SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
It is impossible for me to pick just one game among the thousands played by Smyslov and say that this one game is my favourite. The truth is that I have dozens of favourite Smyslov games! His universal style and phenomenal sense of harmony has produced many masterpieces. The following game is a nice example of the attacking skills of the maestro. I have always been impressed with how Smyslov was able to use his King Knight to terrorize Grandmaster Hort…certainly Hort must have had recurring knight-mares over the years…(!)
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 21st MOVE (21…Nb4)
Hort’s last move seems quite logical, but it allows Smyslov to improve the position of his King Knight. Better was to remove the Queen from the d-file first.
22. Ne5! Qc7 23. Ng4!
This Knight creates all sorts of dangerous threats against the Black King, especially jumping into f6. Hort now must withdraw his Knight in anticipation.
23… Nd7 24. Bd4 !
I have always been surprised in Smyslov’s games how, time and time again, simple piece play is enough to maintain the initiative. In my own games it has never been that easy…(!). Here Black must now watch out for Nh6ch.
More or less forced, and while it defends against the direct threats, the opening of the f-file brings new dangers.
Now if 25… de 26. Be3 and it is not easy to defend. Bad would be26… Bc5? 27. Rxd7! Qxd7 28. Nf6! winning the Black Queen.
26. Rdf1 Increasing the pressure
Now Hort must exchange Knights with 26… Nxg4 27. Qxg4 Re7. Instead, he walks into a ferocious attack:
27. Bxe5! de 28. Nf6! Ouch!
Clearly Black can not play 28… gf 29. gf Kh8 30. fe and White wins as he pleases
At first sight it looks as though Black is ok, but the next move comes as a very unpleasant surprise!
29. Nxh7 ! Ouch. That damn Knight is so annoying…
Black is busted. If 29… Kxh7 then White breaks thru with 30. g6! fg 31. Rxf8 with mating threats;Or if 29… Rd7 30. Nxf8 Rxf8 31. Qh4 Kg8 32. g6 with a mating attack.
29… Re6 Best is to resign, but nobody likes to resign in less than 30 moves…
Hort continues for the spectators
30… Bc5 31. Kh1 Re7 32. Rf8
It is forced mate. Hort has had enough! Give that King Knight a cigar (!) for a job well done…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS