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David Bronstein vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951), Moscow URS, rd 4, Mar-23
Slav Defense: Schlechter Variation (D15)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-20-06  Resignation Trap: Botvinnik made a long and more detailed
entry into his journal before this game:

"So far I have discovered, or more correctly, confirmed the following deficiencies in Bronstein's play:

1) weak play in time trouble - without outright blunders (with simplification);

2) weak play in technical positions without the initiative;

3) unjustified avoidance of positions without counterplay, even at the cost of a pawn.

I have been unable to exploit the first deficiency, since I myself have been hopelessly short of time.

I have not exploited the second deficiency on account of poor analysis, time trouble and stupid haste - instead of accumulating advantages.

The third deficiency - I wrongly believed him, and he deceived me.

Hence the conclusions:

1) the main thing - time;

2) continue to play by technique (in superior positions);

3) calculate without fear - simply play chess and remember that the opponent may and should go wrong. Let's go!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Thanks for transcribing this note.

<"calculate without fear - simply play chess and remember that the opponent may and should go wrong. Let's go!">

I am reminded of Tal's comment about Botvinnik in the 1961 rematch (from memory, so this is no more than a paraphrase)

<We were unprepared for the change in Botvinnik. In this match [unlike in 1960] he went in willingly for complications if they looked favorable to him.>

More than most masters, I think, Botvinnik had to battle with his own nerves as well as his opponent across the board.

Sep-21-06  euripides: Interesting stuff. The art of simplifying when short of time without making positional concessions is an important discriminator at all levels of chess, and Botvinnik might have been in Capablanca's class at this.
Sep-21-06  Resignation Trap: Botvinnik wrote after the game:

"Played, on the whole, indifferently. Set one trap and then revelled in it for the entire game.

With time, things were initially reasonable.

Bronstein's No.3 deficiency can be amplified - 3a) unjustified avoidance of positions with counterplay for the opponent!!! (he's afraid!)."

Sep-21-06  euripides: On reflection, Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951 suggests that Botvinnik may not have been quite in Capablanca's class in the mastery of elegant simplification.
Oct-03-10  Everett: I've read these postings by <RT, thank you!> many times over the years, and I find it remarkable how superficial they show themselves to be. I mean, one would think that his own lack of time is precisely due to Bronstein always seeking activity, and willing to sacrifice a <pawn!> for it. Seems that Bronstein dragged Botvinnik into the world of modern chess! I imagine Botvinnik didn't thank him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 4..g6, the Schlechter-Slav is a hybrid of the Slav and the Grunfeld which is solid but offers little active counterplay for Black. 15 b4 could have been answered by 15..Qxa3 16 Ra1..Qb3 17 Rfb1..Nxd4!. 16..Rfd8 might have been an improvement maintaining control of c7. Bronstein had a clear advantage after 20..Qb8 and commented that Botvinnik could have won the position with the White pieces against any opponent starting with 21 Bc5 followed by some combination of Nb6, Bf3, a4, b5 etc. Instead 21 f4?! created weaknesses and gave Botvinnik time to defend. 31 bxc might have given White more chances.
Jun-11-13  zydeco: 15.Ra1! 19.Bc7!

It's funny that Bronstein acknowledges that 21.Bc5 was the right way -- creating a tremendous bind on the queenside -- and says that Botvinnik would have won it; which seems to mean that Bronstein felt he was temperamentally unsuited for that kind of position (even if's better) and needed to create some sort of additional imbalance.

Jun-12-13  Everett: <zydeco> that is an interesting idea you mention. Looking at this game, later in the match, we see Bronstein dancing on the weak Q-side squares to win the game.

Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951

So, I think Bronstein could have easily handled this position similarly. A lot of these types of positions came up in the WC games, and Bronstein proved Botvinnik's equal in less-open and more-stiff pawn structures.

Jun-12-13  madlydeeply: <The third deficiency - I wrongly believed him, and he deceived me.>

This is priceless I love it! There is always more going on than the moves on the board....

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