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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954), Moscow URS, rd 7, Mar-30
French Defense: Winawer Variation. Winckelmann-Riemer Gambit (C15)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-05-06  Drudge: 3 stack wins! Anyone know any other 3 stack wins games? Post link if so!
Dec-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  micahtuhy: I can't particularly think of any other 3-stack wins at the top of my head, but oh well.

This was Smyslov's first win of this match, and helped him seize some of the momentum to keep it from being a rout. I think this really showed Smyslov had mental toughness and just a natural ability to keep playing strong chess. Most players would have PSY crumbled at this point.

I think in the end Smyslov was the better player, but Botvinnik had the support of the full might of the Soviet Machine.

Dec-27-07  RookFile: Smyslov's fearsome endgame technique was on display here.
Dec-28-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Aurora: Interesting game.
Dec-28-07  Petrosianic: Interesting comment, too. Are you sure you want to commit yourself like that?
Dec-28-07  JG27Pyth: what the heck kind of resignation is this... what am I missing?
Dec-29-07  Pawn Ambush: I like the looks of 51.Rd5 sending the Rook on a Queeside Pawn hunting expedition (intending Rxa5 followed by Rb5xb4). If 50...Kf8 then 51.Rd5 Ra7,now Blacks Rook is tied down allowing Whites passers to advance. Whites connected passed Pawns have long range Bishop support and his Knight is stuck guarding the f-Pawn so to me it looks resignable
Apr-08-08  Knight13: In the endgame, if they trade rooks and go into N vs B ending can White win due to "Bishop's long range"??
May-15-08  Pawn Ambush: 50.re2 looks interesting also, intending 51.rxe6 the 52.kxf4 and now the white passers have both king and bishop support.
May-29-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: It was a surprising degringolade by Botvinnik in this endgame. The position after 47. ... Kd6 is one that Black should be able to hold without great difficulty. In his notes (in "Botvinnik-Smyslov: Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958", New in Chess ©2009, pp. 34-37), Botvinnik seems to believe he was lost after the inaccurate 48. … Ke7?!. His comment to 49. … f4 reads: “Also bad (though better, even so) was 49...fxg4+ 50.Kxg4 (Kd6 51.Kf5 Ng7+ 52.Bxg7 Rxg7 53.h6), since the black king occupies a passive position, too far from the queenside pawns.” (Ibid., at p. 37)

Although the position after 53. h6 in the line given above is certainly losing for Black, Botvinnik’s analysis misses the last saving possibility (after 49...fxg4+ 50.Kxg4 Kd6 51.Kf5), namely 51. ... Ke7 52.Kg6 Nf8+ and Black holds.

Botvinnik obviously was not in good form for this game. In his comment to Black's 19th move, he says that during the game he was concerned by a line starting with 20. 0-0 and adds: "Only after the game did I realise that this whole variation is impossible, because White has moved his King! ... such absentmindedness is a sign of fatigue ...".(Ibid., at p. 35.)

May-29-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  scutigera: @Peligroso: A degringolade, you say? I would have called it more of a niaiserie, myself, though you do have a point. Most victories by Carlos Torre contain degringolades.
May-29-10  Marmot PFL: <In his comment to Black's 19th move, he says that during the game he was concerned by a line starting with 20. 0-0 and adds: "Only after the game did I realise that this whole variation is impossible, because White has moved his King!>

Perhaps that rule should be modified, to give the king a 2nd chance.

Jun-18-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Peligroso Patzer: ...Botvinnik obviously was not in good form for this game. In his comment to Black's 19th move, he says that during the game he was concerned by a line starting with 20. 0-0 and adds: "Only after the game did I realise that this whole variation is impossible, because White has moved his King! ... such absentmindedness is a sign of fatigue ...".(Ibid., at p. 35.)>

This is the position after Botvinnik's 19...♗c8-d7:


click for larger view

Here is his note in full:
<"Here Black spent a long time choosing his move. The reason, I have to admit, is that I could not find a defence in the variation 20.0-0 0-0-0 21.♘h3! f5 22.d4 and then ♘f4. <Only after the game> did I realise that this whole variation is impossible, because White has moved his king! Of course, such absentmindedness is a sign of fatigue, something which is inevitable after the first few games of such a difficult contest.>"

Here is the position after his phantom variation (white has also had two moves in a row):


click for larger view

Although I appreciate that it is irrelevant, I don't understand the Nf4-h3-f4 idea.

May-24-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: See above and Botvinnik saying he thought for a long time.

In Golombek's book of the match (and Golombek was one of the judges on stage) he gives the time taken for each move.

Botvinnik spent 4 minutes between moves 19...Bd7 and 20...0-0-0.

The long think was on Smyslov's time.

On move 19. cxd3 Smyslov's clock showed 30 minutes. Botvinnik had used 1 hour and 29 minutes.

After 19...Bd7


click for larger view

Smyslov now thought for 35 minutes before playing 20.Be3. Botvinnik played 20..0-0-0 four minutes later.

Just before play resumed after the adjournment (move 40) Botvinnik complained about the on stage lighting. (an on stage act Bobby Fischer was to follow with far greater publicity many years later.)

Szabó, also one of the judges, dryly remarked to Golombek that the lighting was exactly the same for the previous games when Botvinnik had the better positions.

Apr-19-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Botvinnik had prepared 11..Ng4!? but later realized that the previously played 11..Qa5 was preferable. The combination starting with 12..Qxd1+!? led to a favorable endgame for White; van Scheltinga recommended 12..e5 13 Ng5..Qa5 with complicated play. 17..Rg7? 18 Nh5..Rxg2 19 Kf1 would have been winning for White. Rather than defend his weak d-pawn Smyslov sacrificed with it with 24 d4 which also eliminated the bishops color. After 49..f4? 50 Rd2 Black resigned; Botvinnik and Golembek both said that White would have won after the stronger 49..fxg+ but it is not clear as they make it seem.
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