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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Isaac Boleslavsky
USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Leningrad- Moscow URS, rd 1, Mar-28
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System (C07)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-23-04  wall1: 38...g5 looks bad. 38...Re6 or 38...Kd8 should draw.

Perhaps 46...Kd7 instead of 46...Kb7

Perhaps 47...Rg1 instead of 47...Rf1

48...f5??. 48...Kb6 holds out longer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Wall>:<38...g5 looks bad. 38...Re6 or 38...Kd8 should draw.>

A very interesting situation. I'd like to know your reasoning.

On 38...Kd8!? 39. Rg7, Black would have to sacrifice a pawn to avoid ...g5. For example, 39...f5 40. gxf5 gxf5 41. Rf7.

Maybe the idea is that Black frees his pieces and it is hard to win with the extra pawn. But I think White still has good winning chances with the extra pawn, better king activity, and Black's pawn weaknesses.

For example, it might continue 41...Rd7 42. Rxf5 Kc7 43. Kf4 Kc6 44. Rf6+ Kc7 45. Ke5 Rd8 46. b3 Rd7 47. c4 dxc4 48. dxc4 Rh7 49. d5, and Black's in trouble with White's king, rook and d-pawn pushing him back.

The other suggestion, 38...Re6+ does seem to hold, since if 39. Kd3 f5, or if 39. Kf3 g5, and I don't see a winning plan for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Wall>:<Perhaps 46...Kd7 instead of 46...Kb7> Another tough situation. I suspect the counterattack on the kingside is not enough against White's two advanced passed pawns here.

An example is 46...Kd7 47. b5 Ke6 48. Kc2 Ra4 49. Kc3 Ra1 50. Kb4 Rb1+ 51. Ka5 Ra1+ 52. Kb6 Rg1 53. Kc7 Rxg4 54. d5+ looks winning.

If instead 52...Rd1 in this line, then 53. d5+! Kd6 54. Rc6+ Ke5 55. Kc7 Rxd5 56. b6 Rb5 57. b7 Rxb7+ 58. Kxb7 Kf4 59. Rxf6+ Kxg5 60. Kc6 and White is in time to win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Wall>:
<Perhaps 47...Rg1 instead of 47...Rf1> This looks too late to me.

White can head for the kingside as in 47...Rg1 48. Rc4 Rd1+ 49. Ke4 Re1+ 50. Kf5 Re5+ 51. Kxf6 Rxd5 52. Rc5 Rd4 53. Kxg5 with an easy win, or here 50...Rf1+ 51. Ke6 Rf4 52. Rxf4 gxf4 53. d6 and both sides queen, but White ends up two pawns ahead and looks like winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Because of Boleslavsky being ill this game was played on March 28th.
Nov-09-09  Plato: In the 1940s Botvinnik was really in a different league from other top players. He plays this game perfectly. A careful, positional crush, taking advantage of every minor inaccuracy on Black's part. It would be interesting to know how Boleslavsky intended to improve upon his opening in their third encounter of the same tournament. Botvinnik deviated first with 11.Bxc6 in that game, and he once again he won brilliantly.
Nov-09-09  parisattack: <Plato: In the 1940s Botvinnik was really in a different league from other top players.>

Yes, indeed! I actually think he played better in the 1940s on balance than in his WC years. I also liked his post-WC play very much.

The book of this Match-Tournament 'Championship Chess' by Botvinnik is wonderful read/study.

Nov-09-09  Plato: Thanks <parisattack>, I didn't know of that book but will have to get it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: So where is the win for Boleslavsky in this game or any other game with Botvinnik? In Jimmy Adams book, "Isaac Boleslavsky", a translation of "Izbrannye partii", published in Moscow in 1957, there is a statement about Boleslavsky about the 1941 match-tournament. The statement is "He [Boleslavsky] overlooked an elementary win in the ending against Botvinnik..."

Perhaps the losing move is 42...Kc8. Black may be able to draw with 42...bxa5 43.bxa5 Re1, but I don't see any win for Boleslavsky in this game or any other against Botvinnik. His ending was even worse in the other Botvinnik-Boleslavsky game.

Jun-27-10  Calli: At Sverdlovsk 1943, he could have had a win with 61 Bf8. Boleslavsky vs Botvinnik, 1943
Nov-01-13  Wyatt Gwyon: After 24 Qc6:
"Black wants to tie in one of the opposing pieces to the protection of the pawn on a4. In that case the development of White's initiative would slow down. But White has at his disposal a clear attacking plan: drive away the night on g6 so as to gain access to the e7-square for his rook and to the e5 and f4-squares for the knight. For that reason White ignores the petty threat posed by his opponent." -- Botvinnik
Jan-30-14  nescio: <Wyatt Gwyon: After 24 Qc6: "Black wants to tie in one of the opposing pieces to the protection of the pawn on a4. In that case the development of White's initiative would slow down. But White has at his disposal a clear attacking plan>

For example 27...Qxa4 (instead of ...Qc8) would be bad on account of 28.h5 Nh8 29.Nf4 Nf7 30.Ne6 Tb8 31.Qg4 Ng5 32.Nxg5 fxg5 33.Re7 h6 34.Qf5. Or 29...Qd7 30.Qxd7 Rxd7 31.Re7 Rxe7 32.Rxe7 Nf7 33.Nxd5!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This game is the first one analysed in Bronznik & Terekhin's 'Techniques of Positional Play', which is where the Botvinnik quote following 24...Qc6 comes from. The technique in question is 'paralysing the knight with the duo of wing pawns' - part of a broader chapter on 'Restricting the enemy pieces'.

