Bulletin No.80 – Combo Corner: Bronstein


David Bronstein is best remembered for failing to win the world title against Botvinnik and in particular the horrendous blunder in game 6 of the match which was eventually drawn 12-12. This is a great pity as Bronstein was one of the most creative players the world has ever seen, a true genius of the board. If you have not seen his games before, I hope that the three examples below give you a flavour of his unique talent.

Peter Anderson, September 2021

Deadly Diagonals!

In the game below White has just played h3 attacking the knight. The most obvious reply is Ne5, eyeing up d3, which would leave the position unbalanced but with about equal chances. Bronstein, had something else in mind!

This Side or That?

The scene is set and White’s overall plan is clear – he is going to attack on the kingside. A normal person would probably consider moves such as Qd3 or a3 as their main candidates, or if they were going to sac a pawn perhaps Ng3 or Nf4. Bronstein finds another way.

A Double Sac Like No Other

Tal famously said “You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.” Here he gets a taste of his own medicine with Bronstein showing huge imagination to bring about a highly complex position with a double sacrifice… and there were not even queens on the board! Both sides make mistakes along the way but Bronstein never stood worse and eventually it was Tal who got lost in the jungle.

What impresses me most about this is even considering the sacrifices in the first place – our chess brains are trained to filter out moves like 15.g3 as garbage!  Assuming they had not seen it before,  I would bet you could show this position to 100 players (perhaps even 100 GMs) and not one of them would even contemplate Bronstein’s idea.

The resulting positions are hard to evaluate, and the play is very difficult and rather beyond my calculation abilities. So I give the game with light computer assisted notes for your enjoyment, and if you are feeling brave you can have a crack at navigating the jungle better than Bronstein and Tal!

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