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Boris Spassky vs Eduard Gufeld
Plaza (1988), Wellington NZL, rd 9, Mar-25
Sicilian Defense: Closed Variation (B25)  ·  1-0



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Given 29 times; par: 66 [what's this?]

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Oct-16-09  Chessforeva: 3D version:
Oct-16-09  Patriot: <LIFE Master AJ> How much analysis would you have spent (in a game situation) as white in this position, given a lot of time remaining? I'm just trying to get a feel of how a master would approach this position OTB.

In other words, if you considered 31.Rxf6 Rxf6 32.d5 would you be comfortable with thinking: "If black plays 32...Rf7/Rf8 then 33.Qd4 and white has a great position" or would you try to calculate until white mates or wins material?

Oct-16-09  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult)

Spassky vs Gufeld, 1988 (31.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Kg8 has 3 legal moves, and is secured from check. The Black Qb3 and Rb7 are loose; Qb3 has no flight squares. The White Qd3 (protected by Nf4) x-rays Qb3 through the White Bc3. The Bc3 x-rays Bf6 through Pd4. The Black Bf6 is attacked once by Re6 and protected once by Rf8. Thus, the sequence 31.Rxf6 32.d5 could be very disorganizing for Black, because the Black Kg8 would then need to avoid dark squares where Bc3 could give check. Moreover, White could set up a deadly battery Bc3 and Qd4 on the dark long diagonal. The White Kg1 is secured from check.

Candidates (22.): Rxf6

22.Rxf6 Rxf6 [else, drop a B]

23.d5 (threatening 24.Bxf6, leaving White up a B)

The alternative is to move Rf6, but then White threatens

(A) 24.Qd4 (threatening 25.Qg7# or 25.Re1 26.Qh8+ 27.Qg7#)

To avoid the mate threat, Black must move Rf6, then Nd7. If Black tries to retain material with 24…Nc8, the second threat mates. Thus, Black must sacrifice Nd7 for Pd5, but White remains with an iron grip on the dark a1-h8 long diagonal to the Black Kg8 and B+N vs. R+P, a winning advantage.

I missed the best defense 32…Kf7, which requires separate treatment with 33.Ne6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <<<Oct-16-09> Patriot: <LIFE Master AJ> How much analysis would you have spent (in a game situation) as white in this position, given a lot of time remaining? I'm just trying to get a feel of how a master would approach this position OTB.

In other words, if you considered 31.Rxf6 Rxf6 32.d5 would you be comfortable with thinking: "If black plays 32...Rf7/Rf8 then 33.Qd4 and white has a great position" or would you try to calculate until white mates or wins material?>>

I would analyze for 10-30 minutes ... assuming I still had this much time left ... and then make my move.

Oct-16-09  patzer2: Today's Friday puzzle solution with Spassky's 31. Rxf6!! is a deep combination, based on sound positional judgment and the coordination of multiple tactical themes.

The positional aspects justifying the exchange sacrifice 31. Rxf6!! are:

1. The Black Queen is nearly trapped, and Gufeld will have to give back the exchange and more to avoid decisive loss of material after 31....Rxf6 32. d5!

2. The Black King is not very well protected, as his Queen is out of play and unable to help defend. White on the other hand has his pieces well posted and ready to attack.

3. The Black Rook on b7 is unprotected, which makes it another potential target for White's attack.

4. Black can avoid immediate decisive material loss after 31. Rxf6 Rxf6 32. d5! However, in doing so he will expose his King to a decisive attack.

Some of the multiple tactics involved with 31. Rxf6!! :

1. Deflection, clearance and Queen trap, as the deflection 31. Rxf6 Rxf6 d5! clears the d5 square for White to threaten Ne6 followed by Nd4 trapping the Queen.

2. Pin, piling on pinned pieces and pin & deflection:

a. In the game, 37. Qg7+! Ke8 38. Bf6! pins and attacks the Knight, threatening 39. Rxe7+ Rxe7 40. Qxe7#.

b. In the game after 38...Ke8, White's 39. Qf8+ (Perhaps even stronger is the simple 39. Bxe7+ ) 39...Qe8 40. Rd1+ Rd7 41. Bxe7+ uses the pin and deflection tactics to remove the guard of the King and win the Queen.

c. If 32... Rf8, then 33. Qd4 Kf7 34. Re1 Ke8 (34... Qa3 35. Ne6 Rg8 36. d6 Nc6 37. Ng5+ Kf8 38. Qf6+ Rf7 39. Qxf7#) 35. d6 decisively attacks the pinned Knight with a pawn.

3. Skewer as a potential threat (e.g. if 32... Rf8, then 33. Qd4 Nc8 34. Qh8+ Kf7 35. Qxh7+ Ke8 36. Qxb7 picks off the unprotected Rook).

