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Leonid Stein vs Vasily Smyslov
"The Pin is Mightier" (game of the day May-24-2005)
12th Soviet Team Championship Final-A (1972), Moscow URS, rd 2, Mar-09
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Queens Indian Formation (A17)  ·  1-0



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Given 29 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-22-18  Albion 1959: I had a closer look at this game today. I first came across it back in 1981. This game features in Ray Keene's book Leonid Stein - Master of Attack and in Jon Speelman's excellent Best Chess Games 1970- 80. In both of these books they agree that Smyslov's 19th move e5 was bad and that exf was better. However, both of them failed to pick up on 24 Rxc4?? followed by 25 dxe?? It is difficult to understand how two strong grandmasters, one of them an ex-world champion and the other a three-time Soviet champion can miss this tactical sequence? This does take some of the gloss what was brilliant game that bristled with tactical threats. It is also accepted that on move 28, Stein could have done better with Rh8!! instead of Qxc6, which still wins anyway, though once again it takes away some of the brilliance when it was shown that Stein could have won the game more efficiently. But let's take nothing away from him, this was a game that any grandmaster would want in their collection of "Best Games"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <Albion 1959> I see nothing wrong with 25.dxe5 despite the fact that 25.Qa8+ Qd8 26.Qd5 wins easily. Stein quite probably foresaw the line to the final blow Rh8, and he was more satisfied with that.
Dec-28-20  Albion 1959: This game and the Kupriechik v Gipslis were contenders for the best game of the year. But surely Fischer's 6th match game against Spassky was on a par ? You could probably throw in a Tal game the same year as well !
May-19-22  Brenin: If the B on g2 weren't pinned, White could win the R on c6 and the N on d7 with Bxc6, so try to unpin it with 29 Rh8, hoping for 29 ... Rxh8 30 Bxc6 and 31 Bxd7. Black's only hope is 29 ... Rg6, but this allows 30 fxg6 Rxh8 31 Bc6, winning the N.
May-19-22  Brenin: As Stockfish notes, White could have played this combination a move earlier, with 28 Rh8, thus winning a R rather than a N by avoiding Black's defence with Rg6.
May-19-22  mel gibson: I should have looked longer -
I missed this one today.

Stockfish 15 says:

29. Rh8

(29. Rh8 (♖h7-h8 ♖c6-g6 f5xg6
♖g8xh8 ♗g2-c6 ♖h8-g8 ♔g1-f1 ♖g8xg6 ♗c6xd7+ ♔e8-e7 ♗d7-b5 ♔e7-e6 ♖d1-c1 ♖g6-g8 ♖c1-c7 ♖g8-a8 ♗b5-d3 f7-f6 ♔f1-e2 ♔e6-d6 ♖c7-f7 ♔d6-e6 ♗d3-c4+ ♔e6-f5 ♔e2-f3 a7-a5 ♗c4-d3+ ♔f5-e5 a3-a4 ♖a8-h8 ♗d3-b5 f6-f5 ♖f7-e7+ ♔e5-f6 ♖e7-b7 ♖h8-h3+ ♔f3-g2 ♖h3-h4 ♖b7xb6+ ♔f6-g5 ♖b6-a6 ♖h4-f4 ♖a6xa5 ♖f4-g4+ ♔g2-f1 ♖g4-d4 ♖a5-a6 ♖d4-b4 ♖a6-b6 ♖b4-b1+ ♔f1-g2 ♖b1-a1 ♖b6-a6 ♖a1-a3 ♖a6-a7 ♔g5-g6 a4-a5 ♖a3-b3 ♖a7-b7) +9.43/43 325)

score for White +9.43 depth 43.

May-19-22  Cheapo by the Dozen: Really easy to see the correct tactic.

Usually, when a puzzle this late in the week looks this easy, I'm overlooking some defensive shot that complicates the analysis. But not this time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: And none of this works without the doubled isolated pawn on f5. Chess can be a funny, funny game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  raymondhow: Almost didn't look long enough, but I got it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a knight.

The rook on g8 pins the bishop. Therefore, 29.Rh8:

A) 29... Rxh8 30.Bxc6, followed by B(R)xd7, wins the knight.

B) 29... Rcg6 30.fxg6 Rxh8 31.Bc6 as above.

