1 Smyslov vs Fischer 2 Fischer vs Addison 3 Fischer vs Filip 3 17 27




Chapter 1

Smyslov vs Fischer
Fischer’s victim
Fischer first draw blood in the Interzonal Tournament from a former World Champion, Vasily Smyslov. Born in 1921, Smyslov learned to play chess at age six, and enjoyed a long and fruitful career in chess, spanning over four decades. According to Chessmetrics, his best performance (2824) was in the Zurich Candidates in 1953, the strongest Tournament of the 1950’s, where he scored 64% vs 2719-rated opposition; and he remained the strongest player in the world from mid 1954 to early 1958. He failed to capture the World Championship in 1954 when he tied his match with Mikhail Botvinnik, but earned it in their second encounter in 1956. Smyslov lost the crown back to Botvinnik in a return match in 1958. Among chess players, he is best remembered for his cheerful personality, his ability to make friends and his beautiful voice as an opera singer. For more information on Smyslov and his awe-inspiring chess career, see Hooper and Whyld (1996, p.376-7).

The game
In the first round of the Interzonal at Palma de Mallorca, Fischer had made some mistakes, and just managed to pull a draw against the rising German grandmaster (and papyrologist!) Robert H¨bner (b. 1953). u After this unimpressive start, Bobby’s luck would turn, beginning with a spectacular win against a former World Champion. “Russians vs Fischer,” provides a quote by Vasyukov that highlights this game as “of particular importance to both players” on two accounts: first, this was Fischer’s first game in Palma against a Soviet player; and second, both Fischer and Smyslov had good chances of qualifying for the Candidates, which made them “direct rivals” (Plisetsky and Voronkov, 2005, p.207). 3



Smyslov Fischer

Round 2 - IZT Palma de Mallorca, November 10, 1970 Symmetrical English Opening, Closed Systems – A36

4. Bg2 White completes the fianchetto of the 1. c4 White aims to control the central d5 bishop, the purpose of the previous move, bolstering its of control of the square from the flank. white squares of the center. 1. . . g6 4. . . Nc6 This move, preparing the fianchetto of the black-square bishop, introduces a This move develops the knight to an permanent feature in Black’s kingside excellent square, and piles up pressure on d4 and e5, making the board sympawn formation. metrical again. In some openings, the initial symmetry 2. Nc3 White develops its knight to an excel- of the board is broken for good in the lent square, where it reinforces the con- first round of moves; in others, like this trol over d5, and covers another central one, it lasts a bit longer. By transposition of moves, we have reached what square, namely e4. MCO-15 calls the Ultra-Symmetrical Variation of the English opening. 2. . . Bg7 Black fianchettoes the bishop, which 5. b3?! now has a magnificent view of the a1h8 diagonal, and controls two central “A move one associates with Smyslov,” says Watson in his book on the symsquares: d4 and e5. Black has delayed committing to a metrical English (1980, p.18). pawn structure in the center, reservFischer ing the option of pushing either the c rZblkZns or the e pawn at later time. 3. g3 With this move, White prepare to fianchetto its own white-square bishop to g2, from which it will contribute to the control of a long diagonal, and will add pressure to the d5 square in particular.

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3. . . c5 5. b3?! Black goes for a symmetrical pawn structure in the center. Pushing e5 in- White prepares to fianchetto his other stead would have blocked the view of bishop, to contest Blacks domination of the black center squares. the bishop in g7. Smyslov’s pet variation, also a favorite

5 of Larsen, is less popular than other options like 5. Nf3, 5. e3 and even 5. a3. It is not a bad move, in the sense that the resulting position has been evaluated as equal for both players. Yet precisely there lies its weakness. Soviet annotators (see “Russians vs Fischer”) gave this move a ?! evaluation. We agree. The advantage of having the first move gives White a little edge of innitiative that should keep Black busy trying to achieve a balance for the first dozen moves or so. In this game, White’s passive play has resulted in such a balance being reached rather early in the game. After the text, whatever edge White had on account of the first move has evaporated. And now it’s Black’s turn! To get the knight out of the way of White’s bishop and propose a trade to its Black counterpart. But, hasn’t Black spent two moves already fianchettoing that bishop? It is hard to see the point of investing two more moves now in order to exchange it.

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Smyslov 7. Na4?!

This move was also given a ?! eval5. . . e6 Black wants to develop its king-side uation in “Russians vs Fischer”. knight, without obstructing the view 7. . . B×b2 its bishop has of the long black diagonal. The text makes the e7 square Black goes for the bargain and trades available to the knight, and prepares bishops. to support an eventual d5 pawn push. 8. N×b2 Black has to recapture immediately, 6. Bb2 Fulfilling the purpose of White’s previ- since Black’s bishop is now threatenous move. Now the black-squared bish- ing to win the exchange by taking ops are facing each other, contending the White rook. Notice that Black for the same territory. It is very likely emerged one tempo up in the trade of the fianchettoed bishops. Notice also now that they will be exchanged. that, after the recapture, the White knight no longer controls the center 6. . . Nge7 Black develops its knight without squares. blocking the bishop on g7. The move 8. . . 0–0 adds pressure to d5, preparing that square for an advance of the d pawn, With a free tempo to spare, Black in order to contest White’s control over moves its King out of the center. The this square. weakness of the pawn formation in front of the castled King is less press7. Na4?! ing now that the enemy’s black-square What is the purpose of this move? bishop is off the board.


CHAPTER 1. SMYSLOV VS FISCHER 11. . . b6 Black figures out a way to develop the white-squared bishop, and at the same time to supports the c5 pawn. 12. d4? This innocent-looking move, challenging Black’s c5 pawn, is Smyslov’s first serious mistake: it gives Fischer the chance to take some shots at the king sitting on the center.

Black acts wisely in castling. A king left in the center might become a liability: both the knight on e7 and the pawn on e6 may have to mobilize soon to fight for d5, which would leave an uncastled king vulnerable in the middle of the board. As the game proceeds, White will soon realize it should have followed Black’s example regarding the importance of timely castling. 9. e3 White is preparing a knight move similar to that of Black. White plans to develop its knight to e2 and then push the d-pawn to contest Black’s control of the central black squares. 9. . . d5 Black loses no time in pushing for a break in the d-file, supported by pawn, knight and queen. 10. c×d5 Black decides to dissipate the tension right away. A better idea was to hold it and develop the knight with 10. Ne2, after which Black’s capture 10. . . d×c4 would only serve to bring the White knight to a nice central position with 11. N×c4.

