Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Young Smyslov Game

The 7th World Chess Champion Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was one of the strongest players and some might argue, the strongest player in the 1950s, eclipsing Mikhail Botvinnik.

Just how good was he?

When you consider that he played 3 World Championship matches with Botvinnik in 1956, 1957 and 1958 and yet emerged with a plus score against Botvinnik, it's no small feat.

One of the most famous quotes from Smyslov was, "I will play 40 good moves. If you can play 40 good moves, we will draw."

He sure knows how to make the skill of making good moves seem effortless!

In this following game position (taken from the book Smyslov's Best Games, a young Smyslov is playing against Gerasimov in the Championship of the Moscow House of Pioneers in 1935, we look at this game after Gerasimov (White) plays 19. h3.

What did the young Smyslov (as Black) uncork that forced White to resign on move 22?

FEN Position:
[r2r2k1/1b3ppp/ppq1p3/4P3/N1P2bn1/PQ5P/1B3PP1/R3RBK1 b - - 0 19]

When you're ready, highlight between the brackets for the answer.

[Smsylov played the move. 19... Rd3!!
In the game White played
20. Qxb6 (if 20. Qxd3 Bh2+ 21. Kh1 Nxf2+ loses the Queen)
20... Rxh3 !! (the point)
21. Bd4 (if 21. Qxc6 Bh2+ 22. Kh1 Nxf2#) 21... Bh2+
22. Kh1 Bxe5+ (and White is helpless to stop a Windmill using a Bishop which loses the Queen!)


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