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Gideon Stahlberg vs Isaac Boleslavsky
Zuerich Candidates (1953), Zuerich SUI, rd 1, Aug-30
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Long Variation (E68)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-20-04  vonKrolock: a fine pawn sacrifice in move 31 lead to an strong attack... white had chances to win
Jun-07-04  acirce: Bronstein writes that 45. h4 would have won, but gives no lines.
Jun-07-04  ughaibu: 45.h4 prevents the king coming out to g6, for example 45....Qd2 46.Nf5 Kg6 47.g4 h5 48.Qd6
Jun-07-04  acirce: <ughaibu> well Black seems able to defend in that line although White could have done better with 46. Qxf7+ :) Anyway I see what you mean. White threatens 46. Ne8+ Kg8 47. Nf6+ Kg7 48. Nh5+ Kg8 49. Qd8+ since Black's king can't go to g6.
Jun-07-04  WMD: White wants to execute the same knight manoeuvre as in the game, but with the pawn on h4, allowing Qg5 mate if the King comes to Kg6. If Black moves to counter this with 45...h6 then White has the winning 46.Kh3, breaking the pin on the bishop, and allowing Be4+ if the King should still transgress to g6.

Incidentally, does anyone else share my opinion that Bronstein's book on the Zurich Candidates' tournament is nothing special?

Jun-07-04  acirce: <anyone else share my opinion that Bronstein's book on the Zurich Candidates' tournament is nothing special> I don't, I think it is highly instructive (now that goes for other books too so in one sense it is <nothing special> - it is not a must-have, but it is worth studying)
Jun-07-04  WMD: <I don't, I think it is highly instructive> In what sense? Opening theory, no. Endings, no. Middlegame planning? Typical attacking motifs or defensive manoeuvres? Some examples, please.
Jun-07-04  ughaibu: Acirce: Qf7, hilarious, thanks for pointing that one out.
Jun-07-04  acirce: <WMD> I think this very game is a good example; no. 7 in the book. For example his comment after move 14:

<Characteristically, the King's Indian Defense features a tense battle waged on all fronts simultaneosly. The system used here secures White considerable territory, not only in the center, but on the kingside as well.

I do not wish to leave the reader the false impression that White's further task, which is to transform his sizeable spatial plus into a material advantage, will be an easy one. The secret of the King's Indian's hardihood is that, while conceding space, Black builds a few small but weighty details into his configuration. Foremost among these are his long-range bishops at g7 and c8, his firmly entrenched knight at c5 and the rook at e8, which maintain constant watch on the e-pawn. Nor ought we to forget his pawns. The "weak" pawn on d6 is just waiting for the chance to push to d5, so White must continually keep an eye on that. The pawn on a4 also has an important role; the threat to advance it to a3 can upset his opponent's plans for that sector at any time, so White must take extra precautions regarding the defense of c3 and c4. If 12. Qc2 was White's latest theoretical discovery, then the same might justifiably be said of Black's 14...Nfd7. 14...Qa5 was the old move, but after 15. Bf4, either the bishop at g7 or the rook at e8 had to move to an inferior position, whereas now the pawn can be covered with 15...Ne5.>

and after White's 18th:

<Ståhlberg decides to rid the position once and for all of the threat of a black pawn advance to a3. This move deprives the square b3 of pawn protection, but it also strengthens the position of the pawn at b2 and generally of the whole constellation a3-b2-c3.

The next stage of the game - roughly to move 30 - consists of skilful maneuvers from both sides, inducing weaknesses, White's preparation for e4-e5 and Black's for d7-d5 or f7-f5, and mutual prevention of these breaks.>

and after Black's 23rd:

<The next two moves are somewhat unusual, both for White and for Black: Black concentrates maximum firepower against the pawn on e4, an assault which White tries to divert by threatening to take on d6. It is entirely characteristic that, in order to carry out this idea, White can find no better retreat square for his centralized knight at d4, the pride of his position, than back to its original square g1, since all other retreat square would interfere, in one way or another, with the coordination between his pieces.

This seems an appropiate time to impart to the reader the secret of the d6-pawn in the King's Indian Defence. This pawn, although backward on an open file, proves nevertheless a tought little nut to crack, because it is so hard to reach. It might seem that nothing could be simpler than dropping the knight back from d4, but the problem is that White needs his knight precisely on d4, where it observes the squares b5, c6, e6 and f5, and neutralizes the power of the bishop at g7. Only after White has taken precautions against all of Black's possible attacks (a4-a3, Bc8-e6, f7-f5) can this knight allow itself to leave the center; but meanwhile Black has time to regroup.

