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Viktor Korchnoi vs Boris Spassky
Leningrad (1948) (exhibition)
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Levenfish Variation (B71)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-07-16  weary willy: ? 12 ... Kd8 is like your case (E) - white just plays 13 Nxf6
Jun-07-16  stst: Take advantage of the possible N+ position, reverse the N-Q exchange order, not 12.QxQ first, which leads to approx. equality, but

12.Nd5 QxQ (if NxN, 13.QxQ and Black's Q loss has no compensation at all.) 13.NxN+ (the Black Q@f3 looks detrimental, but it would soon disappear) Ke7 (try chasing the N, but the White N already protected by e4 pawn,) 14.Nd5+ Kd7
15.gxQ (now both Q gone, yet Black's N also evaporates) exf4 (not too good, but what else?) 16.Bxf4 etc etc White still has a 0-0-0 to get the left R out aiming at the Black K. White prevails.

Jun-07-16  AlicesKnight: 12.Nd5 looks as if it wins a piece; 12....Qxf3; 13.Nxf6+ Ke7; 14.Nd5+ followed by gxf3. The N forks prevent ....Qe6 .... Qd7. 12.... Qh4+; 13.g3 merely delays. Yes? - Korchnoi thinks so....
Premium Chessgames Member
  ocpman: After E) 12...O-O-O 13. Qc3+ might be better
Jun-07-16  Cheapo by the Dozen: I've fallen into similar traps when playing at hyperblitz speeds vs. bad chess programs. Still no excuse.

And speaking of playing too quickly, I overlooked the ... Kd8 defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Tricky, tricky. In human mode, I saw 12. Nd5 and assumed that was all she wrote. It's a Tuesday, no more to see here. Move along.

But 12...Kd8 is an interesting defence. White still wins, but he has to rely on his positional superiority. The tactic does not net him a piece immediately.

Fritzie is calling it +2.46 for 12...Kd8 13. Qxg4 Nxg4 14. h3 Nh6

click for larger view

Black's position is a mess. He has a bad bishop, offside knight and can't castle. But he hasn't lost material yet.

The other line is 12...Kd8 13. Nxf6 Qh4+ 14. Qf2 Qxf6

click for larger view

Fritzie calls this one +1.22. Black still has a bad bishop and no longer had castling rights, but the presence of queens on the board gives counter chances.

That's a lot to see for a Tuesday.

Jun-07-16  scormus: <Once> Yes, a good puzzle with a bit more than meets the eye. On Tuesday I usually see the move quickly, like today, but forget it's Tuesday not Monday. Didn't think enough about ... Kd8 so I cannot claim to have solved it
Jun-07-16  saturn2: I got the right move but the answer 12...Ke7 is impossible.
Jun-07-16  weary willy: Yes, my glib suggestion of 12 ... Kd8 13. Nxf6 (?) is obviously superficial and less than ideal. Taking the queen and kicking the knight is (frustratingly) best.

Ocpman's suggestion of 12... 0-0-0 13. Qc3+ is much better than taking the knight immediately should the king go that far.

Jun-07-16  nalinw: In fact if

12. .... O-O-O
13. Qc3+
13. ... Kb1 - Black is mated after Qc7+
13. ... Kd7 - Nxf6+ wins the Queen

Jun-07-16  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even in this opening position, but black has just blundered by offering a queen exchange in bad conditions. 12.Nd5! takes full advantage of the weak squares that black has created at d5 and f6, winning at least a piece:

A. 12... Nxd5? 13.Qxg4

B. 12... Qxf3 13.Nxf6+ Ke7 (13... other 14.gxf3) 14.Nd5+ Ke6 15.gxf3 leaves white a bishop up.

C. 12... Qe6? 13.Nc7+ wins the Q.

D. 12... other (except Qf5?) 13.Nxf6(+) wins

A very young Boris Spassky, I would guess...

