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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"A Thing of the Passed" (game of the day Feb-27-16)
AVRO (1938)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Line (E40)  ·  1-0
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Given 69 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

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sac: 30.Ba3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-23-13  Everett: A strangely heralded game: a victory against one of the cellar-dwellers, big deal.


Mar-24-13  wachter123680: mabe its Capa would not have sacrificed the dark square bishop at move 5..
Mar-24-13  wachter123680: mabe its Capa would not have sacrificed the dark square bishop at move 5.. and Capa did not active the king's rook until move 25.
Jul-04-13  Tigranny: I forgot to add, if you look at the bishop on b2, you can ask yourself, "What is the best square for the bishop to move?", and a3 is the only one that makes sense. I don't see it all that brilliant, along the knight sac to h5. To me, this is overrated and definitely not Botvinnik's "game of his life". JMO. :|
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: A wonderful 'big strategy' game by Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Wonderful game. Impressive though the sacs 30.Ba3 and 31.Nh5+ are (the Knight move actually influenced a recent sacrificial win of my own - my opponent had earlier mentioned that Botvinnik was his favourite player, which possibly got me thinking along such lines) ... and although White's calculation that he could escape the checks is very finely judged, it's an earlier move here that really impresses me. I think Botvinnik's 16.Rae1 is one of the deepest and most far-sighted positional moves in the history of chess. He abandons the queenside, gives up the defence of the a-pawn, and locks his other Rook on f1, all because he can see that a central thrust is necessary to win, and Black's counterplay will fizzle out. Exquisite.
Dec-31-13  peltonen: Position after 29...Qe7 seems solid for Black. The only one active move for White is their bishop sacrifice at a3 that happened to lead to a victory.
Dec-31-13  PJs Studio: I hadn't many chances to study the fantastic scientific approach of Botvinnik in the days before computers. I recommend his games to players looking to improve.

30.Ba3! is no joke because he HAD to see 31.Nh5.

Jan-17-14  Pnice: This game is in the top 100 of all time in my opinion, primarily because its very tactical and it is played by two of the all time top five players in the history of the game. The very end took great foresight from Botvinnik to see that he could successfully outlast Capa's queen without consequences. I vote its definitely one of the best games by Botvinnik considering Capa was a slightly better end game player overall than the mighty Botvinnik engame strength. Its not often that two of the top 5 ALL TIME CHESS PLAYERS collide and when they do its not often that you see this kind of endgame with sacrifices. WOW, great game!
Sep-07-14  Tigranny: NVM my previous comment. Very instructive game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eduardo Bermudez: see Chapter 4 What is Strategy? Suba
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Another video on this game from Kevin and thechesswebsite:

Good to review every five years or so. Great discussions on 16. Rae1, 21. Nf5 and 29 ... h6.

<cool-headed> A telling observation from Botvinnik himself.

<brilliant practitioner> Ditto.

<a stroke of lightning from a clear sky> Ugh.

<It surprises me that club players wouldn't recognize this game. The setting is so famous and the pattern is so distinctive that I would expect everybody to know the winner, with most able to name the specific game reference.> Agreed. ;>D

Apr-20-15  Mating Net: As my man <RookFile> stated many years ago, the move 16.Rae1 separates the men from the boys.
Jun-06-15  thegoodanarchist: <PJs Studio: I hadn't many chances to study the fantastic scientific approach of Botvinnik in the days before computers. I recommend his games to players looking to improve.>

Botvinnik's annotations are to be recommended as well. Reading through his 100 selected games book helped me improve.

Aug-03-15  SimplicityRichard: <Domdaniel:.... 16.Rae1 is one of the deepest and most far-sighted moves in the history of chess... Exquisite.>

Elegant analysis and beautifully put!

Sep-18-15  The Kings Domain: Although I have yet to figure out why Capablanca sacrificed his rook on the 24th move, this is a fine positional game by Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: As great as this game is (and it's a pretty magnificent game), I prefer Botvinnik's win vs Alekhine in this same tournament.
Feb-27-16  cunctatorg: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever, ..." John Keats.

Well, I myself wonder which M. M. Botvinnik's victory was harder to be achieved, this splendid victory versus JRC or his deepest victory (in the same tournament ) vs. AAA... Nevertheless, both are genuine masterpieces of human creativity!!

Feb-27-16  The Kings Domain: It's quite painful to see the once invincible Capa getting trounced convincingly but the changing of the guard is as inevitable as it is definite.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Out with the with the new.
Feb-27-16  morfishine: A Classic
Feb-28-16  RandomVisitor: After 15...Nb8

click for larger view


<+0.13/41 16.Rae1 Nc6 17.Ng3 Ne4> 18.Nh5 Qf5 19.Nf4 Ne7 20.f3 Nf6 21.Qxf5 Nxf5 22.Bc1 h6 23.g4 Nh4 24.Kf2 g5 25.Ng2 Nxg2 26.Kxg2 Rab8 27.Bd2 b5 28.a5 Rbc8 29.Rb1 a6 30.Rh1 Rc6 31.h4 Nh7 32.Rbe1 b4 33.e4 dxe4 34.fxe4 b3 35.hxg5 Nxg5 36.e5 Kg7 37.Bxg5 hxg5 38.Rh5 Rh6 39.Rxg5+ Rg6 40.Rxg6+ Kxg6 41.Kf3 b2

+0.12/41 16.Ng3 Nc6 17.Rae1 Ne4 18.Nh5 Qf5 19.Nf4 Ne7 20.f3 Nf6 21.Qxf5 Nxf5 22.Bc1 h6 23.Rf2 b5 24.g4 Nh4 25.axb5 Rab8 26.Ng2 Nxg2 27.Kxg2 Rxb5 28.Ra2 a5 29.Kf2 g5 30.Bd2 Kg7 31.Rea1 Ra8 32.Ke2 Kg6 33.Be1 h5 34.gxh5+ Nxh5 35.h4 f6 36.Kd2 Kf7 37.hxg5 fxg5 38.Bf2 Kg6 39.Ke1 Ng7 40.Bg3 Nf5 41.Kf2

0.00/41 16.Nf4 Qc6 17.Ba3 Na6 18.Rfe1 Nc7 19.f3 h6 20.h4 Ne6 21.g4 Qc7 22.Qf5 Nxf4 23.exf4 Rxe1+ 24.Rxe1 Qc6 25.Qc2 Re8 26.Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.Kf2 Qc6 28.Be7 Ne8 29.Qf5 Qxa4 30.Qxd5 Qc2+ 31.Kg3 Qxc3 32.Qd8 Qe1+ 33.Kg2 Qe2+ 34.Kg3 Qe1+

Feb-28-16  Ayaend: Nice combinaison by botvinnik ! Beautiful moves at the end 😊
Jul-26-16  MariusDaniel: Absolutely Fantastic chess game,one of the best ever,for sure!
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