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David Bronstein vs Vladas Mikenas
"Mikenas Nervous" (game of the day Dec-06-2007)
URS (1941), Jun-23
Latvian Gambit: Accepted. Bronstein Attack (C40)  ·  1-0


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Given 59 times; par: 42 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Bronstein displays three beautiful "removing the guard deflections" to finish off this game. The first is 20. Rxf8+! threatening to win most of Black's minor pieces if he immediately recaptures. The second is the neat Knight Fork deflection 22. Nb5+!!, which puts Black into a mating web after the forced 22...cxb5 23. Qxb5 . The final nail in the confin is the pretty two-move mate with 24. Re7+! Rxe7 25. Qc6#.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 24. Re7+! Wow!

I probably would have started with Rc1+ - a mate in 4 (if I didn't make a mistake) versus the mate in 2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ajile> <Dennis Monokroussos on claims the Latvian is garbage. Based on this one game?>

Judged from your link, he bases his claim on a lot more than that.

Dec-06-07  Riverbeast: Well to be honest, I gave up the Latvian (except in blitz games) because if white doesn't go for the sacrificial lines, he has certain positional methods which gives him an enduring edge.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: <daacosta: Is this the game where Bronstein played 6. Be2 for the very first time? I am trying to find the very, very first game with this variation>

This is it, according to the <cg> database.

<herby rawley: bronstein in "200 open games" comments on 6 Be2... pithy and illuminating
get a good overview of latvian in a few terse lines>

I have a copy of that book, as well as one of Bronstein's Zürich International Tournament Book of 1953. Excellent commentator.

Dec-06-07  cionics: 15 Bg5+, what a nice move! And it just keeps getting better from there.

I am with "Tatarch" in voting for Bronstein.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: Update on the 6. Be2 line: The site gives the following game:

[Event "corr"]
[Site "corr"]
[Date "1867.??.??"]
[Round "0"]
[White "From,Sigfred"]
[Black "Paz y Barriga,Gustavo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C40"]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.d4 d6 5.Nc4 fxe4 6.Be2 d5 7.Ne3 c6 8.c4 Bb4+ 9.Nc3 Ne7 10.0-0 0-0 11.f3 Bxc3 12.bxc3 Qg6 13.fxe4 dxe4 14.Rxf8+ Kxf8 15.Bh5 Qf6 16.Ba3 Kg8 17.Qe2 g6 18.Rf1 Qg5 19.Ng4 Kg7 20.Qxe4 c5 21.Bc1 1-0

I assume this is the From for whom From's Gambit is named. I've never heard of Paz y Barriga.

Jul-12-09  chillowack: <ajk68: 24. Re7+! Wow!

I probably would have started with Rc1+ - a mate in 4 (if I didn't make a mistake) versus the mate in 2.>

That's not a mate in 4.

I'm not even sure that's a forced mate at all.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: This game was played at Rostov-on-Don in the semi-final of the 1941 USSR Championship. The date was the 23rd of June, the day after the German invasion of the USSR. The tournament was cancelled, with several players joining the Red Army.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Some authorities, e.g. GM Larsen, think the 6. Be2 line is the simplest way to prove advantage to White against the Latvian, with this Bronstein-Mikenas encounter essentially serving as the refutation to the opening. Well, there are probably several ways White can play against the Latvian to gain a substantial edge, but that isn't the thinking behind 2...f5 at all. The typical Latvian player is not looking to grab the initiative right off the bat. (Of course, he is happy to take the initiative when his opponent does not know the opening and responds with something dubious.) The typical Latvian player is trying to create a position where, while he may be objectively inferior, the moves to maintain the advantage are not so easy to find. Basically, he is gambling that he can outplay his opponent from an inferior position, either with superior tactical play or by utilizing his greater familiarity and experience with the opening.

The 6. Be2 line certainly fits in with the Latvian player's philosophy. Objectively speaking, White gets the advantage, but the middle game is quite sharp, where one inaccuracy by White can be enough to turn the tables. Since, the typical club player doesn't have Bronstein as an opponent, the opening can work quite well at most levels of play.

