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Max Euwe vs Alexander Kotov
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 1, Aug-30
Benoni Defense: Fianchetto Variation. Hastings Defense Main Line (A64)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-04-04  Backward Development: of interest:
on the Benoni system:
"The system Black has selected is not without its drawbacks, positionally speaking, but he does possess several trumps: the open e-file, good diagonals for both his bishops, and three pawns against two on the queenside. FOr his part, White can usually establish a knight at c4, putting the squeeze on on the d-pawn, the keystone of black's entire fortress. In this game, Euwe decides he would rather play on the queen side, creating weaknesses there for occupation by his pieces. Later, the game gets interesting, thanks to bold play-bold to the point of sacrifices-by both sides." after white's 20th move
"White prepares the decisve break b4, which black prevents by giving up his rook for the bishop."
Jan-02-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Thanks, David Bronstein, for fabulous work on this book--Zurich International Chess Tournament,1953.

I am going through the book (excellently written, very engaging) and it is an enjoyable experience.

And thanks, Backwards Development, for posting the quote from the book. And the giving up the rook for the bishop is not the only interesting spot--the idea of the pawn push from e2-e4-e5 gives some beautiful energy to the position (29, 30).

Jan-02-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: (play from 29-33)
Nov-24-08  Pennypacker: Hmmm, interesting game. It appears that 20...Rxe3 is sound but black went wrong on move 23 when he should've played 23...Bxe3 forcing white to move his rook and then he could play 24...c4.

White can in turn give back the exchange with 24.Qxa6 but I don't care much for whites pawn structure after 24...Bxc1 25.Rxc1 Ra8 26.Qb7 Qxb7 27.Nxb7 Ne8

And personally I don't really like whites 17.Be3 either, it looks a bit akward in this position. Re1 looks more appealing. Ah well.

May-20-09  superstoned: Is Schweiz another name for Zurich??
May-20-09  Nietzowitsch: Schweiz means Switzerland. A bit vague for a tournament location.
Dec-19-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The Benoni was very rarely played at the time of this game. The position after 10 a4 is considered to be one of the standard positions in the Fianchetto variation but, according to this database, had never been reached prior to this game. The two most popular moves today are 12 h3 and 12 Nc4. 14..Qc7 has not been repeated; 14..Nc4 is the current theoretical choice. 24..Re5 worked out poorly as Euwe found a number of ways to protect the d-pawn indirectly. In Najdorf's book on the tournament (never translated into english) he recommended the following attacking variation: 24..Nh5! 25 Bf3..Nxg3! 26 Kxg3..Qd8! 27 Rh1..Bf4+! 28 Kg2 (28 Kxf4..Qh4+ 29 Kxe3..Qd4#)..Qg5+ 29 Kf1..Qg3 30 Nd1..Rxf3+! 31 exf..Qxf3+ 32 Kg1..Qg3+ 33 Kf1..Bxh3+ 34 Rxh3..Qxh3+ 35 Ke1..Qh1+ 36 Qf1..Bg3+ 37 Nf2..Qxd5 and Black has 4 pawns for the rook and better coordinated pieces. The queen pawn was poisoned for several moves: ie. 28..Nbxd5 29 Bxd5..Nxd5 30 Nxe5!..Bxb5 31 Nxb5 with numerous threats.
Apr-16-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Bronstein thinks 20...Rxe3 is an error - along with the moves leading up to it. I agree with Plang that 24....Nh5 looks like a much more consistent follow-up than 24....Re5. I guess 12....b5 has been repeated but it looks awful. I think the modern way to play this position would be 12...Ne5. If h3, then ....g5 and if Na4, then ....Nfd7. One thing about this game is that Kotov seems to be working very hard to come up with an attack and Euwe makes normal moves (the pawn sacrifice with 18.Qb3 and the finishing stroke 33.e5 seem like the only mildly difficult move all game) and wins easily.
Jun-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <superstoned: Is Schweiz another name for Zurich??>

< Nietzowitsch: Schweiz means Switzerland. A bit vague for a tournament location.>

This game was, in fact, played in the first round of the famous Zurich 1953 Candidates Tournament.

