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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"A Thing of the Passed" (game of the day Jan-27-06)
AVRO (1938)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Line (E40)  ·  1-0
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Given 62 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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Jan-06-11  Lennonfan: Iv never understood why this game is referred to as a bishop and knight sac...the knight is merely exchanged,capablanca just happened to pick his knight up two moves earlier if memory serves me correctly.....
Jan-26-11  acme: "In the latter part of [his second game against Botvinnik] Capa suddenly got up and quickly went out. I noticed that when he returned his face had a rather grayish pallor, although he continued the game to its end. He graciously surrendered to Botvinnik, shaking his hand with a smile. Later he told me he had had blackness before his eyes when he rushed out, to throw some cold water on his face in the wash-room. As was his rule, he offered no excuse or explanation, merely saying, “Botvinnik played well and I did not”. I was the only one who knew how unwell he was at AVRO.’"

- Olga Capablanca quoted by Edward Winter here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Maybe one of the greatest games ... of all time. (MANY masters have told me that this was their favorite game down through the yaers.)
Aug-18-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: a finest example of great deflection
Aug-20-11  coolchess1: Thanks acme for the link of Olga Capablanca's reminiscences. It was a fascinating read to know such great details on Capa and his character. Absolutely loved it. Great player coupled with great humility and character, much like Vishy Anand.
Sep-25-11  Crazychess1: I agree with those who say this is one of the greatest games of all time. Very few games are played where you can literally see chess change before your eyes. This game is a symbolic turning point in the history of chess. Bravo to Botvinnik (and Capa).
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated this game here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: My chess commentary / video on this game:

Nov-11-11  jackpawn: <AJ> I really enjoyed your commentary on youtube. I've played the game over many times through the years, but it's still fun to see it again.

Btw, your voice isn't anything like I imagined. I was expecting a Southern accent, but heard only a slight trace. Funny the fixed ideas we all have. Probably partially explains my chess limitations!

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <<Nov-11-11 jackpawn: <AJ> I really enjoyed your commentary on youtube. I've played the game over many times through the years, but it's still fun to see it again. Btw, your voice isn't anything like I imagined. I was expecting a Southern accent, but heard only a slight trace. Funny the fixed ideas we all have. Probably partially explains my chess limitations!>>

Thanks, I really appreciate that.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <jackpawn> I practised this one a few times ...

Probably the best video I have made to-date was the one on the Wells-vs-Shirov game. I only did one "read-through," but I was less nervous ... and it turned out pretty good. (imo)

Jun-29-12  e4 resigns: <<Jim Bartle> The guy was nuttier than <The Mad Hatter> in "Alice in Wonderland.">

"Actually, I composed a game that started out e4 e5 nf3 d6 d4 Bg4... People decided to attribute the fame to Morphy." -Mad Hatter

Premium Chessgames Member
  DrNyet: This is just to note a cross-reference (and considerable interesting commentary IMO) between this game and Kavalek vs Uhlmann, 1976.
Oct-21-12  Tigranny: I always wondered why this game was so famous other than because Botvinnik beat Capablanca, but now I know. It's now one of my favorites. :)
Dec-01-12  Tigranny: Actually, after a while, I've seen even more exciting games from Botvinnik. Nice game to see, just nothing like his game against Portisch.
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.
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