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Leonid Stein vs Semyon Furman
USSR Championship (1969), Moscow URS, rd 18, Oct-02
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Knight Variation (B43)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-26-04  LIFE Master AJ: This is a very famous game of chess ... it is in dozens of my books.

It is in several of my <older> books on the Sicilian, as well as books on tactics and sacrifices - and at least one book of chess problems.

Two examples? Keene's book on Stein, page 62 of the reprinted (1988) edition. It is also in the new book: "My Great Chess Predecessors, Part III," by GM Garry Kasparov and Dmitry Plisetsky. (Game # 68, page # 253.)

---> I am thinking about annotating this game for my websites.

Nov-26-04  LIFE Master AJ: I am not sure if White's 37th move is correct. (Originally given here as 37...Kb4; Kasparov and company give ...Kb5.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Instead of 14.Qe2 white could have played also 14.Nc6+! Black then has to take the Knight as 14...Kc8 15.Bxf6 Nxf6 16.Bh3+ Nd7 17.Re8+ loses immediately. After 14...Bxc6 15.dxc6 Nc5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qd4 Bg7 18.Qxb4 white has only two pawns for a piece but black's position is completely ruined. White is certainly better there and I think that he should win without difficulties. For example, 18...Rb8? loses immediately for 19.Qxc5! dxc5 20.Rad1+ Kc8 21.Bh3+ etc. If 14.Nc6+ Bxc6 15.dxc6 Nb8 (attacking Pc6), then 16.Re4! (threatening Rxb4 and avoiding 16...Nxc6 for 17.Rc4 ) 16...a5 17.Qe2 (threatening 18.Re8#) 17...Be7 18.Rxe7! Qxe7 19.c7+ Qxc7 20.Bxf6+ gxf6 21.Bxa8 with decisive advantage of white.
Nov-26-04  ughaibu: Honza: in your first line, after 14...Bxc6 15.dxc6 Nc5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Qd4 why not Be7?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <ughaibu> 17...Be7 is possible there but it changes nothing important as after 18.Qxb4 black's position is awful. (Well, I see that with black Bishop on e7 black can play 18...Rb8 because then the above mentioned combination doesn't work but it is not so essential.)
Nov-26-04  ughaibu: Thanks. I just thought it made sense to block the e-file.
Dec-03-04  LIFE Master AJ: I guess no one here has seen the analysis (of this game) in Kasparov's new book.

17.Qe8+!! is a significant improvement over the actual course of the game, 18...d5?; was a VERY bad move. (...Rb8 was much better.)

I posted my comments (on one chess server) over two months ago, my review was posted on Amazon in November.

I am working on a web page for this game, but it is not (yet) completed. (I will happily post a link here, when it is finished.)

Dec-05-04  LIFE Master AJ: I have had about five requests for the page where the analysis is posted.

It is not quite finished ...

Please write and tell me what you think of the analysis here.

Dec-05-04  darook: IMHO, AJ gave an excellent analysis of this famous game. Looks like kasparov didn’t do a very good job here (not for the first time...). It seems he was more interested in completing his book series quickly and make some extra $$$, than re-analysing past chess masterpieces.
Dec-07-04  LIFE Master AJ: <darook> Actually the Kasparov analysis is VERY interesting.

It helps a great deal that I do NOT have to start from scratch! I have now analyzed about a dozen games in this book. Some are DEEPLY analyzed, done fairly well.

The only problem is:
so many people aided in the preparation of this book, you never know who to blame for the errors that do manage to creep through. (The editor of this series did not do a good job. Also ... I often wonder how many of the errors are to blame on the translator, Ken Neat. I am told he is a very poor chess player. This work cried out for an overseer of Nunn's stature. I have no way of knowing how many of the typo's are simply his fault - and did not exist in the original Russian manuscript!)

Also ... thanks very much for the compliment!!! BUT please note what I said in my prelude to this game: MY NOTES WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE STUDIED IN ISOLATION. I FULLY INTEND AND HOPE THAT EVERYONE - AND I DO MEAN EVERYONE - WILL BUY THIS BOOK! I sincerely meant for my notes to be studied alongside Kasparov's!! If I did not want this to be so, I would have copied every note he had in the book ... something I purposely did NOT do!!

The book - despite its flaws - is still quite good. Especially if you are a non-master and want to study these games from start to finish. (I guarantee you that you would become a better player if you took about a year ... and slowly worked your way through this book, cover-to-cover.)

Yet another good point - current books on Spassky - good ones, that is ... are quite rare. Good books on Petrosian - that were not published 50 years ago - are very rare. Just about all the best ones are out of print.

Again, thanks for the cudo's, but please study this book. There are some great masters in here. Spassky - Mozart; Petrosian - Rachmaninoff; Stein - Tchaikovsky, etc. Have you studied the GREAT MASTERS? If you have, then pass on this book. If not, then you owe it to yourself to purchase this volume ... and make your own decision.

One more final point ... then I will leave ya'll alone. I have about a jillion chess books, so I have probably already seen most of the games in this book. But have you?

