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Classic example of playing for a draw

By Arthur BisguierInternational Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion, has won or shared the US Open title five times, and has captured virtually every other major tournament in this country at least once during more than three decades of competition. / January 16, 1984



The 11th and final game of the semifinal World Championship Candidates' match between Vassily Smyslov of the Soviet Union and Zoltan Ribli of Hungary ended in a draw. This gave Smyslov a 6 1/2-4 1/2 victory and the right to meet his countryman Gari Kasparov in the final elimination to determine who will challenge World Champion Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union, in a title match late next summer. Earlier, Kasparov had eliminated Soviet defector Victor Korchnoi by a 7-4 margin.

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The Kasparov-Smyslov match, which is set to start March 9 in Vilnius, Soviet Lithuania, will feature a traditional battle of youth vs. experience. Never in such a critical match, to my knowledge, has there been such a discrepancy in the ages of the participants. Muscovite Smyslov is 62 years old, while Kasparov (who comes from Baku in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan) is 20.

In today's game Smyslov, a former world titlist, gives a model demonstration on how to play for the draw. Besides avoiding organic weaknesses and unnecessary complications, he maintains active piece play and looks in particular to the safety of the King.

Smyslov Ribli 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. N-KB3 P-K3 3. P-B4 P-QN3 4. N-B3 B-N5 5. B-Q2 (a) P-B4 6. P-QR3 BxN 7. BxB (b) B-N2 8. P-K3 O-O 9. B-Q3 P-Q3 10. O-O QN-Q2 11. Q-K2 R-B1 12. KR-Q1 PxP 13. PxP R-K1 14. QR-B1 Q-B2 15. P-QN3 P-QR4 16. P-R3 P-R3 17. B-N2 Q-N1 18. Q-K3 B-B3 19. P-QR4 QR-Q1 20. B-R3 B-N2 21. B-N1 N-B1 22. N-R2 N(1)-R2 23. Q-N3 N-K5 24. Q-K3 P-B4 (c) 25. P-B3 N(5)-B3 26. P-Q5 (d) B-B1 27. PxP BxP 28. Q-Q3 P-Q4 29. P-B5 PxP 30. RxP N-N4 31. N-B1 (e) Q-Q3 32. P-QN4 N-Q2 33. R-N5 (f) N-K4 34. PxP (g) Q-Q2 35. Q-K2 B-B2 36. Q-KB2 P-Q5 37. P-B4 N-K5 38. BxN N-N5 (h) 39. Draw

A. This unassuming move unpins the Knight and avoids the possibility of doubled pawns.

B. White has obtained the apparent advantage of the two Bishops. The advantage remains academic while the position remains closed, but should Black press and open up the game, the Bishops could become formidable.

C. White, which enjoys a minimal advantage in space plus the Bishop pair, is content to repeat moves and draw, but rather than resign the match Black decides to complicate.

D. White uncovers and threatens 27. QxNP, which accounts for Black's reply.

E. Another super-careful move which guards his KN3 against an incursion by the Black Queen.

F. Strong, accurate, and safe. 33. RxRP, N-K4 could be tricky; e.g., 34. Q-Q2 or 34. Q-Q4 loses the Queen after 34. NxBP ch. But 34. P-N5 loses to 34. . . . Q-N3 ch, and 34. Q-B2 or 34. Q-K2, N-B5 costs the exchange, while 34. Q-B3, P-Q5 ; 35. Q-B5, N-B5 is likewise unclear.

G. This neat Zwischenzug (in-between move) was the point of his preceding move.

H. Ribli, with seconds remaining on his clock, offered the draw. A piece down , he would have had some compensation with connected center pawns after 39. PxN, PxB. But if a win were necessary, Smyslov could have continued 40. B-B5, P-K6; 41. Q-K1, P-K7; 42. RxP, PxN EQUALS Q ch; 43. QxQ, QxP; 44. RxR, RxR; 45. R-N1, and the judicious advance of the White QRP should score the point. Since a draw clinched the match, Smyslov happily acquiesced.