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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Max Euwe
FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948), The Hague NED, rd 2, Mar-04
Semi-Slav Defense: Romih Variation (D46)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-30-15  Howard: As one book put it, the tournament "cruelly ended any hopes" for Euwe that he might regain the world championship someday.

Unfortuntely, that was quite true.

Mar-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Powerful bishop battery for Botvinnik with the bishops on a2 and c3.
Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Has anyone else noticed the inaccuracies in Botvinnik's analysis to these games?

For example, the claim that 20...exf3 doesn't work is not true...

Botvinnik gives (using algebraic):

<20...exf3 didn't work because of 21.Bb1 h6 22.Rxf3 Nd5 23.Rg3! so he had to play 20...Be6 [etc]>

But 21...h6 is completely losing, whereas the sharp 21...Re8 holds (by unpinning the knight basically, but also allowing the king to breathe).

I know it's just an unplayed sideline - but I'm finding a few such cases (maybe not as egregious, but I'm only up to game #3). Would I see similar inaccuracies in, say, Fischer's 60?

.

Mar-05-17  Retireborn: <z> Difficult to quantify, but I think you would see at least some. Both Fischer and Botvinnik are writing what they remember seeing at the board, but memory is not a reliable tool. Plus they are doing it in their heads or on a physical board - no computer screens or engines for them.

I have electronic Informator, and it's striking how often the assessments and variations given by various GMs are simply wrong. That modern engines do (sometimes) see more is an awkward truth, but there it is.

Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < zanzibar: Has anyone else noticed the inaccuracies in Botvinnik's analysis to these games? For example, the claim that 20...exf3 doesn't work is not true...

Botvinnik gives (using algebraic):

<20...exf3 didn't work because of 21.Bb1 h6 22.Rxf3 Nd5 23.Rg3! so he had to play 20...Be6 [etc]>

But 21...h6 is completely losing, whereas the sharp 21...Re8 holds (by unpinning the knight basically, but also allowing the king to breathe).

I know it's just an unplayed sideline - but I'm finding a few such cases (maybe not as egregious, but I'm only up to game #3). Would I see similar inaccuracies in, say, Fischer's 60?>

Keres' note in <World Chess Championship 1948> at the same point reads: <A further opening of lines by 20....exf3 was of course too dangerous for Black. For example: 21.Bb1! h6 22.Rxf3 Nd5 23.Rg3! and White wins. But 20....Be6 came into serious consideration....>

I've only looked at a few games in the book, but I've found lots of mistakes. Yet Keres and Botvinnik were conscientious and well-regarded annotators. Annotating chess games is really hard! About as hard as playing them.

Back before computers could do the job I remember an Andy Soltis column in which he put himself on the clock and set out to find at least one error in every page of Alekhine annotations he looked at. He said he had no difficulty. I suspect he could have done the same with anyone. Not that there are no differences. Going back 100+ years, I think Lasker was more accurate than Tarrasch, for example.

It's my understanding that Fischer's notes hold up better than most. But I haven't seen them checked with a state-of-the-art engine either.

Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <Would I see similar inaccuracies in, say, Fischer's 60?> Probably, but I would wager not as glaring.

Fischer thought there should be none, because the annotator had unlimited time to perfect the analysis. But he did very few games, and we don't know how many changes he made before he published them.

I would suspect the guys who had to analyze as part of their income, Steinitz, Tarrasch (those enormous tournament books!), + Schlechter, made a much greater percentage of errors because of the volume of games they did.

Fascinating topic, zanzibar.

Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <tamar>

<Fascinating topic, zanzibar.> Indeed. And one I spent some time thinking about in the course of looking at Tarrasch's annotations here:

Lasker - Tarrasch World Championship Match (1908)

https://books.google.com/books?id=0...

As far as this example goes, we shouldn't be too hard on Botvinnik and Keres both missing the 20....exf3 21.Bb1 Re8 idea; even though the computer spots it instantly, it's not intuitive for a human to leave h7 hanging like that. Also, the queen sacrifice after 21...h6 22.Rxf3 Nd5 23.Rg3 is very pretty, which I think tends to lull the annotator's vigilance. He needs lines like that, both to keep himself at his task I suspect, and also to keep his readers plodding through his variations.

But I think there was a more systemic problem that caused the pre-engine annotator to err (beyond the obvious ones -- lack of a 3200+ tactical gorilla at one's elbow, pressures of money and time, relatively low cost for errors) -- the tendency to impose a narrative framework on the game, which as you can guess was particularly pronounced with Tarrasch. Once he had decided White or Black deserved to lose because of some error or sin against the laws of chess (as Tarrasch conceived them), it became very difficult for Tarrasch to spot good moves for the sinner, even when they were obvious.

His notes to Tarrasch vs Lasker, 1908 and Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908 provide examples of this.

(Bronstein does a wonderful sendup of this kind of thinking in his book on the 1953 candidates tournament, which I excerpted here: K A Walbrodt vs Tarrasch, 1894.)

