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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Max Euwe
FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948), Hague NLD/Moscow RUS, rd 22, May-09
Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation (D35)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-06-05  CK Trademark: This looks like Kramnik, but wait, its Botvinnik and Euwe, however im sure Kramnik studied this game at least once, it looks much like his style!1
Oct-07-05  nescio: Don't know much about Kramnik, but this draw can be understood in the context of the tournament. It was round 22 and Botvinnik needed only a half-point to obtain the championship. Euwe, already last beyond doubt, had no ojection.
Mar-22-07  Resignation Trap: After the game Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1948 from the previous round ended in a draw, all that Botvinnik needed to do to become World Champion was to draw this game, since Smyslov and Reshevsky had mathematically eliminated themselves from reaching first place with their draw. Who would finish in the next three slots was still undetermined.
May-24-08  Wone Jone: Why isn't this opening considered a Queen's Gambit Declined? It certainly looks like one!
Aug-01-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: There are some strange anecdotes rattling around this game and especially around the magical <♙b4> --> http://www.schattenblick.de/infopoo...
Oct-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <nescio>

<this draw can be understood in the context of the tournament. It was round 22 and Botvinnik needed only a half-point to obtain the championship. <<<Euwe, already last beyond doubt, had no objection>>>.>

Yes and no, at least according to Botvinnik's recollection.

Euwe refused the 1st draw offer, and then Botvinnik said "All right, let us carry on." After he said this, Botvinnik reports that "Euwe resigned on the spot."

-Mikhail Botvinnik
"Achieving the Aim."
Bernard Cafferty, transl.
(Pergamon 1981), p.120

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: <WCC Editing Project: "Euwe resigned on the spot."> The German translation has been criticized, and possibly the English translation is not better.
Oct-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <thomastonk> I wonder if any of our colleagues has the Russian book and could provide us with a better translation?

At any rate, unless the translation is actually dead wrong, then the point still holds. Euwe didn't accept the first draw offer, at least according to Botvinnik.

In this case the only thing at issue is the reliability of Botvinnik as narrator and also the reliability of his memory.

I wonder if Euwe's side of the story exists in one of his books, or perhaps in a <kranten website> newspaper article?

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: <WCC Editing Project: I wonder if Euwe's side of the story exists ...> Yes, it does, of course. Euwe wrote in 1948 a book on the match tournament in Dutch (a German version has been printed as well, and the English translation was published quite recently).

Euwe stated that he accepted the draw and showed two possible lines to support the drawish character of the position. He does not report on a first and a second offer. Nothing special, and why should he be surprised by the draw offer and "lost nerves" as the German edtion of Botvinnik's book claims. The only one who could have lost nerves - in a positive sense - was the new champion, I think.

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: Several Dutch newspapers reported that the game was drawn after 15 moves, and I've seen none that mentioned 14 moves. "The Times" based on Reuter reportet this, too.

Euwe wrote that 11.0-0-0 was broadcasted from Moscow ...

There are many ways to *make* this an interesting game.

Oct-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <thomastonk>

<In this case the only thing at issue is the reliability of Botvinnik as narrator and also the reliability of his memory>

Excellent research, thanks for doing it and posting it.

It appears that <Botvinnik> may be guilty of "misremembering," or worse, of embellishing the details of this affair.

That said, we don't actually know. All we know for sure is that both masters give different versions of the same event.

Nonetheless, I find your analysis persuasive:

<Nothing special, and why should he be surprised by the draw offer and "lost nerves" as the German edtion of Botvinnik's book claims. The only one who could have lost nerves - in a positive sense - was the new champion, I think.>

I might add my own opinion, that I have never found Euwe to be one to embellish a detail to make himself look better.

Oct-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Several Dutch newspapers reported that the game was drawn after 15 moves, and I've seen none that mentioned 14 moves. "The Times" based on Reuter reportet this, too. Euwe wrote that 11.0-0-0 was broadcasted from Moscow ...>

These are sufficient grounds to enter a correction slip, no?

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: <WCC Editing Project: It appears that <Botvinnik> may be guilty of "misremembering," or worse, of embellishing the details of this affair.> Maybe they had a simple communication problem.

Do you know that they spoke German with each other? From time to time I visit http://www.geschiedenis24.nl/nieuws..., and my pet movie is this one: http://www.geschiedenis24.nl/speler...

