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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954)  ·  French Defense: Winawer. Retreat Variation Armenian Line (C18)  ·  1-0
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Given 68 times; par: 32 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-01-10  TheChessVids: Wasn't Smyslov supposed to be a positional player?
Apr-01-10  micartouse: Botvinnik had a Fischer-like infatuation with sharp, aggressive openings with the Black pieces. Here is a pure example of it, but Smyslov was more than equal to the occasion.
May-07-10  King.Arthur.Brazil: When we some games KARPOV x KASPAROV match and compare it with the highquality of this game, seems that chessworld had left something in the past. The Qxe5 and h6 moves are wonderful.
Feb-16-11  TheRavenPK: Can someone explain me what follows after 6..cxb4 7.axb4 Bxb4 ? I have absolutely no clue :D or was it just a bluff? :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Probably 8. Bd2 would be my guess...
Apr-02-11  PSC: <TheRavenPK: what follows after 6..cxb4 7.axb4 Bxb4 ?> 6...cxb4?! 7.Nb5! then 7...Nc6 8.axb4 Bxb4+ 9.c3 is the mainline.
Apr-03-11  PSC: I've annotated this game here:
Apr-27-11  bronkenstein: <PSC: I've annotated this game here:;

Very interesting , short but informative :)

Apr-28-11  PSC: <bronkenstein> Thanks, I prefer verbal explanations - I'm not into just posting reams of computer-generated analysis and pretending it's my work, far too dull!
Jun-07-11  LIFE Master AJ: 7...cxb4? leads to 8.Nb5!

According to ECO (and many other books) White gets a decisive attack.

Jun-07-11  LIFE Master AJ: I think the end result should have been 19.QxR/e4!!, Black Resigns.
Jun-07-11  LIFE Master AJ: Very surprising.

I am amazed.

This wonderful effort - one of Smyslov's finest ... has never been "The Game of The Day," nor has it been featured as a POTD.

Strange, weird, and soon to be corrected. (I hope.)

Jun-07-11  bronkenstein: Have you ever wondered why modern GMs don“t prefer French ? Well , Smyslov refuted it by a simple plan : You take the h2 pawn, and push.
Jun-07-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @bronkenstein (June 7)

It's not strictly true. Vitiugov plays the French and there is a recent French book he authored for the Bulgarian publishers "Chess Stars".

Moskalenko has also authored some books and plays the French.

I guess the reason is the preference for dynamic responses, seeking to win the initiative. I play the French but know it is far tougher to win than the Sicilian Najdorf. There might be a question of solidity. Some French Winawer lines leave the K-Side and black squares destroyed (fine example here) which never happens in e.g. the Berlin Ruy Lopez!

Botvinnik's opening was lousy here, though, but we have the privilege of hindsight.

Jun-07-11  SimonWebbsTiger: Incidentally, I think Vaganian and Lputian are the only GMs who venture the 5...Ba5 line and have done so for 20+ years. Botvinnik's Nd7-f8 idea is on the scrap heap.
Jun-07-11  bronkenstein: SimonWebbsTiger , speaking of modern french , you forgot Ivanchuk and me.

And on this game , is very well commented ( by both players , Tal and Fischer ) improvement (10. ... Nc6 instead of BotvinnikĀ“s Nd7 ) , even including few photos (credits to Harvey Kelly ).

If i remember well , Botvinnik mentioned in his bio that he prepared this variation , including 10. ...Nc6 , for his match against Bronstein , and simply forgot about the move 3 years later.

Jun-07-11  PSC: <bronkenstein > Thanks, but I just had to figure out where in the game the photos were taken (1.e4 and 7...Ne7). In <Botvinnik - Smyslov: Three World Championship Matches> Botvinnik writes that he'd prepared 10...Nd7; 11...Qc7 for his match against Bronstein in 1951, there's nothing about 10...Nc6; he says he forgot his analysis and didn't play 11...Qc7, finding himself in trouble after 11...Nf8?!.
Jun-08-11  bronkenstein: You are right PSC , and it is all there , in your comment . I“ve been through that , and , same as Botvinnik did , I forgot =)
Nov-21-11  Garech: Fantastic game; as AJ pointed out, I am amazed it has not featured as GOTD yet and will recommend something now. Damn these unpunnable Russian names!!


Mar-20-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954.
Your score: 31 (par = 31)


May-11-12  pericles of athens: whew! now that's how you play the winawer! beautiful.
Sep-25-14  thegoodanarchist: 19.Qxe4!!

I wish I could have met you. I'd say nice shot!

Jan-14-15  SpiritedReposte: Good shot man.
Jun-04-15  chessgamer2000: 21...Nd7 22.Rxc8mate would be pretty
Jun-04-15  chessgamer2000: sorry. 22.Rxc8+ Qd8 then..
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