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Mikhail Botvinnik vs David Bronstein
Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951), Moscow URS, rd 21, May-04
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Classical Main Line (E69)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-27-05  avidfan: Was 33...Nb4-c4 the turning point? White has a passive ♗ at g2 in a cramped king position with 2 rooks which are not attacking anything. Black Knights and rook dominate the queenside.
34...Rf8-b8 doubles rooks against the isolated ♙ on b2.

39...Rb3 40.Qc2 Nac4

Sep-21-06  Resignation Trap: Botvinnik before the game:

"Endeavour! With the hope...

Let's go! After all, it is rather shameful to play badly!"

Sep-21-06  Resignation Trap: And Botvinnik after the game:

"Played the first 12 moves decently, but then - lost my head. More will-power! Do not waste time in vain, and when you stir up trouble - find an active plan."

Dec-09-06  Maatalkko: I don't know if I've ever seen Botvinnik so completely outplayed as White. This looks like a 2400 vs. a 2600 or some other mismatch.
Jun-30-07  talisman: E.Sveshnikov: perhaps botvinnik's worst game in this match; he was simply unrecognisable.
Mar-23-08  Knight13: Bronstein pulled off a really good queen side attack. <This looks like a 2400 vs. a 2600 or some other mismatch.> Yeah, or more like 2300 vs 2600. :-)
Dec-06-08  dramas79: Intersting... A win by black with a queenside attack. Got to try this sometime.
May-08-09  Brown: 22..Bc4 works to dominate the light squares on the Q-side. White has no play in other areas of the board.
Mar-22-11  Everett: I cannot see immediately how black makes progress if white returns the knight with 58.Ng5
Premium Chessgames Member
  shalgo: <I cannot see immediately how black makes progress if white returns the knight with 58.Ng5>

Then Black wins a piece with 58...Ne6.

This options was also available at move 56, but Bronstein missed it. To explain 58.Kg5, Winter and Wade, in their book on the match, write: "Bronstein's repetition of the King move has shown his opponent that he has now seen the win by 58.[Ng5] [Ne6]." (They use descriptive notation.)

Mar-24-11  Everett: Thank you <shalgo>.
Sep-13-12  csmath: Yet another game to be considered the worst game Botvinnik played and one of the worst games overall in world championship matches.
Sep-13-12  Everett: <csmath> what are Botvinnik's most glaring errors in this game? Do you feel that Botvinnik had simple moves to improve?
Sep-14-12  Everett: Well, a quick run through seems that he in fact didn't make too many glaring errors. He was just outplayed in a game where he must have expected the opening. Bronstein waited until a must win moment to unveil it, deviates with 9...Nh5, and makes few mistakes from there.

For sure Botvinnik missed an opportune time to play d5, probably on move 14, and one remarkable note is that White lost his entire opening advantage with the usually favorable exchange of DSB 18.Bh6.

On Bronstein's end, it looks like <33.Nb3> had potential to end the game a bit sooner.

Sep-15-12  RookFile: It's not a great game, but by no means is it a bad effort on Botvinnik's part. Sure, he was swimming, and never really had a serious threat, but there are plenty of other examples where the guy in his place just makes some blunder early on and the game is over.
Jun-12-13  madlydeeply: Bronstein didn't use his queen at all! Minor pieces and rooks jumped around weak queenside squares. Elegant.
Jun-12-13  madlydeeply: <23 Bg2> saves the "guardian of light squares" in a lovely display case. He should have traded it off it wasn't performing shinola
Jun-12-13  madlydeeply: Maybe "cluttered...queenless" can start to describe Bronstein's style? In addition to his "weak square complex" concept. Maybe minor pieces are better suited for exploiting weak squares. Also a stable center.... Where was botvinnik's central counterattack? Was the weak light square complex acting as a sucking vortex, similar to how passed pawns and weak backward pawns work? And any sort of pressure, for that matter.... Hmmm more coffee, Please
May-15-16  Ulhumbrus: White does nothing to make progress, whereupon Black keeps doing a little to make progress and proceeds to win
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Game 21 of the 24 game match which evened the score at 4-4. This was the only game of the match that Bronstein played the Kings Indian Defense. In the 1945 USSR Championship Botvinnik had played 9 d5 against Bronstein and the game had been drawn; here he played the main line 9 h3. 9..Nh5!? was a new move and an unusual one as it was not Black's intention to play ..f5. Bronstein said that it was his intention to confuse his opponent. His strategy was successful as Botvinnik played the passive 11 Nh2 apparently played with the intention of discouraging ..f5.

Bronstein after 12..a6:
"Having decided against exchanging on d4, Black avoids play in the centre. White has also forestalled the opponent's attacking ideas on the kingside. Only one possibility for Black remains - an offensive on the queenside."

13 a3?! created weaknesses on the queenside; perhaps 13 Rc1 would have been better. It is not clear why Botvinnik exchanged bishops with 18 Bh6!? as it was stronger than its Black counterpart. Flohr recommended 40..c5 followed by playing a knight to d4 as a quicker way to win. 46 Kh2 lost quickly; Sveshnikov recommended 46 Ra1..Na4 47 Rb1..Nc5 48 Ra1..Ra4 as a tougher defense. 49 Kg1..Nc1 50 Ra3..Nce2+ would have cost White another pawn. Black would have mated after 55 Ra7..Nf3+ 56 Nxf3..Rxh3#.

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