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Vsevolod Rauzer vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1933)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation Maroczy Line (B72)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-15-04  kostich in time: One last note on this game. sorry Ughaibu, but both Tarrasch and Euwe described Botvinniks sacrifice of the d-pawn as "original" at the time.The Sicilian had been played a lot before then, but many basic tactical motifs were little understood.
Nov-15-04  ughaibu: The ignorance of Tarrasch and Euwe isn't my problem.
Nov-15-04  kostich in time: Ignorance of Tarrasch and Euwe? Come, come. There were two of the greatest opening theoreticians of all time.
Nov-15-04  Seraphina: I must agree with you KiT. It took me years to begin enjoying the grand architecture of Botvinnik's games, it's J.S. Bach on the chessboard, everything fits perfectly, and therein lies genius as well. It's not romantic, it doesn't have swagger, but it does it. In this particular game, I love the way he cleanly brings the queen over from the queen side, threatens the rook on the way, moves up to the rook file. There is a lot to learn here.
Nov-16-04  ughaibu: Lasker vs W Napier, 1904
Nov-16-04  kostich in time: Very good ughaibu...the d-pawn sca was only an innovation in this particular Napiers case, it was a gamblew that failed..not part of a strategic plan..still, Almost no one had tried this before.
Nov-17-04  ughaibu: Had white been Lasker in this game then Botvinnik's gamble also might well have failed. Any decision based on judgement is a gamble.
Nov-17-04  kostich in time: Rauzer wasa very strong player, awell-known theoretician..Botvinnik was no gambler. Personally, I like gamblers..Kasparov, Tal. It all depends on waht you mean by "brilliancy" Lasker told Napier "it was your brilliancy, and I won it". Paradoxically, with White, Lasker provided a masterpiece of defense(the only other example I can think of a masterpiece of defense with WHITE, rather than BLACK is Capablanca-Marshall,1918.) What is intersting about this game is that Botvinnik, with just a single sacrifice-a sacrifice which had been only seen rarely up to then- produced a sustained mating attack with BLACK. There is areason why this game made Botvinnik famous.( Though Kostic had already forecast that he had the makings of a world champion.) Ughaibu, lets just say that you and I just quit the polemics and enjoy good chess..diferent people have different tastes, and de gustibus non est disputandum.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <ughaibu: The ignorance of Tarrasch and Euwe isn't my problem.>

how ignorant does someone have to be to say something like that?

May-07-05  ughaibu: Karpova: will you be adding the above quote to your profile?
Premium Chessgames Member
  davewv: This game is on page 140 of "Secrets of the Sicilian Dragon" by Gufeld and Schiller. The Heading is The Dragon Hall of Fame.
Jul-12-05  fgh: While playing thrue this game, I did not even realize this opening is the Sicilan Dragon. Our theory is completly different since then.
Jul-12-05  fgh: <ughaibu>: I wouldn't call Euwe a ignorant, considering he was basically the greatest opening theoretician of all time. But Tarrach was a ignorant, especially when it comes to hypermodern principles.
Jul-12-05  ughaibu: Fgh: I wasn't suggesting that Euwe was generally ignorant, I meant in this particular case.
Jul-12-05  fgh: <ughaibu>: Ok. But as I said earlier, Tarrasch was a ignorant, he was too dogmatic.
Nov-08-06  Resignation Trap: Here's a photo of the two players in a post-mortem: .
Jan-01-07  ALEXIN: I think that game shows us that Botvinnik had a very deep understanding of the position and its related combinations.
Apr-12-07  sanyas: <ughaibu> <Had white been Lasker in this game then Botvinnik's gamble also might well have failed.>

The pawn sac was perfectly sound, although 18.Nxe4 would probably have kept White in the game. And I don't think Botvinnik was the kind of player who would have gone astray in the complications; in any case, such a thing would be more likely to happen to White. I like this game because I see it as a profound demonstration of the dynamic possibilities inherent in the Sicilian Defence. I found Botvinnik's piece play especially attractive, but the standout moment was the pawn sacrifice, which I believe was as good as any double piece sacrifice.

Nunn writes: "It is always nice to be able to play a move like this - there are four pieces trying to stop this advance, yet Black can play it. Moreover, the move creates such serious threats that Black need not move his attacked bishop for now. Grandmaster Jonathan Mestel once expressed a general principle: the more pieces there are trying to stop a pawn break, the more effective it will be if carried out successfully. Here we have a case in point.

<Any decision based on judgement is a gamble.>

Are you quite sure? Judgement is a part of the thought process that leads us to our decisions - if it is conclusive then there should be no risk involved. Of course, there is an element of risk involved in any decision we take, but that is like calling chess a game of chance. If there is a clear intent, and a confidence that the outcome will be as predicted, then I wouldn't call the decision a gamble.

