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Laszlo Szabo vs Vladas Mikenas
"Szimply Szabo" (game of the day Feb-20-2005)
Kemeri (1939), Kemeri LAT, rd 3, Mar-06
Sicilian Defense: Pin. Koch Variation (B40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: "Szimply?" There's nothing "szimple" about this game.
Feb-20-05  Eatman: Mikenas played a line of Pin variation which is known to be bad (of course back then it probably wasn't known at all). Still, fight came out to be extremely close with one tempo deciding it all at the end.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Nice game by White in a sharp Sicilian line; Black finally developed his Queenside just in time to resign. Notice the master stroke 29. Ke1 avoiding ... Ba6+ but also how White's King defended the Queenside so the Rooks could advance the h Pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Would 34...a2 instead of 34...axb2 have been an improvement? White would still Queen his pawn I suppose.
Feb-20-05  pim: <Eatman>Szabo writes: "Zek's theoretical summing up of the 5..Bb4 variation was published in the Soviet press at just about that time, and Mikenas, a Lithuanian with perfect mastery of the Russian language, very likely knew the article's contents. (...) When we analysed the game after the event, Mikenas remarked that when he chose the opening he had in mind precisely the position that developed after the 10th move. With this, I believe he conceded that his play up to this point was the result of preparation. But the bishop move [11 Bg5] surprised him." (Szabo, My best games of chess, p.26)

Szabo also indicates that for a long time he (and everybody else) thought that after 11.. f6 black is lost after because of 12 Bxf6 Rxf6 13 exf6, but that that fourty years later he does not see an "unambiguous winning course" after 12 .. Rf7

Feb-20-05  Elrathia Kingi: I didn't see it at first, but 11...f6 12.♗xf6 ♖f7! 13.♕xf7+? ♔xf7 14.♗xd8 ♘c2+ 15.♔ (moves) ♘xa1 and black has the advantage.

Interestingly, 34...axb2 complicated the game for Mikenas, as the simple a2 would have prevented the difficulty in getting the pawn down the field (which wouldn't have saved the game, but it would have made it last a little longer).

Feb-20-05  kevin86: Since this is the day for the 2005 Daytona 500,it is highly appropriate that we have a pawn race today;it looks like white got the checkers-OOPS-did I do a faux pas saying "checkers" on a chess site? lol
Feb-20-05  aw1988: Checkers is vastly inferior to Chess.
Feb-20-05  ughaibu: Presumably by the same token chess is vastly inferior to shogi.
Feb-20-05  patzer2: <Eatman> I agree with you that the 5...Bb4?! variation is far less effective for Black than the mainline 5...d6 or 5...Nc6, and contributed to much of Black's problems later in the game.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the game is the deep passed pawn combination starting with 25. Bxg6! Even the computers have to run for a while before finding the winning lines after this subtle move (but with enough time, Fritz 8 seems to have validated Szabo's deep combination):

25.Bxg5! hxg5 26.Rxg5 Ne7 27.Rg7+ Kf8 28.Rh7 b6 29.Ke1 a5 30.h4 a4 [30...Bb7 31.Rgg7 (31.h5?! Be4 32.Rh8+ Kf7 33.Rxa8 Bxa8 34.h6 Be4 35.Rg7+ Kf8 36.Kd2 Bf5 37.f3 Ng6 ) 31...Ng8 32.Rxd7 Be4 33.Rh8 Rc8 34.h5 Bf3 35.Kd2 Bc6 36.Ra7 Ra8 37.Rc7 Be8 38.h6 Bf7 39.Rc4 Bg6 40.Rg4 Kf7 41.h7 Bxh7 42.Rxh7+ Kf8 43.Rg6 ] 31.h5 a3 [31...Ra5 32.Rh8+ Kf7 33.f4 Rc5 34.Kd2 Nf5 35.Rh7+ Kf8 36.h6 ] 32.h6 Nf5 33.Rh8+ Kf7 34.h7 axb2 35.Rf8+ Ke7 36.Kd2 Ra2 37.Kc2 Bb7 38.h8Q 1–0

P.S. Could the pun be a takeoff on a quote of Zsa Zsa Gabor or one of the other Gabor sisters? "Simply Marvelous Darling" comes to mind, but I can't place where I heard it before (unless it was perhaps on the old Green Acres TV series).

Feb-03-07  sneaky pete: Some brave but misguided soul ventured this line against me in a correspondence game in 1995. The possibility 11... f6 had me worried a few seconds. If 12.Bxf6 Rf7 13.Qg8+ Rf8 14.Qg7 .. with a draw by repetition seems the best white can get. Then I found 12.exf6 Nxc2+ (12... Rf7? 13.Qg8+ Rf8 14.f7#) 13.Kd1 Nxa1 (13... Nd4 14.Qxh7 ..; 13...Nc6 14.Be2 ..) 14.Be2 .. and white should win.

Black actually followed the Szabo vs Mikenas game up to move 17, when he deviated with 17... Nxb4 (18.Bxh7 Rxg2 19.Ke2 Nd5 20.Rag1 Nxf6 21.exf6 Rxg1 22.Rxg1 d5 23.Rg8+ Kd7 24.h4 Kd6 25.h5 e5 26.h6 1-0).

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