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Isaac Boleslavsky vs Alexander Kotov
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 3, Sep-02
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Classical Defense. Alekhine System (D28)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-05-04  Backward Development: of interest
after black's 7th move
"b5 is usually played here, but Kotov holds back with this, intending to play it only after white's Nc3 if then a4, black can reply b4 with tempo. Black's central exchange aims at securing an unhampered development for his pieces, followed by the establishment of a piece on d5. This relieves White of his main headache in the queen's gambit, namely: the development of his queen's bishop; it also opens up the e-file. Boleslavsky ammasses a great pile of pieces in the center, and then sets off some interesting complications, with the d-pawn acting as a fuse." after black's 13th
"All the commentators agreed this move was a mistake, since it allowed white to carry out the pretty breakthrough that follows, with it's lively play leading to a win for white, some thirty moves hence. Stahlberg, and Euwe as well in his earlier commentaries, suggest that 13...Nb4 was the required response here. However, Rauzer showed in some rather old analysis that the continuation 13...Nb4
14.d5 Nbxd5
15.Nxd5 Bxd5
16.Bxd5 Nxd5
17.Bxe7 Qxe7
18.Rxd5 favors white. najdorf therefore recommended 13..Nd5 14.Nxd5 Bxg5
15.Nc3 Nb4, a view also adopted later by Euwe.
We should like to go a little more deeply into the concept of 'mistake', as it is applied to chess. To begin with, the mistakenness of 13...Na5 was only demonstrated as a result of white's clever and by no means obvious continuation. his advantage finally boiled down to his possession of a strong bishop against black's knight in an endgame: certainly not all that simple, nor all that much! Secondly it's not clear how the battle might have gone after ...Nd5, since white had the secret weapon 14.Nxd5 Bxg5 15.Nb6 if black plays 15...Rb8, instead of taking the knight, he loses the exchange after Nxg5 and Nd7 and on ...Ra7 d5 is very strong. If he takes the knight on b6, however, black will be in a real predicament after 16. Nxg5 h6 loses to the sacrifice on f7 followed by Qxe6, and there seems to be no defense to the thematic push d5. Black's difficulties appear to have another cause entirely. Compared with black's pieces, white's have made three extra moves!-both rooks to central files, and the bishop to an attacking diagonal. if there is logic in chess, then those three powerful developing moves must tell somehow. it is a grandmaster's task to demonstrate white's advantage, and in this case the proof was of the complicated combinative sport. Such melding of logic and combinative powers is the hallmark of Boleslavsky." after white's 25th move
"Now Boleslavsky must demonstrate his endgame skill. White begins with a typical technique in such bishop\knight endings: placing his bishop three squares distant from the enemy knight on an opposite colored square, thereby totally deprviving the knight of moves. Getting via f6 would be absolutely hopeless, since the knight\bishop ending with an extra pawn is a dead win for white. boleslavsky continues by fixing the a and b-pawns on light squares and bringing up his king; then after a few more prepatory moves, he can pick off the a-pawn with his knight."
Jul-31-05  b3wins: This nice quote is from Bronstein's classic book on the 1953 Zurich Tournament. However, there is a big hole in his analysis of the 13...Nd5 alternative: after 14.Nxd5 Bxg5 15.Nb6 Rb8 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Nd7 black is not "losing the exchange" but is actually winning at once with 17...Nxd4 18.Qf1 Nf3+ 19.Kh1 Qf4 20.g3 Nxe1+ etc.
Aug-01-05  aw1988: Move 20, Black brings his bishop en prise. Move 25, he takes it out. Lots of tactics in-between.
May-14-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: A good example of the strength of the d5 break in isolated pawn positions if black is not careful. One way to stop d5 is to play ..Re8 but this leaves black vulnerable to Ne5 with threats of Nf7. In the endgame Kotov, perhaps, should not have advanced his kingside pawns as aggressively. If Kotov had tried to retain his QRP with 35..Bc8 then both of his minor pieces would have been without play after 36 Nc5.
Jul-31-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <A good example of the strength of the d5 break in isolated pawn positions if black is not careful.>

For another example, see Ulf Andersson vs Karpov, 1995, 1-0 in 18!