4. Mate threats:

a. If 31...Rf7, then 32. Qd4! threatens mate and forces White to immediately surrender the Queen to avoid it (e.g. 32...Qxc3 33. Qxc3 ).

b. If 32... Rd6, then 33. Qd4! wins when one possible mate is 33...Nxd5 (33... Kf7 34. Re1 Qa3 35. Qg7+ Ke8 36. Qg8+ Kd7 37. Qf8 Qc5+ 38. Kg2 Nc6 39. dxc6+ Kxc6 40. Qc8+ Rc7 41. Qa8+ Rb7 42. Ne6 Rxe6 43. Rxe6+ Kd7 44. Qe8+ Kc7 45. Be5+ Qxe5 46. Rc6#) 34. Nxd5 Rbd7 35. Qh8+ Kf7 36. Qg7+ Ke8 37. Qg8#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: By move 41 it's a plethora of pins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I religiously studied it and looks like rook takes bishop then d5/ Ne6 derobes him. The chess oracle is shining on me this Friday and hoping again for more of the same next week.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: For a good preview of this problem, please see <dzechiel>'s post. (above) Here is my analysis. (I spent AT LEAST thirty minutes analyzing this problem this morning.)


click for larger view

White: Kg1, Qd3, Nf4, Bc3, Ra1 & e6; White Pawns - a4, c4, d4, g3, and h2. Black: Kg8, Qb3, Ne7, Bf6, Rb7 & f8; Black Pawns - Pa7, b6, f5, g6, & h7.

Boris V. Spassky (2565) - Eduard Gufeld (2485) / [B25] Wellington, 1988. / [A.J.G.]

This has to be best.

<[But not 31.Rxe7?! Rxe7; 32.Nd5 Re4; as this is good/winning for Black. ("/+" ]>

31...Rxf6; 32.d5 Kf7;
This is probably forced.

<[I also looked at: 32...Rf7; ('?') 33.Qd4 Kf8; 34.Ne6+ Ke8; 35.Qh8+ Kd7; 36.Qd8#.]>

White must proceed vigorously.

<[I think White is also winning after: 33.Qd4 Ng8; 34.Re1 Re7; 35.d6, etc. ]>

I thought that this was closed to being forced, however, Fritz does not like it at all. (Why?)

<[After the moves: 33...Rd7; 34.Nd4 Rxd5; 35.cxd5 Qxd5; 36.Re1, White is winning. ( ) When I <first> did this line in my head, I thought Black was two Pawns up ... I missed that White has an extra piece!) ]>

34.dxe6+ Kxe6; 35.Re1+ Kf7; 36.Qd4 Qxa4;
Once again, I thought that this was forced ... (but maybe not).

<[Or 36...Rc7; 37.Qg7+ Ke8; 38.Bf6 Qb4; 39.Qg8+ Kd7; 40.Rxe7+ , (" ") and White wins. ]>

By this time,I felt like my head was spinning ... (I am on antibiotics - I have an infection in my foot. I think its a side-effect of the medication.) 37.Qg7+ Ke8; 38.Bf6, and White went on to win. (1-0 in 42 moves.)

Oct-16-09  zero9: I thought 31. Ne2 then 32.Nc1, or 31. Re1 then 32.Rb1, trapping the queen.
Oct-16-09  YouRang: I thought for sure it was going to be a queen trap, so I spent a bunch of time trying to prove that either 31.Rb1 or 31.Re2 (intending Rb2) might work.

Eventually, I was successful at proving that I had gone into a dead-end.

Being too tired to look for something better, I decided that this would be enough of an accomplishment for one day.

Oct-16-09  Criswell: Wow, I think this is one of the first Difficult level puzzles that makes sense to me.

31. Rxf6 Rxf6
32. d5

If the rook doesn't retreat immediately then you can force the king out of his hole. If it does move immediately here is an example: 32. d5 Rf8
33. Qd4 threatening a mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I saw 31. Rxf6 Rxf6 32. d5 Kf7, but then went astray with 33. d6, analyzing 33...Nc8 and 33...Rd7, but missing 33...Rxd6.
Oct-16-09  zanshin: I guessed up to <31.Rxf6 Rxf6 32.d5>. From there, I crossed my fingers that the attack would be sufficient.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Was 25....Ne7 a pawn sacrifice or a blunder. Nc7 seems to hold the d pawn. Since the knight had previously been on c7, I'm guessing the former and that the idea of going to e7 was to permit the transfer to c6. It wasn't a good idea.
Oct-16-09  TheaN: 4,5/5

Okay, I have reconsidered and I think by missing 32....Rf7? 33.Qd4! I deserve only half a point. It is not much different when playing 33Ne6 as if Black had played 32....Kf7, but still; I should have seen that.

Oct-16-09  TheaN: Heh. The more I look at it, the more I like the position from 38....Kd8 and on: something for <notyetagm>; <creating pins> and <pins>:

39.Qe8 Qe8†

One pin created.

40.Rd1 Rd7

Two pins created.


Pins abused, game over, as neither piece can take back.

