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Mark Taimanov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1953), Moscow URS, rd 1, Jan-25
Semi-Slav Defense: Stoltz Variation (D45)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Beautiful final zugzwang position! Amazing Botvinnik! And a very nice game too, with Botvinnik maximizing the reach of his pieces and playing all over the board.
Aug-20-12  master of defence: Where´s the win here?
Aug-20-12  Tullius: I don't know if I understand you correctly, but the win is in the endgame position. After 52.f5 Kf6 53.Kc1 b3 54.axb3 cxb3 White is in Zugzwang. Whatever he does, one of these black pawns will safely reach the first rank.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: According to Chess Stars book on Botvinnik's games the finish has extra moves i.e. 49.e6 Kg7 50.f4 as in score here but then follows 50...Kf6 51.f5 d3 52.Kb2 h5 0-1. Not that it probably makes much difference.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Benzol> Why does it say USSR Championship (1953)? It was 1952, wasn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <keypusher> That changed automatically when I undated the year field. The play-off games were played about a month after the championship in January - February 1953.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Sorry that should've been updated.


Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <benzol> Thanks as always, sir.
Apr-07-14  notyetagm: Taimanov vs Botvinnik, 1953

<Tullius: I don't know if I understand you correctly, but the win is in the endgame position. After 52.f5 Kf6 53.Kc1 b3 54.axb3 cxb3 White is in Zugzwang. Whatever he does, one of these black pawns will safely reach the first rank.>

Very nicely explained. <ZUGZWANG> with a capital <Z>!

Apr-07-14  notyetagm: Taimanov vs Botvinnik, 1953


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: You mean Trouble with a capital T which in the USA <rhymes> with Z which stands for Zugzwang.
Jul-09-15  zydeco: Around move 12, it looks as if both players are about to frenziedly attack each other's king -- and instead they maneuver patiently for the next thirty moves.

13.g5, 18.f4, 44.Qxb4 all look like at least reasonable alternatives for white.

44.Qxb4 axb4 45.f4 might be a good try for white. If 45....fxe5 white has a choice between defending patiently with 46.fxe5 or playing into a complicated forcing line with 46.f5 followed by 47.dxe5.

May-27-18  Nerwal: Botvinnik claimed that the seemingly logical 15. ♘e5 was a positional mistake and could not be approved, on the basis that in the game 17. ♗xe4 dxe4 18. ♘xc4 ♘d5 would give Black good compensation for the pawn. This last assessment is definitely correct, but still his suggestion of 15. ♘d2 is suspicious at best and 15. ♘e5 should nevertheless be played. Both players seemed to struggle in the middlegame, in particular it is amazing that Taimanov missed the winning 29. ♘h4 and kept playing passively in this unfavourable structure; with extra decades of accumulated knowledge, modern players would probably have handled this structure much better. The endgame, though, is a must-see classic.
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