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  Welcome to MY web page on the 3rd greatest game of chess ever played. Many hours of work went into bringing you this page. I hope you enjoy it.  (page-banner, lil-rag1.gif; 05KB)

Andor Lilienthal (2648) - Vyacheslav Ragozin (2587)
Moscow, RUS  (Rd. # 2),  1935

[A.J. Goldsby I]

 You definitely will need a chess set to play over this game. 
 (There are NO diagrams. Well  ...  maybe just one.)  

 Click  HERE  to go to a page with this game on a js re-play board.  

   Click  HERE  to see my video on this great game of chess.  

(See the bottom of this page for escape links, or click the "Back" button on your web browser.) 

 The 3rd Greatest Chess Game Ever? 

Maybe one of the most beautiful games ever played. Black sacrifices twice for a combination that befuddles even the most powerful chess - playing computer programs. (This might not be true today ... but was very accurate when I first wrote these words - sometime around the late 1990's. - ed.)  

I consider this game to be easily in the list of, "The Ten Most Beautiful games of Chess Ever Played." No less an authority than GM Andy Soltis concurs with this assessment. In his book, "The 100 Best," he considers this the sixth most beautiful game ever played. 

This game is almost a secret among GM's. I think the average chess player has never even seen this game. It is a game for the ages. One of the most interesting games in the annals of chess. It is unclear exactly where White went wrong. 

(GM Soltis found not one move that he could find to hang a 'question mark' on! In addition to this, Soltis awarded like 11 exclams and two (2) double-exclams during the course of this game.) 

A game of exceptional beauty and one that was fascinating also to analyze. 

1. d4 Nf6;   2. c4 e6;  3. Nc3 Bb4;  The Nimzo-Indian Defense. 
At one time, this defense was the most commonly played of all QP openings. 

4. a3,  This is the Samisch Variation. 

Soltis writes: "This game was played in the heyday of the Samisch Variation." 

     [ White could also play:  
       4.Qc2,  which is, "The Classical System." (A favorite of Capablanca's.);  

       Or White could try:
       4.e3,  which is, "The Rubinstein System." (A favorite of many modern GM's.) ] 


4...Bxc3+;  5. bxc3 c5;  
This was the main line at the time this game was played. 

Black counter-attacks the center. This is not the only line for Black, however. 

     [ Black could also play: 
       5...d5; 6.f3 c5; 7.cxd5 Nxd5; 8.dxc5 Qa5; 9.e4 Ne7!; 10.Be3 0-0; 
       11.Qb3 Qc7; 12.a4 e5; 13.Bc4 Nec6; 
       The end of the column of MCO. (Col. # 49, pg. # 549; MCO-14.) 
       14.Qa3 Na5; 15.Bd5 Na6; 16.Rb1,  ("+/=")   It would be sufficient to stop here. 
       White has a slight but persistent advantage. 
       MCO-14 continues:  16...Be6; 17.Bxe6 fxe6; 18.Qa2 Nxc5; 19.Bxc5 Qxc5; 
       20.Qxe6+ Kh8;  21.Ne2 Qe3; 22.Qxe5 Rad8!; 23.Qxa5,  Draw.  (1/2 - 1/2) 
       GM B. Gelfand - GM N. DeFirmian;  Moscow, 1990.  
            (23...Rd2; 24.Qb5 Rfd8; 25.Qc4 h6; 26.Rf1 R8d3; 27.Qc8+,  is a perpetual check.) 
       [ See MCO-14;  Pg.'s # 549-500; col.'s # 49-54, notes (a.) thru (x.);
         {Mainly column # 49, & note (f.) here for the end of the column.}  ]  

       Or Black could play: 5...0-0; 6.f3 Ne8; 7.e4 b6; 8.Nh3 Ba6; 9.e5! Nc6; 10.Bg5 f6; 
       11.exf6 Nxf6; 12.Bd3, "+/="  White is just a little bit better. 
       Dittman - L. Pachman;  Marianske Lasne, 1960. 
       [ See MCO-14; Pg.'s # 549-500; col.'s # 49-54, notes (a.) thru (x.); 
       {Mainly column # 54, & note (x.) here for the end of the column.}  ].  ]


6. f3,  Controlling the center. 