41....Kc7 42.Qxe8 Rxd1† 43.Kf2


Oct-16-09  RandomVisitor: Black seems to get an inferior position out of the opening and never seems to have any counterplay. Perhaps 17...Nc6 offers better chances:

After 17.b4

click for larger view

[+0.00] d=26 17...Nc6 18.Rc1 Bb2 19.Rb1 Bd4

Oct-16-09  wals: 31.Rb1 also wins.
Oct-16-09  goodevans: < agb2002: I dismissed 33.Ne6 because after 33... Rxf6 34.dxe6+ Kxe6 (otherwise the pawn collaborates in the mating net) 35.Re1+ Kf7 36.Qd4, Black would play 36... Qa3, defending the knight and threatening some annoying checks, starting with ... Qc5+. >

After 36 ... Qa3, white can pick up the R with 37 Qf6+ Ke8 38 Qc6+.

Oct-16-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: Material is even, but white's force is more centralized, cohesive, and mobile. Black's substantially inferior mobility is shown by the fact that the black queen has nowhere to go without being captured. This suggests that white can play to trap the queen, but the maneuvers N-e2-f1, R-e2-b2 (or Re6-e1-b1) are too slow, all met adequately by 31... Rc7. A different idea occurred to me first, but its real power didn't hit me right away:

31.Rxf6! Rxf6 32.d5

This seizes control of the a1 diagonal, advances the d-pawn with gain of tempo, and makes e6 available to the knight. The vulnerability of the black king to an attack on the long diagonal is evident. Black can try:

A) 32... g5 33.Bxf6 Qxd3 34.Nxd3 leaving white a comfortable piece ahead.

B) 32... Rf7 33.Qd4 Kf8 34.Ne6+ Ke8 35.Qh8+ Rf8 36.Qxf8+ Kd7 37.Qd8#

C) 32... Rd6 33.Qd4 Kf7 34.Re1 and black, tied in knots, has no defense to the threat 35.Qg7+ Ke8 36.Bf6 Rxf6 37.Qxf6 Qxc4 38.d6 Qc5+ 39.Kg2 Qc2+ 40.Kh3 and black is out of useful checks.

C.1) 33... Nxd5 34.Nxd5 leaves black no good defense against 35.Qh8+ followed by Re1 and Qg7#

Time to verify...

Oct-16-09  WhiteRook48: I just went with 31 Rb1?! Qxa4 32 Rb4 trying to gain tempi by chasing the queen around the board
Oct-16-09  Eduardo Leon: <agb2002>, after <36. ... Qa3?>, black loses instantly: <37. Qf6+ Ke8 38. Qc6+>.
Oct-16-09  TheBish: Spassky vs Gufeld, 1988

White to play (31.?) "Difficult"

Black's queen has no moves, so the first thing you look for is trapping the queen. But crude attemps to trap it fail, i.e. 31. Ree1 Rc8! (so that 32. Reb1 Qxc4) or 31. Ne2 Rc7!. Gufeld was prepared for that, but White (Spassky) succeeds by combining threats.

31. Rxf6! Rxf6 32. d5 and now:

A) 32...Rf8 33. Qd4 Kf7 34. d6! wins back the sacrificed material with a continuing attack, since 34...Nc6 35. Qg7+ Ke8 36. Re1+ Kd8 37. Qxf8+ wins easily.

B) 32...Rf7 33. Ne6! (threatening 34. Nd4) Nxd5 (forced) 34. cxd5 Rfd7 35. Qd4 Qxd5 (or 35...Rxd5 36. Qh8+ Kf7 37. Re1! threatening both 38. Qf8# and 38. Qg7+) 36. Qh8+ Kf7 37. Nf5+ Ke7 38. Bb4+ Rd6 39. Bxd6+ Kxd6 40. Qf6+ Kd7 41. Re1 leaves White up a knight for two pawns, with a continuing attack.

C) 32...Rd6 33. Qd4 Kf7 34. Qg7+ Ke8 35. Re1! and the noose closes around the Black king (either Bf6 or Ne6 is next).

D) 32...Kf7 33. Ne6! Rxe6 (forced to stop Nd4) 34. dxe6+ Kxe6 35. Re1+ is a winning attack, since 35...Qxa4 36. Qg7+ Ke8 37. Bf6 Kd8 38. Qf8+ Qe8 39. Rd1+ Rd7 40. Bxe7+ Kc7 41. Qxe8 wins easily.

Oct-17-09  JuliusCaesar: While a tricky puzzle because of all the possible variations, the idea(s) are not hard to find. It took me less than a minute. Frankly, Rxf6, followed by Qd4 (setting up an overwhelming dark-square battery against the semi-naked black king) scream out to be played. Anyone who has played (and seen) a lot chess and possesses some facility for the game - it doesn't have to be great; mine isn't - would play this in a game of blitz. As Tal once said:"In some positions, you sacrifice first and work out the details later."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: A good contender for the best game of the tournament.
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