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Posts Tagged ‘Spassky

Are We What We Have Been Influenced By?

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Have you ever thought about the past influences you show in the way you play Chess?. Think about it for a while.

My early Chess influences were , in this order, Karpov-Petrosian-Nimzowitsch (and the Hypermodern movement)-Botvinnik-Fischer and Spassky . I have learnt many things from all of them. If I reduce the list it would read: Karpov-Nimzowitsch et alii-Fischer-Spassky. Now you may say: “So what? Different chessplayers,different styles, etc.” Well, let’s try to find the common denominator. In fact when we speak of “influences” in Chess I immediately think of  openings and   certain middlegame recurrent positions. 

1.- Openings: Karpov (from his beginnings till around 1986), Fischer, Spassky and Nimzowitsch have had 1. e4 as their main opening as White. As Black Karpov ,Fischer and Spassky have played the Sicilian (my main weapon). The four have played Hypermodern defences : the Nimzoindian, the Queen´s Indian, the Grünfeld, the King’s Indian, the Benoni. I have played all of them + the Orthodox (Spassky’s weapon for many years too). 

2.- Middlegames: I have studied many books on strategy, middlegame Pawn constellations, etc. Books written by GMs from the Soviet Chess School and other GMs. like Pachman, Soltis, Grau (Argentina),Marovic, etc. I have studied Tarrasch´s and Steinitz´s games… BUT the greatest influence of all came from around 1979-80, when I came across my first copies of Nimzowitsch’s “Chess Praxis” and “My System” (the latter is a curious extended edition including different appendix with Nimzo’s articles which do not appear in the original and editions made after it (I suppose the editor decided to include them for the sake of completeness…). Then I managed to get a copy from “Blockade” published in the United States. And afterwards , I have tried to obtain anything on Nimzowitsch. For instance I have a copy from “Aron Nimzowitsch 100 Partier Forsynet med Stormensterens egne Kommentarer Og Skakcauserier” by Bjorn Nielsen in Danish (!!). And Nimzowitsch led me to Reti, Tartakower, Breyer,…

The Hypermodern reaction to the “classicism” represented by Tarrasch is known by everybody. I began to play Hypermodern Defences and typical middlegame set-ups avoiding the invasion of the centre with Pawns but trying to control and attack it from the wings. In my early years I used the English, the Reti or the Barcza System as White. I even tried bizarre systems like 1. c4, e5 2. e4 or 1. e4, c5 or …e5 / 2. c4. Or the Dresden Variation of the English, a most cherished  set-up of Nimzowitsch’s.

In Chess we could distinguish several periods (Chess writers call them “Schools”): Morphy, Anderssen et alii belonged to the Romantic School. Then came the Classical School with Tarrasch and contemporaries. One step forward and we have the Hypermodern School (curiously both Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch claimed they were trying to explain Steinitz’s ideas … to reach conclusions poles apart…). Afterwards, the Soviet Chess School, comprising everything, re-formulating many concepts,discovering new ones, etc. Today’s chessplayers follow an eclectic path (I guess). In a period of ultra-dynamism you can still find positional masterpieces in a classical or a hypermodern style be those what they may. I have written that certain school of thought has proclaimed that there is no strategy these days because the opening stage has been so extended that modern “tabiyas” may place the game between the 20th and the 30th move. (You can notice it at top-level Chess and in CC). But nearly everybody has a favourite idol : you may like Capablanca’s classical approach or Tal’s romantic one. Etc.

Perhaps knowing about all this may help us to improve because by insisting upon those features we have subconsciously acquired since our beginnings we may play within” our true style” or at least avoid repeating past mistakes, when perhaps we mixed things… (after all , one cannot play the Alekhine (1. e4, Nf6/ with the idea of invading the whole board with our Pawns… Get it?)

(In a different post I will write about Richard Reti (1889-1929) but I would like to include one of his compositions -No, it is not the famous  King/Pawn-race one…): 


This study was published by Reti and Mandler in 1924. White to move wins.  Instructions:

1.- This is not a mate problem.

2.- Study the position and try to imagine how White can proceed and how Black can defend his position.

3.- You can do it without moving the pieces. Then, try to find a solution by moving the pieces if necessary.

4.- You can cover the solution and try to find the first move and so on checking your election against the solution as if it were a game. White must play for the win, Black will try to , at least, get a draw. This is an exercise of threats/defences ,threats/counterthreats.

Remember that ,  in Chess, all the work you do always pays off, always reward.

1.- Ng1, Kd2! / 2. Nf3+ , Kd3! /3. Ke1, Ke3 / 4. Ne5, Ke4 /5. Nc4, Kd3 6. Nd2, Ke3/ 7. Nf3, Kd3 /8. Kf1! Ke3 / 9. Ne1, Kd2/ 10. Nc2!, Kd1 / 11. Nb4, Kd2 / 12. Nd5 winning.


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March 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Calculation,Intuition, Both…

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In a previous post I spoke of the influence Alekhine exerted  on Spassky. If you study both, you will really feel the connection, though sometimes it is very difficult to express it in words. Spassky always strived for positions full of tactical or combinative possibilities relying on his intuition and calculation skill. In most of his games the overall landscape seems unclear, blurred, lacking clear strategical indications. In other players’ games you  can follow their tactical lines of thought. As Spassky blended it with an immense underground intuitive work, many of his games seems very complicated, nearly chaotic, until the ideas finally emerge . Sometimes you will need to play through his games twice or three times to fully appreciate the details. Do not miss the following game or dismiss it because of the result, for instance:

W.: B. Spassky 

B.: R. Jolmov

Moscow 1957. 

