“If you don’t hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.”― Flannery O’Connor
One of the most remarkable grandmasters of his generation, 83-year old Evgeni Vasiukov is still quite active and sports a rating over 2400. The winner of numerous international tournaments, at his peak he could beat any player in the world, regardless of colour. I often play over his games, which are a constant source of inspiration to me. The reader can find numerous examples of his play on my blog.
Today I present a few more positions from his games. Enjoy!
GM Vasiukov,V–GM Barcza,Gedeon. Moscow 1962. Position after 22 moves. Black has sacrificed a pawn, trying to disrupt White’s normal development. Unfortunately for Black, his concept is about to completely refuted…
An unpleasant surprise for Black. Taking the Knight would allow either 24.Bh6 and 25.Rg4+ or 24.Rg4+ and then 25.Bh6, when even giving up the Black Queen will not long save the game. So the King must move, but where? If 23… Kf8 24. Bh6! (I love this idea!) 24… Qxa1 25. Qd4! and the tactics against g7 assure a forced mate in 6 moves, as the reader can easily verify.
So Black tried the other King move, hoping for better luck…
Brutal! The Rook on a1 is attacking the Queen…
There is nothing better…
Threatening mate two ways….
Resigns. After 26…RxB 27.Re8+ is soon mate.
Match ‘URS-Yugoslavia Belgrade 1961 GM Vasiukov,Evgeni —IM Karaklajic, Nikola. Position after 16 moves. Black, a famous attacking player in his own right, has played a sharp (and somewhat dubious) line of the Marshall, hoping to catch his Russian colleague by surprise.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Ch URS Baku 1961 GM Vasiukov Evgeni —IM Vladimirov Boris T. Position after 30 moves. Opposite side castling, the game would be unclear if it were not for the awkward position of the Black Queen.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Match ‘URS-Yugoslavia Belgrade 1961 Vasiukov Evgeni –Karaklajic Nikola: 17.Rxe4! ) Bxe4 18.Bxf7+!! ( The whole point: if now 18…Kxf7 19.Ne5+ and 20.Qe6(+) is crushing.) 18…Kh8 19.Re1! The most forcing move. 19…Bxg520.Bxe8 Bxf3 21.Qxf3 Qf6 22.Qxf6 Bxf6 23.d5 and White had no problems mopping up. The final moves were 23… Kg8 24.Bd7 Bg5 25.Re4 Rf8 26.d6 Bd8 27.Be6+ Kh8 28.d7 g6 29.h4 Kg7 30.a4 Be7 31.b4 Bf6 32.c4 Be7 33.cxb5 axb5 34.Bd5 1-0
Ch URS Baku 1961 Vasiukov Evgeni –Vladimirov Boris T: 31.Bh7+ Kf8 32.Rxe7! Kxe7 33.Bf5! The point of White’s play. And Queen move will soon lose the Queen. Black tried a desperate defence: 33… Bxa2+ 34.Ka1!? Qc6 35.b3 Kf7 36.Qc4+ 1-0