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Leonid Stein vs Vasily Smyslov
"The Pin is Mightier" (game of the day May-24-2005)
12th Soviet Team-ch Final-A (1972), Moscow URS, rd 2, Mar-09
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Queens Indian Formation (A17)  ·  1-0



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Given 29 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-24-05  PaulLovric: touche
May-24-05  bumpmobile: The position after black's 28th move is used in the tutorial on Chessmaster 7000 to illustrate pins ("what is white's best move?"). I didn't get it right there, so it was a joy to recognize it here and know what was going to happen. <Paul Lovric> I can't wait for the word "first" to start slipping into everyone's posts a la Bartelby... "I'd prefer not to be first" :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Korchnoi mentions Stein's passing in Chess is My Life, referring to the heart attack as 'the chess player's occupational disease'. It's most unfortunate that he didn't get another shot in the world title series, after his near misses in 1962 and 1968.

In the final position, 36.Be4 Re8 37.f3 wins easily.

Jun-06-05  patzer2: Stein plays a strong game, but the same cannot be said for Smyslov who makes a number of miscues, missing chances to equalize with 10...c5!, 13...g6!, 16...Nf8! and 17...Nf8!

After the losing blunder 17...c5?, White ignores the attack on his Bishop and initiates a winning attack on the pinned Knight with 18. g4!, which facilitates the decisive infiltration of the Black position with multiple threats after 20. Qd5!

In the followup, White misses a quick win he could've had with the double attack combination 25. Qa8+! Qd8 26. Qd5 Qf6 27. Qxc4! .

Still, White's initiative is sufficient to carry through to a surprise pinning combination. Black tries to swindle a draw in a lost position with 27...Qc6, only to be caught with the surprise pin 29. Rh8!, which sets up the final decisive pin 31. Bc6!

Aug-14-05  sitzkrieg: First!

@ PaulLovric:
Keep doing what ur doing!

Aug-23-08  notyetagm: White to play: 28 ?

click for larger view

<bumpmobile: The position after black's 28th move is used in the tutorial on Chessmaster 7000 to illustrate pins ("what is white's best move?").>

28 ♕b7x♕c6 ♖c4x♕c6

click for larger view

And now the great Leonid Stein (White) uncorks 29 ♖h7-h8!!,

29 ♖h7-h8!! <remove the guard>

click for larger view

a brilliant tactical blow which <REMOVES THE GUARD> of the Black c6-rook by <PINNING> the Black g8-rook which meets the threat of ♗g2x♖c6 by <PINNING> the White g2-bishop to the White g1-king. So Stein <PINS> the <PINNING> piece!

The nasty tactical point of Stein's play is seen immediately in the variation 29 ... ♖g8x♖h8 30 ♗g2x♖c6

(VAR) 29 ... ♖g8x♖h8 <unpinning> 30 ♗g2x♖c6

click for larger view

and now the Black d7-knight falls since it is both <EN PRISE> -and- <PINNED>.

More outstanding tactical play by the great Leonid Stein and a GM-level example of <PINS>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Just when Black thought he's out of the woods now, comes <29.Rh8!!>, winning a piece.
Nov-12-13  Eduardo Bermudez: Garry Kasparov wrote that Stein "went beyond the bounds of Botvinnik-Smyslov harmony, expanding the limits of our understanding of the game, changing our impressions of the correlation of material and quality of position, of situations with disrupted material and strategic balance, and created the grounds for the emergence of modern, ultra-dynamic chess"
May-14-14  Conrad93: The opening looks like a French gone really bad...
May-14-14  john barleycorn: <Conrad93: The opening looks like a French gone really bad...> that's painful, isn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: There is a school of thought that sometimes blunders at the top level go unpunished because player 'A' does not expect player 'B' to make one so the moment passes.

Carlsen vs Anand, 2014

Comes to mind with the majority (including, if I recall, Carlsen himself) saying Anand missed a chance to take advantage of a Carlsen blunder because Anand was not expecting one.

This game too fits the bill.

click for larger view

The undefended c4 Rook inspires this combination of moves.

25.Qa8+ Qd8 26.Qd5

click for larger view

A series of moves that would hardly cause a stir on the 1600 players boards. Surprised Stein missed it. (was it because he not expecting such a crass blunder?)

Smyslov would have probably resigned there and then. Continuing sets up a neat liquidation.

26...Qf6 (Best of poor choice.)
27.Qxc4 Rxg2

The Queen on f6 stops Rh8+

28.Qc8+ Ke7

click for larger view

29.Qxd7+ Kxd7 30.dxe4+

And then Smyslov would definetly have resigned.

