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Boris Spassky vs Herman Pilnik
Gothenburg Interzonal (1955), Gothenburg SWE, rd 14, Sep-07
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Goteborg (Argentine) (B98)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-23-02  drukenknight: Drunk's brew of the day. Here's another interesting exercise in pawn counting that's very simlar to the Anti Meran game (Denker/Botwinnik) we are discussing.

This variation of Sicilian (9...g5) is known as Goteborg and it is based on three games played on the same day in 1955, this is one of them. The other two were Keres/Najdorf and Panno/Geller. The argentines came up with a new move to spring but they all lost anyhow on this day.

It seems to me that when white captures the pawn he is up by 1 pt. Then he immediately sacks the N; 11 Nxe6 which causes him to be behind by one pt. But no matter, he is down by one pt. but he has opened an attack on the K. Makes sense: drop material go on attack. So it seems that Spassky and friends were simply playing on general principles on this day when they refuted this opening.

It seems to me that when black retreats the N, he cuts off the B from the pawn. Allowing white to drop material and go on the attack. What if 10...Nh6? which if white then takes Nxe6 he can recapture with the B and remain down 1 pt. Perhaps then he will have better attacking chances?

Sneaky what do you say? You have different ideas about value of pawns, obviously.

Premium Chessgames Member
  waddayaplay: Spassky is such a genius.
Jun-27-05  calman543: Geller desrves the credit for this victory. When the Latin players sprung their innovation, Spassky and Keres waited over an hour to let Geller find the winning line, which he did. Then they copied him. The Latin players eventually variated from each other in order to attempt to stave off defeat, but to no avail.
Jun-27-05  calman543: In 1958 against Gligoric, Fischer found the equalizing line for black. 13. ... Rh7.
Sep-05-08  dwavechess: Rybka agrees 74% moves with Spassky and 70% with Pilnik
Sep-10-08  dwavechess: 77% agrees Rybka 3 w32 3 minutes per move with Spassky, more than the 74% using rybka 2.3.2a at 14 ply.
Sep-12-08  dwavechess: 60% for pilnik using R3
Nov-06-09  howian1: This is one of the games thought to be brilliant with a black loss inevitable until a computer looks at the position, and shows just two before resignation, the position could probably be held. Accepting the second sacrifice,
22. exd5 23.Qxd6+ Ke8 24.Qg6 Kd7 25.exd5, R-a6! looks sufficient to require white to repeat moves for the draw.

Beyond providing insight, the computer is showing us that the winner is right methodology is infecting much analysis, and the human tendency to become depressed upon defense, rather than the brilliancy of the game impacts the outcome.

Nov-24-13  seeminor: Kasparov discusses this line

Spassky vs Pilnik, 1955

Nov-24-13  seeminor:
Apr-02-14  Rookiepawn: It is really funny to call Najdorf and Pilnik "Latin players". No doubt Najdorf liked tango and felt deeply Argentinian, but he was Polish by birth and hardly had a drop of latin blood in his veins. Same for Pilnik and probably other Argentinian players. Of course you can call Argentina's a latin culture (whatever it means...) but you'll find also a lot of Jewish, Polish etc. origins there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: <howian1> back in the day of 2009 indicated Ra6 as being equalising resource, but checking with Stockfish now:

Boris Spassky - Herman Pilnik, Gothenburg Interzonal 1955

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 5 64 SSE4.2:

1. (4.81): 26.d6 Rxa2 27.Kf1 Ra1+ 28.Ke2 Ra6 29.Qg4+ Ke8 30.d7+ Kxf7 31.dxc8Q Nd4+ 32.Kd3 Qxc8 33.Qxc8 Ne6 34.Kd2 Rb6 35.Qd7 Kf8 36.Qd5 Nc5 37.b4 Bg5+ 38.Kd1 Ne6 39.h4 Be7 40.Qf5+ Ke8 41.Qg6+ Kd7 2. (3.77): 26.Qf5+ Ke8 27.Qh5 Kd7 28.d6 Qb6+ 29.Bf2 Qxf2+ 30.Rxf2 Kxd6 31.Qf7 b4 32.Re2 Ra5 33.Qf4+ Re5 34.Rxe5 Nxe5 35.Qxb4+ Ke6 36.Qe4 Bd7 37.Qxb7 Bc6 38.Qc8+ Bd7 39.Qc3 Kd5 40.Qd2+ Ke4 41.Qe2+ Kf5 42.Qh5+ Kf6 43.Kf2 Bc5+ 44.Kg3 3. (3.53): 26.Rg7 Nd4 27.Qg4+ Ne6 28.Bh4 Qb6+ 29.Kf1 Qe3 30.Bg5 Qe5 31.Rxe7+ Kd6 32.dxe6 Ra4 33.Rd7+ Kc6 34.b4 Rxb4 35.Qxb4 Bxd7 36.exd7 Qxg5 37.Qd4 Kc7 38.d8B+ Qxd8 39.Qxd8+ Kxd8 40.h4 Ke7 41.Kf2 Kf6 42.g4 b4 43.Kf3 Kg7 44.Kf4 4. (3.51): 26.Qg4+ Ke8 27.Qg8+ Kd7 28.Qg5 Ke8

(Doe, 29.07.2014)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Here are a few candidate moves after d6:

Boris Spassky - Herman Pilnik, Gothenburg Interzonal 1955

click for larger view

Analysis by Stockfish 5 64 SSE4.2:

1. (5.28): 26...Qb6+ 27.Bf2 Qa5 28.Qf5+ Ke8 29.Qh7 Qd8 30.Bc5 Be6 31.dxe7 Bxf7 32.exd8Q+ Nxd8

