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Boris Spassky vs Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Bugojno (1978), Bugojno YUG, rd 1, Feb-26
Sicilian Defense: Closed. Fianchetto Variation (B24)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-23-06  AlexanderMorphy: Spassky gets hammered by the player of the day!
Mar-23-06  zev22407: 3)..R-b8!? not a usual move in this variation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is a game played almost entirely on the Q-side. The move 3...Rb8 is definitely unusual at move 3, but I suppose Ljubo knew it had to be played at some point, and indeed it turns out to be on a good square.

Black always plays ...b5 in the Closed Sicilian.

Mar-23-06  Everett: Hammered? Lost a pawn, and then lost the endgame.
Mar-23-06  euripides: I wonder if this was lost on time, though I imagine White is losing after 40 Bb3 Nd3.

Ljubojevic played around with some interesing move orders in the Sicilian including 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 a6 3 c3 b5. In this game, after the early Nc3, he fianchettoes the king's bishop, perhaps because one of the main White responses to the Accelerated Dragon in the open Sicilian is c4. Move order against the closed Sicilian is very delicate - especially if, like me, you like e6 Scilians. This early Rb8 keeps options open.

Mar-23-06  goldenbear: I was about to write that 24.e5 would have saved White but there's a mate threat! Where did the trouble begin?
Mar-23-06  goldenbear: 7.a3? is not very precise. Let the knight come to f6 first. Perhaps this is the culprit?
Mar-23-06  goldenbear: 4.f4 is probably what I would have played, making use of the extra tempo. However f4 nullifies a significant drawback of Rb8 -- that the bishop can attack the rook at some point with Bf4.
Apr-04-06  AlexanderMorphy: <Everett>lol i wanted to make it sound more dramatic!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: 3...Rb8 is one of those little-played moves that seem to score well in the database. As pointed out above, Black prepares to play ...b5 while keeping his development options open and getting his rook out of potential danger.

The big culprit, of course, was 10.d4, which lost a pawn. In his notes to the game in the Informant, Ljubojevic suggested 10.Kh1, avoiding Black's mini-combo.

After that it was techique, an interesting feature being the early uselessness and later frustration of White's supposedly powerful KB. After 40.Bb3, Black just plays 40...a2, of course; the previous few moves were just setting up the best moment to play that move.

Oct-14-09  Ulhumbrus: On 24 e5 Rb1 is mate.
Dec-17-13  Ulhumbrus: <goldenbear: 7.a3? is not very precise....Perhaps this is the culprit?> I agree. 3...Rb8 loses a tempo for minor piece development, but 7 a3 moves a pawn in the opening and also loses time in that way. Moreover it gives Black's rook and b pawn a target. One alternative to this is 7 Nd5
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Ulhumbrus: <goldenbear: 7.a3? is not very precise....Perhaps this is the culprit?> I agree. 3...Rb8 loses a tempo for minor piece development, but 7 a3 moves a pawn in the opening and also loses time in that way. Moreover it gives Black's rook and b pawn a target. One alternative to this is 7 Nd5>

Doesn't the suggestion 7.Nd5 break another of your 1200-level rules, that of moving a piece in the opening a second time, which you mechanically parrot as though they have anything to do with grandmaster play?

Black will play ....e6 and ....Nge7 in any case, so why provoke it with the resultant loss of two tempi?

To Spassky's credit, he overcame this defeat to share first place with Karpov.

Apr-20-19  edubueno: 4 d3! es mucho mejor que 4 f4?!
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