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Smyslov 12. d4?

It is not an obvious one, though, to the point that over twenty years later, a compilation of Fischer’s games annotated by Smyslov himself and others makes no remarks about any downside of this move. White’s best move here was 12. 0–0, tucking the king away from the center. But even if Smyslov didn’t want 10. . . N×d5 The recapture gives Black the chance to castle yet for any reason, a move to centralize the knight. At this point, like 12. a3 would have avoided surrenthe position is balanced, but Black is dering the initiative to Fischer. calling the shots. Black’s king is safer Fischer now has to find a way to exploit and its pieces are somewhat more ac- this subtle faux pas. The instinctive recapture 12. . . c×d4 would help White tive. centralize his knight with 13. N×d4. 11. Ne2 12. . . Ba6! White develops its knight without obstructing the view of the fianchettoed Like a shark that smells blood from a bishop, and prepares to castle kingside. mile away, Fischer feels there is an opportunity here and goes for the kill. In-

7 stead of protecting the c5 pawn, Black Instead of recapturing the pawn, Black concerns himself with winding up his retains the momentum with this great innitiative. move, that develops the queen, connects the rooks, puts pressure on the Fischer weakened f2 square and threatens to rZ0l0skZ capture the unprotected knight on b2.

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Smyslov 12. . . Ba6!


White’s king should have castled when Smyslov it had the chance. From its new post, 13. . . Qf6! the bishop sets its telescopic sight on the forehead of the white horse, which There is, nevertheless, another excelis sitting anxiously on e2, and makes lent square for the queen, possibly even the uncastled king uneasy. better: 13. . . Qe7 threatens the d4 pawn, connects the rooks and prepares 13. d×c5 to centralize them with 14. . . Rac8 and Castling now would be a mistake: 15. . . Rfd8, assembling the big guns White loses a pawn after 13. 0–0? c×d4 along the central columns. 14. e×d4 B×e2 15. Q×e2 Qf6, since the d4 pawn would be under the double at14. Nc4 tack of queen and knight. The only way to protect the knight is White deserves credit for having re- to relocate it towards the center, while alized that the initiative now belongs the White queen protects the rook. to Black, and finding the best defense. There is no other good defense. The The text move is a smart one, on two seemingly good 14. Nd4 allows Black accounts. to shoo the horse away with 14. . . b×c5 First, Black has the threat of 15. N×c6 Q×b2 16. Rb1 Qf6 17. Rc1, 13. . . B×d2, to which White would recapturing the pawn and further enhave to respond with 14. Q×d2, forc- ergizing Black’s initiative. ing the queen to abandon the defense of the d4 pawn. 14. . . Nc3! Second, Black also threatens to open Resisting the temptation of pulling the c-file for his queenside rook by out the big gun with 14. . . Rfd8, Black 13. . . c×d4, so it makes sense to snatch finds the most energetic continuation the c5 pawn preemtively. for its innitiative against the uncastled king. Do you see that knight on e2, 13. . . Qf6! ready to protect the king on a second’s

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8 notice? He’s got to go.

CHAPTER 1. SMYSLOV VS FISCHER The king, in check, has to run for its life, nevertheless choosing his escape square carefully. Moving instead to 16. Ke2 would lose a pawn to a maneuver like 16. . . Rad8 17. Rc1 Qa5 18. Qc2 Nb4 19. Qb2 Q×c5.

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Smyslov 14. . . Nc3!

Bobby’s move is sharp because, by sending his own knight into the enemy’s territory with a double attack on queen and knight, it forces White to trade horses. A more passive move, like a rook maneuver, would give White some breathing room to castle or relocate the queen to a c-square, preventing the knight exchange. 15. N×c3 In the best style of Capablanca, Smyslov takes the best and simplest continuation. A move like 15. Qc2, although equally strong, would better suit the labyrinthic style of a lover of complications, like Alekhine. With best play, it could continue 15. . . N×e2 16. B×c6 N×g3 17. h×g3 Q×a1+ 18. Ke2 Qe5 19. B×a8 R×a8 20. c×b6 a×b6, where Black retains its initiative intact.

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Smyslov 16. Kf1

Blocking the check with the queen loses the a1-rook immediately, while blocking with 16. Nc2 allows 16. . . Ne5!, a move that bringings complications in which White cannot avoid losing material: i.e. 17. Bf1 Rfd8 18. B×a6 R×d2 19. Q×d2 Nf3+ 20. Ke2 N×d2. 16. . . Rfd8 Black claims for itself the wide open d-column. 17. Qc1 The queen, evicted from its initial square, makes an indecent proposal to Black: I’ll trade you a displaced, inactive piece for a beautifully placed, dominating one.

15. . . Q×c3+ 17. . . B×c4+ With the recapture, the queen establishes herself on a magnificent square, Black decides the time to trade queens where it exerts strong command of has not come yet, and prefers to snatch White’s knight with a check. White’s queenside. 16. Kf1 18. b×c4

9 The forced recapture comes with an undesireable gift for White: doubled 20. . . a×b6 pawns! To which Black has no objection, since it realizes the remaining pawn will be 18. . . Qd3+ easy pray to its knight. Postponing the exchange of queens for a better time, Black goes after the 21. Qb2 monarch. White is parazyled by the dominating presence of Black’s queen. Before it 19. Kg1 can do anything, White has to figure The king must take refuge in a out a way to impose the exchange of square that severely hampers its h1- queens. So, Smyslov devises a neat marook’s prospects. Moving instead neuver that will force Fischer to trade 19. Ke1 would be suicidal, because queens, under penalty of losing the iniof 19. . . Nb4 followed by 20. . . Nc2+, tiative. It starts with the text move, forking king and rook, and losing the but will require two more moves: one exchange. to push forward the h pawn and another to bring the queen to f6. 19. . . Rac8 Black develops its last piece. The poor 21. . . Na5 doubled pawns must be suspecting by Fischer realizes the trade of queens is now that their future is not too bright. now just a matter of time, and makes the best use of it: he decides to cash Fischer in some of the chips he has earned. If 0Zrs0ZkZ you look at the material balance on the board, you will see that Black is a pawn o0Z0ZpZp down: this is the pawn Fischer sac0onZpZpZ rificed some moves ago to bolster his Z0O0Z0Z0 initiative.

