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Svetozar Gligoric vs Vasily Smyslov
URS-YUG (1959), Kiev UKR, rd 3, Jul-??
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Spassky Variation (D87)  ·  0-1


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Given 6 times; par: 55 [what's this?]

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sac: 31...Rb3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-01-09  Weadley: OK OK I see the loose rook now and the Queen fork coming if the white queen moves
Jul-01-09  Fezzik: One of my handles on another site is Smyslov_Fan.

I've studied this game before and still find the relatively quiet move, ...h5 to be brilliant.

White is ahead material, and seems to have defended against all the major threats along the a8-h1 diagonal as well as Bh4.

But White has one other problem: his king is still in danger and if Black can add just a bit more wood the fire will be too hot. Hence, h4!

This is *not* a medium-easy puzzle. I remember working on this for more than half an hour before I found it the first time. Knowing the game made it easier this time, but it is still a brilliant and elusive move.

Jul-01-09  YouRang: Today I learned that I am prejudiced against pawn moves. It took me forever to find 39...h5. I just assumed that it would be too slow.

And yet, it's an immediate mate threat! I should've been among the first things I looked at.

Instead I went off on trying sacrifices and trying to open the g-file for my rook, all a waste of time. :-\

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: 39 h5!!,the quiet move that shouts from the rooftops.

If 40 h4 ♗xh4#,white doesn't even have the time to lose the queen!

Great crossfire mate.

Jul-01-09  MaczynskiPratten: This took me longer than most Tuesdays. I was looking for things with the pieces, but they seemed to be optimally placed (Q, B's) or unable to join in quickly (R). Bh4+ and Bxg2 failed. But the White King is stalemated. And then .. h5! Beautiful, and so obvious - in hindsight.

Moreover the win is elegantly problem-like, with all the different mating patterns with Q, B and P to meet White's various defensive tries. Thanks to everyone for providing the diagrams, which illustrated this nicely.

Jul-01-09  perhaps: perhaps white would save itself with: 40.Qh2 h4+ 41.Kf2 Qf3 42.Qf3+ Ke1 43.Qxf4..... ? Any comments?
Jul-01-09  MaczynskiPratten: Also masterful play by Smyslov particularly over the last few moves, worthy of an ex-world champion. 31..Rb3 is a neat exchange sacrifice and 34..Ne3 is a nice followup. 38 Ng3 has been mentioned for White, but as he'd just moved 37 Ng3-f1 to avoid Bh4, he must have been understandably reluctant to move it back.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <perhaps: perhaps white would save itself with: 40.Qh2 >


click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Roll this puzzle back to move 38....
Jul-01-09  David2009: <TommyC: This puzzle would have been even better had it been set in the position after 38.Rxc4.> Spot on. < beenthere240: Roll this puzzle back to move 38.... > Yes. How about 38 Ng3 for White - can he cling on?
Jul-01-09  StevieB: Bh4+ looked so promising, that in my, so so chess mind, I couldn't let it go. Oh well, hopefully this will remind me to keep looking for better. Cheers!
Jul-01-09  lost in space: It took me a long time to find 39...h5!. Much too long, from my perspective.
Jul-01-09  Samagonka: How glad am I to see that I'm not the only one who missed this one! The simplest move is usually the hardest one to spot.
Jul-01-09  Civhai: White has one rook more, so I have to mate him or sacrifice the queen or something.

It's really hard to find candidate moves, because sacrificing the queen leads to nonsense and after Bh4+ Kxh4, I got nothing either. So I have to search for a quiet move. h5 seems to be the only candidate, but if he moves the queen, he gets a square for his king, so the threat of h5 is harmless.

But wait: My queen can mate on g1, g2 and f3 and the only square, where he can protect these three squares is f2 and he has to go away from that square. So I think h5 should win, but the stupid thing about quiet moves is that I ALWAYS miss a sideline or something. And especially if the opponent has more material, this can be really stupid.

Time to check.