Oct-03-13  sneaky pete: From Michail Botwinnik, 15 Schachpartien und ihre Geschichte, Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung Stuttgart, 1981:

11.0-0 Nb8-d7
12.Nf3-e5 (...) Qd8-e8
13.Ne5xd7 Qe8xd7
14.b2-b4 Rf8-e8


click for larger view

At this moment I feel, that I simply can't continue to play anymore, and offer my partner a draw. (...) To my astonishment, Euwe answers that he would like to play on for a while.

Mich packt eine richtige Wut; im Nu empfand ich wieder Kampfeslust. (Translation: B. gets mad and regains his fighting spirit).

"Gut", sagte ich, "spielen wir weiter". Euwe, ein feiner Psychologe, spürt sofort die plötzliche Verwandlung meiner Stimmung und reicht mir die Hand, zum Sieg im Turnier gratulierend. (Translation: you don't fool around with The Mighty Mike). Remis!

The phrase in the original Russian manuscript translated here as "reicht mir die Hand, zum Sieg im Tirnier gratulierend" may be the source of the English mistranslation, where the <im Turnier> part is missed.

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: <sneaky pete> Thank you very much.

Now I'm really interested in the Russian original that became in the German translation: ">>Gut, wir werden weiterspielen!<< Euwes Nerven versagten, und sofort war er mit einem unentschiedenen Ausgang einverstanden." (Okay, let's continue. Euwe's nerves failed, and at once he was satisfied with the draw.)

That's quite the opposite than calling him a 'feiner Psycholge'.

<you don't fool around with The Mighty Mike> Yes, that could be the message.

Oct-03-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: Nice work thank you <sneaky pete>.

<thomastonk> it turns out you were right about the potential problem with the English translation.

The Cafferty English translation is indeed poor enough so that it seems as if it was <Botvinnik>, rather than <Euwe>, who said "All right, let us carry on."

(I too enjoy those Dutch chess films, and have watched them all many times, even though I can't understand the narration)

Oct-03-13  thomastonk: Meanwhile, I have checked my collection of Russian chess books on or by Botvinnik most of them deal with other events, of course). I found this game only once: in the second volume of Baturinsky's collection of Botvinnik's games from 1966, and I think my poor Russian suffices to claim that there is only "Upon White's proposal - draw."
Oct-06-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <thomastonk, sneaky pete>

Just to clarify better what <Botvinnik> claims he actually said, here is a much clearer English translation by Jim Marfia of the incident- as reported again by <Botvinnik> but this time in his book "15 Games and their Stories":

<Botvinnik>:

<"Here I felt that I simply could not play any longer, and offered my opponent a draw. Since Euwe, the former World Champion, had a decidedly unhappy tourament score at this point, I had no doubt that he would accept the offer. But to my surprise, Euwe unexpectedly said that he would like to play a little longer. I was angered; my fighting spirit immediately returned.

<<<'Fine,' I said, 'let's play on, then.'>>>

Euwe felt the change in the atmosphere, and extended his hand to congratulate me on winning the tournament.">

Mikhail Botvinnik
"15 Games and Their Stories"
Jim Marfia, transl.
(Chess Enterprises Inc. 1982), p.49

###################################

Eye witness account of the moment from <Harry Golombek>:

<"Botwinnik was taking no chances, and Dr. Euwe, last beyond a shadow of doubt, had little incentive to play for a win... Botwinnik exchanged off the gambit Pawn on the fourth move, made as if to embark on a minority attack on the Q side, and then proposed a draw, which Dr. Euwe <<<readily>>> accepted.">

Harry Golombek, "The World Chess Championship 1948" (Harding Simpole 1949), p.204

###################################

Two more eye witness accounts:

<D.A. Yanofsky and H.J. Slavekoorde>:

<"With a draw sufficient to win... Botvinnik went directly to his task in the twenty-second round... When <<<his offer of a draw was accepted,>>> the partisan audience burst into enthusiastic cheers at this triumph of Soviet chess.">

==========

<Hans Kmoch>:

<"14... KR-K1. At this point, <<<Botvinnik offered a draw>>> and Euwe accepted.">

Both of these accounts appear in

D.A. Yanofsky and H.J. Slavekoorde, "Battle Royal... A Round by Round Account of the Thrilling Contest for the World's Chess Title." "Chess Life and Review" (August 1948), p.11

Jan-16-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <thomastonk:...Euwe wrote that 11.0-0-0 was broadcasted from Moscow...>

A Spanish book purchased by my father immediately after the Championship Tournament states that white played 11 O-O-O. 11 O-O makes a lot more sense.

Jan-16-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Indeed, castling short is far more sensible in this harmless line of the QGD Exchange, which we may reasonably be sure would not have been played by Botvinnik in a game with any significance to the tournament standings.
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