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Vasily Smyslov vs Pal C Benko
Szolnok (1975), Szolnok HUN, rd 11, Oct-??
English Opening: Symmetrical Variation. Hedgehog Defense (A30)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-29-20  DrGridlock: This game (beginning at move 42) was the subject of analysis in Smyslov's rook and pawn endgame book (out of print, and ridiculously expensive, so I don't have access to the analysis), and of an "endgame riddle" over at chessbase:

The riddle is:
Smyslov contends that the position is won for white - but is it a white win or a drawn position?

542: Vasily Smyslov - Pal Benko Line, Szolnok Szolnok HUN 1975

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The concensus at chessbase is that - with correct play - the position is drawn (Smyslov was wrong). It's a tricky analysis, but probably correct. It depends on whether you define "lost" a position which a computer could hold, or a position which a human could hold.

Following 42 Re1 instead of 42 Kd4 (which the engines seem to prefer) I get a line like:

42 Re1 Rc6
43 Re4 g6
44 Rh4 Ke7
45 hxg6 Rxg6
46 Rh5 Rd6+
47 Ke4 Re6+
48 Kd4 Rf6
49 Re5+ Kd6
50 f4 Kc7
51 Rd5 Rg6
52 a5 bxa5
53 Rxa5

542: Vasily Smyslov - Pal Benko Line, Szolnok Szolnok HUN 1975

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where black has split all his pawns so he has 4 singletons on the a, d, f and h files versus white's joined pawns on the b/c and f/g files. Despite the a-positional moves, and the + computer eval for white, it is very difficult to find a way for white to queen any of his pawns. Hard to see a human player going into this game branch.

Oct-31-20  SpiritedReposte: Are computers better at rook endgames now? I suppose with tablebases and all. This is a good one for rook ending theory.

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