Can you attack like Spassky? We did!

 GM Danny Gormally put a group of a dozen adult and junior players through their paces in a training session on Saturday February 4 – focusing on the games of World Champion Boris Spassky as a model for how to punish your opponent’s mistakes in the opening.

Danny showed some fantastic attacks in the opening by Spassky, and at key moments asked players to calculate the best move.

Boris Spassky – Dmitry Vedensky
Leningrad 1953
Queen’s Gambit Accepted


1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 c5 5. Bxc4 e6 6. Qe2 cxd4 7. exd4 a6 8.
O-O b5 9. Bb3 Bb7 10. Ne5 $5 $146 {with the threat of Nxf7} Bd5 $2 (10… Be7
11. Nxf7 Kxf7 12. Qxe6+) (10… Nc6 $1 11. Rd1 (11. Nxf7 $2 Nxd4) 11… Nd5
$132 {[%cal Gf8e7]}) 11. Nc3 $1 $32 Bxb3 $6 {Opening up the a-file. Although
it doubles the b-pawns – it effectively brings White’s a1 rook into the game
for free. A dangerous thing to do against Boris Spassky!} 12. axb3 {[%csl Ra6,
Ra8][%cal Gc3b5]} Ra7 {White’s big lead in development is the key clue in this
position that he may have a decisive tactical blow against the uncastled king.}
(12… b4 13. Nb5 (13. d5 $5 bxc3 14. dxe6 fxe6 15. Nc4 Kf7 16. Rd1 $44)) 13.
d5 $1 {[%csl Re8][%cal Ge2e8] A classic breakthrough pawn sacrifice! Spassky
solves the ‘problem’ of the isolated queen’s pawn by giving it up, forcing
open the d-file and threatening to break through to the enemy king, which is
still stuck in the centre.} (13. Nxb5 Rb7 {is not so clear.}) 13… Nxd5 ({If}
13… b4 {there is a beautiful forced line leading to victory:} 14. dxe6 $1
bxc3 15. Rd1 Qc8 16. exf7+ Rxf7 17. Nc4+ $1 Re7 (17… Be7 18. Nd6+) 18. Nd6+
Kd7 19. Nxc8+ {and White wins the house}) 14. Nxd5 Qxd5 15. Rd1 $18 Qb7 16. Be3
Ra8 17. Qg4 ({Here Danny asked players to work out a way to break through
Black’s defences. The answer (which even Spassky didn’t find) came as a big
surprise…} 17. Rac1 $1 Be7 18. Qf3 $1 {and there it is! Threatening to swap
queens is immediately decisive,as} Qxf3 19. Rc8+ $1 Bd8 20. Rcxd8+ Ke7 21. Bc5+
Kf6 22. Nxf3 {and Black can resign. Spassky’s move is also strong, however.})
17… g6 18. Qf4 f5 19. Rac1 Be7 20. Qh6 (20. Qf3 $1 {is still winning as last
time!}) 20… Bf8 21. Qh4 Be7 22. Bg5 $1 {Here Danny explained the principle
of getting rid of the key defensive pieces. In this case, without the Be7
Black will find it impossible to defend the dark squares.} Bxg5 23. Qxg5 O-O
24. Rd8 $1 {Another ket defender is eliminated. As Danny said, ‘When you play
against a really strong player, you have to expect a second wave of the attack.
Here comes Spassky’s second attack wave!’} Qg7 25. Rcc8 Nd7 26. Rxf8+ Nxf8 27.
Rxa8 Qxe5 28. Qd2 {Spassky just consolidates. There is no chance for his
opponent to come back from an exchange down. The rest is straightforward.} Qe4
29. Rc8 f4 30. h3 f3 31. Qd6 Qf5 32. g4 Qf6 33. Rc3 a5 34. Qc6 b4 35. Rxf3 Qxb2
36. Qa8 Qa1+ 37. Kg2 Qg7 38. Qxa5 Qe7 39. Rf4 e5 40. Qxb4 1-0


Invariably it was the younger players in the training session who answered Danny’s questions – particularly Yichen Han, who seemed to get every move right almost immediately!

The event was a great success, and the club is looking to hold more such events in the future.

If you are interested in taking part in a GM Training event with Danny Gormally, please get in touch with Mike Smith: