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Isaac Boleslavsky vs Georgy Lisitsin
"Isaac Lootin'" (game of the day Aug-11-2006)
USSR Championship (1956), Leningrad URS, rd 13, Feb-01
Sicilian Defense: Dragon Variation. Yugoslav Attack Modern Line (B76)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-25-08  arsen387: I think 15..Bxc4 was a strategic error. After the exchange of light squared bishops and the f6 N d5 square remains undefended and there's no way to kick the white N out of there. If not that Bxc4, whites probably will play that Nf5-c3-d5 manouevre anyway, which will be met by Bxd5 cxd5 and blacks will remain with weak d6 backward pawn and a bad B blocked by own pawns, but position was holdable.

28.g5! is a great move. Of course not 28..Qxh5 29.Nf6+ winning the Q. But what is more important, after g5 whites are threatening 29.Nf6+ followed by 30.Rxh7+ winning the Q. 28..h6 defends against that threat, but exposes blacks to other. Great game by Boleslavsky

Mar-17-09  WhiteRook48: 30 Rh5!!
May-19-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <kingscrusher> Your video, (~7:20), gives the <... 30....Qf6 31.Qh1 Re8 32.Rg1...> as a possible completion of the game.

Perhaps <32.Rh8#> would also do? :-)

Nov-26-11  SoundWave: 15. c4 is an interesting idea..luring Black to capture the pawn and thus exchanging off one of the only pieces which can defend d5 (the other piece, the Knight, is exchanged off with 19. Bxf6).
Apr-21-12  Tigranny: 11...e5? according to kingscrusher in his video of this game is a classical mistake that removes the strongest defender of that weak d5 square from the knight.
Jul-30-12  Everett: <Gypsy: <kingscrusher> Your video, (~7:20), gives the <... 30....Qf6 31.Qh1 Re8 32.Rg1...> as a possible completion of the game.

Perhaps <32.Rh8#> would also do? :-)>

If that is play from the final position, can't Black play <32..Qxh8>?

Aug-16-12  DrGridlock: One of the first chess books that I read was Irving Chernev’s “The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played.” This game is featured as game #3 in Chernev’s book – “Knight Outpost at Q5.” Chernev writes in his introduction that, “The chessmaster knows which positions are favorable, and tries to bring these positions about. He knows that his pieces must be placed where they exert the utmost influence and where they prevent the opponent’s pieces from moving about freely. … The chessmaster knows how to obtain a slight advantage, and then exploit it to the fullest. In short, he knows the strategy of winning.” For years, I thought this was the way that chess games are played and won.

Then along comes John Watson with his book, “Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy,” with his “rule-independence” and a completely different way to think about chess. Watson describes “rule independence” as, “the gradual divestment on the part of chess-players of the multitudinous generalities, rules and abstract principles which guided classical chess, and which still dominate our teaching texts. Furthermore, a rejection of the very notion of the ‘rule’ has taken place, in favor of a pragmatic investigation of individual situations.”

A “pragmatic investigation” of this game shows how an infatuation with the idea that the “Knight Outpost at Q5” was the defining concept of this game misunderstands: (i) whether or not the pawn sacrifice 15 c4 was a decisive (or even good) move, and (ii) which moves on Black’s part were the losing moves.

Komodo finds that 15 c4 was not a good move. White has a won game (eval +1.81) after the continuation 15 Nc7


click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit (depth = 24):

1. (1.81): 15.Nc7 Qc6 16.Nxa8 Rc8 17.c4 Bf8 18.Bxa7 Rxa8 19.Be3 Nd7 20.Qb4 Nc5 21.Qc3 Na4 22.Qc2 Nb6 23.Rc1 Rc8 24.b3 Ra8 25.a4 Nd7 26.Bd3 Nc5 27.Qc3 Bg7 28.Rcd1 f5

Since the continuation 15 c4 does not rank in Komodo’s evaluation of White’s top ten options at move 15, we force its continuation, and then evaluate black’s responses


click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit (depth = 23):

1. = (0.22): 15...Bxc4 16.Nc3 Qc6 17.Bxc4 Qxc4 18.g4 Qb3 19.Qd3 Rd7 20.g5 Nh5 21.Qb5 Qe6 22.Nd5 f6 23.h4 a6 24.Qb4 Rf8 25.Rhf1 Ng3 26.Rf2 fxg5 27.hxg5 Rdf7 28.Rc1 Kh8

After 15 c4 Bxc4, Komodo evaluates the game with a small edge (.22) to White.

