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Yuri Averbakh vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship 1961a (1961)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen trap is a decoy-black penetrates into his opponents vitals for a quick mate. The pawn is a great tool to deprive the king of space so the rooks and queen can kill!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I thought 37. Kf2 would save the day. However, all roads lead to Rome.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: In hindsight, 36 Rd4?? looks disastrous. 36 gxh4 looks fine.

click for larger view

Was there some other hidden threat for black if 36 gxh4?

Aug-06-09  obender71: 10.e5 poses Black some problems


Really. Very nice positions arise. Thanks for the suggestion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Jimfromprovidence: In hindsight, 36 Rd4?? looks disastrous. 36 gxh4 looks fine.

Was there some other hidden threat for black if 36 gxh4? >

36... Re3, followed by 37... Qh3+ looks crushing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <agb2002> <36... Re3, followed by 37... Qh3+ looks crushing.>

If 36 gxh4 Re3, then 37 Qf4 Qh3+, then 38 Kf2 seems to let white slip away OK.

click for larger view

Aug-06-09  WarmasterKron: Got it, after a good 5-10 minutes of thinking through the variations. 38...Rf1+! is a lovely move.

4/4 for me this week - expect it to go downhill from tomorrow.

Aug-06-09  lzromeu: First time I do thursday pluzzle, but this was easy. The rook moves at 33,34 and 35 means that white was totaly lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Got it
Aug-06-09  TheSlid: Yes!!! Go me! Spotted the rook sac to make way for the Q & everything.

I've been reading John Nunn's book on tactics on the train every morning. Maybe it's paying off!

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Spassky gets his pieces the right way round. It is not ♖♖♕ as Alekhibe said, ♖♕♖ is always more profitable!
Aug-06-09  TheaN: Thursday 6 August 2009


Target: 3:30;000
Taken: 2:08;844, with ~30 seconds of thinking after I stopped the stopwatch. Within par though. Par

Material: -♖ vs ♘+2♙

Candidates: Re2, Qh3, h3, Re1... ah... <[h3]>

A tricky material advantage, White has quite some drawing chances if it weren't for a Black combination. One simple variation stumped for some time, but it was pretty obvious when I saw it. Black plays the simple pawn check in order to trap the White King on the first two ranks and the f through h-file. What follows is just analyzing.


<37.Kh1 Re1 38.Qf1 Rxf1 0-1> showing the weak back rank.

<37.Kf1 Re1 38.Kf2 Rf1!> this move is the true nature of the combination.

<39.Kxf1 Qe1 0-1> guarding f2 with the Queen, in comparison to the 'useless' Rook on e1.

<37.Kg1 Re1>

<38.Qf1 Rxf1 39.Kxf1 Qe1 0-1>

<38.Kf2 Rf1 39.Kxf1 Qe1 0-1> as in B.

<37.Kf2> now this one tricked me, but I missed the very simple:

<37....Rf5> with both Qe1 and Rxf3, AND the Queen is pinned. As such:

<38.Rf4 Qe1> doesn't work. White is toast. Time to check.

Aug-06-09  goodevans: Now why did that take me so long? I stuck at it until I'd worked it out and then thought it's actually not that difficult and I'm annoyed at myself for not getting there quicker.
Aug-06-09  ruzon: I solve today's puzzle after missing earlier in the week, and then I go play and voluntarily throw my pieces away and pass up perpetual checks when losing.
Aug-06-09  wals: The following may be of help to those wanting help

[Event "Moskva ch-SU"]
[Site "Moskva ch-SU"]
[Date "1961.??.??"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Yuri Averbakh"]
[Black "Boris Spassky"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B84"]
[Annotator "Rybka 3 1-cpu (30m)"]
[PlyCount "76"]

