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Viktor Korchnoi vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Leningrad-Moscow Match (1960), rd 1, Dec-03
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Fischer Variation (E44)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Korchnoi himself gives the continuation 42...♔g8 43.♔f4 ♔h7 44.g5 ♗h5 45.♗b4 d5 46.♔e5 ♔g7 47.♔xd5 ♗f7+ 48.♔d6 ♗g6 49.♔e6 ♗f7+ 50.♔e7 ♗h5 51.♗c3+ ♔h7 52.♔f6 ♗d1 53.g3+ ♔g8 54.♔e7 and White queens one of his pawns. This analysis from 'Viktor Korchnoi's Best Games' by Korchnoi published in 1978 by Philidor Press.

In 'My Best Games - Vol 1 - Games with White' Korchnoi says "The further advance of the white pawns cannot be prevented. If, for example, Black places his king at h7 and his bishop on the h5-e8 diagonal, White takes his king to f6 and by g5-g6 he wins the game".

Nov-17-04  drukenknight: This is all wishful thinking on the part of Korchnoi, the most basic thing to think about is The Opposition. Look at moves 46-50 and see how easily the white K penetrates to e7 or whatever in Korchnoi's line.

How does that happen? Simple, he moves the black king into opposition BEFORE the pawn is grabbed, checks are given, all the stuff happens.

obviously anyone can look like a deep positional genius if they are allowed to gain opposition. Look if black throws the "useless" d pawn forward just prior to this..

(same korchnoi line but now:)
47. Kxd4 Kg8
48. Bc3 Bf7
49. Ke5 Kg7 (Now he gives opposition)
50. Kd6+ Kf8 (and again)
51. Kc5 Bc4
52. g6 Bd3

In Korch. line the K is driven into the corner g7/h8 because of the penetration. You can set up many positions of this sort, but I dont think this can be won if you can keep the opposition, but go ahead; SHOW ME YOUR WINNING LINE!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: < (same korchnoi line but now:) 46...d4!
47.Kxd4 Kg8
48.Bc3 Bf7
49.Ke5 Kg7 (Now he gives opposition)
50.Kd6 Kf8 (and again} >

DK I can follow you up to here but why 51.♔c5? Wouldn't 51.g6 be better for White and where does Black play his bishop?

Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)
Nov-17-04  drukenknight: Benzol: I have to get back to you. I am setting up new computer, a windows 2000 machine. THe windows 98 machine keeps crashing on the dsl, hopefully I will be back online later today and have a better connection. thx.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: DK: No problem, catch up with you later mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)> 2...c5-c7! Achieving Geller's Fortress
Nov-17-04  aw1988: <acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)> I play that all the time. I dub it the "Steinitz Opposition Gambit".
Dec-03-04  aw1988: <tamar> LOL, that one took me a while to get.
Jun-15-05  aw1988: So what's the verdict? I see a lot of previous analysis, so does Korchnoi win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <aw1988: So what's the verdict?>

White's winning, hence all the sarcastic remarks about the opposition.

Following <Korchnoi>'s line with <drukenknight>'s attempted improvement, it goes 42...Kg8 43. Kf4 Kh7 44. g5 Bh5 45. Bb4 d5 46. Ke5 d4 <47. Kf6> breaking the blockade.

It might continue 47...d4 48. g6+ Kg8 49. Kg5 Be2 50. f6 Bc4 51. Kf4, and White's king will come around to support the f7 push. For example, 51...d3 52. Ke5 d2 53. Bxd2 Kf8 54. Bb4+ so that 54...Ke8 55. Kf4 followed by the king march to g7 and pawn to f7, or 54...Kg8 55. Kd6 Kf8 56. Kd7+ Kg8 57. Ke7, etc.

Aug-10-05  RookFile: I continue to find it humorous that
this line of the Nimzo Indian continues to be called the Fischer variation, when Botvinnik played it before Bobby did, to say nothing of Alekhine, who was playing it before Bobby was even born.
Jan-15-07  Fast Gun: Interesting problem-like ending with opposite coloured bishops: It is hard to believe that these two players only ever played each other four times, especially when you consider the number of games that Botvinnik has played against Bronstein, Keres, Smyslov and Tal !! And also the number of times that Korchnoi has played against Petrosian and Spassky: It is probably because that when Botvinnik became World Champion he did not play in tournaments, but only in World title matches and since Korchnoi was not a contender for a title match until 1978, by which that time Botvinnik had retired:
Jan-15-07  Pawnsgambit: stupid game.
Jul-27-09  kingfu: Stupid game? Between 2 of the best players ever? With opposite colored bishops? How can it be the Fischer variation when it had not been invented , yet? Have I asked enough questions?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: This was the board-one game (of 40) in the Leningrad-Moscow Match, Moscow 1960. (Tolush-Bronstein played board two.)
Mar-02-12  ewan14: Once again - it was Korchnoi who suffered from the drawing pact at Curacao in 1962

He was in the better position to win it than Fischer

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Nice endgame play by Korchnoi. This type of ending is usual drawn.


♔♗♙♙ vs. ♔♗♙♙

Decisive: 35.8%
Drawn: 64.2%

Endgame Explorer: BPP vs BPP

Mar-28-13  The Rocket: 18. Rae8 is a big blunder, although Botvinnik were well aware of the pawn haning. Black needs to play e4, and is doing ok. Rae8 instead gives up a pawn for no real counterplay.
Sep-05-13  TheFocus: From the Leningrad - Moscow Team Match.
Mar-30-16  kingfu: Another question: How is it that Botvinnik and Korchnoi only played against each other 4! times?
Mar-30-16  Retireborn: <kingfu> I think it's just that Botvinnik didn't play that much chess post-WWII; he generally limited himself to two or three events a year.

Boris Spassky played him 7 times, but 4 of those were in a single 1970 tournament. Tal only played him twice outside of their two matches, and Polu also only played him twice. Slightly older masters like Petrosian, Geller, and Taimanov did play him a bit more often.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: RIP korchnoi
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kingfu....How is it that Botvinnik and Korchnoi only played against each other 4! times?>

<Retireborn: <kingfu> I think it's just that Botvinnik didn't play that much chess post-WWII; he generally limited himself to two or three events a year.>

From 1957-63 in particular, Botvinnik was also heavily involved in his numerous matches for the title; when he first encountered Korchnoi (1952), the younger player was taking his first steps in high-level competition, and their second meeting (1955) would mark Botvinnik's swan song in Soviet championships, one of the strongest ever held.

Mar-24-17  Retireborn: <perfidious> Yes, it's a pity that there weren't more Korchnoi-Botvinnik games after 1960. I'd have liked to see Botvinnik playing against Reti, Nimzowitsch, and Rubinstein too, come to think of it.
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