C) 29... Kf8 30.Rxg8+ Kxg8 31.Bxc6 wins a rook.

D) 29... Nf6 30.Rxg8+ Nxg8 31.Bxc6+ wins a rook.

May-19-22  AlicesKnight: Found Rh8 after a little thought - perhaps prompted by the position being on this page, so looking for an 'interesting' move. Wins a piece in the main lines. Thanks <Brenin> for pointing out that Rh8 wins a move earlier. <Albion 1959: ... You could probably throw in a Tal game the same year as well> I have no problem throwing in a Tal game at any point, at any time....
May-19-22  TheaN: Oh wow this Thursday came to me near instantly. Pattern recognition I guess: Bxc6 wins a rook and piece, so we can sac at least a rook to gain material.

<29.Rh8! Rg6 (Rxh8 30.Bxc6 +-) 30.fxg6> watch out here for 30.Rxg8+? Rxg8 which doesn't break the pin. <30....Rxh8> and <31.Bc6 +-> follows anyway.

May-19-22  TheaN: Stein might have been afraid, after 28.Rh8, of 28....Qxg2+?! 29.Qxg2 Rxh8, where without an immediate tactical shot Black's kind of solid. 30.Qa8+ with Qxh8 +- is easy to miss especially after a couple of diagonal moves.
May-19-22  Cellist: I first looked at sacrificing the exchange (Rxd7) and winning two pawns for it (on f7 and a7, albeit at the risk of my own f5 pawn), but this does not win. Then I saw Rh8, allowing by using a different pin to exploit a potential pin of the N on d7. Very elegant, although not very hard to see. I was surprised that Rh8 did not trigger an immediate resignation.
May-19-22  Stanco: 29.Rh8
It didn't take me a whole second
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I lap bovver on um Rh8 get v it a duck nickle I bag umbrage Rh8 cud;
May-19-22  landshark: Like quite a few of you, 29.Rh8 jumped right out at me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I was briefly baffled: why not just take the rook? Then I realized the bishop was pinned. Then I asked myself what White could do about that, and Rh8 came immediately to mind.

Great game!

May-19-22  King.Arthur.Brazil: Smyslov still is brilliant with 29...♖g6, but after 30.fxg6 and 31.♗c6, Black lost the ♘. However, make fishouse cut the grass, the best sequence is directly 36. ♖d6+ ♔f7 37. ♖xg6 ♖d8 38. ♖g3 and this is the end!
May-19-22  King.Arthur.Brazil: The King (who? Me, guys) believes that ex-Champ must had despised 27...♖cg4 because after 28. ♕c8+ ♔e7 29. ♖xd7+ ♕xd7 30. ♖xf7+ ♔xf7 31. ♕xd7+. Besides lose the ♕, the position after ♔f6 32. ♕e6+ ♔g7 33. ♔f1 seems very uncomfortable with the threat of 34.f6+ attacking the ♖g4 and developing an mate net, e.g.: 33...♖g5 34. f6+ ♔h7 35. ♗e4+ (35... ♔h8 36.♕h3+ with mate next), 35...♔h6 36.f7+ winning. He tried to survive, but in reality, Stein made a great game.
May-19-22  King.Arthur.Brazil: Answering fishouse again, after 24...exd4+ 25.♔f1 ♕c5, the continuation is not a stupid check, but directly {26.Rxd4!).

There's no sense to alleviate the pressure of the pin. It seems fishouse didn't learn anything about this instructive game lesson.

May-19-22  eblunt: <Brenin: As Stockfish notes, White could have played this combination a move earlier, with 28 Rh8, thus winning a R rather than a N by avoiding Black's defence with Rg6.>

Doesn't 28 .... ♕xg2 29. ♕xg2 ♖xh8 minimise the losses to ♕ for ♖+♗ ?

May-19-22  Granny O Doul: @eblunt: 30. Qa8+.
May-19-22  Brenin: <eblunt>: As <TheaN> and <Granny O Doul> have pointed out, after 28 Rh8 Qxg2+ 29 Qxg2 Rxh8 White has 30 Qa8+ Ke7 31 Qxh8. This gives him Q+R vs R+N, so Rh8 is even stronger on move 28 than move 29 as played.
May-19-22  eblunt: < Granny , Brenin > Yes of course I missed that sneaky skewer, thanks
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