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Georgy Lisitsin vs Vasily Smyslov
USSR Championship (1944), Moscow URS, rd 7, May-30
Zukertort Opening: Queen Pawn Defense (A06)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-14-08  general607: I found the main kine 1. ..Rxc4 2. Qxc4 Ne3 3. fxe3 Bxe3+ 4. Kf1 Qf3+ 5. Ke1 Qf2# very quickly, but like a genuine patzer, I looked no further into the many variations black might play. Does this line count as 'solved' or do I get just half credit?
Feb-14-08  hovik2003: First thing came to my mind was how posing the black knight is sitting in the middle of board on d5 and declaring itself to be center of attention to company queen on long diagonal to mate white king on g2 with only one leap, but obviously in the moment ...Ne3 doesn't work because e3 square is covered by f-pawn and white queen, and beside the black stallion itself is threatened to be vanished forever by white bishop on c4, so bishop got to go, but how?, easy, by taking the bishop with mere rook and divert the queen from e3 at the mean time, and that can't be bad, so by ...Rxc4 Qxc4 seems I am on the right path, and look! now ...Ne3 is more effective because it threatens white queen on c4 and mate to king on g2, that is what I call an grand fork, now f-pawn has to take the knight because white queen can't cover g2 by moving to f1 to save herself and his majesty at the same time, so after fxe3 I have bishop taking back with check, I am sure this is the solution!, after Bxe3+ king got one square to go and that is f1 and now isolated and cornered white queen jumps in the game with all the grace to check on f3 and mate on next move.

then 23...Rxc4 24.Qxc4 Ne3! 25.fxe3 Bxe3+ 26.Kf1 Qf3+ 27.Ke1 Qf2#

Easy but noble puzzle presented by CG composed by ex-World Champion Smyslov.

P.S. please don't ruin my day and the puzzle by counter moves like 23...Rxc4 24.gxf4 Nxf4! 25.d5!(25.Qg3? Ne2+) exd5 where white wins easily with two pawn up and the initiative.

Feb-14-08  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium): Black to play and win

Material: N for B. The White K side is weak on light squares. The Black Bf4 is immediately threatened. The White Qb3 is the only piece pertinent to the defense of the K-side, but it also protects the Bc4.

Candidates (23...): Ne3, Rxc4

23...Ne3 would be a great move (see the combinations below), except for Qb3. Fortunately, Qb3 is overburdened, so the combinations can be repaired.


Black has two alternatives that recapture his lost material.

(1) 24.Qxc4 Ne3 (threatening Nxc4 and Qg7#)

25.fxe3 Bxe3+ 26.Kf1 Qf3+ 27.Ke1 Qf2#

(2) 24.gxf4 Nxf4 (threatening Qf2#)

25.f3 [Qg3 26.Ne7+] [Kf1 26.Qh1#] Rc3 (forcing obstruction of Qb3)

26.Bxc3 [Qxc3 Ne7+] Qxf3

Black can meet only one of the threats 27...Nh3# and 27...Qg2#. In the worst line for Black (26...Ne7+ above), he ends with Q+P vs. R+B.

Time to peek. Lisitsin saw his fate. According to Toga II 1.3.1, the best line was

[ply 15/60, time 02:57, value -3.03 (for White)]

23...Rxc4 24.gxf4 Nxf4 25.d5 exd5 26.Qf3 Re4 27.Kh1 d4 28.Rg1 Ne6 29.a3 Re2 30.Qxa8 Rxa8 31.Rgd1 Rd8 32.Bc1 d3 33.Be3 Rd6 34.Bxb6

I underestimated the possible defenses slightly. I suspect Lisitsin avoided the line I gave because of the obstruction 25...Rc3. Time to check the kibitzing.

<griga262: I saw 23...Rxc4! 24.Qxc4 Ne3 very quickly, but never expected the continuation to be 25.Qf1>

I was also surprised, hence my computer analysis. I was reassured that not even a computer would pick 25.Qf1.

<Dilbertarian: Crafty proposes: 24. gxf4 Nxf4 25. d5 (not 25. f3?, Rc3!!) exd5 and Black is very strong.>

I overlooked this line, which Toga also gave, possibly because Black is way ahead and in no danger. I agree the line should be seen for a puzzle solution.