2. (5.98): 26...Qe8 27.Qf5+ Kd8 28.Qf4 Qxf7 29.Qxf7 b4 30.dxe7+ Nxe7 31.Qf8+ Kd7 32.Bh4 Re6 33.Bxe7 Rxe7 34.h4 b6 35.h5 b3 36.cxb3 Bb7 37.g4 Bd5 38.Qf5+ Kd6 39.g5 Rf7 40.Qg6+ Ke5 41.Qxb6 Rf4

3. (6.23): 26...Rxa2 27.Rf1 Qh8 28.Qf5+ Kd8 29.dxe7+ Nxe7 30.Rd1+ Ke8 31.Qxb5+ Nc6 32.Re1+ Kf7 33.Rf1+ Ke8 34.Qb3 Qd4+

4. (6.45): 26...Qh8 27.Qf5+ Kd8 28.dxe7+ Nxe7 29.Qc5 Ng6 30.Rc7 Rc6 31.Qd5+ Ke8 32.Qe4+ Kf8 33.Bd6+ Rxd6 34.Rxc8+ Kg7 35.Qxb7+ Kf6 36.Rxh8 Nxh8 37.Qf3+ Ke7

5. (7.51): 26...Na7 27.Qg4+ Ke8 28.Qg8+ Kd7 29.Rxe7+ Qxe7 30.dxe7 Kxe7 31.Qh7+ Kf8 32.Bf2 Rc6 33.Bxa7 Be6 34.Qxb7 Rxc2 35.Qe4 Rc1+ 36.Kf2 Bf7 37.Qe5 Rc4 38.Bd4 b4 39.Bc5+ Kg8 40.Qf5 Kg7 41.b3

6. (7.65): 26...Ra4 27.Qf5+ Ke8 28.Qh5 Kd7 29.dxe7 Qxe7 30.Bh4 Rxh4 31.Rxe7+ Nxe7 32.Qxh4 Nf5 33.Qf6 Nd6 34.g4 b6 35.g5 Bb7 36.g6 Bd5 37.Qd4 Kc6 38.a3

7. (7.88): 26...Ra8 27.dxe7 Qxe7 28.Rh7 Qxh7 29.Qxh7+ Ke6 30.Qg6+ Ke7 31.Bd6+ Kd8 32.Qf6+ Kd7 33.Bc5 Ra6 34.Qf7+ Kd8 35.Bd6 Bg4 36.Qxb7 Rxa2 37.Qxc6 Ra1+ 38.Kf2 Bd7 39.Qc7+ Ke8 40.Qb8+ Kf7 41.Qf8+ Kg6 42.Qg8+ Kf6 43.Qd8+ Ke6 44.Qe7+

8. (8.17): 26...b4 27.dxe7 Nxe7 28.Qd3+ Ke8 29.Rf8+ Kxf8 30.Qxd8+ Kf7 31.Bh4 Rc6 32.Qxe7+ Kg6 33.Qxb4 Kf5 34.c3 Kg6 35.Qe4+ Kg7 36.c4 Re6 37.Qf4 Rc6 38.b3 Be6 39.Qg5+ Kh7 40.Bg3

9. (9.02): 26...Nd4 27.Qg4+ Ne6 28.dxe7 Qxe7 29.Qf5 Ra8 30.Qh7 Qxf7 31.Qxf7+ Kc6 32.Qe8+ Kc5 33.Qe7+ Kc4 34.Qd6 Nd4 35.Be1 Ne2+

10. (8.35): 26...Ne5 27.Bxe5 Qb6+ 28.Kf1 Qxd6 29.Bxd6 Rxd6 30.Qg5 Re6 31.Qxb5+ Kd8 32.Rh7 Rf6+ 33.Kg1 Rf5 34.Qb6+ Ke8 35.Qg6+ Kd8 36.Qg8+ Bf8 37.g4 Rf6 38.Qd5+ Rd6

11. (9.13): 26...b6 27.dxe7 Nxe7 28.Qd6+ Ke8 29.Rf8+ Kxf8 30.Qxd8+ Kf7 31.Bh4 Ra7 32.Bxe7 Rxe7 33.Qxc8 b4 34.Qf5+ Kg7 35.Qg4+ Kf7 36.Qxb4 Re6 37.Kf2 Rc6 38.Qe4 Rd6 39.Qf5+ Ke7 40.Qe5+ Kd7

(Doe, 29.07.2014)

Apr-30-16  Howard: Thanks for the analysis !
Apr-15-17  Albion 1959: A game that has made the anthologies, though for me a lot of this was home preparation with teams of analysis doing the donkey work. The game was most in part replicated by Geller and Keres! Which makes me wonder if such lavish praise should be given to this game? In Fischer parlance, this is what he would probably refer to as a "prearranged game". This game appears in Irving Chernev's The Golden Dozen, page 71 game 30. But in my humble opinion, a far superior Spassky effort was game 19 of his match against Petrosian, where defeated the world champion in 24 moves. No home preparation here, instead he finds the best moves to launch a kingside attack:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes but preparation is what all grandmasters do. The Argentinians etc had all prepared this but the Soviets had also studied this idea. That is good. It adds to the interest as these were the first games that put this variation to the test. In fact instead of the sac on e6 Qh5 is better but it is like most of the Najdorf and many Sicilians which invariably lead to complex and fascinating positions.
Sep-13-17  Howard: For the record, the first time I ever heard of the Goteburg disaster was in the (mediocre) book Point Count Chess.
Jun-13-20  carpovius: What an amazing game!
Jun-13-20  WorstPlayerEver: Which one is Pilnik?

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