Spassky’s Attacking Elegance
Boris Spassky’s exploits as an attacking player are legendary. Perhaps, amongst the World Champions, only Alekhine’s attacking games can compare in terms of elegance, originality of idea and precision in execution.
Curiously, by his own admission, Spassky was not an attacking player by nature; but it was his second trainer — Alexander Tolush — who insisted the future world champion start attacking more in his games!
“He was a brilliant player who loved to sacrifice pieces, and he helped me very much. When I first met him in the early 1950’s I had a great desire to work with him, and I changed my style because he was an attacking player.” —Boris Spassky on Alexander Tolush
In this blog article I want to discuss one of Spassky’s favourite attacking schemes against the Tchigorin Variation in the Spanish Opening.
More than any other top grandmaster, Spassky seemed to be quite happy to simply close the center with d5 and then soon follow up with a g4 (after a minimum of preparation), trying to create attacking chances on the Kingside.
The opening theorists are doubtful as to whether this direct approach is the best, preferring a more subtle approach involving some diversionary Queenside play first, but there is no question that Spassky’s success is impressive in this line.
I have chosen his game from the 1959 Alekhine Memorial (Moscow) against Icelandic grandmaster Fridrik Olafsson as the model for this approach.
I also recommend the readers to refer to the 3 games below this game — Spassky against Averbak (1959), Tal (1959) and Janetschek (1980) — to understand Spassky’s learning curve with this variation.
Spassky,B – Olafsson,F
Spassky – Averbak
Spassky – Tal
Spassky – Janetschek
Fischer – Keres
Curacao (ct) 1962