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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Ilia Kan
USSR Championship (1939), Leningrad URS, rd 10, Apr-29
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Three Knights Variation (E21)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-25-06  mathematician: how come black didnt take ef? and instead went nd7?
Dec-25-06  nescio: <mathematician: how come black didnt take ef? and instead went nd7?>

I suppose you mean 14...exf4 instaed of 14...Nd7. Generally speaking, after 14...exf4 15.exf4 the game would be opened up which should be advantageous for the better developed side, in this case White. I think Kan played 14...Nd7 in a mistaken trust in his next move 15...Nf6, expecting to prevent the f-pawn from advancing further.

Sep-19-08  just a kid: Botvinnik's 34.Qe3! stops all of kan's threats.
Nov-05-12  Naniwazu: <mathematician> John Watson gives the variation 14...exf4 15. exf4 f5 (to prevent f5) and points out that White has the open e-file and an outpost on e5. (Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, p. 51).

Why no more kibitzing for this famous game?

Nov-05-12  shalgo: This game should be studied in combination with Botvinnik vs Chekhover, 1938, in which Botvinnik also voluntarily takes on doubled, isolated d-pawns for control of d5. In that game, however, it is a rook, not a bishop, that occupies the square.
Apr-17-13  Olavi: <Why no more kibitzing for this famous game?> Where did black go wrong? I guess people armed with engines will not agree, but one feels that after 11.dxe5! white is practically winning. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, it was revolutionary at the time. How about 10...cxd4 11.cxd4 e5? Counterintuitive, until you see the actual game.
Jan-02-15  Poisonpawns: <olavi> Botvinnik said 10..e5 was the cause of blacks troubles and that Nc6 should have been played.Then he says 15..Nf6 may have been decisive mistake, since the knight can now be exchanged leaving the bishop in charge.
Feb-08-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Position after 10....e5:


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SF11 doesn't quite trash this classic (cf. Botvinnik vs Panov, 1939), but it doesn't do it lots of favors.

SF slightly prefers 11.Bd3 (+0.51, 49 ply) to 11.dxe5 (+0.33, 49 ply).

The main line after 11.Bd3 runs 11....cd 12.cd ed 13.0-0! Qc3 14.ed Qxc2 15.Rfe1+ Kd8 16.Bxc2 with a lead in development -- useful even in the endgame, as Bronstein pointed out.

<Naniwazu: <mathematician> John Watson gives the variation 14...exf4 15. exf4 f5 (to prevent f5) and points out that White has the open e-file and an outpost on e5. (Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, p. 51).>

Watson's note doesn't hold up. Instead of 15....f5, 15....Bd7 and the supposed threat of 16.f5 is met with 16....Ba4 17.Qc1 Rd8 (-0.13, 46 ply).

As the game went, White had a very slight advantage that got bigger after 20....Ba6?! and 24....Rd8?. After 26....Bc8? White was winning.

<Why no more kibitzing for this famous game?>

Seems to be more famous than it deserves. White was definitely not winning after 11.dxe5, in any case.

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