The semifinal World Championship Candidates' match between Hungarian Grandmaster Zoltan Ribli and Soviet veteran Vassily Smyslov has produced unexpected results so far. Ribli was considered the favorite by most observers going into the match, but except for a victory in Game 2 he has fought an uphill battle most of the way against the former world titleholder, 30 years his senior.
The 12-round semifinal matches being held at the Great Eastern Hotel in London will be decided by the first player to score 61/2 points, with a victory counting as a point and a draw as half a point. At roughly the midway point, Smyslov led Ribli 5 to 3, while in the other match Gari Kasparov of the Soviet Union, who had trailed Soviet defector Viktor Korchnoi since losing the first game, won Games 6 and 7 to pull ahead 4 to 3. The winners will meet to determine the challenger for a title match with World Champion Anatoly Karpov of the USSR.
In today's look at Game 2 we see Ribli defeating Smyslov, who essays the Bogoljubov or Bogo-Indian Defense, an opening he had espoused successfully against co-US Champion Walter Browne in the Interzonal Tournament (a game featured in an earlier Monitor column).
Smyslov equalized and, emboldened by his first-round victory, avoided a possible draw by repetition of moves early in the game. Complications ensued, with White (Ribli) gaining space in the center and Black progressing on the Queenside. Smyslov began to be pressed for time, which proved to be his undoing, as he avoided time-consuming complications on Move 23 and later felt obliged to simplify into an ending that was not tenable.
Bogo-Indian Defense Ribli Smyslov 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3 N-KB3 B-N5 ch 4. B-Q2 P-QR4 5. P-KN3 P-Q4 6. Q-B2 N-B3 7. P-QR3 B-K2 8. B-N2 PxP 9. QxBP Q-Q4 10. Q-Q3 O-O (a) 11. N-B3 Q-R4 12. O-O R-Q1 13. Q-B4 B-Q2 14. KR-K1 N-Q4 15. P-K4 N-N3 16. Q-Q3 P-R5 17. P-R3 P-B3 18. P-Q5 N-R4 19. QR-Q1 N(3)-B5 20. B-QB1 P-K4 21. N-R4 P-QN4 22. N-B5 B-KB1 23. Q-B2 N-Q3 (b) 24. P-KN4 Q-B2 25. P-B4 NxN (c) 26. KPxN PxP 27. P-Q6 (d) P-B3 (e) 28. NxNP Q-B5 29. N-B3 (f) BxQP 30. QxP (g) B-K4 31. R-K4 QxQ (h) 32. RxQ B-K1 (i) 33. RxR RxR 34. BxKBP BxB 35. RxB N-N6 36. R-N4 N-Q5 37. P-QR4 N-B7 38. R-N6 N-K6 39. P-R5 N-B5 40. R-R6 R-N1 41. B-B1 N-K4 42. R-N6 Resigns (j)
A. Here 10.. . . Q-K5; 11. Q-B4, Q-Q4 equalizes if Black is willing to draw.
B. Here 23. . . . N-N6 intending 24. . . . BxN and 25. . . . N-Q5 offers good play. Probably Smyslov feared the complications of 24.NxRP, but he appears to be winning after 24. . . . NxB; 25. N-B3, NxNP; 26. QxN(2), BxP; 27. Q-B2, P-N5; 28 . N-N1, B-R5; 29. QxP, R-Q2.
C. Better was 25. . . . N(4)-B5 to try to keep the position closed.
D. Initiating a winning series of blows.
E. Black must prevent 28. B-Q5.
F. An inaccuracy: 29.QxQ ch, NxQ; 30.N-B7 would win easily. Perhaps Ribli was playing to complicate because of Smyslov's time shortage.
G. Not 30. RxB, Q-B4 ch.
H. Last chance to survive was 31. . . . Q-B4 ch.
I. Black is now in a losing position, aggravated by extreme time pressure.
J. Having made the time control, he resigns, realizing the passed QRP will easily decide the game.