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Leonid Stein vs Boris Spassky
USSR Championship 1961a (1961), Moscow URS, rd 19, Feb-10
Spanish Game: Classical. Central Variation (C64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Gypsy> OK following on from your line 1...g4 2.hxg4 hxg4 3.f5 Bc7 4.a5 Kd5 5.Kd3 g3 6.fxg3 Bxg3 7.Be3 Bb8 8.Bd4 Kc6 9.Kc4 Kb7 10.Kb5 and I think White should win but I'm open to suggestions.
Apr-07-04  ughaibu: I this line 41....g4 42.g4 g4 43.f5 Bc7 44.a5 Kd5 why doesn't 45.a6 win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Spassky was too much a nice guy. He probably felt Stein deserved the victory for outplaying him earlier. There is the term "bitter-enders" reserved for players like Ponomariov, and before him Kamsky, who play out games way beyond what is considered reasonable. Is there a parallel term for players who give up way too soon?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <ughaibu> You're probably right. My idea was to drive Black into the Q-side and use the 'a' pawn as a decoy, exchange Bishops and then have the King trot over to the K-side and take Black's 'f' pawn and escort the white 'f' pawn to queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Gentlemen, the suspicion I voiced about the Averbach variation is based mainly on the following fortress: White ♔f7, ♗d4, ♙a6, ♙f5, Black ♔h8, ♗h4. If White can break down this fortress, then, I believe, Averbach variation leads to a win. Otherwise, I think, the variation leads only to a draw.
Apr-09-04  ughaibu: Gypsy: If white doesn't rush to advance his king there's no need to capture the pawn in response to g3, with the bishop on e3 white can play f4 instead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I think 41.- g4 42.hxg4 hxg4 43.f5 ♗c7 44.a5 ♔d5 45.a6 ♔c6 46.♔d3 (or ♗e3) g3 47.fxg3 ♗xg3 only transposes to the "main lines of Averbach". White can not let g2 and ♗b6 happen.

For clarity, this is what I see as the "main line of Averbach": 41.- g4 42.hxg4 hxg4 43.f5 (Averbach) ♗c7 44.a5 ♔d5 45.♔d3 g3 46.fxg3 ♗xg3 47.a6 ♔c6 (But not 47.- ♗b8?, where a fine bishop manuever 48.♗f4 ♗a7 49.♗e3 ♗b8 50.♗d4 ♔d6 51.♔e4 ♔c6 52.a7 wins for White.) and 48.♗e3. Black can now keep his ♔ at c6 while White tries to break though the middle. It seems important, however, for the Black king to head backwards while White king marches for the f pawn way about via the h-file. It seems that with the Black king on c6, Black fortress can be broken down by the continuation of the White king march towards c8. With the Black king safe in the corner, I have not found a forced way to White's win. In order to shepard his f pawn accross the f6, White spends enough time for Black to gobble up ♙a6 and stop the last pawn at f8. (Of course, if White ever trades his pawn on f6, the position is a theoretical draw.) I'd be honestly most interested to know if somebody else can find a win from the fortress position I described above.

Apr-09-04  ughaibu: In this line after g3 why doesn't white play 47.f4?
Apr-09-04  ughaibu: Sorry, I should have mentioned that I dont like Kd3 and choose Be3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Well, three comments: First, it helps to have the White ♔ on the right square. (It seems that during my travels I forgot where the White monarch came from, placing it on c2 insted of e2.)

Second, can White avoid a transposition into the Averbach's main line if Black just awaits White out with ♗c7-e5-c7 (or b8,d6)? I do not think so. Both ♔d3(1,2) g3 and ♙f3(4) gxf3 transpose, while ♔g1 leads the White king only into a boxed-in canyon. Finally, regroupings involving the White bishop also leads to nowhere; e.g., 46.♗e3 ♗e5 47.♗a7 ♗c7 48.♔e3 ♗d6 49.♔e4 g3 transposes once again.

Third, your move could be considered an improvement for White over Averbach's own ♔d3. The only thing I like better in the main ♔d3 line is that Black could easily go astray with ♗b8? (Hardly Spassky, though.).

Apr-10-04  ughaibu: I'm not suggesting that white play f4 except as a response to g3, in other words to avoid exchanging pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I uderstand that, sorry if I seem a bit dense here.