1.  d4, Nf6/ 2. c4, e6 / 3. Nc3, Bb4 / 4. Bg5, h6/ 5. Bh4, c5/ 6. d5, Bxc3/ 7. bxc3, e5/ 8. Qc2, d6/ 9. e3, Qe7/ 10. Nf3, Nbd7/ 11. Nd2, e4/ 12. 0-0-0, 0-0/ 13. g4, g5/ 14. Bg3, Ne5/ 15. h3, Ng6/ 16. Be2, Re8/ 17. Rdg1, Bd7/ 18. h4, Rab8/ 19. hxg5, hxg5 /20. Rh5 !!!?


(Typical Spassky’s kind of hammer-blow. What follows is a display of blows/counterblows which require precise calculation:)
20. …, Nxh5/ 21. gxh5, Nf8/ 22. Nxe4!!, Qxe4/ 23. Qxe4, Rxe4/ 24. Bxd6, Rbe8/ 25. Rxg5, Kh8/ 26. Bxc5, f6/ 27. Rg3, b6/ 28. Bd4, Nh7/ 29. Kd2, Rg8/ 30. Rg6, Be8/ 31. Bd3!? (Does the key of the game lie in this junction as Kasparov seems to hint at? Or at another point?) 31…, Bxg6/ 32. hxg6, Rxd4/ 33. cxd4, Nf8/ 34. c5, bxc5/ 35. dxc5, Nd7! 36. c6, Nb6 / 37 e4!!?, Kg7 /38. Ba6 (Kasparov suggests 38. a4!? but …) ,Kxg6/ 39. a4, Kf7/ 40. a5, Na8!/ 41. Bc4 Rd8.  Draw agreed!. 

I am still trying to understand the way Spassky understands “strategy”. Of course he has played many games where the strategical plans are more or less “clear”. But he has always been bordering the red line which separates the complicate from the chaotic. What I am going to write now may seem too strong, but it is what I think:

Boris Spassky has been one of the most injustly treated among the World Chess Champions of all times.

When I met him in 2007  he left a deep impression on me. I do not know if it was his personal charisma, the fondness with which he treated me or the traits of is character I could perceive, but this man is worth a clear and absolute vindication.  And the problem is that you cannot mention Spassky without Fischer and the 1972 match cropping up immediately. But nobody seems to remember that Spassky was the leading figure of the 60’s, above Petrosian and Fischer. He had to play six gruelling Candidates’ matches and two World Championship ones to become Champion of the World, defeating Tal,Keres,Korchnoi,Geller ,Larsen,…and Petrosian. It is understandable that Fischer’s feat may overshadow any other achievement, but this does not mean justice to the man who also deserves it.


This is a mate in 3 composed by Pauly. (Click to enlarge if there is any problem.)


Written by QChess

January 24, 2014 at 8:06 am

Posted in CHESS, Chess games, Spassky

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CChess is a Jungle…

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CChess is a jungle. Let me explain: you like CC and perhaps you are playing in any  ICCF official event. This is my case. Of late, I have realized that most of my opponents are not only armed to the teeth with databases, and the rest of CC paraphernalia: many of them seem to be connected to the webserver  perpetually: I work hard on my move, find it, check and recheck it well , not always…- send it and “voilà” , I have not written it down yet and   the answer flashed on the screen. Believe me: I have sent moves at the oddest and infamous hours. It doesn´t matter: there is always someone with their move or conditional move ready  and deciding s/he is not going to give you any respite. And it is not a matter of different time zones… Some days ago I told an opponent -and friend of mine from Sweden- that I saw today’s CC as a jungle full of lions, panthers, tigers … and me. The problem is that I saw myself as a kitten and the rest of felines instead of considering me a fellow-feline companion considered me as their food… Then, do I lack the famous “killer instinct”?. Or perhaps am I more an artist and not a fighter and so on?. The answer to both questions is in the negative. No, I want to win all my games, to beat all my opponents, I like fighting and winning. So, I do not know why I see myself as a kitten and the rest as a wild group of big felines out for blood. -And please, do not suggest I should need a psychiatrist 🙂 🙂 –

I have found the following position and notes (do not know where it appeared or wrote the accompanying legend) in my archives:


“J. Mendheim. 19th century. This 5-mover is a great example of stormy power play. The solution usually contains sparkling combinations, and positions resemble actual games”. (So mate in five moves)

How is Boris Spassky? Since he fled to Mother Russia already some time ago the only things that have come out are that he is recovering slowly from a stroke, that he made brief public appearances and that he decided to be inscribed as a Russian -instead on a French- chessplayer again. I have been unable to get in touch with him as I did before (you can read about all this in previous posts in this blog). Well, I frequently remember that July 2007 when we met in my hometown, and spent several days together… This episode was the second stroke he suffered in the space of several years. He managed to recover quite well from the first one, but experts say that a repetition is usually terrible. When I read about him and Fischer sometimes it seems as if the early seventies of the past century were placed two centuries ago, belonged to a  part of my life lost in the mists of time. Curiously enough, unknown snaps featuring Bobby Fischer keep appearing: the last one (“Spraggett on Chess” Blog) depicts Fischer giving  lecture at Hart House in Toronto, Canada. It is very curious but Fischer seemed to have been always doing something on my very birthday date along the years…

Those who regularly follow this blog may have realized that changes in the system have erased several images and positions. I do not know why this has happened…-the gremlings???- One of those images corresponds to a mate in three moves problem by Tavariani  (level: difficult):


I think these problems are enough to make you feel the pangs of devoting your lives to playing Chess…Or not.


