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When I saw this game featured as the "Problem of The Day," I knew that I had to annotate it. Boris Spassky was/is one of my top {favorite} chess players of all time ... and I have annotated many of his games before. (Search here - to find other examples of my work.) I am a big fan of Spassky - I once had a site devoted exclusively to his games. (It closed when the "Excite" group folded ... many yarons ago.) Without question, Spassky is a great universal player, I think just about everyone will learn something and truly benefit from an in-depth study of all of Boris Spassky's games

More importantly, just about all of the annotations (that I saw or know of) were "pre-engine," (meaning that all of the work of the analysis for this game had occurred prior to the development of PC's and chess programs / chess engines); which means that there were probably a lot of inaccurate judgments and evaluations written about this game. I did not want to try and do a tremendous "in-depth" view of this game ... Soltis's book probably comes closer to that than what I really wanted to do. What I actually wanted to accomplish was to simply provide an overview for this game and also correct any and all errors that have been made in annotating this game. (For example - my question mark of Black's 47th move is accurate, but also somewhat superfluous ... as Black was already completely lost, and nothing was going to save his position at that point, anyway. Please also note that my annotations do not agree with anyone's one-hundred percent. This is because I relied heavily on what the engine gave as the best moves. I also found Soloviov's annotations to be excellent and more in-depth than any other author. However, I also found a number of his exclamation marks to be totally un-necessary ... in some cases, there simply were not enough viable alternatives to warrant lauding one move over another one., especially when the position was mostly closed and there just were not that many possible candidate moves.)  

I worked many days on this game ... and overall, I feel that I have done a pretty fair job. Please enjoy this game and also feel free to  e-mail  me with any comments or observations. 

This tournament was a great triumph for another one of my chess heroes, Bent Larsen. (See the CT, above.) 
  ---> Larsen finished in clear first, just 1/2 point ahead of Tigran Petrosian
This tournament contained many of the greats of that period ... a virtual "who's who" of the chess world. 
(Many of the games - from this event - are simply outstanding, if you have the time, you should study them all.) 

Search Google for this event.  See the games for this tournament. 

 Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols that I commonly use when I annotate any chess game.  

 Click  HERE  to replay this game.      (Click  HERE  to see a "star-dot-pdf" / Adobe copy of my analysis.)   

 Click  HERE  to see my video channel on the "You-Tube" channel.    (Click HERE to see my YT video on this game.)  

  GM Boris Spassky 
            FIDE card
       IM J. Penrose  
          FIDE card 

GM Boris V. Spassky (2770) - IM Jonathan Penrose (2610) 
  ICT, Palma de Mallorca, ESP / (Rd. #11) / 1969.  

  [A.J. Goldsby I]  

Note that - when this game was actually played - Jonathan Penrose only had an IM title and was {later} given the GM title emeritus. 
(For his many accomplishments in chess.) Click HERE to see the games of Jonathan Penrose

This tournament was an enormous triumph for one of my original chess heroes. 
(Bent Larsen, who won clear first ... just 1/2 point ahead of Tigran Petrosian., see the cross-table, above.)  

However, Spassky shared the "Best-Played Game" for this effort against IM Jonathan Penrose ... 
which is both pretty and (at the time) highly original. 
(Historical note: Spassky was the reigning World Champion {of chess} at the time that this game was played.) 

*** *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** *** ***  *** *** *** *** *** ***  

(The) Source for the ratings (given for this game) was the "Chess Metrics" website. 
(The ratings are probably low, -50 {or more} ... compared to modern ratings. (2014)  
 However, they do give an approximate estimate or a guideline to what these players might have been rated today.)  

     1.d4 Nf62.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg74.e4 d6 5.f3(Samisch.)   

Spassky used this opening system many times in his chess career, although he seemed to play just about every line under the sun. 

                         [ The main line is: 5.Be2, see my GOTM site for more on this particular opening. ]  


     5...c6(counterstrike / occupies b5 and hits c4)  

Penrose responds with the time-proven "Byrne System" which is still a good line for Black, even today.  

