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Vladimir Savon vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship (1962), Yerevan URS , rd 14, Dec-11
Sicilian Defense: Paulsen. Bastrikov Variation (B47)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-25-04  quovadis: Strange and amazing that Spassky resign here , in fact he has a clear win , because after 24... gxN , white cannot play 25.QxN searching a mate on g7 or h8. if 25.QxN Qxh3 mate !!. and if 25.BxB Qxh3 mate. and also if 25.Kh2 BxB 26.KxB QxQ 27.BxQ Ne4 !!. if 26.QxQ NxQ 27.KxB Nc5 Black has an extra rook !!! .
Jun-26-04  sneaky pete: <quovadis> The result is given wrong here. The tournament table of the XXXth USSR championship, Erevan 1962, says win for Spassky. Nf5-h6+ opens the road for Qd7 to h3. Savon, seeing this, resigned before Spassky could play .. gxh6.
Premium Chessgames Member We fixed the result to this game.
<ughaibu> you might want to remove this game from your "World champions lose miniatures" collection.
Jul-06-04  ughaibu: Thanks.
May-29-13  JosephThorne: I dont understand. Savon it looks like its a won game, however, you have O-1 instead of 1-O. Is this an error?
May-29-13  Zonszein: Spassky won as it's explained above
Mar-26-15  A.T PhoneHome: Beautiful ending I think; Vladimir Savon checking with his Knight yet it's Spassky who is to win this game.

I think Spassky being about to promote his pawn soon after 23...exf2 prompted Savon to play Nh6+ to buy time; however it ended with Spassky having the last laugh!

Mar-27-15  RookFile: Brave play by Spassky. Don't recall seeing something like 24. Nh6+ hxg6 25. Qxf6 Qxh3 checkmate before, even if here it wasn't played out on the board.
Mar-27-15  A.T PhoneHome: Yes <RookFile>, I myself am very fond of Spassky's cool nerved delivery, his trademark.

It is clear that Spassky knows both positional and tactical chess very well; maybe someone else with Black here would've played something different earlier to avoid this kind of ending.

I mean the ending is a bit odd; with White checking and Queen ready to play Qxf6. I liked Spassky's 20...e3 because if 21.Bxd5, White's Queen is lost to 21...exd2 after which White still can't play Bxd5 because then he will lose Rook, like 22.Bxd5 dxc1 (Q).

Probably other things to it, but that's my patzer take! 20...e3 is lovely, most likely a normal move but for me it set the stage for Spassky's win. To further elaborate on my point, 20...e3 is good because now White Bishop must stay on g2, creating the possibility for later ...Qxh3 mate.

Another plan is perhaps 21.Qc3 Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Qd5+ 23.Kg1 e2+ (also threatening f1 Rook and Black threatening mate from c5 and d5 and if White moves Kh2, mate) and I guess White ends up losing material for preventing the mate if he can. That Knight on g4 is untouchable in that sequence.

Any comments on this, <RookFile>? You're most likely quite experienced so your input on my kibitz would be appreciated sir! I don't vouch on the validity of my ideas! :P

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It seems to me that the position arising after Black's 23...exR is clearly leading to a draw. After 24.g4 Bxg2+ 25.Kxg2 QxQ 26.BxQ Black is going to lose his advanced f Pawn, so that his only advantage is an exchange for a Pawn. But White's c Pawn is going to be a passed one. The position is very drawish. Possibly Savon played 24.Nh6+? simply because he missed 24.Nh6+ hxN 25.QxN Qxh mate.
Mar-27-15  A.T PhoneHome: Had to laugh at myself here. Came back to this game and read the post by <maxi> and I thought: What if after 24.g4 Spassky plays 24...Qc6?

25.Ne7+, forking Black King and Queen. :P hah!

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