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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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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Danny,

"Kronsteen, played by Vladek Sheybal, was the head of planning for SPECTRE in From Russia with Love (1963)."

Site: James Bond Character - Kronsteen.

Feb-29-16  luftforlife: Cf. Reshevsky vs Botvinnik, 1955, sc. Reshevsky vs Botvinnik, 1955 (link to my kibitz; trying to avoid a duplicate posting here).

The fictional game described in brevis fashion in Ian Fleming's James Bond thriller From Russia With Love differs from the fictional game depicted somewhat more fulsomely in the motion picture From Russia With Love. The above-cited game was the basis for the game in the novel; this game is the basis for the game in the picture.

In the novel, the fictional villain and three-time "Champion of Moscow" Kronsteen is a SMERSH operative, run by the real-life Chief of SMERSH, General Grubozaboyschikov.

In the picture, Kronsteen is a high-ranking agent of SPECTRE, a fictional terrorist organization headed by the inimitable arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Hope that helps!

Best to all, ~ lufty

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: So he is/was a Spectre/Smerch double agent.

What about McAdams (Kronsteen opponent) was he a MI5/FB1/CIA/CSIS agent?

Apr-05-16  posoo: OOOOOOOOOOOi know da feelng! I bet when spassky played da moove it was ALL HE COULD DO to keep from SHAKING wif joy!
Oct-20-16  diagonal: <Appropriately our hero’s surname in reality (Spassky) has 007 letters. His first name (Boris) is an anagram of "orbis", Latin for "globe", and indeed he was going on to be the World Chess Champion.>

The game chosen by the Bond film producers, was that magical masterpieces reminiscent of Boris Spassky's beautiful 23-move victory playing the King’s Gambit against David Bronstein at Leningrad in 1960 in the sixteenth round of the 27th USSR Championship held at the Chigorin Chess Club in Leningrad from January 26th to February 26th, 1960 and won by Viktor Korchnoi, ahead of runners-up Petrosian and Geller. (video extract) (beautifully picked up screenshots)

Jan-30-17  bengalcat47: Hi Sally. Sometime you should check out The American Cryptogram Association. If you like to solve secret coded messages then this is the place!
Jan-30-17  Ilkka Salonen: Well, the pun plus the feeling of confusement about what is going on at move 15 bring to mind speculation if you are implying this was a fixed game. I don't remember if there even has indeed been speculation about this game. I read the book KGB plays chess and it's pretty interesting reading, but kind of left me feeling that under the title more things could be discussed. I would have wanted to know more about Petrosian's relationship to KGB, for example.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Smersh and Grab> is better.
Jan-30-17 A brilliant coup.
Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: A beautiful game. The connection with a James Bond movie makes it especially fun.
Jan-30-17  morfishine: Spassky also upended Fischer in 1960 with the King's Gambit

the 3...d6 "Bust" would not be resurrected til the following year by Fischer



Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: One of the better examples of chess being used in the movies, aside from a complete, good movie, like "Searching for Bobby Fischer."

SMERSH was a real life acronym for a soviet intelligence group. SPECTRE is a takeoff on that, used by the Bond people for their 60s films. The two large groups were the GRU, Soviet military intelligence (international) and of course the KGB, in charge of domestic surveillance. I think the GRU still exists in that name. the KGB was downsized after the fall of communist leadership there and renamed FSS (Federal Security Service).

Premium Chessgames Member
  scutigera: Also known as the FSB, after its Russian acronym (ФСБ for Федеральная служба безопасности), the way the KGB was known as the KGB rather than as the CSS.
Feb-01-17  Olavi: The Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion (SPECTRE) is an international organisation, often trying to provoke a conflict berween tha superpowers, so perheps Shmert Shpionam (SHMERSH) wasn't the model? At least they took some liberties.
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.

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