Smyslov 19. . . Rac8


There is a dramatic contrast between Black’s developed, magnificently centralized rooks on open and semi-open columns, and White’s undeveloped rooks, still standing on their initial squares, immobilized. 20. c×b6 White decides to trade one of the doubled pawns while he still can.

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Smyslov 21. . . Na5

Now Black can recover that pawn, without losing a bit of momentum. The recapture starts with the text



move. What is so neat about this move is that White has no way to stop Black from recovering the pawn. For example, if White threatens the Black queen with 22. Bf1, Black doesn’t even bother and goes right ahead with the pawn recapture 22. . . N×c4, since after 23. B×d3 comes 23. . . N×b2, and after the queen trade Black has its initiative intact. If, on the other hand White wanted to snatch a pawn of its own with 22. Q×b6, Black still captures with 22. . . N×c4. Threatened, the White queen retreats to 23. Qb3 with a full belly, in the hope of being traded by its Black counterpart. But by then, the ebony lady has better plans: 23. . . Qf5, aiming at the weakened f2 square and threatening 24. . . Rd2. At this point, Black’s dominance of the center columns is imposing. 22. h4 White goes ahead with the maneuver that will force Black to trade queens. Going for 22. Qf6 right away would result in exactly the same position (since after 22. . . N×c4 23. h4 we transpose to the game) or in one with a similar exchange of queens (e.g. 22. . . Q×c4 23. h4 Qc3 24. Q×c3 R×c3). 22. . . N×c4 Black gets back the pawn it lent White on move 13. 23. Qf6 Finally, after three moves, White has managed to put Black in a position where trading queens is an offer he cannot refuse. Now, playing to avoid the trade would be a mistake: 23. . . Qd6 24. h5 Rc5 25. h×g6 f×g6 and Black’s advantage goes up in smoke, leaving behind a totally neutral position.

23. . . Qf5 Not surprisingly, Black proposes the trade.

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Smyslov 23. . . Qf5

24. Q×f5 Which White accepts gladly. Now Black has to decide which pawn it uses to recapture the queen. 24. . . g×f5?! This is the wrong recapture. Hard-core Bobby fans, looking at other annotations of this game, will criticize yours truly for labeling this move as dubious. After all, they will argue, nothing bad was said about it in the books by Wade, Smyslov, and Kasparov.

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Smyslov 24. . . g×f5?!

11 Yet the move is weak and amply deserves the ?! label, since it diminishes Black’s initiative significantly. The text move allows White to weaken Black’s kingside pawn structure and position its previously useless rook in a precious central square: 25. h5! Rd2 26. Rh4 and the rook comes out of hiding 26. . . Ne5 27. e4 f×e4 28. R×e4 and goes to occupy a central square, from which it is hard to displace, i.e. 28. . . Rc5 29. a4 Kg7 30. Rb1 Nd7 31. Bf3 Rcc2 32. Bd1 Ra2 and the White’s rook is still sitting majestically in the center, while Black’s kingside pawn structure now has two pawn islands. Better was 24. . . e×f5! 25. h5 and here Black has two ways to frustrate the centralization prospects of the White rook. The first is to prevent it from leaving the hole with 25. . . g5 26. e4 f×e4 27. B×e4, where the rook is still in hiding and Black has its kingside pawns in one piece. The second is to let it come out 25. . . Ne5 26. Rh4 and then trade it with 26. . . Rc2 27. Rd4 R×d4 28. e×d4 Ng4, where the rook is gone and Black’s kingside pawn formation is strong and healthy. 25. h5!

In “Russians vs Fischer” and in Kasparov’s “My Great Predecessors, Vol 4”, this move is evaluated as dubious (?!). Soltis (2003) gives it no criticism. This notwithstanding, the maligned text move is actually not only very good, but in fact, it is the only continuation that allows White to capitalize on Black’s previous weak move. Now, whether Smyslov was aware of the profound merits of this move is open to debate. His next move makes us think he may have pushed the pawn in a moment of lucky inspiration. 25. . . Rd2 White sends his rook to the seventh rank. Another good move here was 25. . . Ne5, moving the horse out of the way of the cannons. 26. Rc1? This move is a mistake. White brings its queenside rook into the action with an inconsequential knight pin, consuming a tempo required to develop the kingside rook with 26. Rh4, which we had presumed was the idea behind the previous move.

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Smyslov 25. h5!

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Smyslov 26. Rc1?

It is this error that makes us think Smyslov made the right 25th move for the wrong reasons. Or he just changed


CHAPTER 1. SMYSLOV VS FISCHER the camel’s back. Smyslov’s game, already compromised, is now just beyond salvation, since the b-pawn will become much stronger, and blood will have to be spilled to stop it.

his mind halfway through the proceedings. After this point, the game is Fischer’s to lose. 26. . . Rc5 If Black instead went to get himself a pawn with 26. . . R×a2, White would be able to develop some counterplay with 27. Rh4, putting the knight under double threat and prompting Black to defend with 27. . . b5, and then expanding on the kingside with 28. g4 Rc5 29. h6. Instead, Black continues with the strongest move: unpin the knight by placing the rook in a good square, protected by the b6 pawn.

28. . . b×c5 Fischer captures right away, missing the stronger way to punish Smyslov’s mistake: the in-between move 28. . . Rd1+, after which White’s best way to prolong the game entails allowing a vicious attack on his king: 29. Kh2 b×c5 30. Ra4 Ng4+ 31. Kh3 N×f2 harvesting a pawn, 32. Kh2 Rd2 33. Kg1 Ng4, and White’s kingside is in shambles. If White attempted to deflect the check with 29. Bf1, it 27. Rh4 White would have been better off with would lose material to 29. . . Nf3: e.g. 27. a4, moving the pawn out of the en- 30. Kg2 N×h4 loses the exchange, while 30. Kh1 b×c5 31. Rg4 R×f1+ emy rook’s line of fire. 32. Kg2 Ne2 loses a whole piece. 27. . . Ne5 29. Ra4 The knight, uneasy under the aim of White sends the rook to support the two rooks, jumps to a safer pastures, threatened a-pawn. Moving the pawn revealing an attack on the unprotected out of danger with 29. a4 fails to White rook. 29. . . c4, where Black’s c-pawn, protected by the knight and on its way to 28. R×c5? promotion, shuts the White rook out of the defense of its a-pawn. Fischer

30. h6 An inconsequential diversion done in desperate times. The na¨ threat is ıve 31. Ra8m. At this point, everything is lost, Smyslov and Smyslov knows it. He’s just play28. R×c5? ing in the hope that Fischer may blunThis move, seemingly a harmless ex- der. But in late 1970, Fischer was in change of rooks, is the straw that broke top form, so the rest of the game is the

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29. . . c4 This passed pawn has great expectations, and is walking towards them, with the help of knight and rook.

