Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Push It

For all you Salt-N-Pepa fans out there, more from Zurich...

#5  Smyslov-Keres (view game online at

What's the one rule about a passed pawn?  It must be pushed?  Tell us more, Mr. Smyslov...

Here it is White to play, and in his position I would probably look for away to arrange to swap as many pieces off as possible while getting in c3-c4 and trying to capitalize on the passed pawn in the endgame.  Smyslov's way is much more forcing.

16. Nd2  Be7

Bronstein:  Beginning with this move, Smyslov carries out one idea with iron determination and logic: the minor pieces must clear a path for the passed pawn.  The knight and pair of bishops do not defend the pawn; instead, they attack the squares directly in front of it.  Seen in this light, the idea behind the move 16. Nd2 becomes clear: White intends to post this knight on c4 or e4, attacking the square d6.

17. Nc4    a5
18. Nxe5  Nxe5
19. Qxe5  Bf6  
20. Qg3   c4

The queen has taken over the knight's duty of securing d6, and now White's bishop is not tempted by the pawn on c4 but rather sets its eyes on d7.  Often as not a set of weak squares will be on a single color, but here White is aiming at d6, d7 and d8!

21. Ba4   Qe7
22. Bf4!

Bronstein: This is a typical Smyslov move.....White disregards his c-pawn [threatened by ...Qa3, winning the pawn] in order to secure the forced march of his d-pawn.  We should like to draw the reader's attention to the placement of the White bishops, laying a crossfire in front of the pawn.

22. .... Rfd8
23. d6  Qe4
24. Re1  Qf5
25.  d7   h5
26. Re8+ Kh7             
The triumph of Smyslov's strategy, he now contests decisively for control of d8. 

27. h4    Ra6
28. Bg5! Rxd7

Bronstein:  The battle is lost.  Black can no longer stand the pressure of White's pieces pushing the pawn forward to queen, and gives up the exchange.  The rest is a matter of technique.

Well, for Smyslov.  Click the link above to see the finish (Black resigns in 13 moves).
A very convincing conversion of the advantage of a mobile passed pawn.


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