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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
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Dec-10-10  Kliol: Hi,i am a beginner and my question may sound stupied, but i thought games in chess end either with mat or pat..why 12 is marked as victory??

thx in advance

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Kliol> According to Fide chess laws <the game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns.>

A draw agreed end the game, too. There are a few other circumstances for a draw, someone else might explain that to you. :D

Aug-10-11  twinlark: 12. Nd5 Kd8 13. Qxg4 Nxg4 14. h3 Nh6 15. dxe5 dxe5 16. Bg5+:

click for larger view

It seems that Spassky didn't see this as he thought he was simply losing a piece after 12. Nd5, but the engine evaluation for this position is the equivalent of a piece loss (not that an 11-year boy in 1948 would be in a position to appreciate such a nuance):

16...Ke8 17. Nc7+ loses the rook

16...Kc8 locks in the queen rook, and after 17. Bf6 White wins a pawn and Black is undeveloped in a hopeless position, which leaves

16...Kd7 and the king a sitting duck in the middle of the board. After 17. Bf6 and 18. 0-0-0, Black's goose is well and truly cooked.

If Spassky ever looked back at this game he might have ruefully thought that resigning was the right move anyway.

Sep-17-11  mikhs: <outplayer: <Deep Blade> Are you really deep? 12...Qf3 13.Nf6(13.gf3??) Ke7 (13...Kd8 14.gf3) 14.Nd5+ followed by gf3 and White is simply a piece up. >

<outplayer> sounds pretty arrogant and making fun of <Deep Blade> while talking out of his ass....

white is NOT "simply a piece up" as 12...Kd8 saves the knight. However black's position is still pretty misserable.

Nov-27-12  Tigranny: How does Kd8 save the knight?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Tigranny> 12....Kd8 13.Nxf6 Qh4+, though as <mikhs> notes, Black's position would have remained unpleasant.
Nov-27-12  dahtah: testing
Nov-29-12  Tigranny: <perfidious> Thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: Boris was 11, and Victor was 17 whn this game was played....
Feb-27-15  m.okun: This game took place in Leningrad Palace of Pioneers during a session of simultaneous game which Korchnoi (17 years old) gave. After a game end Spassky (11 years old) burst into tears.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Well, that's one for experience. The 17-year-old Korchnoi takes the measure of the 11-year-old Spassky.

Technically, another case of Hassling the Defender.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: In honour of Viktor Korchnoi, who just passed away on Jun/06/2016, today's POTD is appropriately, a position from one of Korchnoi's wins.

And yes, I got this. 12.Nd5 looks to deflect the knight away from the defense of the queen. If 12...Qxf3, 13.Nxf6+ comes with check. If 13...Ke7, 14.Nd5+, knight is saved, queen will be won back.

12.Nd5 also comes with a fork threat on c7, but what if black plays 12...Kd8? If 13.Nxf6 then 13...Qh4+ wins back the piece. White still has the better position, but a fair way to go before the win is clear.

Jun-07-16  dfcx: Black is trying to trade away his queen, which is protected by the knight. White gains a piece by deflecting the knight.


A. 12...Qxf3 13.Nxf6+ Ke7 14.Nd5+ Ke8 15.gxf3

B. 12...Qe6 13.Nc7+ wins queen.

C. 12...Qh4+ 13.g3 Qh6/Qc8/Qd7 14.Nxf6+

Jun-07-16  dfcx: In my case C. black can only play 13...Qh3/Qh6
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

The black knight protects the queen but it's defenseless and can be taken with check. This suggests 12.Nd5 with the double threat 13.Nxf6+ and 13.Nc7+:

A) 12... Qxf3 13.Nxf6+ Ke7 14.Nd5+ Kd7 15.gxf3 + - [N].

B) 12... Qe6 13.Nc7+ followed by 14.Nxe6 + - [Q vs N].

C) 12... Be(g)7 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qxg4 + - [Q vs N].

D) 12... Qh4 13.g3 followed by 14.Nxf6+ wins the knight at least.

E) 12... O-O-O 13.Nxf6 wins the knight.

Jun-07-16  saturn2: after 12 Nd5 white wins. for example 12... Ke7 13 fxe5
Jun-07-16  weary willy: Or 12.... Ke7 13. N x K and wins
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I missed the very instructive defensive resource 12... Kd8.

However, according to Stockfish, after 13.Qxg4 Nxg4 14.h3 Nh6 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.Bg5+ Kc8 17.Bf6 White is above +3: the pawn on e5 is about to fall, the knight is nearly trapped and, in general, the lack of development and coordination will render Black's defense impossible.

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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
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