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Boris Spassky vs Mark Taimanov
"My kingdom for a horse (and a bishop, and a rook)" (game of the day Nov-23-2021)
USSR Championship (1955), Moscow URS, rd 16, Mar-09
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Norwegian Variation (C70)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-25-20  Fanques Fair: Spassky is the most under-rated world champion ! Even in Kasparov's series he dedicates few space to Boris's carreer , which is strange, since he was a candidate in 56 and beat the tounament winner Smyslov .

Some of his early games are masterpieces, like this one. The combination is not only difficult to see, it´s also counterintuitive, like a flash in a blue sky .

Apr-25-20  ewan14: Is Kasparov's series OMGP ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It is, yes.
Apr-26-20  paulthebox: Great game which I had not seen before. After losing the queen, black has enough material but he must shed some pawns because if 22...♗g7 23. ♕a6 ♗c6 24. ♗g5 ♗e8 (or 24... ♗d7 25. ♕a8+ ♗c8 26. ♕d5+) 25. ♕e6 wins a piece.
May-21-20  Allanur: As usual, King Boris X playing preposterous chess. No need to think about how complex the line might have been, here is the point:

Usually/traditionally/generally players sacrifice queen to capture 2-3 pieces but here King Boris X sacrificed 2 minor pieces and a rook in order to capture the queen. At the end of the trade, the opponent maintained the bishop pair and in contrast to the queen had a horse, bishop and a rook. All of these took place with-in the first 19 moves.

Not to mention that the 38th, final, move of the King was hilariously preposterous.

King Boris X was probably the most talented player among the known ones, not Morphy or Reshevsky

May-21-20  ewan14: Brilliant Boris
May-21-20  ewan14: I am still surprised that in OMGP Kasparov does not feature a game from the 1968 Candidates final with Korchnoi

Surely this was Boris reaching his zenith as the '' universal '' player , tbc v. Petrosian

Aug-17-21  edubueno: I would like to agree with Fanques Fair and with ewan14. It transpires that Kasparov did not dedicate enough effort to Spassky, without showing a reason. The match BS vs Tal and the match BS vs Korchnoi are not well analized in his books.
Nov-23-21  Brenin: I agree with <bishop>: I would expect GMs of the standard of Spassky and Taimanov to see the combination starting with 15 Nxb5 easily. The point is that Qh5+ has to be answered with Qf7, and if Black does not have the R defending d8 then Rd8+ wins the Q; therefore 15 Nxb5 (threatening a royal fork Nxf7+) axb5 16 Qh5+ Qf7 (Ng6 17 Rxa8+ Bxa8 18 Nxg6 Qf7 19 Rd8+ Ke7 20 Rd7+ loses the Q) 17 Rxa8+ Bxa8 18 Rd8+ Kxd8 19 Qxf7. The difficult (and impressive) part is seeing that although Black has R+B+N for the Q his pieces are undeveloped and uncoordinated, and his pawns are vulnerable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Terrific game. It works because black no longer has pawn cover for his king and white has five pawns for the sac'd material. Some of those pawns are unstoppable passers on the queenside.

Spassky was but 18 years old here.

Nov-23-21  Stefan Lukke: Spassky always had my admiration for the way he attacked, here he gets the merest scent of his quarry and he delivers a devastating attack. His instinct for the attack is up there with the very best world champs in my opinion.
Nov-23-21  nalinw: Spassky was only 17!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: No doubt there were Spassky fanboys claiming he'd be world champion by 1958.
Nov-23-21  carpovius: Thanks <BxChess> and <CG> for publishing this delicious game!
Nov-23-21  Stefan Lukke: <MissScarlett> <No doubt there were Spassky fanboys claiming he'd be world champion by 1958.>

Maybe so (unlikely many) but your point escapes me here and now? Someone been espousing Spassky too much?!...

I went to see Spassky at the Haye-on-Wye book festival a few years back and met him afterwards. Such a nice guy too despite all the TROLLS in the REAL LIVE audience asking crazy questions about subterfuge during the 1972 match haha. He even wept a little over Bobby's passing which I believe was only a few months prior to that at the time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: for all the hell that Fischer put Spassky through in Iceland, he DID give Spassky lifetime financial security. Boris got the loser's share, i think $1.7M, for the rematch in 1992. BF put some money in Spassky's pockets the way no one else could. The match offer must have seemed like a gift from the heavens at that point in life.

Such a shame that he has not written an auto bio. Who's left to protect? Fischer, Botvinik, the communist party--they're all gone. I'd love to see him a publish a book, sprinkled with 20 or so games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Maybe so (unlikely many) but your point escapes me here and now?>

It's directed toward the Persian prince.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The same year, 1955, Spassky became a grandmaster (at the time the youngest ever) and won the World Junior Championship. He was no Lombardy, of course: he didn't get a perfect score. Spassky lost as White against Lombardy at the 1960 World Youth Team Championship, won by the U.S., but Spassky was eventually able to equalize their lifetime score at one win, one loss, and two draws.
Nov-23-21  Fanques Fair: Imagine Taimanov's shock : he just attacked young Boris' knight on the kingside and the lad sacrifices his other knight at the queenside. Taimanov was a very strong player, we must not forget, and he was soviet champion on those years.
Nov-23-21  carpovius: <HeHateMe> "Spassky still prays to Fischer for his lifetime financial security" reports "Moscow News".
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As well he, and other top players since Reykjavik, might.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: if one invested $1.7M in an S/P 500 mutual fund that buys the entire S/P 500 you would have an average return of 8% a year. That's $136,000/yr. I call that financial security. In 1992 I doubt very much that Spassky was being offered big appearance fees. The match with Fischer must have appeared to Boris to be a gift dropped from the heavens...

Let's be real--Fischer was a complete DIK in 1972. He was in/he was out. he went to Iceland. He started the match, he dropped out of the match. Then, facing a two game forfeit deficit Fischer (or, more likely, a USCF employee) writes Spassky a letter asking him to renounce the forfeited games.

Such unprofessional B.S. Botvinnik, Smyslov, Petrosian--they would have sent Fischer's ass packing. Not Spassky--he knew that the game of chess needed the arrogant, mercurial Fischer as world champion more so than another USSR great. He played, and lost.

The silver lining! In chess middle age, Spassky is granted lifetime financial security. Isn't there <sometimes> a sort of karma in this world? Good things happen to good people?

Nov-25-21  carpovius: So... Your point is that Fisher paid to Spassky in 1992 for 1972 intentional loss?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Its a sort of karma...Fischer was an unprofessional dik in 1972, which contributed to spassky's losing. 20 years later BF gives spassky a very soft match, which gives spassky lifelong financial security. It makes '72 a wash. Hell, it was a holiday in Croatia, on the adriatic sea.
Nov-26-21  carpovius: Fisher gained WCC in exchange of future Spassky's lifetime financial security. Agree!
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