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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 20, May-08
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Tal Variation (B12)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: ??? The text never gets close to that position. The black king is never on the sixth rank ... how is that position a factor?>

To try to answer your question, Black did not try to make progress with my posted variation

95.Rf7+ Ka6 96.f6,

which brings about a position where the stalemate threat applies.

Much to <MAJ>'s stated frustration, today's "puzzle" displays mostly the strategy of a R+P ending. The week has left me feeling sensitive about my endgame skills, so please be aware, <JG27Pyth>, that with my response, the blind are now leading the blind ;>)

Feb-23-08  wals: Noting think - All information is filtered through our belief system. Look at boardv
Possibily another draw,via stalemate,perpetual or repetition? If 94. ...Rb1 95.Rf7+ ...Kb8 96.f5 ...Rd1
97.f6 ...Rxd4+ 98.Ka3 ..Rc4 99.Rf8+ ...Kc7
100.Rf7+ ...Kd8 101.
Struth this could go on for ever !
PM =
94. ...Rb1 is correct you little beauty the rest was just beyond me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<MostlyAverageJoe> wrote: For others who find themselves bored, here's a cute puzzle, probably Tue-Wed level, black to play and win:>

Thanks for the puzzle, <MAJ>. It was almost worth the pain of admission today ;>) I would rate it a little higher than Tue-Wed, because it requires the solver to try an obvious candidate, calculate the variations, and then repair the line - it's definitely not a problem with the usual one-move solution.

I will never argue with anyone who says endgames are the deepest part of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<wals> wrote: [snip] All information is filtered through our belief system.>

I feel deadly dull. I generally start to orient myself in the puzzle by writing down the day of the week - but I suspect that is just my way of initiating the same processes ;>)

Feb-23-08  arnaud1959: Honestly the puzzle is not so interesting but the game itself is a very intructive one. White allows having 2 doubled pawns but they are in the center, they can be un-doubed later by other threats and they open columns for rooks. But black plays very cleverly and undoubles one of them and by exchanging all the pieces except the rooks it transforms the doubled pawns into weakness.
Feb-23-08  ConstantImprovement:

It is Black to draw, something else does not make sense.

Seems very complex at first sight, because Black has many possibilities and motifs to fight for the draw:

1. Bringing the King to the f-file

2. Attacking d4 with the rook (by way of b1-d1 or b7-e7-e4)

3. Making use of the stalemate position Black K on a6, White R on the 7th rank, possibly involving a final sacrifice of the Black rook, preferably on b4, where White can only take the rook or lose the d4-pawn immediately.

I. Primarily trying Plan 1

I.1. No immediate check, R to f8

94. ... Kb7 95. Rf8 Kc7 96. f5 Kd7 97. f6

I.1a. 97. ... Ke6? 98. Rc8 Kf6: (98. ... Kd7 99. f7, and the pawn queens) 99. Rc6:+, winning the rook

I.1b. Only moving the King (then to e7) after White moves f7, Black goes for d4.

97. ... Rb1 98. f7 (White does not seem to have better moves) Rf1 99. Ka5 [99. Kb4 is an alternative. Ke7 100. Rc8 Rf7: 101. Rc6: Rf4 102. Kc3 Kd7 103. Rd6+ Kc7, and most probably a =.)Ke7 100. Rc8 Rf7: 101. Rc6: Rf4 102. Kb6 Rd4: 103. Rd6 Rd1 104. Kc6 d4 105. Kc7 d3 106. c6 d2 107. Rd3 Ke6 =, because Black simply shuffles his King back and forth. Kc8 is answered by Rc1 Rd2: Rc6:+, and =. Of course this
is very long variation, but at least some moves seemed to be forced.

I.2 White tries Re7 (the idea is to get behind the pawn) against Kb7

94. ... Kb7 95. Re7 Kc7 96. Re1 Kd7 97. Rf1 Ke6 98. f5+ Kf6, and it is difficult to win for White.

I.3. White tries Rf6, attacking c6

94. ... Kb7 95. Rf6 Kc7 96. Rd6 Rb1 97. f5 Rf1 98. f6 Rf4, at least a = for Black

It seems White has to stop the Kb7 immediately.

II. Primarily trying Plan 3

94. ... Kb7 95. Rc7+ Ka6 (By the way: Kc7 is looking good, too. Black simply plays Kd7 and Ke7 next, combined with the Rb1-Rd1 or Rb1-Rf1 idea. There is no clear way visible for White how to promote the pawn.) Black threatens 96. ... Rb4+, winning the d4-pawn or drawing by stalemate after Kb4:. After 96. Ka3 not Rb4, because of 97. Ra7+ Ka7: 98. Kb4: Kb7 99. Ka5 , but 96. ... Rb1. After 96. Rf8, Black plays Rb1, as above.

There probably is much more to this (especially a way for White to win after the blunt Kb7-Kc7-Kd7 approach, some truely elegant stalemate motifs and pawn endgame finesses), but this shall suffice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle solution, Botvinnik's clever 94...Rb1!! enables him to save the draw despite being down a passed pawn against Tal in a difficult Rook and Pawn ending.
Feb-23-08  JG27Pyth: Okay <Dzechiel &JohnLspouge>, thanks for showing me this line... <94...Rb1 95 Rf7+ Ka6 96 Rc7 >

however, is that line even necessary... does black have to advance the King to a6 out of the check... why not 95...Kb8 keeping the rook from attacking the b pawn? The king can't penetrate with the rook on the b-file....

Well, I've analyzed that line (Rf7+ Kb8 ) a bit with the computer and it gets a little hairy-er than I'd thought, I can see why you might want to avoid it... but as far as I can see it _does_ hold. But that said... it's a deep calculation (much deeper that I could go OTB) I'm not even certain it holds so I can see it's nice to have the clear stalemate trap available so one doesn't have to worry about it.

FWIW I like MAJ's puzzle more than CGs today.

Feb-23-08  xrt999: next time I have insomnia I will pull out this game. By move 60 I should be fast asleep...
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: Okay <Dzechiel &JohnLspouge>, thanks for showing me this line... <94...Rb1 95 Rf7+ Ka6 96 Rc7 > [snip] Well, I've analyzed that line (Rf7+ Kb8 ) a bit with the computer and it gets a little hairy-er than I'd thought, I can see why you might want to avoid it... but as far as I can see it _does_ hold.>

<JG27Pyth>, thanks for sharing your analysis. On general principle, of course, the correct strategy in the puzzle for both sides is to go after the bases of the opponent's P chain, if possible. Your computer probably found that Black's K ends up in the 8-th rank dodging mate threats, if the White K penetrates on the b-file and both players successfully destroy each other's base. My guess is that Botvinnik saw an easy draw in the safer position where both bases are preserved. For him, I bet the stalemate was just an incidental technical detail providing him with that position. It's very interesting that he probably could have survived without the stalemate threat, however.

Feb-23-08  zooter: this is beyond i'll quickly take a peek
Feb-23-08  zooter: Ah, Rb1 seemed an obvious move to get the rook beyond the passed pawn...the rest is beyond me...
Feb-23-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <Benzol> & <beatgiant>, discussing Tal's missed win: <Unfortunately he doesn't say where Tal could have won earlier>

I think <beatgiant> had the correct idea with 58. fxg5. Hiarcs also likes that move, but then deviates from the <beatgiant>'s line and proposes this:

58. fxg5 f4 59. g6 f3 60. Kc3 f2 61. Rb1 Ra8 62. Rf1

click for larger view

(black to move).

The above evaluates at +3.70 or so, and rises with increasing analysis depth. Backslide seems to confirm the line. Overall, it seems to be a pretty convincing indication for white's win.