Written by QChess

November 8, 2013 at 8:29 am


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B. Spassky

(As an homage to Spassky and my father, who taught me the moves around 1971 and from whom I first heard of Boris, here are some of the notes I wrote when I found some interesting stylistic features in Spassky’s games.)

In his games, Boris Spassky is always looking for aggressive moves, moves that pose one threat after another. This is what has been defined as “aggressive-thinking mode”. Instead of using defensive (passive) moves he answer with threats whenever possible. The aim is the attempt to break the coordination of his opponents’ pieces.In the following game we can see this feature in different moments. (Please bear in mind that these notes are totally subjective)

W.: A. Lein (0)

B.: B. Spassky (1)

Sochi, 1964

1. e4 , c5/ 2. Nf3, Nc6/ 3. d4, cd4/ 4. Nxd4, e6/ 5. Nxc6, bc6/ 6. Bd3, Nf6/ 7. 0-0, d5/ 8. Nd2, Be7/9. Re1, 0-0/ 10. Qf3, Nd7/ 11. ed5, cd5/ 12.c4,Nc5  (instead of 12…, Bb7  first) / 13. Bc2, Bf6 ( the plan is the attack on b2 and later the attack on the Q-side with long-range pieces so as to create indirect threats on the K-side. 13…Bf6 prevents White’s b2-b4 too.)/  14. Nb3, Nxb3/ 15. ab3, Bb7/ 16. Qe3, Qb8/   (instead of defending passively with …a6/)  17. Ra2, Rc8  (threatening 18…,dc4) / 18. Qh3, g6/ 19. Bh6, dc4   (another attacking plan side-stepping White’s threats on e6) 20. Rxe6, Re8 / 21. Rxe8, Qxe8/ 22. Qe3, Qc6 (attacking on both sides of the board through files and diagonals)/ 23. Qf3, Qb6  ( this move and the following one threaten…Re1 and prevent white’s h2-h3 or h2-h4 due to …Be5/ )  24. Qg3, Re8/ 25. Ra1, Bxb2/ 26. Rd1, Be5/ 27. Re1, Qa5/ 28. b4, Qxb4/ 29. Qxe5, Qxe1/ White resigned.

As Black, Spassky is always thinking of counterattack. Instead of seeing defence as something passive, he always try to create counter-threats. I think he prefers to isolate his opponents’ concrete threats and try to meet them one by one rather to set up a whole defensive strategy as the order of the day. In purely “Leningrad School of Chess”, he tries to counterbalance his opponents’ attacks in an active -never passively- way. He believes more in active plans than in prophylactic webs. This risky way of dealing with the problem of defence creates terrible clashes over the board.(Perhaps this is his Alexander Tolusch’s trademark -Tolusch was one of his first trainers. In my opinion,in some aspects of Boris approach to Chess, Tolusch influence is more conspicuous than Bondarevsky’s one.Tolusch trained Boris when he was a young boy and was forming his Chess style. Those first childhood influences are hard to erase because, due to psychological reasons, they tend to remain firmly stuck on one’s mind) . All in all, I have always found something elusive (indistint?, unclear?,blurred?, diffused?…) in Spassky’s style, something that is there but cannot be easily brought to the surface. Perhaps it is a blend of Alekhinian influence plus the Leningrad School of Chess, something he learnt as a child and later developed in thousands of games perhaps in a rather subconscious way. It is not only the way he plays Chess, it is also the way he understands the relations among the different elements that compose the game. In my humble and perhaps wrong opinion, this explains why in the sixties he became nearly unbeatable, why he managed to go through two gruelling series of Candidates’ matches   to play for the World Championship in 1966 and 1969, and why the always ferocious Bobby Fischer, with his hate for the Soviets, failed to beat him during those years. In fact , between 1960 and 1971, the score between them was clearly in Spassky’s favour: +3 -0 =2, and forced Fischer to change his approach “to the Spassky problem” so as to beat him in 1972. (Nevertheless, in 1972 Spassky’s wrong approach and wrong punctual decisions helped a lot to allow Fischer play the type of psychological game most favourable to his interests. And this has been admitted by Boris himself.). During those years he also defeated all sort of chessplayers like Petrosian, Keres, Geller, Tal, Korchnoi,  Gligoric, Larsen, Polugaevsky, Bronstein, Smyslov, Reshevsky, etc.

Another feature in Spassky’s style I have found some notes about has to do with his games against Keres in the 1965 Riga Match (5th game) and against Petrosian in Moscow 1966:

Spassky always attack undefended pieces/pawns using it as a sort of intermediate-move device. Whenever possible, he defends his pieces indirectly by attacking his opponents’ ones. This also allows him to improve the position of his own army without restoring to passive defence. Another effect of this way of playing is that he manages to charge the position with energy ready to explode later in the game. He always creates and maintains tension in the position sustaining it as longer as possible. 

