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Boris Spassky vs Dragoljub Ciric
9th World Student Team-ch final A (1962), Marianske Lazne CSR, rd 3, Jul-15
Sicilian Defense: Nimzowitsch Variation. Main Line (B29)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-13-03  drukenknight: A very interesting game and I pulled out Evan's book (Modern Day Brilliancies) which uses much of Spassky's own commentary.

THe most interesting part is that Spassky used 60 minutes for move 13 (shades of the Fischer/Spassky match?). Anyhow, he had figured that after 14 Qxp the most obvious move would be 14....Bg4+ 15 Rf3 then he thought either 15...Bg1 or 15....Rd1. (He had figured to block the check w/ R when he was contemplating 14 Bxp)

In fact, w/ a little help from the computer it seems that 15...Qc7 would help black a lot in the 14...Bg4+ line. So the strongest line appears to be:

14...Bg4+ 15. Rf3 Qc7 16. h3 Rae8+ 17. Kf1 Bxf3 18. Nxf3 Rd8 19. Qe5

which seems quite balanced and interesting.

Cirich had already prepared this line at home, but I guess 15...Bg4+ was not in the plan. So Spassky thinking over the board, either on move 13 or move 14 (the notes are not clear) had already found a stronger line than Cirich (and Minich) had prepared ahead of time.

Also interesting that at move 14, Spassky himself was only able to see about 3 ply deep before losing himself in the complications

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Drunkenknight> I do not understand "Spassky himself was only able to see about 3 ply deep before losing himself in the complications", surely he is winning at move 13? Perhaps he took 60 minutes to see if he could sac his N on f7?
Nov-13-03  drukenknight: you mean 13 Nxf7? yeah, I guess. I was referrring to the fact that he did not consider 15...Qc7 in one of these lines. At what pt. he was looking at that line, was not clear in the comments, although I guess it is obvious that was on move 13.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Drunkenknight> Instead of 14...Re8 you propose: 14...Bg4+ 15. Rf3 Qc7 16. h3 Rae8+ 17. Kf1 Bxf3 18. Nxf3 Rd8 19. Qe5 -

But Why play 16.h3? Surely it is better keep up the attack against Ciric's f7 square e.g.:

14...Bg4+ 15.Rf3 Qc7 <16.Nxf7!?> Bxf3+ 17.Qxf3 (17.Kxf3 Rad8 18.Qf5 Qc6+ 19.Kg3 let's Black back into the game) 17...Rae8+ 18.Kd3 Rxf7 19.Qxf7+ Qxf7 20.Bxf7+ Kxf7 21.Bf4 and White is better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: For a brother to this game see the equally hard fought: Gufeld vs Kavalek, 1962
Nov-13-03  drukenknight: Your line leaves too much material and too many complications on the board, what if black simplifies the position and uses his slight lead in development:

17...Rxf7 18. Bxf7+ Qxf7 19. Qxf7+ Kxf7

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Drunkenknight> 14...Bg4+ 15.Rf3 Qc7 16.Nxf7!? Bxf3+ 17.Qxf3 <Rxf7> 18. Bxf7+ Qxf7 19. Qxf7+ Kxf7 - leaves Spassky a pawn up with same coloured bishops on the board. I am sure that he would have won.
Nov-13-03  drukenknight: A single pawn? If he is so scared of a single pawn why did he sacrifice 4 pts worth of material? Besides doesnt black have another check coming? Let me set this up again; I've got 2 other ones going do want to continue this dont you...?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Drunkenknight>I would also suggest that Spassky played so aggressively in the not immodest or unrealistic belief that he could out-calculate Ciric. Spassky was the then current Soviet champion, and identified as a potential world champion.

I will continue this, but I cannot today (equally unfortunately cannot pretend to the same level of expertise as Spassky).

Nov-13-03  drukenknight: Yes of course; no doubt he outplayed Cirich almost as soon as the game was out of book. The sack itself seems dubious, I am just happy to get the game back to something like equality.

ANother interesting aspect is that Evans says that the innovation was mostly Minich's and he had persuaded Cirich to play it. But then he cites another game from the same year, w/ Minich playing the more sound 12....Nd4+. Maybe he didnt belive his own innovation?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Minic had played this line before against Vladimir Kozomara, Ljubljana, 1960.