In the recently-published English translation of Najdorf’s book (<Zurich 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship>, by NAJDORF, Miguel, tr. by Kingston, Taylor, ©2012 Russell Enterprises, Inc., at p. 44), it is said that Kotov was “so impressed” by Euwe’s play in this game that “he could not speak for some time afterwards, nor utter any of those amusing epigrams so pleasing to the Soviet master”.

Despite the auspicious beginning, over the course of the tournament Euwe scored only 11.5/28 (41.1%) to finish 14th in the field of 15.

Jun-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <plang: *** 24..Re5 worked out poorly as Euwe found a number of ways to protect the d-pawn indirectly. In Najdorf's book on the tournament (never translated into english) he recommended the following attacking variation: 24..Nh5! 25 Bf3..Nxg3! 26 Kxg3..Qd8! 27 Rh1..Bf4+! 28 Kg2 (28 Kxf4..Qh4+ 29 Kxe3..Qd4#)..Qg5+ 29 Kf1..Qg3 30 Nd1..Rxf3+! 31 exf..Qxf3+ 32 Kg1..Qg3+ 33 Kf1..Bxh3+ 34 Rxh3..Qxh3+ 35 Ke1..Qh1+ 36 Qf1..Bg3+ 37 Nf2..Qxd5 and Black has 4 pawns for the rook and better coordinated pieces. *** >

In the English translation of Najdorf’s book (op. cit., supra) recently published by Russell Enterprises, the variation given by <plang> in the excerpt quoted above continues at move 32 with: “<32. Nf2 Bg3 >” (at p. 53). [Query: Did Najdorf give the variation with <32. Kg1> in a later edition of his book than the one used for Kingston’s translation?]

The move given by <plang> in his post from Dec-19-11 (<32. Kg1>) is clearly better than <32. Nf2>, as noted in the computer-assisted “Analytical Notes, Corrections, and Enhancements” posted by the translator (Taylor Kingston) on-line (see: http://russell-enterprises.com/imag... ), as follows:

“The note to Black’s 24th overlooks a move that may overturn its verdict. Rather than <32.Nf2> as in the note, better is <32.Kg1!>, when about the only winning try for Black is <32...Qg3+ 33.Kf1 Bxh3+ 34.Rxh3 Qxh3+ 35.Ke1 Qh1+ 36.Qf1 Bg3+ 37.Ke2 Qe4+ 38.Ne3 Nxd5 39.Ra3>, leading to an unclear position where Black has four pawns for a rook and can force a draw at will, but there is no win on the horizon.”

Kingston’s comment that the superior defensive move <32. Kg1!> may “overturn” the verdict in Najdorf’s book is perhaps overstated, since Najdorf merely wrote that <24. … Nh5> would “g[i]ve winning chances” and described the variations he gave as “possibilities” (not conclusive). In any case, <24. … Nh5> (not mentioned in Bronstein’s notes) seems definitely to have been the best move, after which Black at least would not have stood worse.

Jun-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <zydeco: Bronstein thinks 20...Rxe3 is an error - along with the moves leading up to it. ***>

This comment does not accurately reflect what Bronstein wrote. The move that Bronstein criticized was <18. … Nf6>, at which point in the game he recommended <18. … Rab8>. After giving the positional reasons behind this recommendation and a short variation, Bronstein concluded with:

“The plan Black actually selects is not as good: he intends to sacrifice an exchange, hoping to obtain complications.” (<Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953>, by BRONSTEIN, David, tr. from the Second Russian Edition by Jim Marfia, ©1979 Dover Publications, Inc., at p. 10.)

In the position that actually arose after <20. Qd1>, Kotov’s exchange sacrifice (<20. … Rxe3>) was unquestionably sound (objectively equal, with double-edged possibilities), and Bronstein says nothing that criticizes the choice of that move at that particular juncture in the game.

Jun-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: BTW, although Kotov's exchange sac (<20. ... Rxe3>) was sound, his choice three moves later to take again on e3 with a rook (<23. ... Rxe3>, picking up the weak pawn created by the sac on move 20 with the other, remaining rook) was seemingly inferior to taking with the Bishop (<23. ... Bxe3>), as previously noted in this thread by <Pennypacker>, although neither Bronstein nor Najdorf commented on this inaccuracy.
Oct-15-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: <peligroso patzer> Bronstein writes: "the plan black actually selects is not so good; he intends to sacrifice an exchange, creating complications."
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