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Vasily Smyslov vs Samuel Reshevsky
USSR - USA Radio Match (1945), Moscow RUS and New York USA, rd 1, Sep-01
Spanish Game: Open. St. Petersburg Variation (C82)  ·  1-0



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Given 24 times; par: 54 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-25-07  sanyas: Well what do you know. I thought it was nice too. Now someone please come here and do some real kibitzing. This game was played by radio, wasn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: 1) Yes, I believe this was the case. Not sure though. 2) Wasn't 41 Rd8 a mate? Was Bg6 some sort of neat final insult by Smyslov?
Apr-25-07  Plato: <switchingquylthulg> and <>:

The game score is incorrect. Black played 40...Kg8, not 40...Kh8.

May-21-07  rkovach: I thought I had posted this comment a few days ago - so, if this a repeat, sorry.

I was a witness to the playing of this game. My part was to carry radiograms from the Henry Hudson's Grand Ballroom mezzanine, where the MacKay Radio operators were to the catering room, half a floor up, where the American players were.

Reshevsky sat for 45 minutes (!) on his 16th move. Shortly after receiving Smyslov's immediate reply, Reshevsky asked for time on Smyslov's clock - the response was "2 1/2 minutes" After several confirmations conviced him that it was indeed 2 1/2 minutes Al Horowitz came up, turned the score so he could read it and asked R "Sammy, have you kept up with the Russian journals? - Smyslov published 22 pages on this line and beats it in every variation"

May-21-07  micartouse: <rkovach> Thanks for the anecdote. It succinctly highlights some of the qualities that made both players great.

45 minutes in the early middlegame was probably pretty fast for Reshevsky!

Jul-09-07  sanyas: If 18...♕h4 then not 19.♖d1?? ♕h2+ 20.♔f1 ♕h1+ 21.♔e2 ♕xg2+ and ...♕f2#, but 19.♕xh7+, which is the whole point, of course.
Aug-19-07  sanyas: This was the match which marked the rise of Soviet Russia as the ruling power of the chess world.
Sep-03-07  psmith: The latest game in the database with this line was won by Black:

T Rondio vs G Gorges, 1990

Sep-03-07  RookFile: It's amazing to me that Reshevsky almost figured this out over the board against Smyslov. Pretty incredible, really. But it was games like this that marked the end of days when you didn't need to study the opening beforehand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: The old fellows at my chess club used to call the entire line up to and including Black's 23rd move The Sea Dragon Variation, because it was so long. It might be the first variation where the theory reached past the 20th move.
Mar-01-08  Pawsome: The line was Boleslavsky's discovery. White can even take the g3 knight and live according to the authors of Opening Essentials. Why has everybody missed 17. ♖e1? Or, I should say, 17. ♖e1!! Stop! Before you start tapping on your keyboard, 17...♕h4 does not win. It may not even equalize. White calmly develops with 18. ♗d2 and how does black prosecute his "attack". 18....♘f5 appears to be the best try. To that white removes the pesky horse with 19. ♗xf5! and after ♖xf5 it appears black has achieved his rook lift and will slaughter white's King. It appears that way, but the slaughter doesn't materialize because black counter attacks with 20. ♕c1! threatening the annoying ♕c6 and the pesky ♕xc7, and is preparing to meet 20...♖h5 with 21. ♗xf4. Now black doesn't seem to have anything better than 20...♖c8 when after 21. ♕c6 ♔f7 22. ♖e2 Black's attack soon runs out of gas, and because of his weak queen's side, white is behind the wheel. For example: 22. ♖e2 ♖h5 23. h3 ♖h6 24. ♗e1! or 23 ... ♕g5 24. ♖d1 ♖xh3 ( 24... ♗xh3?? 25. e6! wins) 25. ♗xf4 ♕g6 26. ♔f2 ♖h5 27. ♗g3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Pawsome> Not everybody has missed 17.Re1, in this line of the Ruy Lopez.

In his comments for this game, Duras vs Maroczy, 1906, Emanuel Lasker stated: <The preceding moves are part of a well known book variation. Here, however, 17.Re1 is the usual continuation.>

Another early game in this variation was B Fleissig vs Mackenzie, 1882. However, in this game Fleissig varied first with 15.Bb3.

Mar-02-08  MichAdams: <The line was Boleslavsky's discovery. >

Which line?

A key game with the superior 17.Re1 was Teichmann vs Vidmar, 1911. The earliest game I can find is F G Jacob vs W Cohn, 1900.

Jun-25-08  Ryan Razo: Confer: Boleslavsky vs Ragozin, 1942.

