29 May 2007

More World Championship Qualifiers?

The question raised in Groningen 1946: A World Championship Qualifier?, reminded me of another exchange on a similar subject.

Subject: New York 1927; AVRO 1938
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 00:57:30 -0700

Thanks a million for the information on the World Champions. The thoroughness of your work reveals that it is a labor of love for you. For this reason I was surprised that you don't have the games from the 1927 New York and 1938 AVRO tournaments. Both of these tournaments were considered "Candidates Tournaments" in their day. You can get the games, as I'm sure you are aware, from


I used your 1948 FIDE World Championship Match table as a template to make the tables for the above-mentioned tournaments. If you want me to, I'll send them to you.



Subject: Re: New York 1927; AVRO 1938
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2006 18:07:11 +0200

Thanks for your message. Sorry for the delay in responding. I wanted to double check the facts about the two events that you mention. Unfortunately, it appears that neither event was a candidate tournament when it was played.

New York 1927 was supposed to be a candidate tournament, but Alekhine had already challenged Capablanca. He threatened to drop out of the event unless the candidate clause was dropped, which it was.

Although Botvinnik started match negotiations with Alekhine at AVRO (Amsterdam) 1938, the event was won by Keres and Fine. When the discussions with Botvinnik stalled, there was some talk of an Alekhine - Keres match, because of Keres' first place on tiebreak. This talk ended when WWII broke out.

Anyway, I would be happy to have your tables. Perhaps I can work them in somehow as 'almost candidate tournaments'. - Best regards, Mark


Subject: RE: New York 1927; AVRO 1938
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2006 10:53:13 -0700

I bow to your wisdom in these matters, but consider these points:

Keres, in his Complete Games (page 125 in my paperback edition) regarding the AVRO tournament states, "The winner would have the right to a match with Alekhine." Next, on page 128, "So I shared first and second prizes with Fine, but obtained the right to challenge the world-champion, Alekhine."

P. W. Sergeant, in his book Championship Chess gives a footnote regarding the New York 1927 Tournament: "It appears that it was vital for Alekhine to take at least second place in this tournament to establish his right to a match for the Championship; but I have not been able to trace when Capalanca laid down this condition, if he did so. It could not be considered as an unfriendly gesture, however, in view of Nimzovitch's claim."

I noticed that you have a few matches that are relevant to the Championship series, while not exactly a part of it, such as the exhibition match between Staunton and St. Amant, and the exhibition match between Lasker and Janowski. With this in mind I thought New York 1927, AVRO 1938, and though I forgot to mention it in my last note, Cambridge Springs 1904, where Marshall earned the right to challenge Lasker, would fit in well with the others. I'm sending you the crosstables for these tournaments, in case you decide to use them.

Now that I think of it, I made the NY27 and AVRO38 tables using your 1948 as a template, but the CS1904 table I copied from some place I found on the Internet.



Subject: Re: New York 1927; AVRO 1938
Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 18:08:51 +0200

Thanks for the files. I'll keep them in a safe place and hope to use them some day soon.

There is no question that the events you mention are an important part of the history of the World Championship. In fact, there is a story behind the negotiations for every match (and near-match) of the pre-FIDE era. Unfortunately, I have never taken the time to research them properly. I find they are fairly well documented in Winter's book on the 'World Chess Champions' and Kasparov's books on his 'Great Predecessors'.

Sergeant's 'It appears' comment is curious. Cafferty, who wrote the chapter on Alekhine in Winter's book, was certain that the Capablanca - Alekhine match had been agreed before the New York 1927 tournament started. A timeline of the most significant actions would be useful.

When I read the entire paragraph on p.125 of Keres' book, I understand that the candidates' event was an idea of Euwe in conjunction with FIDE. When Euwe lost the title to Alekhine, the candidates idea was lost with it. On p.198 of the same book Keres wrote, 'Before I left for Buenos Aires [Olympiad 1939], I had agreed in principle with Dr. Euwe to play him a friendly match. Although it was a question officially of a friendly match, the general opinion in the chess-world was that the winner would have the moral right of challenging the world champion, Alekhine. My prospects of bringing about such a match through the results of the AVRO tournament, had not proved realisable.'

If you would like to discuss this further, I would suggest the forum I manage...

Forum for About Chess

...Other people might have something to contribute. Even if they don't, they would certainly find the discussion interesting. - Mark

27 May 2007

Groningen 1946: A World Championship Qualifier?

