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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Lajos Portisch
"Botvinnik and Paid For" (game of the day Feb-12-09)
Monte Carlo (1968)  ·  English Opening: King's English. Two Knights' Variation Reversed Dragon (A22)  ·  1-0
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Last move:

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Given 64 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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find similar games 3 more Botvinnik/Portisch games
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Why 15...Nb8? Instead, 15...Qd7 or 15...h6 seem to give black a reasonable game.

I think that Portisch's (flawed) logic went something like this:

White's doubled rooks exert considerable pressure on c7. I would dearly love to be able to move my Nc6 out of the way and then play c6. Then the rooks would "bite on granite" and I could think about moves like b5 to kick away that annoying white queen.

Of course, I can't move my knight away without losing the c7 pawn. Hang on ... maybe the c7 pawn is safe because 16. Rxf7 would be met by Bc6 and the rook is trapped.

So my plan is Nb8 followed by c6 and then Nd7, and I have a perfectly good game.

Unfortunately, this plan has a tactical refutation. 18. Rxf7!

Now black cannot take the rook because of 18... Kxf7 19. Qc4+ Kg6 20. Qg4+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ Kg8 22. Qc4+

click for larger view

From here, black can only delay the smothered mate by giving away queen and rook.

Feb-12-09  ruelas007: the first time i saw this game i could only guess the last 4 moves, but the beginning of the combination was mind blowing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Botvinnik could play tactics with the best of them when the occasion presented itself. His games as White against Schimd 1960, 1965 also attest.

Hypermodern openings with innocuous-looking positions can lead to speedy fireworks if black mis-steps. See also Petrosian-Pachman 1961.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <JG27Pyth> wrote: This game reminded me of some Botvinnik trivia [snip] >

<Pyth>, this is 2-nd funniest post I have seen on CG. Like Irving Berlin, you are your own worst competition.

I showed your kibitzes to a co-worker who does not play chess...and he wants me to show them to him anytime!

Feb-12-09  WhiteRook48: I would have preferred "Hail to Botvinnik"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Frankygolucky: 21. ...,Qe6 seems to hold. I analyze 22.Qe4,Nd7
23.Ng6+,Kg8 How does White continue?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Frankygolucky: 21. ...,Qe6 seems to hold. I analyze 22.Qe4,Nd7 23.Ng6+,Kg8 How does White continue?>

This is the position at the end of your line:

click for larger view

From here, 24. Qxc6 seems strong. White threatens to win the black queen with Bd5. Now, 24...Qxc6 25. Bxc6 pins the black knight against the rook. Black can't defend the knight against the double attack of rook and bishop, so he may be forced to drop the exchange with 25...Nf6 28. Bxe8. White wins easily with his extra pawns.

Back to the diagram above. If white tries to cover d5 with 24...Nf6, then white has 25. Ne7+. This breaks the protection of the queen from the Rf8. Black either has to drop the exchange with 25...Rxe7 26. Rxe7 or he tries to protect the queen with 25...Kf7. But that also loses to 26. Nd5+ Kg6 27. Qxe6 Rxe6 28. Nc7 forking both black rooks.

I don't think 21...Qe6 holds. White's dominant position seems to guarantee that he will win back the exchange and leave black three pawns down.

Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: one of Botwinnik's best
Jul-04-09  backrank: One of the greatest games ever, indeed.

A 'ghost rook' (which is doomed, to say the least) raging on the 7th rank ... very much reminiscent of another world famous game: Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895

Making the seemingly impossible thing possible in chess is always fascinating ... it fascinates (me) even more if such an improbable combination proves entirely correct (which is the case here).

Jul-04-09  MaxxLange: severe tactics at the end
Jul-17-09  totololo: I prefer Botvinnik when he decompressed to be World FUnny Guy and played real chess!
Oct-04-09  twoinchgroup: <Now black cannot take the rook because of 18... Kxf7 19. Qc4+ Kg6 20. Qg4+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ Kg8 22. Qc4+

click for larger view
From here, black can only delay the smothered mate by giving away queen and rook.>


It would seem to me that there would be no smothered mate as a conclusion to your line rather 22...Qd5 23.Bxd5+ Kh8 24.Bg8(24.Bxc6 g6 27.Qf7 Re7 28.Qxf8++) g6 25.Qf7 Re7 26.Qxf8 Nd7 27.Qxf7 and etc. I might be wrong here since I don't use a computer to analyse so....

Mar-18-10  funkymihir: isn't this tagline same with this game-Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963
Oct-07-10  jerseybob: I've never liked this Reversed Dragon Defense for black; I know loads of people use it, but it just looks too fragile to me. Playing the black side of a reversed opening, a move behind, is no big deal if it's a closed position, but that's not the case here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sevenseaman: ...21 Qxb7? I think White sacks a redundant R merely to keep the enemy Q out of action.
Jan-18-11  redorc19: brilliant!!!
Jan-19-11  Wyatt Gwyon: I went over this game out of a book this morning and had to come see what the pun was....

Amazing game. Portisch sets the trap at c7 only to see it backfire terribly. Good stuff.

Apr-20-11  meppi: For me when there is a resign on here i like to play quick moves against myself and finish the game no computer analysis or anything just putting moves into here to try and win from the position. Here is what i come up with. 26. Bxh6+ Kxh6
27. Qh4+ Kg7
28. Qh7+ Kf6
29. Ng4+ Ke6
30. Bf5+ Kd5
31. Qxb7 Ra6
32. e4+ Kd4
33. Qb3 Bb4
34. axb4 axb4
35. Qxb4+ Kxd3
36. e5+ Ke2
37. Qe4+ Kd1
38. Ne3+ Ke1
39. Qb1+ Ke2
40. Qc2+ Ke1
41. Ng2# with fianchetto horse, i wonder if there is any real game with a fianchetto horse checkmate??
May-09-11  noah913: I've been working on a pawn sac line as black that goes like this: 1.c4 e5 2.g3 d5 3.exd5 c6 which one of my friends recommended to me and ive gotten many wins with it anyone have any ideas?
Sep-13-11  Atking: I thought that 11...e4! was a opening refutation but 12.Ne1 looks playable. As for 11...Nd4 12.NxNb6 Bb3 13.NxR BxQ 14.RaxB QxN (14...Nxe2+ 15.Kh1 QxN 16.Rfe1 xBe7) 15.Nxe5 may playable too. I will be fine if this gem is still alive.
Sep-14-11  SimonWebbsTiger: @Noah

have you compared the Smith-Morra Sicilian Gambit? White has the extra tempo g3 compared to black.

Sep-25-11  Crazychess1: I can still remember the first time I saw 18. Rxf7!! I don't think any move before or since has stunned me more. The game seems to be humming along at an uninteresting pace and then, from out of nowhere, a truly amazing attack unfolds. One of the best ever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: A game that continues to amaze me each time I play it over... "Before Botvinnik we did not understand the English."

Fun to compare how different GMs have handled this flexible opening - Flohr, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Stein.

Jun-13-12  DanielBryant: I would have liked to see Portisch's expression upon 18.Rxf7!!
Mar-02-14  LIFE Master AJ:

My web page for this game. (Re-done.)

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