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Leonid Stein vs Vasily Smyslov
"The Pin is Mightier" (game of the day May-24-2005)
12th Soviet Team-ch final A (1972), Moscow URS, rd 2, Mar-09
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Queens Indian Formation (A17)  ·  1-0


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Given 23 times; par: 45 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-24-05  themindset: <PaulLovric> i'm sorry but i agree with <soberknight> if you have nothing else to write aside from "first", please don't bother. unless you won't to be ignored by at least two people.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Beautiful game. However, I disagree with classifying the winning tactic here as a cross-pin. Compare to this one W Schelfhout vs NN, 1910 or this one Cherepkov vs Petrosian, 1961 where the involved piece is the center of the action. The present example is more properly a counter-pin, freeing the Bg2 to capture on c6 and thus creating a third pin which is decisive.
May-24-05  AlaskanAmber: <PaulLovric> Don't sweat it, mate. A bit of eccentricity on these pages from time to time is perfectly harmless. Compared to a good many truly odd posts by highly dubious characters one encounters here and there, your little idiosyncracy is quite minor and needn't be apologized for.

Free spirits and overly earnest stuffed shirts seem to exist in roughly equal numbers on this site.

May-24-05  Kangaroo: I agree with those who tend to balance the admiration about the pin. What is then amusing in the game then? - The brave approach shown by Leonid Stein who sacrificed pawns (especially, 13. h6!) planning to open the game for his bishops that went up like elephants ruining the position of Smyslov.

To keep a balanced view on the duel of the two giants of chess, I strongly recommend another game, Smyslov vs Leonid Stein, 1969 - also quite impressive, although with no fireworks.

May-24-05  MarioBalibrera: The pun is mightier than the sword.
May-24-05  farrooj: I didn't know pushing the h pawn that far was perfectly sound... isnt there a refutation, cant black play h6 at some point. And by the way cool pin, didn't see it coming
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think the proof of this game,artistically,was that I was eager to add it to my game collection-then I saw it was already there.

<MarioBalibrera>Great to see a pun with the word "pun" in it.

May-24-05  samvega: <tpstar> "Cross-pin" is sometimes used to refer to a piece pinned along two intersecting diagonals (aka double-pin, as in your examples), while others use "cross-pin" to refer to a piece exerting a pin itself being pinned (aka counter-pin, as in this game). I used to prefer the latter definition, but now that you've introduced me to the term "counter-pin", I think I prefer your terminology.
May-24-05  PaulLovric: <AlaskanAmber>i never say much here, glad you're not a member of the "witch hunt", LMBO, i believe strongly in ben franklin when he said, "better say nothing and look foolish, than to speak and remove any doubt"
May-24-05  soberknight: <PaulLovric> I have seen something like that quotation attributed to Samuel Johnson (the earliest), Mark Twain, and Abraham Lincoln (, but never to Ben Franklin.

Exactly that quote explains why you should not write the word "first."

May-24-05  AlaskanAmber: <Paul Lovric><soberknight> Franklin's version of the aphorism is this:

"Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a mark of folly."

May-24-05  PaulLovric: touche
Premium Chessgames Member
  bumpmobile: The position after black's 28th move is used in the tutorial on Chessmaster 7000 to illustrate pins ("what is white's best move?"). I didn't get it right there, so it was a joy to recognize it here and know what was going to happen. <Paul Lovric> I can't wait for the word "first" to start slipping into everyone's posts a la Bartelby... "I'd prefer not to be first" :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Korchnoi mentions Stein's passing in Chess is My Life, referring to the heart attack as 'the chess player's occupational disease'. It's most unfortunate that he didn't get another shot in the world title series, after his near misses in 1962 and 1968.

In the final position, 36.Be4 Re8 37.f3 wins easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Stein plays a strong game, but the same cannot be said for Smyslov who makes a number of miscues, missing chances to equalize with 10...c5!, 13...g6!, 16...Nf8! and 17...Nf8!

After the losing blunder 17...c5?, White ignores the attack on his Bishop and initiates a winning attack on the pinned Knight with 18. g4!, which facilitates the decisive infiltration of the Black position with multiple threats after 20. Qd5!

In the followup, White misses a quick win he could've had with the double attack combination 25. Qa8+! Qd8 26. Qd5 Qf6 27. Qxc4! .

Still, White's initiative is sufficient to carry through to a surprise pinning combination. Black tries to swindle a draw in a lost position with 27...Qc6, only to be caught with the surprise pin 29. Rh8!, which sets up the final decisive pin 31. Bc6!

Aug-14-05  sitzkrieg: First!

@ PaulLovric:
Keep doing what ur doing!

Aug-23-08  notyetagm: White to play: 28 ?

click for larger view

<bumpmobile: The position after black's 28th move is used in the tutorial on Chessmaster 7000 to illustrate pins ("what is white's best move?").>

28 ♕b7x♕c6 ♖c4x♕c6

click for larger view

And now the great Leonid Stein (White) uncorks 29 ♖h7-h8!!,

29 ♖h7-h8!! <remove the guard>

click for larger view

a brilliant tactical blow which <REMOVES THE GUARD> of the Black c6-rook by <PINNING> the Black g8-rook which meets the threat of ♗g2x♖c6 by <PINNING> the White g2-bishop to the White g1-king. So Stein <PINS> the <PINNING> piece!

The nasty tactical point of Stein's play is seen immediately in the variation 29 ... ♖g8x♖h8 30 ♗g2x♖c6

(VAR) 29 ... ♖g8x♖h8 <unpinning> 30 ♗g2x♖c6

click for larger view

and now the Black d7-knight falls since it is both <EN PRISE> -and- <PINNED>.

More outstanding tactical play by the great Leonid Stein and a GM-level example of <PINS>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Just when Black thought he's out of the woods now, comes <29.Rh8!!>, winning a piece.
Nov-12-13  Eduardo Bermudez: Garry Kasparov wrote that Stein "went beyond the bounds of Botvinnik-Smyslov harmony, expanding the limits of our understanding of the game, changing our impressions of the correlation of material and quality of position, of situations with disrupted material and strategic balance, and created the grounds for the emergence of modern, ultra-dynamic chess"
May-14-14  Conrad93: The opening looks like a French gone really bad...
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Conrad93: The opening looks like a French gone really bad...> that's painful, isn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: There is a school of thought that sometimes blunders at the top level go unpunished because player 'A' does not expect player 'B' to make one so the moment passes.

Carlsen vs Anand, 2014

Comes to mind with the majority (including, if I recall, Carlsen himself) saying Anand missed a chance to take advantage of a Carlsen blunder because Anand was not expecting one.

This game too fits the bill.

click for larger view

The undefended c4 Rook inspires this combination of moves.

25.Qa8+ Qd8 26.Qd5

click for larger view

A series of moves that would hardly cause a stir on the 1600 players boards. Surprised Stein missed it. (was it because he not expecting such a crass blunder?)

Smyslov would have probably resigned there and then. Continuing sets up a neat liquidation.

26...Qf6 (Best of poor choice.)
27.Qxc4 Rxg2

The Queen on f6 stops Rh8+

28.Qc8+ Ke7

click for larger view

29.Qxd7+ Kxd7 30.dxe4+

And then Smyslov would definetly have resigned.

Nov-23-16  Howard: For the record, the book Stein Move by Move gives 27.a4!! as another winning method, though the win looks rather complicated, not to mention very computer-like.
Dec-04-16  Bruce Graham: Nice analysis of the game here:
Apr-13-17  Granny O Doul: Rh8 one move earlier looks not too bad.
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