So the weakness of the d6-pawn turns out to be largely fictive. Modern methods of opening play allow for many such fictive weak pawns, but it was precisely this "permanent" weakness at d6 which so long condemned the KID to the list of dubious openings.>

Jun-07-04  acirce: Continued...

and after White's 24th:

<The knight will return, five moves later, to help the pawn on e4 cross the Rubicon. The pawn could have been pushed at once, but that would have given up control of the f5 square; Black's bishop could go there, and after 24. e5 Bf5, White would have had to sacrifice his queen by taking the knight on f6 with his pawn - but that would win for White. The simple 24...dxe5, on the other hand, would give Black excellent play.

White could have taken the a-pawn here, but at too great a price; White needs his darksquare bishop as much as Black does.

Boleslavsky's 24th move is an invitation to White's rook to capture that long-disputed point at last; after 25...Nb6, however, Black's knight enters c4. Ståhlberg's decision is most probably the correct one; before proceeding with the siege of the d-pawn, he exchanges off the "Indian" bishops.>

and after Black's 28th:

<The position appears basically unchanged, but an important event has taken place: the disappearance of the darksquare bishops, and of the pawns at c4 and d6. With the bishops' disappearance, both sides must now make some adjustments in their basic strategies. Black, for example, must give top priority to securing his position on the long diagonal, and against the incursion of a white pawn to f6 and queen to h6. Considering the seriousness of this threat, Boleslavsky's last move was a very good one: the bishop is ready for action on the a2-g8 diagonal, and the f-pawn, by going to f6, covers the king against any attacks from the main road; the bishop replaces the pawn at f7. White, for his part, must punch a hole in this new defensive line at any cost, or else the initiative will pass to his opponent, and all the weaknesses in White's position, which were of only passing interest so long as he was on the offensive (b3, the lack of pawn control of d3, e3 and f3, and the passive bishop at g2) might become the basis for combinations.>

etc etc. I think these comments are very interesting and helpful but of course it may be an illusion.

Jun-07-04  Eatman: I believe that Bronstein's books is highly instructive for players rated say 2000 or higher. His comments are very easy to follow. Supposedly Bronstein had a ghostwriter but that does not distract at all. As Bronstein himself said it was meant to show how chess was played around 1950s. Basically all the games are of high quality and there are very few GM draws. Also the drama is very moving (the original Russian edition showed rankings after each round) as Reshevsky, Bronstein and Keres each have a chance to catch Smyslov in 2nd half of tournament.
Nov-14-04  hicetnunc: Two remarks :

1) on the game itself, I have the feeling that 12.b3 is a better way to counter Black's activity on the queenside (ready to answer a4 with b4), and I don't like Stahlber'g a3 very much

2) A friend of mine, who knows Josif D Dorfman says that Josif knows the whole book by heart, and reports that Etienne Bacrot thinks anybody studying this book is bound to win 100 to 200 elo points ! So I guess it must have some instructional value :-)

Nov-23-04  kostich in time: Bronstiens book..and I think Bronstien wrote most of it, is one of the top ten or twenty tournament books of all time..his analysis of certain openings havce not been surpassed. His exposition of the two best endgames of the tournament-Euwe -Stahlberg and Euwe -Gligoric, is remarkable. There are flaws.For some reason, his treament of Stahlbergs games is remarkably superficial. The other great tourney book of Zurich 1953 was by Najdorf. Unfortunatly, it was in Spanish and it almost impossible to find nowadays.
Nov-30-04  vonKrolock: <kostich in time>: Najdorf's book have a subtitle, something like "Quince Candidatos al Campeonato Mundial de Ajedrez" (if my memory isnt failing here) i believe it appeared in Buenos Aires shortly after the Cand T. Even here in South America it's a hard item to find: I KNEW where to find the first Volume (of two), but it IS NOT there (I'll like to compare whith Bronstein's Zürich 1953, that i have here in a Spanish translation, Fundamentos Aguilera, Madrid 1984)

Bronstein's books are like Beethoven's late Quartetti - i mean, an esotheric experience.

Dec-04-04  Backward Development: several notes by Bronstein provided by acirce below.
May-20-09  superstoned: I just discovered Bronstein's tournament book yesterday and I havent been able to put it down for seven hours now. Works great with a site like
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <kostich in time: *** The other great tourney book of Zurich 1953 was by Najdorf. Unfortunatly, it was in Spanish and it almost impossible to find nowadays.>

Happily, an English translation of Najdorf's book was recently published: <Zurich 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship>, by NAJDORF, Miguel, tr. by Kingston, Taylor, ©2012 Russell Enterprises, Inc.

Jul-26-22  Helios727: 45.h4 h6 46.Kh3 Nc5 47.Nxf7 Qxf7 48.Qxc5 and White has a won end game with bishop against pawn.

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