Feb-14-08  ConstantImprovement: I. Final solution:

23. ... Rc4:

and either

24. Qc4: Ne3 25. e3: Be3:+ 26. Kf1 Qf3+ 27. Ke1 Qf2#


24. f4: Nf4: 25. f3 Rc3 26. Bc3: Qf3: 27. Rd2 Nh3#.


24. h4(h3) Rfc8 25. f4: Nf4: 26. f3 Rc3 27. Bc3: Qf3: 28. Rd2 Rc3: 29. Qd1 Qg3+ 30. Kf1 Qh3+ 31. Ke1 Qh1+ 32. Kf2 Qg2+ 33. Ke1 Qg1#

II. Way to the solution:

23. ... Rc4: (The only plausible move, because 23. ... Ne3 24. e3: is pointless.)

II.1. Acceptance:

24. Qc4: Ne3 ("fork" on the queen and the mate square g2) 25. e3: Be3: 26. Kf1 Qf3+ 27. Ke1 Qf2#. White must lose the queen in this variation, since the only queen move that also defends g2, 25. Qf1, is met by Nf1:.

II.2. How to decline?

Since material is even, one possibility is 24. f4:.

24. ... Rb4 is answered by the unsatisfying 25. Qa3, so the natural 24. ... Nf4:, renewing the mate threat, seems best. The only move now is 25. f3 (25. Qg3 Nf2+; 25. Kf1 Qh1#).

So we have:
23. ... Rc4: 24. f4: Nf4: 25. f3

25. ... Rfc8 looks good enough, but is there an immediate killer?

25. ... Ne2+ 26. Kf1(Kh1) Rc3 27. Bc3: Qf3# (27. Qc3: Nc3: ) would be devastating, but 26. Kf2 or Kg1 save the day.

25. ... Rc3 26. Bc3: (26. Qc3: Ne2+; 26. Qb4 [or Qb5] Qf3: 27. Rd2 Nh3#) Qf3: and Black has the threats of Qg2# and Nh3#. White can parry only one of them, so: 27. Rd2 Nh3#.

What about 24. h4 (24. f3 is bad: 24. ... Be3+ 25. Kg2 Rc7 )? It is an interesting reply because rook and bishop are still hanging, but suddenly White has a flight square on h2 in some lines. Let us check if everything still works after 24. ... Bh6 (keeping an eye on e3):

25. Qc4: (now forced or White is a piece down) Ne3 26. e3: Be3:+ 27. Kh2 and White is safe.

So 24. ... Bh6 is wrong. There remains 24. ... Rc7.

24. h4 Rc7 25. f4: Nf4: 26. f3 Rc3 27. Bc3: Qf3: 28. Rd2 One way to continue is: 28. ... Nh3+ 29. Kh2. White seems to be safe even after 29. ... Nf4 30. Bb2 or 29. ... Ng5 30. Bb2. Another way is: 28. ... Ne2+, but because of the rook sacrifice on c3 White will be a piece up after 29. Re2: Qe2:.

It seems that 24. ... Rc7 was the mistake. Better might be 24. ... Rfc8. Play would continue 25. f4: Nf4: 26. f3 Rc3 27. Bc3: Qf3 28. Rd2 Rc3: 29. Qb6: (29. Qd1 Qg3+ 30. Kf1 [to answer 30. ... Rf3+ with 31. Qf3:] Qh3+ 31. Ke1 [31. Kg1 Rg3+ etc.; 31. Kf2 Qg2+ 32. Ke1 Qg1#] Qh1+ 32. Kf2 Qg2+ 33. Ke1 Qg1#) Qg3+ 30. Kh1 Qh3+ 31. Kg1 Rg3+ 32. Kf2 Qh2+ 33. Kf1 Rg1#

Feb-14-08  patzer2: For today's Thursday puzzle solution, Lisitsin beats Smyslov with the exchange sacrfice 23...Rxc4!!, which sets up a combined double attack, Knight Fork and discovered attack after 24. Qxc4 Ne3! .

See <ConstantImprovement>'s and <johnlspouge>'s posts for detailed analysis.

Feb-14-08  hkannan2000: Smyslov beat Lisitsin on preliminary analysis
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Win the queen now,the king later.

Happy V-Day!!

