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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Salomon Flohr
USSR Championship (1944), Moscow URS, rd 7, May-30
Reti Opening: Advance Variation (A09)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-10-07  outsider: was glad to remember this game and to watch it anew. flohr failed to understand the dangers of 43...rf6, and we should not forget the decisive touch of 61.Kc5. one of the best games of dr. botvinnik, and one of his favoured ones, and still no comments?!
Jun-14-07  YouRang: Perhaps Flohr might have made Botvinnik's win more difficult. After Botvinnik played 50. Kf5 (diagram:black to move)


click for larger view

Here, Flohr went with 50...bxa5?, which I think makes the outcome somewhat predictable.

More interesting, IMO, 50...Kxd5! This leaves white with a couple choices for move 51:

(1) bxa5
(2) Kxf5

=== If 51. bxa5, then 51...bxa5
52. Kxf6 Kc4!
53. Kg6 Kb3
54. Kxh6 Kxb2
55. Kg5 a4
56. h6 a3
57. h7 a2
58. h8=Q+ Kb1 (diagram:white to move)


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But this is a known draw -- to keep black from promoting, white must keep checking or force stalemate.

=== If 51. Kxf5, then 51...Kc4! (diagram:white to move)


click for larger view

Here, white needs 52. Kg6! (since the tempting 52. bxa5? leads to the same draw above.)

Black might continue:
52...Kb3!?
53. Kxh6! (again, white must avoid bxa5) Kxb2
53. Kg5! (again...) a4
54. h6 ... Black is out of tricks: 0-1

Jun-14-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: To be fair to Flohr, the ending in your first diagram is so extremely well known that no-one could ever expect a master (let alone a Botvinnik) to fall into it. It seems to me that both yours and Flohr's attempts lose in ways that are not difficult for a master to calculate, although I do think that your variation is more entertaining.
Jun-14-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <You Rang> <Eggman> If I'm not mistaken Botvinnik used the ending in this game to compose one of his six studies. It helped him compose Study No 5 I think. Anyway see my posts on these at the Mikhail Botvinnik thread.
Jun-14-07  LIFE Master AJ: < <YouRang> Here, Flohr went with 50...bxa5?, which I think makes the outcome somewhat predictable.>

I take it that you meant 50...axb4.

This is a very famous game ... played at a very high level.

Jun-14-07  YouRang: <Eggman> Oh, I suppose you're right. Had Flohr followed my line, he could probably resign on the second time Botvinnik declined to take the a-pawn.

However, I think that maybe even *I* might have figured out that after eating the h-pawn, I'd never get back in time to stop the b-pawn. I didn't understand why it took Flohr so long to resign. By playing 51...Kxd5, Flohr would have at least left open the option for white to blunder.

<LMAJ> <I take it that you meant 50...axb4.> Yes, thanks.

<Benzol> Thanks for the link. I wasn't aware of the significance of this game. I was just poking around in the Endgame Explorer, looking at K+2P vs K+2P endings. :-)

Jun-19-07  Marmot PFL: It must have been a significant game or Flohr could have resigned about 10 moves sooner.
Sep-01-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: A reversed Benoni which you rarely see black play nowadays. Botvinnik recommended 11 f4 at once as Flohr could have answered 11 Kh1 with 11..Bf5 giving black a reasonable game. Botvinnik did not think much of 19 Rh4 as blacks king is not really vulnerable but he did not offer an alternative. 21..hxg is dangerous as after 22 Be5 the black knight is pinned because of the threat of Rh8+. 21..fxg, however, helps Botvinnik in the endgame. In time pressure Flohr missed 37..Rf4 with the idea of 38 Qd3..Qc5+ & 39..Rd4. Botvinnik recommended 40..Kg8 with the idea of stopping the pawn at d7 as the white king would not be in time to support it. After 43..Ke7 Flohr still would have had some drawing chances but after 43..Rf6 he had no chances after 45 g4!, 46 h4 and 48 h5 opening up the kingside light squares for invasion.
Nov-09-09  Plato: Another very impressive endgame by Botvinnik, against one of the most solid, tough-to-beat players of the time.

Trading rooks with 43...Rf6 was the losing mistake. The complexity of the pawn endgame is evident when you consider that a player of Flohr's caliber had plenty of time to think it over after reaching the time control on move 40. Black's position was highly uncomfortable in any case, but maybe not objectively losing.

Mar-02-11  ToTheDeath: Very instructive.

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