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Boris Spassky vs Elod Macskasy
Tel Aviv ol (Men) fin-A (1964), Tel Aviv ISR, rd 2, Nov-11
Modern Defense: Averbakh System. Kotov Variation (A42)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: 39...BxRh8 would have allowed Black to last much longer, but still losing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Good of you to explain yet again what is axiomatic to the veriest novice--do you really believe the audience here is chiefly 1200 players?
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Thank you. Many players enjoy the theoretical opening debate. FTB has made a career of studying the finish of games.

Strive to be a strong finalizer, be it king hunts, combinations, pawn island manipulations, or creating and promoting passed pawns. Of course, one wants to be strong in all aspects of chess, but the ability to finish sure comes in handy when tired and running short of time. This knowledge improves one's own defense, and flexible middle game planning.

Like most masters, FTB looks at a few dozen games each day on the computer for style and pattern recognition purposes; that's hustling along, just a few minutes each game. (It's far more proactive than playing blitz.) Those who want to use a slower study approach might prefer watching videos instead. Then FTB slows way down and goes over an annotated GM game or two w/board and book/magazine after warmups -- not on the computer. Endgame studies are done after that. If FTB is still alert (not sluggish), speed through a few more games back on the computer or re-read a chapter from a previously read book.

A quick comment was made to this bouncing game as it was certainly worthy of notice, to get the ball rolling for other viewers. Spassky's universal style tends to make the bulk of his games useful for all levels of players to study.

Had FTB not commented, this game would have remained tucked away unseen and readers might not have had the privilege of replaying and commenting on the game. For some reason, your expert game commentary is not visible. Please consider re-typing your thoughts on the game.

Computer analysis anyone?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <FTB> <perfidious >

Iím sorry to say the win wasnít immediately obvious to me after 39....Bxh8, because there isnít a forced mate. It helps in a way that the rook on b6 and the bishop are obviously out of it, so you know you have to work out the win with just the knight and the queen. After 40.Qxh8+ Kf7, I settled on 41.Nf6 more or less by process of elimination. After I saw 41....Qf8 42.Qxf8+ and Nxd7+ I was satisfied Iíd found <a> win, though the computer confirms that there are better moves.

I definitely appreciate Fred drawing my attention to this game.

I assume Black was in dreadful time trouble at the end. I imagine him playing his 40th move and bashing his clock and leaning back in relief, Spassky sitting there with a sly smile on his face, then playing the mating move. Or maybe they were both in horrible time trouble and didnít even know theyíd reached the control.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Hard to imagine Spassky with anything but that impassive look on his face, same as Keres. That pair would have fit in right well in my milieu, polar opposites of Alekhine that both were.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: <keypusher> Agreed. Perhaps Black was thinking (lamenting?) more about his own failed attack rather than defense, because 39...Bxh8 does seem rather obvious as the best defensive response. Your suggested continuation of QxBh8 and Nf6 leaves White up a bishop and outside passed pawn. No Arabian mate is lurking; it seems eventual promotion would have been necessary, a slow but easy continuance for Spassky.

Time trouble is a good bet. Black perished the thought of exchanging queens, but he gets beat by the opposing queen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Finding improvements for Black in the middlegame is not easy. The dark-squared pawns on d6 and e5 are hazards. The d6 pawn is backward and needs defending. The e5 pawn is holding up the attack, creating a bad bishop. Had the diagonal been open, it's an entirely different story.

The White Ne4 has a good square, out-of-the way and more threatening than it's counterpart. White gives himself a "tall pawn" with 26.Bb3 which yields lots of lateral freedom for his rooks. After this, it seems Black might have used h5 to exchange pawns on light squares to improve his Bd8 on the kingside. Black needed to generate a mobility advantage somewhere. The Black queen never gets going.

There is no counterattack for Black w/the closed center and less active pieces. (After 26...Bd7 Black has five pieces sitting on the 7th rank struggling to coordinate.) His attack on the queenside is thwarted. White has enough time and space to bust through on the kingside.

FTB tried to make use of the hole w/Ra3, but sees no continuation (as long as White is careful to relieve the bishop pin on his queen on the third rank). Spassky did a stellar job of defending h2. In fact, this game should be noted for it's queenside defense w/gradual space gains that kept Black limited.

32...hxg5 hands the h-file to White.
Tactically, 33...Rxc4? drops the rook after 34.Rb8+ RxR 35.QxRb8+ any legal move 36.Qb5+ and 37.Qxc4. Black needed to play 33...Kf8 to get to a dark square. Without that king adjustment (a slight move that is not easy to find in time trouble), we come to the finish that was previously discussed above by.

Finally, FTB did not closely examine alternatives to the lone queen sortie following 19.Qa3. It worked out for White because Black lacks the coordinated mobility to punish it. Such a pawn snatch can throw computer evaluations off (evaluations appearing to be better than it really is), when the dropped pawn essentially turns out to be a gambit in other games. Spassky proved his defense to be sound. FTB probably would not have taken the time to grab the a7-pawn on principle; unfortunately FTB is no Spassky! What it really means is that White was in full control of this game throughout, even though there appeared to be dangerous pressure on the half-open a-file.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: With all that being said, in hindsight one should question 16...0-0-0. It's not badly flawed, but was it necessary then and there?

Prior to castling, White's battery on the d-file would make it too dangerous for Black to advance the c-pawn, else dxc and the Black d-pawn falls with Black in control of the opened d-file. Thus, castling long does improve the mobility of the Black c-pawn some. Otherwise, FTB is not certain that 16...0-0-0 was all that useful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: The above paragraph should have said "else dxc and the Black d-pawn falls with WHITE in control of the opened d-file."

It's too late to delete the post and re-paste it now even though it's the same day.

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