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Max Euwe vs Vasily Smyslov
FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948), The Hague NED, rd 4, Mar-09
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C98)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-20-05  aw1988: <offramp> No respect whatsoever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This game reminds me a little of Kasparov vs Karpov, 1985 where Kasparov may have missed a win.
Aug-06-05  Hesam7: 33 Qg4 is really strong. White's threats are just too many. Any suggestions for Black??

<pim> very interesting comment, did not know about that. That might explain Euwe's result there. Beside all this one should not forget that he was in his late 40s.

Aug-30-05  Hesam7: I set up the position after Black's 32nd move for my engine (Fruit 2.1) to analyze it. I post the main line:

33 Qg4 h5 34 Qf3 Nc6 35 Ne5xg6 fxg6 36 e5 Qc7 37 Nxg6 Nxd4 38 cxd4 Qg7 39 Nf4+ Kh8 40 d5 Bb6 42 Qxh5+ Qh6 43 Qf7 Qg7 44 Ng6+ Kh7 45 Qe6 (eval: +1.10)

Depth: 18/59
2.625M nodes
180K nodes/sec

Nov-08-06  aw1988: If the story of Euwe using chemical help is true, that's astounding. I was under the impression that Euwe was always modest and tried his best to win, lost to the best but kept a hopeful smile, etc etc etc. This suggests he wanted something greater. Nothing came of it, of course, he placed last behind Reshevsky, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Keres...
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This is a silly rumor; what type of "pills"? The inference is that he was cheating which seems like the worst type of innuendo.What type of pills would have been available in 1948 that would have been considered illegal? Caffeine? Aspirin?
Nov-09-06  ughaibu: There're plenty of mathematicians posting on this site, ask them what pills they use. Mind you, this was a mathematician teaching at a girls school.
Jul-02-09  Knight13: If he was cheating with pills then how can he lose so badly? Are you kidding?
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Yanofsky reported on this event for Chess Review. In the April, 1948 issue, page 16, he wrote that "Botvinnik takes some sort of pills during the game. Can they be vitamins?" Botvinnik was the only player to bring his own medical doctor.
Oct-25-09  Everett: Well, there are many drugs out there now that help with focus, at least over a limited period of time, which is why there should be tests for them in any serious chess competition.

In 1948, I doubt they had anything matching the effects of adderall.

Good ol' caffeine can be considered, however, or even nicotine pills.

Oct-19-10  Hesam7: <Everett: In 1948, I doubt they had anything matching the effects of adderall.>

Are you joking? Adderall is just a combination of various amphetamine salts. Methamphetamine is a more potent relative of amphetamine which was synthesized in 1919, Nazis used it on a wide scale to improve their soldiers performance.

Oct-22-10  acirce: <Well, there are many drugs out there now that help with focus, at least over a limited period of time, which is why there should be tests for them in any serious chess competition.>

Thank you. I'm tired of hearing that doping tests in chess is "nonsense".

Oct-22-10  SugarDom: Nonsense...
Jan-23-13  SirChrislov: 35.e5+?? is an act of tragedy. White could have completed one of the best Ruy Lopezes of the century-exceeded, perhaps, only by Capablanca-Marshall, New York 1918 and Tal-Hjartarson, Reykjavik 1987-if he had found 35.Qf3!, whose threat of 36.Qf5 mate wins in all variations. --Soltis

The game Euwe vs Najdorf, 1953 reminded Max of this game vs Smyslov in which he sac'd two knights brilliantly but ended up losing. "And no one now remembers that game," he said.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Zenchess: What about 35...Be6?
Jul-25-13  marljivi: It looks to me that after 35.Qf3Be6 the move 36.Qf8 wins for white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: From this position-

click for larger view

Euwe took 45 minutes to decide on


click for larger view

Now from this position, white to move:

click for larger view

<"With his Queen en prise, Euwe sacrificed both Knights. The atmosphere was charged with excitement. One teller was so unnerved that he dropped some pieces off a wallboard. Everyone was keyed up as <<<the sacrifices looked so good>>> and yet so impenetrably vague. Then Euwe missed the correct line and Smyslov wriggled out of the mating net. Euwe adjourned in a lost position. The pathos exhibited by the faces of the audience was so visible that even Euwe's face turned red all over. But it was too late.>

-D.A. Yanofsky and H.J. Slavekoorde, "Battle Royal... A Round by Round Account of the Thrilling Contest for the World's Chess Title."

"Chess Life and Review" (April 1948), p.14

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The career matchup between Smyslov and Euwe is, I believe, the second most lopsided in history: +7 =0 -1 in favor of Smyslov. The most lopsided is Lasker's 3-0 score against Euwe, despite being about 32 1/2 years older than the latter. No wonder that Euwe is commonly thought of as "that guy who became world champion because Alekhine was drunk." Incidentally, before beating Alekhine in 1935, Euwe played many matches against leading players, including Alekhine, losing all of them that I know of.
Oct-04-13  Olavi: <FSR> In 1932 Euwe played two matches with Flohr, +2-2=4 and +1-1=6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Olavi> Thanks. Incidentally, when I referred to most one-sided matchups in history, I meant to say matchups <between world champions>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <FSR>

Before 1935, these are the two matches <Euwe> lost to players who were, or who had been, world champion:

Alekhine-Euwe Training Match (1926)

<Euwe> +2 -3 = 5


Capablanca - Euwe (1931)

<Euwe> +0 -2 =8

Oct-05-13  thomastonk: <WCC Editing Project> The Dutch newspapers report 'only' 30 minutes of reflection time for move 17, e.g. and

And here is Euwe's description of his thoughts and oversights:

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <thomastonk>

Interesting. Different reporters, different watches?


I was wondering if you had time/inclination that you might translate the gist of <Euwe's description of his thoughts and oversights>?

I'm sure that would be of general interest, and it would be of particular interest to our project to edit the intro to this event here: Game Collection: WCC: FIDE WCC Tournament 1948

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This was Euwe's third game in this World Championship tournament. He had lost in round 1 to Keres and in round 2 to Botvinnik but this game shows that he was not discouraged. He really has Smyslov's number for most of the game but (was he influenced by the home crowd?) he overdoes the sacrifices and loses.

Euwe ended up with just one win - just one teeny-weeny win - in the whole of this long, long tournament.

But IF he had won this game in spectacular fashion, as he could have done, what a boost it would have given him and his supporters! Perhaps the whole tournament might have much closer.

Jul-14-17  andrea volponi: 33 Nexg6! fxg6 -Qg4! Bf7 -e5 Ne7 -h4 Nac6 -h5 Nxd4 -hxg6+ Nxg6 -Bxg6+ Kh8 -cxd4 Bg5
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