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Andre Lilienthal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Molten Iron" (game of the day May-13-2010)
USSR Championship (1940), Moscow URS, rd 17, Sep-27
Queen's Indian Defense: Classical. Traditional Variation Main Line (E19)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-13-10  ROO.BOOKAROO: Why not 40...Qxf6?
May-13-10  Jim Bartle: Maybe 41. Rxe8 followed by 41. Qxb5+ ?
May-13-10  Eric Farley: [To Everett ] An excellent book for you to really learn openings is Mednis' "Strategic Chess - Mastering the Closed Game " It only deals with closed games but it's good and it's a Dover book( usually they're cheap). Kotov's "Play like a GM" is also a good book (if you discount the nauseating praise of Soviet players by Kotov). For endings ( my favorite subject, believe it or not) Jesus de la Villa's " 100 Endgames You Must Know " is good too.
May-13-10  estrick: <Once: . . . and the remaining four were within 0.2 of Fritz's top pick. So we can safely say that Bottvinnik choices [Once] . . . were not disastrously different from the computer and none were assessed by Fritz as game changing errors. In a relatively slow positional game like this one there are plenty of choices for both sides and we shouldn't take a difference of 0.2 as particularly significant.">

I must disagree. If you add up all of those small differences you get .73. I've seen many games where the author/analyst/commentator talks about gradually accumulating small advatanges that eventually result in a winning position. Seems that's what happened here.

For a player of Botvinnik's caliber to play so many moves that diverge from Fritz's quick analysis suggests that the future world champion was indeed having an off day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <estrick> Perhaps. The trouble is that white didn't often play Fritz's top picks either. And that is not too surprising. In non-tactical positions, each side has lots of choices and I am not sure I would trust an engine's analysis to within 0.2 of a pawn.

For example, rewind to the position after 3...b6

click for larger view

A atandard queens indian, yet Fritz rates this as +0.32.

Botvinnik lost this game, so we have to say he was not at his best. It is also fair to say that the Lilienthal/ Dvoretsky commentary doesn't comment on every move where black could have played something which might have been marginally stronger (if we can trust an engine to that degree).

But let's try to be reasonable. Black didn't play any howlers, as far as I can see. He was gradually ground down after a clever sequence by white which sidelined the black knight and grabbed more space.

And if you write a commentary with the aim of commenting in detail on every move you will appeal to some readers but not to plenty of others. Sometimes to teach you have to simplify.

One of the drawbacks of, for all that I love it, it is very easy to criticise. We can sit here with Fritz or Rybka in the background and pick holes in the play of world champions. Or, as a variation of this sport, criticise someone else's analysis or commentary.

The reality is that the games were are criticising are played by real people, under pressure, with no engine to back them up and the clock ticking. And writing a commentary that people actually want to read is not that easy. Anyone can stuff in reams and reams of computer analysis, but how many would actually want to wade through something like that?

And let's not forget that all this started with a criticism of the Lilienthal/ Dvoretsky commentary that anyone with a computer can read for free. Seems a little ungrateful to me.

May-14-10  JohnBoy: Without much to add to the fine comment above by <Once>, I would like to point out to <estrick> that (a) computer analysis is hardly flawless, and (b) small deviations from computer selections are not at all cumulative in terms of evaluation. It is silly to think that a .3 miss followed by a .2 miss mean that one has lost half a pawn. It could just as easily mean that the same motif was overlooked on successive moves.

Take computer analysis as move suggestions. And excellent tactical analysis for maybe ten move sequences. Beyond the horizon of most humans (that's why they win), but not much more.

May-14-10  estrick: There are lots of master games or GM games where one player loses without making any "game changing errors" or "howlers." I believe this is more true in slow positional games than in games involving sharp tactical lines.

Drunken Knight did not use the word "blunder" but "klunker." There's a big difference between those two words, imo. A future world champion does not need to commit a howler for one of his moves to be called a klunker. If they're simply uninspired, or lacking the usual brilliance or precision we've come to expect of him, that qualifies in my book. Being "gradually ground down" is certainly not typical of Botvinnik's play. So what's wrong with saying he had "an off day"?

May-14-10  estrick: I will say again, that it's quite common in the commentary on master games that I've played through for the writer to speak of one player gradually accumulating small improvements in his position that eventually add up to a decisive advantage.

The running tally in Fritz' analysis that Once posted seems to be a clear example of that:

19. . . ( +1.4)
23. . . (+1.77)
24. . . (+1.82)
26. . . (+2.13)
29. . . (+2.87)

Can Johnboy explain how this was not cumulative?

