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Mikhail Botvinnik vs William Winter
"Brace Yourself, Winter is Coming" (game of the day Mar-13-2015)
Nottingham (1936), Nottingham ENG, rd 15, Aug-28
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Knight Variation (A15)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

Annotations by Alexander Alekhine.      [77 more games annotated by Alekhine]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-14-05
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This game displays all the symptoms of a clearly stronger player trying to keep some life in a position which has definite drawing tendencies. Had Botvinnik been playing one of the other top players, this would most likely gone no more than twenty-five moves before affixing the same result.
Jun-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: But Botvinnik was White! It's he who gives the impression of playing for a draw from the beginning. Strange game.
Jun-14-06  ughaibu: It's interesting that the memetic "mind virus" of Soviet-game-fixing existed even at this date.
Jun-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher> See Alekhine's notes to White's 22nd, 26th and 28th moves- through the years, I've seen, and played either side of, this type of game, in which the stronger player tries through various means to bring about an unbalanced position by playing unnatural moves.

It should be noted that this game took place in the last round.

Jun-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <perfidious> Yes, I saw Alekhine's notes. I know it was a last round game. And I, too have both played and seen the kind of game you refer to <in which the stronger player tries through various means to bring about an unbalanced position by playing unnatural moves>. I don't think this is it. Botvinnik, by the way, was very good at beating weaker players through natural moves. See, e.g., Sokolsky vs Botvinnik, 1938

Here I think Botvinnik's nerves got the best of him. This was his second major tournament outside the USSR, and he had not done well at Hastings '34-35.

Jan-03-08  Petrosianic: <In his memoirs Winter annotated this game. He was a member of the communist party so was worried that the chess public would think he was under orders from Moscow to draw>

It's hard to imagine anything more unlikely. Even assuming that Moscow could give orders to an English communist in the first place, it staggers the imagination to imagine them calling the World #82 player and say something like "Hello? If by some incredible chance you manage to get a winning position against the World #4 tomorrow... no, no, we don't want you to throw the game, but if you should somehow manage to have him beat, give him a draw."

I've read things in Pravda that were less ridiculous than that.

Much more likely that the split point was the result of personal feelings or more likely still, sheer gutlessness. Having a player so vastly superior to him on the ropes, and afraid of blundering and losing (and let's face it, chess history is full of games like that; take a look at Redolfi-Fischer, 1959 for a particularly painful example), especially since a loss from such a superior position really would be seen as a fixed result, he wimped out and took the half point while he could. It's a shame it decided the outcome of the tournament, though.

Very weird last round. In the other deciding game, Capa got a won game against Bogolubov, blundered, and got into a lost position, but managed to hold it. And so, against all odds, Capa and Botvinnik tied for first.

Jan-03-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Alekhin's continuation of 38...Ke7 39 Bc2? is not good. Much tougher is 39.g4 followed by Kg2-Kf3. I think W.Winter's judgement was criticized unfairly and his integrity was impugned unjustly.
May-29-14  Petrosianic: <I think W.Winter's judgement was criticized unfairly and his integrity was impugned unjustly.>

I didn't criticize his inegrity, I said he "wimped out". He could and should have kept playing for a win and very easily might have gotten one, but took the draw against the much stronger player.

This game, as much as any other, shows the problems in the tournament format. Why should the battle between Botvinnik and Capablanca be decided by Winter's nerves?

Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Could Winter have played 12...e5!? as in E Gereben vs Spielmann, 1934?

One potentially significant difference: Gereben played Rc1 instead of Be2 and never could castle. Perhaps the extra King side development would have rendered the sacrifice unsound.

Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This is one of Sam Sloan 's favourite games.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Torso?
Mar-13-15  RookFile: Strange game. I don't know what Botvinnik was doing, he was head and shoulders above this guy in chess strength.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: This is the only game in the database between these two. Winter was not one of the super GMs of the time, but is able to hold on against MB.

I owned a chessbook about openings written by Winter, when I was a teenager.

Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: I was thinking "All right, this must be Winter's only win against Botvinnik, this has gotta be great!"

But then I see what happened??

'Mild Winter' is more like it

*****

Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Actually, Winter was here yesterday:
http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/...
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Pun of the Year candidate.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Winter is NOT coming, it is going.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Nice pun. The Winter here is a different guy than the acidic winter the historian. There are two chess Winters.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: There are eight million games in the naked database. This is one of them.
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Hard Winter times for copy-sharks ahead. ;)
Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kevin86: Winter is NOT coming, it is going.>

In the Northern Hemisphere, I quite agree-down south, it will be another matter!

Mar-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: As far as I could see from quick analysis, Alekhine's final notes are accurate, both on the strength of black's exchange sac and the fact that the rook ending is winning as well. Black may have been short on time though, and was probably content to draw with Botvinnik.
Mar-14-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Marmot PFL: As far as I could see from quick analysis, Alekhine's final notes are accurate...> I am sure Alekhine will be delighted looking down from the Grand Lodge Above.
Mar-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I want to believe that Winter was feeling sick or something, because conceding a draw in that position is fully regrettable.
Mar-26-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I've reading Winter's Memoirs which were serialised in CHESS.

January 1963 cover this game.

It was rumoured that Moscow had instructed Winter to lose this game.

"A preposterous slander."

It reads that these allegations were stated before the game. Botvinnik offered the draw and Winter was not 100% convinced he could win.

What if he should lose from the final position?

"Having regard to certain allegations which were flying around, a loss would have been disastrous to me."

Winter accepted the draw and squashed the rumours.

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