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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship (1941), Leningrad- Moscow URS, rd 5, Mar-29
French Defense: Winawer. Positional Variation (C19)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: With a nasty little punchline: 43.Rxd4,Rge1+; 44.Kf3,Qxh3+. Typical game for these blokes: White seems to have an attack on both sides of the board, Black walks into a pin with 25...Kb7, then the King wanders anywhere it pleases, it's hard to tell who's better for a long time, and finally those seemingly well-placed White Rooks are actually caught in a tangle.
Jun-22-05  BadTemper: How does black play after 41. RxN ? I cant see any mate white has the escape square...
Jun-22-05  BadTemper: Oh nevermind. I see the mate on Re4.
Jul-03-07  sanyas: 41.♖xf5 ♖ge1 and 42...♖ad1# is unstoppable.
May-25-08  DWINS: 37...Rga8 with the nasty threat of 38...Ra1 39.Qb4 R8a4 40.Qb2 Nxd6 41.exd6 Qe1#

This explains 38.Qh1 and 39.Qh3
Now Botvinnik can't play 39...Nxd6 because of 40.Qxe6

Smyslov then makes the horrendous move 40.hxg6?? and the rest is history. Of course, he was lost in any event.

Jun-03-08  Isan: <BadTemper> After 41.RxN white loses his queen, with 41...Re1+ 42.Kf3 Qxh3+,
Jul-18-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: Smyslov was caught with 10...Qa4! thats why 8.Bd3 was not recommended today.
Jul-18-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: With 22...O-O-O Black completed his development and have better position. White has the K in the center, unconnected R, no much chances of attack.
Jul-18-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: In reality the white attack to the black night with Rs in f column was a mistake. Black with a column entered in white position, and the white king doesn't belong to this attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  profK: I love crowded boards...It is often hard to tell what's happening.
Feb-12-12  The Curious Emblem: With the mistake 27. axb6?, White opens up the a-file on the Queenside, which allows Black to penetrate in a position that was incoveniently locked up. White was okay up to that point. But I don't think White had enough advantage in any stage of the game to squeeze out a win though, especially after the rooks end up being misplaced on the f-file doing absolutely nothing but knocking on granite on f5.
Dec-31-15  ColdSong: I still think that Smyslov's whole plan in this opening is interesting.With cautious play,a right moment can come when an exchange sacrifice to f5 is possible,with weaknesses f7 and h6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ColdSong: I still think that Smyslov's whole plan in this opening is interesting.With cautious play,a right moment can come when an exchange sacrifice to f5 is possible,with weaknesses f7 and h6.>

In <Selected Games> Botvinnik agrees with you. He thought he had the advantage coming out of the opening but went astray with 17....Bxg4.

<In one move Black loses all his advantage!...The White Rook should not have been allowed to reach the fourth rank. Because of this "trifle" the entire picture changes.>

18.Rxg4 Nf5 19.Qe2 Qd7 20.Rf4 Qe6

<Alas! Black cannot force the exchange of White's KRP by 20....g5 21.hxg6 fxg6, which would lead to a won position for Black (the passed pawn on the h-file and the strong knight on f5) because of 21.e6, and White wins a piece.

Since Black does not succeed in exchanging the BP for the RP, the position of the knight on f5 proves not to be so impregnable as might appear, for the Knight cannot be defended by the Rook.>

21.Qf3 g6 22.a4 0-0-0 23.Ba3

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<Now Black cannot initiate any aggressive action, as he continually has to reckon with the threat Kd2, Rg1, hxg6, Rxg6, and Rxf5. Black always has to be ready to lose (?) the exchange and so he cannot even think of active play. On the other hand, if he puts up a sound defence the loss of exchange leads to double-edged play -- it is not always favorable for White.

Here Black offered a draw, which White declined.>

Botvinnik says that doubling rooks on f4 and f3 was just an inferior attempt to make the same exchange sacrifice he recommended in the note above. Then Smyslov drifted and eventually made a series of errors allowing Black to transfer his rooks to the 8th rank and carry out a mating attack.

Jul-12-18  Inocencio: The killing knight! Marvelous play by Botvinnik!
Jul-12-18  RookFile: If things had worked out slightly differently white might have had a murderous attack on the dark squares. Botvinnik showed great mastery by staying in control of the situation.
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