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Samuel Reshevsky vs Jan Hein Donner
"The Donner Expedition" (game of the day Jul-09-2008)
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966), Santa Monica, CA USA, rd 6, Jul-25
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Gligoric System Bronstein Variation (E55)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-09-08  ge1144: Botvinnik mastered 4.e3, at least equal, sometimes a win.
Jul-09-08  RookFile: Old Reshevsky wasn't too bad on the white side of the Nimzo, either. He scored 47 wins, 9 losses, and 48 draws, according to my quick count. These wins include victories over some of the greatest names in chess.
Jul-09-08  andymac: At the end of the day, Hein Donner was a good chess player, but a great writer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I don't see anything close to an easy win if black declines the bishop sacrifice and plays 27...Kh8 instead.

click for larger view

27...Bxf7 loses right then and there.

Jul-09-08  Marmot PFL: Reshevsky was picked by Keene as #8 on his list of top 10 d4 players, behind Kasparov, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Pillsbury, Petrosian, Korchnoi, and Portisch, ahead of Rubinstein and Gligoric. This was in the 80s so now you have to make room for Kramnik and soon for Carlsen. He left off Capablanca, Tal, Spassky and Karpov as e4 players although Capa and Karpov mainly played d4 later in their careers.
Jul-09-08  kevin86: A very quick finish will follow:

36...♔xg7 37 ♕xf6+ and mate at g7

or 36...♔h8 37 ♖xh7+ ♔g8 (mustn't touch the rook...) 38 ♕g6+ and mate next.

I'm hungry.

Jul-09-08  Magic Castle: <Jimfromprovidence:> Looks like 28. Be8, is good for white. Then black has to reckon with a back rank mate or lose a piece.
Jul-09-08  Riverbeast: A clinical and elementary win
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Magic Castle>< Looks like 28. Be8, is good for white. Then black has to reckon with a back rank mate or lose a piece.>

If 28 Be8, then 28...Bxf3. 29 gxf3 is forced, then 29...Qf5 holds for black.

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If white follows with 30 Bxd7, then 30...Nxd7. If 31 Qe8+, then 31...Nf8.

click for larger view

Jul-09-08  RookFile: I think Jim was right. Earlier, I was remembering Ray Keene's notes. But in going over this game with the computer, it seems that instead of 24. d5, white preserves a big edge with either 24. Rb1 or 24. Qe3.
Jul-09-08  madlydeeply: In case somebody does not know about the Donner expedition, it was a bit like little house on the prarie, except everybody was stuck in the snow and desperately ate each other. Laura Engalls was eaten up by some greedy fat man. One survior was found surrounded by human bones in the spring. I think that survivor moved to San Francisco and opened a restaurant. TASTY GET IT HAHAHA
Jul-09-08  zb2cr: Uhhh...<madlydeeply>...Don't exaggerate. It was bad enough, without such nonsense as yours.

Of the 83 members of the Donner party, 45 survived to reach California. Yes, several of the survivors practiced cannibalism. But, you've got to give them this...they didn't murder each other for the flesh, just ate those who died of cold and exposure.

Your fanciful tale probably concerns the final rescuee, Lewis Keseberg. He was the last found alive, by the 4th expedition. Contrary to your statement, he didn't open a restaurant in San Francisco, but a boarding house.

Jul-09-08  Marmot PFL: "The game of chess has never been held in great esteem by the North Americans. Their culture is steeped in deeply anti-intellectual tendencies. They pride themselves in having created the game of poker. It is their national game, springing from a tradition of westward expansion, of gun-slinging skirt chasers who slept with cows and horses. They distrust chess as a game of Central European immigrants with a homesick longing for clandestine conspiracies in quiet coffee houses. Their deepest conviction is that bluff and escalation will achieve more than scheming and patience (witness their foreign policy)." - Hein Donner.
Premium Chessgames Member
  pawn to QB4: <it was a bit like little house on the prarie, except everybody was stuck in the snow and desperately ate each other. Laura Engalls was eaten up by some greedy fat man. One survior was found surrounded by human bones in the spring. I think that survivor moved to San Francisco and opened a restaurant.> great stuff, the exaggeration reminds me of Donner's own story telling.
Jul-09-08  madlydeeply: I remembered my information from watching a PBS documentary. must have been exaggerated by those liberal wackos. Surprised to hear that 45 made it, that documentary certainly exaggerated.

I wonder what is Hein Donner's explanation for the American genius that periodically shows up and turns the chess world on it's ear. (Morphy, Pillsbury, Fine, Reshevsky, Fischer) And of course, Ben Feingold, a player far superior to Emmanuel Lasker. Although he is spot on about foreign policy. U.S. politicians spout a constant stream of endless lies.

Jul-09-08  paul1959: <RookFile> It is not too clear what edge White has after 24 Rb1 or Qe3 but after 27 ...Kg8 White has won back its sacrificed pawn and has the Bishop pair in a very open position. In addition , the Black King is unsafe and pawns are on both sides of tha board. No need to look for mates in one , this is a long term advantage. I guess that Donner rather wanted to see the money than lose in a long ending.
Jul-09-08  paul1959: Maybe Black should have tired 26... Qa5 right away. Them White would not have time for Bd6 anf Re7+
Jul-09-08  RookFile: <paul1959: Maybe Black should have tired 26... Qa5 right away. Them White would not have time for Bd6 anf Re7+ >

After 26....Qa5 27. Qe7 black can resign.

