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Veniamin Sozin vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1931), Moscow URS, rd 7, Oct-30
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation (B80)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: Its rare to see Botvinnik outplayed like this, where do you think the critical error was made in this game?
Oct-28-03  DWINS: It looks to me that 46...g6 is a mistake. Why let white have an advanced, protected passed pawn on the sixth rank? Although it probably isn't the losing move, it just looks wrong to me.

50...Bb6 is most likely the losing move allowing the white rook to decisively enter the black position after the sequence of moves beginning with 51.f7

Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: hmmmm but isn't g6 required to prevent Kh5 and a later g6 by white himself?
Oct-29-03  DWINS: Good point, Open Defence. I only looked briefly at this position and didn't do any indepth analysis.

Black can delay white's upcoming Kh5 by 46...Rdf7 forcing the king to stay on g4 to protect the f pawn. Eventually though, white can bring his rook from d5 to f2 releasing his king from defending the f pawn.

However, I think black is still ok because he has little tricks like playing b4 temporarily sacrificing a pawn but creating two passed pawns in the center. I think black can hold the draw. If I have time I'll do a complete analysis.

Oct-30-03  drukenknight: looking at the final position, black is sort of behind in material, so he should consider pressuring the K.

I mentioned "diagonal opposition" in the Yates/Marshall game, here it seems appropriate. what if 65...Kf8?

Oct-31-03  DWINS: drukenknight, I'm not sure how much pressure black can get on the white king.

After 65...Kf8 66.Kc7 Re8 67.Rxb5 Re7+ 68.Kd6 Black's going to have a hard time stopping white's queenside pawns. He has a few checks but nothing that should worry white. I think resignation was the right thing to do.

Oct-31-03  drukenknight: Yeah, thats a problem, I'm looking forward to your upcoming complete analysis because right now it's hard to figure this game.
Nov-02-03  drukenknight: Going back to this game which must be difficult because DWINS's monumental study has still not been published. Somehow Botwinnik loses the ability to force things when he captures 52...KxR

What if 52...Ke7? with intention of sacking the e pawn (it dropped anyhow) in order to get his Rook(s) in position to attack the K.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: DK - I think White can force the line back to the earlier variation with 53Rd7+ can't he ?
Nov-02-03  drukenknight: well I'm looking at that, and I'm trying to save Rubinstein from Lasker on the other table, Yanofsky is hanging on in some endgame, I've pulled out Berliner/Estrin 2 knights as well. ANd this game has me baffled....

in your idea, doesnt the black K come back to e6 and then white takes Rxh7? so he would be sacking the rook pawn?

Capablanca shows a lot of pawn sacks in order to save the position in his chapters on endgames. I am reading this last couple of nights, he's pretty good on this.

Nov-02-03  DWINS: Monumental study? Good one, drukenknight!

As a full time college student who also works, it's pretty hard for me to devote too much time to chess. The only time I get is late at night when I take a break from my studies. I still hope to become a master (currently rated 2105) but college is not good for my game.

Anyway, I believe that 50...Bb6 is the decisive mistake so I've been looking at alternatives at move 50 to see if black can hold the draw.

50...Rc8 51.b3 (preparing to swing the rook over to a1 but preventing black from ever playing Rc4+ winning the white rook)Bd8 52.Bd2 Rc6 53.Ra1 and while white is better, I'm not sure how he can break through.

Maybe the plan to attack on the "a" file is wrong. I'm pretty tired right now so maybe tomorrow I'll look at ideas based on white playing h5.

Nov-02-03  drukenknight: I can see where you're coming from on move 50. Why not 50...Rc7 and blockade the pawn? It's late here, be back later.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Open Defence: erm the bishop is on c7 after move 50 it is on b6 ...
May-16-06  Helios727: Why didn't white play 19. Bxb7 ?
May-16-06  sneaky pete: Why should he?
May-16-06  Runemaster: <Helios> 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 just loses a piece.
Jun-27-06  Helios727: Sorry, when I was looking at it before, I thought the white Bishop was backed up by the Queen and could have taken on b7 on move 19. My goof.
Oct-25-07  refutor: 8. ...b5 is stronger forcing 9.a3 and after 9. ... Bb7 10.f3 is forced which is not fabulous in a kingside castled position where it will be difficult to engineer g4
Aug-14-17  Toribio3: Good game by Sozin!
Sep-08-18  goser: Rare example of Botvinnik outplayed strategically by a seemingly inferior opponent!
Sep-08-18  ughaibu: At move 33, what was wrong with recapturing with the rook?
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: The position looked quite good after 12 moves:

click for larger view

13. Qg3 Nc4 14. Bc1 O-O 15. b3 Na5 16. Nde2 Nc6 17. Be3 b5 18. Rd2 h6 19. Nd1 h5 20. h3 Rb8 21. Nec3 Rfc8 22. a3 a5 23. Re1 b4 24. axb4 axb4 25. Ne2 h4 26. Qf2 and it still looks good:

click for larger view

Pure chess aesthetics, I'd say. How to keep things lookin' good part 1.

Sep-08-18  JimNorCal: I dislike 22. ... f6. Botvinnik never gets in d5, as a result the dark sq bishop caused cramped position and white pieces seize control.

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