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Paul Keres vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship (1941)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Noa Variation (E34)  ·  0-1
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-19-04  drukenknight: It is iron. Think of Capablanca beating Chajes, MIeses, Yates, people like that.

You still dont get it? Go to your chess club. Look at the best player(s) they always wipe out the guys who are just a notch below them. It is no big deal.

Do you want to argue this some more? Why dont we analyze the Larsen/Fischer match? It's new ground for me.

Or we could just jump to Fischer/Spassky game 5, It's a nimzo indian. On second thought:

Dr. Zaius: "I warn you Taylor, dont go to the Forbidden City. You might not like what you find there.

Nov-19-04  iron maiden: <DK> I was thinking more along the lines of Kasparov beating Gelfand, Dreev, people like that. Sure Capa could have taken Yates or Mieses...but could he have taken them 6-0?

And I've looked at Fischer-Spassky Game 5; it was one of the worst blunders of Spassky's career. But in a match that long you're likely to have at least one or two moves like that. Fischer's play was very good, even if Spassky's was very bad.

Larsen, in his match with Fischer, was on more than one occasion the victim of his own aggression. In a couple games near the end, if memory serves, he threw away draws when he played on for wins. But by that point he HAD to win in order to stay in the match, and it was Fischer's playing strength that won the first three or four games and put him in that position.

Also before we go any further I would like to say that I am not obsessed with Fischer; if you check my profile you'll find that I think that both Lasker and Kasparov were greater, considering how long they stayed on top. I'm very objective when it comes to evaluating Fischer's play, but the same goes for anyone else's. If we go through Capablanca's match with Lasker, for example, since it's generally regarded as being one of the highlights of Capa's prime, we could easily find a few half-points that Lasker shouldn't have dropped.

Nov-19-04  drukenknight: On your first pt. A: I dont follow modern day chess, so I really dont know much about these guys! (ref: Dreev, etc.)

>>> if memory serves, he threw away draws when he played on for wins. But by that point he HAD to win in order to stay in the match....

"But," "But" "But."

You know, you left out the biggest but of them all.


Dammit. So why do you make a big deal out of a 6-0 score vs. a)player A not on same level as player B and b) forced to gamble or go for broke hence play risky...

Duh, this is a no brainer formula for running up the score.

There was a famous game in the NFL, where the Bears won 73-0. And there were several turnovers, long runs, right in the first couple possessions. It was like 21-0 in the first 5 minutes.

So after the game,the reporter asks the losing coach: "What if McAnally had run that one in for a TD, that got called back?"

Thinking that he the ace reporter had really stumbled onto a nice angle for the times...

Coach shot back: "Yeah, th score would have only been 73-7!"

Ha. ha funny.

The pt. being 1) Dont stick microphones in the faces of players coming right off field after theyve lost. 2) There was a real pt in there somewhere about running up the score and you use ignore this argument first time and ues it for your advantage for Larsen argument.

Premium Chessgames Member
  meloncio: According to Botvinnik (Selected Games, vol I, Spanish edition) and Kasparov (OMGP, vol. II, Spanish edition), Keres resigned after 22... Nb4.

This game reminds to me Chigorin vs Janowski, 1895 . It's imposible to explain some moves of Chigorin and Keres, so illogical and weak they look. Were they sick, or anything else?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <meloncio> I think Chigorin's play in that game was an order of magnitude worse than Keres' play here, though Keres certainly did not play well.

Through 8 0-0-0 this had all been played before, and Mikenas had beaten Botvinnik from here in 1940. Botvinnik's critical improvement was 8...Bxc3! After than Keres does not get to make a move of his own choosing until move 13. Maybe 13 e3 isn't best, but what do you suggest? After 13 Kb1 Bf5+ 14 Ka1 white is far behind in development. After 14...Qd7 white is completely lost -- it hardly matters what he does after that. I think he goes down relatively easily, but that happened to Keres sometimes.

With Chigorin I think it was pure nerves -- it was the next to last round, and he could have practically assured himself first place with a victory.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: I hope no one is offended if I insert some comments about this game.

8. dxc5 leads to a lively variation which is clearly better than 8. O-O-O.

8. dxc5 g5 9. Bg3 Ne4 10. Bxb8

(10. Be5 O-O 11. a3 Bxc3+ 12. Bxc3 Bf5 13. Qb3 Na6 14. Rd1 Naxc5 15. Qxd5 Nxc3 16. bxc3 Qa5=)

10...Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Rxb8 12. e3 O-O 13. Nf3 Qe7 14. Bd3 Nxc5 15. O-O Nxd3 16. Qxd3 (0.33/13)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: "Keres does not get to make a move of his own choosing until move 13"

Its been pointed out that 11.Qd3! which stops Bf5 and allows White to recapture later with Nf3 and Nxd4 would keep Keres in the game.

