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Boris Spassky vs David Bronstein
"The SMERSH Gambit" (game of the day Jan-30-2017)
USSR Championship (1960), Leningrad URS, rd 16, Feb-20
King's Gambit: Accepted. Modern Defense (C36)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-15-17  Albion 1959: Amazing to think that Bronstein was unable to defeat Spassky once in 22 games! The Spassky Immortal Game? Possibly, though the use of computers and powerful search engines will have taken some of the gloss of this game. A key feature of a Spassky attack is the white squared bishop usually on b3 or somewhere on the b1-h7 diagonal, pressing down on the f7 square:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: It does seem amazing that Bronstein only managed to defeat Spassky once and that was in a blitz game.

Bronstein vs Spassky, 1961


May-02-17  Ironmanth: Fantastic swashbuckling chess! Thanks for this one, chessgames.
May-11-17  User not found: I can't be the only one who thinks this move...Nd6!

click for larger view

Is unworthy of this comment..

<One of the deepest sacrifices this side of The Evergreen Game -- Soltis>

If you think about it it's an obvious looking move and one of the 1st you'd consider. Any decent player who plays tactically would see it and go for it. At worst you end up with these positions, blacks king is exposed but checking with the engine both these positions are dead equal..

click for larger view

click for larger view

Aug-23-17  Petrosianic: <checking with the engine both these positions are dead equal..>

You cannot rely on engines in this kind of position, whereas you seem to have trusted them blindly. So blindly as to have not evengiven or explained any variations at all. So I'll do your work for you here.

First of all, Black is in very deep trouble early in this game. Look at the position after 13. Bc2, where all of White's pieces seem to be focused on the Black King, and none of Black's pieces seem to be defending it.

Usually in this kind of opening, Black uses the extra f pawn as a buffer for his own King, but Black took it out of position with 11...fxe3. This makes the position much more tactical and acute. It doesn't matter what the eval says. Black is skating on eggshells and can go wrong very easily.

The whole point of Nd6 is to expose the (obvious) Qh7+ attack, and also attack the always-weak f7 (less obvious). It's a good move, just not as deep or subtle as Soltis suggests. The question is does it win by force, or does Black go wrong later?

It looks like Black goes wrong later (he's skating on eggshells, remember?). Nf8 guards against the obvious Qh7+ threat, but how serious is that really? As a rule of thumb, Q-R7ch is almost always good. But not always. In this case Bronstein didn't look deeply enough to see if he could survive the hit.

What about 15...exf1+ 16. Rxf1. Get that out of the way first.

Then 16...Bxd6 to stop Nxf7 and open up an escape square.

17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qh8+ Ke7, and the King squirts out. That's the kind of thing that always happens when I try this kind of attack.

Then what? 19. Re1+ Be5 and Black seems okay. Or 19. cxd6+ Kxd6, and it looks like Black is doing The King Walk, but White doesn't have enough material left to follow it up, and his Queen is completely out of position. Black seems to be at least surviving, if not winning.

Aug-26-17  tea4twonty: 15. Qxe2 Nf8 16. Rad1 Bg4 (16..Be6 17. Ne5 f6 18. d5) 17. Bb3 Ne6 18. h3 Bxf3 19. Qxf3 with a strong attack
Oct-28-17  edubueno: La mejor partida de BS en muchos años.
Feb-27-18  tgyuid: bravo; is he russian
Feb-27-18  tgyuid: hi; just what exactly do you think you are doing
Sep-22-18  The Kings Domain: Impressive win by Spassky, at his prime he was arguably the best player in the world. Games like this show why Fischer couldn't beat him prior to the '72 match.
Jun-16-19  Ratt Boy: <Petrosianic: "…Black is skating on eggshells…">

That sounds unproductive. Eggshells would have a lot of friction; I don't think anyone would get far that way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: I guess this has been covered before, but in the movie they exclude some of the centralised pawns because they thought chess games had copyright - and that it didn't matter. It actually does.

The position in the movie after 21.Bb3

click for larger view

The computer gives 1) =0.00 (23 ply) 21...Qc5+ 22.Kh1 Rxe5 23.Nxe5+ Kh8 24.Nf7+ Kh7 [...]
While in the actual game black is lost.

