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WCC: Smyslov-Botvinnik Rematch 1958
Compiled by WCC Editing Project
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ORIGINAL: History of the World Chess Championship

Game Collection: Smyslov vs World Champions Decisive Games

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Chess events 1957-1958

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Match preparation

-<Pessimism of Smyslov>

Golombek:

<"I remember that, late in 1957 when the European Team Championship was being held at Vienna, Smyslov said to me, <<<'Maybe these six games are the only games I'll play as World Champion.'>>>

...I believe Smyslov lost the match through underestimating Botvinnik. In consequence, his preparation for the contest was not nearly so thorough as Botvinnik's, a circumstance that was reflected very strongly in the opening play. It seems too that this match had a shattering effect on Smyslov's confidence in his own powers as a player. For there has been a marked decline in his tournament results since then.">

Harry Golombek "Some Olympian Moments," in "Chess Treasury of the Air" Terence Tiller, ed. (Hardinge Simpole 2002), p.86

===

Botvinnik:

<"I had to decide whether I should play a return match or not. In other words did I have hope of winning back the lost title? Over the course of two months I carried out analytical work. This established what the reader already knows. I might add that in the period from September 1956 to April 1957 I played too many games (50!).

When I ceased to experience chess "hunger" I always played without any drive. I prepared my plan of preparation, but still had hesitations over taking a final decision. Podtserob came for me, we called in on Ragozin and Podtserob drove us up to the Lenin Hills.

<<<'Mikhail Moiseyevich, you simply must play the match. I have studied you, you simply can't just 'live'. If you opt out of the struggle for the world championship then you will think up something else to undertake. It's better if you just play chess.'>>>

I told my friends about the work I have done and my plans of preparation- we came to the conclusion that I should play! So I sent an official telegram to the FIDE President, and there was now no retreat.">

Mikhail Botvinnik "Achieving the Aim" Bernard Cafferty, transl. (Pergamon 1981) p.148 Originally published in Russia "Achieving the Aim", Moscow: Young Guard, 1978

=========

Botvinnik originally published the following recollection in 1978: <...in the period from September 1956 to April 1957 I played too many games (50!)">.

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Achieving the Aim" Bernard Cafferty, transl. (Pergamon 1981), p.148. Originally published as "Achieving the Aim", (Moscow: Young Guard), 1978

But he either forgot the number of games he had played during this period, or he deliberately left out his 9 training games with <Averbakh>, wanting to keep that information concealed. The following count shows that <Botvinnik> actually played 59 (50 + 9) games during this period:

Botvinnik played 13 games at the Moscow Olympiad (31 Aug - 25 Sept 1956), 15 games at the Alekhine Memorial (9 Oct - 2 Nov 1956), 9 training games vs. Aberbakh (25 Dec 1956- 30 Jan 1957) at Botvinnik's dacha in Nikolina gora, and 22 games in the second championship match vs. Smyslov (5 March - 27 April 1957), for a total of 59 games.

So it seems likely that at the time of publication of his autobiography "Achieving the Aim" in 1978 Botvinnik was deliberately concealing his 9 training games with Averbakh.

Game count sources for period from September 1956 to April 1957:

-<Moscow Olympiad 1956> (13 games)

-"Olimbase" http://www.olimpbase.org/1956/1956i...

-Edward Winter, ed. "World Chess Champions" (Pergamon Press 1981), p. 148

=============

-<Alekhine Memorial 1956> (15 games)

-Di Felice, "Chess Results 1956-1960" (McFarland 2010), p.48

-Winter, ed. "World Chess Champions", p.148

=============

-<Averbakh Training Match 1956-1957> (9 games)

-Yuri Averbakh "Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes" Steve Giddins transl. (New in Chess 2011), p.101

-Jan Timman, "Secret Matches: The Unknown Training Games of Mikhail Botvinnik" (Russell Enterprises Inc. 2000), pp.79-83

===============

-<Championship match vs. Smyslov 1957> (22 games)

-Winter, ed. "World Chess Champions", p.148

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Conditions

-<Match length> First to 12 1/2 points from a maximum of 24 games.