     6.Be3 a67.Bd3 Nbd7!;   

Black used to push his QNP hereabouts ... until Spassky just about refuted that whole concept in a game with GM Lubosh Kavalek.  
[ChessBase shows that the Spassky-Kavalek game occurred in San Juan in 1969, and NOT in a World Championship.]  


                         [ For more on this opening ... and the current state of modern opening theory ...   
                           see MCO-14, page # 613; col. # 48, and all notes. (Buy MCO on ]  


The "book line" today is 8.a2-a4, however Spassky goes his own way.  

     8.Nge2 b59.Qd2 Bb7 10.0-0 0-011.b3 e5;  

Thus far, according to the chess engines, the position is equal.   


spas-penr_pos1.jpg, 61 KB

  r2q1rk1/1b1n1pbp/p1pp1np1/1p2p3/2PPP3/1PNBBP2/P2QN1PP/R4RK1 w - e6 0 12  

Black can open the center and can play on either side of the board.   


Spassky now plays much like one of his predecessors ... (Siegbert Tarrasch) and simply opts to gain (and keep!) more space ... and also try to prevent Black from playing his standard break of ...f7-f5. (Borislav Ivkov - in the Informant - did not like Nd1, preferring {instead} 13.Na4. However, the difference between the two scores is infinitesimal, so it is really more a matter of taste than a concrete value judgment.)  

     12.d5! b413.Nd1 c5;  

Soloviov questions this ... and recommends (instead) the capture on d5. But the difference between the two moves (in the estimations 
of the computer) are very small ... 


     14.g4!? Kh815.Nf2 Ng8 16.Ng3 Qh4!?; (foray)  

Black's last move was a little risky, DF14 prefers ...P-QR4. 
(The BQ is temporarily out of play, Spassky exploits this by opening a file on the other side of the board.) 

     17.Kg2 h618.a3! a519.Ra2! Ndf6!?(dubious?)   

Black goes for piece play ... but the computer finds a slightly more logical response ... 
that would have prevented White from dominating the a-file.  

                         [ The following line: (>/=) RR 19...Rfb8; 20.Rfa1 Qd8!21.h4, "+/="  
                            probably represents a small improvement over the game, although   
                            White retains a solid edge here. ]   


Now, thanks to his previous preparations, White penetrates down the a-file and trades off both sets of Rooks. 
(>/= 20...Rab8!; was a definite improvement over the game, although White still retains a sizable advantage.) 

     20.Rfa1 Nh7!?21.axb4 axb4 22.Rxa8 Rxa823.Rxa8 Bxa8 24.Qa2 Bb725.Qa7,   

This was good enough for a solid advantage, although simply 25.g5!, (which many of the engines find right away); may represent a 
significant improvement for White. (Soloviov awards Qa7 an exclam here for White.) 

                         [ >/= 25.g5! Nxg5; 26.Qa7, ''  ('+/') ]   


     25...Qe726.Be2! Nhf6;  

White is solidly better here, although the severely blocked nature of the position indicates that Black may gain a draw unless White plays accurately.  


spas-penr_pos2.jpg, 58 KB

   6nk/Qb2qpb1/3p1npp/2pPp3/1pP1P1P1/1P2BPN1/4BNKP/8 w - - 0 27   

The position (above) shows a classic space advantage for White ... which Spassky begins to exploit in superlative fashion. 
(Spassky realizes that Black's pieces are mostly spectators, so he plays to open his game.) 

     27.f4! exf428.Bxf4 Ne8[]29.Qb8 Bd4!?30.Nd3 f6 31.Bf3 Qd732.h4, ('!?')   

This is good, some writers even award this move an exclam. However, Houdini & Deep Fritz 14 seem to find a better and quicker way to win for White ... (see just below). 

                         [ Probably best was:  >/= 32.Ne2! Be533.Nxe5! fxe534.Bxe5+!! dxe5;  
                            35.Qxe5+ Nef636.Nf4! g5!?37.Ne6 Bc838.Qb8, '+-'  (decisive)  
                             with a won game for White. ]  


Now the box seems to show that 32...Bc8[]; was best for Black, missing this, Penrose finds himself in even greater 
difficulties. (>/= 34...Ne7!?)  

