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Mikhail Botvinnik vs A Zilberman
Leningrad jr (1924)
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern. Knight Defense (D51)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-13-08  RandomVisitor: 35...Bxb5 =.

34.axb5 Bxb5 35.Rxa5 .

30.Bf1 .

17.Rc2 b6 18.Rfc1 .

14.Bb5+ Bd7 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qxb7 .

11...exd5 =.

9.c5 .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 34.bxa5 is a strange decision. Of course, 34.axb5 is much better.
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  beatgiant: <Honza Cervenka> Both players may have missed <35...Bxb5!> stopping the a-pawn because of 36. a6 <Bxa6> 37. Rxa6 Rc1 winning back the piece.
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  Honza Cervenka: <beatgiant> Yes, I see but still even without any calculation 34.axb5 gives white two connected passers with apparent win, and it is much more natural move from the perspective of general principles of chess strategy than 34.bxa5. Even with white King on e1 or h2 instead of g1 axb5 is clearly superior choice to bxa5. Only if the King would be on f1, then axb5 would be bad for Bxb5 with check. But I know that MMB was then just 12 or 13 and that youngsters are not always superb ending players....
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  beatgiant: <Honza Cervenka> Clearly, Botvinnik mis-assessed something here. Unless he annotated this, we can only guess.

Maybe he reasoned that after 34. axb5 Bxb5 35. Rxa5, the two connected passers on b4 and c5 would get blockaded by Black's bishop for a while, but with the game line his a-pawn can quickly reach the 7th rank and win (the latter being true except for the overlooked 35...Bxb5).

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