I've occasionally wondered why Smsylov was invited to the World Championship tournament held in 1948. The other invitees had all made their reputations before World War II. Smyslov, born in 1921, started to achieve his results during the war.

I once asked the question on the Forum for About Chess (FIDE rule), and Glenn Giffen replied.

Probably more than anything his +2 win over Reshevsky on second board in the US-USSR telex match September 1945 would stick in people's minds. His other notable achievements were 3rd at USSR ch. 1940 ahead of Keres and Botvinnik, 1st at the Moscow ch. 1945 ahead of Ragozin and Lilienthal, 3rd behind Botvinnik and Keres at the Absolute ch. 1941 and 2nd after Botvinnik ahead of Boleslavsky at USSR ch. 1944. • Soon after the FIDE Congress at Winterthur 1946, Smyslov came 3rd after Botvinnik and Euwe at Groningen in August-September 1946 and then blanked Denker +2 in the US-USSR match in Moscow September 9-12, 1946.

Glenn knows his chess history better than most, and his reasoning was solid, so I left it at that. I was surprised to read the following in Kasparov's 'Predecessors II'.

An important landmark in Smyslov's career was his first international tournament -- Groningen 1946. From the results of the event FIDE determined the sixth participant in the forthcoming match tournament for the world championship (five had already been named: Euwe, Keres, Botvinnik, Reshevsky, and Fine). [...] In the end Smyslov finished third (behind Botvinnik and Euwe), thus securing a place in the match-tournament for the world championship planned by FIDE. (p.272-4)

There is a lot about the World Championship that I have yet to learn, but I thought I was beyond the stage of missing an entire qualifier. What do other sources say?

25 May 2007

Susan Polgar's Commencement Address

Today is Video Friday on CFAA, and I have 10 minutes to prepare the post. Forgive me for re-using the link to Susan Polgar's commencement address at Texas Tech University -- Texas Tech' s New Queen of Chess -- which I already highlighted on About Chess.

Even Susan's detractors, many of whom are chess bloggers, will admit that her speech was an important moment for chess. Don't miss the link to the page bearing the same name as the video -- the full story.

23 May 2007

One Bad Move Loses the Advantage, Two Bad Moves the Game

Once again on Smyslov's Sparklers, I'm starting to understand Why Did White Lose in Reshevsky - Smyslov 1945?. In the diagrammed position, Reshevsky played 28.Nd3. Kasparov gave the move a '?' and wrote:-

I don't understand why White didn't play 28.e4! (perhaps because of time trouble?). The opportunity is also not mentioned by the commentators, although 28...Nc3?! 29.bxc3 Bxc3 30.Rf1 Bxd4 (30...b2? 31.Rd7) 31.Bxd4 favors White. And if the Knight moves to another square, he also has no reason to complain -- on the contrary, he may be able to seize the initiative. Apparently Sammy thought that e3-e4 would not run away, and he decided to play more quietly, underestimating his opponent's clever reply.

I analyzed 28.e4 and agree completely with Kasparov. White keeps a small advantage with the move. Was 28.Nd3 the losing move?

Radio Match 1945
Smyslov, Vasily

Reshevsky, Samuel
(After 27...Nb6-d5)
[FEN "r1r3k1/1q3ppp/4p3/pB1nN3/Pb1R4/1p2PP2/1Pb1QBPP/R5K1 w - - 0 28"]

The game continued 28...e5 (a very classy move) 29.Nxe5 (29.Rc4 also looks interesting.) 29...Bc3 30.Nc4. Here Smyslov and Kasparov give the same line: 30.bxc3? Nxc3 31.Qd2 Nxb5 32.axb5 b2. The variation 30.Bc6 Rxc6 31.Rxd5 Bxb2 32.Rb5 Rb6 also looks bad for White.

There appears to be a little problem with the analysis of the two World Champions. After 30.bxc3 Nxc3, White has 31.Qf1, which is better than 31.Qd2. Now 31...b2 doesn't work as well because of 32.Re1 b1=Q 33.Rxb1 Bxb1 (33...Nxb1 34.Bc4) and then 34.Rd7 Rc7 35.Bc6. Here I looked at a lot of variations and White always comes out better, although Black can force a draw.

What am I missing? It appears Reshevsky made one bad move to throw away the advantage and a second bad move to lose. This is a pattern seen in many games at the highest level.

21 May 2007

Sequences of Unexplained Moves

Continuing with Smyslov's Sparklers, I'm going to take another stab at Why Did White Lose in Reshevsky - Smyslov 1945?.