     32...Kh733.h5!? g5 34.Bd2 Be5!?35.Be3 Ne7;  

DF14 likes this as Black's best move. (Soloviov recommends ...Qc8; here as the best move for Black.) 


     36.Nxe5 fxe5;   

The critical position ...   


spas-penr_pos3.jpg, 57 KB

   1Q2n3/1b1qn2k/3p3p/2pPp1pP/1pP1P1P1/1P2BBN1/6K1/8 w - - 0 37   

Black is so tied up that it is only natural that a sacrifice would destroy the organic balance of the position. 
(White winds up with two very dangerous, connected passed Pawns.) 

(The box likes 39.Qb2, for White, but the difference in evals is not great.) 

     37.Bxc5!! dxc538.Qxe5 Ng839.Qb8 Nef6?(error)   

This move was a mistake and is exploited by Spassky in his typically ruthless fashion.  


spas-penr_pos4.jpg, 56 KB

   1Q4n1/1b1q3k/5n1p/2pP2pP/1pP1P1P1/1P3BN1/6K1/8 w - - 0 40   

Black has a small material edge, a minor piece for two Pawns. However, White's central wedge of foot-soldiers threatens to simply advance with devastating effect.  

                         [ After the following continuation:  >/= 39...Ngf6[]40.Nf5 Qc841.Qe5 Qd742.Ne3, ''  ('+/')  
                            White is clearly better but no easy route to the win is found. ]   


     40.Nf5! Ne741.Nxh6! Nexd5!;   

A nice tactic, simply capturing with the Black King loses to Qf8+, when Black's position is nearly resignable. 


     42.cxd5, This wins, but ... 

                         [ RR  All of the engines show that: >/= 42.exd5! Kxh6 43.Qf8+ Qg744.Qxc5, '+-'  (decisive) 
                           when it is an easy win for the first player here ... and this this was a clear improvement 
                           over the actual course of the game. ]  


     42...Kxh643.Qf8+ Qg7 44.Qxc5 Nd7; (Hmmm.) 
This loses even more quickly ...   

>/= 44...Kh7[]; was better, although even after an exchange of Queens, White can march his King to the center and I could not find any way for Black to save his position. (Most of the engines show that Black had to play >/= 47...QxP/e5[]; failing this, his game falls completely apart.)   

     45.Qd6+! Kh746.e5! Kh847.h6! Qh7?48.e6! Qc2+!?49.Kg3, "+/-"  Black Resigns

Penrose gives up, he can (now) see that White will promote his e-pawn.  


spas-penr_pos5.jpg, 53 KB

  7k/1b1n4/3QP2P/3P2p1/1p4P1/1P3BK1/2q5/8 b - - 0 49  

An incredible game by Spassky, who shows great technique and gives a model lesson in how to exploit this type of <standard> advantage in space. 

[ Bibliography - or some books where you can find this game annotated: 
 For a slightly different view of this game, see Andy Soltis's book
  "The Best Chess Games of Boris Spassky," Game #65 and page #266. 
  ( & see the Informant # 08; and game # 615. Click here to see this 
    analysis in a picture format of the CB file that I had.)   

  (And) See also the excellent book: "Boris Spassky's Selected Games," (400) 
   by Sergei Soloviov. Game # 210, page # 269. ]   


   Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2014. All rights reserved.    


  1 - 0  

The analysis for this page was prepared with the excellent programChessBase 10.0. 
 (I now have ChessBase 11.0; I also used MANY different chess engines ... during the course of my analysis!)   
    ---> My main engines - for this game - were Deep Fritz 14, Houdini 3.0, Rybka 4, Fritz 13. 

    The HTML was polished with several different tools and programs, (mostly FP)  ...  the text was checked for spelling with MS Word.  

Go ... or return  ...  to my  Home Page  for this site.  

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(You could also use the "back" button on your web browser. Click here ... to go to the page with my games.)  


  Copyright (c) LM A.J. Goldsby I  
   Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2014.  All rights reserved.  


This page was first generated in: mid-September, 2014.
Final format and posted on: Thursday; September 18th, 2014. 
This game was last edited, altered or saved on:  February 12, 2015 12:57 PM . 

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