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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1944), Moscow URS, rd 8, May-31
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C19)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Given 13 times; par: 49 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-02-04  PizzatheHut: I really enjoyed this game, but I have a couple questions.

<1> What was Botvinnik's thinking behind moves 17-19? Was he trying to actively post the rook while defending the e6 pawn?

<2>With 20. Kd2, it looks like Smyslov is protecting his bishop with the rook, but why? What was Botvinnik threatening?

It looks like Smyslov played this game very poorly, letting Botvinnik get the initiative early, and also getting his queen trapped.

Jun-02-04  drukenknight: w/ 20 Kd2 he is preventing...Bxc2 w/ check. Because that would discover attack on the R on a1. the othe choices would be Ke1 or Ra3 which look like more problems.

there seems to be some problem when the Q is under attack, but maybe he should just take the R on e7?

Jun-02-04  PizzatheHut: <drukenknight><...but maybe he should just take the R on e7?> Which move are you referring to?
Jun-02-04  drukenknight: I was thinking 31 BxR but the computer does not care for it.

Getting back to move 20 Ra2 might be a better way to hold that.

Smyslov seems to have gotten in some trouble early in the game. Bd2 could have been played on move 12, 13, 15 or 16.

Still not sure where/how the game was lost though.

Jun-03-04  PizzatheHut: 20. Ra2 looks pretty good to me too. If any stronger players have a refutation feel free to share. As for where Smyslov went wrong, I'd say the biggest mistake was 26. Qb8, not trading queens when he had the chance. However, his game was already very poor.
Dec-08-04  JohnBoy: I don't like the looks of 20.Ra2. It seems that balck can play 20...Qb1 with a strong edge. If, for example, 21.Rb2 (almost forced) then 21...Qa1 and white has no mobility. We might continue with 22.Rb7 Bc2 23.Kc2 Ra2+ 24.Rb2 Rb8 and I would rather be black.
Dec-08-04  drukenknight: if you have a line, you should stick it in a computer or have a GM go over it with you. I recall the last time I looked at this it was very deep and difficult game Perhaps something positional we are overlooking?
Dec-09-04  JohnBoy: Thanks for the word of caution. I'm trying to do this w/o board and clearly need to be careful. In my line, black does not have ...Rb8 cuz he hasn't castled. But I'd still be comfortable w/ black after 0-0. White's limited mobility (a common problem against the Winawer) and the threat of incursion by the black queen are major issues. The serious competing factor is the speed with which white can get through on the king-side.
Dec-07-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Botvinnik was happy with his position after 14..Ne7 saying that whites kingside initiative was not enough to overcome the weakness of the QRP. He offered no indication of where Smyslov could have improved earlier. Some of the other players at the tournament criticized 19 Be2, recommending 19 g4 at once. Botvinnik was very critical of 20..o-o saying that his king was safe in the center and that he should have pursued simplification on the queenside with either 20..Qd7 or 20..Qb6 clearing the way for the bishop to retreat. 20..o-o set a trap; 21 Ba3..Bxc2 22 Bxe7..Qb2 and black wins. According to Botvinnik, Smyslov could have retained decent prospects with 28 Qf8..Qd8 29 Qxd8..Nxd8 30 g5. Smyslov apparently underestimated how vulnerable his Queen was on g6. Still, if he had played 30 dxe he would still have been in the game.
Aug-15-10  Ulhumbrus: Edward Lasker annotates this game superbly in his book "Modern chess strategy". I won't shovel the whole of his annotations here but will confine myself to just parts of a few of his comments.

On 12 Qf3: <... With his Queen's move he prepares to exchange Black's remaining Knight. Though this manoeuvre requires two tempi which he could have saved himself, his attack remains formidable, demonstrating the tremendous strength of White's game in this opening">

On 17...Rc8: <Threatening ...Rc6 followed by the sacrifice ...Bxc2+ and ...Qb3+ which would lead to mate after ...Rb6>

On 25..Qa5!! : < With Qd7 Black could have forced the exchange of Queens and led iinto an ending very similar to that which White could now reach by exchanging...But the offer of the exchange on a5 gives White the option to leave the Queens on the board and prepares a magnificent combination for this eventuality. Botvinnik, with psychological acumen, assumes that Smyslov will prefer this line if he does not see the hidden threat entailed in the Queen's move. This is actually what happens. Smyslov conceives a series of four moves which apparently leave Black defenceless, only to be struck down by a thunderbolt from a clear sky. >

