Spassky - Bronstein 

  Boris V. Spassky   (2745)  - David I. Bronstein;   (2675)  
 28th Soviet Championship 
 Leningrad, U.S.S.R.  1960 


The ratings here are estimates of what these players might be in 2001 terms.

Simply one of the most brilliant chess games ever played. 

It also features one of the most amazing and stunning chess moves of all time. 

(My annotations are primarily based on the book, "The 100 Best,"  by  GM Andrew Soltis.)

1. e4 e52. f4 exf4;  
The King's Gambit Accepted. (I believe there is nothing wrong with this opening. GM/Dr. John Nunn gave GM M. Adams an exclam for 'reviving' this opening in the nineties.) 

3. Nf3 d5!?;  
This was the theoretically approved way of playing the King's Gambit at the time this game was played. (At least one of the methods.) 

   [ The move: 3...d6; will lead to the "Fischer Defense." 
     (This is nothing more than an attempt to transpose to favorable variations 
      of the Kieseritsky Gambit, in most cases.) ].  


4. exd5 Bd65. Nc3 Ne7!?;  
The 'book' line at that time. 

6. d4 0-07. Bd3 Nd7!?;  
This looks dangerous, but was a line that Bronstein had great experience and had analyzed for a Soviet chess magazine. 

8. 0-0 h6!?; (Maybe '?!') 
Black wishes to prevent Ng5. 

But this is probably too slow and a little too risky. 
(BUT ... that was NOT known at the time this game was played! Also, Bronstein had won several games in this line.).


White's next move activates his game and gives him great piece play. 
(And it also came as a big surprise to poor Bronstein.)
9. Ne4! Nxd5
10. c4 Ne3[]11. Bxe3 fxe3;  
Black believed at this point that he had a good game. 


White's next move is the start of a very deep plan. 
12. c5! Be713. Bc2! Re8!?;  
Black wishes to clear the f8-square for the Knight at d7. 

   [ 13...Nf6!? ].  


White now forms a battery on the b1-h7 diagonal. 

14. Qd3 e2!?15. Nd6!!,  (Maybe - '!!!/!!!!')  
Simply one of the most amazing moves ever played on a chess board. 

   [ Most players would have played the simple 15.Rf2!?  "+/=" ].  


15...Nf8?!; (Probably inferior.) 
This is too passive to be any good. Already poor Bronstein is scrambling. 

('?' - Soltis, Nunn, & Burgess.) 

   [ The best defense is probably: 15...Bxd6!; 16.Qh7+ Kf8; 17.cxd6 exf1Q+
cxd6!;    (18...Nf6!?; 19.Qh8+ Ng8; 20.Ne5! f6; 21.Bh7 Be6;  
; 23.Bxg8 Bxg8; 24.Rxf6+!! gxf6; 25.Qxf6+ Bf7  
        Or 25...Rf7; Ng6 mate.  26.Ng6+ Kg8; 27.Qh8#).    19.Qh8+ Ke7;  
      20.Re1+ Ne5; 21.Qxg7 Rg8; 22.Qxh6 Qb6; 23.Kh1 Be6; 24.dxe5 d5;  
      25.Qf6+, {Comp.}  White still has both an attack and a solid initiative. 

     Of course calculating this line correctly over-the-board, perhaps while 
     getting short of time, would have been a super-human feat! 
- Soltis.) 

      Not 15...exf1Q+; 16.Rxf1 Nf8!?;   (The move, 16...Bxd6!; would transpose  
       back to the best line.  Not 16...cxd6??; 17.Qh7+ Kf8; 18.Qh8#)  17.Nxf7!
      with a winning attack. (See the variations after move 17 in the actual game.) ].  


White's next move is a fantastic sacrifice, (maybe a double exclam); designed to dig the Black King out of his bunker.  
16. Nxf7! exf1Q+17. Rxf1 Bf5[];  This is forced. 
(Many writers have noted Black must give back material here to avoid a mate.) 

   [ 17...Kxf7?; 18.Ne5+ Kg8;   (18...Ke6?!; 19.d5+! Qxd5; 20.Qf5#).  
     19.Qh7+!! Nxh7[]; 20.Bb3+! Qd5; 21.Bxd5+ Be6; 22.Bxe6+ Kh8


Now White concludes brilliantly:  
18. Qxf5 Qd719.Qf4!,  
The best. (White maintains the pressure on the K-side.) 

   [ 19.Qd3!? ].  


19...Bf620. N3e5! Qe721. Bb3! Bxe522.Nxe5+ Kh7; 23. Qe4+, (Almost - '!') 
Black resigns, 1-0.  

   [ 23.Qe4+ Kh8;   (23...g6!?; 24.Rxf8! Rxf8[]; 25.Qxg6+ Kh8  
; 27.Ng6#).   24.Rxf8+! Rxf8; 25.Ng6+ Kh7
Kh8; 27.Qh7# ]  


One of the most beautiful games in all of the annals of chess. 

The heights to which Spassky's fertile imagination soared to in this game have rarely been equaled and certainly never surpassed. 


Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I, (c) 2001, (c) 2002.  

One of the greatest games of chess ever played. (PERIOD!) 

 One of the most beautiful games of all time. 
   Maybe the best King's Gambit ever? 

 Could this be Spassky's greatest game??? 

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  (But there is only one diagram, so you  have  to use a chess board & set!)  

This is a MUCH shortened copy of the game than the version that exits in my database. 
(I had to shorten it for publication. The other version was simply 
too difficult to convert to an HTML [re-play] document.) 

The original "ChessBase" file contains a fairly good look at the opening of this game, 
  "The King's Gambit." 
  This would be an asset to have, if you wanted to study this opening. 

If you would like a copy of this game, please contact me. 

 Copyright, () A.J. Goldsby I.  A.J. Goldsby,  1985-2013. 
    Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2014.  All rights reserved.