The diagrammed position looks complicated. Reshevsky played 20.dxc5, and the game continued 20...Nxc5 21.Nd4 Rdc8 22.f3 Nb3 23.Nxb3. Both Smyslov and Kasparov thought 21.Nd4 was a good move and gave it a '!'. Smyslov noted, 'White concentrates his minor pieces on c6, leaving his g-Pawn en prise. The sacrifice is a sham.' Kasparov copied the remark and the subsequent analysis verbatim. The other moves in the sequence went unremarked.

Radio Match 1945
Smyslov, Vasily

Reshevsky, Samuel
(After 19...Nf6-e4)
[FEN "r2r2k1/1q2bppp/1n2p3/pBpbN3/Pp1Pn3/4PN2/1P2QPPP/R2RB1K1 w - - 0 20"]

Call me blind, but I don't see that 20.dxc5 is forced and I don't see why White can't play e.g. 20.Rac1. Now 20...Bb3 is a blunder because of 21.Bc6. Black can play 20...f6, forcing the Knight to 21.Nc4, from where it came a few moves ago. In the meantime, Black has weakened the Kingside slightly and there is nothing particularly wrong with returning the Knight to c4. Note that White could also play 20.b3 instead of the text. The Pawn is immune.

The habit of leaving long sequences of moves unexplained is frequently annoying and sometimes misleading. Many top GMs do this routinely when annotating. If the variation is forced, let's understand why. If it's not forced, why is it preferable to the alternatives?

19 May 2007

Pre-computer Postal Chess

The first time I looked through my old postal games using a computer, I found this. In the diagrammed position, Black, who has sacrificed a piece for an attack, played 22...Qh1+, and offered a draw that I accepted.

Gregory, Vazgen

Weeks, Mark
(After 22.Kg2-f1)
[FEN "r3r1k1/1p3p1p/2pp2p1/p3b2P/2PN4/4BP2/PP1QNn1q/1R2RK2 b - - 0 22"]

The computer quickly finds a win for Black with 22...Nh1, when there is no defense to 23...Bf4. I remember that I accepted the draw thinking that I had nothing better than 23.Kxf2 Qh2+ 24.Kf1 Qh3+ with a perpetual. It looks, however, like there's still a fight: 23.Ng1 Nh3 24.Qg2 (also interesting is 24.hxg6 Bf4 25.gxf7+ Kxf7 26.Qg2 Qxg2+ 27.Kxg2 Bxe3 28.Rxe3 Rxe3 29.Nxh3) 24...Qxg2+ 25.Kxg2 Bxd4 26.Bxd4 Nf4+ 27.Kh2 gxh5 (27...Nxh5) 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Bb6 d5 30.Kg3.

We were both master rated correspondence players, but we both overlooked 22...Nh1. There must be many old correspondence games that contain undiscovered tactical tricks.

17 May 2007

Why Did White Lose in Reshevsky - Smyslov 1945?

The next game in Smyslov's Sparklers is the second game of the Smyslov - Reshevsky mini-match on board no.2 of the 1945 USA-USSR radio match. Smyslov won the first game with White and it's a safe assumption that Reshevsky was looking to even the score.

I've played through the game several times. It's a complicated Slav Defense, a real example of chess at the highest level. It's at such a high level that I have a big problem with it -- I don't understand why Smyslov won. My first suspicion was that Reshevsky lost in the opening. Since I don't play 1.d4 very often, and have never been a big fan of the Slav as Black, my knowledge is severely limited.

In the diagrammed position (after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4) he played 5.e3, the least popular of the three most common moves in the position. Using Chesslab.com, I found 97 games played since 2002 (Chesslab had a system crash a few years ago and lost many games from 2002) with at least one player rated over 2700. Of these, 94 continued 5.a4, two continued 5.e4, but there were no examples of 5.e3. Is there an obvious problem with it?

Radio Match 1945
Smyslov, Vasily

Reshevsky, Samuel
(After 4...d5xc4(xP))
[FEN "rnbqkb1r/pp2pppp/2p2n2/8/2pP4/2N2N2/PP2PPPP/R1BQKB1R w KQkq - 0 5"]

Looking at 5.e3, I found 65 games with at least one player rated over 2400 (played since 1997, when the Chesslab database starts keeping track of ratings). Most of these continued 5...b5 6.a4 b4 as in the reference game. About two-thirds of these continued with Reshevsky's 7.Na2 rather than the main alternative 7.Nb1. Now after 7...e6 8.Bxc4, I found three moves played with about equal frequency: 8...Nbd7, 8...Bb7, and 8...Be7. I suspect that these moves are largely interchangeable and a few searches convinced me that this is probably true. Kasparov thinks 8...Bb7 is more accurate, but that's not the issue here.