On 26 Qb8 ( This is actually a part of the comments to the move 25...Qa5!!):

<...With 26 Qxa5 Rxa5 27 Ba3 Nc8 ( apparently best) 28 g5!! Rxf4 29 g6+ Kf8 30 Bb4! Ra6 31 Rhf1 Rf6 32 Bg4! Bd7! ( 32...Nd6? 33 Bxd6 Rxf1 34 Bxe6+ Kh8 35 Rxf1 etc) 33 Rxa6 , White could have reached the position ... in which he can keep Black's pieces tied to their posts and decide the issue with his mobile King, while Black's King is cut off in the corner...">

Aug-16-10  Ulhumbrus: Edward Lasker annotates this game superbly in his book "Modern chess strategy". I won't shovel the whole of his annotations here but will confine myself to just parts of a few of his comments.

On 12 Qf3: <... With his Queen's move he prepares to exchange Black's ... Knight. Though this manoeuvre requires two tempi which he could have saved himself, his attack remains formidable, demonstrating the tremendous strength of White's game in this opening">

On 17...Rc8: <Threatening ...Rc6 followed by the sacrifice ...Bxc2+ and ...Qb3+ which would lead to mate after ...Rb6>

On 25..Qa5!! : < With Qd7 Black could have forced the exchange of Queens and led iinto an ending very similar to that which White could now reach by exchanging...But the offer of the exchange on a5 gives White the option to leave the Queens on the board and prepares a magnificent combination for this eventuality. Botvinnik, with psychological acumen, assumes that Smyslov will prefer this line if he does not see the hidden threat entailed in the Queen's move. This is actually what happens. Smyslov conceives a series of four moves which apparently leave Black defenceless, only to be struck down by a thunderbolt from a clear sky. >

On 26 Qb8 ( This is actually a part of the comments to the move 25...Qa5!!):

<...With 26 Qxa5 Rxa5 27 Ba3 Nc8 ( apparently best) 28 g5!! Rxf4 29 g6+ Kf8 30 Bb4! Ra6 31 Rhf1 Rf6 32 Bg4! Bd7! ( 32...Nd6? 33 Bxd6 Rxf1 34 Bxe6+ Kh8 35 Rxf1 etc) 33 Rxa6 , White could have reached the position ... in which he can keep Black's pieces tied to their posts and decide the issue with his mobile King, while Black's King is cut off in the corner...">

Feb-14-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Yet again, Botvinnik makes the French look like the Sicilian - this one has to get GOTD, will put on my pun-thinking cap.

-Garech

Nov-07-13  Naniwazu: My engine sees a quicker win in 35...c3! 36. Ke1 Rf7! 37. Bxc3 Qc1+ 38. Bd1 Qe3+ 39. Be2 Rf2 40. Kd1 Qxe2 41. Kc1 Qxc2#
Mar-07-18  cwcarlson: 28.♕g6? ∓; 28.♕f8 ♕d8 29.♕d8 ♘d8 30.g5 ± Houdini.
Mar-07-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Believe Reinfeld gave 28.Qg6?? in <Botvinnik The Invincible>. Takes some fine play by Black to prove Smyslov's idea a mistake, however; surely it deserved a better fate.
Sep-14-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < PizzatheHut:

<1> What was Botvinnik's thinking behind moves 17-19? Was he trying to actively post the rook while defending the e6 pawn?

<2>With 20. Kd2, it looks like Smyslov is protecting his bishop with the rook, but why? What was Botvinnik threatening? >

After 9...c4 the pawn chain from f7 to c4 splits the board in two halves. In addition, the doubled pawns on c2 & c3 make it difficult for white to transfer forces from one side to the other. White also has an isolated "A" pawn that will be targeted after 14...Ne7 .

15. h4 Ba4

black wins the A pawn.

16. h5 Qb5

The attack ..Qb2 is desirable but the bishop needs guard. With Qb5 black unpins the bishop. which is now free to play ..Bxc2. Thus white guards the c2 pawn with..

17. Kd1

black now brings guard for the Ba4

..Rc8
18. Bc1 Rc6
19. Be2 Ra6

and now black threatens ..Bxc2+ with discovered attack on the Ra1.

20. Kd2

guarding c3 while getting the K off the back rank to connect the rooks.

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