In the first game  against Keres, the “e4 Pawn” is indirectly defended for many moves because taking it would mean to liberate all the tactical energy contained in the position. In the game against Petrosian he also uses the “Principle of the Two Weaknesses” and the constant attack on undefended pieces:

W.:  B. Spassky (1)

B.: P. Keres (0)

Candidates’ Match. (5) Riga, 1965

1.e4, e5/ 2. Nf3, Nc6/ 3. Bb5, a6/ 4. Ba4, Nf6/ 5. 0-0, Be7/ 6. Re1, b5/ 7. Bb3, d6/ 8. c3, 0-0/ 9. h3, Na5/ 10.Bc2, c5/ 11. d4, Qc7/ 12. Nbd2, Bd7/ 13. Nf1,cd4/ 14. cd4, Rac8/ 15. Ne3, Rfe8/ 16. b3, ed4/ 17. Nxd4, Bf8/ 18. Bb2, Qd8/ 19. Ndf5, Bxf5/ 20. Nxf5, g6/ 21. Ne3, Bg7/ 22. Qd2, Nb7/ 23. b4, Qe7/ 24.f3, Qf8/ 25. Bb3, Nd8/ 26. Rad1, Rc6/ 27. Rc1, Qe7/ 28. Kh2, Qd7/ 29. Nd5, Nxd5/ 30. Bxd5, Rxc1/ 31. Rxc1, Qe7/ 32. Bxg7, Kxg7/ 33. Qc3, Kg8/ 34. f4, Ne6/ 35. g3, Ng7/ 36. Qc7, Qf6/ 37. Rc2, Rf8/ 38. Qb6, g5/ 39. fg5, Qxg5/ 40. Qxa6, Qe5/ 41. Qxb5, Ne6/ 42. Qf1, Kg7/ 43. Qf5 , Black resigned.

W.: B. Spassky (1)

B.: T. Petrosian (0)