It’s time to take the “!” off of White’s 15’th move. Chernev gives 15 c4 an “!” and Kingcrusher in his annotated video of the game states, “And here we see a systematic undermining of the d5 square, using a brilliant pawn sacrifice here. So it’s a very strategically deep pawn sac, with the move c4, and this is what makes the game really, really impressive.”

Aug-16-12  DrGridlock: Instead of a “brilliant pawn sacrifice,” let’s call the move what it is: White’s blunder at move 15. White had a won game (1.81) with 15 Nc7 and instead creates an even battle (.22) with 15 c4. It is black’s inexact play which covers up White’s blunder, and has incorrectly shaded our interpretation of this game.

On moves 20 and 21, black plays inexact, but not game losing moves. It’s Black’s 22nd move, … Rad8, which starts to create significant problems for him.


click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit(Depth = 24):

1. ² (0.52): 22...Rdc8 23.g3 Qd8 24.h4 Bg7 25.h5 Qd7 26.Qd3 Rc5 27.hxg6 fxg6 28.Qb3 Qf7 29.Ne7+ Kf8 30.Qxf7+ Kxf7 31.Rxh7 Rh8 32.Rxh8 Bxh8 33.Nd5 Bg7 34.Rh1 Rc8 35.b3 b5 36.Kb2 Ke6 37.Rh2 Kf7 38.Rh7

By black’s move 23, his queen is trapped on the kingside, and he is facing significant defensive problems:


click for larger view

Analysis by Komodo32 3 32bit:

1. ± (1.01): 23...Qh6 24.h4 Kh8 25.g4 Qg7 26.g5 h5 27.gxh6 Qxh6 28.h5 g5 29.Qb5 Qe6 30.Qxb7 Qd7 31.Qa6 Bh6 32.Rc1 Kg7 33.Qd3 Qe6 34.Ne3 Kh7 35.Nf5 Rxc1+ 36.Rxc1 g4 37.Nxh6 Kxh6 38.Qe3+ Kh7 39.Rc7

Black’s error was in moving the wrong rook to c8 on move 22. If he moved the rook from d8 to c8, he would have opened up the square d8 as an “escape square” for his queen (since the squares e7 and f6 are blocked by White’s knight).

One view of this game is to follow Chernev and Kingcrusher that, “[The knight on d5] is what I would call a strategic trump card. Once you achieve this kind of strategic trump card, it really helps in tactical operations later.”

However, a “modern” analysis of this game discovers its deeper truth. White’s c4 pawn sacrifice was unsound, establishing the knight on d5 did not provide a won position, and Black’s defensive lapses were more the decisive story in this game.

Boleslavsky-Lisitsin should remain an instructive game, but its lesson is that “pragmatic investigation” trumps “positional rules.”

Jan-18-13  Cemoblanca: The final position reminds me of "No Country for Old Men" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477348/) or in this case "No Square for Old Lady": After 30...Qg6 31.Qh3 b6 32.Rh1, etc. and the same scenario with 30...Qg3, for example: 31.Qh1 Bg7 32.Rg1, etc. And last but not least a LOL variation (includes Qg3 and Qg6): 30...Qg3 31.Nf6+ Kg7 32.Ng4 Be7 33.Ne3! Qg6 34.Qh3 Bg5 35.Nf5+! Kf8 36.Rh8+ Qg8 37.Qh7 Ke8 38.Rxg8+ Kd7 39.Qxf7+ Kc6 40.Nxd6! Rxd6 41.Rxc8+ Kb6 42.Rxd6+ Ka5 43.Rc5+ b5 44.Qxa7#.
Jun-09-14  celtrusco: If 24-... Qxg3 the Queen goes into a lovely trap; but anyway the Queen is lost. What a player!
Dec-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Then along comes John Watson with his book, “Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy,” with his “rule-independence” and a completely different way to think about chess. Watson describes “rule independence” as, “the gradual divestment on the part of chess-players of the multitudinous generalities, rules and abstract principles which guided classical chess, and which still dominate our teaching texts. Furthermore, a rejection of the very notion of the ‘rule’ has taken place, in favor of a pragmatic investigation of individual situations.”>

Sorry, but cranking variations is not really <a completely different way of thinking about chess>. That is where chess started from and any ... well, computer ... can do that.