Jan-14-07  thathwamasi: <> Shouldn't the last move read Nc2# ?? Isnt it a checkmate?
Jul-11-09  Ulhumbrus: After 8 0-0-0 Black will manage to get his Qb on to the b1-h7 diagonal before White can get his King into safety by Kb1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: This game fit this theme of attack well: Swarm your pieces around your opponent's king so that you have more pieces than his.
Sep-09-09  vartanovich: i like Botvinnik's scientific way of treating complicated positions.i think it is also an intergral part of Kasparov's play,but Kasparov was in his own class.take a peep on the 15th game of the Karpov,Kasparov 1985 World Championship in Moscow.
Sep-10-09  vartanovich: taking a look on the 15th game of Karpov-Kasparov,1985 world championship,the challenger tied down the champion's pieces on the 2nd rank.Karpov was just steal space and get a breather he had to lose material and of course the game.Kasparov is like the boar constrictor he never releases his prey from his jaws,i wonder if Anand would be smiling if Garry was still playing.
Feb-09-10  chillowack: Man, I'm so glad drukenknight's exhausting three-year anti-Fischer rant (above) finally ended! What the heck does Fischer have to do with this game?? (Drukenknight needs to put down the beer bottle, spell his name right, and *focus*, for cry sake.)

Getting back this game: Botvinnik smacks Keres around like a red-headed stepchild. I've never seen the Estonian take such a humiliating thrashing. It's almost like he was trying to lose.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: White resigns in lieu of 23. Qe2 Nc3+! (double check), 24. Ka1 Nc2+!, 25. Qxc2 (forced) Qxc2 see below:

a) 26. bxc3 Qxc3+, 27. Kb1 Rb8+, 28. Bxb8 Rxb8#

b) 26. Ne2 Nxd1! (threatening Qxb2#), 27. Be5 (27. Rxd1 Qxd1+, 28. Nc1 Qxc1#) Qc1+!, 28. Nxc1 Rxc1#

Instead of 24. Ka1, 24. Kc1 Nxe2+ (double check), 25. Kd2 Qd3+, 26. Ke1 Nc2+, 27. Kf1 Qxd1# or 27...Nxg3#.


Feb-18-10  M.D. Wilson: <It's almost like he was trying to lose.> Now you're opening a can of worms! Poor Botvnnik, many of his games have been scrutinised regarding the intentions of his opponent.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: An alternative winning variation is <19...Nc5 20.Qb5 (20.Qa3 Nd4 21.Qc3 Nc2+ 22.Kb1 Ne3+) Nd4 21.Rxd4 Nb3+ 22.axb3 Rc1+ 23.Ka2 Qb1+ 24.Ka3 Qa1+ 25.Kb4 b6 26.Qa4 Qxb2 27.Kb5 Ra1>.
Jan-16-12  King Death: < drukenknight: (Fischer)...drops out of competition for awhile. His games in 1966 are pretty good but he still cant beat spassky. The interzonal in 1967, okay yes he is at the top of his game, but this lasts for how long? 2 weeks? Then he runs off again. The run up in 1971-72 does not draw any conclusions to me. The Palma tourney yeah he's very very good...>

You forgot about Rovinj-Zagreb, Buenos Aires and getting 3-1 against Petrosian in the USSR-World match in 1970 or maybe you didn't want to bring up anything that makes your claims look bad.

< THe Taimanov match, this is a joke, Taim. only got there by a fixed loss by Matalovich. The Larsen match, not sure, havent studied it. The Petrosian match, this is the great one, the lopsided score only comes after Tiger lost game 7 or whatever it was. THat match was about as even as any two people ever played, until he broke him...>

Taimanov had very little chance of winning the match and threw away game 5 after Fischer defended well and was nearing a draw. The Larsen match wouldn't have ended 6-0 against a lot of other opponents because in at least 2 games Larsen could have taken a draw. This however would have pushed Fischer closer to winning the match and Larsen knew it. He was a great practical player. Petrosian had the advantage in the first 5 games I agree but Fischer was too much for him at the end.

<...THen the Spassky match. Spassky is not the same player, the moves in this match are open to serious question as is SPassky's actual willingness to fight...>

Where do you come up with this garbage? This sounds like the rumors surrounding Zukhar in Baguio 1978. What's next? Death rays from Fischer's mind?

<...ALekhine plays the greatest players in the world every week. He shows up at tournaments every month. Every day almost someone is trying to knock him off. Every tournament someone has a new opening trick to play on him. He takes on everyone every week for 25 or 30 years...>

More nonsense. In those days you couldn't just play one event after another. Look at Alekhine's tournament and match record before you waste time on posting this.

Jan-16-12  Petrosianic: I didn't think Fischer was even born when this game was played.
Jan-16-12  King Death: Shows what we know lol.

Maybe it was naive of Keres to head straight down this variation after Botvinnik's loss to Mikenas the year before. Since Keres was present for that game it makes me wonder. Botvinnik made this one look easy.

