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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
"Sad Sac" (game of the day Jul-20-2006)
USSR Championship (1945), Moscow URS, rd 5, Jun-07
Slav Defense: Exchange Variation (D13)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-20-06  littlekarpovhorrors: First! Sorry, I had to do it at least one time.
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: In its long history, the Exchange Slav has been called everything from the most drawish line in chess to a virtual refutation of the Slav Defense. This game comes from an in-between time when it was considered a strong attacking line.

In his Dover paperback Great Games in Modern Chess (I think that was the title), Reuben Fine gave 9.h3 a "!!!" annotation. Seriously. Preserving the Bishop from the ...Nf6-h5 attack was at the time a profound notion.

Of course, defenses were improved, and now the Exchange is more dangerous than it looks, but Black should equalize.

Jul-20-06  PaulLovric: <littlekarpovhorrors: First! Sorry, I had to do it at least one time.> lol. third
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <the Exchange is more dangerous than it looks> My experiences with exchange slav are pretty scary. In mid 90s I was beaten twice in this line so badly that I dropped the using of Slav as black at all.
Jul-20-06  dakgootje: You would almost think Syslov missed 27. Rc2 and that he thought he invested that material because he thought he had a mate. Maybe this, and that they are human after all or something completely differant, but then i dont see a way to justify the sac of the knight
Jul-20-06  crptone: <most drawish line in chess>

Here is an example of how to force an immediate draw in the Exchange Slav:

J C Gonzalez vs T Luther, 2003

......I found this game recently while researching this line

Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Rather a strange game (Smyslov losing so badly). My first impression was that since White had an advantage that was probably winning after 22. Qxa6, Smyslov's play beginning with 22. ... e5 was simply a desperate attempt to complicate (a "sad sac"). Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that Black was doing OK until the very dubious 20. ... b6?. This suggests to me that dakgootje's comment may get to the heart of the matter: <dakgootje: You would almost think Smyslov missed 27. Rc2 and that he thought he invested that material because he thought he had a mate.> It may indeed be the case that in this game the great Smyslov miscalculated (a thought that virtually defies contemplation) and belived that by getting an open b-file for his Rook and by also getting his Queen to g3 he was setting up a winning attack. (There was no need for desperation on his part after 20. f4, so the sacrifice of the b-pawn cannot be explained on that basis -- miscalculation seems more plausible.)
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: To put the game in historical context, based on games in the CG database, this was the 10th encounter between these giants (of more than 100 total games played between them). In the first nine games, even though Smyslov had had the White pieces 6 times, Botvinnik had scored +4 =4 -1 (6.0 -- 3.0). This suggests that up to this time (1945) Botvinnik was simply a clearly stronger player than Smyslov. By the next decade, of course, they were very evenly matched, with no less an authority than Kasparov having proclaimed that during the 1950's Smyslov was the strongest player in the world (notwithstanding that Botvinnik prevailed in 2 of the 3 WC matches they contested during that period).
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <An Englishman: Good Evening: In its long history, the Exchange Slav has been called everything from the most drawish line in chess to a virtual refutation of the Slav Defense. This game comes from an in-between time when it was considered a strong attacking line. In his Dover paperback Great Games in Modern Chess (I think that was the title), Reuben Fine gave 9.h3 a "!!!" annotation. Seriously. Preserving the Bishop from the ...Nf6-h5 attack was at the time a profound notion.>

That's true, although Capablanca had a similar idea on move 6 in Capablanca vs Yates, 1924.

Jul-20-06  mahmoudkubba: Well, 10th. post HaHaHa.
Jul-20-06  mahmoudkubba: To talk serious in that game the b pawn move for black was maybe the starting of the bad moves. Also b. did had two chances of exchanging one with the w. q (25) and the other with the w.r (27), yet as it seems he didnít manage or didnít want to exchange and I don't know the reason(s) for that. Abt the first talk above (of the bad move of the b rank pawn for bla.) I do remember a game with someone when really someone else not me nor the other player moved the g or c black pawn and force the move without order(s) from the real player and that nearly led to or was a try for loosing may be both of us. If this was done to make goodness then it is a good move apart from the fact that it is leading to loosing (or half loosing (when the direction of winning is not one of the two opponents)). Yet if it is meant to do badness whatever the situation is then it is a bad move in a way or another in talking. U C in chess it is possible to force badness yet it is a winning for someone and yet his playing was assumed and said to be good playing. Thatís why I donít like chess sometimes even though I spend nearly my life in playing it.
Jul-20-06  ajile: This is similar to the London System where White has a Colle type setup with the Q-bishop developed early at f4. In this line though White plays c3 instead of c4 and aims for e4. In Queen's Gambit lines like this (White plays an early cxd) he aims for play on the half open C file plus pressure from the Q-Bishop on the h2/b8 diagonal. The simple answer for Black is to chase the bishop at f4 before White plays h3. The exchange of Black's KNight for this Bishop is usually good for Black. In this game Black goes for a delayed Stonewall Dutch but the exchnage of dark square bishops in this position leaves Black with very weak dark squares and a weakened Q-Side.
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Boy,did this one change in a hurry! Black's queen and rook were strong,but they backed away like bugs in a RAID commercial. The final position was amusing:black's rook is attacked from three directions-pinned in two--and cannot be defended a third time.
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: In this game, Smyslov's sad sacrifice is 23...Nxe5?! and is quickly refuted by Botvinnik's instructive defensive combination with 25. Qe6! .

However, the "sad sac" pun for today's game of the day, played in 1945, reminded me of the "Sad Sack" cartoon series about the misfortunes of a well intentioned but inept and clumsy U.S. Army soldier in WWII.

At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sad_Sack is a link describing the history of the "Sad Sack" cartoon character. The original cartoon series from the WWII era can be found at http://sadsack.org/OriginalComicStr....

The character "Sad Sack" and the cartoon series was very popular in its day and remained so for a number of years after WWII (I suspect it provided some of the inspiration for "Bettle Bailey" begun during the Korean War era.). Jerry Lewis played the character "Sad Sack" in a 1957 movie, and the phrase "sad sack" (at least in those times) became a synonym for an inept and clumsy person.

Jul-20-06  JohnBoy: <crptone> - the Gonzalez-Luther game should be removed from this site. What a silly waste of time. Anyone else agree?
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: A sac that was supposed to work... But turned out as a fall back...
Jul-20-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: I know some good players who won't play the Slav (or French) because they are afraid white will exchange and play for the draw. However black can sometimes win too - Seirawan vs Beliavsky, 1988
Jul-21-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <they are afraid white will exchange and play for the draw> After some experiences I am rather afraid that white in Slav will exchange and play for win.:-)
Oct-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Whenever I see this game I think of Darmen Sadvakasov.
Sep-06-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: After 17.Qb3, Black pos wasn't good: had bad B, White had good N at c5, so Rf7 not gave good hopes. After 20.f4 Black had nothing: ill position and so Smyslov gave his b6 P to catch some counter-attack. But with e5, are 3 P for White without much compensation. After 24...Qxe5 seemed Black had some attack, but Qe6 and Rc2 showed again his attack had no future. An easy win by Botwinnik.
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