Feb-14-08  Marmot PFL: I too thought this was easier than yesterday, as the objective was clearer and the weak light squares on white's kingside strongly suggest the elimination of his KB.
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: I got it! I figured I had to try to decoy the ♕ off the 3rd rank first w/ the ♖. Then play ♘e3 & threaten # on g2 w/ the ♕. Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
Feb-14-08  officeplayer: 23.Bc4?? was the decisive mistake here(23. Bd3 Bg5 24. Be4 with equality) 23. Bc4 Rxc4 24. Qxc4 (24. gxf4 Nxf4 25.d5 (25. f3 Rc3 26. Qxc3 Ne2+ 27. Kf2 Nxc3 28. Bxc3 Qxa2+ 29. Rb2 Qa3 30. Rc2 b5 31. Rb1 Rb8 32. Rb4 h6 33. Be1 Qd3 34. Rd2 Qf5) 25... exd5 26. Re1 d4 27. Qg3 Ne6 28. a3 Rd8) (24. h4 Rb4 (24... Rfc8 25. gxf4 Nxf4 26. d5 (26. f3 Ne2+ 27.Kg2 Rc2 28. Qe3 Nc3+ 29. Kg3 Nxb1 30. Rxb1 Qxa2 31. Rc1 Qxb2 32. Rxc2 Qxc2) 26... exd5 27. Qf3 Re4 28. Qa3 Ne2+ 29. Kf1 Qc6) 25. Qa3 Bd6) 24... Ne3 25. Qf1 Nxf1 26. gxf4 Nxh2 27. Kxh2 Qf3 28. Rf1 f5 29. Rg1 Rf6

Feb-14-08  wals: Noting think: strategy = positional elements involved. tactics = what moves will assist the overall strategy? Now have a look
White is up a light bishop, and concentrated on the Qside. Moving Nd5 would allow a clear diagonal a8 to h8
What tactic could black use?
Double the rooks? f8-c8 - easily met by rookto c1. A sacrifice? 23..Rxc4 24.Qxc4...Ne3 25.gxe3...Bxe3+
that's my best shot
PM =
O my gosh - the first 3 1/2 moves right!
Feb-14-08  wals: Georgy Lisitsin - Vasily Smyslov, 7, Moscow URS ch 1944 0 1

Analysis by Fritz 11: Depth 20/39 time 6min.

1. (-2.96): 23...Rc7xc4 24.g3xf4 Nd5xf4 25.d4-d5 e6xd5 26.Rd1-e1 d5-d4 27.Qb3-g3 Nf4-e6 28.Bb2-a1 Qa8-a5 29.Rb1-d1 g7-g6 30.Re1-e2 Qa5-a4 31.Rd1-e1 Rf8-e8 32.Ba1-b2 2. = (0.17): 23...Bf4-g5 24.Bc4xd5 e6xd5 25.Bb2-c1 Bg5-f6 26.Bc1-f4 Rc7-a7 27.Bf4-d6 Rf8-e8 28.Rd1-e1 Re8-c8 29.Rb1-c1 Rc8xc1 30.Re1xc1 h7-h6 31.Bd6-e5 Bf6xe5 32.d4xe5 Ra7xa2 33.Qb3xb6

(, 15.02.2008)

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: White's 20. g3 let the dogs out by providing an entry for Black's Queen.
Feb-14-08  YouRang: Got the whole thing pretty quickly once I noticed that our queen's long diagonal and the knight's ability to hit g7.

This is one of those cases where a potential tactic is realized by working backwards to find a couple "pre-tactics".

Here, the potential tactic is to bring the queen in at g2 or f3 with support from a N or B.

In order to do this, we need clearance sac: ...Ne3!, opening Q's diagonal. But we can't do it yet because the white Q defends e3.

So we use the another tactic: ...Rxc4!, which (1) deflects the Q from defending e3 and (2) decoys the Q in place for our knight to fork K+Q at e3. If the knight is captured fxe3, then ...Bxf3+ & ...Qf6+ soon mates.

Feb-14-08  TheaN: 3.5/4

Ah damn. I missed Rc3.

23....Rxc4 seems crushing.