Aug-24-12  Tarrashustra: I don't know people where you are coming from:

Personally I came to the conclusion that there about 4 or 5 different types of players:

1) The architects like Steinitz and Botwinnik who are innovative in the creation and treatment of positions. Botwinnik backed it up with tremendous analytical powers in the preparation but for a player of his class didn't always respond well to surprises.

2) The tacticians like Lasker or Tal – very good at pulling rabbits out of the head over the board.

3) Dogmatists like Tarrasch or Fischer – has anybody actually noticed the text book character of Fischer's games? On the other hand the same Fischer found a player like Alekhine "difficult to comprehend."

4) I guess I know why: Alekhine is truly an artist who looks for beauty on the board and only when he absolutely needs to be pragmatic to secure the point will play like a "normal" grandmaster. There weren't many like him.

5) the percentage players – like Capablanca and Karpov: whether by instinct or backed up by their calculation powers these fellows are not innovative or showy but have an uncanny instinct for the balance of powers on the board, holding on to the tiniest of advantages or sensing danger long before it materialises.

Needless to say I am talking about players of the highest level – all of them are good enough to roll up their sleeves and pull up something over the board – as Botwinnik did against Fisher after he blundered a pawn (Varna 1962).


Jul-23-13  ketchuplover: Long live !!!!!!!
Aug-26-14  BwanaVa: Drukenknight-the game was the 1940 NFL Championship. the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins 73-0. The interview referenced was with Sammy Baugh, the Washington quarterback and HOF, not the team coach. The play in question was a pass dropped in the endzone on the 'skins first possession.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ughhaibu: The fact is that Fischer was never a "brilliant" player. His style was based on three things, thorough knowledge of a limited number of openings, avoidance of risk and a classical approach to strategy....>

Fischer's methods in the openings definitely displayed such tendencies early in his international career; this, combined a strong element of stubbornness, cost him on more than one occasion.

To aver that a player who indulged in such razor-sharp lines as 6.Bc4 against the Sicilian constituted 'avoidance of risk' is nothing short of ridiculous.

Even before winning the title, Fischer's combination of Capablanca-like clarity and Alekhinian mastery of attack had him tipped as a future champion.

<....Consequently his games were mainly rather boring and as chess is an entertainment I can not consider him to have been a memorable player. A player's ability to win is secondary to their responsibility to entertain.>

Sure Fischer could have 'entertained', as have the likes of Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov and Emory Tate, but winning the big prize was his aim.

If you truly believe that 'entertainment' gets the job done, best of luck.

Must have slipped one day at the Page of Iggydom and ticked your box to admit you back to the World At CG. Time to rectify the error.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <perfidious> Yes, who can forget how Fischer avoided risk with rock-solid, sleep-inducing openings like the Poisoned Pawn Najdorf, e.g. Tringov vs Fischer, 1965, King's Indian, and Modern Benoni? He made Petrosian look like an insane maniac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli: Botvinnik's big advantage in this tourney was his preparation. His favored status allowed him better preparation than the other competitors. For example, I think Bxc3 was Simagin's idea. Keres was beaten by opening preparation, not by throwing the game.>

Botvinnik gives an interesting account of the opening in <Selected Games>.

Of 7....c5, he writes <I thought of this move during a game with Kotov (Moscow 1940) [Kotov vs Botvinnik, 1940 ] and I employed it then, mainly to avoid the awkward variations associated with 7....Be6. Several rounds later in the same tournament I employed 7....c5 against Mikenas [V Mikenas vs Botvinnik, 1940 ]. He replied 8.0-0-0, came out of the opening with the better game, and, after mistakes on both sides, gained the victory.

Keres, evidently, was impressed by my game with Mikenas and without much hesitation castled QR. It is worth adding that Ragozin reminded me that he and I had analyzed the move 7....c5 as long ago as 1936, and I had then convincingly refuted it! To my regret, I forgot the refutation.

More recently I discovered that I employed the ...c5 move as long ago as 1931 (Lebediev-Botvinnik, semi-final of Soviet Championship, Moscow, 1931 [not in database], but without the preceding ...h6.>

After 8.0-0-0, Botvinnik continues:

<This apparently strong move leads to defeat. In reality, with an undeveloped K side, to expose the King to the possibility of a direct attack by Black's pieces from the front (the c-file) as well as from the flank (the diagonal b1-h7) is, to say the least, risky!

Against Mikenas I continued 8....0-0 without any worthwhile result.

In November-December, 1940, I discovered the best course for Black. Great was my chagrin when in one of the January issues of "64" (1941) I saw the Belavenets-Simagin game [not in the database], in which Simagin made the first two moves of the correct plan! Keres did not notice this game, or he would have course have seen the light! So I was able to employ the prepared variation after all.>


-after 8....Bxc3 9.Qxc3 g5 10.Bg3, Simagin apparently continued 10.....Ne4, which Botvinnik said was <contrary to the correct plan of attack.>

-in OMGP, Kasparov says 7....c5 is a dubious move anyway, strongly met by 8.dxc5. Kasparov vs Korchnoi, 1989

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