If you really want to tick off a Latvian opponent, try 4. Nc4 (instead of 4. d4), and if 4...fxe4 5. Nc3 Qf7 6. Ne3 c6 7. d3. White maintains an advantage without the usual crazy tactics often seen in the Latvian. The point to remember is that the Latvian player is looking for a wild and wooly game, not one where he is trying to draw an inferior endgame. Often the easiest way to beat him is to bore him.

Feb-15-12  drukenknight: 16...c6 looks wrong, as it encourages pawn exchange (black's ahead in material) and does not break the pin. I realize there is a mate on e8 so does 16....Be7 make it any better?
Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: How not to play the Latvian !!
Aug-20-12  Everett:    <drukenknight: 16...c6 looks wrong, as it encourages pawn exchange (black's ahead in material) and does not break the pin. I realize there is a mate on e8 so does 16....Be7 make it any better?>

At first look, I would look at <16..Be7 17.Rxe7 Kxe7 18.Bxf6+ gxf6 19.Qe2+ followed by 20.Qe6> This looks like trouble.

Aug-21-12  Cyphelium: <Everett & drukenknight> After 16. -♗e7 17. ♖xe7 ♔xe7 18. ♗xf6+ gxf6 19. ♕e2+ ♔f8 20. ♕e6 ♖h6, is there anything convincing for white? A simpler solution might be 16.- ♗e7 17. ♕e2. Now 17.- ♕f7 loses a piece to 18. ♕xc2 and 17.- ♕xg5 18. ♕xe7+ ♔c8 19. ♖xf6 ♕xf6 20. ♕d7+ ♔b8 21. ♖e8+ is game over as well.
Aug-21-12  Everett: <Cyphelium> thank you kindly for that variation. Indeed it looks convincing. Here is another point where the idea of reversing the move order could prove helpful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Bronstein was proud of 6 Be2 which was an innovation aimed at making rapid use of the f-file. 11..Nf6 would be an improvement over 11..h5?!.
Aug-22-12  Everett: <plang> I think Bronstein also like the idea that his 6.Be2 cuts across Black's usual plan of planting his Q on g6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < Riverbeast: I used to play the Latvian when I was interesting line in this opening, after 3. Nxe5, is 3. Nc6 !?....>

Did any of your opponents ever play 4.Nxc6, a move I've seen mentioned by Ray Keene? After this, Black gets free development, but I don't really see where he has enough for the pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Travis Bickle: Wow what a wild game!
Apr-23-14  Everett: N Beltrami vs K H Bondick, 2011 for a recent example of 3..Nc6 4.Nxc6
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I had never seen this game before! Classic Bronstein, and at just 17! I had the extraordinary good fortune to play two consecutive tournament games as White against the Latvian (my <only> games ever against the Latvian). I was lucky enough to be able to prepare for the first: it was a game-a-week tournament, and I was paired against Ralph Erickson, whom I knew to be a Latvian fan.

I consulted Tartakower's <500 Master Games of Chess> and, inspired by the examples of P Trifunovic vs F Apsenieks, 1937 and Smyslov vs M Kamishov, 1945, played 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.Nc4! As I recall, I won the two games in 17 and 19 moves. 4.Nc4! was a sideline at the time (c. 1980), and only later became the main line.

Sep-17-14  sorokahdeen: Whoa!

Lovely tactical melee.

Apr-05-16  Jacob Sasportas: This was the first game I ever reenacted from a chess book, 53 years ago. It definitely did not make me into a second Bronstein but it made me love chess for my life. (The book was the classical "Lehrbuch des Schachspiels" by Dufresne and Mieses, updated in the early 1960s by Rudolf Teschner).
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Had a similar # in a league game last weekend. Unfortunately I was on the receiving end... :(
Dec-11-16  JimNorCal: I guess the GOTD Name is supposed to make us think "making us nervous".
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