Nov-23-16  Howard: For the record, the book Stein Move by Move gives 27.a4!! as another winning method, though the win looks rather complicated, not to mention very computer-like.
Dec-04-16  Bruce Graham: Nice analysis of the game here:
Apr-13-17  Granny O Doul: Rh8 one move earlier looks not too bad.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: A wee footnote:

This game came 2nd by one point as the best game in Informator 13. 1972.

The winner was Kupreichik vs Gipslis, 1972

A good game and a difficult choice between the two, though here Stein missed a killer, and in my opinion, easier win with 25.Qa8+ (see my post above.)

Smsylov, who was the loser in his game v Stein was one of the Informator judges awarding the points. He gave this game, the one he lost, no points.

Chess Players.....Don't you just love them all.


The best game of 1972? Yes (Fischer Gam 6 can relax) this covers January to June.

A certain chess match in Iceland hogged all the headlines that year but one could write a good book with 20 - 30 other great games from 1972. 'Not Fischer - Spassky 1972.'

(BTW the winner of the best game from the 2nd half of 1972 was not one from THE MATCH, it was Portisch vs Larsen, 1972. Game 6 came second.)

Jun-19-18  Howard: Are you sure that Game 6 of Bobby-Spassky came in second ? Seem to remember that game finished around 10th place for Informant 14 !

Remind me to look that up tonight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Howard,

I stabbed at Game 6. I knew a Fischer win came second, and a Fischer win and Spassky win (surely game 11) came 3rd=.

But by all means correct it if I guessed wrong. I no longer have all the bound volumes of Informator, I sold a whole load when I saw databases coming in, I got a good price for them. It's all about timing.

Now you cannot give them away. Recently saw a few in a junk shop for 50p...very sad. I like most others have the first 100 on disc.

I kept two from my hyper active days because I have written all over them with notes and variations.

I of course also kept Informator No1. for historic value. The best game in that issue was officially never played.

(Game 6 is my personal favourite - Game 3 is also up there, Game 13 is of course a great game as well - bet that is tops.)

Jun-20-18  Howard: Checked Informant 15 last night..

...and it turns out that the second-place game for Volume 14 (second half of 1972) was actually Game 10 of the epic match.

Tied for 3rd-4th place were Games 6 and 11.

Personally, I always thought that Game 10 was probably the best game of Fischer-Spassky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Game 10!

Thanks Howard.

Jun-20-18  Howard: No problem! You'll get the bill.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Howard,

if I paid for every correction I'd be skint.

Do you have all the volumes?

Do you have the 'Chess Brilliancy' by Damsky.

It gives all the voted best games (and sometimes the 2nd) from 1967-1998 as well as loads of background stories about the voting (see Smyslov not voting for his loss above).

And he includes nearly every other Brilliancy Prize winning game from History starting with Bird vs J Mason, 1876.

An excellent book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: PS....

I can correct myself as well.

Informator one was not the with the Fischer vs Stein, 1967.

That was Vol. 4 when the best game award started. Vols 1-3 did not have a best game award.

(did somebody on here not vote for the best games in Vol 1-3. )

I have volume one but no longer volume four.

Jun-22-18  Albion 1959: I had a closer look at this game today. I first came across it back in 1981. This game features in Ray Keene's book Leonid Stein - Master of Attack and in Jon Speelman's excellent Best Chess Games 1970- 80. In both of these books they agree that Smyslov's 19th move e5 was bad and that exf was better. However, both of them failed to pick up on 24 Rxc4?? followed by 25 dxe?? It is difficult to understand how two strong grandmasters, one of them an ex-world champion and the other a three-time Soviet champion can miss this tactical sequence? This does take some of the gloss what was brilliant game that bristled with tactical threats. It is also accepted that on move 28, Stein could have done better with Rh8!! instead of Qxc6, which still wins anyway, though once again it takes away some of the brilliance when it was shown that Stein could have won the game more efficiently. But let's take nothing away from him, this was a game that any grandmaster would want in their collection of "Best Games"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Albion 1959> I see nothing wrong with 25.dxe5 despite the fact that 25.Qa8+ Qd8 26.Qd5 wins easily. Stein quite probably foresaw the line to the final blow Rh8, and he was more satisfied with that.
Dec-28-20  Albion 1959: This game and the Kupriechik v Gipslis were contenders for the best game of the year. But surely Fischer's 6th match game against Spassky was on a par ? You could probably throw in a Tal game the same year as well !
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