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Reuben Fine vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Fine Slew" (game of the day Jun-05-2009)
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 1, Nov-06
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation (C17)  ·  1-0



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Given 62 times; par: 50 [what's this?]

Annotations by Reuben Fine.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: No, <Olavi>. I am sure that if you take a careful look at the board you'll see that is certainly not the case. After 14...a5 15.BxB dxB 16.QxQ+ KxQ 17.0-0 Ke7 the position is equal. If 18.Rfa1 Rd8 19.Nd4 Rd5 and the position is more dangerous for White than for Black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: But you are right, I should give some lines. I will if I get the chance.
May-08-13  Olavi: Yes, it's easy to have a glance at the board, decide that there will be a black square blockade and not look any further. Of course 16.0-0 or even 16.Rd4 might be better, and in that line 18. Rd1 Rd8 19.Rd6. If I understand correctly Kasparov analyzes this on OMGP IV, I wonder what he says.
May-08-13  Olavi: I now see this exchange on the first page: <Botvinnik gave 14..a5! 15 Bxc3..dxc 16 Rd4..Qe7 17 Rd6..Bc6 18 Qd4..Rb8 19 Qxc3..Rb1+ 20 Rd1..Rxd1+ 21 Kxd1..0-0 as playable for Black.> <White could improve with 15.0-0 or 16.Qd6 in that line.>
Nov-23-13  Bob Loblaw: <Olavi: Yes, it's easy to have a glance at the board, decide that there will be a black square blockade and not look any further. Of course 16.0-0 or even 16.Rd4 might be better, and in that line 18. Rd1 Rd8 19.Rd6. If I understand correctly Kasparov analyzes this on OMGP IV, I wonder what he says.>

Kasparov does indeed analyze this game in OMGP IV. He relies on the analyses of Fine, Botvinnik, his engine, and the Soviet master Belavenets. Like the commentators above, Kasparov flags 14... f6 as the "decisive mistake". 'There was,' writes Kasparov, quoting Botvinnik, 'a tactical chance with {14... a5! 15. Bc3 (15. 00 Ba6) 15 ... dc3 16. Rd4 (or 16. Qa1 Ba6) 16.. Qe7 17. Rd6 Ba6 18. Qd4 Rb8 19. Qc3 Rb1 20. Rd1 Rd1 21. Kd1 00' Then he adds "after 16. ♕a1 ♗a6 17. ♖a5 Belavanets recommended 17 ... ♕c8, but 17... ♕d5! is simpler with sufficient counterplay against the white king, which is caught in the centre. "

Kasparov has high praise for Fine's play. He gives Fine's game against Flohr from round five, which also began as a Winawer/Nimzovich French, in its entirety, and has this to say about it:

"White exploited his lead in development with the energy of Morphy and in full accordance with the teachings of Steinitz: the player with the advantage is obliged to attack, otherwise the attack will disappear! 'In terms of over all strategic planning and tactical execution, I consider this to be the best game I have ever played,' Fine later wrote. Also among his best was undoubtedly the game with Botvinnik."

At the end of his analysis of the Fine-Botvinnik classic, Kasparov observes that, "The games with Botvinnik and Flohr fully characterise Fine's style. He defeated both opponents thanks to his deeper evaluation of the position, based on his vision of latent resources, and his technically impeccable conversion of the advantage gained. The same purity distinguishes his wins at the AVRO tournament over Euwe and Alekhine.

Kasparov also deeply analyses Fine's win over Alekhine. Again he praises Fine's superb play, calling the game an impressive rout, and observing that other than Alekhine's defeat at the hands of Botvinnik at the same tournament, it's hard to remember a game where the former was so outplayed during his reign as World Champion.

Dec-24-14  Eduardo Bermudez:
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Slew here as in "Fine Slew" does not refer to murder <as such> but as in a large number such as

<Savino has been charged with three murders as well as a whole slew of other crimes.>

although that could be rewritten as

<Savino slew three people as well as a whole slew of other crimes.>


<Savino slew three people he thought had swine flu as well as a whole slew of other crimes.>

or even

<Savino flew the scene after he slew five fine people he thought had swine flu and then he flew through a slew of other crimes.>

Good pun! Good game!