World Championship Match. (19) .Moscow, 1966

1. e4, e6/ 2. d4, d5/ 3. Nc3, Nf6/ 4. e5, Nfd7/ 5. Nf3, c5/ 6. dc, Nc6/ 7. Bf4, Bc5/ 8. Bd3, f6/ 9. ef, Nxf6/ 10. 0-0, 0-0/ 11. Ne5, Bd7/ 12. Nxc6, Bxc6/ 13. Qe2 ( attacks e6 ,undefended), ... Qe7/ 14. Rae1 (attacks e6),…, Rae8/ 15. Bg3, a6/ 16. a3, Qf7/ 17. b4 (attacks b4 , undefended),…, Bd4/  18. Be5, Bxe5/ 19. Qxe5, Nd7/ 20. Qg3, e5/ 21. f3 (with this and then with 27. c3, White prevents …d4 and …e4),… Qf4/ 22. Qxf4, Rxf4/ 23. Rf2, g6/ 24. Rd2 (attacks d4 to decoy the Nd7),… Nb6/ 25. Rde2, (attacks e4),… Nd7/ 26. Nd1, b5/ 27. c3, Rf7/ 28. Bc2, Kg7/ 29. Bb3 (with this and 30.Ne3  “d4” is attacked) 29…, h5/ 30. Ne3, Nb6/ 31. Nc2 (attacks d4 and prepares the opening of a second front on the Q-side. Black’s Re8 is undefended too.)  31…, Nd7/ 32. Re3, h4/ 33. h3, Rf6/  34. Nd4  (attacks the undefended Bc6 and indirectly the Re8  -the Pawn e5 is pinned too.) 34…, Bb7/ 35. a4, Rd8/ 36. Ne2, ba/ 37. Ba4,  Nb6/ 38. Bb3, e4/ 39. Nd4, Kh6/ 40. Rd1, Rc8/ 41. fe, de/ 42. Ne6, Nc4/ 43. Bxc4, Rxc4/ 44. Nc5 (attacks  b7, undefended),… Rf7/ 45. Ra1, (attacks a6, undefended),… Kg5/ 46. Ra5, Kf4/ 47. Kf2, Bd5/ 48. Nb3, Ke5/ 49. Ke2, Rc6/ 50. Nd2 (attacks e4, undefended) … Ke6/ 51. Ne4, Bc4/ 52. Kd2, Rd7/ 53. Kc2, Kf7/ 54. Re5, Kg7/ 55. Nd2, Bb5/ 56. Nf3 (attacks h4, undefended),… Ba4/ 57. Kb2, Rd1/ 58. R5e4, Rf1/ 59. Re4, Rxe1/ 60. Rxe1, Rf6/ 61. Re4 (again h4)… Rf6/ 62. Ng5, Rf2/ 63. Ka3 (attacks a4),… Bc6/ 64. Rh4, Bg2/ 65. Ne4 (attacks f2), Re2/ 66. Nc5 ( attacks a6), Bf1/ 67. Rf4 (attacks f1), …Re1/ 68. h4 , Black resigned.  (Some annotators considered that Petrosian had committed too many inaccuracies, for instance on moves 21st, 31st, 36th, 40th.. But this is Chess!) 
Every Chess game by a GM contains a lot of subtleties. I have pinpointed two of them. You can discover many others.In Chess,the work you do not do is not done by anybody else…
Unfortunately, I have seen some photos of Spassky taken last December when he was taken by Vasiukov to the  Central House of Chess in Moscow. I was shocked and could only remember Shakespeare words in “Hamlet”: ” Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect…”. The man I met in 2007 full of life and vitality… I wonder what we are here for, why so much suffering and pain simply to play the losers’  game we call life… I can forget those days we spent together talking of everything. Nobody can rob us of our memories. I am writing these words on December 29th 2012. Christmas time. Boris is in Russia, his beloved Russia. When he had to abandon it in 1976 little could have he imagine the day would arrive when his salvation would have to come from his friends in his Motherland. I’m sad and depressed. It’s all I can say. Quoting Shakespeare again, “…the rest,let sorrow say”…
In the meanwhile, I remember when Boris beat Karpov at Corsica in 2006  (Match of the Legends). After the match, he wrote to me informing me of the event and said something very curious: “I have beaten Karpov and I am no longer afraid of this man“. Why this?.- Years later I found out why: The overall score Spassky-Karpov is heavily in favour of the younger man (Karpov). In the past, Boris reached the conclusion that Tolya played very very strongly, adding that Karpov process of thought was completely different to his own one and that was why he found so difficult to play against him. He never forgot that fact,  and in 2006 he managed to break the spell! Incidentally, an evidence of how deep feelings among super GMs. are!Here are both games played with a control of 15 minutes( + 3 additional seconds per move:
In the first game, Spassky played a Bogoindian Defence and the game was drawn after 62 moves. The definitive game was as follows:
W.: Spassky (1)
B.: Karpov (0)
Match of the Legends, Porto Vecchio, 2006
1. e4, c6/ 2. d4, d5/ 3. Nc3, dxe4/ 4. Nxe4, Nd7/ 5. Nf3, Ngf6/ 6. Nxf6, Nxf6/ 7. h3, Bf5/ 8. Bd3, Bxd3/ 9. Qxd3, e6/ 10. 0-0, Be7/ 11. c4, 0-0/ 12. b3, c5/ 13. Bb2, cxd4/ 14. Rfd1, Qa5/ 15. Bxd4, Rfd8/ 16. Qe2, Qf5/ 17. Rd3, Qe4/ 18. Qxe4, Nxe4/ 19. Rad1, Kf8/ 20. Kf1, f6/ 21. Be3, Rxd3/ 22. Rxd3, Ke8/ 24. Rxd2, a6/ 25. Ke2, Rd8/ 26. Rxd8, Kxd8/ 27. c5, Kd7/ 28. Kd3, Bd8/ 29. b4, Bx7/ 30. Kc4, h5/ 31. a4, Be5/ 32.b5, axb5/ 33. axb5, Kc7/ 34. g4, hxg4/ 35. hxg4, Kd7/ 36. f4, Bb2/ 37. f5, e5/ 38. Kd5, Ba3/ 39. g5, fxg5/ 40. Bxg5, Bb2/ 41. Bh4 ,  Black resigned (in view of 41…., Bc3/ 42. Bg3, e4/ 43. Kxe4, Bb4/ 44. Kd5,Bc3/ 45. Be5, Ba5/ 46. Bxg7 +-)
(This event was very important for Boris, perhaps also in view of the difference in ELO: Karpov 2672, Boris 2548 at the time.)

Written by QChess

January 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

Chess Under the California Sun

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World Champ. Spassky

In 1966 the Piatigorsky couple (the famous cellist George Piatigorsky and his wife Jacqueline) organised the “2nd Piatigorsky Cup”. The first one had taken place three years before. This time, Mrs Piatigorsky decided to invite Bobby Fischer who had not been invited in the previous one -provoking some disrespectful comments on Bobby’s part…-. The great event was scheduled to be played from July 17th all through August  15th, the venue was Santa Monica, California, USA. The importance of he tournament was such that even FIDE recommended its member nations not to organise  any other event during the celebration of the Piatigorsky one.

It was a double round-robin tournament and the always seemingly reluctant Soviet authorities (sending players to the USA…) even agreed to send two players to it , and they were no others than the current World Champion Tigran Petrosian and the challenger Boris Spassky, the two best players in the world (during those years I consider that the World Champion and the challenger were the best players in the world though it is a matter of opinion)  and who had just played for the title with the victory of Petrosian, as everybody knows.

Besides these two super GMs, the list of players included Bobby Fischer, B. Larsen, W. Unzicker, L. Portisch, S. Reshevsky, M. Najdorf, B. Ivkov and J. Donner. The event seemed tailored to Fischer’s taste: he had always complained about the USA Championships, with few players and in which any small “accident” may cost the championship: here every player would have to play eighteen games against some of the best chessplayers in the world.