Incidentally, whenever the position can not be resolved completely by brute enumeration, computers still use pruning evaluations that are, fundamentally, rule based. Of course, computers are incomparably better tacticians than we humans are.

May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: DrGridlock: Boleslavsky was a potential World championship 1950 candidate. I think he let Bronstein catch up in fact in the 1950 candidates tournament. He is also known for research from the black perspective of the "Boleslavsky hole" on d5. It is funny he really knows how to exploit it from he White side. I associate the Knight on d5 strategy with "Strategic crush" as a dramatic example of how to kill the opponent's counterplay. I think most modern GMs are still interested in shutting down the opponent's counterplay as well as sometimes "playing the position" i.e. rule independence.
May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Anyone reading the comments of DrGridlock should treat his comments like this:

If you are playing in ICCF correspondence chess where engines are allowed, then yes "Playing the position" to all its finesses is the order of the day - no general principles, no general style, and no understanding of chess whatsoever is needed. The engine spewers of this "sacred" game should all agree with this. Of course this doesn't just apply to ICC "No holds barred" correspondence chess but also of course any post mortem analysis done with engines nowadays.

As far as real chess players playing real OTB chess is concerned, the concept of "playing the position" needs some balance with the old-school concept called "Destroying the opponent's counterplay". I really think Watson who is an IM also appreciates having some counterplay and not just "playing the position" aka "Rule-independent" chess. There is a balance when it comes to playing practical real world chess. I am sorry to say many of the kibitzers here with engines have no clue whatsoever of "Old school" ideas and seem to think these OTB games - even "sacred" ones like this that demonstrate from the White-side the pitfalls of the "Boleslavsky hole" should be subject to their engine analysis.

Seriously Chessgames.com should consider marking some games as "Sacred" from a positional and counterplay-destroying perspective and this game is a very good candidate for that.

May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: 15.Nc7 isn't some kind of incredibly abstruse engine move. It's a two-move combination. After 15.Nc7, if Black moves the rook then 16.Bb5 traps the queen (though Black can limit the damage to a piece with ...Nxe4). Whatever your opinion of canonical games (I think they should be analyzed like anything else) it's instructive to have tactical shots like that pointed out. There are plenty of instructive games with a d5 outpost that don't have a big tactical hole.
May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Keypusher : nc7 is a typical nonsensical engine move which is very easy for any strong otb player to miss. Seriously I never saw this resource until you pointed it out. And I am Ecf 200.

You underestimate that Engines see millions of positions within a second and can humiliate a large percentage of otherwise 'brilliant games'. Chernev also missed it when annotating this game.

Can one learn ideas from tactically flawed games ?! Yes of course we can - especially if they are well annotated by the likes of Chernev.

May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have a new understanding for the start of 'Dead poets society' reading the comments about how this game apparently has low instructive value because engines don't like it.
May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <kingscrusher: Keypusher : nc7 is a typical nonsensical engine move which is very easy for any strong otb player to miss.>

If that's so, then if I were a coach I'd be trying to teach my students to spot moves like that. It seems like a much more promising avenue of improvement than <knight outposts on d5 are powerful>. Because that little tidbit is found in every chess strategy book ever written.

<Can one learn ideas from tactically flawed games ?! Yes of course we can - especially if they are well annotated by the likes of Chernev.>

OK, but we'd better learn about those tactical flaws as well, because as we learn when we begin to play competitively it's those @%@6@^ two-move tactical oversights that are actually going to determine the outcome of the bulk of our games.

May-16-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: keypusher: There are many tools in the toolkit of a strong OTB player - and one clearly is looking at forcing moves and sequences. but humans will never be better than computers at this. As humans we can see the pawn structure though - this is a visual aspect of the position. The "Boleslavsky hole" relates to pawn structure - here Boleslavsky playing against such a hole, sacs a pawn to establish a knight on d5. A lot of games are won with better knight vs bishops, or well outposted knights. Positional play is another tool in the box. This game is highly instructive positionally - but more so if you check out the annotations.

