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Mikhail Botvinnik vs David Bronstein
Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Immediate Fianchetto (E60)  ·  1-0
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Given 33 times; par: 101 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-21-12  Nerwal: 7... ♗xh3 always strikes me as a prime example of a psychological mistake made in the context of a decisive game. Maybe the resulting position is still equal, but there was absolutely no need for black to play this way, and this choice always gives white something to play for, even after Botvinnik has to agree eventually to the exchange of queens.
Jan-21-12  erniecohen: Interestingly, Botvinnik himself missed what was going on in his own analysis (published after his death): "More resistant was 50…♘e7". In fact, his recommended move loses immediately, while Bronstein's 50...♘a7 was in fact the best move, and should have drawn. And he is completely silent regarding 52...♘c8, which turned out to be the fatal mistake.
Apr-16-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < [from Jul-01-05] >

<iron maiden: <by the way in that story Bronstein names the final position the "Zugzwang!", so i guess i finished the previous debate> Not necessarily. A lot of the top players disagree about what the exact definition of zugzwang is. There seems to be no real consensus.>>

Case in point: Check the linked annotation for White’s 9th move in the famous Morphy vs. Duke of Brunswick game: Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858 (in which a commentator with not inconsiderable credentials describes the position as “like a zugzwang position”). I am not sure what makes a position "like" a zugzwang, but in the position in question, Black's prospects would not exactly be improved if it were White on-move.

(<Note>: The referenced comment is not in the kibitzing thread, but rather appears in the space beneath the re-play board when the position from the famous Morphy game after <9. Bg5> [as given below] has been selected by clicking on the appropriate field in the moves table.)


click for larger view

Apr-17-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < [from Aug-08-05] > <perfidious: Whatever pressure Bronstein may or may not have faced, the culprit in this critical game was his 'win' of a pawn with 35.... Bxc1, as noted by Botvinnik.>

In the recently-published book, <The Greatest Ever chess endgames> (<sic>), by Giddins, Steve, Everyman Chess ©2012, at p. 107, the comment is made that after Botvinnik’s suggested <35...Kf7>, Black could have maintained equality after <36.Bxa6 bxa6 37.Bc7?!> (Better is: 37.Be1 ) <37...Bxc1 38.Kxc1 Nxb3+ 39.Kb2 Na5>.

In fact, the position resulting from this variation (see below), in which Black retains his dark-square Bishop until White exchanges one of his B’s, and only then trades B-for-N on c1 in order to capture on b3), seems much <better> than merely equal for Black. He has an extra pawn, and White cannot take on b6 (because of the fork on c4). Even on the safe assumption that Botvinnik would not have blundered away his B with 40. Bxb6???), c4 would have been a wonderful square for the Knight, if Bronstein had gone in for this variation.


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Jun-13-12  DrChopper: I think 52.Nd8 would have been a much better move. If 53.Bc7 then Ne6 54.Nxb6 Nc8 55.Bc5 b6 56.Ba3 Nf4 and black should be fine to at least hold the draw. Bronstein should have been world champion.
Jun-14-12  Everett: <erniecohen: <oshkar72,perfideous> Bronstein has a draw well in hand until move 52. Proper defense is to keep his s at a7 and c6/e7 so as to be prepared to play b5 if white moves his off of the a6-f1 diagonal to go after the d pawn. If white tries to go after the b6 pawn with his DSB, Bronstein takes the opportunity to bring his s to c6 and f5. White then has to trade his LSB for the c6 (after which the Black king gets back in time to stop the a pawn), or trade h-pawns, leaving an easily drawn position (because all of the pawns are on the same side).>

Ive played around in this position for a bit vs Shredder on the iPhone, and it seems to be true. Anyone see a flaw in this plan?

Also, the fact that Black is better with best play by move 35, as pointed out by <Peligrosopatzer> is remarkable. Seems the more we delve into these old games, the "story" needs to be changed quite a bit.

Oct-21-12  Conrad93: Bronstein had a chance for a much better game. Botvinnik's opening was rather strange.
Dec-13-13  RandomVisitor: After 36...Nxb3+


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Rybka 4.1 x64:

<[+0.00] d=36 37.Kb2> Na5 38.e4 Nc6 39.exd5 exd5 40.Kc3 Kf7 41.Bd3 Ke6 42.h4 Ne7 43.h5 Kd7 44.Bh4 Ke6 45.Be1 Nc7 46.Kb4 Kd7 47.Bf2 Nc6+ 48.Kc3 Ne7 49.Kb4 Nc6+ 50.Kc3 Ne7 51.Kb4 Nc6+ 52.Kc3

Dec-13-13  RandomVisitor: After 39.e4 black has knights on the rim that are dim:


click for larger view

perhaps he should de-rim them:

