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Igor Bondarevsky vs David Bronstein
"Scotch on the Rocks" (game of the day Mar-01-2007)
Ch URS (1/2 final) (1945), Moscow URS, rd 5
Four Knights Game: Scotch Variation. Accepted (C47)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-01-07  rbelous: Why not 22...axb3?
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Good question. After 22...axb3 23. Be4 Qxe4, black is a piece up. (If 23...Bd5, then 24. Qxb3 holds.)
Mar-01-07  TrueFiendish: Something must be amiss.
Mar-01-07  unluckythirtyfive: This was definitely an exciting game.
Mar-01-07  RandomVisitor: It seems that both sides could have improved - do these suggestions hold up on deeper inspection?

22...axb3 (mentioned above) 23.Be4 bxc2 24.Qxa8 Qxa8 25.Bxa8 cxd1Q+ 26.Rxd1 Rxa8 27.Nb3 Rxa2 28.Nxc5 Ra1+ (-3.84) Depth: 19

27...Qxa2 28.Qxc3 Nxd5 29.Bxd5 Qxd5 30.Rd1 Qg2 31.h4 a3 32.Kb1 Rfb8 33.Ka1 a2 34.Qb3 (-3.96) Depth: 19

31...Rxd5 32.Qxd5 cxd5 33.e7 Qb2+ 34.Kd1 Qb1+ 35.Ke2 Qb5+ 36.Kf3 Qe8 37.Re3 f6 38.Ke2 (-4.73) Depth: 21

41.Rxh7 Qf2+ 42.Kg4 Qxc2 43.Qxc6 Qf5+ 44.Kf3 Qd3+ 45.Kg4 Qf5+ = (0.00) Depth: 20

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <rbelous: Why not 22...axb3?> <al wazir: Good question. After 22...axb3 23. Be4 Qxe4, black is a piece up. (If 23...Bd5, then 24. Qxb3 holds.)>

It appears that 22. … axb3 would have been much stronger than Bronstein’s 22. … c4. I checked this assessment with Fritz, which came up with the following main line: 22...axb3 23.Be4 bxc2 24.Qxa8 Qxa8 25.Bxa8 cxd1Q+ 26.Rxd1 Rxa8 –+].

Fritz also found several other serious errors in this titanic but flawed struggle. For example, Bronstein let Bondarevsky back in the game with 31. … fxe6? In lieu of 31. … Rxd5 ; and 34. … e5 would have been stronger than 34. … Qd6?. After that error, the position was essentially equal until Bondarevsky blundered badly with 41. Qd3??. I wonder if Bondarevsky failed to realize that the first time control had been reached (at move 40, I assume) and was still under the influence of time pressure when he played his 41st move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: and at the end, material is equal
Mar-01-07  Themofro: Flawed but fascinating game, Bronstein's whole combination is outstanding.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: The battle for the czardom. Most thrilling & exciting game which I enjoyed having Real "Scotch on the Rocks" [ Johnie Walker ] & remembered Bronstein & myself sipping together in a Pub at Hastings, 1997.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A strange game! White fights for the long diagonal while black stages an attack on the king. Both players get their punches-but after white gained what he fought for,he had no fight left in him!
Mar-02-07  Nezhmetdinov: am I just being dumb here? Why not 19...c4?
Mar-03-07  paul1959: I think that 18.h3 is a typo (the move does not make much sense anyway) and that 18.b3 was the moved played. This seems to answer all questions above. There is no en passant and Black cannot play 19..c4
Mar-03-07  nescio: <paul1959: I think that 18.h3 is a typo and that 18.b3 was the moved played> In that case 38...Rh2 will be 38...Rxh2, but you may very well be right. Time to consult some other sources.
Mar-03-07  RandomVisitor: If 18.b3 was played:

Bondarevsky Igor - Bronstein David [C47]
Ch URS (1/2 final) Moscow (Russia) (5), 1945
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp ]
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Nc3 Nf6
4.d4 exd4
5.Nxd4 Bb4
6.Nxc6 bxc6 last book move