In fact you can check out Chernev's annotations for FREE - it is game 3 of the Amazon preview here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Most-Instr...

Click "Look inside" - and go to the 3rd game and be honest about it - isn't the theme of a knight outpost on d5 going to improve someones awareness of positional themes?! Disregard the Nb5 flaw. Please do this exercise honestly - go through Chernev's annotation - and maybe also Game 1 and 2 if you have time. He picks a strategic theme for each game chosen.

Jul-17-17  Howard: Admittedly, I've always liked Chernev's MIGOCEP book, and this game was Game #3. But, a glaring weakness of Chernev's books was that he rarely pointed out just WHERE the loser went wrong in a game.

This game is all too typical.

Jul-17-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: It is amusing that Lissitzin got posterized in game 2 of TMIGOCEP as well https://www.amazon.co.uk/Most-Instr...

Was he the Shawn Bradley of 1956?

Jul-21-17  Howard: You wanna know something, tamar ?!?

I had that book for at least twenty years(!) before I finally noticed that the same player, Lisitsin, lost two games in a row in that book---Game 2 and Game 3!

How that eluded me all those years I'll never know!

But, now, you've just pointed out something else---both losses took place in the same year! Never noticed that!

Maybe I need to invest in a new pair of glasses.

Jul-21-17  Howard: Incidentally, I sometimes wonder how many analytical errors of Chernev's that a strong chess engine would find.

Quite a few I suspect! His failure to spot 15.Nc7 in this game is just one of many.

Jul-22-17  Sally Simpson:


click for larger view

Israel Gelfer writing in the 'Positional Chess Handbook' page 92.

https://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/pos...

(click on Google Preview and do a search for '92')

Says White refrained from 15.Nc7 because that would allow counterplay after 15...Qc6! (! is from Gelfer) 16.Nxa8 d5.

Don't know if he is basing that on his comments or something Boleslavsky wrote about this game.

I don't quite see the counterplay in the cold light of day and seeing other previous comments and of course computer analysis which has swayed my judgement.

But trying to place myself at the board one can see the annoying ghosts of a Black attack appearing.

But 15.Nc7 is a trap. I can never resist playing for a trap. I would have seen the trap a long time before the getting a Knight to d5 idea and I have in the past nabbed quite a few Queen with the same idea. Though nothing hit me when I first went through the book when I was virtual beginner. (my trap setting skills were not yet honed!)

I recall a load of us looking at this game and 15.Nc7 in the late 70's at the club after some 1400 player saw it and asked us 'stars' why not 15.Nc7? Sure the conclusion was it was missed. It happens.

Boleslavsky's miss turned into an instructive game when it could easily have ended up in a book of miniatures.

Jul-22-17  Sally Simpson: Hi kingscrusher:,

(see post above).

At least it shows you do your stuff from the soul backed up with OTB knowledge and you are not a mouthpiece for a computer. Good.

Jonathan Rowson reckons you are doing the reader a disservice if you do not check your analysis with a computer.

OK but a lot can learned from a quick off the comment from what a seasoned OTB players sees and feels.

And often trying to write about a computer line and what it's up too can lead you into a dark hole where you do not want the reader to go.

So you either ignore it (if in doubt leave it out) or splatter something like this...

(0.52): 22...Rdc8 23.g3 Qd8 24.h4 Bg7 25.h5 Qd7 26.Qd3 Rc5 27.hxg6 fxg6 28.Qb3 Qf7 29.Ne7+ Kf8 30.Qxf7+ Kxf7 31.Rxh7 Rh8 32.Rxh8 Bxh8 33.Nd5 Bg7 34.Rh1 Rc8 35.b3 b5 36.Kb2 Ke6 37.Rh2 Kf7 38.Rh7

...onto the page which without a note showing an idea or a reason will remain unplayed out and meaningless.

Jul-22-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kingscrusher: Keypusher : nc7 is a typical nonsensical engine move which is very easy for any strong otb player to miss. Seriously I never saw this resource until you pointed it out. And I am Ecf 200....>

In my playing days, I was roughly the same strength--and by no means would I have been at all likely to have seen Nc7 and all its finesses. It should be pointed out that any player, even a novice, would spot Nc7, though evidently without the vaguest notion how to follow up as a strong player might.

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