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Samuel Reshevsky vs Boris Spassky
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 3, Jul-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: St. Petersburg Variation (E43)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  drukenknight: Santa Monica '66 was definitely time for giving. Here Uncle Boris gives Sammy a nice going away present.
Feb-24-03  centralcontrol: Pretty amusing that they call this the Fischer variation, you can find Reshevsky - Alekhine playing the "Fischer" variation years before Bobby was even born!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Hesam7: Here are Spassky's comments on this game:

<20. b5 Drawn

A strong counter and unexpected by me. In case of 20... axb5 21. Bxb5 White's hold on the diagonal a4 to e8 is quite unpleasant. After 20... a5 21. Ne5, White has counter play with the knight's possible incursion to c6. I therefore accepted the draw. Still it should be mentioned that after 20... a5 21. Ne5 Nf6, Black continues to hold the advantage.>

I think Black has the advantage. Here is a way to realize it:

20... axb5 21. Bxb5 Qe7 22. a4 Red8 23. Ba3 Qf6

click for larger view

Now White is in trouble:

[A] 24. Ne5 Nxe5 25. dxe5 Qg5 26. g3 Rd2
[B] 24. Rad1 Bxf3 25. Qxf3 Qxf3 26. gxf3 Bf8 27. Bb2 Nf6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Hesam7> After 20.b5 axb5 21. Bxb5 Qe7, Fritz 9 finds this position to be slightly in favor of White. Fritz 9 evaluation: (.34) (16 ply)

Fritz then gives the following line: 22.Ne5 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Red8 24.Qe3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Hesam7: <Pawn and Two> After:

22. Ne5 Nxe5 23. dxe5 Red8 24. Qe3 Qh4

click for larger view

White should be very careful:

[A] 25. Rad1 Rxd1 26. Rxd1 Bxg2!
[B] 25. Qxb6 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Rab8 27. Qa5 Qg4+ 28. Kh1 Qf3+ 29. Kg1 Qb3 30. Rab1 Qxb5 31. Qxb5 Rxb5 32. Bc3 [...Rdb8 was coming] 32... Rc5

25. a4 and 25. g3 look better but White is the one who should fight for the draw while Black can press without risking anything. Can you look into 24... Qh4 with Fritz?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Hesam7> I had Fritz look at your suggestion, 24...Qh4.

Fritz quickly rejected 25.Rad1 and 25.Qxb6.

Fritz also did not select as it's first choice 25.Bf1, but considered that move would lead to an equal position (.04) (17 ply). After 25...Bh6 26.Qg3 Qxg3 27.hxg3 Bd2 28.Re2 h5 29.Rd1.

Fritz's preference after 20.b5 axb5 21.Bb5 Qe7 22.Ne5 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Red8 24.Qe3 Qh4 was 25.a4, (.30) (18 ply) and here Fritz recommended 25.a4 Bh6 26.Qg3 Qxg3 27.hxg3 Bd2 28.Re2 Bb4.

Fritz also considered (.21) (18 ply) 25.g3 Qh5 26.Be2 Qh3 27.Bf1 Qh5 or 25.g3 Qg4 26.Be2 Qe4 27.Qxe4 Bxe4.

All of these lines appear to be headed for a draw.

I think a draw was the legitimate result for this game and our additional analysis also shows that a draw would be the likely and correct result.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AnalyzeThis: Reshevsky certainly knew when the right time to offer the draw and get out of there was.
Dec-12-14  zydeco: Spassky says 15.Ne4 is a mistake. (15.Rc1 is better.)

With 19....Nf6 Spassky would have had smooth play against the isolated pawn.

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