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Vasily Panov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1940), Moscow URS, rd 9, Sep-15
French Defense: King's Indian Attack (C00)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Botvinnik wrote: "If during the game Panov had guessed that his strivings to depart from the thoroughly studied variations were all for nothing, and that Black was simply following Capablanca in his game with Nimzovich (Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1911), he would only have been in despair! We note only that Nimzovich did not embark on the manoeuvre Nf1-e3 [which helps Black advance f5-f4]."

Later, he criticises 25 ...a5 as the first move of reproach, because 25...Re7 followed by ... Rb7 would have finished White off. He honestly admits an oversight: he thought White would answer 26 Nd4 but that would be met simply by .... Rxd4 because the Pc3 is pinned.

All the same, 27...Re7 then 29...Rb7 was decisive anyway despite the two-move delay. White's brilliant defensive idea of 30.Re8+! and 31.Rf8+! was just not enough because of Black's even more brilliant 32...Re4!!

Aug-09-07  DWINS: <Jonathan>, You are correct that Panov's 31.Rf8+! is a brilliant defensive try but you didn't explain why.

Obviously not 31...Kxf8 because of 32.Ne6+. However, if Botvinnik were to play 31...Kg6, Panov would hit him with the following beautiful drawing continuation: 32.Rg1+ Kh5 33.Qxb7! Nxb7 34.Rf5+ Kh6 35.Rf6+! gxf6 (or 35...g6) 36.Nf5+ Kh5 37.Ng7+ Kh6 38.Nf5+

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: If Botvinnik had played here...

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31...Kg6 it would have been the save of the century. The variation was noted above but without diagrams it may have been missed.

31...Kg6 32.Rg1+ Kh5 33.Rf5+ Kh6

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And now a Queen sac and a Rook sac.

34.Qxb7 Nxb7 35.Rf6+ gxf6 36.Nf5+

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and then Ng7+ and Nf5+ etc...

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