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Miguel Najdorf vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Groningen (1946)  ·  Nimzo-Indian Defense: Classical. Noa Variation (E34)  ·  1-0
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find similar games 3 more Najdorf/Botvinnik games
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Kibitzer's Corner
May-11-04  chrismiceli: this same game is repeated 3 times in chessgames database.
Apr-21-05  Chris00nj: Najdorf boasted before the match that he was going to "pluck Botvinnik like a chicken" and apparent he did just that.
Apr-21-05  maoam: It looks as though he won a few games too. Mind you, Botvinnik probably wasn't fit to play after being "plucked like a chicken."
Apr-21-05  Milo: The ironic similarity of this game to Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 could not have been lost of Botvinnik.
Apr-21-05  Chris00nj: Bronstein said in his autobiography that Botvinnik kept Najdorf, an obvious replacement for Rueben Fine, out of the 1948 match tournament out of spite for this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: 12...c4, not followed by ...Bb5, looks bad to me. great win by Najdorf though.
Apr-21-05  iron maiden: I don't see where Bronstein is coming from, since Botvinnik wouldn't normally have a say on such matters.
Aug-11-07  wolfmaster: Najdorf defeats the champ!
Sep-03-07  wolfmaster: <Shams> I agree.
Sep-14-08  pom nasayao: Black's error started at 32.__Ng6. White's 33. dxe6 gave him tempo, snatching a piece while maintaining the threat both against their queens.
Premium Chessgames Member
  stoy: This game is really from Groningen 1946. It is redundant with the next Najdorf-Botvinnik game in this database. This game should be deleted!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Chris00nj: Najdorf boasted before the match that he was going to "pluck Botvinnik like a chicken" and apparent he did just that.>

..and Najdorf before the game, approached Flohr who was Botvinnik's second, and offered to bet 500 guilders that he would win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: About the similarity to the game Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938, if I my understanding is correct, Capa's placement of his Knight at the edge of the Queen side of the board makes sense, and it was at the time a customary move. But Botvinnik's placing of his Knight there does not make any sense to me. In this game I don't see so much Najdorf playing brilliantly, but Botvinnik being on an off day. And he eventually lost by losing a piece in a suicidal manner.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: It wasn't the correct thing to do for Najdorf to make such bets, but I for one have no problem believing that B. could actually veto Najdorf's assistance to the 1948 match tournament. Many of the players of the time complained about the power B. yielded. It came from the Party, possibly from the very top.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Played in the 19th (last) round; Botvinnik had a 1/2 point lead over Euwe which held up as both lost in the last round. 6 a3 was an innovation; apparently an attempt to avoid Botvinnik's superior opening knowledge. 6..Bxc3 is the only move that makes sense though 6..Be7 is almost as popular leading to an Exchange variation of the Queens Gambit with White having the extra move 6 a3 which would obviously be useful in a minority attack. Botvinnik's decision to close the position when he was ahead in development with 12..c4?! was surprising; 12..cxd 13 cxd..0-0 14 Bd3..Rfc8 looks more promising. The queenside play anticipated with 14..b5? never got off the ground; better was 14..Bf5 (if White plays Bd1 then the d3 square will be available for the Black bishop) or 14..Nc7. The tournament book and Pachman are critical of 21..Na4 recommending instead 21..Ncd7 22 Nxd7..Bd7 but Kasparov notes that after 23 e4!?..dxe 24 fxe..Nxe4 25 Bf4..Nd6 26 Qb4..Rb6 27 Rae1 White has a promising initiative for the pawn. Black was lost after 29..Ne7?; Kasparov recommended 29..Nb6 30 Nf5..Rbd8 31 Qg4..Qd7 32 Qg3 when White is better but still has work to do to win the game. Botvinnik may have lost 31 g4!; 31..dxe or 31..g6 would have held out longer without changing the final result.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This must have been a very worrying loss for Botvinnik. His first meeting with Najdorf and he is beaten at a canter. He must have been very relieved when Najdorf was not included in the lists of the 1948 WC tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The thought of getting a hiding did not appear to trouble Botvinnik overmuch in his return matches for the world title; cannot imagine why Najdorf coming in as the sixth player in 1948 would have fazed him in any way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: My concept was that Botvinnik was facing Najdorf for the first time. The polack/spick would have been a totally unknown quantity to the russky/finn.

After losing this game Botvinnik might have been relieved at Najdorf's absence from the 1948 tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Why? Because of this one game? He lost to Kotov and Yanofsky in this tournament as well but still won the tournament,

I think the great chess players are confident enough to not over-react to the results of one game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <maxi: It wasn't the correct thing to do for Najdorf to make such bets, but I for one have no problem believing that B. could actually veto Najdorf's assistance to the 1948 match tournament. Many of the players of the time complained about the power B. yielded. It came from the Party, possibly from the very top.>

The CPSU ran FIDE? Someone alert Sen. McCarthy.

An account of the arrangements of the 1948 match-tournament is given here.

As far as I know the notion that Botvinnik caused Najdorf to be excluded is just another drive-by Bronstein slander.

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: <keypusher> I have not studied the Najdorf case but there cannot a doubt of the strong influence Stalin and the CPSU had on many international organizations and forums at the time. Much suffering and unfairness came out of that.
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