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Ossip Bernstein vs Vasily Smyslov
Groningen (1946), Groningen NED, rd 7, Aug-21
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation Battery Variation (B73)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <mohd rafi fan> I see, I see. Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: When I first saw the puzzle,I thought that the key for a black win was Rh1.

But NO! white had to draw-and I missed the punch line.

A similar result is found in :Horowitz-Pavey.

Jun-29-05  talchess2003: <awful hangover: Yes, very easy indeed.>

What's the point of bragging on an online site where no one even knows you? When you do so you give the impression that you are trying to make up for a lack of self-confidence in OTB chess.

<aginis> To build off your idea, I believe 58... f3+ leads to the quickest win for black.

If 58... f3+ 59. Kf2 then
59... b3
60. Rf8+ Ke4 (60. Rb8 b2)
61. Re8+ Kd3
and 62. Re3+ accomplishes nothing, black simply moves 62... Kc2

If 58... f3+ 59. Kf1 then
59... b3
60. Rb8 b2
61. Rxb2? Rh1+
62. Kf2 Rh2+

And if 59. Ke1 white can manage to save his rook but after the trade f2 will queen.

These variations are all pretty simple, but aginis's idea of f3+ is nice as it destroys white's hopes of a stalemate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Shoot! I figured it had to be a stalemate maneuver, but I didn't find it. It wasn't even that hard.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <Sneaky: The irony here is that the very weakest players among us will settle on 60.Rxb2 instantly because they won't even consider the ramifications of 60...Rh2+.>

Yes, but then after 60... Rh2+, the weak player will resign! (Unless he's playing a strong player, who will concede the draw after 60. Rxb2!) LOL

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <talchess2003> Because he's so happy to have solved the puzzle! Personally, I much prefer positive feedback or elated comments over any "First to post!" nonsense. Cut the G some slack, Daddy Mack. =)

Interesting how some positions are easy for some yet hard for others, and vice versa, although knowing a shot is around tends to trim your analysis tree right there.

Jun-29-05  fgh: I also solved this one quickly. Good week so far, 3/3.
Jun-29-05  Fulkrum: Funny, I just played this in my CT-Art endgame trainer the other day. Of course I missed the stalemate.
Jun-29-05  MaxxLange: I'm in the "of course not ...Rxb2, there is a skewer" group.

Funny how one knows some of these old masters just from their losses to famous players (I'm thinking of the famous back rank combination in Bernstein-Capablanca). I think this is the only other Bernstein game I've seen.

Jun-29-05  aw1988: This is very cunning, if Rh2+ there is Kf3 and Rxb2 is stalemate! I wouldn't say this is a big blunder. I mean, it certainly is, which makes the above statement somewhat contradictory, but it's not an obvious blunder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <MaxxLange> Bernstein was a brilliant player, which was acknowledged even by Emanuel Lasker. Instead of a chess career, Bernstein took up a career as a lawyer and was very successful, of which Lasker said it was the proper thing to do, as it guaranteed him to make a decent living. Check his notable games, they're great (against Kotov, Najdorf, etc.)
Jun-29-05  sfm: <talchess2003
[aginis] To build off your idea, I believe 58... f3+ leads to the quickest win for black.

If 58... f3+ ...>

But did you consider how black should continue after 59.♔e3 ?

To win Black can instead of 59.-,b2?? play ♔e5 . White can not sucessfully defend against all of (1) black marches to b2 with his king which is an easy win. (2) if white plays ♔d2 black shut him out with ♖e3 and the black king can't be stopped from reaching f3 (3) b3-b2 can now be played as there's no stalemate

Jun-29-05  aw1988: 58...Re3+ fails- the king catches the b-pawn just in time.

Perhaps 58...Rh2+ would win.

Jun-29-05  DutchDunce: Ugh. I saw the stalemate, but couldn't see the draw if Black countered with anything other than RxR. In fact, I still don't see the draw after 61.Kf1. Maybe shuffleboard is more my speed.
Jun-29-05  Mating Net: I think <Sneaky> hit the nail on the head <The irony here is that the very weakest players among us will settle on 60.Rxb2 instantly because they won't even consider the ramifications of 60...Rh2+. Slightly stronger players will discard 60.Rxb2 on these grounds, thinking that they recognize a common x-ray tactic.>

I couldn't get it after struggling with it for most of the day.

Jun-29-05  midknightblue: took me a sec, but then i realized that a draw in a problem, is usually some quick tactical maneuver resulting in a stalemate. Then I realized the pawn at b2 was not poisoned at all, as the resulting skewer (or Xray or whatever it is called)with Rh2+ is not a true threat, since Kf3 Rxb2 would be a stalemate.
Jun-29-05  MaxxLange: <TheAlchemist> Thanks, that Bernstein-Najdorf game is incredible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <talchess> to "brag" (or is just to be pleased one has solved something?) is natural - but of course if I say eg "I solved it instantly is" (that is just me feeling good about myself) (I also often analyse positions -always in my head - for hours without finding the right sequence:its natural to comment) or really - because we feel that we are in a group and we have a need for people to see how we are smart - whatever: to participate (we are social animals) - when bragging becomes an obssesion - then we are in trouble: a balance between a good self feeling and circumspection is the ticket I feel - but whether we do or dont solve anything is irrelevant to everyone as you say - but its part of the fun as <tpstar> points out - <Ezzy> went the other way telling us how he didn't solve this one and the reason (pattern recoginition) -and indeed I think I recogized the type of position pattern hence saw it immediately) and how he learnt from it which is great. I have missed ones where the 'pattern' was obscure for me..
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: this is the only game between bernstein and smyslov in this (or my) database...i bet smyslov wanted another crack at him after playing 59. ...b2??
Jan-16-07  russep: doesn't black miss Rh2+ winning the white rook on move 60?
Jan-17-07  nescio: <russep: doesn't black miss Rh2+ winning the white rook on move 60?>

No, he didn't. Most of the discussion above is about the cleverness of 60...Rh2+ 61.Kf3!. That's what Smyslov missed when he played ...b2.

To add something constructive and ironic about this game: in the tournament book it is mentioned that Bernstein showed Smyslov a similar trick a few days before this game.

Apr-13-09  WhiteRook48: 60....Rh2+ 61 Kf3! is a clever stalemate trick
Aug-24-09  WhiteRook48: 59...b2??
Sep-07-12  vinidivici: ooops...smyslov missed an easy win.

Is it either 59...Rc3 (bring the rook to the middle) or 59...Rh2 would win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Compare this game from the FIDE World Cup 2017 (classical time control, too), with the same 'stalemate motif': V Erdos vs B Amin, 2017
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