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Ilya Rabinovich vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Training Match (1937), Leningrad URS, Aug-??
French Defense: Advance Variation. Nimzowitsch Attack (C02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: You know something has gone seriously wrong for White in the French Defense when Black's Queen Bishop is the strongest minor piece in the game. There are only two games with 4...Qa5+ in the database, but they both end in a disaster for White.
Feb-22-05  Ed Caruthers: Does the position after 24...Kf7 look bad for White? Why doesn't White ever push h4-h5, to loosen up Black's king?
Dec-09-07  karnak64: Wow. One wonders now if 4 ...Qa5+ refutes the Nimzovich gambit.
Jun-17-10  Atking: Looks a Capablanca 's idea 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3 BxB 5.QxB Qa5+ 6...Qa6.

At move 12, Black position looks so good black Queen in a6 so wonderfull Still 12...Bb7 13...Rc8 enjoying the light squares paradise looks simple.

Jul-06-11  belgradegambit: Its the Nimzowitsch Gambit. 6 Nf3 is correct. White need not capture the pawn.
Jul-26-12  Abdel Irada: I would hesitate to infer too much about the opening from a training game between a grandmaster (and future world champion) and some chap no one's ever heard of.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Abdel Irada> I can assure you Botvinnik had heard of Rabinovich, who had tied for first at the 1934/35 USSR Championship. He was not of Botvinnik's caliber, of course, but was without a doubt of grandmaster strength.
Jul-27-12  SimonWebbsTiger: Botvinnik had played Rabinovich in e.g. the 5th USSR Chp, 1927.

Kotov and Yudovich ("Soviet School of Chess") give a segment from the game noting, in passing, that Ilya was "one of his teachers".

Further, he competed in almost all Soviet Chp. up to 1941. Also he was succesful in Leningrad Chp. He taught many a Leningrad talent; Botvinnik originally being from Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) of course.

Ilya was the first Soviet to play abroad, at Baden-Baden 1925, ahead of e.g. Nimzowitsch, Reti and Gruenfeld, for 7th spot with +7=10-3. "Rabinovich's playing was characterised by a deep understanding of positions and ecxeptionally precise technique in the exploitation of advantages." (p.65, ibid)

He passed away in 1942.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Simon> Been a long time since I read 'Soviet School' but my recollection is that, even on first reading it at twelve, it was plain that one was reading a propaganda vehicle.

For all that, though, the passages you mention are reasonably objective.

Jul-27-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<perfidiois>

I have the Dover edition of the book. It is the only chess book I know of which starts with a, for want of a better phrase, "political health warning" from the American publishers!

Take this classic pass the sick bag, nurse! quote:

<Two main features characterize the Soviet school: first, the influence of the Soviet man of the socialist era, an ardent patriot and seeker of the new...."> etc. Ewww!

The chess is wonderful; the book, at many junctures, a horrible reminder of what dictatorship can bring.

Kotov was a party man, as was Botvinnik. Some, like GM Antoshin, were KGB stooges and informers.

Jul-27-12  Abdel Irada: <Phony Benoni>:

I'm guilty of levity. Doubtless Rabinovich was a strong GM, although, as you say, not of Botvinnik's caliber.

However, my underlying point remains: that it seems premature to write the epitaph of a principal line in the Nimzovich Gambit because of the result of a training game between players of unequal strength.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Abdel Irada> Point taken. I should have known better, having often being guilty of the same "offense" myself.
Jul-28-12  Abdel Irada: Everyone should "offend" with such levity as yours. Your humor is among this site's more consistent selling points — along with your almost uncanny erudition on chess history.

Perhaps should be paying you. :-D

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Abdel Irada: ....However, my underlying point remains: that it seems premature to write the epitaph of a principal line in the Nimzovich Gambit because of the result of a training game between players of unequal strength.>

Agreed, with one addendum: I would extend this kind of critical thinking to analysis of any type.

Jul-31-14  jvv: After 24. Bxf6 white wins. Also after
24. exf6 gxf6
25. Qb8 Bd8
26. Bxf6 Nc6
27. Qd6 Bxf6
28. Qxe6 Be7
28. Rhe1
white is much better.
Mar-28-17  belgradegambit: jvv is correct of course. Either 24. Bxf6 or 24. exf6 win easily. 23...f6?? should have been the losing move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knighthawkmiller: Training match, Rabinovitch gave Botvinnick a pass allowing for this mistake. Continue the "training" rather than force a win. The best move was obviously avoided in this case. 1) +4.46 (23 ply) 24.exf6 gxf6 25.Qb8+ Bd8 26.Bxf6 Nc6
Nov-30-20  jvv: Interestingly, in his book "Analytical and Critical Works - 1923-1941", page 308, Botvinnik doesn't mention these possibilities.

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