Of course Keres and Botvinnik (or Lasker or Marco or Schlechter or Tartakower) were less dogmatic than Tarrasch. Keres in the 1948 match book gives the sense of being very much aware that it takes more than one mistake to lose a chess game. But the power of narrative gets him too, sometimes.

I think in this game Botvinnik and Keres were positionally offended by Euwe's decision to take the pawn at move 17. Keres writes of 17....Bxe5:

<It is amazing that a player of Euwe's strength could assess the result apparent that the following concentrated attack against Black's king is worth at least a pawn, probably more.>

You almost expect him to sniff: <A grandmaster should be above this sort of thing.>

In the game, Botvinnik responds "correctly" to the pawn grab: he takes command of the long diagonal with his unopposed bishop, then opens the position to bring his rooks to bear with f2-f3.

With Black sinning, and White treading the path of righteousness, I think Botvinnik and Keres are less alert than they ought to be to potential defenses for Black. And they are predisposed to favor continuations that involve giving the pawn back ("expiating the sin") rather than hanging on to it, and to defensive continuations rather than the counterattack the engine finds.

(Incidentally, another conscientious and well-regarded annotator, Euwe, also wrote a book about this event. I'd be interested to see what he had to say about this game.)

Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Fixing the Keres quote:

<It is amazing that a player of Euwe's strength could assess the resulting position so inaccurately. Without having to go especially deeply into the position, it ought to be apparent that the following concentrated attack against Black's king is worth at least a pawn, probably more.>

Too many links to redo the post.

Mar-05-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <(Incidentally, another conscientious and well-regarded annotator, Euwe, also wrote a book about this event. I'd be interested to see what he had to say about this game.)>

I would be very surprised if Euwe's notes missed it also. He undoubtedly knew it would be ugly to take 17...Bxe5, but would be open to any possibiiity of giving the pawn back to break the attack.

You mention the power of the narrative in making variations conform to a notion of what happened in the game. I have found that almost all players will stipulate to "automatic moves" like 21...h6 when they believe the whole scheme is unsound.

I found that out to my detriment here once or twice when I used to do long analyses with very slow versions of Shredder. I would be very assiduous at first and the first few moves would take a day and a half, and to save time, I would try to push it along by adding "obviously forced" moves.

Once I found a spectacular combination doing this, only to see it refuted because my "obviously forced" segue way moves had a refutation that was obvious once shown.

Mar-07-17  sneaky pete: Euwe analysed this game in the July/August 1948 issue of Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaakbond. He agrees with Botvinnik and Keres on the value of 20... exf3 21.Bb1 h6 (not mentioning 21... Re8) and considers 20... Be6 dubious because of 21.fxe4 Bxa2 22.Rxf6 .. etc.

I don't have his tournament book that was published in September 1948, but I imagine the Tijdschrift analysis is copied there.

Mar-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I am very surprised Euwe did not spot 20...exf3 21 Bb1 Re8 in his analysis.

But Botvinnik's sway was such that perhaps both Keres and Euwe did not independently examine the position, but repeated his variation.

thanks to sneaky pete

Mar-07-17  Paarhufer: <sneaky pete: I don't have his tournament book that was published in September 1948, but I imagine the Tijdschrift analysis is copied there.> Your description of the analysis in the Tijdschrift fits very well to the text in the tournament book, too.

And it fits even to Golombek's analysis in his tournament book, that is:

- one line with 20... exf3 21.Bb1 h6 is given, which ends with mate at move 26

- 21.. Re8 is not mentioned, and

- one line for 20.. Be6 is given ending with mate at move 28.

Mar-07-17  Howard: Does anyone, by some chance, know where one can find a list of corrections to Fischer's M60MG? Offhand, I know of at least 7-8 games in that book where errors have been discovered.

No disgrace to Fischer, of course. He didn't exactly have access to ultra-fast computers back in '69, when the book came out.

Mar-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <keypusher: It's my understanding that Fischer's notes hold up better than most. But I haven't seen them checked with a state-of-the-art engine either.>

There's <Robert Hbner: "Materialien zu Fischers Partien" (roughly <Materials to Fischer's games>, 235 pages, published 2004)>, where he is analysing <the quality of Fischer's M60MG <annotations>> and thereafter classifying its mis-evaluations and mistakes.

Thereafter you might want to re-evaluate/re-consider your view (or even not).

Peace!

Mar-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < tamar: I am very surprised Euwe did not spot 20...exf3 21 Bb1 Re8 in his analysis. But Botvinnik's sway was such that perhaps both Keres and Euwe did not independently examine the position, but repeated his variation.

thanks to sneaky pete>

Well, Keres' book came out in 1949 (don't know precisely when). Euwe's notes were published in summer 1948. I don't know when Botvinnik's notes that <zanzibar> quoted came out. But I would not exclude the possibility that Keres and Botvinnik both copied Euwe -- plagiarism being especially tempting in the days before engines.

I've already said why I think, under the circumstances, a GM without silicon assistance would tend to miss the Re8 possibility...