13 Chronicle of a death foretold. Threatening to capture the pawn. Take a look at the material balance Fischer on the board, and you will realize 0Z0Z0ZkZ that both colors have equal material. However, Black has a strong initiative, Z0Z0ZpZp worth well over two pawns. 0Z0ZpZ0O In other words, Black has earned the Z0Z0mpZ0 right to capture two pawns without RZpZ0Z0Z compensation for White. This means that, if White wants to capture one Z0Z0O0O0 pawn, then Black will capture three. PZ0s0OBZ And if White captures two, then Black Z0Z0Z0J0 will capture four! Smyslov Pay attention to the following seven 30. h6 moves, during which six pawns will be captured: two by White and four by Black. It is very instructive to witness 30. . . Kf8 The king avoids the mate threat with how Fischer converts his initiative into the ease of a hummingbird dodging a a material advantage. sleepy elephant. 32. . . R×a2 31. Ra8+ The a-pawn, abandoned to its fate by Intrascendent check, which actually the wandering White rook, is captured helps White bring his king to the cen- by Black, who had earned it a long time ago. ter. 31. . . Ke7

33. Bf1?!

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Smyslov 31. . . Ke7

0ZRZ0Z0Z Z0Z0jpZp 0Z0ZpZ0O Z0Z0mpZ0 0ZpZ0Z0Z Z0Z0O0O0 rZ0Z0O0Z Z0Z0ZBJ0
Smyslov 33. Bf1?!

With so few pieces left on the board, Smyslov wants to capture the c4 pawn. the king in the center is no longer a li- But Caissa, the goddess of chess, is ability, and becomes a powerful piece. unforgiving: if you capture what you have not rightfully earned, you’ll have 32. Rc8 to give it back.


CHAPTER 1. SMYSLOV VS FISCHER This and the next one are a funny pair of moves. It’s like Smyslov is trying to help Bobby keep his c4 pawn, and Bobby insists in trading as many pawns as possible.

Better resistance is put up by activating the king with 33. Kf1. The text’s attempt at capturing material gives time, and thus more strength, to Black’s innitiative. 33. . . Rc2 Offering protection to the passed c4 pawn. 34. Kg2 White tries to give its king some activity by bringing it out of the cave. 34. . . Ng4!? Black’s strongest continuation here was to let his passed pawn live, and bring its king into action with 34. . . Kf6.

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Smyslov 35. Kg1

0ZRZ0Z0Z Z0Z0jpZp 0Z0ZpZ0O Z0Z0ZpZ0 0ZpZ0ZnZ Z0Z0O0O0 0ZrZ0OKZ Z0Z0ZBZ0
Smyslov 34. . . Ng4!?

White need not be shy here: better was to capture right away with 35. B×c4, despite the check when the rook comes to snatch the f2 pawn. 35. . . R×f2 Despite the second chance Smyslov gave Fischer to change his mind and protect again the passed pawn with the stronger 35. . . Ne5, Fischer pushes forward the pawn trade, knowing that White’s game is either way beyond salvation. 36. B×c4 White has to go along with Black’s plans. 36. . . Rf3 Fischer wants to cash in all his chips and goes for the e3 pawn. 37. Kg2 A necessary, protocolar move that cannot stop the innevitable capture of the e3 pawn.

However, Fischer is confident of the superiority of his position and decides to simplify things by trading pawns: he relieves the knight from defending the c4 pawn and sends it to attack the overstretched pawn in h6 and the increasingly gloomy f2 pawn, which just so happens to be the support of White’s whole kingside pawn structure. 35. Kg1

15 37. . . R×e3 camarades, because there is nothing to Black is now two pawns ahead in mate- fight for here. rial and with a healthy innitiative. The 40. . . Rb3 threat now is to capture the h6 pawn. Fischer challenges Smyslov to find a good square for his bishop. 38. Rh8 Black makes sure that Black’s intended 41. Bc6 capture of the h6 pawn in the next move will be a trade, by preparing to “How about this one?” sack the h7 pawn in exchange. 41. . . Rb2+ Fischer “How about I check your king?”

0Z0Z0Z0S Z0Z0jpZp 0Z0ZpZ0O Z0Z0ZpZ0 0ZBZ0ZnZ Z0Z0s0O0 0Z0Z0ZKZ Z0Z0Z0Z0
Smyslov 38. Rh8

42. Kg1 The white monarch is now isolated, unable to protect the g3 pawn. Running to a less marginal square, such as 42. Kf1, might have been slightly better. 42. . . Ne5 Black insists: “What is it that you’re going to do with that bishop?” 43. Ba8 It’s very hard to find any good square for it, so Smyslov (who for some reason has kept playing a totally lost game) decides to tuck it away in the corner.

38. . . N×h6 Black takes a pawn.

39. R×h7 White takes a pawn, and is still two down. The less material there is on 43. . . Rb8 the board, the more significant the dif- “Where you gonna put it now, Vasily?” ference in material becomes. 44. Bh1 39. . . Ng4 The sight of the bishop and the king The horse gets out of the sight of the cuddling together in a corner is pacannon. Black’s pawn majority in the thetic. Smyslov resigned after this kingside is overwhelming, and White move, without waiting for 44. . . Rb3! has no counterplay whatsoever. 45. Kf1 R×g3, where - as Massenet’s Cid would say - tout est bien fini!. 40. Bb5 0:1 The begining of an ackward series of For other annotations of this game, see moves trying to do something with a Smyslov et al (1993, p.132-4), Kasworthless bishop. parov (2004, p.357-8), Soltis (2003, Smyslov is now playing out of pride, or p.371-3), Wade and O’Connell (1973, just to tire Fischer for the benefit of his p.399).



