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Salomon Flohr vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Flohr (1933), Moscow / Leningrad RUS, rd 6, Dec-05
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Berlin Variation (E38)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-29-03  Open Defence: This is a real gem from Salo Flohr, see how he outplays a great master of strategy himself, Botvinnik!!
Oct-29-03  drukenknight: so how is it supposed to end?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <dk> It is quite simple. White wins black's e-Pawn with an easily won ending of B against N.
Sep-20-04  fred lennox: 4...c5 is the last time Botvinnik played this move. Latter he adopted 4...d5 as in the following game. Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: I recently reviewed a N vs B game with Flohr--and Botvinnik, I thought--but Flohr controlled the black pieces and the bishops, with the opponent as knights, and Flohr won. I will have to find it and look at them both.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Russia, 1933. gid=1031825 and gid=1031831.

Flohr versus Botvinnik, 1933 after 24.Bxc1, the FEN is 6k1/1p1n1ppp/p2p1n2/3Pp3/4P3/P4P2/1P2B1PP/2B3K1.

Botvinnik versus Flohr, 1933 after 32.Nxd4, the FEN is 5k2/1b3p1p/3b2p1/pp1P1p2/1P1N4/P1N4P/4KPP1.

Mar-10-05  zorro: Gelfer's Positional Chess Handbook states after 42...g6: "if 42...h6 White's king could penetrate on the k-side through f3-g4-h5". That is true, abstractally, but what if Black plays Kd8 to cover c8 and Nf8 to cover the holes on K-side? What is the winning way in that case? Thank you for your help!
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <zorro>
<after 42...g6>
<what if Black plays Kd8 to cover c8 and Nf8 to cover the holes on K-side?>

Interesting question! White's positional advantages look good enough to win, but I wasn't able to find a quick proof.

At first I thougth this would be a simple zugzwang as White maneuvers the bishop to b6, as in:

42...h6 43. Kf3 Kd8 44. Kg4 Nf8 45. Kh5 Nc7 46. Bc1 Nb5 47. Be3 Nc7 48. Bb6, etc.

But it may not be so simple because Black can defend more actively either with 47...Nd4, or with the surprize counterblow 45...Ke7!? to answer 46. Bc8 with 46...f5 threatening ...Nf6#!

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <zorro>
Here is a strong-looking line against your suggested defense:

42...h6 43. Kf3 Kd8 <44. Bc1!> Nc7 45. Be3 Nb5 46. Kg4.

With this move order, if Black plays 46...Nd4, White can trade down into a winning pawn ending 47. Bxd4 exd4 48. Bxd7 Kxd7 49. Kf3, etc. winning the d-pawn, or if Black plays 46...Nf8 then we get back to the easy zugzwang with 47. Bb6+ Nc7 48. Kh5.

Aug-15-05  DWINS: Botvinnik had an interesting choice on move 45 as to how to capture the pawn on e5.

If 45...Nxe5 46.Bc8 wins the Queenside pawns, while 45...dxe5 (which he chose) leaves White with a protected passed pawn. It seems that 45...fxe5 would be the logical choice. However, this would lose to 46.Kf3 h5 47.Bg5+ Ke8 (if 47...Nf6 48.Bc8 wins) 48.Bh6! and white wins a piece.

(Acknowledgement to Irving Chernev's "Combinations: The Heart of Chess")

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <DWINS> Many roads to Rome: <45...fxe5 46.Kf3 h5> and now 47.Bh6 Ne8 48.Bg5+ also wins -- 48...N8f6 and either 49.Bxd7 Kxd7 50.Bxf6..., or perhaps better still 49.Bxf6+ Nxf6 50.Bc8...
Nov-20-07  Dr. Siggy: According to Eugène Znosko-Borovsky, "How to Play Chess Endings", english translation, New York 1940, pages 216-8: "The slow pressure exercised by the Bishops against a close position is demonstrated in the following example [...] [after 40... Ne8]. Here the Bishops have ample space, whilst the Knights are confined to the first three ranks. Worse still, they can obtain no strong points in the centre, which is frequently the case against two Bishops, which can dominate the whole board. The Knight at d7 is particularly badly placed: as soon as it moves, the opposing Bishop is played to c8, attacking the b-pawn, which in turn cannot move without weakening the a-pawn: we see how difficult the situation is for Black. [...] An extremely instructive ending, which well demonstrates the concentrated power of the two Bishops, and the helplessness against them of the two Knights, which move in various directions on the board, without any coordination."
Apr-26-09  WhiteRook48: can't see why Botvinnik wanted to play on in such a crushed ending
Oct-22-10  igiene: Perhaps Botvinnik chose to play this hopeless ending (2 Knights against 2 Bihops) to learn how to win such twenty years later against Bronstein he wins the same ending with 2 bishops against 2 knights in the decisive game of World Championship...Grandmaster have "pre-cognition" as the Precog in Minority Report movie.....
Dec-23-10  misha1992: One of my new fav. Endgames I suppose Bot. Thought that the closed game would give him good chances but he couldn't trade off enough pawns.
Feb-02-11  sfm: Was 53.-,f5 necessary? If so, Black had problems already.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: This was game #6 of a match played in Moscow (first 6 games) and Leningrad (remaining games). Flohr (the more experienced and more highly regarded player at the time) took a 2-0 lead (with 4 draws) during the Moscow phase of the match, but Botvinnik rallied to win games 9 and 10 in Leningrad to achieve a drawn match result.

User: suenteus po 147 has compiled a page for the match: Game Collection: Botvinnik-Flohr Match 1933

Nov-03-12  Tigranny: Awesome how the bishops beat the knights.
May-29-17  JPi: What's wrong with 68.Bxa6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <JPi: What's wrong with 68.Bxa6?>

I think he just preferred to win the passed central pawn instead and then advance his h pawn.

May-30-17  JPi: <ChessHigherCat> If there is not trick to take a6 and then to go toward black e pawn will surely my choice. After all "a" and "h" passed pawns will be a nightmare for Knights. Maybe just a matter of taste...
May-30-17  JPi: Whatever a great game!
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: < JPi: <ChessHigherCat> After all "a" and "h" passed pawns will be a nightmare for Knights.>

A real "knight-mire". The final position is very tricky. I wonder if it's possible for white to win a piece. For example, 69...Ke7 70. Bg5 Kf7 71. Ke5 is sort of "zugzwangish". White should at least be able to win the d pawn while retaining both bishops.

May-30-17  JPi: Indeed ChessHigherCat. It could be that Flohr intended to win a N instead the pawn.
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