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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian
Botvinnik - Petrosian World Championship Match (1963), Moscow URS, rd 4, Mar-30
English Opening: Symmetrical. Two Knights Variation (A35)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-04-08  Knight13: Haha both players messing around with their dark-squared bishops.

11...Ne7 12. Qb4.

Jul-16-09  nymsso: I think both players are playing positionally so the games results in somewhat drawish endgame type of games...
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: A crucial game. Petrosian was well aware that Botvinnik began many of his matches with a huge burst, +3 =1 being a common score after 4 games. Botvinnik had won the first game as black, had a strong initiative as white in game 2 (Botvinnik vs Petrosian, 1963), drawn without too many scares in game 3 and now played this game 4.

This game ended up as a huge disappointment for MB.

He plays 8.Qb3...

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and black takes the knight on c3. However, Botvinnik does not recapture. He has prepared a very good novelty: 9.Bf1-c4!

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Petrosian now shows why and how he was a defensive genius. He plays all the right moves. After 10.b2xc3, Botvinnik had expected 10...Na5.

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MB says he would now have played 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.Qa4 Nc6 13.d5!! exd5 14.0-0 <with a strong attack>:

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What do you think?

Botvinnik is perturbed by Petrosian's unexpected defence. Was he wondering if there had been a spy watching his home analysis? He repeats moves and we come to this position:

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Black has only one piece in play. Surely a player like Tal would knock over the black position pretty quickly? Yes, he would! Tal vs H Pohla, 1972 where Tal played 12.0-0. Simple!

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Botvinnik thinks he could have held on to an advantage with 17.Bxc6 Bxc6 18.Ne5 Qd5 19.f3
Mar-10-14  RookFile: offramp is right that the position screams for 12. 0-0.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <offramp: Botvinnik is perturbed by Petrosian's unexpected defence. Was he wondering if there had been a spy watching his home analysis?>

Paranoia will destroy ya.

Mar-10-14  Petrosianic: Yeah, but in this case, it's offramp's paranoia, rather than Botvinnik's.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Petrosianic: Yeah, but in this case, it's offramp's paranoia, rather than Botvinnik's.> I don't think anyone <was> passing on information about Botvinnik's opening preparation - but Botvinnik might have thought that someone was.

But Botvinnik's preparation was not really very good. Tal found a better continuation (12.0-0) - it doesn't look too hard to find, but Botvinnik missed it. Mind you, Pohla did not play very well, but at least Tal set him more difficult problems.

I thought it was a fact that Botvinnik distrusted some of his assistants during these championship matches.

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