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Martin Christoffel vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Groningen (1946), Groningen NED, rd 17, Sep-04
French Defense: Winawer. Bogoljubow Variation (C17)  ·  0-1



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Given 5 times; par: 71 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-16-05  suenteus po 147: <WannaBe> The first seven moves up to 7.Nb3 are a perfect match to our French Defense game :) Botvinnik is obviously smarter than I am. He played 7...Bc5 instead of 7...Bxd2+.
Aug-11-07  wolfmaster: Why would Botvinnik, at 35 years old, be in a junior tournament? Or is this an exhibition?
Aug-11-07  nescio: <wolfmaster: Why would Botvinnik, at 35 years old, be in a junior tournament?>

He wasn't.

<Or is this an exhibition?>


Nov-14-08  patzerboy: Amusing how Botvinnik tortures the poor White dark-square bishop with pawns over and over again, eventually forcing the bishop to sacrifice itself in the vain hope of winning Black's passed pawns.

The blithe way in which he gives up both of the doubled g pawns, seemingly denuding his king and allowing White's Queen to briefly but futilely threaten, is also impressive.

May-25-10  ozmikey: A very interesting game.

I'm sure White could have improved his defence at some point. 24. f3 looks wrong to me, allowing Black to get his pawn phalanx moving after which it becomes a crush; after 24. Rxd4 admittedly White's bishop is going to be out of the game for a very long time, but it looks to me like he has reasonable chances of setting up a blockade of sorts in the centre and bringing his knight back into the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ozmikey>

How about 24.Rxd4 Ng6 25.Nf3 e5 26.Rxd5 (maybe 26.Nxe5 instead?) 26...e4. Does that work for Black?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ozmikey> Well, I was wrong. Shredder thinks White can perfectly well play 25.g3 after 24.Rxd4 Ng6, and I certainly don't see a refutation.In fact Shredder sees a White advantage after your move. After 24.f3, on the other hand, Black is winning.

Earlier it looks as if Botvinnik's whole conception with ...g5, ...f5 and ...f4 was unsound, as Christoffel could have played 20.Qd3 instead of 20.Qh5, when 20...g6 is refuted by 21.Nxe6.

May-25-10  ozmikey: <keypusher> Thanks for the analysis! I've been playing over the games from Groningen 1946 over the last month and I tend to think that Botvinnik was a bit lucky here and there.

21. Nxe6! is a nice trick in that line you quote...relying on the fact that the rook on f8 will be undefended after 21...Bxe6 22. Qxg6+ Kh8 23. Qh6+ (forcing the king back to g8 when the bishop goes with check, allowing White's bishop to escape). But is 20...Rf5 also possible as a reply to 20. Qd3?

May-25-10  PeterB: Dr. Euwe in the tournament book (this was Groningen 1946) felt that White had only to play 16.b5 followed by 17.Nd4 to get a great game! Also, Euwe agrees with ozmikey: instead of 24.f3, he recommended 24.Rd4 Rh8 25.Rf4 with roughly equal chances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ozmikey> Botvinnik certainly was lucky in this game! It's too bad, I thought the ...g5, ...f5, ...f4 idea was awesome when I first saw it. I couldn't believe Black could get away with playing like that...turned out he shouldn't have.

Re your other comment, I (and more importantly Shredder) agree that Black should play 20...Rf5 instead of 20...g6 after 20.Qd3. But then White gets a clear advantage with 21.Bxf4.

<PeterB> Shredder disagrees with Dr. Euwe, seeing the position as slightly better for Black after 16.b5 Na5 17.Nxd4 Nc4. It comes up with a nice maneuver after 18.f4: 18...a6 19.bxa6 Qc5 20.c3 b6 and ...Bxa6. After 18.Bf4 Bd7 19.a4 a6 it likes Black's play against White's queenside pawns.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Going back to the opening, Christoffel goes wrong early with 6.Nf3 in response to Botvinnik's slightly unusual 5...Nc6. After 6...cxd4 7.Nb5 Bc5, Black is up a pawn in return for not very much, since even after Black's subsequent ...Bb6, Nd6+ Kf8 doesn't seem to be a particularly dangerous threat.

Shredder thinks Botvinnik gave up most of his advantage with 11...Bc7, preferring instead simply 11...0-0, and if White tries to attack with 12.h4, then 12...a6 13.h5 Ngxe5 14.Nxe5 axb5 15.h6 (15.Bxb5 d3 16.Bxd3 Qf6 17.f4 Bc7 ) 15...g6. You can see how Botvinnik would have been leery of castling first, though.

Later on, Botvinnik would have been OK/slightly better after 18...g4 19.Nxd4 Nxe5 20.Qxg4 Nxg4 21.Bxc7. Instead 18...f5 was a losing blunder, but as we have seen Christoffel did not take advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <21. Nxe6! is a nice trick in that line you quote...relying on the fact that the rook on f8 will be undefended after 21...Bxe6 22. Qxg6+ Kh8 23. Qh6+ (forcing the king back to g8 when the bishop goes with check, allowing White's bishop to escape).>

Should probably note that after 21....Bxe6 22.Qxg6+ Kh8 the rook <is> defended. The refutation is the not-so-obvious 23.Bh4. After, e.g., 23....Qd7 24.Bf6+ Rxf6 25.Qxf6+ Kh7 26.Qh4+ Kg8 27.b5 the engine eval is about +4.

Anyway, this line makes Christoffel and Botvinnik both missing 20.Qd3 more understandable.

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