Jul-04-09  ozmikey: <b3wins> <This nice quote is from Bronstein's classic book on the 1953 Zurich Tournament. However, there is a big hole in his analysis of the 13...Nd5 alternative: after 14.Nxd5 Bxg5 15.Nb6 Rb8 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Nd7 black is not "losing the exchange" but is actually winning at once with 17...Nxd4 18.Qf1 Nf3+ 19.Kh1 Qf4 20.g3 Nxe1+ etc.>

Could White still win the exchange (for a pawn) by 17. d5 in the line above, to block the diagonal, followed by 18. Nd7?

Jul-20-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <ozmikey> I think you are right.
Jul-24-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <<ozmikey: <b3wins> *** [T]here is a big hole in [Bronstein’s] analysis of the 13...Nd5 alternative: after 14.Nxd5 Bxg5 15.Nb6 Rb8 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Nd7 black is not "losing the exchange" but is actually winning at once with 17...Nxd4 18.Qf1 Nf3+ 19.Kh1 Qf4 20.g3 Nxe1+ etc.>

Could White still win the exchange (for a pawn) by 17. d5 in the line above, to block the diagonal, followed by 18. Nd7?>

<Fusilli: <ozmikey> I think you are right.>

I agree with <Fusilli> that by including the finesse <17. d5> to prepare <18. Nd7>, White can gain a winning advantage after <13. … Nd5 14. Nxd5 Bxg5 15. Nb6 Rb8 16. Nxg5 Qxg5>.

Black can improve in this line, however, with <15. … Nxd4 16. Qd3 Nxf3+!< >> (vastly superior to <16. … Nf5>, the move analyzed by Bronstein in this sub-variation).

Jul-26-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Maybe it’s just an indication of the depth and complexity of chess, but Najdorf (in <Zurich 1953: 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship>, by NAJDORF, Miguel, tr. by Taylor Kingston, Russell Enterprises, Inc. ©2012, at p. 72) presents some very dubious analysis of variations with a hypothetical <15. … Bb7xf3> (attacking the White Queen on e2) in place of Kotov’s actual <15. … Qd8-b6> (removing the Black Queen from an attack by the White Rook on d1).

Najdorf presents <15. … Bxf3> as a superficially appealing attempt by Black to save a draw, which Najdorf concludes would not work. The conclusion that <15. … Bxb7> would lose is correct [it is less than clear, however, that Kotov was losing after his actual <15. … Qb6>, as Najdorf assumes], but Najdorf’s analysis of the variations after <15. … Bxf3> is seriously flawed. Without presenting Najdorf’s variations in full detail, I will mention two specific cases of his errors.

First, he initially considers <16. exf7+> in reply to <15. … Bxf3> and finds that this line looks OK for Black (which it isn’t). He then looks at another line, which he introduces as follows: “But there is a little finesse one must note: after <15. … Bxf3> not <16. exf7+>, but rather <16. Qxf3>”, after which he presents several variations, all of which he apparently believes are winning for White. I did not find Najdorf’s analysis convincing, and when I checked that analysis with Fritz, the engine’s clear conclusion was that after <15. … Bxf3>, the only winning response is: <16. exf7+>, the move dismissed by Najdorf! (<Note>: According to Fritz, one critical point at which Najdorf goes astray in analyzing <16. exf7+> is when after <16. … Kh8>, he analyzes only <17. Qxf3>, whereas the fairly obvious <17. Rxd8> is the only winning move [per Fritz].)

As a second instance of Najdorf’s errors, in the line with <15. … Bxf3 16. Qxf3>, one variation Najdorf considers goes: <16. … Nd4 17. Qe3! Bc5 18. e7 Bxe7 19. Rxd4> [end of Najdorf’s published analysis]. My immediate reaction (unaided by engine analysis) was: “Yeah, but what if Black continues with <19. … Qb6>, moving the Queen to safety and threatening to take on d4 if White plays <20. Qxe7>, which would leave Black up the exchange?” Sure enough, when I ran the position through Fritz, the engine evaluated the position after <19. … Qb6> as only slightly in White’s favor (by about 0.3). This idea occurred instantly to this patzer, so what’s up with Najdorf’s apparently having overlooked <19. … Qb6> in this variation?

Jul-16-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Grandmaster Ronen Har-Zvi presented this game in a lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb6B...
Jul-16-13  parisattack: <whiteshark: Grandmaster Ronen Har-Zvi presented this game in a lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb6B>...

Thank you for the link; I was not aware of his lecture series.

Thematic break-up of black's position with a timely d5 in the QGA.

Jul-02-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  jbennett: I'm doing a series of videos on the Zurich 1953 tournament. For round 3 I selected this game to cover: http://youtu.be/IzsD_82zueA
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