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Reuben Fine vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Fine Slew" (game of the day Jun-05-09)
AVRO (1938)  ·  French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C17)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

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Given 51 times; par: 52 [what's this?]

Annotations by Reuben Fine.

explore this opening
find similar games 2 more Fine/Botvinnik games
sac: 13.Ra4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-05-10  AVRO38: <talisman>

Fine had no valid claim to the title as Keres was the clear winner at AVRO. What book are you referring to?

Sep-05-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: <AVRO38> You're right of course about Fine's claim. Now the book I read I cannot remember the name.30 yrs. ago. I do know that Fine was the author. I'll google it this weekend.
Sep-05-10  rapidcitychess: That is a fine (pun not intended) attacking game.

The most amazing thing is to the average player: The attack never happened. The king never was threatened with mate.

The center attack is sometimes stronger than the mating attack. Why you may ask? The domination of the center leads to the cramping of the pieces, which allows for many chances of attack, and winning material voluntarily by black in order to free the bind in which he is in.

The quiet attack is often stronger than the vociferous one.

Sep-19-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: Is amazing when you realize that blacks are hopeless in only eleven moves !!
Jan-21-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: Is amazing when you realize (according to Fine) that blacks are hopeless in only twelve moves !!
Jan-21-12  King Death: This was an impressive game by Fine, it wasn't often that Botvinnik was outplayed this way.
Jan-21-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Scary in its depth if all of Fine's annotations are correct. Anyone do a deep engine analysis of this game - hope for Botvinnik along the way somewhere?

Fine was definitely WC material - and he seemed to have pouted about the missed opportunity most of his life. I guess I best pull out 'Lessons From My Games' and revisit things.

Jan-21-12  Ulhumbrus: Fine foresaw that Black's QB would have no future on a6 because of White's ability to play the move c4 and that Black lacked time to develop his QB to g6. This is much more impressive than I make it sound.
Jan-21-12  King Death: < parisattack: ...Fine was definitely WC material - and he seemed to have pouted about the missed opportunity most of his life...>

The war did a number on a lot of things but afterward he chose to take his doctorate and not play in the match tournament.

Feb-08-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Yes, the operative phrase is 'he chose' I think. Why is not too clear from various responses he provided over the years. Perhaps he just preferred that direction. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Nov-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: Is amazing when you realize (according to Fine) that Botvinnik are hopeless after twelve moves !!
Nov-23-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Beautiful positional game. Black is indeed strategically lost after just 12 moves.
Feb-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: Positional clearness !
Feb-04-13  JimNorCal: I was just pondering how weak White's pawns were looking when Fine suddenly explained he had a won game. Deep and impressive insight, indeed!

The pun is a Spooner-ism on "swine flu"?

May-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <parisattack> It's not deep engine analysis, but Shredder12 says that black is okay after 14.Bd2 [+0.34], but dislikes 14...f6 [+1.01].

Black is still in it after 17.Qe1 [+0.60] but after 17...a5 [+1.29] Fine plays all the top 1 or 2 engine moves all the way to the end.

May-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Check It Out:> Thank you! Just me, I would have judged White just 'better' if having not seen Fine's notes. And we know Fine could resort to hyperbole at times...to say nothing of having a fine ego. I wonder if Fine ever shrunk himself? :)

On the one hand it is difficult to believe Botvinnik is truly lost after 12 moves; on the other, probably the type of position an engine may not see the 'positionally' lost aspect? Either way, Fine played brilliantly here!

May-07-13  RookFile: It might be interesting to see the deep analysis.
May-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: I checked the position after 14.Bd2 with Houdini 3x64. If Black plays 14...f6 the computer says that that White has an advantage of a bit less than 1. However, and this is kind of interesting, if Black plays 14...a5 followed by the development of the Bishop at a6, it gives zero advantage to White after 96/70, about 9.5 billion plys. So it seems that Fine was wrong, and Black's position was OK. The culprit was 14...f6.
May-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Maxi... So it seems that Fine was wrong, and Black's position was OK. The culprit was 14...f6.>

Thanks for digging so deep for us!

A variation of the 'beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact.' At least it sounded good; Chernev would have loved it!

May-07-13  Olavi: <maxi> It wouold be nice to see some lines; after the simple 14...a5 15.Bxc3 16.Qxd8+ 17.0-0 white has what any strong player would automatically assess as a big positional advantage.
May-07-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: No, <Olavi>. I am sure that if you take a careful look at the board you'll see that is certainly not the case. After 14...a5 15.BxB dxB 16.QxQ+ KxQ 17.0-0 Ke7 the position is equal. If 18.Rfa1 Rd8 19.Nd4 Rd5 and the position is more dangerous for White than for Black.
May-08-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: But you are right, I should give some lines. I will if I get the chance.
May-08-13  Olavi: Yes, it's easy to have a glance at the board, decide that there will be a black square blockade and not look any further. Of course 16.0-0 or even 16.Rd4 might be better, and in that line 18. Rd1 Rd8 19.Rd6. If I understand correctly Kasparov analyzes this on OMGP IV, I wonder what he says.
May-08-13  Olavi: I now see this exchange on the first page: <Botvinnik gave 14..a5! 15 Bxc3..dxc 16 Rd4..Qe7 17 Rd6..Bc6 18 Qd4..Rb8 19 Qxc3..Rb1+ 20 Rd1..Rxd1+ 21 Kxd1..0-0 as playable for Black.> <White could improve with 15.0-0 or 16.Qd6 in that line.>
Nov-23-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bob Loblaw: <Olavi: Yes, it's easy to have a glance at the board, decide that there will be a black square blockade and not look any further. Of course 16.0-0 or even 16.Rd4 might be better, and in that line 18. Rd1 Rd8 19.Rd6. If I understand correctly Kasparov analyzes this on OMGP IV, I wonder what he says.>

Kasparov does indeed analyze this game in OMGP IV. He relies on the analyses of Fine, Botvinnik, his engine, and the Soviet master Belavenets. Like the commentators above, Kasparov flags 14... f6 as the "decisive mistake". 'There was,' writes Kasparov, quoting Botvinnik, 'a tactical chance with {14... a5! 15. Bc3 (15. 00 Ba6) 15 ... dc3 16. Rd4 (or 16. Qa1 Ba6) 16.. Qe7 17. Rd6 Ba6 18. Qd4 Rb8 19. Qc3 Rb1 20. Rd1 Rd1 21. Kd1 00' Then he adds "after 16. Qa1 Ba6 17. Ra5 Belavanets recommended 17 ... Qc8, but 17... Qd5! is simpler with sufficient counterplay against the white king, which is caught in the centre. "

Kasparov has high praise for Fine's play. He gives Fine's game against Flohr from round five, which also began as a Winawer/Nimzovich French, in its entirety, and has this to say about it:

"White exploited his lead in development with the energy of Morphy and in full accordance with the teachings of Steinitz: the player with the advantage is obliged to attack, otherwise the attack will disappear! 'In terms of over all strategic planning and tactical execution, I consider this to be the best game I have ever played,' Fine later wrote. Also among his best was undoubtedly the game with Botvinnik."

At the end of his analysis of the Fine-Botvinnik classic, Kasparov observes that, "The games with Botvinnik and Flohr fully characterise Fine's style. He defeated both opponents thanks to his deeper evaluation of the position, based on his vision of latent resources, and his technically impeccable conversion of the advantage gained. The same purity distinguishes his wins at the AVRO tournament over Euwe and Alekhine.

Kasparov also deeply analyses Fine's win over Alekhine. Again he praises Fine's superb play, calling the game an impressive rout, and observing that other than Alekhine's defeat at the hands of Botvinnik at the same tournament, it's hard to remember a game where the former was so outplayed during his reign as World Champion.

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