Nevertheless, Fischer started the tournament in a rather dull way, with a poor showing: when the first round-robin ended -9 games- he only had 3.5 points. He reacted in the second part of the event beating Reshevsky, Portisch, Ivkov, Donner, Larsen and Najdorf. With two rounds to go Spassky and him were leading the field. But Spassky seemed unbeatable, playing overwhelmingly strong Chess to emerge as the winner with 11.5 points and no losses ( Boris won five of the nine matches and drew the rest losing no game at all). Fischer was second winning more games than Boris but losing three of them. The rest were Larsen, Unzicker, Portisch, Petrosian (a poor performance by the World Champion),Reshevsky,Najdorf, Ivkov and Donner. Knowing Fischer’s character, one may suppose that the worst for him was that  he was unable to defeat Petrosian (two draws) and the loss in his particular duel with Spassky (1.5 -0.5 for the Soviet). I have read that during Petrosian’s years as World Champion many people considered Spassky as the “real” champion (poles apart stylistically speaking ,one may share or not this opinion but it is understandable. Spassky was not only an attacking player  with what was defined as a universal style, he was also one of the most difficult players to beat, and up till 1972, he was Fischer’s “bête noir”).

W.: B. Spassky (1)

B.: R. Fischer  (0)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4, g6 / 3. Nc3, d5 / 4. cd, Nd5/  5. e4, Nc3 / 6. bc, Bg7 / 7. Bc4, c5/ 8. Ne2, Nc6/ 9. Be3, 0-0 / 10. 0-0, Qc7/ 11. Rc1, Rd8/  12. Qe1, e6 / 13. f4, Na57 14. Bd3, f5 /15. Rd1, b6 / 16. Qf2, cd/ 17. Bd4, Bd4/ 18. cd,Bb7/ 19. Ng3, Qf7 /20. d5, fe/ 21. de, Qe6/ 22. f5, Qf7/ 23. Be4, Rd1/ 24. Rd1, Rf8/ 25. Bb1, Qf6/ 26. Qc2, Kh8/ 27. fg, hg/ 28. Qd2, Kg7/ 29. Rf1, Qe7/ 30. Qd4, Rf6/ 31. Ne4, Be4/ 32. Be4, Qc5/ 33. Qc5, Rf1?/ 34. Kf1, bc/ 35. h4, Nc4/ 36. Ke2, Ne5/ 37. Ke3, Kf6/ 38. Kf4, Nf7/ 39. Ke3, g5/ 40. h5, Nh6/ 41. Kd3, Ke5/ 42. Ba8, Kd6/ 43. Kc4, g4/ 44. a4, Ng8/ 45. a5, Nh6/ 46. Be4, g3/ 47. Kb5, Ng8/ 48. Bb1, Nh6/ 49. Ka6, Kc6/ 50. Ba2 .Black resigned.

W.: B. Larsen (0)

B.: B. Spassky  (1)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, d5/ 2.c4, dc/ 3. Nf3, Nf6/ 4. e3, Bg4/ 5. h3, Bh5/ 6. Nc3, e6/ 7. Bc4, Nbd7/ 8. 0-0, Be7/ 9. e4, 0-0/10.Be3, Bg6/ 11. Bd3, c6/ 12. a3, Rc8/ 13. Re1, Bh5/ 14. Rc1, a5/ 15. Be2, Bg6/ 16. Nd2, Ra8/ 17. Qb3, Qb8/ 18. Bf3, h6/ 19. g3, Rc8/ 20. Bg2, b5/ 21. e5, a4/ 22.Na4, ba/ 23. Qb8, Rab8/24.ef, Nf6/ 25. Nc4, Nd5/ 26. Ne5, Ne3/ 27. Re3, Rb2/ 28. d5, Rc2/ 29. Rc2,Bc2/ 30. Nc6, Kf8 /31. de, fe/ 32. Ne7, Ke7/ 33. Bd5, e5/ 34. Be4, Bb3/ 35. Bb7, Rc1/ 36. Kh2, Ra1/ 37. Re5, Kd6/ 38.Re3, Ra3/ 39. g4, Ra2/ 40. Kg3, Rb2/ 41. Re1, a3/ 42. Be4, a2/43. f4,Rd2/ White resigned.

W.: M. Najdorf (0)

B.: T. Petrosian (1)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup. Santa Monica 1966

1. d4, Nf6/ 2. c4, g6/ 3. g3, c5/ 4. d5, d6/5.Nc3, Bg7 / 6. Bg2, 0-0 /7.Nf3, Na6/ 8. 0-0,Nc7/9. a4, Rb8/ 10. h3, b6/ 11. e4, a6/ 12. e5, Nd7/ 13. ed6, ed6/ 14. Bg5, f6/ 15. Bf4, Ne8/ 16. h4, Ne5/ 17. Nd2, Nf7/ 18. Re1, g5/19. hg5, fg5 / 20.Be3, Ne5/ 21. Nce4, h6/ 22. Ra3, Ng4/ 23. Qc1, Rb7/ 24. Bf3, Rbf7/ 25. Bg4, Bg4/ 26. Qb1, a5/ 27. Qc1,Be5/ 28. Kg2, Qd7/ 29. Rh1, Qf5/ 30. Bg5, hg5/ 31. f3, Nf6/ 32. fg4, Qg4/ 33. Qd1, Qd1/ 34. Rd1, Ne4/ 35. Ne4, g4/ 36. Rd2, Bd4/ 37. Ra1, Re7/ 38. Nf2, Re3/ 39. Ng4, Rb3/ 40. Nh2, Rb4/ 41. Re1, Rc4/ 42. Re6, Ra4/ 43. Rd6, Rb4/ 44. Rc6, a4/ 45. d6, Kf7/ 46. Nf3, Ke6/ 47. Nd4, cd4/ 48. d7, Kd7/ 49. Rh6, Rf5/ 50. g4, Rd5/ 51. Kf3, d3/ 52. Rf6, b5/ 53. Rf4,Rc4/ 54. Re4, Kd6/ 55. Ke3, Rc2/ 56. g5, Rc1/ 57. Rg4, Re1/ 58. Kf2, Re8/ 59. g6, Kc5/ 60. g7, Rdd8/ 61. Kf3, b4/ 62. Kf2, Kb5/ 63. Kf3, a3/ 64. ba3, ba3/ 65. Kf2, Rg8/ 66. Ke3, Rd7/ 67. Rd3, Rd3/ 68. Kd3, a2/ 69. Rg1, Rg7/ 70. Ra1, Rg2/ 71. Kc3, Ka4/ 72. Rh1, Ka3/ 73. Rf1, Rg8/ 74. Rh1, Rc8/ White resigned.

