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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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Given 79 times; par: 74 [what's this?]

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sac: 30.Ba3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 17 OF 19 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: As great as this game is (and it's a pretty magnificent game), I prefer Botvinnik's win vs Alekhine in this same tournament.
Feb-27-16  cunctatorg: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever, ..." John Keats.

Well, I myself wonder which M. M. Botvinnik's victory was harder to be achieved, this splendid victory versus JRC or his deepest victory (in the same tournament ) vs. AAA... Nevertheless, both are genuine masterpieces of human creativity!!

Feb-27-16  The Kings Domain: It's quite painful to see the once invincible Capa getting trounced convincingly but the changing of the guard is as inevitable as it is definite.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Out with the with the new.
Feb-27-16  morfishine: A Classic
Feb-28-16  RandomVisitor: After 15...Nb8

click for larger view


<+0.13/41 16.Rae1 Nc6 17.Ng3 Ne4> 18.Nh5 Qf5 19.Nf4 Ne7 20.f3 Nf6 21.Qxf5 Nxf5 22.Bc1 h6 23.g4 Nh4 24.Kf2 g5 25.Ng2 Nxg2 26.Kxg2 Rab8 27.Bd2 b5 28.a5 Rbc8 29.Rb1 a6 30.Rh1 Rc6 31.h4 Nh7 32.Rbe1 b4 33.e4 dxe4 34.fxe4 b3 35.hxg5 Nxg5 36.e5 Kg7 37.Bxg5 hxg5 38.Rh5 Rh6 39.Rxg5+ Rg6 40.Rxg6+ Kxg6 41.Kf3 b2

+0.12/41 16.Ng3 Nc6 17.Rae1 Ne4 18.Nh5 Qf5 19.Nf4 Ne7 20.f3 Nf6 21.Qxf5 Nxf5 22.Bc1 h6 23.Rf2 b5 24.g4 Nh4 25.axb5 Rab8 26.Ng2 Nxg2 27.Kxg2 Rxb5 28.Ra2 a5 29.Kf2 g5 30.Bd2 Kg7 31.Rea1 Ra8 32.Ke2 Kg6 33.Be1 h5 34.gxh5+ Nxh5 35.h4 f6 36.Kd2 Kf7 37.hxg5 fxg5 38.Bf2 Kg6 39.Ke1 Ng7 40.Bg3 Nf5 41.Kf2

0.00/41 16.Nf4 Qc6 17.Ba3 Na6 18.Rfe1 Nc7 19.f3 h6 20.h4 Ne6 21.g4 Qc7 22.Qf5 Nxf4 23.exf4 Rxe1+ 24.Rxe1 Qc6 25.Qc2 Re8 26.Rxe8+ Qxe8 27.Kf2 Qc6 28.Be7 Ne8 29.Qf5 Qxa4 30.Qxd5 Qc2+ 31.Kg3 Qxc3 32.Qd8 Qe1+ 33.Kg2 Qe2+ 34.Kg3 Qe1+

Feb-28-16  Ayaend: Nice combinaison by botvinnik ! Beautiful moves at the end 😊
Jul-26-16  MariusDaniel: Absolutely Fantastic chess game,one of the best ever,for sure!
May-03-17  ZackyMuhammad: Botvinnik best games
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Stockfish finds the famous Bishop sacrifice - 30.Ba3!

analysis of move 30.?

Nov-26-17  Toribio3: Advanced in 10 moves! Botvinnik is an extraordinary human being.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: People were still trying their luck against Botvinnik in this line 30 years later! Botvinnik vs Kurajica, 1967
Sep-13-18  Patzer Natmas: I had to rewatch the game. He sacrificed two pieces! Most excellent!
Sep-13-18  Ironmanth: Perennially one of my all time favorite games. Genius idea and execution. Thanks for this, chessgames.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: I think this is the one The Best in Chess had a story based off of where Capablanca plays a nearly identical game against the devil (for the ultimate stakes, natch), whom he tricks into making a touch-move blunder on move 40.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Botvinnik:

<"My greatest victory, ever!">

After 30.Ba3: <"The beginning of a 12-move combination, including the following winning manoeuvre. I must admit that I could not calculate it right to the end and operated in two stages. First I evaluated the position after six moves and convinced myself that I had a draw by perpetual check. Then after the first six moves I calculated the rest to the end. A chess player's resources, particularly at the end of a game, are limited".>

CG kibitzers:

<I'm surprised that Botvinnik thought that this was the best game of his life as there's not much to it.

I know that I am not alone in thinking that this game is vastly overrated.

This is not a great game.

Haha...Well, I personnally don't see what's so spectacular about that game […]

I fail to see the immortality of this game. The Ba3 Nh5+ combination looks rather bland, and counting how to avoid a perpetual check doesn't make it "classic".

I think it's boring for a supposed classic

It is hard to argue if the combination with Capablanca was good or bad. Finding the moves 30. Ba3!! and 31. Nh5+!! is not too hard for an advanced player.

I think the combination is a bit over rated, i think any elo 2400-2500 could see that the combination Ba3! and Nh5!

This game is vastly overrated.

in this game the young Capablanca was still no match for the experienced Botvinnik.

Devoting large-scale analysis to this game is like a doctor giving heroin to a detective who is just about to crash his gyrocopter.>

Sep-13-18  Pyke: <in this game the young Capablanca was still no match for the experienced Botvinnik.>

Capablanca was more than 20 years older than Botvinnik. This doesn't make any sense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Pyke,

Check It Out is quoting what other poster have said about this game.

<the young Capablanca was still no match for the experienced Botvinnik.>


Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 (kibitz #240)

I think it was a joke, it was treated as such by following posters.


Personally a great game and all credit to an honest Botvinnik who in his notes says, he knew he had a perpetual when he sacced his Bishop and that was a far as he could see.

When the game moved on a few more moves he found the mate.

A piece of advice I have always followed. If about to go sac-happy v a King. If I see a perpetual I dive in, sometimes a mate I never saw appears.

I was going for a perpetual in the end of G Chandler vs V Slaven, 1991 when a mate popped up. (better add that to the game - Morf appears to be under the impression I saw it all.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I usually am quick to acknowledge how great the great games are, but I have to side with the people who don't think this game is all that. I definitely agree that any 2400 and a lot lesser lights would spot Ba3! and Nh5! Avoiding the perpetual really isn't all that tough either.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Ohio,

It is the occasion and the opponent that lifts this game to a higher level.

If Botvinnik who played some great games thinks this is his best win then you can get idea of what it meant to him and what he was going through at the board.

True a 2400 player could make the Ba3! sac even routinely....against another 2400 player.

Botvinnik tells us Capablanca was calm and making 'everything is under control' gestures to Euwe just after the sac.

You have to put yourself there and remember it's v Capablanca of all people who once famously said (paraphrase) if you see a good move against me you have to think...would I allow such a move.

You would be sitting there thinking and sweating 'What have I missed...' (I know I would.)

I'll go along with Botvinnik, he played it, he was there and he went for it. If he says this was his greatest victory then I cannot disagree.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: 21. Nf5 g6 A. 22. Nd6 Re6 23. g4 Nbc5 24. Qd2 Nd3=

click for larger view

25. Ra1 Qc6 26. Ba3 N7xe5 27. dxe5 Rxe5 28. Qh6 f6 29. f4 Re2 30. f5 d4

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B1. 22. Ne3 Kh8 23. f4 Qc6 24. Ba3 f6 25. g4

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B2. 22. Ne3 Qc6 23. f4 f5 24. g4

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B3. 22. Ne3 Qc6 23. f4 Kh8 24. f5 Ndc5 25. fxg6 fxg6 26. Ba3 Nd3 27. Rb1 b5 28. Rxb3

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21. Nf5 a5 22. Qf2

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29. Qc7+

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29... Kg8 30. Qe5 A Kg7 31. Ba3 Na5 32. Qc7+ Kh8 33. Be7 Ng4 34. h3 Nc6 35. Bg5 h6 36. Bd2 Nf6 37. Bxh6 Ne7 38. Qxa7 Qd8 39. Bf4

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29. Qc7+ Kg8 30. Qe5 B Qe7 31. Ba3 Qxa3 32. Qxf6 Qf8 33. Qe5 Qe7 34. Qxd5

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1. 34... a5 35. Ne4 Nc1 36. Qxc4

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2. 34... b5 35. Ne4 Nc1 36. g3 Nd3 37. Qd7 Kf8 38. Qc8+ Qe8 39. Qa6 Qb8 40. Nf6

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29... h6 30. Qd6 Qf8 31. Qc7+ Kh8 32. Qe5 Kg7 33. h4 h5 34. Ne2 Nd2 35. Qc7+ Kg8 36. Ba3

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Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: 25... Rf8 26. fxg6 hxg6 27. Re6 Kg7 28. Qe3 Qa2 29. Re7+ Kg8 30. Qh6 Qb1+ 31. Nf1 Rf7 32. Rxf7 Kxf7 33. Ba3 g5 34. Qf8+ Kg6 35. Be7 Nh7 36. Qg8+ Kh6=

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25... Rf8 26. fxg6 hxg6 27. Re6 Kg7 28. Qf4 Na5 29. Nf5+ gxf5 30. Qg5+ Kh8 31. Rxf6 Qd1+ 32. Kf2 Qc2+ =

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25... Rf8 26. Qf4 Ne4 27. Qe5 Qd7 28. Nxe4 dxe4 29. fxg6 Qf5 30. gxh7+ Kxh7 31. Qxe4 Qxe4 32. Rxe4 Nd2 33. Re1 a5 34. Bc1 Nb1=

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Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: PS thanks to <Random Visitor> and <others> for their analysis, which made it fairly easy for me to collect the data :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WorstPlayerEver: Taimanov vs Yusupov, 1982

I left a little ditty here about pawn sacs in the middle game. As a reference I linked the two games.

I forgot something to clarify, however.

Because a tactical mistake usually means that the player who did not see the tactic, has to swallow a pawn (or piece) forced. Or, if the pawn (or piece) is poisoned, then they should obviously -forced- not take it.

Just to illustrate that I refer to a forced situation, (as part of) a combination; a tactic, which otherwise will favor the opponent, when the forced aspect of a move is not understood by the player. In other words: when they miss the combination.

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