May-14-10  Roemer: <CG> Isn't Mr.Lilienthal's first name Andor and not Andre ?
May-14-10  Petrosianic: Andor is his real name, Andre is the Anglicized version. Sort of the way we usually refer to Moskva as Moscow, or Kung-fu-tsu as Confucius.
May-14-10  laskereshevsky: In the Hungarian Chess Federation obituary He's called:

<Lilienthal Andor (1911-2010)>

May-14-10  laskereshevsky: From my CG's kibitzer past: ........

<Aug-16-07 laskereshevsky:

the idea of 14.♕d2 is easy to see....but only after the move was played! A real great positional thought...

...Botvinnik thought that after 13....♘b4 the ♙d5 need looks natural to play 14.♕b3, and after 14...♙a5 15.♙a3 ♘a6 the ♘ can came back in activity from c5.....

but 14.♕d2! blocked all this by the following ♙b4.

The last thinks to do are:
to develop the ♗c1 in b2,

to take control of the C and E lines,

put pression on the weak ♙c7,

carefully avoid any chance of "resurection" of the sad ♘a6, ( by 19.♘d3!....note: at this point the white refrained from gain a pawn with 19.♙bxa to didnt allowed the 19...♘c5..)

gain space on the king side too,

and last but not least...the "sunny" move 31.♖e6+!... this was the second time(!) the ♗ottvinik's face was smashed by a Lillienthal's ♖e6!

watch the 29th white move on Lilienthal vs Botvinnik, 1936

....This time, the great Mikhail wasnt enough able (and lucky) to avoid the defeats....>

May-14-10  Everett: Thanks for the work <Once>

What is the definition of "troll" again? ... or being "trolled" for that matter?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <estrick> It's not one of Botvinnik's best, to be sure, but I think Lilienthal also played well. And I think he wrote a pretty interesting (if not exhaustive) commentary on the game too. I'll set up Fritz to do a full game analysis and will post it later (it takes quite a while to complete).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Everett> It used to be said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit. And it probably was, at least until trolling was invented.

Much as I like a joke, I can't help feeling that trolling is way way past its sell-by date. It's just not funny any more. That would be bad enough, but what I cannot forgive is that trolling is fundamentally negative. Trolls get their kicks by making other people uncomfortable. I prefer humour when I can laugh with someone, not at someone.

The one bit of good news is that trolling has become so stale and predictable that most people can spot it a mile away. And so all the troll does is draw attention to his own inadequacy.

May-14-10  Petrosianic: <It used to be said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit. And it probably was, at least until trolling was invented.>

Maybe not. Some think that trolling is the highest form of... whatever comes just below wit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Half-wit?
May-14-10  estrick: <Once> I don't deny that Lilienthal played well in this game. It was selected gotd for a reason, and it is evidently a game that he was very proud of. And obviously, he was a great player in his own right.

btw, there are 12 games between these two players in the CG data base, with the score Botvinnik 5 wins, Lilienthal 2 wins, and 5 draws.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Yup, that sounds about right. Botvinnik is one of my favourite players and I would expect him to beat Lilienthal more often than not.
May-14-10  njchess: An amazing game. After 20 moves, Botvinnik can't find a meaningful move! Wow! Great game from Lilienthal.
Jan-14-13  Parbrahman: Lilienthal said this is his favorite game. He liked it even better than his short win against Capablanca in 1936.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: A rare and painful sight, Botvinnik all tangled up and hopelessly shuffling pieces back and forth. Great game by Lilienthal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Just ran this game on Guess the Move. I did pretty well:

Lilienthal vs Botvinnik, 1940.
Your score: 80 (par = 61)

My main mistake was insisting in playing Ne6 when it wasn't sound. In the finish, I got full credit for playing Rxe8+ in moves 40 and 41. The way Lilienthal played, he conveniently got Bf3 in (for a killer Bh5+ after 43...Qxe8 44.Qh7 Qf7 45.Qh8+ Qg8 46.Qxh6+) and then sacked on e8 (which I also "did.")

Pretty happy with my performance. I used about 20 minutes.

Maybe I should go tomorrow to the Saturday rapid at the Nashville Chess Center (4 games).

Sep-27-19  sudoplatov: Another game (as well as the famous Korchnoi-Karpov match game) where Qd2 by White in the Queen's Indian (in front of the Bc1) works well. What's it about the Queen's Indian that calls for Qd2 by White? Just coincidence?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <sudaplatov> I can't speak for all Queen's Indian positions, but in this one:

click for larger view

14.Qd2 is pretty natural. White has to move the queen and this move conveniently defends the d5 and threatens the N. Not only that, but the incoming b4 (with a3 as in the game or without it if black plays Na6 now) leaves the black N misplaced for the long run. Blocking the bishop is not a problem... It can be fianchetoed. In fact, it's best placed on b2 than anywhere on the c1-h6 diagonal.

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