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Aleksandar Matanovic vs Nicolas Rossolimo
Staunton Memorial (1951), ENG, rd 15, Jun-22
Spanish Game: Closed Variations (C84)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: This titanic struggle is the last entry in R.N. Coles' Epic Battles of the Chessboard. Check it out!

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Perhaps the losing move is 40.Qc1, allowing the threat of 40...Nf4 and ...Ne2, forking queen and king. Instead, 40.Qc2 looks better (winning the exchange), and if 40...Nf4, then 41.Rxd8 should win for White.

Instead of the game move 43.Qa1, if White tries 43.Bd3, then 43..Nxd3 44.Rxd2 Ne2+ and Black has several mate threats. And if 43.Qa3, then 43...Nxh3+! (not 43...Nxc2?? 44.Qa8+ Kd7 45.Rd3+ Nxd3 46.Qd5+ Kc8 47.Qd8+ and perpetual check) 44.Kh2 Rxf6 wins for Black.

Instead of 43...Nfe2+, quicker seems 43...Nxh3 44.Kh2 (44.Rxh3 Ne2+ leads to mate) 44...Rxf6 45.Kxh3 Qc8+ wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: This great game needs more comments.
Aug-31-22  MaczynskiPratten: This game was also anthologised in "Chess with the Masters" which was a staple in council libraries in the 1960s. The book rightly praised it as being a great battle with lots of cut and thrust from both players.
Sep-12-22  MaczynskiPratten: 30 Rf1 threatens 31 Qxg6 fxg6 32 Nd6+ winning a piece. After 30... Rb6! 31 Ra8 Qc6 the attack is halted. After 31 Rxb6, if Black replies cxb6 White plays 32 Bxe6 Nxe6 33 Qxg6. Black's interposition of 31...Bxf5 is therefore vital.
Sep-12-22  MaczynskiPratten: The book agrees with wwall that 40 Qc1 is the losing move and suggests 40 Rd6 instead, maintaining strong pressure on the d-file. 40 Qc2 certainly looks better than Qc1.
Sep-12-22  MaczynskiPratten: However, after the suggested 43...Nxh3, doesn't 44 Bxf5 stop Black's attack and win for White? Or 44 Qa8+ gives White perpetual check. Also 43...Nxc2 allows perpetual check after 44 Qa8+ Kd7 45 Rd3+ Nxd3 46 Qd5+.
Sep-12-22  MaczynskiPratten: Black has a quicker final win after 50 ... Nfg3+ 51 Kg2 Ne4 52 Bd3 Nxf6 53 exf6 Nd4 followed by c2 winning the Bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Typically, black castles and white plays h3. Here black went for the Bg4 pin instead of castling. I play the Ruy Lopez with black and I've always doubted whether the Bg4 pin is ever worth it. I only played in it blitz, with no success in cooling white's kingside dangerous initiative.

click for larger view

Here, black shows a bold way to spice things up with 16...h5!? Stockfish prefers 16...Nc5, but not by much. 16...c5 is also an option. But the availability of multiple options is typical of the Ruy Lopez middle game (until you suddenly get into a nitroglycerine-handling position!)

I am being way too general, but I have found over the years that gutsy play often pays off for black in the closed Ruy. If you play to comfy, there is always the risk of getting into a defensive position that requires way too much precision to survive. It is not unusual for white to mobilize both knights, queen, dark square bishop, and all kingside pawns into the attack, sometimes adding a rook, and if the center opens, even the light-square bishop. When that happens, who can defend that?

This h5 move is gutsy, and it reminded me of A Lein vs Kholmov, 1972 (which also features a gutsy h5). The two games are in different variations and very different, but they seem to be similar in the spirit of black's play.

Again, I am being way too general. Feel free to file away this comment in either the strategic psychology folder or the b.s. folder. Take your pick!

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