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LCB, Issue #105 --, Fight to the Last Breath
March 01, 2024

Fight to the Last Breath

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #105 -- GOTM #75

learn and play online chess
Sometimes things don't go your way. You find yourself staring down the barrel of defeat. The position is objectively hopeless. You might as well resign. But then we remember the words of the great tactician Savielly Tartakower: “No one ever won a game by resigning.”

What is to be gained by struggling on in the face of overwhelming odds? Well for one you will train yourself to find hidden defensive resources. It's amazing how much you can effect your opponent psychologically by continuing to set difficult problems instead of crumbling.

That's the defensive argument. What about an offensive argument? Can you attack in such a situation? Bold energetic play through tactical strikes may worry your opponent significantly.

Such a game took place in Gotha, Germany in 1957. Our protagonists were Bogdan Sliwa of Poland with White and David Bronstein of the USSR who played with the Black pieces.

Fight to the Last Breath

Sliwa,Bogdan - Bronstein,David [A81]

GotM #75, Gotha, 1957
[Annotation taken from Wikipedia]

The Immortal Losing Game is a chess game between the Soviet grandmaster David Bronstein and the Polish International Master Bogdan Śliwa played in 1957 in Gotha. The name is an allusion to the more famous Immortal Game between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky. The game acquired its name because Bronstein, in a completely lost position, set a series of elegant traps in an attempt to swindle a victory from a lost game, although Śliwa deftly avoided the traps and won.

1.d4 f5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3

(4.c4 Nf6)


Game position after 4...Nf6

Both players have fianchettoed their bishops. If White had played the now- standard 4.c4 instead of 4.Nc3, the Leningrad Variation of the Dutch Defence would have been reached.

5.Bg5 Nc6 6.Qd2 d6 7.h4 e6 8.0-0-0 h6 9.Bf4 Bd7 10.e4 fxe4 11.Nxe4 Nd5 12.Ne2 Qe7 13.c4 Nb6?

Game position after 13...Nb6?

(Better is 13...Nxf4 14.Nxf4 Qf7)

14.c5! dxc5 15.Bxc7! 0-0? 16.Bd6

Game position after 16.Bd6

White wins the exchange by skewering Black's queen and rook.

16...Qf7 17.Bxf8 Rxf8 18.dxc5 Nd5 19.f4 Rd8 20.N2c3 Ndb4? 21.Nd6 Qf8 22.Nxb7 Nd4!

Game position after 22...Nd4!

(If 22...Rb8 then 23.Qxd7+-)

23.Nxd8 Bb5! 24.Nxe6!

Game position after 24.Nxe6!

(24.Nxb5?! Qf5! 25.Nxd4?? a) 25.Qxb4?? Qc2#; b) 25.Nc3?? Nxa2+! 26.Nxa2 Nb3#; c) 25.Rde1?? Nxa2+ 26.Kd1 Qb1+ 27.Qc1 Qxc1#; d) 25.b3 Qxc5+ 26.Kb1! (26.Nc3?? Ne2+! 27.Qxe2 Qxc3+ 28.Kb1 Qa1#) 26...Qf5+ 27.Kc1 Qc5+ draws by perpetual check.; e) White can still probably win with 25.Qf2 Nxa2+ 26.Kd2 Nxb5 27.Ke1; 25...Nxa2#)

24...Bd3! 25.Bd5!

(If 25.Nxf8?? then 25...Nxa2+ 26.Nxa2 Nb3#)

25...Qf5! 26.Nxd4+ Qxd5! 27.Nc2!

Game position after 27.Nc2!

(If 27.Nxd5?? then 27...Nxa2#)

27...Bxc3 28.bxc3!

(If 28.Qxc3?? then 28...Nxa2+ wins the Queen.)

28...Qxa2 29.cxb4!

Game position after 29.cxb4!

and Black finally gives up and resigns.(Ken Connaughton)

(29.Nxb4 Qb1#)


Sliwa,Bogdan - Bronstein,David [A81]

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