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Yuri L Averbakh vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship 1961a (1961), Moscow URS, rd 6, Jan-19
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a rook for a knight and two pawns.

White threatens Qg4+.

If instead of a rook the piece on e1 were the queen it would be mate. Hence, 38... Rf1+ 39.Kxf1 Qe1#.

Jan-30-17  Kafelnikov64: One move backwards would have made a nice Tuesday puzzle, don't you think?
Jan-30-17  YouRang: The solution to the puzzle is simple enough. But Spassky set it up with the subtle <35.h4!>

click for larger view

If white takes the pawn, he exposed his king on the g-file, and black can follow with (say) ...Kh7 and ...Rg7+. It also clears the 3rd rank so that Re3 threatens Qh3+.

Perhaps it was fear of this attack potential that compelled white to decline the pawn, opting instead for <36.Rd4?>

click for larger view

This unfortunately allows a much worse threat with <36...h3+!>, putting the white king in a box where he is at the mercy of black's R+Q+R battery .

White finished with 37.Kg1? and the mate-in-3 (technically, 37.Kf2 is better since it loses more slowly).

Jan-30-17  AlicesKnight: 38 ....Rf1+ forces 39.Kxf1, when ...Qe1 is mate thanks to the h3 pawn. The charge of this P from move 34 recalls a similar charge in the Larsen-Spassky USSR v. World brilliancy. Larsen vs Spassky, 1970
Jan-30-17  KlingonBorgTatar: Was Averbakh in time trouble hereabouts? For a while he seemed to be winning. He tore apart Spassky's Paulsen Defense early on.
Jan-30-17  stacase: I noted that Spassky was Black, and looked around for a few seconds, nothing looked promising then, Oh! Look at that, 38. ...RF1+ forces White's King to take the Rook and yup the Queen flies down to deliver mate because Black's h3 Pawn covers the escape route. I thought, "It can't be that easy." Then I remembered, it's MONDAY !!!
Jan-30-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: Fun one. Futz around on the e-file for a few tries until it's clear that nothing works, then try the next forcing move that comes to mind. Bingo!
Jan-30-17  morfishine: Its mate in 2: <38.Rf1+> followed by 39.Qe1#


Jan-30-17  Sularus: hmmmm... monday...
38. ... Rf1+
39. kxR Qe1++
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Great Monday puzzle. It was easy--the first move I tried was the winner--but it is still nifty how the tactic works, thanks to the h3 pawn covering the square g2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: Clever tactic.
Admittedly it is not difficult, but it's nice to see the majority solve the puzzle. Above all, chess it to be enjoyed!

a pleasant Monday to all!

Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: 36. ... h3 seals the deal.
Jan-30-17  stst: <Spassky's games are always so asthetically pleasing.> It couldn't be....unless he never lost, or it could be argued that it's still pretty when he lost...
Jan-30-17  ChessHigherCat: 1 e4 ...? Black to play and blow everybody's mind in 38 moves
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < stst: <Spassky's games are always so asthetically pleasing.> It couldn't be....unless he never lost, or it could be argued that it's still pretty when he lost... >

it is! His losses to Fischer especially were aesthetically pleasing! lOL

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: What I'm saying is...

win or lose, there is beauty to be found in all the games of the great masters.

Jan-30-17  zanzibar: Yeah!
Jan-30-17  ChessHigherCat: <chrisowen don't be veg winked dad faculty.> Sorry for the delayed response, but I had to run that through my zodo-wafarian transmogrification software. In answer to your question: No, I am not the Gatekeeper. I am the Keymaster. Why do you ask?
Jan-30-17  ruzon: <ChessHigherCat>: Mute chrisowen if you want, but please don't make fun of him. He has a mental illness that has gotten progressively worse over the years.
Jan-30-17  ChessHigherCat: Okay sorry, I thought he had invented some kind of cryptic poetry. It seems kind of coherent.
Jan-30-17  ChessHigherCat: I tried to delete it but it's too late. If you're a monitor you can delete it if you like (along with the following messages, so people don't imagine that I really insulted him).
Jan-30-17  ChessHigherCat: <chrisowen: <ChessHigherCat> Sorry hu muddle man deaf angles huts q pras get school v?> Don't be sorry Chris, everything's okay and keep up with your poetry!
Jan-30-17  detritus: Man, that h-pawn charge really wreaks havoc with White's position. Would 35. h4 from White have salvaged the position for him? I guess I don't understand what the point of 35. Rd2 was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Mate in two started by rook sac.
May-27-17  zydeco: This is one of these games where it's hard to know if the players were seeing very far ahead or improvising move to move. Averbakh initiates a dubious sacrifice, is a clear exchange down, but has perpetual check. Spassky, to avoid it, hands Averbakh two pawns but gets an initiative. Interesting game, which demonstrates Spasky's versatility: flexibility in the opening, skill in defense, and a real gift for managing imbalanced positions.
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