7.Qd4 -0.18/18 Qe7 -0.18/17
8.f3 -0.18/16 d5= -0.09/17
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 8...Bc5 9.Qd3= -0.18/16 ]

9.Bd2= -0.23/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 9.Bg5 Bc5 10.Bxf6 Bxd4 11.Bxe7= -0.09/17 ]

9...0–0 -0.23/17
10.0–0–0 -0.23/17 c5 -0.22/19
11.Qf2 -0.18/16 d4 -0.22/17
12.Nb1 -0.24/15 Bxd2+ -0.25/15
13.Nxd2 -0.27/15 Nd7= -0.15/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 13...a5 14.Qh4 Ba6 15.Bxa6 Rxa6 16.a3 a4 17.Qf4 Rb8 18.Nc4 Re8 19.Qf5 g6³ -0.27/15 ]

14.f4= -0.20/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 14.Qg3 Nb6 15.h4 h6 16.Nc4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4 Rb8 18.Rd3 Rb4 19.Bd5 Bb7 20.Bxb7 Rxb7= -0.15/16 ]

14...Rb8 -0.17/15
15.Qf3³ -0.30/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 15.Bd3 Nb6 16.Qg3 Bd7 17.Rhe1 h5 18.e5 Nd5 19.Ne4 Bg4 20.Be2 Bxe2= -0.17/15 ]

15...Nb6 -0.34/14
16.Qa3 -0.33/14 Qf6= -0.19/15
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 16...Bd7 17.Bd3 Na4 18.Nc4 Rb7 19.Rde1 Rfb8 20.b3 Nc3 21.Ne5 Be6³ -0.33/14 ]

17.g3= -0.25/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 17.Bd3 Qc6 18.Nb3 Na4 19.Na5 Qd7 20.Nc4 Qb5 21.f5 Qc6 22.b3 Nc3= -0.19/15 ]

17...Qc6 -0.26/16
18.b3³ -0.39/16
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 18.Re1 Be6 19.Nf3 f6 20.Qa6 Qa4 21.Qxa4 Nxa4 22.b3 Nc3³ -0.26/16 ]

18...a5 -0.54/17
19.Bd3΅ -0.72/18
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 19.Qxa5 Bd7 20.a4 Ra8 21.Qb5 Qd6 22.e5 Qd5 23.Bc4 Bxb5 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.axb5 Ne3³ -0.54/17 ]

19...a4 -0.69/16
20.e5 -0.74/18 Be6 -0.73/17
21.Rhe1 -0.82/16 Ra8³ -0.52/18
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 21...axb3 22.cxb3 h6 23.Be4 Bd5 24.Bc2 Ra8 25.Qb2 Rfb8 26.Qa1 Ra3 27.Nb1 Ra6 28.Nd2΅ -0.82/16 ] 22.b4΅ -0.79/19
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 22.Be4 Nd5 23.b4 cxb4 24.Qd3 Rfb8 25.f5 b3 26.axb3 Qc5 27.Nf3 Rxb3 28.Qxd4 Qa3+³ -0.52/18 ]

22...c4³ -0.35/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 22...cxb4 23.Qxb4 Nd5 24.Qxd4 Nc3 25.Ne4 Nxd1 26.Rxd1 Rfd8 27.Qc5 Qxc5 28.Nxc5 Bxa2΅ -0.79/19 ]

23.Be4 -0.37/20 Bd5 -0.37/18
24.Qf3΅ -0.89/18
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Ne4 Qb6 26.Nc5 d3 27.c3 Qh6 28.Qb2 a3 29.Qd2 Qc6 30.e6 Qb5³ -0.37/18 ]

24...c3 -0.89/17
25.Nb1–+ -1.72/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 25.Bxh7+ Kxh7 26.Ne4 Qg6 27.Rxd4 Bxa2 28.Qxc3 Bd5 29.Qd3 Bxe4 30.Qxe4 Rfd8 31.Qxg6+ Kxg6΅ -0.89/17 ]

