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Vasily Smyslov vs Igor Bondarevsky
USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Leningrad- Moscow URS, rd 8, Apr-04
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Catalan Defense Accepted (A13)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-20-05  MidnightDuffer: This game was drawn (but at least the game score here, is not the 3 fold repetition, I thought might have happened, still) ; it is a classic endgame study; White draws if White is careful but both sides make errors, the game goes for over 100 moves, whereas, I think, maybe I could have even won it for Black!

I believe at the start of move 78. it is a draw according to one book, with accurate play, however Smyslov errors but so does Bondarevsky.

Mar-01-08  Resignation Trap: White played the defense in this difficult endgame well...up to a point. After Black's 77th move we get this position:

click for larger view

White should keep his rook in the vicinity of a8, a7, and b8, keeping a respectable checking distance from the Black king. This way, White retains the options of checking either from behind or from the side whenever the correct opportunity arises.

Instead, Smyslov played 78.Rh8? here. Black now has a forced win with 78...f3+! 79.Kf2 h3! White's toughest line of resistance is inadequate to hold: 80.Rh7 Rg8 81.Rh6 Rd8 82.Rg6+ Kh5 83.Rg7 h2 84.Rh7+ Kg4 85.Rg7+ Kf5 86.Rh7 Rd1 87.Rh5+ Kg4 88.Rxh2 Rd2+ 89.Kg1 Rxh2 90.Kxh2 Kf4 91.Kg1 Ke3 and wins.

Bondarevsky misses this with 78...Rg7?=. Smyslov replied with 79.Rh6? (79.Ra8= or 79.Rb8= would be correct), and then Bondarevsky missed winning by the same method as above(with 79...f3+! ) by playing 79...Re7?=.

Mar-01-08  Resignation Trap: But wait! There's more!

After Black's 86th move we have this position:

click for larger view

White erred again with 87.Kf2? , when as indicated in my previous note, 87.Ra7 would have been the most methodical method to draw.

After 87.Kf2? Kg4! 88.Kg2, Bondarevsky misses another chance to win by playing 88...Rg5?= (88...f3+ wins as in the previous note).

Smyslov gives his opponent one more chance by playing 89.Rh8? (89.Ra7=), and once again Bondarevsky misses an opportunity to win by playing 89...Rh5?=. Black's winning method, just as in the other three earlier cases, would have started with 89...f3+!

From move 90 on, White's defense is good enough for a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Resignation Trap>, thanks for the analysis. Good to know how to play this for a win if the defense side errs. Smyslov demonstrated it himself against Relange when Relange gave his rook a passive role:

Smyslov vs E Relange, 1996

Incidentally, Bondarevsky couldn't beat Keres two years before this game with Smyslov on the same endgame. One would assume that by the time he played Smyslov he would have studied how to try to win it!

Bondarevsky vs Keres, 1939

Premium Chessgames Member
  dernier loup de T: Aïe Aïe Aïe!! So Bondarevsky missed two times a technical rook ending win against two youngsters who later would be two monsters: first against Keres and here against the great specialist of the matter, Smyslov himself!!
May-05-16  Howard: Remind me to look over this endgame sometime. If two players as strong as THESE two could both make mistakes, then it's apparently not as "easy" as it looks.

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