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Larry Evans vs Samuel Reshevsky
"The Mother of All Swindles" (game of the day May-12-2013)
US Championship (1963/64), New York, NY USA, rd 9, Dec-29
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Gligoric System Bronstein Variation (E55)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-26-07  Tactic101: Reshevsky appears to often suffer from stalemate blindness every now and then. But then, you have to be on the lookout for such oppurtunities if you are the defending side. I myself nearly suffered from the same fate as Reshevsky did in this game. But, my opponent didn't see it. I got pretty lucky there. ;)
Apr-27-08  LoveThatJoker: 49. Qh8+ amazingly also leads to a draw. Try it out!

Apr-28-08  Petrosianic: Eliminating stalemate would be an awful idea. It would only make material more important and so encourage more conservative play (since people would no longer be as confident that they might sacrifice material and still hold the draw if the attack miscarried.)

I think the people who want to abolish stalemate are under some impression that it would reduce draws. Actually, it would probably increase them, and make the game more boring all around.

In addition, stalemate is a logical and necessary result of the rule prohibiting moving kings into check. In checkers, "stalemate" is a loss because that game has no rules against suicidal king moves in the first place.

Stalemate is a rule for the computer age. On one hand, you have to make a move, but on the other hand you can't, so the "program" crashes.

Oct-24-08  sfm: LOL. Now, can anyone tell me what the point is in playing 47.h4 if he hadn't seen it already? Sly bastard!
Nov-14-08  thebribri8: Kramnik should look at this one, learn some new drawing techniques.
Jan-20-09  WhiteRook48: drawing tactics are amazing.
So what was the move that would have held for Black instead of 48...Qxg3??
Jan-28-09  WhiteRook48: greatest draw, I think
Mar-03-09  m0nkee1: al wazir: Nice postion... if i sacrifce my queen for checkmate should i loose cos i'm down on material? Stalemate is a great rule :)
May-28-09  Hitokiri Battousai: <al wazir> I would give point to white cause black must be stupid not to win with that material. what u want to proove is not enough.try something else
Jun-09-09  hedgeh0g: <what was the move that would have held for Black instead of 48...Qxg3??>

The only other moves Black can make without losing his Queen are Qg6 and Qh6. White will play Rf8 and Black has to provide his King with an escape square. The only moves available to Black are thus Qe6, Qd6 and Qb6. Keeping the Queen closer to the King for defence and attacking the White Queen would suggest to me that Qe6 is the best move. The Rook check is harmless and Black is completely winning.

Oct-24-09  JamesMazur2: I played a strangely similar game at one point. I was about to win and then I fell into the same trap. I allowed a perpetual rook check, where capture would mean stalemate. Otherwise, I had mate in one.
Nov-26-09  blackburne: A great game of Larry Evans no of Reshevsky
May-29-10  dzechiel: I'm gonna predict a day ahead of time that this game will end the week of stalemates.
May-30-10  David2009: <dzechiel: I'm gonna predict a day ahead of time that this game will end the week of stalemates.> I suppose the reason it didn't was that there was insufficient build-up.

click for larger view

Against Crafty if White tries the game line 46 Rxf7!?, Crafty deviates and wins with 48 ...Qg6 followed by 49 ...Qe6 0-1 (as pointed out by earlier kibitzers).

Oct-12-10  iamcoolright: Gimme a WHAT UP if this shows up as a puzzle sometime this week.
Nov-11-10  Tigranny: Isn't ...Qxg3 a blunder because Qg8+ Kxg8 Rxg7+ Kxg7 leads to stalemate?
Jan-07-11  musicmanTRIBALx: <Tigranny> ummmmmm... you are correct, sir!
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Black would have won easily with 46...Re2+ 47. Bf2 (47. Kg1/Kh1 Rxf3) Rxf2+ 48. Kh1 (49. Kg1 Qxg3+) Nxh3 49. Qxh3 Qc1+.
Jan-07-11  AnalyzeThis: Evans must have done a good job at staying calm (even depressed looking), so as to not let on to Reshevsky that he had a trap here.
Jan-27-11  Tigranny: Thanks musicmanTRIBALx.
Jan-27-11  Tigranny: For answering my question.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: game sidelight..

But Larry said that the “Swindle of the Century” versus Sammy Reshevsky in the 1963-64 U.S. Championship (Bobby’s 11-0 year) afforded a greater deal of pleasure because for years he could clearly picture Reshevsky’s total surprise and chagrin.

- Chess Life 2011 March

Mar-13-11  Pensive: I saw this game in my first chess book, Chess Strategy from A to Z, by Jeremy Silman. At the time, I wondered how this game was a stalemate because Silman showed the stalemate variation starting with 48...Qxg3, except the pawn was shown on h3, rather than its correct placement on h4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: according to GM Evans..

Reshevsky blanched and smiled wryly. With unseemly glee, I strained to hear him curse himself under his breath. He uttered just one word: "Stupid!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "Evans, down a piece and threatened with 48 ... Re1#, tried 48 h4! tempting Reshevsky into 48 ... Qxg3?? Evans thereupon forced a draw with 49 Qg8+!! Kxg8 50 Rxg7+! If either the Black king or queen takes the rook, White is stalemated, but if Black refuses the rook, White keeps on checking from the 7th rank until Black concedes a perpetual or allows the stalemate.

<A beautiful idea, but in a presentation far from ideal. For one thing, the "Swindle" part of the name indicates that Evans could only achieve this conclusion thanks to the gross blunder 48 ... Qxg3?? by his opponent-- after 48 ... Qf6! 49 Rd8 Ng6 White could resign. (The "Century" part also tells us something: this kind of resource is very rare in practical play. Not, however, literally once in a hundred years-- recall that Reshevsky fell into a similar trap against Pilnik only a few years earlier, a trap that also became known as the "Swindle of the Century" for a while; the even more impressive stalemate swindle of Beliavsky vs Christiansen, 1987 now seems destined for the same title.) For another, after 48 ... Qxg3?? Evans could also have drawn by 49 Qg8+! (or 49 Qh8+!) Kxg8 50 Rd8+ leading to the same conclusion of stalemate or perpetual check by the desperado rook, so the drawing line is not unique. Lastly, the b-pawns are superfluous, since the entire combination works just as well without them. Let us try to fix those flaws:"> ...

Endgame Explorations by Noam Elkies

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