Resignation Trap: Botvinnik was the defending USSR Champion, but the field of players was strengthened when the USSR annexed the Baltic Nations. Paul Keres , Vladas I Mikenas and Vladimir Petrov were among his rivals and Botvinnik could do no better than tie for 5th-6th place.
Botvinnik improved on his own ...8. 0-0 in a sensational win over Keres one year later: Keres vs Botvinnik, 1941 .
In this game vs. Mikenas, White cannot hold onto his extra Pawn by 17. Rc1 (instead of 17. Ne2!) due to 17...Bc5+ 18. Ka1 Nxc5! (threatening 19...Nb3) 19. Rxc5? Rxc5 20. Qxc5 Rc8! and Black wins.
Mikenas' 23. Qd3?! is imprecise, as it allows Black to reposition his Bishop to the fine diagonal b1-h7. 23. Qb4, with the same idea of opposing Rooks on the c-file, was better.
Botvinnik's 37...Qa6 was played in a hurry, due to time pressure, but he missed a good chance to draw by 37...Qc6! 38. Qxd3 Qc1+ 39. Qb1 Qd2 40. Qg1 a4, when it is difficult for White to make progress despite his two extra pawns.