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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
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 15 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-07-02  atripodi: best game of chess ever played?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I don't understand why the move 15. Nd6 works.

What if the game continued 15. Nd6 exf1=Q+ 16. Rxf1 Bxd6. Where is White's attack, in this case?

I can see 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qh8+ Ke7, which I admit looks uncomfortable for Black, but I still don't see a good continuation of the attack. What am I missing?

Jun-10-02  refutor: i don't doubt spassky (one of my chess heroes), but i have a tough time making yer line work i'm guessing 19.cxd6 followed by 20.Re1+ but even then. maybe bronstein was intimidated by young spassky and saw ghosts?! what did korchnoi say "if you see tal sacrifice material, you might as well take it, but if you see spassky sacrifice material you might as well resign" (or something like that)
Jun-10-02  atripodi: if 20...Kf6 21.Qh6 what's blacks best way to prevent mate with Qf5? maybe 21...Rxe1 22.Nxe1 and it doesn't look like there's a continuation for white.
Jan-10-03  pawntificator: 15. Nd6 exf1=Q+ 16. Rxf1 Bxd6 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qh8+ Ke7 19 Re1 and then what should black do? Ne5, Be5, seems black is lost no matter what That was a very impressive sacrifice.
Jan-16-03  drukenknight: it would have been interesting to see 12...Bf4. Evans gives 13 g3 Bg5 14 N(3)xg5 to whites advantage but instead 13...Bxg3 14 hxg3 Nf6 looks like a really interesting line.
May-18-03  Shadout Mapes: The best defense is: 15. Nd6 exf1=Q+ 16. Rxf1 Bxd6 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.Qh8+ Ke7 20.Re1+ Ne5 21.Qxg7 Rg8 22.Qxh6 Qb6 23.Kh1 Be6 24.dxe5 d5 25.Qf6+

And now white has a great attack, as well as a knight and a pawn for his rook, though black might untangle himself.

What was up with 8...h6? It just wasted time, exactly what black souldn't do in this opening.

May-27-03  oblivion95: This is the game after the credits in the 1963 Bond film, From Russia With Love. (The identities of the players were changed for the film.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: In the Kronsteen - McAdams game the pawns on d4 and c5 were removed.
Sep-21-03  thekleinbottle: This is the analysis I saw on the world chess network site...


15. Nd6!!?

Spassky leaves a Rook en prise with check while also threatening checkmate and a Knight sacrifice on f7. But how good is the move, really? Ilya Kan once remarked that a Rubinstein or a Capablanca would have continued with 15. Rf2, securing a positional advantage.

15. … Nf8?

Bronstein overlooks what follows. He had to try 15. … Bxd6, which leads to an unclear position after

16. Qh7+ Kf8
17. cxd6 exf1=Q+
18. Rxf1 cxd6
19. Qh8+ Ke7
20. Re1+ Ne5
21. Qxg7 Rg8
22. Qxh6 Qb6
23. Kh1 Be6
24. dxe5 d5


I wonder what Fritz would say if someone entered the position into the computer... I probably should get around to picking it up...

Sep-21-03  Shadout Mapes: I think I did a while ago, it was a draw, or slight advantage for white.
Sep-21-03  Shadout Mapes: Fritz gives white a +0.50.
Oct-12-03  talchess2003: definitely one of the best games ever played
Oct-18-03  talchess2003: <pawntificator> 15. Nd6 exf1=Q+ 16. Rxf1 Bxd6 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. Qh8+ Ke7 19 Re1 and then what should black do? Ne5, Be5, seems black is lost no matter what That was a very impressive sacrifice.

I calculated: 15. Nd6 exf1=Q+ 16. Rxf1 Bxd6 17. Qh7+ Kf8 18. cxd6 (threatening Qh8#) cxd6 19. Qh8+ Ke7 20. Qxg7 Nf6 21. Ne5

threatening both the f6 knight and the f7 pawn, absolutely crushing...

Btw, Atripodi, I agree with you... THIS SHOULD BE THE GAME OF THE CENTURY!!!

Oct-18-03  talchess2003: To expound my above statement...

It is well known that the only reason Fischer's game gained THAT MUCH prestige was because of his youth. But is it also not known that age does not weigh any ounce in the matter of skill and ability? In Fischer's game, he definitely had 1) excessive home preparation 2) basic attacking ideas and mating forms in mind (on his Be6!! move, it was easy to recognize the drawing possibility and the Philidors mate.. so that would get one thinking.. and most masters and up could calculate that out after recognition. Spassky's sacrice was more innovative, and more "out of the blue" (harder to recognize and imagine)

Oct-18-03  drukenknight: Yes it is a nicely played game, but let's not kid ourselves. It only looks like Spassky saw 20 moves deep because Bronstein missed the obvious on move 15. If your opponent is about to attack you, why dont you give check?

What was the thinking behind 15...Nf8? Just another weird move to screw up the position. Yeah, it sure did. Does the N do anything after that?

It's just like FIscher/Byrne, the game of the century, Byrne goes from attacking the K to going for material. He changes his whole strategy in one move. So of course the next 20 moves look like the most brilliant in history.

There are plenty of games like these, guy makes what seems like an odd move, and 20 moves later, you wonder how did he lose? It's a funny game.

Nov-05-03  talchess2003: When you say 'switching your strategy' is bad.. that is unclear. I believe you should follow mainly the same strategy thru/o the game, but in that you can make positional transformations within your strategy. Sometimes changing the manner of the game is most effective. Here is a game of Fischer's where he suddenly found a kingside attack within his walls of defense.

Fischer vs Spassky, 1972

Nov-05-03  drukenknight: yeah it is unclear. If he takes the R right away he will gain material and have to withstand an attack against his K. He took the R a move later so it was the same strategy. Only the extra move does not seem to help much, in fact it hurts.
Dec-14-03  kronsteen: In Ian Fleming's novel,From Russia With Love,the
game of chess described is actually the Meran
variation of the queen's gambit declined. I
thought this might be an interesting bit of
Dec-15-03  Dick Brain: Incredibly brilliant game. Probably much of it prepared analysis. Spassky refuted a King's Gambit line that Bronstein had written about in a Soviet chess publication.
Dec-15-03  jhang: Actually,I'm a beginner but I a have lot of experiences in chess.I really doubt of an opening e4 and then f4, I thougt it is an opening open for attack but now I realise that it depend on how you play and carry out your opponent and treat him as a human being.Eventually, I appreciate the game between Spassky and Bronstein and I think it will help me as I analyse it, the game rather. THANKS TO : CHESSGAMES.COM
Dec-15-03  Dick Brain: to drunkenknignt: so you are saying that Bronstein's 15.. Nf8 is obviously bad?? come on now, all the pundits here who know the correct play for the next ten moves know it only in hindsight and after seeing published analysis. Let's see any of us do it right it OVER THE BOARD!
Dec-15-03  Dick Brain: to jhand: yes the King's Gambit is clearly an attacking opening if there ever was one. Either White or Black should go down in a blaze of tactics. Of course if Black is not a gentleman he could certainly decline it with 2 ... Bc5 and remove the sting.
Jan-23-04  Shadout Mapes: 9.Ne4 is a great move, which apparently took Bronstein completely by surprise.

An interesting note is that right after it was player, Fischer was quick to call it one of the greatest games ever played. I personally would put it in my top 10 list.

Mar-10-04  ruylopez900: The game would finish 23...♔h8 24.♘g6+ ♔h7 25.♘xf8+ ♔h8 26.♕h7++ for those who were wondering.
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