-Harry Golombek
"The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958" (Harding Simpole 2002 -original copyright Golombek 1957), p.141* *Pagination of this section of the 1958 portion of this volume follows the original pagination from the "BCM" No.5 (June 1958), pp.141-196

===

-<Time control>

FIDE rules Paris 1949 Congress :

Translation by <Tabanus>

<2. At a World championship contest* there should in general be played three games a week, so that unfinished games from each round are continued the following day. The first 40 moves shall be made in <<<two and a half hours,>>> and the game will be interrupted after five hours of total playing time. Adjourned games shall be played with 16 moves an hour. Further adjournments will happen only after six hours total playing time, i. e. when at least 88 moves have been made.>

Tidskrift för schack, nr. 7-8, Juli-Aug. 1949, p.157

===

-<Draw odds> for the champion:

FIDE rules Paris 1949 Congress :

Translation by <Tabanus>

-<Punkt 9>

<9."If a world champion in a world championship match achieves a <<<draw>>>, or ties for first place with one or more participants in a world championship tournament, he retains his title.">

Tidskrift för schack, nr. 7-8, Juli-Aug. 1949, p.156

===

-<arbiter (also termed "umpire"- source Golombek)> Gideon Stahlberg

-<controller (also termed "judge"- source Golombek)> Harry Golombek

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.33

--Harry Golombek
"The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958" (Harding Simpole 2002 -original copyright Golombek 1957), p.85* *Pagination of this section of the 1958 portion of this volume follows the original pagination from the "BCM" No.4 (April 1958), pp.85-89

===

-<Seconds>

Grigory Goldberg (Botvinnik), Igor Bondarevsky (Smyslov)

Botvinnik:

<"Comparatively soon after the conclusion of the 1957 match the FIDE Vice-President Vyacheslav Ragozin (on the instructions of the President) obliged me to make a certain 'pressure' on the part of some old friends and only after I myself had made a plan of preparation for the return match, in July 1957 I sent an appropriate telegram to Stockholm addressed to the FIDE President Folke Rogard.

The USSR Chess Federation suggested that the return match should begin on 4 March 1958. Agreement was reached on the venue (Moscow) and the arbiters (arbiter- Gideon Stahlberg, controller- Harry Golombek). The FIDE Congress in Vienna (August 1957) approved these proposals.

Naturally, the regulations for the return match should have duplicated the regulations for the 1957 match. However, disagreements between the contestants unexpectedly arose, and the FIDE President had to intervene. The President's decision is of fundamental importance, since it also applies to future matches.

The President declared...

<<<3) since one of the contestants insisted that, in accordance with FIDE rules, only a second should offer help in the analysis of unfinished games, he (the President) cannot meet the request of the other contestant for a second assistant.>>>

The FIDE President's decision was announced to the contestants and the organisers by the arbiter Gideon Stahlberg shorty before the match. The arbiter also confirmed the names of the seconds: Igor Bondarevsky (second of the world champion) and Grigory Goldberg (second of the ex-champion).">

Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), pp.32-33. Originally published in Mikhail Botvinnik, "Match-revansh Smyslov-Botvinnik" (Iskusstvo, Moscow, 1960)

===

-<Venue> Sovietskaya Hotel Concert Hall

Adjournments to be played on the following day at the Central Chess Club

-Harry Golombek
"The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958" pp.85*, 86*

===============

-<Champion's right of rematch>

FIDE Congress Moscow 1956:

"FIDE has increased the number of zones from 7 to 9, through making an Asian zone and increasing the zones in Europe from 2 to 3"

"The Candidate tournament in 1959 to select the challenger to the World Champion will be organised with 7 participants and quadruple rounds, and the final will be played in 1960. The right for dethroned World champions to step in as third participant in a final competition has been annulled and replaced by the right for him to have a return match against the new World champion before the Candidate tournament under certain conditions."

http://www.schack.se/tfs/history/19...

===

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Course of the match

1st game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (0-1)

"Botvinnik attributed his own comeback in the rematch to his surprise adoption of the Caro-Kann Defense ('The effect was shattering') which gave him a three-point lead after three games. Smyslov 'won' the rest of the match games 10.5-9.5, 'But what use was that?' Botvinnik asked."

-Andrew Soltis, "Soviet Chess 1917-1991" (McFarland 1997), p.239 (This source requires CORROBORATION)

Corroboration from <Botvinnik> (use this only)

"A sensation was caused by the success of the Caro-Kann Defence. Black achieved an equal score, but it should not be forgotten that this result also includes the 15th game Botvinnik lost game 15 on time by "forgetting about the clock"

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2d game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1-0)

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3d game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (0-1)

Botvinnik:

<"After two games Smyslov felt unwell, and our official doctor M.S. Senkevich certified his illness. Smyslov received the right to one time out. <<<Apparently he still did not feel particularly well during the 3d game>>>: an unexpected oversight of a piece led to the loss of another point.">

Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.33

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4th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1/2)

Botvinnik:

<"...in the next game, the 4th- it was adjourned in a <<<winning position>>> for Smyslov...">

Adjourned position- (Source: -Mikhail Botvinnik, "Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958" I.Y. Botvinnik, ed., Steve Giddins transl. (New in Chess 2009), pp.203-204)

Botvinnik sealed <45.Kc3>:


click for larger view

-<"...In addition I had become unwell, and Senkevich the official match doctor advised me not to show up for the resumption... Of course, I couldn't accept this suggestion, since to miss the resumption was not sensible- all the same this would be recorded as a time-out, and in one just one day I would not get better.. <<<I preferred to play (seeing as the position was hopeless, I would only have to make a few moves),>>> and to use the illness certificate the following day, a Saturday- then I would also be able to stay in bed on the Sunday (the adjournment day) and the Monday (a rest day)- and all for one time-out. Of course, the doctor couldn't object to such a decision... On the resumption, against expectation, I had to make not a few moves, but as many as 40! My opponent committed two inaccuracies and missed the win.">

Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)," pp.33-34

-According to Botvinnik, the losing inaccuracy:

55...Kg4


click for larger view

<"Missing the win, because now White manages to regroup. Immediately after the game, Smyslov pointed out <<<the winning move 55...h5,>>> which creates a zugzwang (56.Ke3 c3! 57.bxc3! Ke6 and... Kd5). Black instead decides to exchange the c4 pawn for that on g3, but this only leads to a draw...">

VARIATION: position after the suggested winning line 55...h5 56.Ke3 c3! 57.bxc3! Ke6-


click for larger view

Mikhail Botvinnik, "Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958," pp.204-205

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5th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1-0)

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6th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1-0)

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7th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

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8th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1/2)

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9th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

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10th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1/2)

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11th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1-0)

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12th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1-0)

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13th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

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14th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1-0)

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15th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 <1-0>

Botvinnik lost on time.

Botvinnik:

<"It is clear that after 55. ... f5 56.Kf2 Kf6 57. Bf3 Be8 Black's two active bishops, centralised king and pawn majority on the kingside give him every chance of a win. <<<Here I was absorbed by the question:>>> how can Black more quickly win a piece - by creating a passed pawn after ...g6-g5-g4, on the h-file or the f-file? It seems that an f-pawn is stronger since the queening square at f1 can then be controlled via both the a6-f1 and h3-f1 diagonals.">

Mikhail Botvinnik, "Botvinnik-Smyslov/ Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958" (New in Chess 2009), p.244

===

More on how <Botvinnik> lost this game on time.

Botvinnik:
<"In the 15th game Smyslov chose a risky opening, and on this occasion the adjourned position was <<<completely lost>>> for him....">

Smyslov had sealed <41.h3>, making this the adjourned position-


click for larger view

Botvinnik:
<I had a real opportunity to increase my lead to 10-5, but 'in my joy' I neglected my analysis, and <<<committed an oversight>>> at the start of the adjournment session...>

Botvinnik's "oversight" was to play <41...h5>, a move he thought about for only 2 minutes 13 seconds after viewing <Smyslov's> sealed move-


click for larger view

Harry Golombek on <41...h5>:

<"A <<<bad move>>> that unnecessarily returns the pawn. In fact, all of Botwinnik's play from the adjournment (move 41) can only be explained by his feeling out of sorts.">

Botvinnik continues:
<...and on the 55th move (still in a winning position!) <<<I forgot about the clock and lost on time!!>>> And this (not, of course only 'this', but also my confusion, caused by fatigue) for a time saved Smyslov.

