praxis, so the logic did not include the Ph3 as an immediate queening threat. Because Rde1 made progress for me, I had no impetus to find Rg4 and Rxg3 (which I would not have found anyway).

<I wasn't specifically aiming to refute your solution>

Generally, I have two modes in my posts, depending on the leisure time available to me: (1) hasty or (2) ultra-careful. It's quite obvious by now which mode any given post reflects ;O)

Being an optimist, I choose to see your thorough analysis of my (very inferior) possibly alternative winning line as an implied compliment to the care with which I constructed it. I am impressed (as usual) that you found a defense I did not. Although fairly confident, I was most concerned about declaring the Q+5P vs 2R+3P endgame a win for Black.

Black to play

click for larger view

Although I believed the Ph6 ensured the win, I would appreciate any tips you (or anyone else) would care to share about Q vs 2Rs endgames in general, and in my variation specifically. I thought this the weak point in my variation.

Dec-28-07  parmetd: h3 going for the attack forces Kf1. Then white's pieces are too inactive to enjoy that piece advantage. So now Rc4 (if Qxc4 then Rd2 and mate is unavoidable). so Qb2. Then Rg4 pending the eventual h2 threat. I can't figure out a decent white response here.
Dec-28-07  johnlspouge: <zenpharaohs>:

29...Rde8 30.Qb3 Rd4

I have not analyzed in detail but 30...Kh8 follows my so-called positional logic. If my line is going to be hanged, I prefer it be hanged for what it is. I agree Qb3 is better than Qd2 or Qd3. Is it better enough to make a difference against my plan?

Dec-28-07  johnlspouge: Here is a link to the endgame Q vs. 2Rs. It suggests my diagram is a win for the Q, although I have insufficient experience to be sure.

Dec-28-07  zenpharaohs: johnlspouge: "I have not analyzed in detail but 30...Kh8 follows my so-called positional logic. If my line is going to be hanged, I prefer it be hanged for what it is. I agree Qb3 is better than Qd2 or Qd3. Is it better enough to make a difference against my plan?"

I think Qb3 is more than a full pawn better than Qd2 or Qd3. I can give an analysis if you want.

As far as 30 ... Kh8? If that is the move you are suggesting in this position (it's not clear to me that is the case?) That's a bad move because black cannot afford to give white the tempo. For example

30 Qd3? Kh8?
31 Rac1

and white has a slight advantage. Black is supposed to leave a trail of bloody destruction in this problem. But here, white is threatening Rc4 - if that rook gets to the h file then black's attack is finished. A likely continuation is

31 ... f5
32 Rc4 Qg2+
33 Ke2 Rxe3+
34 Qxe3 Rxe3+
35 Kxe3 g5
36 f4 Qxa2
37 Rec1 g4

OK black has buttoned up the king side, but white has a material advantage and the initiative.

There isn't a lot of alternative to that line, and there is no destruction of white either.

So I don't get 30 ... Kh8? at all.

Dec-28-07  Zonszein: I started by 28-Rc4.

Doesn't it win as well?

Dec-28-07  outsider: beautiful and very original sequence
Dec-28-07  znprdx: I was gob-smacked by Rc4, let alone Rg4 which I still can't say I really 'see' as forcing the win - so I'll have to set it up I guess. However I remain curious as to whether capturing the Bishop would still lead to a win, notwithstanding the Qe2 defense. This is a rare gem - it has a unique elegance which is quite overwhelming.
Dec-28-07  willyfly: Black is down by two ♙s but has the move. Right away I notice

27...h3 threatens mate in one and the ♔ must flee.
28 ♔f1 ♖dd4
-if 29 exd4 then ♕h1# or ♕g2#
-if 29 ♕e2 then ♕h1# or ♕g2#

I’m outta time and that’s how it will be for the next two weeks. Very busy this time of year. So, I’ll look now.

At least I had the right start

Dec-28-07  Tariqov: <udayanowen>i think there is a hole in your analysis. After 1.Qxe4Rxe4 the same rg4 is threatened.
Dec-28-07  Tariqov: i definitely saw Qxe4 before i posted, i just didn't want to post all the lines.
Dec-28-07  johnlspouge: <zenpharaohs>: I agree. The extra tempo gained by Qb3 is enough to sink my line. Smyslov really needed the extra theme of queening the Ph6 to win. Thanks for making it clear.
Dec-28-07  johnlspouge: <UdayanOwen>: Good luck with #3. You know what they say about lighting three cigarettes on a single match! ;O)
Dec-28-07  Tariqov: <udayanowen> Oooo... Sorry i thought you meant 30.Qxe4. I somehow didn't see that the white Queen could take on e4.
Dec-28-07  zooter: <Zonszein: I started by 28-Rc4.

Doesn't it win as well?>

An immediate Rc4 does nothing as the black queen can take the rook and come back down to f1 for protecting the g2 square if black plays h3

Dec-29-07  aazqua: That's a really nice puzzle. I saw that rc4 was ok but i didn't get much beyond that. Took me a while to realize why rc4 was necessary to the final solution.
Dec-29-07  Zonszein: Thank you <zooter>, fair enough
Mar-22-14  Strelets: Smyslov never seems to be in a hurry, even in games where he goes on the attack (of which there are quite a few). The pieces just land wherever he wants them to, without any of the shoehorning of a Botvinnik or a Korchnoi.
Oct-25-16  Demna: What is so apparently wrong about 15: ...Nxb4?
Sep-14-21  TheBish: <Demna: What is so apparently wrong about 15: ...Nxb4?>

Apparently, nothing! Black has an edge (spatially and 2-1 pawn advantage on the queenside) after 15...Nxb4 16. Qxc7 Rac8 17. Qa5 Nc3 18. Bd1 Nc2 19. Bxc2 Ne2+ 20. Kh1 Rxc2 ( ∓), and the engine's preference of 16. Qb1 a5 17. Bb2 ( ⩱) is evaluated as slightly better despite being down a pawn.

Perhaps the former world champion evaluated the position incorrectly? I guess we'll never know. For what it's worth, the engine likes taking the pawn on the next move too (16...Nxb4) although now it's just equal. For White's part, 15. Bb2 seems much better than 15. b4?!, and the engine eval is ⩲ (slight edge for White).

Sep-14-21  Retireborn: <TheBish>, <Demna> I think the score of this game may well be incorrect. Megabase gives 6.a3 as played, and 15.b4 doesn't lose a pawn then. After 6.b3 you'd expect 15.Bb2, not b4.
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