Friday, March 27, 2015

LCCC Back Monday - But First Another Spassky Masterpiece

Be at the club on Monday for a fun night of casual chess!
But until then, we bring you another outstanding game by Boris Spassky.

Spassky vs Vasiukov, Moscow International, 1959

Human analysis by Andrew Soltis and [Igor 3000’s comments in brackets].

The way in which Spassky obtains clear positional superiority with seemingly tame opening setups never fails to amaze!

1. d4                Nf6
2. c4                d6
3. Nc3             e5
One of Spassky’s favorite openings is played against him!

4. Nf3              Nbd7?
[The simple ….ed 5. Nxd4, Be7 is better…from (+.3 to +.6 for White). But White’s next move cancels that gain.]

5. Bg5              Be7
6. e3                O-O
Spassky is working for a development similar to his anti-Nimzo line with its concentration on squares e4 and f5.

7. Bd3              Re8
[Black should be challenging the bishop with …..h6. Instead (+.6)]

8. Qc2             exd4
The alternative 7. ….. e4 is tactically unsound. Vasiukov’s plan of using the f-file offers him equal play.

9. exd4             Nf8
Perhaps with the intention ……Bg4-Bh5-Bg6.

10. h3              Nd5!?

My little brother, Igor2800 and my friend F. Stock5 agree with me that 10. …d5 frees Black’s position better than the text by (+.7 to +.5)]

11. cxd5!         Bxg5+
White’s move seems to give up the initiative, the two bishops and an equal pawn structure for nothing. Yet, Black never quite equalizes after this very strong idea.

[Actually 11. O-O, Nb4  12. Bxe7, Rxe7  13. Qd2, Nxd3 14. Qxd3 is stronger (keeps the +.5 instead of the text of +.3). So the exclamation point is a little over kill. (?!) is closer to the truth. But Soltis is only human. What does he know?]

12. Kf1            Bd7
[Black is preparing ….c6 but then never plays it. The move here was Ng6 or c6 to gain space. Now (+.6)]

13. g3              Rc8
White has ‘built a house’ for his King and is about to regain the initiative. The trouble with Black’s game is the lack of breathing space, a weakness he should try to overcome wth …..c6. But Vasiukov rejects that and soon runs out of moves.

14. Kg2           a6?
[Again 14. ….c6 is the move. (+1)]

15. Rae1          Rxe1
White’s superiority in space has come out of nowhere. He next trades off bishops to exploit the White squares.

16. Rxe1          Bh6
17. Bf5 g6
18. Bxd7          Nxd7
19. Qb3!          Rb8
White eyes the next weak point. From now until desperation time, Black can only try to defend one move at a time.

20. a4              Nf6
21. g4!             Qd7?
Even Black’s only good piece, the f6 knight, will be denied its best squares. Vasiukov sees a strong  sacrifice idea and must have been surprised to see Spassky accept the gift.

[Spassky accepts because it is the losing idea. 21. …. Bg7 was needed. Now it’s (+2.1)]

22. g5              Nh5?
[Following his plan, but 22. …. Bxg5 lessens the damage. Now (+3.1)]

23. gxh6           Nf4+
24. Kg3!          g5
A forced King move, but very powerful. White regains the attack now. There is nothing holding up this pawn, but White has a better move than to take it.

25. Ng1           Qf5
26. Qxb7!        Rf8
Spassky’s familiar active defense against the threatened 26. ….Nd3.[(+5.3)]

27. Qxc7          Qd3+
28. Kh2           Qd2
29. Ne4           Resigns

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