[+0.00] d=31 39...Nc6 40.exd5 exd5 41.Bd3 Ke6 42.h4 Ne7 43.h5 Kd7 44.Bh4 Ke6 45.Be1 Nc7 46.Kb4 Kd7


click for larger view

and safely achieve a draw

Dec-13-13  RandomVisitor: Watch how Rybka4.1 sacrifices 2 pawns in the final position in a last-ditch effort to hold the game. Does it work?


click for larger view

Rybka 4.1 x64:

[+1.99] d=32 57...b5 58.axb5 b6 59.Kd3 Ng8 60.Bxd5 Nf6 61.Be4+ Kf7 62.Bg2 Nd6 63.Bf4 Nxb5 64.Kc4 Na7 65.Bb7 Nd7 66.Bd6 Ke6 67.Bc7 Kf7 68.Bd5+ Ke8 69.Bf3 Nf6 70.d5 Nc8 71.Be5 Ke7 72.Kb5 Kf7

Dec-13-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: It's always struck me as bizarre that Bronstein resigned in the final position.
Dec-14-13  RandomVisitor: Bronstein:

"I have been asked many, many times if I was obliged to lose the 23rd game and if there was a conspiracy against me to stop me from taking Botvinnik's title. A lot of nonsense has been written about this. The only thing that I am prepared to say about all this controversy is that I was subjected to strong psychological pressure from various origins and it was entirely up to me to yield to that pressure or not."

Jan-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <RandomVisitor:> Bronstein:

<"I have been asked many, many times if I was obliged to lose the 23rd game and if there was a conspiracy against me to stop me from taking Botvinnik's title. A lot of nonsense has been written about this. The only thing that I am prepared to say about all this <<<controversy>>> is that I was subjected to strong psychological pressure from various origins and it was entirely up to me to yield to that pressure or not...">

And now continuing on with the citation a bit:

<...Let's leave it at that. I had <<<reasons not to become the World Champion>>> as in those times such a title meant that you were entering an official world of chess bureaucracy with many formal obligations. Such a position is not compatible with my character. Since my childhood I have enjoyed freedom and despite the country that I grew up in, I have tried to live all my years in this spirit and I am very happy that today I feel the same and can enjoy my freedom.">

Source:

David Bronstein and Tom Furstenberg, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Cadogan 1995), p.16

Feb-25-14  Corndog2: Bronstein, one of the greatest players who should have probably become world champion.
Jun-06-14  Candy Man: In their match for the World championship, Botvinnik didn't win a single game during the first 5 hours of play; 4 of his 5 victories were in fact achieved after adjournment. Bronstein, OTOH won 4 games from Botvinnik before the first time control! Forgive me for holding Bronstein to be at least equal to Botvinnik.
Jun-06-14  Petrosianic: Or at least equal to Botvinnik in 1951. But if the result of the match didn't prove that to someone, I can't imagine that counting who won the most games before Move 40 would do the job either.
Jun-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: We all must have had episodes of hypnosis/self-hypnosis; where you totally believe you have a won position, that your opponent has no chance, that he is an idiot for even continuing - and soon he resigns.

But when you examine the game later you had nothing! You had deluded yourself. Your opponent had picked up on your vibe and thought his position was worse. Soon he had made it really worse and given up.

Something like that might have happened here.

Jun-16-14  ughaibu: Corndog2's post provokes the complimentary question: who were the least great players who should have probably become world champion?
Jun-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ughaibu: Corndog2's post provokes the complimentary question: who were the least great players who should have probably become world champion?>

As much as I like him personally - and he is a very good player - Michael Adams was one move away from being World Champion... I am sorry Michael, it just would not have been right.

Nov-05-14  erniecohen: <offramp> When was Michael Adams one move away from being World Champion?
Nov-05-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: He means Kasimdzhanov vs Adams, 2004 where Mickey missed 42...Qe4, winning the game, the FIDE crown and a big money reunification match with Kasparov. Tragedy is too small a word.
Nov-05-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < The only thing that I am prepared to say about all this <<<controversy>>> is that I was subjected to strong psychological pressure from various origins and it was entirely up to me to yield to that pressure or not...>

What a weasel Bronstein was. Typical of him to make an accusation that cannot be falsified or even denied.

Nov-05-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <keypusher> <What a weasel Bronstein was. Typical of him to make an accusation that cannot be falsified or even denied.>

I agree. Most of his comments sound like sour grapes.

He was never able to get a second chance now, did he?

I think he played some nice games, but I am not a Bronstein fan.

Apr-20-15  makinavaja: It is interesting and strange too... Nobody, even Botvinnik, mentions the "lesson" that Flohr - by the way, one of his "seconds"- taught him in 1933 to play such endings. The game is Flohr-Botvinnik 1933. You can find it easily here.
Apr-24-17  Toribio3: The power of two bishops in the endgame can not be ignored!
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