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Bukhuti Gurgenidze vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship (1958), Riga URS, rd 14, Feb-??
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: This was the beginning of the nightmare for Spassky. He was having a magical tournament, +6, and four points (!) ahead of Tal, who eventually passed him. Starting with this game, he went -3 the rest of the way. Chess history is very different if Spassky holds on to his qualifying spot, qualifies from the Interzonal, and then plays in a Candidates tournament with Tal and Fischer.

It's a very tense, well-played middlegame. The big question is if Spassky could have drawn with 47....a2 or 48....a2. If 48.hxg6+ Kg7 49.Bxa2 Rxa2 50.gxf4 and I think it's a draw: 50....Kxg6 51.Re5 h5. Is it a draw? Maybe somebody who's better at rook endgames and/or has a tablebase can figure it out. Unfortunately, 50....Rd2 51.f5 Kf6 52.Rf8+ Kg7 53.Rf7+ Kg8 54.f6 wins for white (or 51....Rxd4 52.Re7+ Kg8 53.f6).

It doesn't work for white to play 49.Re7+. Then 49....Kf8 50.g7+ Kxe7 and white doesn't have time for 51.g8=Q axb1=Q+ or 51.Bxa2 Kf7.

It's a reasonable try for Spassky to leave the bishop on the board and take three pawns for the piece with 48....fxg3, but the pawns are scattered and Gurgenidze shows good technique.

Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: This game is far less well known than Spassky’s loss to Tal which is often cited as the reason for his failure to qualify for the interzonal.

Black is winning after 36..Qa7 (hitting d4 and threatening ..a2) and also looks to be winning after 38..f4.

50..Rxd4? left e8 unguarded (hence 50..Kf8) but Gurgenidze let Black off with 51 Bf5? (51 Re8+ and the g-pawn is forced through).

53..Rf3? then lost. Instead, after 53..h5! 54 Rxa3 h4 55 Ra8+ Kg7 56 Ra7+ Kf8 57 Rh7 Rf3 58 Bb5 Re3 59 Rxh4 Kg7 60 Rg4 d4 61 Kg2 d3 the g6 pawn falls and Black should hold the R+B vs R ending that eventually follows.

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