I agree, incidentally, that Botvinnik's play in the 1940s was particularly deep and far-seeing, which makes his games very useful material for manuals like this.

Jun-07-14  davide2013: I thought why not to play 19...Qxb2? Obviously here the idea behind the move is NOT to take a pawn, but to fragment White's pawn structure on the queenside, creating more weak pawns to attack. I let Houdini run for few minutes, and also Houdini would have played Qxb2. [White ""]
[Black "Houdini"]
[Remark "-"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


19...Qxb2 20.c3 g6 21.Rb1 Qa2 22.Rf2 Qa3 23.Qd2 Rxc5 24.dxc5 Qxc5 25.Qd4 Qc7 26.Rfb2 Rb8 27.Rb6 Nc8 28.R6b4 Nd6 29.Qxd5 Re8 30.c4 Qe7 31.Qd4 Nf5 32.Qf2 Nd6 33.c5 Ne4 34.Rxb7 Nxf2 35.Rxe7 Rxe7 36.Kxf2 $20 +0.43

Jun-07-14  davide2013: Another interesting point is that Houdini would have played 22.Pg3! Which means that the idea analysed in Bronznik & Terekhin's "45 Techniques of Positional Play," was already playable 3 moves before! Surely we will find a comment in one of the next books written by GM Nunn, where he will point out how most authors just copy and paste analysis, without making their own! [White "Houdini"]
[Black ""]
[Remark "-"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

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22.g3 Rd8 23.h4 Nf8 24.Nd3 Re7 25.Qf4 Qd7 26.Rxe7 Qxe7 27.Kg2 Ne6 28.Qf3 Qf8 29.Qf5 Qe8 30.Qg4 Qe7 31.Qf5 Qe8 32.Qg4 +0.37

Jun-07-14  davide2013: Now comes the problem. Surely Botvinnik was strong, but no match for Houdini, which is likely 500 points over Carlsen. Houdini considered 25.Pg3 for about 10-20 seconds, then switched to 25.Qg3. The question obviously is why. And Why Houdini would have played 22.Pg3, but not 25.Pg3, what changed in the position to make the engine change the move chosen? After 18 minutes, at depth 28, Houdini changes again in 25.Qg4. [White "Houdini"]
[Black ""]
[Remark "-"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


25.Qg4 f5 26.Qe2 Rdf7 27.Ne5 Nxe5 28.Rxe5 Qxa4 29.Qf3 Rd8 30.Rxd5 Rdf8 31.Rde5 f4 32.Qd5 Qc2 33.Re8 g6 34.R8e2 Qf5 35.Qb3 f3 36.Rf2 a4 37.Qxa4 Qg5 38.Qc6 fxg2 39.Rxf7 Rxf7 40.Qxg2 Qb5 41.Re5 Qa4 42.h3 Qa2 43.Re8+ Kg7 44.d5 Qc4 45.Re6 $20 +0.47

Jun-07-14  davide2013: For Houdini 26...Pf6?; is a mistake. In Broznik's book the comment is: "to control the e5 square," but the problem is not the E5 square, but how is Black going to bring back into the game the Ng6. It seems that Broznik didn't understand the advice given in the beginning of the first chapter of his book: "if one piece is badly placed, then your whole game is bad." This is the crucial point of the game. If the Ng6 is badly placed, then the game will go bad easily. If the Ng6 is put in a good square, then White will not win so easily. It seems also Botvinnik missed Black's best defense. [White ""]
[Black "Houdini"]
[Remark "-"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


26...Rfd8 27.Qd1 Nf8 28.Re7 Ng6 29.R7e2 Rf6 30.Kg2 Nf8 31.Re5 Ng6 32.R5e2 Nf8 +0.36

Feb-26-18  Saniyat24: Can Black play 41...Re4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Saniyat24: Can Black play 41...Re4?>

42.a5 bxa5 43.bxa5 and if 43....Rxg4 then 44.a6 Rg3+ 45.Ke2 Ra3 46.a7 followed by Rb8+ and a8/Q winning the rook.

Apr-16-18  tigreton: A great analisis of this game, in Spanish, in the video
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: I don't understand Boleslavksy's 14...Nd4, allowing Botvinnik to reduce his three pawn islands to just two.

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