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Pal Benko vs Viktor Korchnoi
Curacao Candidates (1962), Willemstad CUW, rd 25, Jun-20
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense (D40)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
May-18-05  woodenbishop: Pal Benko has long been an interesting character in top ranked chess from the 50s to 70s... I like his combative style as well as his chess compositions. Here he defeats one of the most feared and respected players of that era, the great Korchnoi.
Jan-25-11  dumbgai: Korchnoi must have thought this endgame would be easily drawn, considering how willingly he traded off all the pieces.
Aug-05-13  jancotianno: Just going through this game in Silman's complete endgame course, very instructive ending.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: I think black starts to lose with 51....Ba2. If the king swings between c6 and b5 and the bishop between g2 and d5 I don't see how white makes progress.

62....Bf1 loses by a tempo. 63.Nxh3 Bxh3 64.Kxh3 Kc4 65.Kg3 Kxb4 66.h4 Kc5 (e.g.) 67.h5 b4 68.h6 b3 69.h7 b2 70.h8=Q b1=Q 71.Qc8+ Kd5 72.Qd7+

Mar-08-14  RookFile: Masterful game by Benko. I'm sure Korchnoi realized the danger, but how to stop it is not so simple. Don't think he should have traded rooks, for one thing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: According to Benko, the key mistake was 64....Kc4. If 64....Kc5 the white knight doesn't land on e3 with check, and white ends up having to use the knight to keep the b-pawn from queening.
May-24-16  Smothered Mate: According to Stockfish at 42 ply,
66. ... Kd4 ​ still draws. ​ ​ ​ [+0.00]

The idea is that after ​ 67. Nxg2?? hxg2 , ​ the Lomonsov tablebases say the obvious ​ 68. Kxg2 ​ is unique-best, and 6-piece tablebases agree that _black then checkmates white_ in 15 starting with ​ 68. ... Kd5 , ​ since black's king can stop white's pawns but white's king can't stop black's pawn.

Independently of the Lomonosov tablebases:
After ​ ​ ​ 66. ... Kd4 ​ 67. Nxg2?? hxg2 ​ , ​ ​ ​ Stockfish says everything other than ​ Kf2 / Kxg2 ​ gets white mated in at most 9. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ After ​ 66. ... Kd4 , ​ the _6-piece_ tablebases say that ​ ​ ​ 68. Kxg2 ​ ​ ​ | ​ ​ ​ 68. Kf2 g1=Q+ ​ 67. Kxg1 ​ ​ ​ should result in black mating white in ​ 15 | 12 ​ respectively, and Stockfish says that white's two other legal moves after g1=Q+ should result in black mating white in at most 4.

Stockfish's main line is ​ ​ ​ 66. ... Kd4 ​ 67. Nc2+ Kc3 ​ 68. Nxb4 Kxb4 ​ , ​ ​ ​ which the Lomonosov tablebases say gives a draw. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Stockfish's alternate moves for white there are ​ ​ ​ 67. Kf2 ​ / ​ 67. Nd1 ​ , which it also evaluates as [+0.00] at 40 ply.

Stockfish's next-bests for black's 66 are
66. ... Keither5 ​ 67. f5 Kc6 ​ . ​ ​ ​ ​ [+0.97]

May-24-16  ewan14: Korchnoi , one of the most feared and respected
players of ANY era
Apr-11-17  Toribio3: Smooth killing technique by Pal Benko!
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