My point was this: if Blacks cautiously waits, the game is practically bound to transpose to the "main lines". To fix ideas, lets focus on the position after 41.- g4 42.hxg4 hxg4 43.f5 Bc7 44.a5 Kd5 45.a6 Kc6 46.Be3 Bd6. This is the line you proposed with my waiting move (Bd6) at the end. If White now plays 47.Kd3 g3 48.f4? g2, then the tables suddenly turn on him. Thus the exchange 48.fxg3 Bxg3 is practically forced. And if White keeps his king in the square, so to speak, then he has a darth of good plans. (I hope I am not making it complicated.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Spassky went to Stein's room and resigned. He says that Stein then showed him 'something terrible'; but he doesn't say what it was.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Well, no suprise here: White also wins in the sideline of the Averbakh way of handling the endgame. White can always bring the position to essentially the following setup: White Kf7 Bd4 Pa6,f5; Black Kh8 Bh4. Here White abandons the a-pawn and pushes his f-pawn to the end, before Black king gets close enough. The play could go like this:

1.Kg6 Bd8 2.Be4 Be7 -- now is a fine time to abandon the h-pawn -- 3.Bg5 Bb4 4.f6 Ka7 5.f7 Kxa6 6.Kh7 Kb7 7.Kg8 Kc6 8.Bh6 Kd7 9.Bf8 Bd2 10.Ba3 Bh6 11.Bc1 .

This actually looks easy enough. (And White could even manage to save another tempo or so by a more in-depth prep.)

Mar-16-09  talisman: 41...g4 was the sealed move by spassky..."the only technical peculiiarity of this ending consists in white making a waiting move while his King is on d5 and the black bishop is on f8 in order to put his Bishop on c5 after Bf8-e7 and then penetrating with the king to d6."...Gufeld.
Jun-25-10  nelech: in my great predecessors n° 3 Kasparov thinks that the final position is a win for white
Dec-24-10  wordfunph: Spassky was quoted on this game, "I understood that I resigned too early; it is necessary to fight to the last drop of blood in chess."
Jun-27-13  jerseybob: It does seem Spassky resigned a little early; during this period he was in sort of a malaise, both professionally and personally. But after missing the 1961 cycle(the I.Z. was supposed to have been played in '61), he came back with renewed vigor in '64.
Feb-16-16  WorstPlayerEver: Well.. I guess 42. hg4 hg4 43. f5 Bc7 44. f3 is enough for black to resign.

Black cannot take the pawn, because of 44... gf3 45. Kf3 Be5 46. Ke4 Bf6 47. a5

Black also cannot play 44... g3 45. Kf1 Kb3 46. a5 Ka4 47. Kg2 1-0

Apr-27-17  andrea volponi: 42 hxg4 hxg4 -f5(! averbach ) Ae7! -f3 gxf3 -Kxf3 Kc5 -Ke4 Af6 -a5 Kc6 -a6 Kb6 -Kd5 Kxa6 -Kc6 Ah4 -Ac3 Kb5 (black lose in 30 ).
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Spassky could have played
41... gxf4.

click for larger view

And the game might have gone
42. a5 Kb5 43. Kf3 Bh4 44. Be1 Bg5 45. Ke4.

click for larger view

The black king cannot leave the queenside. The black bishop cannot protect all those pawns on the kingside. The white king will wander around taking them as he wants.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Spassky played 41... g4.

click for larger view

The game might have gone
42. hxg4 hxg4
43. a5 Kc5.

click for larger view

44. a6 Kc6.

<44... Kb6 45. Ba5+!. I wonder if this is the terrible thing that Stein showed Spassky.>

click for larger view

45. f5 Be7 46. Be3 Bb4 47. Kd3 Kc7.

click for larger view

The white king is going to capture both the pawns on the kingside and there is very little Black can do to prevent it.

Jul-25-17  andrea volponi: 41...g4 -hxg4 hxg4 -a5 Kd5! -a6 Kc6 -f5! Be7 -Be3 Bb4 -Kf1 Bf8 -Kg2 Bd6 -f4 gxf3+ -Kxf3 Bb4 -Kf4 Bc3 -Ke4 Bg7 -a7 Kb7 -Kd5 Bf8 -Bd4 Be7 -Bc5 Bh4 -Kd6 Bf6 -Kd7 Be5 -Ke7 f6 black lose .
Aug-03-17  zydeco: 15.Bg5 is a nice shot. After 17....Qxg5 18.Qxc6 and if 18....Qe7 19.c8=Q and 19....Qe1+ doesn't work because the room is pinned.
Feb-06-18  andrea volponi: 35...g5!-Be3 g4 -fxg4 hxg4 -h3 gxh3+ -Kxh3 Ba5!! =
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