Chapter 2

Fischer vs Addison
Fischer’s victim
Fischer’s second victim at Palma de Mallorca was a fellow American. William Grady Addison, born in Baton Rouge (Louisiana) in 1933, had served in the US military and moved to San Francisco, where he took his game from the modest level of Expert into that of an International Master. He played along with Fischer on the US team that won the silver medal at the Havana 1966 Oympiad, and won second place in the 1969 US Chess Championship. Since the US is a FIDE Zone, Addison qualified automatically for the 1970 Interzonal Tournament. After Palma, Addison represented the US again in the 1974 Tel Aviv Olympiad, scoring a respectable 7.5 out of 9 (83%). Despite being still on the ascent, Addison retired from tournament play in the early 1970s to go into the banking business. He had just reached his peak FIDE rating (2490) and was inches away from becoming a Grandmaster. He passed away in 2008, a month shy of his 75th birthday. Fellow chessplayers remember him fondly as a very nice man, with a vibrant passion for the the game of chess and its Asian sibling, the game of Go.1

The game
After crushing a former World Champion to fine powder in the previous round, Fischer must have gone into this game against a fellow American player as if into a relaxation spa. Addison was a strong player by US standards, but not a particularly frightening one when compared to the Soviets, which were at the time Fischer’s only true contenders. Addison’s choice of opening reveals something about his state of mind. Despite all his purported rejection of line memorization, Fischer was nevertheless a force to be reckoned with regarding chess openings. In previous encounters,
1 The main source of this information is the obituary published by the United States Chess Federation, particularly the moving contribution by IM John Donaldson.




Addison had followed Bobby’s staple 1.e4 with an assortment of replies: 1...c6 (Caro-Kann) in the 1957 US Open, 1...c5 (Sicilian) in the 1962 US Championship, and 1...e5 (into a Ruy Lopez Exchange) in the 1966 US Championship. Only this last one had given him a draw. Yet for their battle in Palma, Addison decided to throw the opening theory out the window, choosing a very unlikely opening, known as the Centre Counter or Scandinavian, and within it a seldom played variation. Fischer, never one to shy away from real chess (as opposed to just replaying theoretical opening lines), greeted Addison’s choice with “a wide smile” (Brady, 1989, p.176). Fischer Addison Round 3 - IZT Palma de Mallorca, November 11, 1970 Centre Counter Defence (Scandanavian) – B01 to bring out the knight with 2. . . Nf6, investing two moves in the recapture. The obvious disadvantage is the extra tempo for White, which comes on top of the privilege of the first move. 2. . . Q×d5 The other, more popular option, is to recapture with the queen. It would seem like this recapture is more efficient, since it only takes one move. But the queen is easily shooed away. 3. Nc3 The knight develops with a tempo, since the threatened queen has to relocate. Not to give up the whole tempo, in the mainline Black tries to keep the queen active somewhere in the board: 3. . . Qa5 is the big favorite, after which Black has a decent game, and White has to work to materialize an advantage.

1. e4 No surprise here: Fischer’s predilection for 1.e4 is legendary. 1. . . d5 This stears the opening into the Centre Counter defense. Instead of meeting White’s e4 challenge head on with e5, or from the flank with c5, the Scandinavian, as this opening is also called, seeks to defuse the presure on the center before it is even built. It is not the most aggressive reply, and maybe because of that also not the most frequent: in very general terms, players of 1.e4 can expect to meet the Scandinavian slightly over 4% of the time. Its mainline results in an acceptable position for Black, with the added advantage that most of White’s theoretical knowledge on the “big gun” replies to 1.e4, such as the Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann and French, is all but worthless after this move.

3. . . Qd8?! A much less aggressive retreat, which we appraise as dubious, a guilty indul2. e×d5 gence for which without doubt yours The almost universal continuation by truly will be critizised. This move is White is to capture immediately. old as chess itself: Lucena reports it Black, in turn, has two alternatives in a game from 1485 (Plaskett, 2004, to recapture the white pawn. One is p.30).

19 Venerable as it may be, this is an inferior continuation. By tucking the queen away from the pesty attacks of minor pieces, Black puts its opponent two tempos ahead: a white piece has been developed, yet it is again time for White to move. This is a rare position. An 1.e4 player can expect to meet it, generally speaking, only about once every eight hundred games. Fischer himself only faced it twice in his life, including this one. Before this game against Addison, Bobby was in this position in a game against the Austrian chess player and botanist Karl Robatsch (1928-2000) in the 1962 Olympiad in Varna. 4. d4 The best continuation by White, seeking control of the center with the remaining central pawn, and freeing the queenside bishop. Developing the queenside pieces will be particularly important if White plans to castle queenside, now that his oponent has a kingside pawn majority. But White retains both castling options open, as we shall see. 4. . . Nf6 Natural development for the knight, a move that possibly heralds Black’s intentions to castle kingside, without fianchettoing the kingside bishop. When players castle in opposite sides of the board, usually violent attacks follow, the victor being the one that reaches the other guy’s jugular first. Another interesting and strong continuation, 4. . . g6 to fianchetto the bishop, fell into undeserved disrepute after Robatsch was grind to a fine powder by Fischer himself in the 1962 Varna Olympiad. Yet the situation for Black after this alternative move is no worse than that after the text. 5. Bc4 This development of the kingside bishop contributes to White’s control of the central d5 square, which could become a post for the knight. It also puts pressure on the sensitive f7 square and brings White one move closer to castling kingside, if he so decides. Some eager annotators (e.g. Smyslov) have given this move an exclamation point, suggesting it is an excellent move of Fischer’s own harvest. Such praise, however, is better reserved for the first player to make a given move in tournament play, in this case Benko as we shall see. 5. . . Bf5 Developing the bishop. Yet better is to develop it to 5. . . Bg4, disturbing White’s kingside, or even to push a pawn: 5. . . c6, challenging White’s control of the d5 square. 6. Qf3 The best move here, activating the queen with a threat to the hanging bishop. White fears not 6. . . B×c2, because of 7. Q×b7. This time it is Wade that give this move an exclamation point, suggesting again that Fischer gets the credit. Again the punctuation is misplaced here, since Benko played this before. In the past, White had continued with a knight development move: back in 1911, Bilek played 6. Nge2 against Pokorny; while in 1915, Pleasants played 6.Nf3 against Fox, a move mirrored in 1924 by Morrison playing Ewing.


