The Amateur Eye – Beauty and the Beast

It comes with Caissa’s love when two put the game into a special aesthetic art seen at the conclusion where neither is a winner or loser but form a partnership like a painting that seems to live whenever it is looked upon and replayed.  Such is the game Boris Spassky launched with David Bronstein in the 28th USSR 1960 Championship Tournament.  The elegance seen in the rare King’s Gambit Accepted stirs the spirit of adventure and the thought of saying it as “Come hell and high water.”  In fact, the final moves were included in the movie, From Russia With Love.

White:  GM Boris Spassky   Black:  GM David Bronstein  Opening: King’s Gambit Accepted

l. e4  e5  2. f4  e:f4  3. Nf3  d5  4. e:d5  Bd6  5. Nc3  Ne7  6. d4  O-O  7. Bd3  Nd7

Bronstein had played this and had a write up with analysis in a Soviet chess magazine.

8.  O-O  h6  9. Ne4!

This is putting pressure in the black camp and fits the mode of square count as it brings the Knight to strike deep behind enemy lines.

9. … N:d5  10. c4  Ne3  11. B:e3  f:e3  12. c5  Be7  13. Bc2!

Spassky has cleverly kept his plan sedated until now which is to form a battery on the long diagonal.  Maybe Bronstein’s position calls for 13. … Nf3 but loses maybe a tempo by bringing the Rook to e8 where he might decide to go with Nf8 as follow-up and avoid exchanges.

13. … Re8  14. Qd3  e2!?

Now, one would expect 15. Rf2  as a normal reply but Spassky finds an electrifying shock treatment to rebuff black’s defense.

15. Nd6!!

Not only a power play, it causes Bronstein time on the clock.  He likely sees the futility of grabbing the Rook because the other Rook takes that square and the open lines all lead to the King and mate.

15. … Nf8  16. N:f7  e:f1 (Q)+  17. R:f1  Bf5  18. Q:f5  Qd7  19. Qf4!

Spassky refuses to let up the pressure.

19. … Bf6  20. N/3e5!

White is rupturing the square structure encampment.

20. … Qe7  21. Bb3  B:e5  22. N:e5+  Kh7  23. Qe4+  Resigns.

The perfect gentleman at the board and capacity of upholding the long heritage of a world champion line, one has to admire his sportsmanship qualities  and character.  After suffering the antics by Fischer, Spassky refused to obey and continued to play in defense of his title.  Perhaps he deserved better.  Still, he left Russia and settled in the West and will long be remembered as one of the greatest to play the game.





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