Mar-30-18  RookFile: This may be Fine's most profound game.
Mar-30-18  morfishine: Slew is past tense for Slow. For example, after paying the speeding Fine, he always made sure he slewed down
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <morfishine: Slew is past tense for Slow. For example, after paying the speeding Fine, he always made sure he slewed down>

But Winnik was not happy about that.

Especially when he went over the game in slew motion.

Must have been a terrible experience.

Mar-31-18  morfishine: <moronovich> Thats hilarious!
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <morfishine: <moronovich> Thats hilarious!>

Yeah,we must try to enjoy this life we have.

BTW you have IMHO one of the best avatars here on CG.Somehow it makes me want a cup of coffee ;)And signals cosyness too. So I´ll have a cup of coffe right now,go to town with a good friend and may you have a pleasant time at Grenke,if that is what you choose.

Dec-24-18  DonChalce: splendid game by Fine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 11...Bd7 was clearly better than 11...Nc6 but 11...Nc6 was not a fatal mistake. 14...f6 was the main culprit of Botvinnik's defeat in this game. Anyway, Fine's play here was superb.
Apr-12-19  ChessHigherCat: As I was playing through the game, I'm glad I didn't stop and ask whether black couldn't try to develop the bishop by playing 17..a5, because the rest of the game shows what's wrong with that move.
Mar-25-20  ewan14: Reuben Fine - an embryonic Boris Spassky
with regards to analysing opening lines. It did not do Boris any good in 1972
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: There is a sad pattern with extremely brilliant US players to have rather short careers: Morphy, Pillsbury, Fine, Fischer. It is unfortunate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: Going over the thread of this game makes me realize how informative and entertaining ChessGames can be. Most contributions add so much to the game score that I am really glad I have access to this page.
Apr-04-21  RandomVisitor: <plang> notes that Botvinnik claimed 14..a5! 15 Bxc3..dxc 16 Rd4..Qe7 17 Rd6..Bc6 18 Qd4..Rb8 19 Qxc3..Rb1+ 20 Rd1..Rxd1+ 21 Kxd1..0-0 as playable for Black. What does the fish say?

click for larger view


<56/74 50:00 +0.12 15.Bxc3 dxc3 16.Qd6> f6 17.0-0 Qxd6 18.cxd6 Ba6 19.Re1 Kd7 20.Rxa5 c5 21.Ra3 Bb7 22.Rxc3 Bxf3 23.Rxf3 fxe5 24.Rf7+ Kxd6 25.Rxg7 Ra2

56/73 50:00 -0.00 15.0-0 Ba6 16.Bxc3 dxc3 17.Qxd8+ Rxd8 18.Re1 Bb5 19.Rxa5 0-0 20.Ra3 Rd5 21.Rxc3 Ra8 22.h4 h6 23.Kh2 Ra4 24.Rb1 g6 25.Kg3 Kg7

Jul-01-21  HaydenB: I think this game illustrates just how strong Fine was; Botvinnik was no pushover. He would be World Champion 10 years later. Who knows how strong Fine would've become had he not retired.
Jul-02-21  RookFile: I don't remember anybody else crushing Botvinnik in such a strategic way as Fine did in this game.
Jul-02-21  Viking707: Reuben Fine was a psychologist and prodigious author, who was asked to "treat" a pubescent Bobby Fischer by Bobby's mother. Fischer refused to engage in any discussion with Fine unless they played some chess games to test Fine's "capabilities." Fine won those games, angering Fischer, who then refused to be "treated." I often wonder, if Fine had not been so diverse in his interests and activities, perhaps he could have become a world chess champion himself!
Jul-02-21  Muttley101: Fine was a psychoanalyst, not a psychologist.
Jul-02-21  RookFile: Let's assume everything Fine says about that story is true (and that's saying something). There is supposed to be this idea that you keep medical information private. Fine evidently felt an obligation to share it with the whole world.
Dec-15-22  Seyealebiosu1985: This game looked won for Botvinnik
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