CHAPTER 2. FISCHER VS ADDISON As in Caracas, Addison defends the threatened bishop. 7. Bg5?! Here Bobby embarks into unchartered territory for the first time in this game, and gets an exclamation mark from Smyslov.

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Fischer 6. Qf3

Fast forward to 1970. Pal Benko, who took third place in the 1969 US Chess Championship and qualified for the Palma Interzonal, and whose ticket to Palma had been ceded to Fischer (a generous sacrifice that was compensated with two thousand dollars) had reached the exact same position against the very same Bill Addison just a few months earlier, in June 1970, at an international tournament in Caracas, better remembered as the one where the future World Champion Anatoly Karpov attained his Grandmaster Title. In Caracas 1970, Benko played 6. Qf3!. Here the exclamation is well deserved, since Benko was the first to play this excellent move in competition, a move much stronger than the alternatives and at the time a contribution to opening theory. Irrespective of whether Fischer, who knew Benko and Addison from the US chess circuit and was an avid consumer of chess literature of all types with a photographic memory for chess positions, knew of that game, for the sake of annotation the exclamation mark belongs to Benko. 6. . . Qc8

rmqZka0s opo0opop 0Z0Z0m0Z Z0Z0ZbA0 0ZBO0Z0Z Z0M0ZQZ0 POPZ0OPO S0Z0J0MR
Fischer 7. Bg5?!

However, the move does not improve over Benko’s continuation: 7. Bf4?!, since both give up part of the initiative inherited from Black’s weak opening. The strongest continuation is 7. Nge2!, activating the knight and preparing to castle kingside. 7. . . B×c2! Black captures a pawn, not to retain a material advantage, but as a way to deprive White from the option of castling queenside, possibly because Black aspires to castle kingside, and hopes that the both kings castling on the same wing will lead to a more paced game. In a possible case of “annotation by result”, Smyslov evaluates this move by Addison as bad. Yet it is by far the best way to capitalize on White’s lukewarm seventh move, bringing some balance back to the position.


rmqZka0s opo0opop 0Z0Z0m0Z Z0Z0Z0A0 0ZBO0Z0Z Z0M0ZQZ0 PObZ0OPO S0Z0J0MR
Fischer 7. . . B×c2!

attack with 10. h4, or sending the knight to exert pressure on the queenside with 10. Nb5. 10. . . e6 Fighting for d5. Slightly better might have been 10. . . c6, which not only attacks d5, but also keeps the knight out of b5. 11. B×f6?! Bobby goes for a simplification here, trading an excellent bishop for a knight that is providing protection to the black king.

8. Rc1 The bishop, a thorn in White’s queenside, is shooed away by the rook. 8. . . Bg6 The best retreat for the bishop, which relocates to a safe, positionally valuable square, with a nice view of a central diagonal.

9. Nge2 This seemingly passive move is actuFischer ally the most aggressive continuation, 11. B×f6?! the only one that retains White’s initiative. The knight develops to a good Yet the trade was unnecessary, and square and puts White one move closer even counterproductive, since it gives to castling kingside. away some initiative. Stronger was to keep piling on pressure on the kingside 9. . . Nbd7 with 11. Nf4, which puts the bishop in Black brings the remaining knight into an uncomfortable position. action without blocking the c pawn, which may be pushed soon. Another 11. . . g×f6? worthy continuation was 9. . . c6 right Smyslov criticizes this move, and away, contending the d5 square and rightly so. This is the wrong recappreventing a queenside incursion of the ture. It puts Black immediately on the white knight. defensive, weakening the king’s shelter and giving up the opportunity to cas10. 0–0 tle. White shields the king and brings the The right defense was 11. . . N×f6. Afrook out of hiding. Other good alter- ter 12. d5 e5 13. Nb5 Bc5 14. d6, natives were starting a kingside pawn Black can castle and return the pawn

rZqZka0s oponZpop 0Z0ZpAbZ Z0Z0Z0Z0 0ZBO0Z0Z Z0M0ZQZ0 PO0ZNOPO Z0S0ZRJ0


CHAPTER 2. FISCHER VS ADDISON The most aggresive move here was to start a pawn attack right away with 13. h4!. 13. . . Be7 Luckily for Fischer, Addison misses the stunning 13. . . f5!, and makes instead a lackluster bishop development move, that allows White to keep its initiative intact.

with 14. . . 0–0 15. N×c7, reaching a balanced position.

14. Ng3 Brings the knight to a square from where it dominates the kingside, parFischer alizes the black bishop and threatens 11. . . g×f6? a push of the h pawn. This move also opens a central column for the rooks. 12. d5! Also good was to bring the kingside This move is justly praised by Smyslov. cannon to the d column right away White advances a pawn to a majestic with a pawn sacrifice: 14. d6! B×d6 central square, with no less than three 15. Rfd1. pieces protecting it. 14. . . a6 12. . . e5 Black forces the unpinning of the Black cannot trade with 12. . . e×d5?, knight. because White would start an attack with 13. N×d5. 15. Bd3! 13. Bb5?!
Addison Addison

rZqZka0s oponZpZp 0Z0ZpobZ Z0Z0Z0Z0 0ZBO0Z0Z Z0M0ZQZ0 PO0ZNOPO Z0S0ZRJ0

rZqZka0s oponZpZp 0Z0Z0obZ ZBZPo0Z0 0Z0Z0Z0Z Z0M0ZQZ0 PO0ZNOPO Z0S0ZRJ0
Fischer 13. Bb5?!

rZqZkZ0s ZponapZp pZ0Z0obZ Z0ZPo0Z0 0Z0Z0Z0Z Z0MBZQM0 PO0Z0OPO Z0S0ZRJ0
Fischer 15. Bd3!

Bobby’s pin of the knight is actually a weak move, since it has no immediate threat and allows Black some counterplay on the kingside with 13. . . f5!.

Wade sings the praises of this retreat, and we agree with his assessment. In d3 the bishop is untouchable, since a capture with 15. . . B×d3? would create an unsightly gap in the g column.


15. . . Qd8 A passive move: the queen relocates to get some activity and protect the bishop, while Black waits for White to reveal its attack. Yet better was to give the queen some kingside visibility while activating the knight on the queenside, with 15. . . Nb6. 16. h4

rZ0lkZ0s Zpo0apZ0 pm0Z0obZ Z0ZPoBZp 0Z0ZNZ0O Z0Z0ZQM0 PO0Z0OPZ Z0S0ZRJ0
Fischer 18. Nce4!?

