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Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1939), Leningrad URS, rd 4, Apr-19
French Defense: Winawer. Positional Variation (C19)  ·  0-1


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Given 4 times; par: 106 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-14-04  PizzatheHut: Could someone explain 15...Qa6 to me?
Jun-14-04  maoam: To prevent Rb5.
Aug-31-06  talfan: wow wonderful game!!!!
Dec-27-07  M.D. Wilson: Iron Mike really lives up to his name here. In a lot of these French Defense games Botvinnik plays like a proverbial sledge hammer.
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  Aurora: Great technique by Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: 38. gxh5 Bxh5 39. Qxh5 Rxf2+ 40. Kg1 Rf1+ 41. Kh2 Qf2+ 42. Rg2 Qf4+ 43. Rg3 Rxh1+ 44. Kxh1 Qxg3 45. Qf7+ Kd6 and Black wins.
Dec-28-07  nescio: 16.a5 is a beautiful move. The queen is in a trap and I think Botvinnik was lucky to have an exchange sacrifice, which simplifies the game and emphasizes the weaknesses in white's position, especially f4. Perhaps White had a better winning try in 17.Bd6.

<keypusher> I agree with your assessment, but checking such long lines is fun, even if they include many forced moves: 43...Rf2+ (instead of 43...Rxh1) is mate next move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nescio> Thanks for the correction. The ...Qf2+/...Qf4+ idea was hard for me to see, and obviously I didn't see ...Rf2+ at all.

I haven't looked at Botvinnik's selected games in years and years, but I know he was quite unhappy with his position after 16. a5. 17. Bd6 may well have been his recommended followup.

Dec-29-07  nescio: <I know he was quite unhappy with his position after 16. a5.>

I can imagine, but as you know Botvinnik wasn't averse to taking enormous strategical risks against his Soviet rivals.

I wanted to illustrate this as I remembered another Rabinovich-Botvinnik game, one that started 1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5, and clicked on the "other I Rabinivich/Botvinnik games" link above ( I couldn't find it there, but a search on the homepage resulted in this game: J Rabinovich vs Botvinnik, 1927.

I know the game mentioned was also played by Ilya, but then who is "Joseph" Rabinovich? Is Joseph Rabinovich another mystery?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nescio> I complain as much as anyone about errors in the database, but is at the mercy of their submitters. (But don't get me started on the site's seeming inability to remove or correct the spurious Steinitz-Anderssen games some joker added to the database long ago.)

Turning to your question re Joseph, judging from some of his games I wonder if he isn't Ilya's idiot nephew. But it's more likely that Joseph and Ilya are one and the same. In Russian, both names begin (I think) with the long-i letter that looks like a backward n to a Westerner. So probably some of Ilya's games were published in German or English as the work of "J. Rabinovich." From "J. Rabinovich" to "Joseph Rabinovich" was but a short additional mis-step.

Of course, you're much better qualified than I to say whether the theory above makes any sense.

Dec-29-07  nescio: <keypusher> Who knows? Your theory is as good as any. In transliteration to and from Cyrillic a lot is possible. I once came across a few games that were played in a Moscow international tournament by R. Veid. Curious about this name I looked up the crosstable and found that one of the participants was Robert Wade.

Returning to this game, White might also have done well to forget about winning the exchange and just play 18.dxe5 instead of 18.Nd3. The knight has a good place at g2. But Nd3 is so logical, Rabinovich may not even have looked at alternatives.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nescio> I looked in my Russian-language version of the book. It's the same Ilya Rabinovich in the 1927 game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Incidentally, 51...Rxe3 52.fxe3 Bf1 was a much quicker win.
Nov-04-18  cunctatorg: Is there any mention of this masterpiece in Garry Kasparov's OMGP?!?
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