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Vasily Smyslov vs Georgy Ilivitsky
USSR Championship (1955), Moscow URS, rd 18, Mar-12
Bird Opening: Dutch Variation (A03)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-07-05  suenteus po 147: Wow, I didn't know Smyslov had ever played Bird's Opening before. I guess the result speaks for itself as to why he didn't play it again. Still, I wonder what prompted this experiement?
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Notice how Black parries the threat of 18.♕h7+ by the move 18...♔f7!.

As long as the h-pawn can't be taken by check, it is safe, eg 18. ♕h7??? ♖h8.

With a closed centre, the Black King is perfectly safe on f7. By vacating the g8 square, Black enables his N on e7 to move to f6 via g8. White's major pieces on the h-file are misplaced.

Source, Edmar Mednis "King Power in Chess", McKay Publishing, 1982

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Let's take a look at the tournament situation here. It's the next-to-last round of the Soviet Championship. Smyslov is leading the field with 11.5, a half-point up on Botvinnik and Geller.

<And he plays the Bird for the only time in his life??> Who slipped the vodka into his orange juice that morning?

Don't get me wrong; the Bird isn't that bad an opening if you know what you're doing. And I'm sure Smyslov had prepared it, expecting to catch Ilivitsky by surprise. But, still, is this the time to be experimenting?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: White played the <Ilyin–Zhenevsky System> with colours reversed, but instead of pushing the system-like e3-e4 (after e.g. 8.Nc3 or even 8.Bd1) he opted for/switched to 8.c3/9.Nbd2 followed by 11.d4, which made it a Stonewall (attack).
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Soltis analyzed this game in The Art of Defense in Chess, singling out 8...Bg4 for praise as getting rid of the Nf3 would stop White's attack before it starts. He also praised 17...Kf7 and White's 20.c4. However, he believed that 21.cxd5? was the losing move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <suenteus po 147: Wow, I didn't know Smyslov had ever played Bird's Opening....>

Neither had I, actually.

A comment Larsen once made of Smyslov comes to mind, in that he felt that if Smyslov had tried an idea, it must be worthwhile somehow.

Apr-30-16  suenteus po 147: <perfidious> Wow, you dug up an *old* comment of mine. I used to play Bird's Opening exclusively when I was a young amateur (I'm a middle-aged amateur now) in the wild west days of Yahoo Chess. I once a game collection of Bird's Opening games and systems, and I was always looking for wins by the great masters. Aside from Larsen, not many grandmasters played it frequently, let alone at all. This was no doubt a game I came across during those searches. Like Smyslov (the only way I'm like him, alas) I too abandoned this opening due to my poor results. As an 1.e4 player now I still lose, but it's more fun to go bust in a Dragon than to be slowly smothered in a Bird's.
Aug-03-18  sfm: What a game!
White resigns, rather than wait for 43.-,d3. 44.Bxd3,Rf7 or 44.Bh5,Bc3 or 44.g6,pxB+ 45.Kc2,Tc4+
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <sfm> Fantastic game, I agree.

Don't forget the queen is on the diagonal. I think the finish might be 43. d3 44. Bxd3 Rxd3 45. Qxd3 Rd4! pinning the queen.

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