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Efim Bogoljubov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Nottingham (1936), Nottingham ENG, rd 3, Aug-12
Indian Game: Capablanca Variation (A47)  ·  0-1



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Given 35 times; par: 37 [what's this?]

Annotations by Alexander Alekhine.      [77 more games annotated by Alekhine]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-20-03  refutor: good forceful play by botvinnik
Sep-21-03  skakmiv: Why did white resign?
Sep-21-03  Diggitydawg: White resigned because of 26..e3!; at this point black is positionally overwhelmed. If you only look at a material count, white appears to be equal to black. But notice how Black has absolute domination of the central territory, while white has only gained space on the queenside wing, away from being able to threaten on the kingside wing. Black has the two bishops, while white has a weak knight sitting on the backrank, which is also a target for capture. The key point in this game was 21..Bc6 where Botvinnik begins to wrest domination of the dfile from white. A further error by white is 23h4?, which gave black the tempo it needed to complete his domination of the dfile and also allows e3, which creates all sorts of threats against white. A better move for white would be to develop the knight to c2, where it could be used defensively to fight the advance of black's e-pawn to e3. When white saw he could not prevent e3, he resigned.

Games like these are why I hold Botvinnik in high esteem. I remember reading a quote by Spassky saying that "Botvinnik hated to be forgotten" which Spassky said sometime during Fischer's ascendancy. I hope games like these ensure Botvinnik's legacy.

Another thing that amazes me was that Botvinnik was a proficient engineer and did not devote himself to chess exclusively. I highly recommend Botvinnik's 100 games for anyone's reading pleasure. There is a lesson about the level of hard work it takes to move from being an ordinary master to the world champion, a lesson that can be applied outside of chess.

Jun-15-06  babakova: When I play black I lose because I play black. When I play white I lose because I am Bogoljubow.
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  keypusher: During this tournament supposedly Bogoljubow said to a group of masters, <you're all patzers. I lose to you only out of bad luck. But Botvinnik beats me fair and square.>
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  tamar: "White plays the whole game with the resignation of a lamb under the threat of the butcher's knife."

Bogoljubov had trouble against the young guns, losing to Botvinnik, Reshevsky, Fine and Flohr, if I remember correctly. Alekhine also veat him here.

Jun-07-08  Ulhumbrus: To Fred Reinfeld from his book "Chess masters on winning chess" in his introduction to this game: Botvinnik "...plays like a magician; his moves are simple, clear, effortlessly spontaneous. And yet, once the opening is over, every move is a sledge-hammer blow.Only the greatest masters in their prime have this knack of making superb chess look easy." (Reinfeld)
Jun-08-08  Ulhumbrus: To quote Fred Reinfeld from his book "Chess masters on winning chess" in his introduction to this game: Botvinnik "...plays like a magician; his moves are simple, clear, effortlessly spontaneous. And yet, once the opening is over, every move is a sledge-hammer blow.Only the greatest masters in their prime have this knack of making superb chess look easy." (Reinfeld)
Jun-11-08  vanytchouck: In the DVD "secret weapons of the champions", the 23th move is a4. Who is correct?
Feb-18-09  Ulhumbrus: After 25...Bd2 26 Qb1 e3 27 fe Bxe3+ 28 Kf1 ( Alekhine) 28...Be4 is not the best. Black wins at once by 28...Bxe1! 29 Qxe1 Bxg2+! 30 Kxg2 Qxe1
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  ToTheDeath: Great game! The difference in positional understanding between the two players is vast and the course of the play demonstrates that.

<14...g5!> Not the prelude to a kingside attack, but a flank jab to attack the center.

<15.Be5?> Appalling nonchalance about giving up the two bishops and ruining his center. 15.Be3 was required.

White was counting on his rook raid to the 7th rank but as Botvinnik shows this is just a fantasy and it is Black who decisively penetrates down the D line. This is practically a miniature but it is a strategic gem.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: The annotations by Alekhine are instructive and teach what White should be aiming for, and preventing, in this type of set up. Notice that he doesn't give Botvinnik's moves any ! signs. There are only question marks for Bogoljubov, suggesting that he basically blew the game and Botvinnik played only natural moves.
Nov-27-09  AnalyzeThis: That was Bogo's role. In the circus, every now and then, it's necessary to send in the clowns, and he was happy to serve in that capacity, whether he was getting slapped around by Alekhine, Capablanca, Botvinnik, or someone else.
Feb-17-12  King Death: < AnalyzeThis: That was Bogo's role. In the circus, every now and then, it's necessary to send in the clowns, and he was happy to serve in that capacity, whether he was getting slapped around by Alekhine, Capablanca, Botvinnik, or someone else....>

At the time this game was played Bogoljubow was 47 and well past his prime. It was another story 10 years before, <AnalyzeThis>, or should I say, sockpuppet of <RookFile>.

