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Paul Keres vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Moscow (1947), Moscow URS, rd 14, Dec-19
Dutch Defense: Classical. Stonewall Variation (A95)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-18-04  Whitehat1963: What's the finish?
Apr-09-05  aw1988: 80...e4 81. Rh5+ Kg4 82. Rc5 Nb2+ 83. Ka3 Nd3 84. Nxd3 exd3 85. Rd5 Kf3
Aug-21-07  SniperOnKN2: dam! Botvinnik is undefeatable in the stonewall.
Aug-21-07  newton296: 80 moves ! man, botvinnik can play the hek out of the dutch stone ! probably took keres 2 days just to recover from than this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  laskereshevsky: the final tournament pairing:

1947 Nov.-Dec. Chigorin Memorial, Moscow

1.Botvinnik 11/15
2.Ragozin 10.5
=3-4.Boleslavsky 10
=3-4.Smyslov 10
5.Kotov 9.5
=6-7.Keres 9
=6-7.Novotelnov 9
8.Pachman 8.5
9.Trifunovic 8
10.Gligoric 7.5
11.Bondarevsky 6.5
12.Kholmov 5.5
13.Kottnauer 5
=14-15.Sokolsky 4
=14-15.Plater 4
16.Zvetkov 2

the round before (the XIII°), BOTVINNIK lost a game against a 23 years old young czech player...

Botvinnik vs Pachman, 1947

at the beginning of the last but one XIV° round
(the above game's one), the first positons pairing was:

1.Botvinnik 9.5
2.Keres 9 <(!)>
=3-6.Ragozin 8.5
=3-6.Boleslavsky 8.5
=3-6.Smyslov 8.5
=3-6.Kotov 8.5
=7-8.Novotelnov 7.5
=7-8.Pachman 7.5
9.Trifunovic 7

Its worth of mention that at the XI° ROUND the pairing was:

1.Botvinnik 9
=2-4.Boleslavsky 7.5
=2-4.Keres 7.5

SO, this basic match arrived at the KERES raising up's peak, and after an ugly BOT's rout.....

But After the XIV° ROUND's games, the pairing was:

1.Botvinnik 10.5
=2-3.Smyslov 9.5
=2-3.Ragozin 9.5
=4-6.Boleslavsky 9
=4-6.Kers 9
=4-6.Kotov 9
=7-8.Novotelnov 8
=7-8.Pachman 8
9.Trifunovic 7.5

And with a easy 13 moves last-round draw
Botvinnik vs P Trifunovic, 1947 BOTVINNIK ensured a solitary first place.

....IMO same BOT's notes about the pre-struggle are very interesting:...

<"My last inconter with KERES was about 7 years before, FLHOR adviced me, as i was black, to play for a draw, and then try to win the last game vs. TRIFUNOVIC by white. i decided otherwise> (!)<. On the eve of the AJA's competition, won this game was an important factor. in this way, My chances in the imminent World Championship-match were improved, as my principal competitor was awarded only like the SEMERINGEN-BADEN's 1937 and AVRO's 1938 great internationals tournaments winner....">

...TREMENDOUS!!!.... What an iron's will!...And what a TOTAL psychological war...

In the follow game against KERES, the first played in the 1948's WC tournament, BOT gave this comment: <"SO, finally we meet in Aja. After the 1948's Moscow game PAUL wasnt calm for shore.>(!)<..I decided for a complicate struggle..."> NO mention that BOTVINNIK won this game too.

Back to the Tchigorin memorial, After a demoralizating white-defeated (17.♖g5??) vs. PACHMAN, im shore the 99% players were planing for a draw against such a competitor like KERES....But BOT not!!... He (by Black) decided for a last-blood fight.... in the modern time i can think only KASPAROV could be considered so brave, not for nothing GAZZA was a MIKHAIL MOISEEVICH's pupile-disciple....

In other hands,We can see the caracterials difference between this two great players, considering the KERES reaction after this defeat... Novotelnov vs Keres, 1947
PAUL's play was very shy, the initiative was always in the NOVOTELNOV's hands...(a good, but not irrestible player...) and the last PAUL blunder (45...♕e8??) is sintomatic.

Thinking back to the (at that time) poor and depressed KERES, its understandable his terrific negative score vs. BOT. in those years....

BTW, To face a so implacable adversary OVER and OFF the board, wasnt so easy...

not only for PAUL PAVLOVIC!

Nov-22-14  Rhialto: A terribly weak game by Keres. This Qd3-f3-d3-d2-f4 and Bf4-g5-d2-f4 makes a terrible impression. It's true that you can't simply condemn a player for moving back and forth; chess is more complicated than that - and it's also true Botvinnik did a little back-and-forth with his knight at the same time. But between moves 12 and 21 White accomplished nothing, while Black improved the position of both bishops and started doubling on the c-file (which ended up being decisive). Furthermore it seems to me that in anticipation of 25...Bb5! White could have played 25.Na2 instead of the routine 25.e3. Black can still maneuver his bishop to c4, but not without trading a pair of rooks which makes the c-file pressure much less dangerous. For instance if Black sets up as in the game, his ...b4 push can be met by capturing and playing Ra1, whereas this would give Black far too much play with 4 rooks on. I think White would draw without too much trouble after 25.Na2. Overall a very limp and capitulatory performance throughout.

I don't know Keres's games very well, but given that this was immediately after the war, and the Soviet authorities probably viewed him as a borderline Nazi collaborator (not for any actual war-related activities, like writing propaganda a la Alekhine, but simply for insouciantly continuing his chess career while the Nazis were in charge of Estonia) I expect it was psychologically very hard for him to play certain games during this period. I doubt there was a particular "requirement" that he lose to Botvinnik but reviewing Keres-Botvinnik games before the war, they are about evenly matched with Botvinnik being slightly better; meanwhile after the 1948 championship tournament (played a year after this, and witnessing an absolutely slaughter of Keres by Botvinnik) their head-to-head record is even (though also scant). But in the immediate aftermath of the war Keres could hardly make a move against Botvinnik.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: In the draw Reshevsky-Botvinnik Nottingham 1936 Black had played 8..Qe8; 8..Kh8 was new. 9 cxd!? freed c6 for the queen knight making Black's development a bit easier. As mentioned earlier in this thread 25 Na2 would likely have been good enough for a draw; Kere's 25 e3? was careless allowing Black to exert maximum pressure on the c-file. 27 f3 was awkward looking but White probably didn't like 27 Bf1..Bxf1 28 Rxf1..Ne4 29 Ba2..Rc2. With 33 Na2!? White sacrificed a pawn for activity but passive defense would not have been any better.
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