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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Jose Raul Capablanca
"The Blossoming Brilliance of Botvinnik" (game of the day Sep-13-2018)
AVRO (1938), The Netherlands, rd 11, Nov-22
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Line (E40)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 19 OF 19 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-17-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Maxi and Ohio.

I see where the confusion has come from regarding 'historic '

My post should have read:

"it was a life changing moment from an historic event."

Avro 1938 is a famous and historic event.

Kasparov judges it as the most brilliant of the tournament and worth two first prizes.

Botvinnik says it was the best game of his life.

I'll go along with those two before any of the naysayers and nit-pickers <Check It Out> highlights.

BTW the game is famous enough to have appeared on a couple of stamps.

http://www.queensac.com/chessstamps...

https://i.colnect.net/b/918/558/Bot...

So somebody somewhere likes it.

Dec-05-18  MrJafari: Hi all! I think games like this are great not only for clever moves, but most for the moves that today's GMs consider as foolish!
Jan-02-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: For whatever itís worth, in Emms, Nunn, and Burgessís 100 greatest games anthology, this tied with one other game (Kasparovís octopus, I think) for the highest ďmeritĒ score. And yet quite a few people would put it on their ďmost overratedĒ list.

Iím not quite sure what to think about it myself. I think itís great, but itís not my favorite Botvinnik game by any means.

Jan-02-19  fabelhaft: As for Botvinnikís own thoughts on the matter, I think chess players often are like musicians. Ask some pop artist which his best song was and he will usually pick some song no one else likes all that much. Which doesnít mean one would have to like it more than his other songs.

I was never a fan of this game as far as greatest games are concerned. But a good game of course.

Jan-23-19  HarryP: I've never cared much for Botvinnik, but I love this game. It's a great one, to be sure.
Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Caissa had a huge smile on her beautiful face during this game. It is mind wrecking, how Botvinnik played like this. Astonishing, terrifying, mesmerizing, absolutely out of the reach for my comprehension.

How could Mikhail Moiseyevich, how could any human being play in this style? Truly amazing, I am not able to construct words for it.

I think 16.Rae1 was a very deep move, it is one of my favourite non-sacrifices, ever.

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I played it over again and I think I "got" it a little bit more. It's not the winning combination or or avoiding the perpetual that makes it great; it's the whole game, which unrolls with grand simplicity starting from here, after 14.Qd3:


click for larger view

Botvinnik invites Capablanca to win a tempo with ...c4, and Capa takes him up on it! And from that point until 20.e5, it's as if neither one of them is even looking at the other side of the board, as each carries out his own plan: Capa hunting the a-pawn, Botvinnik pushing forward in the center.


click for larger view

So who is right? Capa's defense with ...g6 and ...f5 offers White the choice of a blocked position or and open e-file with the consequent exchange of material. Botvinnik takes the second course and here


click for larger view

24.f5! Rxe1 25.Rxe1 Re8 26.Re6! Rxe6 27.fxe6 Kg7

The rooks are gone, but (as in so many of his games) Botvinnik has a passed pawn in the center. Will it be enough?

28.Qf4 (threatening Qc7+) Qe8 (finally, the queen comes back!) 29.Qe5 Qe7


click for larger view

And the seeming stasis is broken by Botvinnik's next move. After 30....Qxa3, the rest of the game is basically a single, magnificent forced line.

If you consider 30.Ba3 both as the gateway to a 12-move combination <and> as the final answer to the question posed by Capablanca's maneuver begun on move 14, it becomes a lot more impressive.

And as Sally points out, the occasion and the opponent also matter, as in Lasker-Capa at St. Petersburg, the first game of Tal-Botvinnik 1960, Kasparov beating Karpov in the octopus game, etc.

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Everything Iím saying has been said already, of course. Itís hard to say anything original about this game, even if you limit yourself to kibitzing on this web page. Here are a couple of old posts by <Rookfile>:

<People get all hung up on whether Ba3 is the greatest move or not. Spielman used to say to Alekhine: "I can see your combinations, it's the moves leading up to them that I can't see."

