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Mikhail Botvinnik vs I Folga
Leningrad (1924), Leningrad URS
Indian Game: London System (A48)  ·  1-0



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Given 57 times; par: 71 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-18-09  arsen387: Did Botvinnik really play this game when he was 13? a nice one
Jan-04-12  Knight13: 15...fxe4??

Botvinnik played like a master in this game. And his rating wasn't even at first category back in 1924!

May-28-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Botvinnik vs I Folga, 1924.
Your score: 85 (par = 71)


Oct-31-17  Sergash: Botvinnink is, in my opinion, one of the most neglected player of the past. If you poll people about the greatest players of all times, you'll quickly get the names Fischer, Kasparov, Morphy, Karpov, Capablanca, Alekhin, Lasker, or in a more distant past, Philidor, La Bourdonnais, Greco etc.

Botvinnink did not dominate the World to the same extent than these other names. At the A.V.R.O 1938 tournament to designate a plausible challenger for the World Championship, he finished 3rd, one point behind Keres and Fine, but half a point ahead of Alekhine, Euwe and Reshevsky, 1,5 points ahead of Capablanca and even 3 points ahead of Flohr! He was 26 or 27 years old at that time.

Ten years later, at 36 years old, after Alekhin's death, he won the World Championship tournament, 3 points ahead of Smyslov and 3,5 points ahead of Keres and Reshevsky. After that, he retained his title in a tied mach 12-12 vs. Bronstein in 1951, when he was 39. In 1954, he retained the title again in another tied match 12-12 vs. Smyslov when he was 42. He finally lost the title at 45, when he was defeated by Smyslov 12,5 to 9,5 in 1957. He was then 45.

Was it the end of Botvinnik as the World Champion? No, he won a rematch in 1958, 12,5 to 10,5, at the age of 46! In 1960, the challenger was Tal the Destroyer and Botvinnik, now 48 years old, lost 12,5 to 8,5, his worst match defeat as the World Champion. Still, he asked for the rematch and defeated Tal 12-8 in 1961, at 49 years old while Tal was in his early 20's.

As we all know, Botvinnik's reign as the World Champion ended in 1963, when he was defeated by Petrossian on the score of 12,5 to 9,5. Botvinnik was then 51 years old and, since the automatic rematch rule, if demanded by the former World Champion, had been abolished, Botvinnik decided not to compete for the World title anymore, only in tournaments.

He had been World Champion for 15 years, except for 2 short one-year interruptions! Humble, he once said something like : I am the first amongst my equals.

Oct-31-17  Sergash: When this game was played, Botvinnik was 12 or 13, being born on August 17 of 1911. On Wikipedia, it is said that Botvinnik learned chess at the end of 1923, at the age of 12. The first known Botvinnik games were played in 1924, so less than one year after he is supposed to have learned to play chess. I am skeptical regarding such a fast learning curve. Fischer, for example, learned chess at age 6 or 7, but only reached master level at 11 or 12, so after 5 or 6 years of intense practice and passion. My guess is that Botvinnik learned the game a few years earlier, but only started to be strong at 12, like other chess prodigies (Capablanca became Champion of Cuba at 12, after reportedly having learned to play at 4).

<8...Nbd7> It is possibly better to attack the center with <8...c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.c3 Nc6=>, which is enough to equalize, as in the game <Domingo Ramos (2330) - Lutz Espig (2505), Bundesliga 90-91 (league, Germany) 1990, round 3 - Bamberg vs. Munich, draw>, as this knight would be better placed on c6 behind the pawn.

<9...c5> Better to push the other pawn <9...e5! 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Bh2 Qe7=> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<10...Qc7> Vigorous play in the centre is called for here, in order to maintain equality : <10...cxd4! 11.cxd4▢ e5! 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Be3=> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<11.Ba6!?> An interesting idea, but stronger appears the simple <11.Bh2!> in order to answer <11...e5> with <12.d5 ⩲> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<14...f5?> A first mistake by Folga: <14...cxd4 15.cxd4 Rfc8 16.b3 Nhf6=> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<15.dxe5> Good for a clear advantage, but stronger is <15.exf5! gxf5 16.Qb5! ±/+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<15...fxe4?> Not as bad as User: Knight13 suggests above by giving a '??' to that move, as Black already had a tough game. <15...Nxe5! 16.Ncxe5! dxe5> (or 16...Bxe5 17.Nxe5! dxe5 18.exf5 gxf5 ±) <17.exf5 Rxf5 ±> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<16.Ng5> Stronger is <16.exd6! Qc6 17.Nfd2 +-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<16...Nb8?? 17.exc6 Qc6+-> Black is undevelopping his pieces! <16...Nxe5 17.Rad1 Bh6 18.Nxe4 Bf4 19.Ncxd6! ±> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18.Qa3> Better is <18.Ne5! Qd5 19.Rad1! Bxe5 20.Bxe5! Nxa6 21.Rxd5+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<18...Qd5?! 19.Qb3▢> A fork? Not quite, as it was well calculated by Botvinnik... Better was <18...b5 19.Nd2 e3 20.fxe3 Nd7+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<19...Kh8> If <19...Qxg5 20.Nxb6+ Kh8 21.Nxa8+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<20.Ne5> Even better is <20.Nxb6! Qxg5> (if 20...Qxb3 21.axb3 and the a7-pawn is pinned!) <21.Nxa8+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<26.Nc7> Improvement: <26.Ng5! a5 27.Rae1+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<28.b4> I find this move a little strange. The computer prefers <28.Rae1 Nf6 29.f3 Nd3 30.Re2+-> Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<30...Kf8?!> Why give up the h-pawn for nothing? Better was <30...Nf6 31.Re7 Nc4 32.Nc7+-> Botvinnik should have played 31.Rxh7 here.

<32.Rxh7> Now stronger was <32.Raa7! Rxd6 33.Nxd6 Rxd6 34.Rxh7> etc. Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

<32...Nf6?!> Better was <32...Kg8 33.Raa7 Nxb2 34.g4! Bf6 35.Rag7 Kf8 36.Rf7+ Kg8 37.Rhg7+ Kh8 38.g5! Nh5 39.Rd7 Nc4 40.Rh7+ Kg8 41.Rh8+ Kxh8 42.Rxd8+> etc. Stockfish 8 - 64 bits POPCNT.

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