Since I'm at my most pedantic, I should ad that Kronsteen works for SPECTRE so actually SMERSH has nothing to do with this game.

I watched it yesterday with my wife and in-laws, gleefully pointing out all the little inaccuracies. I'm so much fun to be around...

Nov-25-19  WorstPlayerEver: <User not found>

Soltis' comment is confusing indeed. I'm quite sure that they meant Nxf7.

Nov-25-19  spingo: <WorstPlayerEver: <User not found> Soltis' comment is confusing indeed. I'm quite sure that they meant Nxf7.>

Although Soltis's name ends in an <s> he is in fact a single individual human male.

You should have written <I'm quite sure that <he> meant Nxf7.>

Nov-25-19  WorstPlayerEver: <spingo> Thanks for the explanation!

But still I do prefer Soltis' name above Soltis's name. Seems confusing.

Nov-25-19  WorstPlayerEver: PS I find the Cambridge article confusing also.

<When the possessor is a regular singular noun> edit: that does not end in "s" (consequence).

<When the possessor is a singular noun that ends in "s">

<When the possessor is a plural noun that does not end in "s">

But they won't mention: <When the possessor is a plural noun that ends in "s">

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: If one is looking for consistency of English orthography, best of luck.
Nov-25-19  WorstPlayerEver: <perfidious>

Well, at least they try. This year Dutch language has about 100+ new students at all Dutch universities!

Nov-25-19  spingo: <WorstPlayerEver> I am glad you realized I was only joking. What you wrote originally was perfectly sensible.

BTW, I am a fan of the conductor <Sir Georg Solti>. His family definitely were the Soltis.

If Solti and the Soltis visited Soltis and the Soltises at summer solstice, that would be soul-destroying.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Diademas> I watched it yesterday with my wife and in-laws, gleefully pointing out all the little inaccuracies. I'm so much fun to be around...>

LOL! I'm exactly the same way. Like pointing out why the wings on Tom Cruse's F-14 in "Top Gun" were in the wrong place as he's trying to dogfight an A4 and how the song "You are the wind beneath my wings" is inaccurate because it is the wind <above> the wings that creates lift and allows the plane to fly.

I read some time ago that the technical advisor of "Top Gun" was asked how he could have allowed so many technical errors in the movie. His response was something like "Listen, after the movie was done I was just glad that they didn't make it into a musical."

Being a car buff my wife and I recently went to see "Ford vs. Ferrari" although my wife was reluctant to go with me because I'm very familiar with the racing during that period and she thought that I would be upset at all the technical flaws. Afterwards she asked me how many I had spotted and I said "I lost count after about 10."

But the best response was from Alfonso Cuarón, the director of the movie "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Afterwards he was asked about all the technical flaws in the movie and his response was priceless: "It's a movie! If you want accuracy, go see a documentary!".

Nov-25-19  WorstPlayerEver: Is it just me or does Mozart looks like Spasski?

Feb-29-20  Ulhumbrus: After 17...Kxf7 Kasparov gives 18 Ne5+ Kg8 19 Qh7+!! Nxh7 20 Bb3+ Kh8 21 Ng6 mate. The queen sacrifice 19 Qh7+ induces the capture 19...Nxh7 which makes two concessions to White . It displaces the knight from its defence of the g6 square and also blocks the flight square h7 for the black king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: How lucky are we: <uluseless> favours us with yet another example of utterly patronising commentary. Perhaps he should try prying his head from his fundament and acknowledging that there are actually posters capable of understanding the game a little.
Jun-01-20  sudoplatov: /The only criticism of 15.Nd6 that I remember from the time is that White's 15.Qe2 or 15.Rf2 gave White at least as much. However, Chess is played (in this case) against a person with a ticking clock. Playing 15.Nd6 probably caused Black to start his analysis tree from scratch.

Bronstein later played 15.g3 in a Falkbeer against Tal with the comment (made to Keres), "I may never get the chance to play such a move against Tal again."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: I love this game.


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