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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Viacheslav Ragozin
Leningrad-ch (1931), Leningrad URS
Queen's Gambit Declined: Barmen Variation (D37)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-29-08  Bobwhoosta: So Ragozin loses on a blunder at the 24th move. But this game brings up questions aside from that. Botvinnik gave up the two bishops AND destroyed his pawn structure AND lost time doing it, allowing black to develop, and THEN proceeded to trade off pieces like it was going out of style. THEN it seems like he has the better game. What are the factors in the position that account for this!?!?!?
Mar-17-09  MethodMan: In my opinion white has very active pieces in comparison to black. Black's rooks are paralyzed by white's rook and knight.
May-29-11  dull2vivid: Black played c5 too quickly. It is equal before that, all black has to do is calm down and play something like a5. White has the power ready to explode; don’t help white do it.

21.Rd7! (A great winning move!) But B missed the only forced win, 23. Rxd8 followed by b4, with the domination of the q-side pawns. All black had to do to equalize was 23…RxR then simplify carefully but skillfully. 23.f6 was dumb and loses right away. A pity. Because could have showed that B was fancy for nothing and unable to find the move Rxr and b4 … oh B! where is your brain?

the weak pawn structure is compensated by the activity. it is equal until the some mistakes in the middle game.

Sep-24-12  anjyplayer: For most un-expected moves, play through Bottcha games.
Sep-25-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <dull2vivid>
I don't see how 23...Rxd7 equalizes. Example: 23...Rxd7 24. Nxd7 Rc8 25. Nxb6 looks like a win. Or 23...Rxd7 24. Nxd7 Rd8 25. Qb7 again gives <the domination of the q-side pawns>.

What equalizing line do you see for Black after 23. Rxd7 24. Nxd7?

Oct-30-12  Cyphelium: <beatgiant> After 23.- ♖xd7 24. ♘xd7 ♖c8 25. ♘xb6, black actually wins after 25.- ♗xf2+. Better is 25. ♘xc5 bxc5 26. ♕b7 and white wins a pawn. Likwise, after 23.- ♖xd7 24. ♘xd7 ♖d8, white can play 25. ♘xc5 bxc5 26. ♕c6. So I agree with your overall conclusion, 23.- ♖xd7 doesn't equalize.
Oct-30-12  Everett: <Bobwhoosta: So Ragozin loses on a blunder at the 24th move. But this game brings up questions aside from that. Botvinnik gave up the two bishops AND destroyed his pawn structure AND lost time doing it, allowing black to develop, and THEN proceeded to trade off pieces like it was going out of style. THEN it seems like he has the better game. What are the factors in the position that account for this!?!?!?>

I learned to look for the relative values of minor pieces from Seirawan's Strategy book, and it is remarkable how helpful it is in understanding certain games.

Here, Botvinnik gives up the two bishops for space more than activity, and the d-pawn is not easily attacked. Further, a N on e5 can only be kicked by ..f6 (which weakens e6) or by swapping, leaving Botvinnik with a space advantage and pressure on d6 and f6.

The plan initiated with moves 14-17 is a textbook example of favorable exchanges to create a superior minor piece. Of note is the swapping of LSBs after giving up the two bishops. Here is an analogous game from modern practice. Carlsen vs Topalov, 2009. Note how the N, deep in Black's territory, wreaks havoc on his position.

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