Jun-07-16  nalinw: RIP Victor - my (and I expect many other people's) hero for his refusal to go just go away and die.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Eleven year old Borris Spassky fell into 17-year-old Victor Korchnoi's trap and learned a lesson about the tricky in-between move (a.k.a. zwischenzug or intermezzo) with the error 11...Qg4?, allowing today's Tuesday solution 12. Nd5! xf3 13.Nxf6+ Ke7 14.Nd5+ Ke8 15.gxf3 .

Necessary instead was 11...d5 12. Nxd5 Nxd5 13. exd5 Bg2 14. Bg2 conceding a smaller White advantage.

Earlier, the computers pick 8...Bxd7 = (0.00 @ 24 depth, Komodo 8) over the game move 8...Qxd7 9. Qd3 = to (+0.35 @ 20 depth, Deep Fritz 15).

Even earlier in the opening, instead of young Spassky's 6...Bg4 allowing 7. Be2 , I prefer 6...Nc6 =, 6...Bg7 = or even 6...a6 = transposing to L Lederman vs Ivanchuk, 2014

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Sad to hear of Victor Korchoi's passing yesterday. He was inspiring, keeping his Chess skills strong and staying competitive throughout his entire life.
Jun-07-16  CHESSTTCAMPS: Yes, a very instructive game to honor Viktor Korchnoi. This includes the "fighting chance" resource (12... Kd8) that young Spassky missed against his older Leningrad rival. Obviously most of the posters (including yours truly) did as well. I agree with <patzer2> entirely - perhaps no player has gotten such good results late in his career.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Like several other solvers, I underestimated this puzzle and missed the defensive resource 12...Kd8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Sudden shock! Yesterday, we removed a defender and won a piece; today , we THREATEN a defender and win a piece. The knight cannot be taken on loss of the queen. The only answer: is Ke7, which alas, is impossible.
Jun-07-16  YouRang: Well, I saw <12.Nd5>, threatenting the Nf6's defense of the Q.

click for larger view

I also noticed that black's first defensive idea: <12...Qxg3> fails since white takes the N with check <13.Nxf6+>, and if the K attacks the N with <13...Ke7>, the N escapes back to d5 -- again with check <14.Nd5+>!

So white has time for a couple knight hops, still leaving time to recapture the queen. Very pretty!

In looking at black alternatives:

<12...Qh4+> fails to <13.g3>

<12...Qe6> fails to <13.Nc7+> wins Q


I only glanced at <12...Kd8> (getting the K out of range of the N), because it appears to simply drop the N after <13.Nxf6>.

click for larger view

Unfortunately, I missed that black can get it back with a fork: <13...Qh4+!>.

It probably continues: <14.g3 Qxf6 15.O-O>

click for larger view

My engine still likes white better by about +1.40, mainly because white's development is better while black's K is kinda drafty and unable to castle.

Even if I had given more consideration to 12...Kd8, I don't think I would have guessed that white could do better than taking the Nf6, but indeed <13.Qxg4! Nxg4 13.h3> leaves black's position in shambles, despite material equality.

Then again, on Tuesdays, I don't expect to have to think so hard.

Jun-07-16  posoo: LERN TO PLAY chesse Spuskus. I kno u musta been AFRAID of da Nobbicus but DANG o MANG o SPANG is dis an embarusment!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: A surprising opening blunder from the future 10th World Champion allows 12.Nd5, where White wins a minor piece.
Jun-07-16  nateinstein: <weary willy: ? 12 ... Kd8 is like your case (E) - white just plays 13 Nxf6> Then Black gets to play Qh4+ and regain the knight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Korchnoi should pick on someone his own size, he was 17 or so they said some time ago here. So Spassky was 11 and, according to <Pall Fangi>, did not realize that the best defense was 12...Kd8, which does not lose material. Although the resulting position is a trivial win anyway for bully Korchnoi.
Jun-07-16  King.Arthur.Brazil: I agree and would repeat YouRang analysis except by ... Kd8 which I didn't see it before already. The kid Spassky is ingenious and Korchnoi ingenuous. (lgs)
May-16-18  Toribio3: Very cool! Spassky was defeated in only 12 moves?
Mar-23-19  bubuli55: “Big Fish at E Leven”
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