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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Rudolf Spielmann
Moscow (1935), Moscow URS, rd 1, Feb-15
Caro-Kann Defense: Panov Attack. Modern Defense Reifir-Spielmann Line (B13)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Aug-02-09  WhiteRook48: 8...Nb4 just makes it worse for black
Aug-03-09  Knight13: <WhiteRook48: 8...Nb4 just makes it worse for black> 8...Nd8 is not much better.
Aug-03-09  WhiteRook48: the point behind 8...Nd8 is that now the black knight does not block the queen's retreat square after 12...Qa3 13 Rc3 which forces 13...Nc2+. on the other hand, white now plays 9 Nb5!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: 7...♘d4 8.♗e3 e5 is much better.
Dec-29-10  hstevens129: 12...Nc2+
13.Qxc2 Qa3 avoids the trap as White's c-Rook can't come to a1, although Black is a piece behind. Worse for White is 13.Rxc2 Qxa4 avoids the trap
Jul-26-11  nimh: Valter Heuer, the official biographer of Keres, in his biography of Keres has written a quite different account of what actually had happened. Here's a translation from Estonian:

<The Czech master Opocensky wrote: "For the first time in the history of chess one was able to see a collective creation, a collective work." Of the all compatriots, Botvinnik had progressed the farthest, one of the pioneers of the individual preparation. As we know, Spielmann lost to him in twelve moves. The explanation by the Austrian grandmaster is worth quoting: "When we were travelling from Warsawa in the direction of the border of Russia, a correspondent secretly told me that he had succeeded in refuting Botvinnik's favourite variation in the Caro-Cann Defence. The journalist persuaded me so persistently that I was as well as hypnotized. I wasn't amazed by why I was the lucky one to receive the valuable secret - simply for a bottle of wine. My joy was indescribable, when I right away in the first round was to play against Botvinnik. I already saw a bold "one" in the tournament table and made my moves quickly, not thinking at all. When I finally stared at the board, I saw to my biggest surprise that my queen had perished. It was embarrassing to resign now, I made a couple of moves more in agony. But soon a burst of deafening applause resounded which drove me home to the hotel through the mass of spectators.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nimh: Valter Heuer, the official biographer of Keres, in his biography of Keres has written a quite different account of what actually had happened. Here's a translation from Estonian:>

Sounds only slightly less ridiculous than Sloan's story. On the way to the tournament, a double agent shows Spielmann a variation he'd already lost to a year before?

Spielmann vs J Rejfir, 1934

Jul-26-11  nimh: But it's a direct quotation from Spielmann. Looks like we have three possible versions:

1) Heuer himself made this up.

2) Heuer used an erroneous source, where the quotation was fabricated.

3) Spielmann actually has said or written this, but meant it as a joke.

Which one seems most likely?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nimh> You presumably have access to Heuer's article -- is the Spielmann quotation being filtered through Opocensky?

Note that percyblakeney reports below that Spielmann was showing off the variation on the train to Moscow, and that Flohr tried to talk him out of using it. That seems plausible. But the notion that someone on the train showed him the variation as a secret in exchange for a bottle of wine? Maybe just a tale that got taller with each retelling.

Jul-26-11  nimh: <keypusher> Yes, Opocensky it was. I toptally forgot this nuance for a moment.

He didn't participate, but was he accompanying Flohr there?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <nimh> No idea. Be interesting to get to the bottom of this some day.
Sep-09-11  Sequoia: <hstevens129: 12...Nc2+ Then 13.Qxc2 Qa3>

14. Bb5+ and mate to follow.

Jul-02-12  King Death: < percyblakeney: Spielmann was doing well in Moscow 1935, and with a win here he would have finished even with Botvinnik and Capablanca...>

This game was played in the first round, I'm not sure what you mean.

Jul-02-12  ughaibu: Finishing even with both Botvinnik and Capablanca, in this tournament, would've been a remarkable feat, a unicum even.
Jul-02-12  ughaibu: Aha! I see.
Jul-24-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Botvinnik vs Spielmann, 1935.
Your score: 12 (par = 6)


Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: More background from Kavalek's chess column. About 6....Qb6, he writes:

<This aggressive move was recommended by the Czech master Karel Opocensky in his chess column in Narodni politika after the 1933 match Botvinnik-Flohr and it was used for the first time by Josef Rejfir against Spielmann in Maribor 1934. "Surprising and good," wrote Rejfir in Ceskoslovensky Sach 8-9/1934 about Opocensky's invention. The Wiener Schachzeitung called it the Prague variation.>

So, to sum up, the variation was suggested, published and analyzed long before Moscow 1935. Botvinnik prepared an improvement and sprang it on Spielmann. And that appears to be all there is to it.

The column contains some additional analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <euripides> gave the substance back in 2006, but here is Botvinnik's comment on 6....Qb6 from <100 Selected Games>.

<Recommended by the Czech master G. Reifir. I knew of 6....Qb6 before this game took place, and had the opportunity to analyze the resulting position thoroughly.

I spent altogether twenty minutes in considering the whole game, and that only in order to check my home analysis. Reifir's move is unsatisfactory chiefly because instead of developing his pieces Black tries to launch an attack with the Queen alone.>

Jul-13-15  ughaibu: Spotting Rc3 involves a certain psychological difficulty, I reckon.
Jul-27-17  benderules: never has been game of the day? I cant believe
Jul-27-17  ughaibu: But the game was fixed, obviously, Botvinnik won, the oppo must've thrown it.
Jul-27-17  Howard: The tournament book gives some very extensive analysis of this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: One would think that Spielmann would not have wished to have his name attached to this opening subvariation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Zhbugnoimt: I wouldn't resign just yet. I'd go 12...Qa3, hoping for 13.Ra1?? Qxa1 14.Qxa1 Nc2+ 0-1, and would resign after 13.Rc3 Nc2+ 14.Qxc2 Qa1+ 15.Qd1 (15.Ke2 Qxh1 16.Ba6 is the flashy way)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Zhbugnoimt: I wouldn't resign just yet. I'd go 12...Qa3, hoping for 13.Ra1?? Qxa1 14.Qxa1 Nc2+ 0-1, and would resign after 13.Rc3 Nc2+ 14.Qxc2 Qa1+ 15.Qd1 (15.Ke2 Qxh1 16.Ba6 is the flashy way)>

16.Bb5+ forces mate in 7: 16....Kd8 17.Nc5! Qxf3+ 18.Kxf3 Kc7 (18....Rb8 19.Nxb7+) 19.Ne6+ Kb6 20.Rc6+ bxc6 21.Qxc6+ Ka5 22.Bd2# (SF).

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