This is one of the main ways of playing this particular variation. 

     [ MCO gives the variation: 6.e3 0-0; 7.Bd3 Nc6; 8.Ne2 b6; 9.e4 Ne8; 
       10.0-0 Ba6; 11.f4!?,   (11.e5!?, "+/=")  11...f5; 12.Ng3 g6; 13.Be3 cxd4!; 
       The end of the column of MCO.  (Column # 52, page # 549.) 
       14.cxd4 d5!; 15.cxd5 Bxd3; 16.Qxd3 fxe4; 17.Qxe4 Qxd5;  "=/+" 
       Black has played a little too aggressively, and Black has the advantage. 
       GM A. Yusupov - GM A. Karpov;  Linares, 1993. 
      [See MCO-14; Pg.'s # 549-500; col.'s # 49-54, notes (a.) thru (x.); 
       {Mainly column # 52, & note (r.) here for the end of the column.} ]. ] 


6...d5;  Striking at the center. 

Hitting the center cannot be that bad. 

(But in certain variations of the Nimzo-Indian, Black should not define the center too early.) 


     [ MCO gives the line: 6...Nc6; 7.e4 d6; 8.Be3 b6; 9.Bd3 Na5; 
      10.Ne2 Ba6; 11.Ng3 Qc7; 12.0-0 0-0-0; 13.Qe2 Nd7; 
      The end of the column. (Col. # 53, page # 549.) 
      14.f4 Rde8; 15.e5, "+/=" 15...f5; "~"  
      "produces a sharp but roughly equal position."  - GM N. DeFirmian.  
        GM Sagalchik - IM Ashley;  New York, 1995. 
       [See MCO-14; Pg.'s # 549-500; col.'s # 49-54, notes (a.) thru (x.); 
        {Mainly column # 53, & note (u.) here for the end of the column.} ]. ]   


7. e3 0-0;  8. cxd5 exd5!?;   [Again] Controlling the center.  

Soltis  writes: "Today 8...Nxd5;  is regarded as giving Black greater counterplay." 

I note that this move is the first choice of many computer programs. It is also an extremely logical one. 

(Following the old rule of, "Capturing towards the center.") 

     [ 8...Nxd5!?; 9.Ne2 Nc6; 10.e4, "+/=" ] 


9. Bd3,  White develops and prepares castling. 

Simple development is both good and the order of the day. 

     [ Definitely not: 9.dxc5? Qa5; 10.Ne2 Re8; "=/+"  lets Black regain the pawn with a superior pawn structure. ]  


9...Nc6;  10. Ne2 Re8;  Centralization. 

This is good, as Rooks belong in the center on half-open files. 


11. 0-0 a6!;   Black expands on the Queen-side. 

Soltis comments: "This last move begins a rare but promising plan of queen-side expansion." 


12. Qe1 b5;  13. Qf2!?,  Best? 

Soltis does not question this move, but perhaps White should meet Black's Queen-side advance a little more energetically. 

     [ Maybe White could try: 13.a4! "="  Maybe - "+/=".  White does get around to a4 in the actual game, 
        but Black had more time to prepare to meet it. ]. 


13...Be6;  (Maybe - '!')  The best square for the Bishop. (At this moment.) 

Soltis gives a diagram here and then makes the following comment: "The middlegame is shaping up as a struggle over whether White can achieve [the central pawn advance] e3-e4 safely.  If he can, he will have the advantage. But here for example, 14. e4, dxe4;  15. fxe4, cxd4;  16. cxd4,  is met strongly by 16...Ng4!" 

     [ Black could have also played: 13...Qd6!?; "+/=" or 13...Bb7!? "~" ].  


14. h3,  Prevention.  

(Maybe an exclam.)  White needs this prophylaxis. 

     [ 14.e4? dxe4; 15.fxe4 cxd4; 16.cxd4 Ng4!; "/+" and Black has a very clear advantage. ]. 


14...Ra7!;  A surprising Rook luft. 

Soltis gives this move an exclam. It certainly deserves one, as it is a difficult move to predict. 

The Rook can now move laterally to anywhere it is needed ... ... such as a quick doubling on the e-file for Black.

GM Soltis comments: 
"And now 15. e4,  would invite 15...dxe4; 16. fxe4, cxd4; 17. cxd4, Bc4!;  18. Bxc4, bxc4;  19. e5, Nd5;  with strong chances for Black."

      [ Junior 6.0: 14...Na5!?; 15.Rb1 Qe7; 16.dxc5 Qxc5; 17.e4 Qxf2+; 18.Rxf2 Nc4; "=" - 0.05/12;  
         Black could have also tried: 14...Qd6!?; "=" with a fair game. ]  


15. Bd2;  White must develop. 

Not a fancy move, or even a great one. But sometimes you just have to concentrate on systematically developing your whole Army. 

     [ 15.e4!? ('?!')  15...dxe4; 16.fxe4 cxd4; 17.cxd4 Bc4!; 18.Bxc4 bxc4; 19.e5 Nd5; "=" (Maybe - "=/+")  
        Black clearly has the better prospects here. ]  


15...Qb6;  The lady enters the fray.  

Black uses his Queen to support the dark squares. 

     [ Black could have also played: 15...Bc8!?;  or 15...Qd6!? ] 


16. Rfb1!,  "+/="  A very nice move.  

Once again, Soltis awards this move an exclam. 

Strangely enough, the computer finds this move almost instantly. 

 This is a good move because it restrains Black's Pawns on the Q-side!!  

Soltis gives the comment:  "Once again, the advance e3-e4 is premature. (16. e4, dxe4;  17. fxe4, cxd4;  18. cxd4, Bc4!;)."  

     [ 16.e4 dxe4;  17.fxe4 cxd4;  18.cxd4 Bc4!; "="  
        (Under-mining the light squares, and indirectly White's big center.)  ]   


16...Rae7;  Task completed. 

Black has completed his unconventional - but effective - development. 


17. a4!?,  (Maybe - '!')  Undermining the Black Pawns on the Queen-side. 

Soltis comments:  "This forces Black to loosen pressure on the center since 18. axb5, is threatened and 17...b4; (?) 18. dxc5, costs him a pawn." 

     [ 17.e4!? cxd4; 18.cxd4 Nd7; 19.a4, "+/=" 19...b4;  "~" ]   


17...c4;  Space (& tempo) gainer. 

Black gains space and forces White's Bishop back. 


18. Bc2 Bc8;  Black re-deploys. 

Very nice, and almost worthy of an exclam. Black clears the e-file for his Rooks. 


19. Ng3 h5!(Maybe - '!!')   RESTRAINT & PROPHYLAXIS. 

Very nice. Very, very, very nice. And not at all obvious. (Strangely enough, the computer gives this move after just a few minutes of thought.) 

Black prevents White from expanding on the King-side. (Normally, this move would be avoided, as it would create weaknesses on the King-side for Black.) 
 Black also has the  tactical possibility of 'bumping' the Knight on g3, 
  should White try to get his "big center" rolling. 

Soltis  writes: 
"Another discouragement, (20. e4, h4.) Ragozin had also prepared to answer 20. Nf5, Bxf5;  21. Bxf5,  with 21...b4!;  22. cxb4, Nxd4!;  (23. exd4, Re2.)" 

Soltis gave this move an exclam, but perhaps it (possibly?) deserved two. 


20. Ne2,  Again, seemingly the best.  

It is also the first move chosen by most computer programs. 

The computers assign a very large edge here for White, ranging from "+/=" to "+/". 

So it seems that White is clearly better, or we have found a position that the computers do not understand!  

     [ 20.e4!? h4; 21.Nf1 dxe4; 22.axb5 axb5; 23.fxe4 Nxe4; 24.Qxh4 Bf5!; "<=>"  

        Or 20.Nf5 Bxf5;  21.Bxf5 b4!;  22.Rb2,   (22.cxb4?! Nxd4!23.exd4? Re2; "/+"   22...b3; "=/+" ]    


20...Nd8;  21. Ra2!,   White maneuvers skillfully.  

Soltis  gives this move an exclam and then writes:  "Threatening 22. axb5, axb5;  23. Rab2, Bd7;  24. Ba4." 

     [ Maybe White could have tried: 21.Qh4!?, "+/=" when the computers show at least a slight edge for White. (Maybe "+/-")  ]   


21...Bd7;  (Forced.)   Black supports b5. 

Right now, it looks like Black is being pushed around by White. 

   [ 21...Bb7!?; ('?!')  22.axb5 axb5;  23.Rab2 Bc6;  24.Ba4!, "+/=" ]  


22. axb5 axb523. Rba1,  White creates a "battery." 

White doubles on an open file.

It is clear Black's pawns (Q-side) are fixed on the light squares and his Bishop is somewhat bad. 

Yet it is also clear that White has no real concrete points of attack in the immediate future. (At least for his Rooks along the now wide open a-file.) 

     [ 23.Bc1!? ]   


23...Bc8;  24. Rb2,   White rearranges his forces.  

Having prevented any inroads or incursions into his Q-side via the a-file, White now targets the b-pawn. 



24...Bd7;  Again, protecting b5. 

According to the computers, White still has a small but secure edge. 


(Soltis now gives each player an exclam for their coming moves.) 
25. Qh4!,  Looks like White is moving in for the kill. 

It now appears that White is targeting the weakened Kingside squares for encroachment. 

White can now play his Knight back to g3, and consider the pawn advance, e2-e4. 

(Soltis also gave this move an exclam.) 

     [ 25.Bc1!? ]   


25...Ne6!;  Black moves his Knight over to the Kingside. 

Definitely the best move, the Black Knight re-joins the game. 

[The computer(s) also like this move.]  (& Soltis also gave this move an exclam.) 


26. Kh1(Maybe - '!?')  Hiding the King. 

It is obvious that after the e3-e4 advance the White King could be vulnerable on the a7-g1 diagonal. So White takes the sensible precaution of hiding his King in the corner. 

GM Soltis  writes:  "Again  26. e4,  fails, this because of 26...dxe4;  27. fxe4, Nf8!;  28. Ng3 Ng6;  29. Qg5, h4;  But Ragozin preferred 26. Kf2, as a preparation for g2-g4, which should have been White's middlegame goal all along, instead of e3-e4."  

Perhaps GM Soltis is indicating that White has chosen the wrong middle-game plan?!? 

     [ Probably best is: 26.Kf2!,  with the idea of g2-g4.  - GM V. Ragozin. ]   


26...Nf8;  27. Ng3!?,   Interesting. 
(It is not clear what mark this move should receive!) 

MANY annotators have given this move an exclam, but Soltis does NOT award that mark to this move. 

The computers assign a  HUGE  edge to White right now, it is pretty obvious the following play may be beyond the average computer's ability, even in the year 2001! 

Soltis writes:  "Finally, it seems, all the gears and levers are in are in place for 28. e4." 

     [ The computer likes: 27.Nf4 ('!') 27...g6;  28.e4!,  "+/-"   It is also obvious, AFTER analyzing this game, that Black    
       could have played the same move   here, and transposed back to the game.



   Black to move. Black now plays one of the most incredible ... and finest moves ever executed on a chessboard.  (lil-rag_pos-1.gif, 15 KB)

 Black to move. What move would you play? 

 (I give a diagram here, because of all my 'Top Ten' games,
this one is not very well-known ... but deserves to be!) 


27...Rxe3!!;  (Maybe '!!!/!!!!!')  A  FANTASTIC  move! 

A brilliant, brilliant, really BRILLIANT move!!! (Did I say it yet? This is an incredibly brilliant and inspired move!) 

The computers think all day long and do not play this move. 

The computers also evaluate this position as winning for White. (Even after several hours of analysis!!)  

This is also an extremely long winning combination. Black may not be clearly winning until nearly move 50. It is also an extremely complex combination. 
Even computers cannot successfully calculate this line until the end. 


28. Bxe3 Rxe3;  The bombardment continues. 

"Whether Black had calculated the combination to move 33 or had given up the exchange intuitively to destroy White's middlegame plan, his thinking is impressive." - GM A. Soltis. 

"Black has played an extremely fine combination, perhaps one of the finest on record."  - GM M. Botvinnik.  (Writing for a Soviet newspaper.)  

"One of the best games and one of the finer combinations ever recorded."  - GM Jan Timman.  (Writing for a Dutch chess magazine) 

"To me, it almost seems that GM's have kept this game a secret, and have held it back for their own enjoyment!"  - LIFE - Master  A.J. Goldsby I   


29. Nxh5,  (Maybe - '!?")  Pawn snatching. (A fun, but often risky sport!) 

White grabs a pawn, but also expends a vital tempo. 

        [ Another option was: 29.Qf4!? "~" 

           Also possible was: 29.Bf5, "~" ]   


29...Nxh5; 30. Qxh5 Bc6;  This move is forced to guard d5. 

Soltis  writes:  "The c3-pawn cannot be defended directly because of 31. Ra3, Re1+;  32. Kh2, Qc7+;  33. g3, (forced);  33...Qg7;  hitting the Rook and threatening mate, (...Qe2#)."  


31. Qg5,  (Maybe - '!') 

White's position still looks VERY impressive,  and the computers still consider White's position nearly winning.  ("+/")  

     [ 31.Ra3? Re1+; 32.Kh2 Qc7+; 33.g3 Qe7!; "-/+" ].  


31...Rxc3!!;  (Maybe - '!!!')   Wow!  
(Hey! YOU come up with something better!!) 

Another stunning move that goes without comment from Soltis. Black appears to be trapping his own Rook. 

(Already down in material, this looks move more like a blunder.) 


32. Qd2 Rxc2!;  (Maybe - '!!')  More sacrifices. 

Since it is not at all clear what Black intended, at least to the average player, I feel this move fully deserves an exclam. 

Black has sacrificed  TWO  exchanges, an occurrence which is very rare at the GM level.  

Soltis  writes: "Of course, not 32...b4;  35. Qxc3.  Black has visualized correctly that the White Rooks will lack a point of penetration and that the Queenside pawns will be the game's featured performers for the next ten moves." 

The computers now all consider White to have a decisive advantage. ("+/-") 

     [ Many of my students want to play the move,  32...Rxf3!?; at this point in the game. ].  


33. Rxc2 Ne6;  34. Rd1 b4;  Onward! Upward! 

The last two moves look like they were forced for both sides. 

Soltis  writes: "The threat is 35...Ba4; e.g., 35. Rb1, b3;  and ...Qxd4." 


35. Rb2[],  (Forced/Box. Plus, White sets a small trap.) 

This is forced, and the computer finds this move instantly. 

The computers (Fritz and Junior 6; and CM 7000) are all [still] giving White a big edge here.) 

     [ Not 35.Kh2?? Ba4; "-/+" ]   


35...b3;   This is forced. 

The pawns continue their relentless advance. 