Finally, Bobby makes his move. The The best move here was the positional pawn push claims more space in the 18. Rfd1, overprotecting the d5 pawn kingside and announces the beginning as the spearhead of White’s central of hostilities. domination. Yet Fisher goes for the fireworks, chosing a slightly less solid, 16. . . h5 yet by far more interesting vein: reloBlack fears the white pawn reaching cating the knight towards the kingside. h5 and bothering its bishop. Yet a The d5 pawn cannot be touched, as we stronger defense was put by doubling shall see. the pressure on the enemy bishop with 16. . . Nc5. 17. Bf5 Protected by queen and knight, the bishop goes to bully the enemy knight, a good defender of the king. 17. . . Nb6 The knight moves out of the attack of the bishop and into the queenside, hoping for some counterplay there and making menacing grimaces to the d5 pawn. 18. Nce4!? Both Smyslov and Wade give this move an exclamation mark. We appraise it differently, as an interesting move, yet not necessarily the strongest continuation. 18. . . N×d5? Na¨ ıvely, Addison eats the forbidden pawn, and in doing so gives the game away to Fischer.

rZ0lkZ0s Zpo0apZ0 pZ0Z0obZ Z0ZnoBZp 0Z0ZNZ0O Z0Z0ZQM0 PO0Z0OPZ Z0S0ZRJ0
Fischer 18. . . N×d5?

Black’s right defense here was to simply redeploy the knight through 18. . . Nc8. 19. Rfd1


CHAPTER 2. FISCHER VS ADDISON However, this is a capture, not an exchange: White is taking what is rightfully his. The rook is immune, because if Black recaptures, a violent attack on the king would follow.

Black’s previous move allows White to unleash an attack, which is started by the text move, pinning the knight to the queen. Any other move fails to capitalize on Black’s error. 19. . . c6 Defending the knight.

21. . . c×d5? Addison had to return the material with 21. . . Qd4, protecting the bishop from an imminent seventh rank incur20. Nc3 Revealing a double discovered attack sion by the white rook. Yet by holdof queen and knight on the black ing to the material advantage, Black is horse which, still chewing the recently now totally lost. The remaining moves snatched pawn, is already feeling the are a demonstration by Fisher on how to kill the fight bull. effects of the poison. 20. . . Qb6 The horse is lost. The question facing Addison now is what’s the best way to weather the coming storm. This queen move, threatening the b2 pawn, is not the best defense. Much better was to trade down weapons with 20. . . B×f5, or to give the rook some air with 20. . . a5. 21. R×d5!

22. N×d5 Capturing the pawn is secondary: White brings the knight to the center to put pressure on the defending bishop, while attacking the queen and opening the central columns. 22. . . Q×b2? Addison’s final mistake. Instead, 22. . . Qd4 was called for, protecting the bishop in order to last longer. The game was beyond salvation either way. 23. Rb1 Nothing can stop this rook from reaching the seventh rank now. 23. . . Q×a2 Her majesty gives way while having a last meal.

24. R×b7 The bishop, the king’s shield, is about Fischer to fall under fire from rook and knight. 21. R×d5! Saving it would require giving up the We join Smyslov and Wade in giving whole queen with 24. Q×d5, and subthis move an exclamation mark. It mitting the king to the combined atwould seem that White, already two tack of rook and queen. pawns down in material, is sacrificing As opposed to White’s active pieces, the exchange. Black’s are merely ornamental. The

rZ0ZkZ0s ZpZ0apZ0 plpZ0obZ Z0ZRoBZp 0Z0Z0Z0O Z0M0ZQM0 PO0Z0OPZ Z0S0Z0J0

25 black king is wide open to the attack, and defeat is just a matter of mechanics. In this utterly lost position, there is nothing left, so Addison resigned. 1:0 For other annotations of this game, see Smyslov et al (1993, p.134-5), and Wade and O’Connell (1973, p.399). This annotation was last updated on July 12, 2009. The present text is a work in progress, and feedback is welcome:



Chapter 3

Fischer vs Filip
Fischer’s victim
Miroslav Filip was born in Prague in 1928. He was champion of Czechoslovakia three times (1950, 1952 and 1954) and became a Grandmaster in 1955, the same year he became the first Czech ever to reach the Candidates. He was a candidate again in 1962, where he defeated the former World Champion Mikhail Tal in a memorable game. He represented his country in a dozen consecutive Olympiads between 1952 and 1974. In 1978, he became an International Arbiter. He passed away at the age of 80 in Prague in 2009. For more information on Filip and his chess career, see Hooper and Whyld (1996, p.135).

The game
After an unusual double-fianchetto opening by Fischer, the game circles back into a variation of the English Opening. Accurate play from both sides keeps the position in a tense equilibrium well after two dozen moves. Yet a series of mistakes from Filip in moves 26, 34 and 36 take him to the slaughter house, where Fisher fillets the Czech king into neat New York steak cuts. Fischer Filip Round 4 - IZT Palma de Mallorca, November 13, 1970 English Neo-Catalan Declined, via Nimzo-Larsen Classic – A14 the realization that at this point there was nothing predictable about Bobby’s opening repertoire. This move is known, among other names, as the Larsen Opening, after the Danish GM Bent Larsen, which we will meet later in Volume 2 of this

1. b3 Brady notes this was only the second time Bobby used this opening move in serious play. The heart of Fischer’s future opponents must have sunk a little bit on account of this move, with 27

28 work. The hypermodern idea behind it can be traced back to the revolutionary Nimzowitsch: fianchetto the queen bishop and control the center from afar, without occupying it. That’s why this opening is often also called the Nimzo-Larsen Attack. The term attack just refers to the fact that it is a series of moves initiated by White, just as Defense refers to moves initiated by Black.

CHAPTER 3. FISCHER VS FILIP 5. Bg2 Completing the fianchetto and preparing to castle. 5. . . 0–0 Black castles, bringing the rook out of hiding and putting the king behind the protecting shield of the kingside pawns. 6. 0–0 White follows suit and castles right away.