W.: L. Portisch (1)

B.: T. Petrosian (0)

2nd Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica 1966

1. c4, g6/ 2. d4, Bg7/ 3. Nf3, Nc3/ 4. Nc3, Nf6/ 5. g3, 0-0/ 6. Bg2, Nc6/ 7. 0-0, a6/ 8. d5, Na5/ 9. Nd2, c5/ 10. Qc2, Rb8/11. b3, b5/ 12. Bb2, bc4/ 13. bc4, Bh6/ 14. f4, e5/ 15. Rae1, ef4/ 16. gf4, Nh5/ 17. e3, Re8/ 18. Nce4, Bf5/ 19. Bc3, Nb7/20. Qa4, a5/ 21. Rb1, Qe7/ 22. Rfe1, Bd7/ 23. Qc2, Bf5/ 24. Qa4, Kf8/ 25. Rb6, Rbd8/ 26. Qb3, Bc8/ 27. Nf1, Rd7/ 28. Nfg3, Ng3/ 29. hg3, Bg7/ 30. Qb2, f5 /31. Bg7, Qg7/ 32. Nf6 , Black resigned.


Written by QChess

December 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

Posted in CHESS, Chess History, Fischer, Spassky

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Boris Spassky.

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World Champ. Spassky

“I am not afraid of having nothing . I’m afraid of having nothing and being ill.”  Boris Spassky is supposed to have said this after having to flee to Moscow from his home in France, where apparently he was being ill-treated/abused. He made no open accusation but everybody knows who he was referring to. His son tried to intervene and bring him back to France but he did not accept it an remained in Russia (Moscow) under the care of the people who had helped  and saved him. The untimely and unfortunate intervention of his sister in a strange press conference was also dismissed by Boris and helped to compose a curious scenery of near conspiration against him. I BELIEVE HIM. The only thing I would like to hear now is that he is completely recovered from the second stroke he suffered around two years ago. (The following link  very kindly provided by one of the readers, Mr.Wychodzca may be very useful:

When one has lost everything, one may realise that one may hardly need anything … except some tenderness and support from a very few- perhaps only one person- people. And one must learn , the hard way, that one may have done everything right and , nonetheless, the final result is wrong…  Maybe in these moments one of the signals of intelligence is learning to keep on living with all those painful and nearly unbearable thorny uncertainties life throws in our paths. If we accept that life implies constant change it is easy to deduce that when we are in those lovely rosy days the only possible change is for the worse. But the opposite is also true… Some people call this “hope”. To me is sheer survival. Some people also say hope should be the last thing to lose. I think if you even lose it, then you must try to strongly keep,at least , your dreams.Some people keep on calling this  “hope” again…

Professional chessplayers, even those charismatic World Champions, are ,primarily, human beings. Like you and  me. All right, we tend to see them as “very fortunate” and so on. Indeed,  they are Chess geniuses. But they are men and women with feelings. And feelings can be shared, but can also be hurt and even destroyed.

In 1966 the Chess World Championship match featured the clash between “iron” Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian and Boris Vasilievich Spassky who had managed to qualify after beating  Keres ,Geller and Tal in the Candidates’ matches. Petrosian was considered the representative of the ultra-positional/solid style while Boris’ style was universal, fresh, aggressive… Many cliches have been repeated ad nauseam as if they were absolute truths. But Gligoric wrote that Petrosian was an excellent tactician, and that one can only become Champion of the World after winning many games against the best chessplayers in the world.  As everybody acknowledges, Petrosian was an overwhelming strategist too. So, they were the best players in the world at that moment.

Spassky lost the match by one point (12.5 – 11.5). Some people believe he tried to meet his opponent in the wrong battlefield…

In 1969, after three new Candidates’ Matches, Spassky was again knocking at Petrosian’s door. The match took place from April 14th to June 17th, once more in Moscow. This time Spassky had learnt the lesson. Gligoric wrote that the events in the match had helped to create an Armageddon atmosphere. The match was a terrible fight, with both players out for blood while the supporters on both sides held the breath one game after another. No more “fencing courtesy” , total struggle for the sake of it. The 17th game was the key turning point. With a total score of 3-3 so far and a maximum of 8 games to go, Spassky manages to win that game in 58 moves. After a draw in 60 moves in the 18th, Spassky won the 19th (the most famous one of the match) in 24 moves leaving Petrosian trailing down. But the wily Armenian won the 20th ( clear signal of the dramatic events taking place in   the match) in 50 moves and Spassky answered back winning the 21st in 53!. The 22nd was a draw and  in the 23rd Spassky offered a draw to sentence the match because in case of rejecting the offer, Petrosian would have had to face a new defeat… This World Championship match deserves close study. Sometimes beauty , learning and truth are hidden while everybody repeats what other people say or do  without an inkling of independent thought.

