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David Bronstein vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship (1958), Riga URS, rd 10, Jan-??
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Gligoric System Exchange at c4 (E54)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-11-06  zev22407: 20)..N:f3+ Spassky starts the attack wining a rook for a knight and weakenning the king's castle.
Apr-11-06  suenteus po 147: Which begs the question: Why didn't Bronstein play 20.Rxe1?
Apr-11-06  DanRoss53: What an amazingly complicated game!

<suenteus po 147> If 20. ♖xe1 then 20... ♖ae8! 21. ♘f5 ♘g6 wins either the kNight on f6 or the Rook on h4 with, essentially, no compensation. 20. ♕xe1 forces a Queen move by Black which allows White a few extra moves of survival.

Apr-11-06  suenteus po 147: <DanRoss53> Thanks for the explanation. It seems Bronstein went wrong earlier. How early does his position need improvement?
Apr-12-06  goldenbear: <suenteus po 147> In my opinion, with respect to what Kasparov would call "chess truth", anything but 10.a3 leads to Black's advantage. Also, the exchange sacrifice 13.Rad1 e5 14.Rxd7 looks interesting to me and seems more thematic, even though its "losing" I guess.
Apr-12-06  suenteus po 147: <goldenbear> Thanks for your input. 10.a3 is very interesting, I will look at it more closely.
Apr-12-06  goldenbear: At any rate, 13.Be1? is decisively bad. Perhaps, 10.Rfd1 is really not so bad but I really do think that that line entails the exchange sac I previously mentioned. Anybody care to sick Fritz on the 13.Rad1 e5 14.Rxd7 problem?
Apr-12-06  goldenbear: I see now that the opening explorer says that 10.Rfd1 is almost exclusively played! I can't believe it! It seems to me that clarification of the center is far more important. Also, after 10.a3 cxd4, neither of the two games continues 11.axb4 which seems like the obvious move to me. Please, someone help me to understand this.
May-05-06  DP12: 10. a3 c:d4 11. a:b4 d:c3 12. b:c3 Qc7 is not so favorable. You lose control of the center, compromise your structure and your dark bishop doesn't get out compared with line with e:d4 all for winning the bishop pair. Black should be doing great as he has nice pieces. Rfd1 c:d4 e:d4 looks like the best line for me.
May-05-06  DP12: I don't see any compensation for white after Rad1 e5 R:d7
May-05-06  outplayer: There's a Kramnik win with a similar final position.
May-05-06  DP12: Kramnik win?
Aug-24-12  King Crusher: Bronstein's extravagent rook manouevre is ill-advised. A rook on h4 and a bishop on e1 cannot be good. Brilliantly punished by Spassky.
Mar-12-14  James Bowman: Sometime because he is over shadowed by Fischer we forget how tactically brilliant Spassky really was. He has short wins and zero losses to the great tactician Bronstein. Spassky's game was truly deep and broad.
Apr-04-15  A.T PhoneHome: <James Bowman> That's very true indeed. As has been so often stated, West remembers Spassky as "that guy who lost to Fischer". Spassky was absolutely amazing player, albeit lazy.

Which makes me appreciate Spassky even more; he trusted his own instincts and knew his strength and feeling for the game. Spassky's scores against most top-flight players are remarkable. He understood tactically gifted players' minds but had that calm side to his play which enabled him to perform equally well in positional games.

Apr-04-15  Howard: In Seirawan's excellent book Chess Duels, he rates Spassky as the 5th greatest player of all time.

'Nuff said !

Apr-04-15  A.T PhoneHome: Well deserved honor! I mean, how can you not like Spassky's play? Imaginative, yet blessed with calm demeanor. Effortless, yet he doesn't play around. And on top of that, his sportsmanship.

People like Smyslov, Tal and Spassky have something in common for me. I really admire each of those men and while their reigns as World Champions were short, the point is that they became World Champions of their time which is a really fitting testimony to their level of skill and playing spirit. They all had to be World Champions, even if it was for just one year or three years like in Spassky's case.

Apr-04-15  Howard: Not to rain on your parade, but there were some suspicions back in the day that Botvinnik may have lost his WC matches to Smyslov and Tal....deliberately.

The reasoning goes that it may have been a propaganda ploy on the part of Botvinnik and the Soviet government. In other words, by "loaning" the WC title to Smyslov, and then later Tal, for one year, the Soviet Union could then boast of having a couple more world champions---rather than let Botvinnik completely monopolize the title from 1948-1963.

To be fair, perhaps these WC matches were actually on the up-and-up. For example, another theory as to how Botvinnik "loaned" out his title to Smyslov and Tal, was that he was abusing the rematch clause. He would, in other words, view the first match (Smyslov, 1954 and Tal, 1960) as a "training" match. If he won or tied, great! If he lost, then he could use information that he had gleaned from his opponents' play so as to win the rematch the following year.

Apr-04-15  A.T PhoneHome: No worries <Howard>! I'm fine with that, it's constructive and interesting as well. To add to what you say, perhaps they wanted to give the impression that even when Botvinnik was so strong, there was always another (Soviet) player who could beat him or draw at least. In a way it would have been even more frustrating for Westerners when there wasn't one but two or even three such players.

As Soviet chess school wasn't so old at the time when Botvinnik became the Champion, they may have wanted to ensure that it had serious prestige and didn't produce just one great. That it wasn't just one man's show.

Jun-05-16  R2D4Twice: Many of Spassky's maneuvers have an aura of 'impossibility' about them. As though he is playing past the edge and remaining elevated.
Jul-10-19  Nairaboi: White 14.Rh4 is an ill-thought move.It rendered the rook useless and somewhat put white's position in disarray.
Jul-10-19  RookFile: 11. Rxd4 starts white down the wrong road. exd4 is more normal with d5 being a typical follow up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessdreamer: This game was played on Spassky's 21st birthday.
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