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Vasily Smyslov vs Tigran V Petrosian
Zuerich Candidates (1953), Zuerich SUI, rd 15, Sep-26
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense (E58)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-08-03  Rookpawn: If 47. d8Q, Black can mate in two. But, if 47. Qd6, White wins. After 47... Nf2+, 48. Kh4 g5+ 49. Kh5. After any other reply to Qd6, White can queen his pawn without fear of perpetual check.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: A famous game. None of those present (and remember this was a candidates tournament, so "those present" means the world's best) noticed 47.Qd6! It was found months later by some amateur from, if I recall correctly, Switzerland.
Nov-03-03  drukenknight: if the game is indeed lost, then it looks like: 42...Ne7+ was the better move. I suppose he has to keep attacking the K at that pt.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 46...Qe5 was a grat move by Tigran, though!
Sep-25-04  suenteus po 147: <offramp> It was Petrosian's saving bluff! Bronstein explained about this game in his 1953 Zurich Tournament book, saying that Smyslov, in the seemingly won position after 41.d5, was astonished by 41...Qa2+, as Petrosian was essentially demonstrating the solution to "black to move and draw" in the current position. They talked it over during adjournment and came to Petrosian's drawing move, 46...Qe5, illustrating that White can no longer win as queening the pawn leads to mate, exchanging queens loses the d-pawn, and retreating leads to draw by perpetual check. Believing Petrosian's bluff to be a genuine miracle (even Tigran thought so himself), Smyslov forced the draw himself, resigning himself to half a point when the whole point was still there for the taking. Of course, I'm here saying Smyslov should have been more skeptical and found the win, but I suppose it's moot, as Smyslov went on to win the Tournment and the World Championship. Still, it's that kind of assured complacency that lets resignations of this kind continue unvillified.
Sep-25-04  clocked: Does 46...Ne5+ draw?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: You could have something there:

46...♘e5+ 47.♕xe5 ♕xe5 48.d8♕ ♕xc3 49.♕d5 ♕b2 50.♕e4+ ♔h8 51.♔g3 c3 and I suppose that theoretically white should win but the game is just beginning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<47.Qd6! ... was found months later by some amateur from, if I recall correctly, Switzerland.>>

Make that Sweden!

Jul-06-13  Karpova: Taylor Kingston says that Bronstein credited a Swedish amateur while Dr. Euwe attributes the discovery of 47.Qd6 to Kick Langeweg.

From page 199 of Najdorf, Miguel 'Z├╝rich 1953 - 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship', 2012, Milford CT USA

Mar-09-15  Howard: Rather oddly, Najdorf's book gives White's move as 30.Qc8+, rather than the correct 30.Qf8+. At first glance, it may appear to not make much difference, except...

....a computer file on the tournament states that Smyslov apparently could have won with 31.d5. The difference here is that with the Q on f8, White's bishop is protected.

I don't recall the exact analysis but then those of you with engines could probably fill in the gaps.

At any rate, the final position was certainly one of the most famous of the tournament--albeit Smyslov would not have liked the reason why.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This line of the Nimzo Indian was very popular during the tournament; the rarely played 9..b6 was tried on several occasions. Played in the 15th round; in round 2 Petrosian had played 18..dxe 19 dxe..Rae8 against Reshevsky and had drawn using a clever exchange sacrifice. In this game Petrosian tried 18..f5?! but this was clearly not an improvement as he very quickly had an inferior position. The passed d-pawn gave Smyslov a winning advantage and he marked time beginning at move 30 in order to reach adjournment. The immediate 45 d7 could have been answered by 45..h5! when either 46 Kxh5..Qxe7 47 Qd5+..Kh7 48 d8(Q)(48 Qe4+?..Qxe4 49 fxe..Nf4+would have actually been winning for Black)..Nf4+ or 46 Qxh5..Qe6+ 47 Qf5..Qxd7! are sufficient to draw. As mentioned in above posts 47 Qd6! (covering the h2 square) would have been winning; Gligoric offerred 47..g6 48 d8(Q)..Nf2+ 49 Kh4..Qh5+ 50 Kg3..Nh1+ 51 Kf4..Qxh2+ 52 Ke4 and wins.
Mar-16-21  CaptainPol: At move 13, why did black not play Bxf3? So white has to play gxf3 or lose a piece. gxf3 weakens the white king's position
Mar-16-21  phantasmagorium: <CaptainPol> I guess the players judged 13... Bxf3 14. gxf3 not terribly weakening of White King's defense. There is no concrete and immediate threat against White's K, the square e4 under white's control, and the half-open g file may even be usable for attack against Black's K position - and White has two bishops against Blacks two knights - usually a risky material balance for the knights.

But hey, I am just a patzer. Hopefully a stronger player will explain the position.

Mar-31-23  Helios727: Stockfish says that 37.Be7 threw away a win for White, but then Black gave the win back with 42...Qd2. White threw it away again with 46.d7, only to have Black give it back with 46...Qe5, assuming Smyslov had found 47.Qd6.

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