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Samuel Reshevsky vs Gabriel Hellman
"Miracle Whip" (game of the day Nov-11-2014)
ACF Congress (1939), New York, NY USA, rd 2, Jul-22
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran Variation (D48)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"Gabriel M. Hellman of the Bronx distinguished himself against Reshevsky, who had the White pieces in a Queen's Gambit Declined. Surviving the onslaught of the United States champion, Hellman took the initiative and gave his rival several uncomfortable minutes. Hellman came through with a pawn to the good, but Reshevsky was considered to have drawing chances when play was adjourned after forty moves."> -- New York Times, July 23, 1939.

In the light of that description and the outcome, I can't resist suggesting the pun, "Miracle Whip."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I suppose the first question will be, "Why not 19.Nxf6+"? Well, after 19...Qxf6! 20.Qxd7? Bxf3!, things are getting a little dicey for White. He may be better off not taking that rook, and if he does he certainly shouldn't play 20.Qxd7.

Reshevsky's line was perfectly good until he erred with 23.Ne1. Instead, 23.Nh4 looks better, since it prevents 23...Nh3+ 24.gxh3 Rg6+. If Black kicks the knight with 23...g5, White goes back with 24.Nf3 and the rook's path along the g-file is blocked.

Nov-11-14  RookFile: I think this is a good example of what happens when you play not to lose - you lose. After 30....Nf6 Reshevsky might have accepted a draw offer, considering the small detail that black is ahead a pawn.

After 33. Rd8, the move 33.... e4 suggests itself. It takes away squares from white's knight. 34. Ke3 would be no good because of 34....Rc1. The 33...e4 move allows more king centralization with ....Ke5.

This would be one way to play it.

Nov-11-14  Granny O Doul: Definitely rich in vicissitudes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: There's no way white should have won this endgame.
Nov-11-14  sorokahdeen: Looks like "dizziness due to success."

Black had beaten off what's attack; had come up with a counterattack that recovered his sacrificed material with interest and ended up in an endgame with an extra pawn. White's only hope should have been for a draw after a long hard fight. Instead, white wins by putting his pieces where they do him the most good.

The upshot: Pawn odds weren't enough for Hellman to beat Reshevsky.

Talent is a nasty thing to those who don't have enough of it.

Nov-11-14  Tim Delaney: Miracle Whip indeed! Really, it would have been a miracle draw. There are lots of cases in chess literature in which the weaker player gets a winning position, yet manages only a draw. This game is a real tragedy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: <In the endgame you can least of all afford over-optimistic play.> Probably Black was happy to break through with his king on move 48, but soon he had to realise that all the queenside pawns have disappeared and his king and knight are stranded far away from the new war theatre.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wow. That's a good pun. It's a miracle white won this endgame, but it should be worth noting that Miracle Whip tastes similar (but not as good as) Hellman's Mayonnaise.
Nov-11-14  dhotts: It seems 28...Qe4 may have sealed the win for Black as 29...Ne3 is threatened. Am I missing something?
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: <Phony> U came up w/ a great pun & the game is amazing as well! Until the ♕s were exchanged off the board this was a very complicated game which is typical of the Meran. Reshevsky showed some great endgame knowledge in this game but I have to agree w/ <<>al wazir: There's no way white should have won this endgame.> Although b/c humans make mistakes, the old axiom "where there's a will there's a way" applied here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White should have NOT won this game. He just was able to enter black's camp and steal his pawns while his opponent was a step slow.
Nov-13-14  tonsillolith: This middlegame makes no sense to me.

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