♗84: Sicilian Scheveningen: 6 ♗e2 a6, lines without early ♗e3}

1. e4 ... c5 2. ♘f3... d6
Controls e5 3. d4... cxd4 4. Nxd4 {Black is behind in developement. Black's piece can't move: f8 4... Nf6 ♗lack threatens to win material: ♘f6xe4 5. Nc3 ... e6 Consolidates d5+f5 6. Be2... a6 ♗lack is behind in developement 7. O-O (7. Qd3 e5 8. Nb3 Nc6 ) 7... Qc7 ♗lack is behind in development. (7... e5 8. Nb3 ) 8. f4 (8. Qd3 Bd7 ) 8... Nbd7 (8... Be7 9. Qe1 ) 9. Kh1 (9. Qd3 h6 ) 9... b5 (9... Be7 10. Qd3 ) 10. Bf3 (10. a4 b4 11. Na2 Nxe4 12. Nxb4 Bb7 ) 10... Bb7 11. a3 ( 11. Re1 Rc8 ) 11... Rc8 (11... Be7 12. Qe1 ) 12. Qe1 (12. f5 e5 13. Nde2 Be7 ) 12... Ba8 (12... h5 13. h3 ) 13. Be3 ♗lack has a cramped position (13. Qg3 h6 ) 13... Be7 White has a very active position (13... h5 14. Rd1 ) 14. Rd1 (14. f5 e5 15. Nde2 O-O ) 14... O-O (14... Nb6 15. Qg3 O-O 16. e5 ) 15. e5 (15. Qg3 Nc5 16. Qh3 Kh8 ) 15... dxe5 16. fxe5 Nxe5 17. Bxa8 Rxa8 ♗lack has a new protected passed pawn: e6 18. Bf4 Bd6 19. Ndxb5 axb5 20. Rxd6 (20. Nxb5 Qxc2 21. Nxd6 Nd3 ) 20... Qxd6 21. Bxe5 ♗lack wins the exchange Qd8 22. Bxf6 (22. Nxb5 Rc8 23. Bxf6 gxf6 ) 22... gxf6 23. Qh4 (23. Nxb5 Rc8 24. c3 Qd5 ) 23... f5 24. Qg3+ Kh8 25. Qe5+ ({Instead of 25. Nxb5 Qd2 ) 25... f6 26. Qxe6 Qd2 ♗lack threatens to win material: ♕d2xc2 ( 26... Qc8 27. Qe2 Re8 28. Qf2 ) 27. Qxf5 (Worse is 27. Nxb5 Rae8 28. Qd6 Qxc2 ) 27... Rae8 28. g3 White king safety dropped (28. h3 Re5 29. Qf2 Qxf2 30. Rxf2 Rd8 ) 28... Re5 ♗lack threatens to win material: ♖e5xf5 ( 28... Re1 29. Rxe1 (29. Qxb5 That pawn is poisoned Rfe8 ) (29. Nxb5 capturing this pawn is a mistake Rxf1+ 30. Qxf1 Re8 ) 29... Qxe1+ 30. Kg2 ) 29. Qf2 White threatens to win material: ♕f2xd2 Qd7 (29... Qxf2 30. Rxf2 Rd8 31. Kg2 (31. Rxf6 fails to Rd2 32. Rf1 Rxc2 )) 30. Kg1 (30. Qf3 Qd2 ) 30... Qe6 (30... Qe7 31. Qf4 ) 31. Kg2 White king safety dropped (31. Qd2 Re8 ) 31... Kg7 ♗lack king safety dropped (31... Rf7 32. Qf3 ) 32. Rd1 (32. Qf3 Rf7 $11) 32... Re8 (32... Rf7 33. Qd4 ) 33. Qf3 Re7 34. Rd4 (34. Rd2 Rd7 35. Rf2 Re3 ) 34... h5 (34... Rd7 35. Qg4+ Qxg4 36. Rxg4+ Kh6 37. Rf4 Rd2+ 38. Rf2 Rxf2+ 39. Kxf2 ) 35. Rd2 (35. Qd3 is worthy of consideration) 35... h4 Mate threat 36. Rd4 (36. gxh4 Re3 Combination) (36. -- h3+ Mate threat) 36... h3+ 37. Kg1 (37. Kf2 a last effort to resist the inevitable Rf5 38. Rg4+ Kf8 39. Re4 Rxf3+ 40. Kxf3) 37... Re1+ 38. Kf2 Rf1+ Mate attack (38... Rf1+ 39. Kxf1 Qe1#) 0-1

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Jimfromprovidence: <agb2002> <36... Re3, followed by 37... Qh3+ looks crushing.>

If 36 gxh4 Re3, then 37 Qf4 Qh3+, then 38 Kf2 seems to let white slip away OK.>

I think you're right. After 38.Kf2 R7e5 (38... R3e5 39.Qg3+) 39.Rd5 seems to hold.

Aug-06-09  WhiteRook48: I became an 800 this week
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: If 36 gxh4 Re3, then 37 Qf4 Qh3+...

...<agb2002> <I think you're right. After 38.Kf2 R7e5 (38... R3e5 39.Qg3+) 39.Rd5 seems to hold.>

Thats the line I was most worried about, that black could play 38...R7e5, seeing Rf5.

Heres the position in your continuation after 39 Rd5.

click for larger view

Here, white gets lucky. Whites knight saves the day, since its guarding both the d5 and e2 squares. So either 39Rxd5 or 39Re2+ is covered.

And, if 39Qe6,40 Rxe5 also seems to hold.

I wonder if white figured this all out afterward?

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I always figure out a better line AFTER the loss! I thought White might save the day with 37. Kf2 giving multiple coverage on e2. But, after Rf5 he still gets mated on e1.
Aug-08-09  LIFE Master AJ: Spassky's games are always so asthetically pleasing.
Aug-08-09  LIFE Master AJ: <Aug-06-09 <patzer2:> Looking back over the game for improvements, it would seem Averbakh might have made a mistake in judgment by going for the exchange sacrifice 20. Rxd6?! Instead, perhaps 20. Nxb5 Qxc2 21. Nxd6 = would have been more prudent.>

Taking on d6 was not so bad. A pretty thorough computer analysis indicates that Black was doing OK, almost to the very end. (The players analyzed this right after the game and came to the conclusion that 36.gxh4 was unclear. "~" )

I annotated this game ... albeit not to a great depth. I would gladly e-mail you my analysis of the game, if you will remind me of your e-mail address.

Nov-02-10  sevenseaman: ...38. Rf1+ is an imaginative move. It settles the issue quick time.
Mar-26-15  A.T PhoneHome: Black's Rook pair and Queen queueing to mate White King and one of those Rooks calls the "first dibs".

If 39.Kxf1, then 39...Qe1# with the assistance of Black's h-pawn (taking the Queen is equally painful).

Apr-06-15  A.T PhoneHome: Not understanding chess too well (yet), I find some moves played more or less funny.

Like after <22.Bxf6> Averbakh is targeting Spassky's Queen at d8, so Spassky plays <22...gxf6> then after <23.Qh4> Spassky plays <23...f5>: "Since you went through the trouble of inflicting doubled pawns, here, capture my Queen. Then I'll capture with Rook." While it wasn't detrimental for Spassky to play 23...f5, I still like to think there is a sort of irony to it.

Nov-29-16  edubueno: Paliza.
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