1. . . d5 This is known as the Classical Variation of the Nimzo-Larsen. A more pop6. . . c5 ular response is the so-called Modern With the king safely tucked away on Variation, 1. . . e5. Both are solid and the kingside, Black claims space on the full of options for both players. queenside with a pawn phalanx. 2. Bb2 The natural continuation to the opening move: the bishop controls the center from a distance. 2. . . Nf6 Black develops a piece, controls the center and prepares to castle kingside. 3. Nf3 White does the same. 3. . . e6 Supporting the d5 pawn, and opening a development channel for the kingside bishop. 7. c4 White fears not 7. d×c4 because after 7. . . b×c4 8. Nc6 d3 White ends up with a beautiful pawn formation that occupies the center without obstructing its pieces.

4. g3 Fischer White prepares a double fianchetto, 7. c4 and will likely castle kingside soon afBy transposition, we have reached terwards. a position of the English Opening, known as the Neo-Catalan Declined 4. . . Be7 Black expedites the kingside castling, (ECO code A14). This position, a very developing the bishop to a non- balanced one with no clear edge for either side, had never been reached by commital square. Fischer before in tournament play.

rmbl0skZ opZ0apop 0Z0Zpm0Z Z0opZ0Z0 0ZPZ0Z0Z ZPZ0ZNO0 PA0OPOBO SNZQZRJ0

29 Although here it was reached via the retreat 9. . . Qd6, Black would get douNimzo-Larsen attack, it can be reached bled pawns with 10. N×c6 b×c6 and the via the English as follows: 1. c4 e6 queenside pawn structure is gone. 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. 0–0 0–0 6. b3 c5 7. Bb2. 9. Nc3 Developing a piece and hinting at a future trade of knights on d5. Fischer 7. . . Nc6 Black develops a minor piece to an ex- knows that, if Black trades immedicellent square, with a threat: 8. . . d4, ately with 9. . . N×c3, White would get planting a supported pawn in a very the d column: 10. d×c3, and now the black queen has to move aside with uncomfortable square for White. 10. . . Qc7 or go for a murder-suicide against the white queen, in which case 8. c×d5 The strongest continuation, trading a white rook would happily take the pawns to remove the posibility of a d- open column. pawn push. 9. . . Bf6 Filip Black delays the knight trade on d5. Now taking right away with 10. N×d5?! rZbl0skZ would be counter productive on acopZ0apop count of 10. . . B×d2 11. Rb1 (to save the rook) 11. . . e×d5 12. R×b2, and 0ZnZpm0Z once the dust has settled, Black has Z0oPZ0Z0 turned the tide in his favor: better 0Z0Z0Z0Z control of the center, better queenside ZPZ0ZNO0 pawn structure, and pieces with better prospects. PA0OPOBO 10. Qc1 Before trading the knight, White must protect the hanging bishop, and this is This capture is much better than try- the best way to do it. ing to stop the push of the d pawn with 8. d4, which has the downside of giv10. . . b6 ing Black the chance to capture with Improving the structural health of the 8. . . d×c4, which after 9. b×c4 leaves queenside and opening a window for White’s queenside pawns in bad shape: the bishop. an isolated pawn in a2 and a weak pawn in c4. 11. N×d5 White finally gets rid of the central8. . . N×d5 ized black knight and gives his bishop This recapture is at least as good as a beautiful diagonal. the alternative 8. . . e×d5, if not better. Out of the question is 8. . . Q×d5?, on 11. . . e×d5 account of a discovered bishop attack The only way to recapture. The alteron the queen with 9. Ne5: after the native 11. . . Q×d5 loses immediately to
Fischer 8. c×d5


30 12. Ne5, with a discovered attack on the queen and, through X-rays, on the bishop, after which Black cannot prevent a significant loss of material.


it leads to a neutral position where no side has an edge. Smyslov assesses the text move as interesting (e.g. !?), yet presents the alternative recapture 14. N×d4 as preferable. We agree, as this course gives 12. d4 Although rated as merely interesting White a small edge. With best play, (!?) by Smyslov, this is a solid move the game would continue: 14. . . c×d4 and the best continuation. White tem- 15. Qd1 Re8 16. B×d4 B×d4 17. Q×d4. porarily sacrifices a pawn, to trade If 17. . . B×e2 then simply 18. B×d5. down minor pieces, and give his major 14. . . c×d4 pieces more activity. The right recapture. The alternative 14. . . B×d4 15. N×d4 c×d4 has no 12. . . Ba6 point, as it gives up for no reason the Before taking the sacrificed pawn, Black develops the last minor piece, advantage of the two bishops. with an attack on the hanging e pawn. 13. Re1 White defends the pawn and centralizes the rook. . 15. . . Bb7 Wade ?. Smyslov ?!. 16. Rad1 15. Qa3

13. . . N×d4 Black has to accept the temporary sac- . rifice. 14. B×d4!?

16. . . Be7 . 17. Qa4 . 17. . . Qe8 . 18. Q×d4 . 18. . . Rc8 . 19. Qf4

rZ0l0skZ o0Z0Zpop bo0Z0a0Z Z0opZ0Z0 0Z0A0Z0Z ZPZ0ZNO0 PZ0ZPOBO S0L0S0J0
Fischer 14. B×d4!?

Wade gives this move an exclamation . mark and presents it, citing Filip’s analysis, as “the only way of preserving any initiative”. Yet with perfect play .

19. . . Bf6

31 27. . . Qc5 20. Nd4 . 28. b4 20. . . Be5 Smyslov !?. 21. Qe3 . 29. e3 21. . . g6 . 29. . . h5 22. Nb5 Smyslov !?. 22. . . Q×b5 Wade ?. Smyslov ?. 23. Q×e5 . 31. B×d5 23. . . Rfe8 . 31. . . B×d5 24. Qb2 . 32. R×d5 24. . . Rc5 . 32. . . Qe4 25. h4 . 33. Rd8 25. . . Rec8 . 26. Rd2 . 26. . . Rc3 . 27. Red1 . 35. R1d7 34. . . R8c4 Smyslov ?!. 34. Kh2 Smyslov !. 33. . . Qf3 Smyslov !?. . . . . . . 30. a3 . 30. . . Kh7 Smyslov ?!. . . 28. . . Qe7 . .

32 Smyslov !. 35. . . g5 Smyslov ?. 36. Rf8 . 36. . . Kg6 . 37. Rg8+ . . 37. . . Kh7 . 38. R×g5 . . .


38. . . Rc8 . 39. Rdd5

39. . . Kh6

40. Rdf5 1:0 For other annotations of this game, see Smyslov et al (1993, p.135-6), and Wade and O’Connell (1973, p.399).

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