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Boris Spassky vs Duffy Hepner
87th US Open (1986), Somerset, NJ USA, rd 2, Aug-04
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-17-04  Lucky1: Why shouldn't black take the bishop on move 8?
Jun-17-04  Helloween: Because he would then lose 2 pawns to 9.Qf3 Nc6 10.Qxc6+ Bd7 11.Qxc4
Jun-17-04  PinkPanther: Two pawns and a piece you mean.
Jun-17-04  Helloween: No, Black already won the Bishop on c4 so White would come out on top with 2 pawns.
Jun-17-04  Lucky1: Thanks
Jun-18-04  offramp: A very low-quality game!
Jun-18-04  PinkPanther: Oh wait, you're right. How in the world did I miss that??
Apr-16-07  Helios727: This was probably from a simul.
Apr-17-07  michael104: But not necessarily. The U.S. Open was in Somerset, New Jersey, that year, I believe. This could have been an early round game. Anyone know for sure?
Apr-17-07  Resignation Trap: <michael104> User <Phony Benoni> would probably know. Black was Duffy Hepner, formerly of Michigan. US Open, or simul?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <michael104> <Resignation Trap> Yes, it was from the US Open, round 2. Black was Duffy Hepner, rated 2164. Obviously, this was not one of his better days.

Hepner had a good result overall, gaining enough rating points to go above 2200. If you're going to have one bad game in a tournament, you might as well have it against Spassky.

Apr-20-07  Helios727: Is this opening even viable for black after 5. d4 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Helios727> There's something interesting here. Look at this position that arises in a gambit Black can play in the French: <1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5 3.Nc3 c5!? 4.exd5 exd5>

click for larger view

Now Opening Explorer gives 5.Nf3 as the usual move, with 5.dxc5, 5.Bb5+ and 5.Be3 as sidelines. But 5.Nge2 would transpose into the Spassky--Hepner game!

The variation played in the game has been reached about a dozen times in the database, but always by the Sicilian move order. White has good results, but judging from what happens in the French move-order the WKN is probably better on f3 than e2.

Apr-21-07  Helios727: f3 might be a better spot for the knight, but even on e2 I think black has a weak game.
Apr-21-07  Marmot PFL: If black wants to play c4 (probably best) he has to do it on move 7. Black has a playable game then, but not a position I would really want against Spassky.

BTW I also beat Mr. Hepner in under 20 moves once, just so you know it doesn't take a GM.

Apr-24-07  Helios727: Black DID play c4 on move 7. Did you mean a different move?
Jan-31-09  YoungEd: I think Black played 7. ...c4 because he would end up losing his d-pawn if White had a chance to play dxc5. The only other way I can see to try and defend the d-pawn is with 7. ...♗e6, but that won't work for long after 8. ♗b5+. Of course, the game continuation loses a pawn too. Maybe <Helios727> is right, and Black is practically cooked by move 5!
Jun-21-09  Masterhep: I’m Duffy Hepner and was surprised to find this web site w/ my old game against Boris Spassky. Yes, it was the shortest, worst played loss of my chess career. It was played in the 3d round of the US Open; when we had 1 ½ - ½ scores. BTW, “Marmot,” I don’t recall losing another game in <20 moves, so perhaps you could refresh my memory. What’s your name? I haven’t played tournament chess in many years, as Duplicate Bridge caught my attention and other chess players, too e.g. Grandmaster Stuart Rachels. B6 was a loser, and I didn’t like having (?) to play c4 on move 7. In a short post-mortem, Boris recommended taking the bishop on c4: 8. Bc4..dc 9. Qf3..Qc7?! 10. Qa8..Nc6 11. 0-0-0… and he said Black might have some play, however, looking further into it for the first time in my life, I think Black is lost b/c I don’t see any good squares to put the Black bishop on e.g. 11…Be7 12. Nb5..Qd7 13. d5 or 11…Bb4 12. Nb5..Qd7 13. d5 or 11…a6 12. d5 and Na4. I’m open to other suggestions, though. Ironically, this ended up being a good tournament for me, as I drew 2 Grandmasters and beat a Master to be the top Expert w/ a 7 ½ - 3 ½ score going into the last round (the other Expert w/ 7 ½ lost the day before); which I unfortunately lost to a swindle after being up a pawn. I believe my new rating became 2245. Interestingly, Boris didn’t want to beat me b/c we were friends (he's a nice guy) away from the board, playing tennis during the day at a couple of US Opens. He had good ground strokes but didn’t like to play games, so that he could keep his competitive edge playing chess in the evenings. He was deeply affected after losing to Bobby Fischer, and in my opinion, lost some of his desire and fire to win. I asked him what happened after he lost to Bobby. He was “invited” to speak to Russia’s Sports Minister who said, “Comrade Boris, I see you lost to Bobby Fischer.” Boris said, “Yes, he is a fine player, and the games were tough.” The Minister said, with Boris perhaps wondering if his new home would be in Siberia, “Well, Boris, I see you have some unpaid bills.” And that was it. Boris ended up marrying a woman who worked for the French embassy, and he was allowed to move to France.
Jun-21-09  M.D. Wilson: Great stuff, Duffy. I really think Spassky lost his competitive edge after being overtaken by the very young Karpov, the new kid on the block. His chances of reclaiming the Title were very low indeed, although he still played some very competitive chess well into the late '80s. I think Spassky was at his peak from around 1963-1969, although he lost his first match with Petrosian.
Jun-21-09  Marmot PFL: < Masterhep> You were just a kid (70s) and i was lucky. Today if you are close to 2200 you would kill me...
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Illustrative play by Spassky. He demonstrates how to punish tactical errors.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: After reading all of the comments, maybe Black has to play 3...Nc6.

GM Dorian Rogozenko recommends 2...Nc6 followed by 3...Nf6, in his book <Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black>

Jan-02-16  RookFile: 3.... a6 isn't bad. With 4. d4 white would transpose it into the Sicilian Kan.

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