     [ Of course not: 35...c3?;  (An obvious-looking pawn-fork.) because of:  36.Qxc3! bxc3; 37.Rxb6, "+/-" and White is winning easily. ]   


36. Qc3,  What else? 

White blockades the c-pawn. 

     [ 36.f4!? ] 


36...Nc7;  Sneaky Knights. 

Black is going to attack the critical squares and try to break the blockade. 

Soltis  writes: "Black can break the c3-blockade with 37...Nb5." 


37. Re2 Qa7;  A good move. 

Black grabs the a-file.  


38. Qb4,  (Maybe - '!?')  White struggles to activate his pieces.  

White attempts to free himself. 

   [ 38.Re7!? ]   


38...Nb5;  39. Re7,  Looking for "Mr. Good-bar,"  er ... counterplay. 

White is doing his best to activate his Rooks. 

      [ 39.Qe1!? Nxd4;   (39...c3!?40.Re8+ Bxe841.Qxe8+ Kh742.Qxb5 c2;  
         43.Rc1 Qa3
44.Qd3+ g645.Qe3 Qb4; "~" )    40.Re7 Qb6; "<=>"   (40...Qc5!?)  ]  


39...Qa3!;  Very cool. 
Down 2 exchanges, Black offers to swap Queens. 

Soltis awards this move an exclam. 

If White now exchanges Queens, the Black Pawns will march in almost unopposed.  

     [ 39...Qb8!?;  40.Re3! ] 


40. Qe1!,  Run away, run away!  

 (Soltis also awards this move an exclam.) 

White cannot exchange Queens.  

Soltis  writes:  "White has zero chances in the endgame of 40. Qxa3, Nxa3;  41. Ra7, Nb5;  42. Ra6, Bd7;  43. Rb1, Bf5; or  41. Rc7, Ba4;  42. Ra7, c3!" 

     [ White should not play: 40.Qxa3!?; ('?!')  40... Nxa3; 41.Rc7,  This seems best. 
( Soltis also gives the line: 41.Ra7 Nb542.Ra6 Bd743.Rb1 Bf5; "=/+" )    
       41...Ba4;  42.Ra7 c3!;  Soltis stops here.  43.Rg1 b2;  44.Rxa4 c2;  45.Rxa3 c1Q; 46.Rb3 g6; "=/+"  Black is clearly better. ]   


40...c3!;  Cute. (And very cool.) 

Once again, Black plays the most accurate move. 

Soltis also awards this move an exclam. 

Soltis writes:  "A courageous decision, allowing White to return material for chances of perpetual check. On 40...Kf8;  41. Re3, or 40...Qa8;  41. Qb4, and Black would have had more to deal with." 

     [ Not 40...Kf8?!; 41.Re3, "+/-" or 40...Qa8!?;  41.Qb4, "=" ].  


41. Re8+!?,   The critical move of the game. 

Soltis does  not  comment on this move, yet it is a very critical decision.  

Time may have been a factor here for both parties at this point. (I am not sure of what the time control was in this tournament.) 

     [ 41.Ra1!?,  (Maybe - '!')  This MIGHT be best.  41... Qd6!; This looks forced. 
        (41...Qb4?; 42.Ra8+ Bxa8; 43.Re8+ Kh7;  (Or 43...Qf8; 44.Qe7, "+/-"     
44.Qh4+, ("+/-")  with a winning attack. )    42.Re8+ Kh7;  43.Re5 b2; "~"  {Unclear.}   
      One slip-up by White, and Black's Pawns will prove to be decisive. ]   


(Now Black seems to be clearly better no matter what White plays.)
41...Bxe8; "=/+"  42.Qxe8+ Kh7;  The plot thickens. 

White continues with his plan. At this point, its fairly easy to play Black ...  just push pawns! 

Soltis  writes:  "Now 43. Qxb5, c2;  would be an appropriate finish."   


43. Qxf7,  The best.  

White is running out of tricks. 

     [ 43.Qxb5? c2;  44.Rf1 c1Q; "-/+" ]   


43...Qa8!;  Carefully, very carefully.  

Black secures his first rank. (And guards against a possible perpetual check.) 

(Soltis also awards this move an exclam.) 

     [ 43...c2!?;  44.Qh5+,  is unclear. "~" ]    


44. Re1,  Does White have a threat? 

Soltis  writes:  "White finds one last way to use his rook: a threat of ... 45. Qh5+, Kg8;  46. Re8+." 

     [ 44.Qf5+ Kh8; 45.Re1,  probably transposes back to the game, after 45...Nd6. ].  


44...Nd6;  45.Qc7 c2!;  (Maybe - '!!') 

GM Soltis also awards this move an exclam. 

Soltis  writes:  "Black wins after 46. Qc3, Qc8;  47. Qd3+, Nf5!." 


46. Qxd6,  Last gasp.

White may as well take. 

It really does not matter what move White makes here. He is lost. (See below.) 

     [ Var. # 1.)  46.Qc3 Qc8!; 47.Qd3+,   (47.Qb2,  and now: Junior 6.0: 47... Nb5
         48.Qxb3 c1Q
; 49.Rxc1 Qxc1+; 50.Kh2 Qc4; 51.Qb2 Nxd4; 52.Qb7 Ne2;      
         53.g4, "-/+"  - 2.49/14 )     47...Nf5!; "-/+"  - GM A. Soltis.  

        Var. # 2.)  46.Rc1 Nc4; 47.Qf4 b2;  "-/+" 

        Var. # 3.)  46.Qb6 Qa3;  (46...Qe8!?)   47.Qc7 Nc4;  "-/+" 

        Var. # 4.)  46.Re7 Qa1+; 47.Kh2 Qxd4;  "-/+" 

        Var. # 5.)  46.Kh2 Nc4;  "-/+"  ]   


46...b2;  47. Qf4,  One last trick. 

Soltis writes: "A final trap: 47...b1(Q)??; 48. Qf5+, g6!; 49. Qf7+,  and White draws by perpetual check." ("=") 

     [ 47.Qc7 b1=(Q); "-/+" ]   


47...Qc6!;   White Resigns,  0 - 1. 

GM Soltis also awards this move (Black's 47th) an exclam. This is the final move of the game. 

GM Andrew Soltis  crafts the beautiful comment: "A glittering lesson on the relationship between material and position." 

GM Salo Flohr,  (The "Grand, Old Man" of Soviet Chess.); writing for a Soviet magazine; called this, 
"One of the greatest masterpieces ever created on a chess board." 

While it IS an EXTREMELY beautiful game, I wonder a little bit about White's 41st move. It  IS  the critical move. Even though Black MIGHT win following the 
analysis, it is much more difficult than the actual game. Also, the computer evaluations of the position change fairly dramatically after White's 41st move, so I do think that this might have been, "The losing move," for White. 

But you should also remember it took nearly two months of computer analysis and a microscope to find it. Many GM's may have considered the position lost for White, once the Black pawns got rolling. (So they did not expend the effort to search for any improvements.) 

 I consider this the 3rd most beautiful game ever played. 

It is an astounding game where most Masters will make a comment like: "It is impossible to pinpoint exactly where White went wrong." 

This is a very beautiful game.  (And an extremely exceptional one also.) 

I cannot recall one other GM game where a double exchange sacrifice was played to liberate pawns to advance for the win.  (Usually such sacrifices are made simply to expose the opposing King to a mating attack.)  I also have analyzed literally hundreds of games with the computer, and there are very, very, very few games where the computer does not almost immediately find the win. Perhaps this will be the new standard for finding and judging really outstanding games, at least until computers get even more powerful.  


      [ Not 47...b1Q??;  48.Qf5+ g6;  49.Qf7+, "=" ]  



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