Smyslov played 8...Be7, and the game continued 9.O-O O-O 10.Qe2 Bb7. Here I found a total of 23 games that reached this position (by players at all levels). A quick look through the games convinced me that White has a satisfactory position, maybe even a slight advantage.

If Reshevsky didn't lose the game in the opening, where did he go wrong? I'll continue the analysis on another post. To play through the complete game see...

Samuel Reshevsky vs Vasily Smyslov, 02, USA-URS radio-m 1945

...on Chessgames.com.

15 May 2007

How to Explain Letelier - Fischer 1960?

Working on my latest 'Every Move Explained' article -- 1960 Leipzig - Letelier vs. Fischer -- I ran into a move I can't explain. The position, from game 21 of Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games, is shown in the following diagram.

White played 9.cxd6 and Fischer commented, 'White tries to compensate for his lack of development by continuing to snatch material. Instead he should be seeking to return the Pawn in the least damaging way (by keeping the lines closed). Better is 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.Be2'

The game continued 9...exd6 10.Ne4. Here Fischer wrote that if 10.Nf3, he again intended 10...Bg4. My problem is that I don't see why 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.Be2 (as suggested by Fischer) is better than 9.cxd6 exd6 (as played) 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.Be2. If anything, it looks worse.

Liepzig 1960
Olympiad Prelim

Fischer, Robert J.

Letelier, Rene
(After 8...Nb8-c6)
[FEN "r1bqnrk1/pp2ppbp/2np2p1/2P1P3/2P2P2/2N1B3/PP4PP/R2QKBNR w KQ - 0 9"]

After 9.Nf3 Bg4 10.Be2, Black has 10...dxe5. After 9.cxd6 exd6 10.Nf3 Bg4 11.Be2, the move 11...dxe5 doesn't work as well because of 12.Bc5. In other words, Letelier's move 9.cxd6 looks better than Fischer's suggestion because it frees c5 for the Bishop to attack the immobile Rook. I'm not saying that White can save the game after 10.Nf3 -- Black has other moves than 11...dxe5, although even they don't look better to me -- but it's still a fight.

In addition to 10.Nf3, White has 10.Nb5. This also looks better than 10.Ne4 as played by Letelier, but Fischer didn't mention this possibility either. What am I missing?

To play through the complete game see...

Rene Letelier Martner vs Robert James Fischer, Liepzig Olympiad Prelim 1960

...on Chessgames.com.

13 May 2007

Open Lopez : 'Long Variation'

In Unbalanced Material, I questioned Kasparov's comment that 'I have the feeling that this variation is avoided by both sides nowadays'. He wrote this in a note on the position that I diagrammed in that post, so I'll repeat the same diagram here.

To find the current state of theory on this position, I consulted Chessbase.com's database at Chesslive.de. The advantage of this database is that it includes many correspondence games, and I suspected that the diagrammed position has been well explored by correspondence players. The best of them like to play sharp, unbalanced opening variations which OTB players often categorize as 'unclear' (Informant symbol '∞').

Radio Match 1945
Reshevsky, Samuel

Smyslov, Vasily
(After 22...Qd4-e5(xP))
[FEN "r5k1/2p3pp/p7/1p1pq3/8/5PpB/PP4P1/R1B2R1K w - - 0 23"]

I found 57 games on Chesslive that reached the diagrammed position. Of those games, 56 continued 23.Bd2, and of those, 36 continued 23...Qxb2 24.Bf4 d4. This is the variation recommended by both Smyslov and Kasparov as the alternative to Reshevsky's 24...c5. Of those 36 games, 26 were correspondence games, the most recent an IECG email game from 2002. Of these 26 games, the 12 played since 1985 have resulted in seven wins for Black and five draws. Several of the games were played in national correspondence championships, meaning the players were expert or master strength.

The most recent OTB game between GM-level players was Tiviakov - I.Sokolov, Groningen 1994, which also finished as a win for Black. I conclude that White has gone wrong somewhere in the moves leading to the diagrammed position. But where? Kasparov wrote that 15.Qxd4, instead of 15.cxd4, is the move played nowadays. Is 15.cxd4 a weak move?