In the rules it is written that if a contestant has made a move, but has forgotten to press his clock, the arbiter may remind him about the clock. However, in the rules it does not say the arbiter may remind a contestant that he has not made the time control move, and so Stahlberg, operating in strict accordance with the regulations, in fact did nothing to avert the loss on time.">

Sources:

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.34

-Harry Golombek
"The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958" (Harding Simpole 2002 -original copyright Golombek 1957), pp.151-52*

*Pagination of this section of the 1958 portion of this volume follows the original pagination from the "BCM" No.6 (July 1958), pp.151-52

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16th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1/2)

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17th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

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18th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1-0)

Botvinnik:

-<"...both contestants were rather tired. The 18th game was especially typical in this respect (at Smyslov's request, Stahlberg decided to move it to a closed room- the grandmaster room at the Cnetral Chess Club). First Smyslov should have lost, then he himself could have mated the enemy king... In the end <<<the game was decided by a serious oversight by Smyslov>>> soon after the start of the adjournment session.">

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.35

===

Earlier in the game, after he had played 26.Qg5, Botvinnik almost resigned even before Smyslov played his 26th move.

Position after 26.Qg5?:


click for larger view

After his move, <Botvinnik> noticed that he is lost if black replies 26...Rd2:


click for larger view

Botvinnik:

<"White is mated after 26...Rd2 (27.Be6+ Rf7! 28.Bxf7+ Kxf7)... <<<At first I decided to resign, without even waiting for the reply,>>> but then I changed my mind.

To my surprise, Smyslov did not make his reply immediately, but during the game I thought this was just because he had 15 minutes left to reach the time control, and wanted to check the variations, so as to avoid any unexpected surprises. But after six minutes had gone by, I started to hope: What if he doesn't play 26...Rd2?

...Finally, after eight minutes' thought, when Smyslov picked up the rook from d8, I nervously took up my pen to write down my resignation, but then I could not believe my eyes- Smyslov had played the rook to e8! It can certainly be said that in this game, the two players proved worthy of each other...">

-Mikhail Botvinnik, "Botvinnik-Smyslov/ Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958" (New in Chess 2009), p.254

===

This is <Smyslov's> "serious oversight... soon after the start of the adjournment session." that "decided" the game:

Black to play:


click for larger view

Botvinnik:

-<46...Be8

<<<A tragic mistake.>>> Smyslov became a victim of his own devices; he sat down at board quickly, and immediately played 46...Be8...>


click for larger view

Botvinnik answered with 47.Bd7-


click for larger view

Botvinnik:

-<-<Now Black <<<loses two pawns,>>> and the result of this chaotic game becomes clear.>

-Mikhail Botvinnik, "Botvinnik-Smyslov/ Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958" (New in Chess 2009), p.256

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19th game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1-0)

Botvinnik:

-<After winning the 19th game Smyslov fell ill and (with the doctor's permission) he twice took a time-out. He felt so unwell that <<<he requested that the arbiter should allow him a fourth time-out>>> (I learned of this only after the match). Stahlberg consulted with the President of FIDE by telephone, but Rogard refused to sanction a violation of the FIDE rules, and after a six-day break the battle was renewed.>

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.35

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20th game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (1/2)

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21st game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

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22d game

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 (0-1)

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23d game

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 (1/2)

Botvinnik:

<...before the last encounter I was already so worn out, that Senkevich the official match doctor allowed me a third and last time-out on account of illness. <<<This was therefore a 'record' match with regard to illness- both contestants fully used their right to be unwell>>> Botvinnik means both used their allotted 3 sick time-outs.>

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)." Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.35

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-<Evaluations>

Golombek:

<"I remember that, late in 1957 when the European Team Championship was being held at Vienna, Smyslov said to me, <<<'Maybe these six games are the only games I'll play as World Champion.'>>>

...I believe Smyslov lost the match through underestimating Botvinnik. In consequence, his preparation for the contest was not nearly so thorough as Botvinnik's, a circumstance that was reflected very strongly in the opening play. It seems too that this match had a shattering effect on Smyslov's confidence in his own powers as a player. For there has been a marked decline in his tournament results since then.">

Harry Golombek "Some Olympian Moments," in "Chess Treasury of the Air" Terence Tiller, ed. (Hardinge Simpole 2002), p.86

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 
(B11) Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4, 62 moves, 0-1

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1958 
(E81) King's Indian, Samisch, 41 moves, 1-0

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1958 
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 66 moves, 0-1

3 games

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