Soviet masters are really notorious for their "opening system" sharing, isn't it. This may tell us why: pp 23-24

Jun-25-08  Marmot PFL: That's why while other American kids spent their allowance on comic books, young Fischer bought all the Russian chess magazines he could get his hands on. From these games he learned to play tough, uncompromising chess, though of course in this respect he soon left the soviets behind.
Jul-30-08  dumbgai: I started playing this opening recently and I much prefer to play Black here. Perhaps at the GM level this opening line favors White, but at my level it is very difficult for White to deal with the Black queen and passed pawns, despite his material advantage.
Feb-24-09  psmith: <Pawsome>: In your line after 17. Re1 Qh4 18. Bd2 Nf5 19. Bxf5 Rxf5 20. Qc1 Rh5 21. Bxf4 Rf8 Black gets equalizing chances. On 22. g4 Bxg4! 23. Bg3 Qh3 24. fxg4 Rf3! 25. gxh5 Rxg3+ with a perpetual check. Best seems to be 22. Bg3 Qxd4+ 23. Bf2 Qf4 24. Qxf4 Rxf4 25. Rac1 Rc4 26. Rxc4 bxc4 27. g4 Rh6 with some advantage for White but no immediate win.
Feb-25-09  AnalyzeThis: It's unbelievable that Reshevsky headed into this without any prior over the board preparation whatsoever. He came within fighting distance of getting away with it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 18 Re1..Qh4 19 Be3..Qh2+ 20 Kf1..Bh3 had led to a quick win for Black in Liberzon - Estrin Moscow 1940 but Korchnoi's suggestion of 21 Ke2 may be playable for White. After 23 Bd2 -

Smyslov: "A very interesting position has arisen. Black has a queen against White's rook and two bishops and an avalanche of pawns on the queenside. Whose chances are better in the coming sharp struggle is a question that still awaits a definitive answer."

Kasparov: "Alas, I have the feeling that this variation is avoided by both sides nowadays. Instinctively it seems to me that White should be better, although the computer confers a gigantic advantage on Black. In general, the situation is unclear, but playing White is more interesting: there is the possibility of attacking!"

23..c5 was played twice against Boleslavsky; By Ragozin (Moscow 1942, White won) and Botvinnik (Sverdlovsk 1943, drawn). 24..c5? was a serious error; 24..d4 holding on to his d-pawn was necessary as played by Tal in his win over Tseshkovsky at Leningrad 1974. 26..Qd4 27 Be4..Rd8 28 Bxg3 would not have helped Black. 28..Qxa2 29 Bxc4..Rxd1 30 Rxd1 would have won for White.

Several have commented that Smyslov won this game due to his superior preparation. This line was topical at the time; Reshevsky must have had some familiarity with it. Reshevsky willing ly chose to enter this variation and his time trouble can be attributed to poor clock management as much as inferior preparation.

Nov-03-09  psmith: <plang> Liberzon-Estrin does not seem to be in the database. Can you add it?

Boleslavsky-Ragozin is Boleslavsky vs Ragozin, 1942

Boleslavsky-Botvinnik is Boleslavsky vs Botvinnik, 1943

The comments on that game indicate that White should have won it as well.

Apr-13-12  wordfunph: "If my opponent were sitting opposite me he wouldn't be playing such good chess."

- Samuel Reshevsky (who admitted that his 39th move was a blunder)

Apr-13-12  King Death: <wordfunph: "If my opponent were sitting opposite me he wouldn't be playing such good chess." - Samuel Reshevsky...>

Did Reshevsky miss the memo? Smyslov wasn't too bad when they went at it over the same board. This just sounds like more sour grapes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Instead of 31.f4 white could play 31.Bf4, which looks like easy win for white. Rook cannot move for back rank mate and 31...Rxd1 32.Rxd1 h6 33.Rd8 Kh7 34.Bg8+ Kg6 (or 34...Kh8 35.Be6+ Kh7 36.Bf5+ g6 37.Rd7+ Kh8 38.Be5+ Kg8 39.Be6+ Kf8 40.Bd6+ Ke8 41.Rg7 ) 35.Rd6+ Kf5 36.g3 leads to quick mate.

In the text black should have tried 32...Qa3, and if now 33.Rf3, then 33...c2! 34.Bxc2 Qxa2 and he is still in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Courtesy of <zanzibar>, some comments from Botvinnik on this game (and the radio match). I fiddled with the translation a little.

<In our country, chess has always evolved under the influence of Chigorinian traditions, and Soviet masters have raised chess art to new heights. I believe that the result of the match showed that our American friends underestimated the strength of the Soviet team. An example is the first game between Smyslov and Reshevsky. Up until the 18th move, it followed the game between Duras and Maroczy from the Ostend tournament in 1906. Relying on it, Reshevsky undertook the same knight sacrifice as Maroczy. But Reshevsky did not know the Boleslavsky-Ragozin game, played in the Moscow championship in 1942, in which Boleslavsky found a brilliant refutation of Maroczy's plan. When in March 1943 I learned of the Boleslavsky-Ragozin game, I spent several days and nights trying to improve the defense for Black. In the same year at the tournament in Sverdlovsk, I employed the "improved" defense against Boleslavsky. Although our Sverdlovsk meeting ended in a draw, I was in a difficult situation. The idea of Boleslavsky again triumphed.>

Here is the 1906 game Botvinnik refers to:

Duras vs Maroczy, 1906

The Boleslavsky-Ragozin and Boleslavsky-Botvinnik games have already been posted.

Apr-03-18  zanzibar: <KP> -

Obviously I was much too tired when I first posted last night, and after seeing how bad my aim was, I went immediately to bed.

But, all's well that ends well -- thanks to your help for getting Botvinnik's quote properly placed!

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