11 May 2007

A Milestone in Computer Chess History

On top of being Video Friday today, it's also ten years to the day since Kasparov lost his match against Deep Blue. The trailer for Vikram Jayanti's documentary about the match -- Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine -- shows some of the highlights from the film.

Game Over Trailer (1:44) • Kasparov vs Deep Blue

I reviewed the movie two years ago...

Movie Review : Game Over - Kasparov and the Machine

...and found it seriously biased. Am I alone in this opinion?

09 May 2007

Unbalanced Material

From time to time, I still like to play over games on a real chess board. Analysis is easier using software, but there is something more satisfying about touching real pieces and moving them on a real board. One of my habits is to pair the Black and White pieces as they come off the board; i.e. I keep the Queens together, or a pair of Rooks together, or whatever. The pieces that can't be paired I keep in a separate group. I often count the unpaired pieces and the number gives me an idea of the degree of material imbalance on the board. Of course, the same thing can be done by counting the pieces remaining on the board, but my method is a little faster.

The next game in Smyslov's Sparklers is a good example. In the diagrammed position, White has an extra Rook and two Bishops (three pieces), while Black has an extra Queen and three Pawns (four pieces). This makes a total of seven unpaired pieces, which is about as high as the number ever gets in a real game.

Smyslov played 23.Bd2, leaving the b-Pawn en prise and letting the material imbalance increase to nine pieces.

Radio Match 1945
Reshevsky, Samuel

Smyslov, Vasily
(After 22...Qd4-e5(xP))
[FEN "r5k1/2p3pp/p7/1p1pq3/8/5PpB/PP4P1/R1B2R1K w - - 0 23"]

Reshevsky played 23...Qxb2. Both Smyslov (SMY) and Kasparov (KAS) had a comment on the position, which arises from what is called the 'Long Variation' of the Open Lopez.

SMY: 'A very interesting position has arisen: in exchange for the Bishops and Rook, Black has a Queen and will quickly get an avalanche of Pawns on the Queenside.Who has the better chances in the sharp struggle about to commence? This question awaits a conclusive answer in further analysis. In [Boleslavsky - Botvinnik, Sverdlovsk 1943], Botvinnik continued 23...c5 24.Rae1 Qxb2 25.Bf4 d4 26.Bxg3 d3 with a complicated game. Evidently White's attacking possibilities are more real than the dangerous threat of the advance of Black's passed Pawns. However, Reshevsky chooses another continuation.'
KAS: 'Alas, I have the feeling that this variation is avoided by both sides nowadays. Instinctively it seems to me that White should be better, although the computer confers a gigantic advantage on Black. In general, the situation is unclear, but playing White is more interesting: there is the possibility of attacking! The source game Boleslavsky - Ragozin (Moscow 1942) went [I'm omitting side variations- MW] 23...c5 24.Rae1 Qxb2 25.Bf4, and after 25...Qf6? 26.Bxg3 d4 27.Re6 Qg5 28.Kh2 c4 29.f4!, the f-Pawn broke through Black's defenses. It is better to play 25...d4 26.Bxg3 d3 27.Be5 Qxa2 28.Bd6 Qb2 29.Be6+ Kh8 30.Be5 (Boleslavsky - Botvinnik, Sverdlovsk 1943) and here 30...Qc2! 31.Rc1 Qe2 32.Rce1 Qc2 would have equalized. Instead of this Botvinnik played 30...Qd2 and came under a terrible attack.' Kasparov analyzed this to move 61!

After 24.Bf4 c5 (Both SMY & KAS considered 24...d4 to be better.) 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.Bxd5, Reshevsky resigned on the 41st move. If I have time I'll follow up Kasparov's comment that 'I have the feeling that this variation is avoided by both sides nowadays.' What was the latest OTB game? Correspondence game?

To play through the complete game see...

Vasily Smyslov vs Samuel Reshevsky, M:URS-USA, Moscow 1945

...on Chessgames.com.

07 May 2007

Pay Per Post

I ran into this idea on the blog at chess.maribelajar.com: The Thousand Dollar Experiment and Pay Per Post - wrote my 10th article. At least I think it's the same idea. The blog, which is often very good, is unavailable half the time I try to visit it, and it's unavailable as I write this. Why keep a blog on an unreliable host when there are so many reliable services available?

Assuming there is only one 'Pay Per Post', a Google search brings up this site...