I could not find a substantial chance of an earlier draw for the black. Hiarcs' backslide does not show any big inaccuracies. But then I did not really spend much time on the analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <HeMateMe: You're right, I think this was the first sign of the diseased kidney problem. >

Tal in his autobiography: <Seriously speaking, I was quite unprepared for the change which had taken place in Botvinnik. He arrived for the 1961 match extremely self-disciplined and aggressive, readily going in for a stormy position if it looked favorable for him, which he had not done in 1960. In the main one must look to the form of the winner to find an explanation for the result of the match.>

Feb-24-08  Jim Bartle: Yes, Tal was clearly extremely weak in the "losing excuse" department. I mean, "My opponent played better than I did" isn't going to cut it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Jim Bartle: Yes, Tal was clearly extremely weak in the "losing excuse" department. I mean, "My opponent played better than I did" isn't going to cut it.>

There's a lesson here. If you don't alibi your own defeats (and manage to be supernaturally gifted & charming as well) your fans will make alibis for you, in the apparent belief that you should never lose a game. See Tal and Morphy. On the other hand, if you blame your own losses on everything and anything under the sun except your opponent's superior play (and act like a jerk in other respects), you may cause people to underrate your real ability. See Howard Staunton.

Apr-18-09  BISHOP TAL: Im lookin at this book better chess by william hartston, and it says in a wold title match between tal and botvinnik. Botvinnik exchanged a pair of rooks on an open file,then moved his second rook away from the same file. After the game tal confessed his surprise.Botvinnik explained to him in this type position 1 must not play with 2 pairs of rooks nor with with no rooks at all,but only with 1 pair of rooks. Tal went home and analyses for many hours with 2 rooks 1 rook and no rooks and Tal found the game could only be saved with 1 rook.The book went on to say that it taughthim such positions should be played with 1 rook with confidence.Anyways I want to find this game there talking about its not listed here does anyone know wich game this is please let me know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: i think it refers to the caro kann game botvinnik won as black in the 1960 match v tal-not the 1961 match
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: Tal vs Botvinnik, 1960


Apr-18-09  BISHOP TAL: ty Mr.keene I only looked at the drawn games in the 60-61 matchup cuase the word saved was used in the book.The man who beat botvinnik answered my question unreal, so cool... I went thew that game, your annotations do help in unstanding the game, always liked you Tony Miles and Nigel Short I am going to get that Tony miles book you wrote sooner or later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: glad to be of service and i hope you like my book on miles-it has the real deep notes to his 1--a6 win v karpov which i watched and analysed with tony-no other book has this in in its fullest extent ! if you are interested in miles i also have the live tv footage of his other win v karpov in the caro kann in the dvd great british chess triumphs-see the link on my website
Jun-09-09  WhiteRook48: doesn't look like a swindle
Oct-26-11  grin44: it's amazing that Tal let Botvinnik go in the final part of this endgame from 88 move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: A really nice effort by Tal to try to bring the match within 3 (12-9).
Jan-22-18  sibiryak: Botvinnik writes: "My analysis (taking the stalemate combination into account) showed that the strongest continuation was to get Black's rook to a6, as follows 90.♖f8 ♖a5 + 91.♔b3 ♖xa6 92.♖xf5 ♔d7 93.♖ f6 ♖a1 94.f5 ♖d1 95.♔c3 ♖c1 + 96.♔d2 ♖f1 97.♖f7 + ♔d8 98.♔c3 ♖b1 But even here Black appears to draw; for example, after 99.f6 ♖f1 100.♔b4 ♔e8, or 99.♔c2 ♖b4 100.♔d3 ♖b3 + 101.♔e2 ♖h3 102.f6 ♖h4 103.♔e3 ♖e4 + 104.♔d3 ♖f4. "

But if we continue his line: 99.f6 ♖f1 100.♔b4 ♔e8 - 101. Rh7 Rxf6 102. Ka5 Rf4 103. Kb6 Rxd4 104. Kxc6 White has a winning position.

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