It also depends on what you mean by judgement. If you mean the act of judging, which is to say forming an opinion after thinking about the situation, then even a one move checkmate, which clearly does not involve risk, is based on judgement. But even if you mean the situation in chess where a player decides that a certain set of advantages will outweigh those of his opponent, then any chess move where the outcome is not completely certain is a gamble. If all decisions in chess, as life, could be made with complete certainty, then we would say that chess has been solved, and it would not be worth playing at all. Far more important, I think, is the nature of this judgement, what it is based on. I don't think that an informed decision is a gamble, because rather than allowing chance to take its course, you are trying to impose some sort of control over future events. So whether or not a decision is a gamble really depends on the amount of information involved. If the decision maker believes he has enough information and is justified in his choice, rather than simply hoping that things will turn out as expected, then he is not gambling beyond the extent that any decision is gamble.

Part of the question is what it is that we are said to be gambling. The assumption is that we are gambling on the outcome of the game. But this outcome really depends upon our own ability to make good moves. Thus in a chess game we do not rely on chance but our own skill, whether the choice of move is made on calculation, judgement, or intuition, so long as it is based on our own thinking and not a hope that our opponent will go astray. If the bet is on our own decision making ability, on ourselves, then it is not a gamble but a calculated decision - a judgement. On the other hand if the bet is on some external force beyond our control, like our opponent's level of concentration, then it is a gamble. So it is not to say that there is no risk involved in the process of making a chess move - we risk the outcome of the game on every move. But if the reason that things don't turn out as we expect is because of a mistake of our own, rather than something that was never under our control to begin with. In short: it may be a mistake to gamble, but if you are gambling then you cannot make mistakes.

Apr-12-07  sanyas: <fgh> <Tarrasch was a ignorant, he was too dogmatic.>

This is an old debate, which you can take up on the Tarrasch page. It would help if you provided examples rather than blanket accusations. It is not clear what dogmatism has to do with whether or not Tarrasch knew of a precedent to this game. ughaibu meant that Tarrasch wasn't aware of the idea being used before, but you seem to be calling him an ignorant chessplayer, despite the fact that, dogmatism or no, he was one of the strongest players ever.

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: Botvinnik's classic 1933 win with the Dragon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The idea that 16...d5 was "a simple pawn sac" <kostich in time> is very surprising. Cafferty and Taimanov write of that move, "It is hardly possible to calculate all the consequences of this bold decision, so all the more must one admire Botvinnik's intuitive conclusion that it is correct." Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov, The Soviet Championships, 1998, p. 36. Instead of Rauzer's 20.Red1, 20.Qd3! was best, and not easy for Black to meet. Botvinnik frankly admits, "Only in the 1960s was I able to demonstrate that by answering 20.Qd3 with 20...b6! Black could break up White's pawn centre and after 21.gxf3 bxc5 or 21.cxb6 axb6 obtain at least even chances." M.M. Botvinnik, Half a Century of Chess, Pergamon Press, 1984, p. 47. Given that it took Botvinnik 30 years to find the right follow-up in response to 20.Qd3, it seems that 16...d5 wasn't all that simple.
Jan-12-11  Ulhumbrus: This is a very famous game and has made its way into the anthologies. The move 16...d5!! offers a piece, but does so only temporarily because on 17 bxc4 dxe4 both attacks the N on f3 and, by opening the d file, discovers an attack on White's Queen from Black's rook on d8.

The Black Queen transfers to the King side from the square a5 by the route Qa5-a6-f6-h4

After the capture 18...exf3 in reply to 18 bxc4, White's King is exposed to attack. This suggests the alternative 18 Be2.

Feb-21-12  backrank: This famous game is included in many anthologies. However, it is a bit strange that Hans Mueller left it out in the later edition of his Botvinnik book, and Chernev neither includes it in 'The golden dozen' nor in 'Combinations, the heart of chess'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Naniwazu: I fail to see the point of 15. Rac1? One should think Rad1 was correct..especially considering Black's threat of playing d5.
Nov-22-12  Ulhumbrus: The move 16..d5!! responds to White's attack on Black's QB with counter-attack. On 17 exd5 e4 responds again to the White's attack on Black's bishop on c4 with counterattack.

Euwe's remarks on the game Botvinnik vs Chekhover, 1935 may apply to this game as well: <Though Botvinnik is primarily a position player, and though his construction of the game differs vastly from that of Alekhine, his play reveals, in his discernment of attacking chances, the greatest possible resemblance to the brilliant style of the world champion.>

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