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Judit Polgar vs Boris Spassky
Polgar - Spassky (1993), Budapest HUN, rd 10, Feb-16
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Breyer Defense Zaitsev Hybrid (C95)  ·  0-1


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find similar games 13 more Judit Polgar/Spassky games
sac: 20...Nbxd5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-10-15  dick50: Unbelievable!! Did Boris Spasky made move 11.. Re8 and Did Judith polgar misssed 12..Bxf7? Perhaps some mistaken identities.
Feb-10-15  stst: not a direct kill, but a heavy gain in material:

12.BxP+ KxB
13.Ng5+ Kf8/g8
14.Ne6 captures the Q (locked, no escape sq.)

Feb-10-15  stst: difficulty within "Easy"??

Why CG presents a game where the actual play differs from the "best"/"optimal" line so drastically??

Maybe it's an intention ? catch 22 ?? to tell the story that so-called masters did MISS the thing!!

and, if the game play is followed as a "standard(??)" then all of us WRONG???

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <stst> Read the previous comments, which explain what happened.
Feb-10-15  Nick46: Roll on Wednesday.
Feb-10-15  Abdel Irada: Call it "the one that got away."

Whether or not either or both players were "mesmerized," they do appear to have been playing on autopilot.

I wonder what percentage of GM games go like this: One player makes an accidental "transposition," playing the moves of a well-known line in the wrong order (and punishably so, as in this case) and gets away with it.

I'm guessing it's rare but not extremely so. We don't hear of it often, perhaps because the players tend to "transpose" back into the familiar line without pausing to see if the move order allows other and more incisive responses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: White wins a pawn and the exchange with 12.Bxf7+, as Black must not play 12...Kxf7 due to 13.Ng5+ and 14.Ne6, winning the smothered queen.
Feb-10-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: I love Tuesdays!

f7 looks weak. Mating attempts don't quite work, as the f6 knight blocks queen incursions at d5 or h5. Ng5/Nf7 doesn't quite work either, since ... Rf8 defends.

What does work is

12 Bxf7+ Kxf7
13 Ng5+ (K moves)
14 Ne6

and Black's queen is smothered. Declining the bishop of course also leaves Black badly down in material.

Feb-10-15  zb2cr: 12. Bxf7+, Kxf7; 13. Ng5+, Kg8; 14. Ne6 is the main line.
Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: All pieces and pawns are on the board in this opening position from a Ruy Lopez. Black's f7 is protected only once and the queen entombed. This suggests 12.Bxf7+ Kxf7 13.Ng5+ K moves 14.Ne6 winning the queen. The alternative 12... Kh8 13.Bxe8 Qxe8 is not a lot better. This trick shows up in other openings, e.g. Fischer-Reshevsky (U.S. Championship) is a more subtle version of this trap that came out of a Sicilian Defense.
Feb-10-15  TheBish: Judit Polgar vs Spassky, 1993

White to play (12.?) "Easy"

If I recall correctly, this was a move that both players missed! Pretty hard to believe, even in a rapid game. I don't remember if this was a rapid game or what the tournament was, but eager to hear the story behind this.

12. Bxf7+! Kxf7

Better is 12...Kh8 13. Bxe8 Qxe8, but still resignable at the GM level.

13. Ng5+ Kg8 14. Ne6 and Black's queen is trapped.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The only way I got this puzzle was because recently, I was watching an analyzed game that was a Ruy Lopez, and this tactic of 12.Bxf7+ was mentioned. :) 2/2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sleepyirv: My initial reaction was "Seriously, Spassky?" only to be surprised that Polgar missed it too!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Tuesday 10 February 2015 <12.?>

White takes advantage of black's cramped position, especially the immobile queen by playing <12.Bxf7+!>. If black declines, white wins at least the exchange and pawn with 13.Bxe8, if black accepts <12....Kxf7 13.Ng5+ Kg6 14.Ne6 > and white wins the queen for two pieces. Note that after 13....Kg8 white can gain a tempo and perhaps a smothered mate by playing 14.Qb3+ first, to which only 14....d5 adequately defends.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Got the combination, but my line with 14.Qb3+? is a blunder: black can abuse the position of the white queen after 14....d5 15.Ne6 Nc5! after which only 16.Nxc5 Bxc5 17.dxc5 keeps minor advantage for white. Always consider inbetween moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I don't mind seeing great players overlooking combinations. They, too, are mortal.
Feb-10-15  starry2013: <Phony Benoni: Hardly a matter of "What where they thinking?" Obviously, they weren't.>

This can be a problem with openings these days when people don't think just memorize. I remember Aronian blundering a queen early last year as he had memorized his opening wrong.

Fascinating to hear how the moves were reported wrongly, history rewritten. I wonder how often that has happened. Hopefully it's harder for people to get away with that now with live coverage.

I was looking at the bishop sacrifice straight away along with Ng5 as a secondary idea. I also thought the King was meant to capture as that queen looks trapped. When I played the computer of course the King moved to h8. I lose a bishop but gain a rook and a pawn even then.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: We don't expect a blunder so we never look for them.

This was Anand's excuse for missing a tactical shot v Carlsen in the last World Championship match.

This postion:

click for larger view

has appeared quite a few times in OTB play with White missing Bxf7+

One was this joyful effort where White missed it twice.

Mokry,K (2515) - Farago,I (2540) Austria Ch, 1994.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Re8 12. Ng5 Rf8 13. Ngf3 Re8

These two then agreed a draw.


Someone may care to calm Susan's blushes and add this to the 4 games between these two that are already here.


I read with mild amusement some of the comments.

When I first saw the puzzle I thought Oh No! the engine users will have a field day with this one. There will grumbling and great gnashing of teeth.

"How could this happen?"

Everytime I see such a miss my mind goes back to...

Chandler - Birkett, Edinburgh Open 2003 (White to Play)

click for larger view

Did the boy wonder play Qh5 and Qd5 1-0.

No. I quickly chopped Rooks and castled because I am a castle first and philosophise later player. Too much Reinfeld, not enough Morphy.

(and also note how wonder boy has left out his initial - Murray can have this one.)

I lost - we played over the game and again Qh5 was missed by both players (Black went onto to win the tournament so he is no mug.)

One year later Black emails me and tells me he was entering the game into his databse and Fritz saw it.......The absolute shame of it all.

For me to miss that in a bread and butter position was shocking and players who have been in same situation will know how I felt when it was discovered.

But it does happen. ('cept of course to engine users....)

Feb-10-15  Eduardo Leon: Wait, wut [this spelling is intended], <two> people missed this?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I vikings f8 over at head gave a kind mind ave

knowledge management gave mug 8e bad call evermore choice eon fixes suffix f7 in lore vet old fracus bone borelearn the drill too quick out of the free blocks right robbing him blind castle vertice 8e gives win aim f7 pawn and either on black 8h in eyes or loss of queen if retakings for lub bishop f7 in offer quaver flighted would augment g8 on the run bat across f7 a mind jangle poverty looms over ignoble mission have old one two

free bitz punch a grin bashed out too quickly e8 ticking exacting his price light returns the favours at dawn an fan dangle a d2 do dint flange f7 beckons forth a fervious form bad free both players for inclusives quacky oh to protocol clean rot in the wood moot visage line as i walk along

i wonder f7 cage back gauge ate king gigabyte big gain g5 comes next inter good glide disc pit I'm like over ironed f7 lout he rules 8e oversight rook as put in wheel ash route for won i be proof lare eline on

fly cuffed chubb afraid aka 11...Re8 boil

down boisterous oblivion an oblivious to the fact will get obliterated in feel i boa of a feather do bind bog down hob cooker ive boink around boing boing elastic e8 band ive e8 in making g8 i boon an box ive evermore entertain the notion everrest erstwhile entrapped rook esconces eachways a bet essaying ecumenail at b3 eddyings burn off effigies elegies wiggy rates law tour eminates entropies an equators line erranboy establish everyway eyeballs he efface off feel hoof eh effort fleece hood flush to ever tickle in aka ok in a a good while pipeline keys collective limb man pop restrictive recollects palm cone additive bolthole rook bad e8 in good aka 11...Bb7 believe at betters banters around borders bastion of hope b7 in each take down attaboy tassle tabs tuck data ray king gate late mate natta pat down equate rat a tat e8 down wait upon in uniform appraisal tax ya team hault boot cat fatter b7 hat later matter bespoke bargain let em have both barrels besotted bonkers bunting bughorse bull g5 on bullion bag enough big ghost bug ghoul bash to give bush a gog borough bung up b7 big

match buck in bung rook a flight have oomph often eg liege nt read beset in bet to dipoff am cad have hoodwink in het up

bullrush aim deed in dutiful a do rook e8 it now in face off evermore ignition a keys hive a tell black as paired off an dangel 8e a tete a to 12.Bxf7+ dish hand dash hound dasher bet belched out maverick rookrare chide dutch treat head hid hide joshed in around lashed an mushed i nashed teeth hod carrier e8 quoshed an rushed shide away from douche bag thod e8 howdy partner day have hoodwink hod travel oh dint do had boshed out healed hoe down ive at hud fervious an flights am b3 furnish at furnace faghand in fallacy have flourish in b3 effective filament in rich f7 ore mind you bishop figment of her imagination foghorn fountain fobs off in fumbles flusher bet frequent flossed over fag ghost flog ghoul trough fang ho dint black fags a baulk blink blanks

fab blocks again continues head allows f7 crash in and if king takes knight wins queen or h8 and f8 white knigh out post g5 very good for light dominate kingside

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Polgar had already won the match and didn't want to embarrass Spassky.
Feb-10-15  sorokahdeen: Holy move-order, Batman!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Whitehat1963: I instinctively wanted to play 12. Bxf7, but I couldn't see a way to make it work. Didn't see that the queen was dead.
Feb-10-15  Uncertianly: Sally
Very nice interesting and helpful post.
Thank you for your consistent contribution.
Feb-11-15  Retireborn: Very interesting to read the truth about what happened in this game! My source (Chessbase) does indeed give an "improved" move order!
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