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Vasily Smyslov vs Fouad El Taher
Manila Interzonal (1990), Manila PHI, rd 1, Jun-29
English Opening: King's English. Two Knights' Variation Reversed Dragon (A22)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has the bishop pair for a rook and a pawn.

The white king looks defenseless. The first idea that comes to mind is 25... Ne1, threatening 26... Nf3#, 26.f3(4) Bxe3+ 27.Rf2 Nf3#.

Slower is 25... Nh4 26.gxh4 Rf6 27.h5 Rf5 28.f4 Rxf4 29.Rb1 Bxe3#.

A funny line is 25... Nxe3 26.Nc7 Nd1 27.Rd2 Rxf2 28.Rd8+ (28.Rxf2 Bxf2#) 28... Rf8+ 29.Rd4 Bxd4#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: Black has more pieces, a better position and the advantage of the move. The white rook on h1 is in a coma. Not really fair, then….

25……. Ne1 (threatening Nf3#)
26. f4 Bxe3+ (a diagonal to the heart)
27. Rf2 (occupying the only escape square) Nf3#

Dec-08-15  cocker: Sad to see the great Smyslov losing so badly, but he was nearly 70 at the time.
Dec-08-15  eblunt: I had 25 ... ♘xe3 ( 26 fxe3 26 ♗xe3 and mate after ) followed by 26...♘g4 and there's nothing white can do to stop mate in a few moves.
Dec-08-15  wooden nickel: White's king is trapped like a rat, giving an amusing position where all knight moves win, not to mention various rook moves, including just simply taking the knight on a8. A fancy way to win is
25... Nxe3 26.Nc7 Ng4 27.Ne6 Rxf2

click for larger view

Dec-08-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Even though material is close (R+P for the bishop pair), it's a dreary situation for white with one rook useless and a knight en prise. Black can ignore the knight and force mate with 25...Ne1 26.f3/f4 (otherwise 26... Nf3#) Bxe3+ 27.Rf2 Nf3#
Dec-08-15  eblunt: < CHESSTTCAMPS > Yes, basically black with 4 active pieces attacking the king vs white with one active piece.
Dec-08-15  madlydeeply: Ha, smizz. i love the smizz
Dec-08-15  whiteshark: <25...Ne1> is a good move to start with.

(What a pitty I can not (re-)move my Rh1 off the board white might have thought sometime in between.)

Dec-08-15  stacase: Threatening mate is great, you don't have to say check (-: And 25...Ne1 threatens mate with 26...Nf3# but White can defend against that with 27. Pf4 except that then Black mates with 27...Bxe3#. Black's Rook doesn't play a role and can just sit back and watch the Knight & Bishop show.

Took me way too long to see it. But then I missed yesterday completely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Tiggler: Shucks, I just made my 5000th and 5001st posts. I was saving up to post something good for that occasion, but I just blew it. (5002) >

Here's how I've handled such things before:

"On the recent occasion of my 5000th post........" I promise nobody will be upset.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I had a similar idea, to play 25...Nh4 (intending Nf3#). The only problem is that this does not work. With the knight on h4 Black has no follow-up after 26 f3 or f4.
Dec-08-15  cunctatorg: Many really great players (perhaps not all of them, perhaps...) had some (rare?) moments either of blindness or of extremely bad performance; I could name Petrosian's loss of his Queen, Alekhine's (!!) infamous error at his very rematch against Euwe (actually both Alekhine and Euwe had overlooked an elementary combination for more than one move...) etc. etc. I am under the impression that some great players had a greater tendency to commit unbelievable mistakes than others but this may be just an impression of mine.

Anyways (the late) Vassily Smyslov at the Manila Interzonal -back at 1990- was a sixty-nine (69) years old man, away of his home and more importantly; without any reason or motivation to compete for the World Chess Champion's title; he could have been ill that very day, he could have been wondering what he was doing there and/or he had underestimated his (relatively weak) opponent ... together (in conjunction) with the rise of ... existential questions during the very game ... or he was just missing his family; however Caissa for sure passed him a good (!...) judgement and that could be the moral of this hilarious game...; lol

Dec-08-15  cunctatorg: Ooopss! Me thinks that 25... Nh4 26. f4(3) Bxe3 27. Rf2 Nf3# but 25... Nh4 26. gh4 Rf6 27. h5(!) Rf5 28. f4 Bxe3 29. Rf2 Rxf4 must lead to mate also (me thinks...) but ... had I been Fouad El Taher, I would also choose 25. Ne1! against a former World Champion; over-excitement plus complications could blind my judgement...
Dec-08-15  cunctatorg: Read also; science (psychology) of error and chess as a case study!!
Dec-08-15  YetAnotherAmateur: I at first was trying to set something up on e3, but eventually realized that Ne1 was simpler and more devastating. It of course leads to Nf3#, with the possibility of white swapping out the pawn currently on f2 with a pinned rook via f4-Bxe3 Rf2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Looked easy to me. The knight threatens mate. If the pawn moves, the bishop takes and forces white to block his own flight square.
Dec-08-15  Howard: Never heard of the Black player. As for White, his name rings a bell.
Dec-08-15  King.Arthur.Brazil: It's very sad to see ex-world champion Smyslov lose a piece with 25.Qb5?? So, the desire to recover material immediately leaded him to a worst condition in the game. Sure the 25...Ne1, mates in 1. No defence, thanks! But, to give respect to the old man (I see it so quickly that I dindn't think nothing else, 3 s as much) also 25... Nxe3 (26.fxe3 -Sxe3+ 27.Rf2 Sxf2# or 26.f4 -Nd1+ 27.Rf2 Sxf2# too. I like to see clergy to give last rites... lgs
Dec-08-15  eblunt: < chrisowen > I don't actually get the point of your posts.....
Dec-08-15  oxxo: "eblunt: < chrisowen > I don't actually get the point of your posts....."

What post erstwhile get with to understand some difficulty? chrisowen say king's bishop f1 geronimo doubledecker conditional c6 panorama while black queen germinates a can of beer with fianchettoed g2 bishop over the light square diagonal! Simple as that!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: 25...Ne1! sets up the undefendable threat Nf3#: White cannot cover f3, and giving the king more room with 26.f3/f4 fails to 26...Bxe3+ 27.Rf2 Nf3#
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In this game, the GM got outplayed by the IM. White's game took a turn for the worse with the not-so-obviously bad 13. Rd1? Hard to believe that grabbing the open file with the rook and "gaining tempo" with an attack on the exposed Queen is a mistake here.

Unfortunately, the "tempo gained" after 13...Qd8! (-1.49 @ 26 depth, Deep Fritz 14) gives Black a near decisive advantage.

Instead, 13...Nd2 = (-0.16 @ 26 depth, Deep Fritz 14) regroups and holds the balance.

Earlier, 10. Na4?! looks weak. Instead, continuing with development with 10. 0-0 = or 10. Qb3+ = would have been my preference.

Dec-11-15  Sularus: <oxxo> right on!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "Reign of Taher"
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