The truth  we may learn will be that we will be able to  discover on our own and by ourselves, not what other people say they have discovered for us…

W.: T. Petrosian (0)

B.: B. Spassky (1)

Moscow 1969. World Championship Match

1. c4 , e6  2. d4, d5  3. Nc3, Be7  4. Nf3, Nf6  5. Bf4, c5   6. dc5, Na6   7. e3, Nxc5   8. cd5, ed5   9. Be2, 0-0   10. 0-0      , Be6  11. Be5, Rc8  12. Rc1, a6  13. h3, b5 14. Bd3?, d4!   15. Bxd4, Nxd3  16.Qxd3, Bc4   17. Qb1, Bxf1   18. Rxf1, Nd5   19. Ne2, Bf6  20. Rd1, Qc7   21. Bxf6, Nxf6   22. Nfd4, Qe5   23. Qd3, Rfd8  24. a4!, ba4   25. Ra1, Ne4!   26. Qxa6, Ra8  27. Qd3, Re8  28. Nf4, g6  29. Qa3, Qf6  30. Nd3, Rec8   31. Rd1, Rc4   32. b4, Rac8   33. b5, Rc3   34. Qa1, Rxd3!   35. Rxd3, Qxf2   36. Kh2, Qg3   37. Kg1,  Qf2   38. Kh2, Qg3   39. Kg1, Nf2   40. Nc6,  Nxh3   41. Kh1, Nf2   42. Kg1, Nxd3  43. Ne7, Kf8  44. Nxc8, Qxe3/ White resigned.

From the recent Spanish Chess Team 1st Div. Championship, León, Spain, the following confrontation:

W.: Lenier Dominguez (2734) (1)

B.: R. Ponomariov (2735) (0)

1. e4, e5   2. Nf3, Nc6   3.Bb5, Nf6  4. 0-0, Nxe4  5. d4, Nd6   6. Bxc6, dc6    7. de5, Nf5   8. Qxd8, Kxd8   9. h3, Ke8   10. Nc3,  h5   11.Ne2, b6   12. Rd1, Ba6   13. Nf4,   Rd8  14. Bd2,  Nd4   15. Nxd4, Rxd4   16. a4,  Bc8  17. a5, c6   18. Be3, Rxd1   19. Rxd1, b5  20. Nd3, Be7  21. Bc5, Bd8  22. Nb4, Rh6  23. f4, f5  24. c3, Bh4  25. Rd3, Rg6  26. Kh2, Bb7  27. Nc2,  Bc8  28. g3, Bd8  29. h4, Be6  30. Nb4, Bc8  31. Rd2, Bb7   32. Rd1, Bc8   33. Rh1, Bb7  34. Kg2, Be7  35. Nd3, Bd8  36. Kf2, Rh6  37. Re1, Bc8   38. Nb4, Kf77  39. Rd1, Ke8  40. Re1, Kf7   41. Re3,  Rg6   42. Ke2, Rh6  43. Kd2, Rg6  44. b3, Rh6  45. c4, Rg6  46. Kc3, Rh6  47. Nc2, Re6  48. Nd4, Re8  49. Rd3, bc4   50. bc4, Bd7  51. Re3, Be7  52. Bxe7, Kxe7   53. e6, Bc8  54. Kb4, Kf6  55. Kc5, Bb7  56. Nxc6, g6  57. e7, Ba8   58. Re5, Bb7  59. Nd8,  Bg2  60. Nc6, Kf7  61. Nb4  Rxe7  62. Rxe7, Kxe7  63. Nxa6 , Kd8  64. Nb4, Ba8  65. Nc6, Kc8  66. a6  , Black resigned.


Written by QChess

November 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

Stop press news:Boris Spassky.

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Chess has published a statement by the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Chess Federation Ms. Rimma Bilunova explaining that Boris was in Moscow by his own will and after being helped by some “friends” so as to flee from his family in Paris. Ms.Bilunova blames Spassky’s wife of not renewing Boris’ medical insurance policy after being sent back home from the Paris hospital and also accuses Boris’ sister of  being in favour of Spassky’s wife in the affair.

Since everybody knows this affair it seems as if the Chess world has other things to do, because the Spassky case has fallen into oblivion. Not for me.

Boris Spassky was one of the best chessplayers of the world during the 60’s of the 20th century. He played two times for the World Championship after a series of six gruelling matches against the best players in the world, and finally he defeated Petrosian in 1969. Moreover, he is my friend.

Unfortunately we are in an iconoclastic world where people despise the past and are only interested in the immediate. We want everything and want it immediately. We do not care about the past and are ruled by greed, immodesty, selfishness and vanity.

I hope one day we will know the real story of Boris Spassky, and hope that those with whom he is now, take care of him. A public appearance will be welcome.

Written by QChess

September 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

Posted in Spassky

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