Pay Per Post

...which explains the process better than I can. The site's own blog is at blog.payperpost.com. I'm not encouraging this service, and I'm certainly not endorsing it, but it looks like a concept worth further investigation. My own experience with schemes to earn money from your web writing is that you'd make much more by working another job for minimum wage. In other words, they don't even begin to compensate you for the time required to do them right. Who knows? Maybe this one is different.

For more information:-

Results 1 - 10 of about 1,260,000 for payperpost blogs.

05 May 2007

USSR vs. USA/GBR 1945-55

The next two games from Smyslov's Sparklers were played against Reshevsky in the 1945 USSR-USA radio match. Between 1945 and 1955, four matches were played between the two countries. In the same period, three matches were played between the USSR and Great Britain. Smyslov played in all seven matches with the following results.

1945U.S.A.Radio+2-0=0 vs.Reshevsky
1946Great BritainRadio+2-0=0 vs.Koenig
1946U.S.A.Moscow+2-0=0 vs.Denker
1947Great BritainLondon+1-0=1 vs.Golombek (Winter/Whyld says +1-1=0)
1954U.S.A.New York+0-0=4 vs.Reshevsky
1954Great BritainLondon+1-0=1 vs.Alexander
1955U.S.A.Moscow+4-0=0 vs.Bisguier

The Soviet players won all seven matches.

03 May 2007

Missed Opportunities?

This is the first game from a new series called Smyslov's Sparklers. In the diagrammed position, Smyslov played the very pretty variation 24.Nf5! gxf5 25.gxf5 Nc7 (Smyslov: If 25...Ng5, then 26.Bxg5 fxg5 27.Nxg5+ Kg8 28.Ne6).

The attack continued logically with 26.Rg1 Ne8 27.Rg6. Now after 27...Rf7, Smyslov won with 28.Rbg1 Kg8 29.Rxh6 Kf8 30.Rh7 Ke7 31.Qh5 Kd6 (31...Rc8 32.Ng5!) 32.Bf4+. Kasparov also started his analysis from the diagrammed position, giving no more than a copy of Smyslov's notes.

Moscow 1943
Kotov, Alexander

Smyslov, Vasily
(After 23...f7-f6)
[FEN "3r1r2/pp1q2bk/2n1nppp/2p5/3pP1P1/P2P1NNQ/1PPB3P/1R3R1K w - - 0 24"]

Neither Smyslov nor Kasparov mentioned the alternative 27...Rh8, which is the computer's suggestion. After 28.Rbg1 Kg8 29.Rxh6 (another possibility is 29.Bxh6 Rh7 30.Qh4 Ne7) 29...Rxh6 30.Bxh6 Qf7, White gets perpetual check with 31.Bxg7 Nxg7 32.Qh6 Rd7 33.Nh4 Ne5 34.Ng6 Nxg6 35.fxg6 Qe6 36.Qh7+ Kf8 37.Rf1 Ne8 38.Qh8+ Qg8 39.Rxf6+ Nxf6 40.Qxf6+ Ke8 41.Qe5+ Kf8 42.Qf6+. This is a long straight-line analysis and could easily be flawed, but it gives Black better chances than the 27...Rf7 played in the game.

Smyslov could have played differently with 27.Bxh6 Bxh6 28.Rg6 Qg7 29.Rxg7+ Nxg7 30.Rg1 Ne7. Black is bottled up, but does White have enough to win?

It is surprising that Smyslov did not discuss the two variations on the 27th move. It is even more surprising that Kasparov said nothing, since he subjected his notes to computer analysis. Is there an obvious refutation that I'm overlooking?

To play through the complete game see...

Vasily Smyslov vs Alexander Kotov, Moscow 1943

...on Chessgames.com.

01 May 2007

M'aidez, M'aidez

Pronounced 'mayday'. It also sounds like a common phrase that means the first of May ('May Day'), a holiday in many countries, Belgium among them. According to Wikipedia (among other authorities, but Wikipedia, like Google, now owns the Web), the Mayday distress signal comes from the French m'aider, the infinitive for which m'aidez is the second person plural of the present tense, indicative mood (I hope I got that right).

Why m'aidez? It's been exactly one year to the day since I started this blog and it has become an addiction. I need help in stopping. Lots of other chess bloggers seem to be able to stop without any problem. Why can't I?

The May Day holiday is called 'Labor Day', meaning it's the equivalent of the American holiday that falls at the beginning of September. I've never understood why labor days are holidays. Shouldn't everyone be working those days? Better to call it 'Relax Day'. For the rest of today I'll be laboring over the barbecue.