12.Ng5 Nd4+ 13.Kd1 Ne6 14.Bd3 Nxg5 15.Bxg5 Qxb2 16.Kd2 d6 17.exd6 Qb4+ 18.c3 drawn in 40.

It appears to have been investigated Yugoslav circles - Gligoric had played it against Larsen in the 1959 Zurich tournament.

Gligoric vs Larsen, 1959

The Minic game referred to appears to be

Buljovcic - Minic in the 1962 Yugoslav championship in Skopje.

12.Ng5 Nd4+ 13.Kd1 Ne6 14.c3 d6 15.b4 Bxb4 16.Rb1 Nxg5 17.Bxg5 Be6 18.Qd3 d5 19.Rxb4 dxc4 drawn in 37.

The line seems to be gathering dust these days, so perhaps it is worth a try.

Nov-13-03  drukenknight: Yes it's the Buljovic game that is mentioned in Evans' book. The Gligoric game is very interesting, I might try to pick that one up. Any comments on that, chessical?
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Thanks to <An Englishman>for directing me to this game; it has some great ideas. I will have to revisit this again when I am awake.
Jan-24-05  euripides: This game looks crazy to me, but it may look less crazy to someone who plays the King's gambit as Spassky used to.
Jul-01-05  aw1988: Holy crap, this is frightening.
Jul-02-05  Perkins: I guess Boris stopped playing like that after the 70s. In some touraments, he offers a draw in almost every game he plays. Having lost to Fischer, that alone is a cottage industry, has given him a lovely income over the years.
Aug-09-06  Ulhumbrus: Horowitz included this game in his book "Chess games to remember", and Soltis has included it in his book on Spassky's games.
Apr-26-08  Atking: <drukenknight:14...Bg4+ 15.Rf3 Qc7 16.h3 Rae8+ 17.Kf1 Bxf3 18.Nxf3 Rd8 19.Qe5 which seems quite balanced and interesting.> Why 15...Qc7? isn't 15....Rad8 more logical 16.Qe4 BxRf3+ 17.gxBf3 Qh6 with Qxh2+ or Rd4 But yes a great game from Spassky
Premium Chessgames Member
  ToTheDeath: Awesome knife's-edge defense and counterattack by Spassky against a prepared variation.

14...Bg4+ was definitely a better try. Spassky gives 15.Rf3 Rad8 16.Qe4 Bxf3+ 17.gxf3 g6? as winning for White but 17...Qh6! is an improvement giving Black counterplay. Thus White should prefer 17. Qxf3 or 17. Kxf3!? though Black has good saving chances in such a complex position.

Apr-07-15  A.T PhoneHome: Wow... That's a nice ending! After Black moves his Queen away, Bxf6 is destructive.

Spassky was such a strong player... But kudos to Ciric for giving him trouble!

Jan-31-22  jerseybob: First saw this game in Soviet Life in our HS library.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Was your librarian a communist <jb>? Wouldn't MAD magazine generate more student interest? Or, did you go to high school in Bulgaria?
Feb-01-22  jerseybob: <fredthebear: Was your librarian a communist <jb>? Wouldn't MAD magazine generate more student interest? Or, did you go to high school in Bulgaria?> I'm sure MAD would've generated more interest; I was a big MAD fan myself. Soviet Life was a slick propaganda mag styled much like LIFE itself, and part of the fun of it was seeing how obvious the propaganda was. But, lots of pictures, and it had a nice chess column, written by Kotov. It was sold in the U.S. through some sort of reciprocal arrangement, and a Russian-language mag called Amerika was sold over there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: First read MAD, aged nine; lovely stuff.

Vaguely recall seeing Soviet Life in those days also, but never read a copy. As to the propaganda, Kotov and Yudovich in <Soviet School of Chess> overdid things a mite.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I'd like to see the MAD cartoon of two old lads playing chess. It was in a 1955-1957 edition. Apparently Bobby Fischer saw it and thought it was very amusing.

The Soviet School of Chess went through a few editions and things changed a bit from edition to edition as players went in and out of fashion. Alekhine was the best example.

In the first edition (1951) Alekhine gets two pages but '...made many political mistakes in his life.'

The 2nd edition (1955) Alekhine gets 4 pages, this time his political mistakes are not mentioned.

The 3rd edition (1958) Alekhine gets a whole 15 page chapter and is now 'Russia's Greatest Player.'

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