Jul-01-09  Civhai: Oh, as always, I missed the most important line: He can just play h4, but of course, then Bxh4 wins. cu
Premium Chessgames Member
  minasina: Okay 39....h5 is the best, but I'm still happy to see that after 39....Bh4+ 40.Kxh4 g5+ all variations lead also very soon to checkmate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: As <Zenopharaos> notes on page 1 of the kibitzing here, White blundered with 38. Rxc4? -- allowing 38...Qh1+!! 39. Kg3 h5 (today's Tuesday solution) with a decisive mate threat.

Instead, 38. Ng3 = appears to hold.

Jul-02-09  MostlyAverageJoe: <zenpharaohs>, <OhioChessFan>, <patzer2> and other proponents of <38. Ng3>

Yes, it seems to be a good move, but black still loses. After lots of crunching, my silicon monster says:

1. (-4.76) 38. Ne3 Nxe3 39. Rxa5 Bh4 40. d5 Bxf2 <the rest may be unreliable> 41. dxc6 Bxc6 42. Ra6 Be4 43. Rd6 Rxd6 44. exd6 Kf7 45. d7 Ke7 46. c4 Kxd7

2. (-5.16) 38. Ng3 Nxb2 39. Rxa5 Nd3 40. Qd2 Nxf4 <the rest may be unreliable> 41. Rg1 Bg5 42. Qb2 Rb8 43. Rga1 Bh4 44. d5 Nxd5

It seems that 37.Nf1 was the losing move, and Qe2 was needed instead. See also Kasparov's analysis (link: Gligoric vs Smyslov, 1959) quoted by <aw1988>

Jul-02-09  MostlyAverageJoe: The refutation of <38. Ng3> as a saving move poses a Thursday-Friday level puzzle:

Suppose the game went thus:

38. Ng3 Nxb2 39. Qxb2?!

click for larger view

Find the best move for black. The first move is not that difficult, but analysis of the possible variants might be extensive.

Jul-02-09  gofer: <MostlyAverageJoe: The refutation of 38. Ng3 as a saving move poses a Thursday-Friday level puzzle>

Not sure that I like using Fritz for this but it is beyond my simple brain to look at this many permutations...

38 Ng3 Nxb2
39 Qxb2 Bh4!

40 Nh1 Qf3 winning for black!
40 Nxf5 gxf5 winning for black!
40 Qe2/Qf2 Qxc3 winning for black!
40 Qd2 Qf3 winning for black!

Hmmm so maybe white was in deep trouble anyway!

Jul-02-09  David2009: <MAJ:> I suggest we continue over the board, I will play White. I agree with your suggestion for White 38 Ng3 Nxb2 39 Qxb2. Your move.

It is now 19:48 French time and I am out this evening. Apologies in advance for a delayed reply to your 39th move!

Jul-02-09  MostlyAverageJoe: To <David2009>"

Okay, but CG does not like games played in public discussion forums. Let's continue on MostlyAverageJoe chessforum

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I solved this one pretty quickly. A study-like position. Mate after 39...h5 cannot be stopped. <Dzechiel> gives the complete catalog.
Jul-20-09  David2009: <MAJ> has elegantly refuted 38 Ng3 as a saving move, starting 38 ...Nxb2 39 Qxb2

click for larger view

and now (as suggested by <gofer>) 39 ... Bh4! wins. As White's pieces lie, Bh4 sets up a double threat: (A) Bxg3+ followed by Qf3+ and an eventual skewer of the unprotected White Q at b2 via back rank checks (or a mate) and (B) an immediate Qf3 simply increasing the pressure with the Ba8 joining in the attack. White cannot defend both threats. Details are on MostlyAverageJoe chessforum.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

This game is from the <USSR-Yugoslavia Match 1959> In Kiev (1-9 July).

<Smyslov> played first board for the USSR and faced <Gligoric> four times, scoring +1 -1 -2.

USSR beat Yugoslavia 24.5 - 15.5


-Di Felice "Chess Results 1956-1960," p.383


(Rusbase dates the match 1-10 July 1959)

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