<whiteshark: <keypusher: It's my understanding that Fischer's notes hold up better than most. But I haven't seen them checked with a state-of-the-art engine either.> There's <Robert Hbner: "Materialien zu Fischers Partien" (roughly <Materials to Fischer's games>, 235 pages, published 2004)>, where he is analysing <the quality of Fischer's M60MG <annotations>> and thereafter classifying its mis-evaluations and mistakes.

Thereafter you might want to re-evaluate/re-consider your view (or even not).

Peace!>

Thanks, I know about the book, but I haven't read it.

The question is, not whether Huebner found mistakes (I'm sure he did!) but whether he found fewer than he would if he subjected Keres' book or Botvinnik's notes to the same rigorous scrutiny.

And as interesting as that question is, given how strong engines are now, it would be even more interesting to me to see how Fischer's notes would stand up to computer scrutiny compared to Keres' or Botvinnik's.

I still believe Fischer would likely come out ahead.

Mar-07-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <keypusher> All I have to say is...

"It is amazing that players of Botvinnik, Keres, and Euwe's strength could analyze the resulting position so inaccurately":)

Maybe it is very difficult. I agree that Keres note sounds offended that 17...Bxe5 should even be considered, and that could contribute to thinking there could be no resource.

Mar-08-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Thanks everybody for all the fascinating additional input.

(And a ha! right back at you <tamar>, indeed.)

Personally, I think annotating a game can be, or should I say, really is, much more difficult than playing it otb. You're really supposed to "see" everything - and all that hard work doesn't even put you in contention for the prize money.

OK, maybe correspondence is at the same level.

All the same, some annotators are noticeably much better, and more accurate, than others. And it is interesting to compare when two (or more) do the same game. Personal biases often show up, etc.

There's also a little bit of competitive edge that I've noticed, e.g. sometimes Botvinnik goes into much more detail than normal when he gets to commenting on Keres comments about his game.

* * * * *

Here is the Source tag for my version of the game:

<Source "Botvinnik - Best Games (1947-1970) - G3 p14 / BCC v2 G375 p222">

The BBG book is an abbreviated translation of the 3-volume BCC book (BCC = Botvinnik's Creative Chess), translated by B. Chafferty (Chess Player pub.(?)), and published by Batsford in 1972.

If you can read Russian, somewhere in here is the citation for v2 of BCC:

<Батуринский Виктор Давыдович, составитель Шахматное творчество Ботвинника. Том 2

Издательство: Москва. Москва. Физкультура и спорт, 1966 г., 704 стр.>

http://webchess.ru/ebook/20/

Looks like this first came out in 1966, although I'm fairly sure Botvinnik keep notes as he played his career, and likely published the games in one or another of the Soviet chess magazines of the time (like Euwe likely did as well).

BTW- does anybody know where I can find an online, safe, version of v3 to download?

Mar-08-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: keep = kept
Mar-10-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: In the "The Hague-Moscow 1948: Match/Tournament for the World Chess Championship" by Max Euwe, he states:

"The beautiful point. Now 20... e f3 runs into 21. Bb1! h6 (the threat was B h7 +) 22. R f3 Nd5 23. Rg3!!, and Black will not be able to capture on h4 in view of mate in three." P.87.

Mar-10-17  Paarhufer: <Chessical> Is this the complete comment of 20.f3 in the English edition? The Dutch edition, which I consider to the original one, has an additional and longer paragraph (whose content I sketched already).

--

BTW, Euwe had no less than four collaborators for this book: Eggink, Hannak, Slavekoorde and Zittersteyn. And Euwe often gave only his name for a publication, and sometimes any authors or co-authers were kept back.

Mar-11-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Paarhufer> The note does have a second paragraph:

"Also, 20. .. Be6 is suspect in view of 21. f e4! B a2 22. R f6!, after which 22... g f6 23. B f6 immediately leads to mate.

This means that Black will have to find a different continuation; but because of the tremendous power of bishop on c3, he remains in trouble."

Mar-13-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <chessical> Thank you -- what did Euwe have to say about his decision to accept the pawn sacrifice at move 17?
Mar-13-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher....I've only looked at a few games in the book, but I've found lots of mistakes. Yet Keres and Botvinnik were conscientious and well-regarded annotators. Annotating chess games is really hard! About as hard as playing them....>

I'll sign that--in the late 1980s, I was games editor of <Chess Horizons> for a time, and it was not at all easy, not being one-tenth the player either Keres or Botvinnik was.

Mar-14-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <Keypusher> Euwe wrote:

<17. Ne5! Be5?>

"Black retains good chances of equalizing after 17... Be6 18. Bb1 Bd5!, for example 19. f3 Be5 20. de5 Qe5 21. Bc3 Qe6! 22. Bf6 Qf6 23. Qf6 gf6 24. fe4 Be6, and Blacks position is not inferior."

Apr-02-17  storminnorman2010: Poor Euwe! This tournament, along with the Zurich tournament in 1953, was his swan song in trying to reclaim the world chess championship.
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