Bogo at his best was a tough out but had trouble with the very best the same way everybody else did. Then there was his greatest success in this event which was missing only Alekhine and Nimzowitsch of the top players: Game Collection: Moscow 1925.

Feb-08-14  Marmot PFL: Botvinnik was 47 when he regained his title from Smyslov (10 years younger).
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: For the record, Botvinnik was actually then forty-six, as that match was played fairly early in 1958 and the great man did not have his birthday till August.
Sep-05-14  JimmyVermeer: After the final move, the mating combination is as follows: 26 Qd1 e3 27 Qe2 Bxe1 28 Qxe3 Rd1 29 Qg5+ Kh8 30 Rxh7+ Kxh7 31 Qh5+ Kg8 32 Qg6+ Kf8 33 Qh6+ Qg7 34 Qxg7+ Kxg7 35 Kf1 Bf3 36 gxf3 gxf3 37 Nc7 Bd2#
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  John Saunders: Contemporary sources (BCM, The Times and the Manchester Guardian) show White's 23rd move as P-KR4 - 23.h4.
Jan-06-23  Gaito: 15.Be5? was a mistake. White would have had a good position after 15.Bd2, for example: 15...Rf7 ed 17. Ba6! Alekhine did not mention that possibility
Jan-06-23  Gaito: Sometimes one gets the impression that Alekhine hated or despised Bogoljubov. Or else, how to explain those derogatory comments or negative personal remarks about Bogoljubov that Alekhine wrote now and then? "Bogoljubov plays the whole game with the resignation of a lamb under the threat of the butcher’s knife" Another example: (After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6): "This poor move is the best proof that Bogoljubov had a broken nervous system, and that he lacked the most elementary self confidence" (Alekhine: "My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937", game 79 vs. Bogoljubov, Dresden 1936) (In fact, 3...g6 is quite playable and a good move too)
Jan-06-23  Gaito: The trouble with 15.Be5?? (two question marks, not just one) is that the bishop on e5 deprives the knight from its natural outpost. After 15. Bd2! White would stand better, for example: 15...g4 16.Bxe4! dxe4 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.dxe5, and White has the better game. Further, if 18...Qc7 19.Bf4 with advantage to White. Using Alekhine's metaphor: "Black would be the lamb, and White would be the butcher's knife"
Jan-06-23  Gaito: 22.Rxa7? was another mistake that Alekhine left unnoticed in his comments. Of course, White was already in a bad way, but the capture of Black's rook pawn was a terrible error that proved to be immediately decisive. White should have retreated the attacked rook to either d6 or d4, when he would have been able to put up a hell of a fight afterwards: for example, 22.R7d4 Bxb5 23.cxb5 Rfd8 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Rxd8+ Bxd8 26.Qd2. Very likely Botvinnik would have managed to win that ending, but at least there would be a game.

After 22.Rxa7? White is doomed.

Alekhine said nothing about that.

Jan-06-23  Gaito: White resigned, as he will be quickly mated after 26.Qd1 e3! 27.Qe2 Qa1! (see diagram below)

click for larger view

For instance: 28.Kf1 Bxe1 29.Qxe1 Rd1 with mate in three or four moves at the most

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Actually he did, right above: 22.Rxa7 Rcd8 "The occupation of the open file is absolutely decisive."
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  Jonathan Sarfati: Alekhine in the tournament book was ‘annotating by result’.

Alekhine criticized 9.b3 as completely spoiling White's position, and recommends 9.♗f4 instead. But Stockfish 15 prefers Bogo's choice. Better still was 9.d5 with a small plus.

He criticized 10.♗e3 for not preventing 10... ♘e4. Indeed, 10.♗e3 was not the best, but neither was 10...♘e4. Stockfish 15 says that 10...♘c6 gives Black a small advantage, while Botvinnik's and Alekhine's move gave away the advantage.

Alekhine queried 14.♗f4, but it is one of Stockfish's best choices. He said it provoked Black's ♔-side attack with 14...g5, but in reality, that was a doubtful move. If White had just retreated with 15.♗d2, the g5 move would be more weakening than attacking, and White would have a slight plus.

The real game loser was 15.♗e5, when the Stockfish evaluation drops to almost -3. But Alekhine doesn't criticize it.

He also criticizes 20.♖d7, but Stockfish ranks his suggested better move 20.♘xa7 as just as lost.

In the final position, Alekhine gives the possible continuation if White had not resigned:

“If now 26.♕b1 e3 27.fxe3 ♕xe3+ 28.♔f1 ♗e4 etc.” This is indeed very strong, mating in 10, but 28..g3 mates in 5.

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