Jul-09-08  paul1959: <RookFile> 27 Qe7 Qa8
Jul-09-08  RookFile: <paul1959: paul1959: <RookFile> 27 Qe7 Qa8 >

Oh, very well. After 27. Qe7 Qa8 28. Qxf7+ Kh8 29. Re7 black is busted.

click for larger view

For example 29...Qf8 30. Qxf8 Nxf8 31. Rxb7 and white has an extra piece.

Jul-14-08  patzer2: Concerning Reshevsky's brilliant decoy (sham) sacrifice 27. Bxf7+!!, I agree with <Jimfromprovidence> -- Black can avoid any immediate trouble by declining White's generous offer with 27...Kh8! .

Capturing the decoy sacrificed Bishop loses. However, working out all the details of the forced win is neither quick or easy.

Here's my computer checked look:

<27. Bxf7+!! Kxf7>

Reshevsky offers Donner a poisoned piece, which puts Black's King into a hopeless pursuit combination if he dares to accept it. Donner takes the bait (show me what you've got Sammy) and soon finds himself in a lost position.

Instead, declining the poisoned apple with 27... Kh8! 28. Ne5 Nxe5 29. Bxe5 Ra8 30. Qb2 appears to hold the position with only a slight White edge and reasonable counter chances.

<28. Qe6+ Kg6 29. Bd6?>

This is a mistake because it risks throwing away the win by giving Black a way of escape. Instead, White can guarantee victory after 29. Nh4+!! Kh5 30. Re5+! Qxe5 [30... Nxe5 31. Qf5+ Kxh4 (31... g5 32. Qxg5#) 32. Qg5#] 31. Bxe5 Kxh4 32. Bxf6+ Nxf6 33. Qe7! (diagram below).

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From here, White's multiple Queen fork give him just enough to win (Fritz 8, 3.94 @ 15 depth). One possible winning continuation is 33...Ra1+ 34. Kh2 Kg5 (34... Ba8 35. Qxg7 Bxg2 36. Qxf6+ Kh5 37. Qxa1 Kg6 38. Qb1+ Kf7 39. Kxg2 ) 35. Qe5+ Kg6 36. Qxa1 Bd5 37. Qb1+ Kf7 38. Qxb6 .

<29... Qa5?>

For a GM who indicated Americans are more interested in Poker than Chess and that Chess is at times a game of chance (See, Donner plays the wrong hand here. Instead, he could have better insured his survival chances against this American GM with 29... Qc3! 30. Nh4+ Kh5 31. Nf5 =.

<30. Ne5+ Nxe5 31. Rxe5 Ra1+ 32. Kh2 Qa8?>

Donner is already lost, but this weak move accelerates his defeat. Instead, he can put up more resistance (holding out some hope of swindling a draw) with 32...Qd5 33. Qf5+ Kf7 34. Rxd5 Bxd5 35. Bc7 Be4 36. Qf4 b5 .

<33. Qf5+! Kf7 34. Re7+ Kg8 35. Be5! Re1?>

This weak move gives White a quick mate. Although Donner was lost no matter what he played, he could have made the win much more difficult for White with 35... Qf8 36. Qe6+ Kh8 37. Bxf6 gxf6 38. Re8 Qxe8 39. Qxe8+ Kg7 40. Qe7+ Kg6 41. Qxb7 .

<36. Rxg7+!> 1-0

Black resigns as this move initiates a mate-in-four, with the finish being 36...Kh8 37. Rxh7+ Kg8 38. Qg6+ Kf8 39. Qf7# 1-0

Jul-14-08  patzer2: After doing a little analysis, I appreciate the pun a bit more. Reshevsky offers Donner's King the opportunity to take a little trip by capturing his decoy sacrificed Bishop. Donner accepts the offer and Reshevsky takes him on a little expedition (King Hunt) and figuratively eats away at his position until there's nothing left (check mate).
Nov-05-12  Anderssen99: Patzer2: It seems that White's most incisive win is not 30.Re5+ but 30.Nf5!!,Qd5 31.g4+!!,Nxg4 (31...,Kg6. 32.Ne7 Or: 32.♘h4 mate) 32.Nxg7+ Kh4. 33.Qxg4 mate.
Dec-17-14  zydeco: Reshevsky's time trouble works in his favor here.

Donner tries the provocative 23....Ra3 (thinking that he has everything defended) instead of a safe move like 23....h6. "I would never have played this move if Reshevsky had not been in time trouble," writes Donner. "Again he proves that in that condition he is at his best."

Aug-19-20  Gaito: Samuel Reshevsky was 54 years old when this game was played. He kept the energy and judgment of his youth even after he was quite old. In 1984, at the age of 73 he defeated GM Larry Christiansen in a beautiful game. In this game against Donner, Reshevsky's play could hardly be improved. Perhaps his only inaccuracy was the move 29. Bd6, but a powerful chess engine like Stockfish is required to disclose the fact that in the following position

click for larger view

29. Nh4+ Kh5 30. Re5+ would deliver mate or the loss of Black's queen. Maybe Reshevsky, as usual, was very pressed by the clock and so did not play 29. Nh4+ Kh5 30. Re5+ Nxe5 31. Qf5+ Kxh4 32. Qg5 mate.

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