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Vasily Smyslov vs Paul Keres
"Ladies Gagra" (game of the day Aug-24-2011)
Training Tournament (1953), Gagra URS, rd 3, May-??
English Opening: King's English Variation. Reversed Sicilian (A21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I think Keres thought, with 2 or 4 Queens on board the multiple checks gave him drawing chances. With white's Bishop guarding the g1-h7 diagonal, black has no counterplay. White will occupy c4 with his King, and then c5, and his passed a pawn will be even stronger.
Aug-24-11  Michael1234567891011: I don't see why white doesn't play 17.Bxc4, followed by 17...Bxf1 18. Kxf1. Can anyone explain this?
Aug-24-11  Michael1234567891011: oh wait, nevermind. black has 17...Qc6! threatening the bishop on c4 and mate on g2. And then after white plays 19. f3 to block the mate and 19...Qxc4, white is screwed. Pardon my patzerness =)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: "PVS: I believe that Smyslov was the strongest player in the world at this time and remained there until sometime in 1958 when Tal took over. Smyslov was one of the great players of the 20th century. He was second in the 1948 world championship competition and second the in the 1983 Candidates matches 35 years later!"

When he was young he was a great player in all aspects of the game. He played well into his old age. He was possibly the greatest for his time. Keres was no bunny either of course! Get his book and look at the great combos and also strategical games he played...

And he wasn't mad like Fischer.

Aug-24-11  Skakalec: <oh wait, nevermind. black has 17...Qc6! threatening the bishop on c4 and mate on g2. And then after white plays 19. f3 to block the mate and 19...Qxc4, white is screwed. Pardon my patzerness =)>

No Michael, the 17th black move is not Qc6, but Qf3! threatening the mate on g2. The only defence is 18.Bd5 but after 18....Qxd5 the threat remains and now the only defence is 19.f3 after which 19...Bd4+ is a killer.

Aug-24-11  Skakalec: I think black had great drawing chances after 49...Bc7 or 49...c5 instead of Be3 (?) the main idea being white passer on a-file that was not so dangerous in combination with the wrong colour bishop! Furthermore, white pawns on the king side were placed on black squares making them great target for blacks bishop.

On the back of the envelope, after 49...Bd8 50.Bd2 c5 (making place for the king) 51.a5 Kc6 52.Kc4 f5 or maybe h4 should draw.

The plan is that black exchange two pairs of the pawns on he king side and than sacs the bishop for the last one on the king side and remaining B-P vs K is draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: Should be more games like this, but imagine playing even two of these lengthy creatures in a tournament !!
Aug-24-11  erniecohen: Yes, it is a draw until the dark bishop exchange. Keres probably just miscalculated the KP ending before the exchange.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Four promoted queens-could this be a record?
Aug-24-11  sevenseaman: <Kevin86: Four promoted queens-could this be a record?> I am unable to recall but I think I have seen a much bigger harem.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sbevan: What a game! :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <sevenseaman> Five queens at once seems to be the accepted record: see Belov vs Prohorov, 1991 and Z Mackic vs A Maksimenko, 1994. The famous game Alekhine vs NN, 1915 is spurious. There was a game published once with seven, but it was also shown to be a fake.

I've assembled a collection of multi-queen games here: Game Collection: Hey, Martha! Where's the Other Chess Set?, and <kevin86> also has one at Game Collection: polygamy or what's an extra Q among friends?.

<kevin86> Four <promoted> queens at once appears to be rare; usually, the original set is still on the board when the new set appears. Here's another example:

J Rejfir vs L Steiner, 1933

Aug-24-11  sevenseaman: <Phoney Benoni> Thanks for helping me recall, Alekhine vs NN was what I had in mind. Its pun "The Harem" stuck in my consciousness. Of course I have no clue about the game being of a spurious nature.
Aug-24-11  AVRO38: Smyslov was the only player in the 20th century to be on the Chessmetrics Top 10 rating list every month for 30 consecutive years without interruption (1940-1970).

No other player can make that claim, not Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, etc..pretty impressive!

Aug-24-11  checkmateyourmove: Timeless game here for all chess fans
Aug-24-11  BiteByBits: lol i would hate to lose like this...

i think white made a very good move

43. Bf3 Bxf3? (exchange bishops)
44. Bc5+!! (and now white controls the dark squares and wins the game because of this delayed exchange!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: 91.Kf5 is beautiful. Set up far in advance, of course, with an exquisitely precise series of checks that leaves Black helpless. f5 seems counter-intuitive - one would think first of using the g-pawn as shelter with Kg6 - but the King is safe on f5. With no checks available, Black is mated very quickly: 91.Kf5 h1(Q) - what else can he do? - and now 92.Qf6+ with something like 92...Ka2 93.Qfa6+ Kb2 94.Qaa3#.

It's all about initiative with a Queen pair, something I experienced at first hand in the 1970s: G McCarthy vs M Kennefick, 1977.

Of course Smyslov is recognized as one of the all-time greats, though (outside Estonia) Keres's reputation seems to have faded somewhat. I knew strong players, active internationally in the 1950s and 60s, who cited him as their favorite player. His Estonian successor Jaan Ehlvest wrote "he was described as an undisputed gentleman, not only of the chess world". And "Paul was strong, and never complained about anything in public".

Yet games like this show him being outplayed by the narrowest margin.

A particularly impressive aspect of this game is Smyslov's will to win (in what was officially a 'training game', not even intended for publication at the time). Of course there was a lot riding on the result, which somehow makes Smyslov's intense focus even more impressive.

The pun is atrocious, and not atrocious ha-ha. Just a verbal atrocity.

Aug-24-11  Amarande: If 92 ... Qb2, then 93 Qa6+ Qa2 94 Qd4+ Kb1 95 Qb4+ Ka1 (or Kc1/Kc2 96 Qxa1 etc.) 96 Qf6+ and mate next.
Aug-24-11  Thumbtack2007: <Amarande 92 ... Qb2, then 93 Qa6+ Qa2> Qa2 can't be played because the queen is pinned.

If 92 ... Qb2, then 93. Qa6+ Kb1 94. Qb2# (you can use either queen for the mate)

Sep-21-14  offramp: The pun is based on the name of the well-known female vocalist Lady Ga-Ga. She sings modern popular music songs.

Gagra was a secret training tournament. Gagra is a town 200 miles north of Vladivostok on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Maximum summer temperature there is -40°C. Brrrr!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Au contraire: Gagra is actually on the Black Sea and is in a subtropical climate zone.

Sep-21-14  offramp: <perfidious: Au contraire: Gagra is actually on the Black Sea and is in a subtropical climate zone.>

Correct. It is built in an area of swampland where the minimum <winter> temperature is rarely below 40°C. Scorchio! Humidity rarely goes below 110%, even in winter.

Throughout its history Gagra has been plagued by the famous colossal mosquito Culicidae Gagraensis Colossoli, an insect with approximately a 9-foot wingspan which can talk Russian and eat humans whole. They live in the swamps of Gagra in swarms of up to 50 billion. Ugh!

Sep-21-14  celtrusco:
Jun-18-18  Omnipotent00001: 74. f6 wins in 21 moves
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "A training tournament with the participation of the members of the national team of the USSR that was held <at Gagra> in summer showed me that I was still far from being in my best form, but by then I was in fact playing reasonably well."

Keres/Nunn The Quest for Perfection, p54

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