25...Qc4 -1.66/19
26.Nxc3 -2.07/19 dxc3 -2.16/20
27.Rxd5?–+ -4.04/17
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 27.Bxd5 Qxb4 28.Rd3 Rad8 29.Qe4 Nxd5 30.Qxb4 Nxb4 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Re4 Nd5 33.a3–+ -2.16/20 ]

27...Nxd5?΅ -1.17/21
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 27...Qxa2 28.Qxc3 Nxd5 29.Bxd5 Qxd5 30.Rd1 Qb7–+ -4.04/17 ]

28.Bxd5 -1.12/22 Qxb4 -1.19/20
29.Bxa8 -1.31/20 Rd8 -1.59/22
30.Bd5 -1.56/19 c6 -1.59/19
31.e6??–+ -4.73/22
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 31.Qe4 Qb2+ 32.Kd1 Qxa2 33.Ke2 cxd5 34.Qd3 d4 35.Kf3 a3 36.f5 Qd5+ 37.Kf4 h5–+ -1.59/19 ]

31...fxe6?΅ -1.02/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 31...Rxd5 32.Qxd5 cxd5 33.e7 Qb2+ 34.Kd1 Qb1+ 35.Ke2 Qb5+ 36.Kd1 Qe8 37.Re3 f6 38.a3–+ -4.73/22 ]

32.Qe4 -1.12/18 Qa3+³ -0.67/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 32...Qb2+ 33.Kd1 Rxd5+ 34.Ke2 Rd2+ 35.Kf1 Qb5+ 36.Re2 Rxe2 37.Qxe2 Qb1+ 38.Qe1 Qxa2 39.Qxc3΅ -1.12/18 ]

33.Kd1 -0.72/19 Rxd5+ -0.60/18
34.Ke2 -0.75/18 Qd6³ -0.39/19
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 34...Rd2+ 35.Kf1 Qd6 36.Re2 a3 37.Qe5 Qxe5 38.fxe5 Kf7 39.Rxd2 cxd2΅ -0.75/18 ]

35.Kf3 -0.39/18 Kf7= 0.00/19
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 35...Rd2 36.Re3 Qd5 37.Qxd5 cxd5 38.Re2 Rd1 39.Rxe6 d4 40.Rc6 Rd2³ -0.39/18 ]

36.Qxa4³ -0.63/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 36.Qxh7 Rb5 37.g4 Qd2 38.Qe4 Qd5 39.Re3 Rb2 40.Rxc3 Qd1 0.00/19 ]

Mar-03-07  RandomVisitor: 36...Rd2 -0.65/19
37.Qe4 -0.58/18 g6= 0.00/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 37...Qd5 38.Qxd5 exd5 39.Re2 Rd1 40.Re5 Rc1 41.Re2 d4 42.f5 Rd1 43.a4 c5 44.a5³ -0.58/18 ]

38.Re3³ -0.49/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 38.Re2 Rd4 39.Qe5 Qd5+ 40.Kf2 Qxe5 41.Rxe5 Rd2+ 42.Re2 Rd4 43.Re3 Rd2+ 44.Re2 Rd4= 0.00/20 ]

38...Rxh2 -0.48/20 39.Rd3–+ -1.48/22
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 39.Re2 Rh1³ -0.48/20 ]

39...Qc5 -1.49/21
40.Rd7+ -1.48/24 Kf8 -1.55/22
41.Qd3??–+ -7.32/20
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 41.Qe5 Rf2+ 42.Kg4 Qxe5 43.fxe5 Rxc2 44.Rxh7 Rxa2–+ -1.55/22 ]

41...Rd2 -7.32/21
42.Rd8+ -7.32/25 Kg7 -7.32/21
43.Rd7+ -7.32/21 Kf6 -7.32/21
44.g4?–+ -14.19/21
[Rybka 2.2n2 mp : 44.Qxd2 cxd2 45.Ke2 Qxc2 46.Rxd2 Qb1 47.Rd3 Qxa2+ 48.Rd2 Qa1 49.Rd3 Qb1 50.Rc3 Qe4+–+ -7.32/21 ]

44...Qf2+ -12.01/5 0–1

Mar-04-07  nescio: Found it in the NIC database. <paul1959> is quite right: 18.b3 instead of 18.h3.

