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Yuri L Averbakh vs Boris Spassky
"Knight Odds" (game of the day Feb-04-2017)
USSR Championship (1956), Leningrad URS
King's Indian Defense: Averbakh. Benoni Defense Advance Variation (E75)  ·  1/2-1/2

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-29-11  kereru: Black was positionally lost by move 16. The centre is locked, white controls both wings and black has no counterplay at all. 16...Nc6!? was a desperation move, no more, no less. Obviously it won't work against a computer, but Spassky wasn't playing a computer. Averbakh (never the best clock manager) thought for ages before taking it, and as a result got into time trouble and messed up the middlegame.

I am also very curious about the move 48.e5?!, putting everything en pris. Rightly or wrongly, Averbakh was probably feeling a little desperate by now, so he set a trap, which Spassky fell for.

The position after 48...d3+? and 49...Rxf4 is drawn, and Averbakh knew this, being a noted endgame theoretician. Either 48...Bxe5 or 48...Rbxa5 probably wins.

Aug-06-12  Abdel Irada: <Phony Benoni>, are you a necromancer?

When you describe historical "tournament situations" from the 1940s and 1950s, you do so almost as if you'd actually been present. Bloody eerie, I'd call it, if it weren't so impressive.

Nov-01-15  Dilbertarian: This game appears in the 11th episod of the "Endgame" television series. The hostage taker follows Spassky's line (16...Nc6) when playing against World Chess Champion Arkady Balagan.
Feb-08-16  Timi Timov: What was that ...16. Nc6? I mean,maybe Spassky wanted to get many pawns on the queen side ?
Feb-08-16  Timi Timov: The first reason I thought was that black was stuck and Spassky tried a kind of desperate move to free the centre, get some pawns on the queen side and stop white increasing advantage
Feb-19-16  A.T PhoneHome: 19-year-old Spassky was close to winning that year's Soviet Championship going into this game. The fact he kept on playing shows his backbone and his chess premise that playing chess was not only a privilege, but also a way to have fun.

16... Nc6 simply is one of those entertaining things to do as opposed to resigning at that point.

May-10-16  ColdSong: 16...Nc6 is a great idea,of course.
I wonder if this kind of move happened sooner,or even later,in chess history.
Jun-02-16  posoo: Now dis....DIS...is one of da FEW ecumpled pf an HONOROSBLE DRAUGH.

Go SPUSSKO, fight da sovuet!!!

Jun-02-16  AlicesKnight: At least White tried to return the ...Nc6 compliment by putting his own N on d1 at move 21 and leaving it there for 30 moves. 48.e5?? Fatigue? For another example of "unintentional" sacrifice, try Tarrasch - Bogolubov, Gothenburg 1920.
Jun-02-16  Ironmanth: This is the type of game that at first run-through tends to really damage one's ego, I believe! At least for me. Tremendous complexity here at all phases and levels. Several times I had no idea what was transpiring. Gives me an idea how tough the Soviet championships could be, and the astonishing level of chess acumen displayed. Amazing. This one I feel will repay serious study. Thanks for this game!
Jun-02-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  SpaceRunner: Ahh great

I came first to knowledge of this game Through a great book by Danish player/author Erik André Andersen

"Den Sovjetiske Skakskole"

To put the knight "en prise" in this way was very creative by Smyslov... One of the greatest moves ever!!

Averbakh also a great player was stunned the rest of the game and lucky not to lose!!

Jun-02-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Spassky gives away knight for no reason? At least none that I can see. Must be a bluff.
Jun-02-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Presumably, if he had no compensation he would have been lost. Doubt it was for "no reason".
Jun-02-16  RookFile: Averbakh did well to save the endgame.
Jun-02-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: 27 Rh8+ looks winning.


click for larger view

If 27...Bxh8 28 Rxh8+ Kg7 29 Rxb8 f3 follows, then 30 Nf4!


click for larger view

If 30...exf4 then 31 Qxf3!, below. 31 (Bxd4+ also works.)


click for larger view

Jun-02-16  Cheapo by the Dozen: I used to claim that I excelled at playing lost positions because I had so much experience being in them.
Feb-04-17  The Kings Domain: Tough and solid game by Spassky. For a moment his kingside seemed to be in danger, not to mention playing behind a piece in the middle game. The fact that he was able to equalize towards the end smacks more of blitz than on the board play.
Feb-04-17  Howard: Any comments on the above claim that 27.Rh8+ would have won for White?
Jun-24-18  LieutenantZipp: Spassky must have had a poker face that’d stump a poker player.
Jul-26-19  Chesgambit: Best mistakes ever
May-23-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  transpose: This game, and this move by Spassy, is why chess will always fascinating.
May-24-21  Petrosianic: <This game, and this move by Spassy, is why chess will always [sic] fascinating.>

What move? 1...Nf6?

May-24-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <LieutenantZipp: Spassky must have had a poker face that’d stump a poker player.>

Fischer once wrote thus:

<Spassky sits at the board with the same dead expression whether he's mating or being mated. He can blunder away a piece, and you are never sure whether it's a blunder or a fantastically deep sacrifice.>

May-25-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: With no offence to Taimanov, I bet he wouldn't rather resign than play 16...nc6. Resign a game so early? The shame - and with the 1950s chess overlords watching too.
May-25-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: In itself isn't 16...nc6 simple enough? If White takes the Knight, he gives Black potential control of e6 as a control square for the king's side defence.

OK, hard to see since it loses material, but didn't Kasparov spout something about the value of trading material for space? If the mego is right about that, then the move is almost logical.

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