Dec-08-04  darook: Tanks AJ for your kind (and somewhat pedagogical ;) words. I will follow your advice(s).
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: I used to use this game for teaching students what a positional piece sacrifice was. Nowadays it looks familiar but in 1969, in the university library's Russian newspaper section, one could get daily reports with just the scores and raw moves no notes. I was trying to figure out if it was a bluff or a practical idea to get Furman into time trouble or simply sound. I suppose nowadays the real 'truth' of what was going on is much more accessible, especially with Fritzetc and Kasparov and AJ contributing. But in a way 'receiving' the understanding makes the game less instructive than having to think it through for oneself. The slow way games were published with annotations in 1969 meant maybe monthes before some GM would analyse it in English (or Informantese symbols). That gap, while frustrating at the time, was beneficial for improving because one had to, in effect, do one's own annotations before 'knowing' the answers. Nice to see people now still intrigued by this gem as art and science. In the 'sport' sense the psychology of exploiting Furman's clock mismanagement weakness would have also been a factor.
Dec-08-04  LIFE Master AJ: <IMlday>
Does this mean that you think Stein would NOT have played Nd5 ... if Furman had not been having difficulties with the clock?

I find this difficult to believe. I have studied many of Stein's games, he was a very tactical player, I think sacks were just an inherent part of his style!

Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: <AJ> I also studied all of Stein's games, all that were published anyway. I was young enough to be a big 'fan', and I had the Soviet literature back to 1961. Stein was very good at winning Soviet Championships with apparent ease. All of those Russian/Ukrainian tournament bulletins and books I pored over, fascinated. Also 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6!? is an opening line that I got from him and is still in my repertoire.

If you look at the complete Stein you will notice that he had quite a wide arsenal with White. I think he picked his spots to play 1.e4 based on (sporting) knowledge of his opponent's style and weaknesses. Having played 1.e4 then the opportunity for the Nd5 sack becomes available, whereas if he'd opened 1.Nf3 or 1.c4 Furman could have steered for a dry logical equality, which was his forte. The practical tournament 'trick' to obtaining a full point against the super-solid Furman lay in creating adventuresome chaos on the board: Psychological chess.
Hence Spassky's only adventure
with 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nc3!? was
Spassky vs Furman, 1959 where it wins easily, not because it's sound, but because Furman tanked infinitely, ran short of time, and blundered. iow, gimme the point now and we can discuss perfection later eh ;-)

Dec-09-04  LIFE Master AJ: <IM Day>
Thanks for the explanation ... even if I may not agree with everything you say! ;)
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <IM Day, LM AJ> Your discussion made me remember the first games I tried to analyse by myself-the Fischer-Spassky 1972 WC the moves of which were even carried in small town Idaho newspapers by the Sawtooth Mts. Now with the benefits of Fritz, Shredder etc, I can in an hour sandblast my way into tactical intricasies I would never have imagined existed, so it is very helpful, but I miss those old days where I would puzzle over a game for weeks and still have it be a mystery.
Dec-11-04  LIFE Master AJ: <tamar>
Good point, (!!!) people today (and in the future!) will NEVER appreciate chess that way. <again>

I can remember games ... like Polugaevesky-Torre ... and studying them when I was in the military.

Some games - like Polu vs. Nez - I spent DECADES on ... and never really figured them out completely.

Dec-11-04  LIFE Master AJ: <tamar>
One more point ... then I will be quiet.

People praise computers all the time, always extolling their virtues. But is it possible that computers represent a possible STUMBLING BLOCK to chess education today.

I am talking about the excellent point that you raised. I used to look at the same game ... over and over and over again. As a teen-ager, I studied every day from the time I got home from school often until 1:00 AM in the morning.

Many times, I would be trying to figure out the best moves. I am sure that many of the steps that I took on the road to chess mastery were taken during this period in my life.

If computers had been available, might I have studied (only) 10-20 minutes ... then simply given up? (And turned on the computer and found an answer?) But would I have learned as much about the game? Would I have ever achived the title of MASTER???

Just a point to ponder.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: chessgames: this should be Semyon Abramovich Furman not Boris Furman

<LM AJ> Agree, computers can be an obstacle to independent thinking. Kramnik's recent interview in NIC shows what psychological tricks the computer is playing on even the top players. It greatly frees their minds to know that a computer has checked a move before they play it, and that led to Kramnik playing quickly and confidently into a loss against the Leko's Marshall with 22 axb5. "To put further psychological pressure on him by responding immediately, I was checking variations and I already saw queen d3, but I thought it was just a perpetual. After all we had probably checked this with a computer, so it shouldn't be lost, because otherwise the computer would have shown such a position is clearly lost."

Dec-11-04  LIFE Master AJ: <tamar>
It is hard to argue with that!
Feb-07-12  AlphaMale: <The same evening Leonid met the young Karpov, who later recalled: 'My teacher Semion Furman introduced me to the famous grandmaster, when they were analysing their game. I watched with interest how they approached the position in their different ways: Furman endeavoured to to give generalising evaluations, while Stein "fired out" a machine-gun-like stream of variations...He had a fantastic talent!> (OMGP III)
Feb-07-12  AlphaMale: <chessgames: this should be Semyon Abramovich Furman not Boris Furman >

7 years later I've submitted a correction slip. Watch this space!

Jun-26-19  ZonszeinP: Hello
Why 39-Bb7 rather than Bxc6+


Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <ZonszeinP: Hello
Why 39-Bb7 rather than Bxc6+>

Yes-it must be timescramble.
39.Bxc6 is winning on the spot.

Oct-02-19  ZonszeinP: Thank you

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