24.gxf4! (Qxc4 Ne3! 25.fxe3 (Qf1 Nxf1 as in game) Bxe3+ 26.Kf1 Qf3+ 27.Ke1 Qf2#) Nxf4 25.d5 (f3 Rc3! missed this one with 26.Qxc3 (Bxc3 Qxf3 with Qg2# or Nh3#) Ne2+) exd5 with a comfortable game for Black.

Still, for missing 25....Rc3 and because of that 25.d5 I'm deducting myself half a point... Rxc4 was too obvious anyway; no problem there.

Feb-14-08  DarthStapler: Almost saw it, but after Rxc4 Qxc4 Ne3 fxe3 Bxe3+ Kf1 I only thought of Qh1+ and didn't see that Qf3+ wins
Feb-14-08  johnlspouge: <<playground player> wrote: "White's 20.g3 let the dogs out by providing an entry for Black's Queen.">

Toga II 1.3.1 provides an analysis, concluding the position after 20.g3 is dead even:

[ply 15/52, time 02:08, value 0.00]
20...Nxc3 21.Bxc3 Nd5 22.Be1 Qg5 23.Bc4 Rd8 24.Bxd5 Rxd5 25.Qxb6 Rcd7 26.Bc3 h5 27.Kh1 Qg4 28.gxf4 Qf3+ 29.Kg1 Qg4+ 30.Kf1 Qh3+ 31.Kg1 Qg4+

My chessforum contains instructions on how to download freeware like Toga for chess analysis.

Feb-14-08  johnlspouge: <<YouRang> wrote: "This is one of those cases where a potential tactic is realized by working backwards to find a couple "pre-tactics".>

Yep. I thought of you when I repaired the pre-tactic 24.Ne3 with the deflection 23.Rxc4. Thanks for your previous post (a few weeks back) bringing the method to my attention, <YouRang>!

Feb-14-08  JG27Pyth: Got this instantly... almost... miscalculated the mating net and so I checked out a bunch of other lines before coming back and finding the sequence that lets Rxc4 24.Qxc4 Ne3 25.fxe3 ... lead to mate by force. Mostly I followed the same thought process as john l. spouge, which means either he's getting worse or I'm getting better ;) I was stunned by Lisitsin's continuation... it just seemed pretty obviously losing... I did spend some time analyzing gxf4 in response to Rxc4 ... it leads to a won ending for black but it's pretty deep. Fritz prefers gxf4 to lisitsin's continuation.
Feb-14-08  aazqua: Obvious but still a very nice puzzle. The queen threatens the long diagonal, and wouldn't it be nice to put the knight on a square to cover g2! e3 is tempting, and if it weren't for that pesky queen p*n b*p check would lead to mate. If only there was a way to deflect the queen ...
Feb-14-08  belgradegambit: A very easy Thursday. Got it almost immediately. The whole idea is quite straightforward.
Feb-14-08  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: Mostly I followed the same thought process as john l. spouge, which means either he's getting worse or I'm getting better ;)>

I can't let this statement pass unanswered.

Thanks, I must be getting worse ;>)

Feb-15-08  znprdx: Ok so I'm a day late here. After the speculative 23..Rx[B]c4. It IS very pretty - there are a couple of fluky features which makes it enticing

1. BUT Smyslov almost has to fight for the win (e.g. after 27.Rx[N]f1 are we certain White couldn't draw?) against Lisitsin whose reasonable claim to fame was defeating him in a 4 game match?

2.The great number of CG posters who claim to have found the combination - particularly emphasizing how quickly and easily - nonsense... simply because 24. Qx[R]c4 is NOT forced.

3.Instead 24. g3x[B]f4 Nxf4 25.f3
(even 25. might hold - but it looks a bit shaky)

4.Granted 25...R[f]c8 forces 26.Rd7 leaves Black a pawn up with a menacing knight, but this is still a playable human game - so please don't bore me with a computer refutation.

Feb-15-08  just a kid: I found this very easy.23.Rxc4! was straightfoward to me.
Aug-21-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: 20.g3 seemed a strong move. the changing of pieces was good for white, but he went down with Rxc4! Even thought it was possible to follow: Bxd5 and Qxb6 with a2 passed pown. 24...Nxe3, could not fxe3??? cause Sxe3+ followed by Qh1+, obviously. So to avoid Qg2++, white lose the Q and the game.
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