Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Mikhail Botvinnik vs Salomon Flohr
Botvinnik - Flohr (1933), Moscow / Leningrad RUS, rd 1, Nov-28
Caro-Kann Defense: Panov Attack. Modern Defense (B13)  ·  0-1



explore this opening
find similar games 30 more Botvinnik/Flohr games
sac: 33...bxa3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: You should register a free account to activate some of's coolest and most powerful features.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-19-04  arielbekarov: To all of you !
I would love to hear opinions and comments on this game Botvinnik vs Flohr, 1933. This is a very educative game, where Salo Flohr shows that he was quite capable of winning the worldchampion title, but, WW II stopped him. Botvinnik was already one of the strongest players and was, as well, qualified to take the title. The game as such is very subtle.
Botvinnik makes though two mayor mistakes after a quick analyze. I hope that you can assist me, because I think that Flohr takes every opportunity here in his favor.

7. d5 is as far as I can see a clear mistake. Botvinnik could simply have played Nf3.

31. Qd4 Qxd4 ! Botvinnik shouldn't have given Flohr the chance to exchange the Queens.

34. Nxd6, is there any alternative ?
Here it is lost, because Botvinnik's Knight is out of play here. He can't use it because of black's pawn on a2.

The amazing is that Flohr beats Botvinnik in pure positional play. Flohr did quite correctly exchange the rooks, as well. So, I am eagerly waiting for your opinions.
I love this game !

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <arielbekarov> I cannot see why <9.d5> "is a clear mistake". It is sharp, but not anti-positiona1 and it is still a theoretical line.

Botvinik later played <10.Nf3> and wrote "In the first game of the match I played 10.Bxf6 and got the worse game; but after analysis at home I was convinced that if <10.Nf3> e6 11.Bxf6! Qxf6 12.Qxd3, Black has a very bad position. The bishop at f8 has no move, and the king is stranded in the centre.

So Botvinnik played the variation again in the match and won.

<31.Qd4> seems to be an effort to achieve more than the alternative 31.Nxb5 Ba6 32.Nfd4 Qe5+ 33.Kd1 Qe4 34.Nxd6 Qb1=

<33.axb4> seems to be a draw.

It looks to me that Botvinnik lost by trying too hard to win.

Apr-20-04  arielbekarov: Thank you Chessical for your assistance !

Move 7. d5.
It is sharp, but has no effect. Botvinnik loses in tempo, as far as I can understand.

You are right about axb4. It seems to be a draw.

This is note-worthy ;
"It looks to me that Botvinnik lost by trying too hard to win." It is quite possible, because 34. Nxd6 is the move that finally gives Flohr the victory.

Great ! This possibility to exchange ideas !!
But, you have to take in account that I am a real beginner on the "commenting" field, but I find it very interesting to analyze these great games. Now, I have to start with my own games, as well.

Apr-20-04  arielbekarov: I did forget to write move 33.axb4 instead of Ncxb5.
Might be confusing for other readers.
Jun-10-04  Whitehat1963: Is this hopeless?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Yes, the final position is hopeless < Whitehat1963>, no point adjourning that. It seems that Botvinnik underestimated 35...Ba6+!! This move wins the game as it traps the white knight on d6. Botvinnik probably reckoned only with Bxd5; and if he considered Ba6 at all, then surely only as a harmless check. I am suprised that Botvinnik's desperado was Nxf7 instead of Nxf5, which certainly was better. But it could have been an attempt to fish in a time trouble, I do not know. Black a2 pawn spells doom at any rate.
Jan-02-05  aw1988: Flohr clearly had extraordinary talent.
Premium Chessgames Member
  nasmichael: Two knights versus two bishops here with respective queen assists lead to a very instructive game. That passed pawn is a thorn in white's side. The king has to disengage from the d-pawn he intended to escort to queendom, allowing black to take it, if the advancing a-pawn is to be dealt with. The white knight is also tied up with prevention of promotion. Thanks, Mikhail and Salomon.
Mar-16-06  notyetagm: Beautiful play by Flohr.
May-25-09  Sem: 7. d5 is the sort of daring move for which I am far too timid, I don't even see them. So I applaud White for putting up a fight, even if he may have been wrong. As Lasker said: 'You have to give a game a face.'
May-25-09  shalgo: I don't see the problem with 7.d5. In fact, it seems like the most obvious move in the position. Black is threatening to win a key central pawn, so White moves it to a square where it is protected, at the same time gaining a tempo by chasing Black's knight and gaining space.