[Event "Moscow ch-URS sf"]
[Site ""]
[Date "1945.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bondarevsky, Igor Zakharovich"]
[Black "Bronstein, David Ionovich"]
[Result "0-1"]
[NIC "SO 3.9"]
[ECO "C47"]
[PlyCount "90"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bb4 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Qd4 Qe7 8. f3 d5 9. Bd2 O-O 10. O-O-O c5 11. Qf2 d4 12. Nb1 Bxd2 13. Nxd2 Nd7 14. f4 Rb8 15. Qf3 Nb6 16. Qa3 Qf6 17. g3 Qc6 18. b3 a5 19. Bd3 a4 20. e5 Be6 21. Rhe1 Ra8 22. b4 c4 23. Be4 Bd5 24. Qf3 c3 25. Nb1 Qc4 26. Nxc3 dxc3 27. Rxd5 Nxd5 28. Bxd5 Qxb4 29. Bxa8 Rd8 30. Bd5 c6 31. e6 fxe6 32. Qe4 Qa3 33. Kd1 Rxd5 34. Ke2 Qd6 35. Kf3 Kf7 36. Re3 g6 37. Qxa4 Rd2 38. Qe4 Rxh2 39. Rd3 Qc5 40. Rd7 Kf8 41. Qd3 Rd2 42. Rd8 Kg7 43. Rd7 Kf6 44. g4 Qf2 45. Ke4 Re2 0-1

Jan-17-15  Olavi: Bronstein, in 200 open games (1973), also gives 18.b3. And "if I had not been an eyewitness, I would not have believed that black could play anuthing other than 27...Qxa2."

And they were in terrible timetrouble, and he missed the relatively easy 31...Rxd5 line. But Bondarevsky thought for a long time about the sealed move 41.Qd3??.

Jan-17-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: I haven't yet seen why this is remotely difficult. 25 ... Qc4 starts a walk toward ... Qb2# that White has huge difficulties stopping except by pitching material. His counterplay against Black's kingside looks slow. No doubt I'm missing something significant.
Jan-17-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: Oh, I see the difficulty now.

25 ... Qc4
26 Nxc3

looks like it holds for white, or indeed snatches a pawn. So I need to either defeat that or find another move.

Yes, it's a difficult problem. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

White threatens 26.Rxd4 and 26.Nxc3 dxc3 (26... Bxe4 27.Nxe4; 26... Qxc3 27.Qxc3 dxc3 28.Bxd5) 27.Bxd5 Nxd5 28.Qxd5 Qxd5 29.Rxd5 with a won ending.

The advanced b-pawn suggests the maneuver Qc4, Qa2(b4), Qb2#. Therefore, 25... Qc4:

A) 26.Nxc3 dxc3

A.1) 27.Bxd5 Qxb4 28.Rd3 (28.Bb3 Qa3+ 29.Kb1 Qb2#; 28.Rd4 Qxd4 29.Bxa8 Qd2+ and mate in two) 28... Qb2+ 29.Kd1 Qb1+ 30.Ke2 Qxc2+ 31.Kf1 Nxd5

A.1.a) 32.Rxd5 Qxa2 33.Qxc3 Qh2 and Black is momentarily two pawns ahead and threatens Qh1+, Qxh3+, a3, etc. White's e6 is probably counterproductive because it also opens the f-file against the white king.

A.1.b) 32.Qxd5 Ra5

A.1.b.i) 33.Qxa5 Qxd3 34.Qxa4 (34.Qxc7 loses also the f-pawn with check) 34... Qf3+ 35.Kg1 Qxg3+ 36.Kf1 Qxh3+ followed by the advance of the h-pawn looks winning for Black.

A.1.b.ii) 33.Qc4 Rc5 34.Qxc5 (34.Rxc3 Rxc4 wins a rook) 34... Qxd3 looks similar to A.1.b.i.

A.2) 27.Rxd5 Nxd5 just loses the exchange without compensation.

B) 26.a3 Qa2 27.Nxc3 Qxa3+ 28.Kb1 dxc3 wins the queen.

C) 26.Bxd5 Nxd5 and now 27.Nxc3 loses to 27... Nxc3. White seems unable to avoid material losses to stop the mate threats.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: It seems I stopped calculation too soon in my line A.2.
Jan-17-15  diagonalley: methinks 'tis "insane" (!)
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: My initial impression was <25...Qc4> wins on the spot with the Black Queen invading via <a2>

Bondarevsky makes a marvelous though futile attempt to extricate himself from his difficulties


Jan-17-15  Edeltalent: 25...? Black to play

Cool, a Bronstein puzzle! At first sight, the position looks overwhelming for Black because of his beautiful pawn on c3. White's knight and king seem to be in dire straights. On the other hand, White is pinning his hopes on well-coordinated pieces and pressure against d4 and c3. As Black can't neutralize this pressure, he has to act quickly.

25...Bxe4 26.Qxe4 clarifies the center and eases White's task, so 25...Qc4 looks logical. White doesn't have time to consolidate (26.a3 Qa2) and must rely on tactics. 26.Nxc3 dxc3 27.Bxd5 (27.Rxd5 Qxa2 is worse) Qxb4 28.Rd3.

click for larger view

Up until now it looks rather forced and it's clear Black can win the pawn on c2 any time he wants with a good position, so I don't think it would be unreasonable in a game to play until here and only then calculate further. Options are 28...Qb2+, 28...Rfd8, 28...Rad8 or 28...Rab8. Some sample lines:

- 28...Qb2+ 29.Kd1 Qb1+ 30.Ke2 Qxc2+ 31.Kf1 Rad8 32.Be4 Nc4 33.Qe2, Black is better, but not a certain win yet.

- 28...Rfd8 29.Bxa8 Qb2+ 30.Kd1 Qb1+ 31.Ke2 Qxc2+ 32.Kf1 Qxd3+ (Rxd3+ 33.Qc6 and the backrank threat is annoying) 33.Qxd3 Rxd3 is probably winning, although from far away it's not totally clear to me White can't get dangerous counterplay with his good bishop and potential to create a passed e-pawn.

- 28...Rad8 29.Be4 Nc4 and the white king can't fly so easily this time while Nd2 is a big threat. Instead 29.e6 becomes a bit messy though.

- 28...Rab8 29.Be4 Nc4 30.Kd1 Qb1+ 31.Ke2 Qxc2+ 32.Kf1 Nd2+ wins, 29.Kd1 Nxd5 29.Qxd5 Qb1+ 31.Ke2 Qxc2+ 32.Kf1 Rb1 with a very weak white king, e.g. 33.Qd4 Rxe1+ 34.Kxe1 Qxa2. Nevertheless, White has some fight left.

Jan-17-15  mistreaver: Saturday. Black to play. 25...? Very Difficult?
White has a very weak king position. Black's c3 is kinda clamping down on the position. My first idea is just to play
25... Qc4
The idea is to bring the queen to b2.
The most obvious white move is:
26 Bxd5 Nxd5 (if 26... Qxb4 then 27 Bxb3)
27 Qxd5 Qxb4
28 Rxd4 Qb2+
29 Kd1 Qxb1+
30 Ke2
and now Qxc2 or Qxa2 wins
Is there a better defence for white?
I don't see any.
Time to check and see.
Oh, i missed the counter sacrifice on c3, completely forgot about it. But i don't understand what does it change.
Ok, i calculated amazingly superficially. Better luck tomorrow.
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