It's the same way with this game. You're white, and you're playing Jose Raoul Capablanca, former world champion. You decided to abandon the queenside and lose a pawn, just so you can play Re1, f3, and e4, and hope to get in e5. You'd better be right, otherwise Capablanca is going to queen a pawn on that whole side of the board you abandoned.>

and

<People have a misconception about this game. They get all excited about moves like Ba3 and Nh5. No, what sets this game apart is Botvinnik's 16. Rae1!! This is the best move of the game, by far the deepest move. He is deliberately sacrifing a pawn on the queenside, but has worked out a plan to force through e4 and get a strong kingside attack going. >

I think the best comment is from <aulero> back in 2004. At the end of a nuanced post, he writes,

<But it remains one of my favourite games: it seems to me a Renaissance architecture where you cannot move a single stone.>

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Exactly. 16.Rae1 is a move by an inhuman genius.
Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: The Renaissance was known for a lot of things - its architecture isn't one of them. I never heard anyone say of the Sistine Chapel, <Great ceiling, shame about the painting.>
Apr-12-19  ughaibu: <I think the best comment is from <aulero> back in 2004. At the end of a nuanced post, he writes, <But it remains one of my favourite games: it seems to me a Renaissance architecture where you cannot move a single stone.>>

Don't you think he should have mentioned that the metaphor was pinched from Reti, when talking about Rubinstein?

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Sorry for the numerous posts, but I am incapable to stop praising Botvinnik. In the last, say, 20 years I replayed this game a numerous times, and today it suddenly popped into my mind again.

It is an unexplainable, incomprehensible, hopeless mystery for me, how a mortal human being can come up with an idea like 16.Rae1. This move, the whole idea is such an extremity, such a profound brilliancy, that it is a billion light years beyond anything I know about chess. And then, that Ba3 line... We saw much more shocking tactics, of course, however, it is still a fine closure of the game, and it is not that very easy to calculate it, this is out of question.

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <MissScarlett: The Renaissance was known for a lot of things - its architecture isn't one of them. I never heard anyone say of the Sistine Chapel, <Great ceiling, shame about the painting.>>

Really? The Duomo in Florence? St. Peter's? This trifle from the Loire? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3... Palladio? Anyway, it appears that your quarrel is not with me, but with Richard Reti.

< ughaibu: <I think the best comment is from <aulero> back in 2004. At the end of a nuanced post, he writes, <But it remains one of my favourite games: it seems to me a Renaissance architecture where you cannot move a single stone.>> Don't you think he should have mentioned that the metaphor was pinched from Reti, when talking about Rubinstein?>

Well, I would look a little less silly if he had.

Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: Wikipedia has a long article dedicated to Renaissance architecture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renai...

And before anyone goes *pfh Wikipedia*. So has Encyclopaedia Britannica.

https://www.britannica.com/art/Rena...

Apr-12-19  ughaibu: Keypusher: You don't recall Reti saying of Rubinstein's games that there're like constructions from which not a single stone dare be shifted?
Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu>
I recall the following: Rubinstein vs Nimzowitsch, 1907 "This well-knit position with its extraordinary economy and ideally posted forces is akin to a Greek work of art. Nothing should have been changed in this position seeped in perfection."
Apr-12-19  JimNorCal: Regardless of the proper metaphor, it's a joy to read fellow chess lovers express their appreciation for this masterpiece.
Apr-12-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ughaibu: Keypusher: You don't recall Reti saying of Rubinstein's games that there're like constructions from which not a single stone dare be shifted?>

I don't. I liked Reti's problems, his potboilers not so much.

Apr-13-19  ughaibu: Beatgiant: Reti, Nimzowitsch, I guess it's the same under some interpretations of hypermodernism.

Keypusher: Fair enough.

Apr-25-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <ughaibu>
You were right about Reti. "His [Rubinstein's] games create the impression of a great structure from which no stone dare be lifted." (from _Modern Ideas in Chess_)
Apr-26-19  ughaibu: Beatgiant: Thanks, nice to know that my memory is reliable, at least on some occasions.
Apr-28-19  N.O.F. NAJDORF: I remember when, in ITV's Duels of the Mind, the late Donald Woods asked whether black could have declined the bishop sacrifice.

Raymond Keene dismissed the idea on the ground that 'the pawn comes to e7 and queens.'

He got it wrong.

It is the white BISHOP that comes to e7 with decisive effect, the Nimzo-Indian's drawback being the weaknesses on Black's dark squares.

Apr-29-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: I hate to pile on, but I also think this game is somewhat overrated. Botvinnik's win against Alekhine in the R&Kt vs R&Kt ending in this same tournament is a much more impressive game. Yet, somehow, it gets overlooked.
Apr-29-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: While I have no dog in this particular fight, I agree with <Mr Rousselle> that Botvinnik's win from Alekhine was outstanding and believe the reason was that it was of a rather different character than this game: no pyrotechnics, but a boa constrictor display which would have done the likes of Capablanca, Fischer or Karpov proud.
May-02-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <perfidious> <jmrouselle> And my own favorite game of Botvinnik from this tournament, if not this one, is Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1938
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