And if you look at the statistics, in my database, White scores 71% after 7.d5 Ne5 8.Qd4.

If there is a questionable move by White in the opening, then it is probably 10.Bxf6. Far more common now are 10.Qxd3 or 10.Nf3. White has an edge in development, and it doesn't make sense to speed up Black's development like Botvinnik does in this game.

After 10.Nf3, Black will often invest a tempo with 10...h6 to provoke the exchange that Botvinnik carries out willingly.

Botvinnik himself switched from 10.Bxf6 to 10.Nf3 in game 9 of this match (Botvinnik vs Flohr, 1933), which he won. In that game, Black's king got stuck in the center after 10.Nf3 g6 11.Bxf6 exf6 12.O-O Qb6 13.Rfe1+

Nov-03-10  Monoceros: Flohr does a really good job of making the isolani useless for Botvinnik: he blockades it first so it can't advance, plants a Bishop on d7 to guard the squares controlled by the isolani, and methodically arranges his own Pawns to keep Botvinnik's Knights away from all the approaches. The IQP never falls but it's never any help to Botvinnik's game either. I guess that an isolated pawn does spread gloom over the whole board.
Jun-25-16  EQUILIBRIUM: What about 36.Kd2 Ke7 (36...Bf1?) 37.Nf5 gf5 38.Kc3 Bf1 39.g3 Bh3 40.Kb2 Bg2 41.Nf3 Be4 42.Ka2
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Some comments based on Botvinnik’s notes to the match games.

10 Bxf6 was prep but ceding the two Bishops was bad. Better developing with 10 Nf3.

Flohr chose a steady build up with 26..Kg7 when he could have gone 26..a5 immediately and his Bc8-b7 plan lacked incisiveness.

The time control was the first 37 moves in 2.5 hours and the clock proved Botvinnik’s downfall. He walked into 33 Ncxb5? bxa3! when instead 33 axb4 held.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Botvinnik loses with the IQP
from Losing At Their Own Game by Bears092
Flohr beating Botvinnik !
from The Art of Chess ! by arielbekarov
See 2 {N} vs 2 {b} in a solid battle. Thanks, Salo.
from wars between different armies. by nasmichael
from favorite games according to opening b00-b99 by mirage
by rodrigochaves
On the shoulders of giants
by ughaibu
+2 -2 =8 vs. Flohr (Moscow/Leningrad, 1933)
from Match Botvinnik! by amadeus
from 500MGC2 by morwa
estrategias 2 de suetin
Game 1
from Botvinnik-Flohr Match 1933 by suenteus po 147
by JimBow1849
Game 289
from 500 Master Games of Chess by smarticecream
After being busted by the Bishop's pair, ONCE....
from LEARNING FROM THE MASTERS by laskereshevsky
Botvinnik Out-Botvinnik'ed
from My 50 Years in Chess by parisattack
fisayo123's favorite games
by fisayo123
Game 289
from Master Games - Chess (Tartakower/du Mont) by Qindarka
from The Caro-Kann According to ... by parisattack
+2 -2 =8 vs. Flohr (Moscow/Leningrad, 1933)
from Match Botvinnik! by chessgain
Botvinnik loses with the IQP
from Losing At Their Own Game by Nimzophile
See 2 {N} vs 2 {b} in a solid battle. Thanks, Salo.
from wars between different armies. by trh6upsz
plus 14 more collections (not shown)

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC