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Paul Keres vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"Too Big To Fail" (game of the day Dec-06-2011)
FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948), The Hague NED, rd 5, Mar-11
English Opening: Agincourt Defense (A13)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-23-08  arsen387: Stupenduous positional game by Botvinnik. I just can't find where white's mistake was, starting from opening it seems like blacks constantly have a small margin over his oponent. The opening really looks very uninspiring for whites with that weak pawn on d3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: The game score is wrong. Keres let Botvinnik actually castle kingside. And because the king's rook had moved to h6 and back to h8 earlier, this is why many people think Keres threw the game to Botvinnik.
Mar-25-10  Pyke: <thegoodanarchist: The game score is wrong. Keres let Botvinnik actually castle kingside. And because the king's rook had moved to h6 and back to h8 earlier, this is why many people think Keres threw the game to Botvinnik.>


Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Just finished reading most of this thread. Great stuff, guys!

I love Slomarko's posts most of all! That person is a true pit bull! He got his jaws around the issue and never let go.

Plato gave a valiant effort, but in the end slomarko never budged.

Then there was a gradual transition from slomarko leading the argument to rookfile leading it. And rookfile held on like a bulldog too.

Whatthefat, plato and others all smacked his snout with a rolled up magazine, but rookfile held on!!

Again, good stuff guys!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <RookFile: I was joking about Mackenzie, of course, but it says he lost a match to Steinitz (+1-3=2) in 1883, which is not bad at all.>

By my reckoning, this was a clearly better showing than Blackburne's 0-7 whitewash in 1876.

Dec-06-11  erniecohen: White basically should have (1) fought for the f-file instead of launching a Q-side attack that had no chance to succeed, (2) traded off his bad bishop, and (3) not abandoned the g5 ♘ (and a pawn in the process) with 32.♕a3.
Dec-06-11  Oceanlake: It's interesting that Keres clobbered Botvinnik after Botvinnik won the Championship.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: After 52. Kh1 black cannot force the ♕ swap and the win would have been harder.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: If 52.Kh1, 52...Qh5 wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <Oceanlake> <It's interesting that Keres clobbered Botvinnik after Botvinnik won the Championship.>

After 1948 Botvinnik and Keres played 8 games, the last one in 1969. The score is in Botvinnik's favour:

+3 -2 =2.

Doesn't look like clobbering.

Dec-06-11  King Death: <brankat> It's possible that <oceanlake> meant that Keres won their game in the final cycle of the event, when Botvinnik had locked up first place. Here's the game Keres vs Botvinnik, 1948
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: <erniecohen> couldn't agree with you more. 25. a4 seems like the wrong plan.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: I suppose that may have been the case. Thanks K.D.
Dec-06-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: Gone are those days when they used to move their pawns like crazy (in opening phase)(even in a wcc matches)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Nice title, cg...(<Too Big to Fail>, in case anyone reads this years from now and wonders what I am talking about.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: The white king can't stop the black king from coming to c3 AND the g-pawn from promoting.
Dec-06-11  SuperPatzer77: <al wazir: After 52. Kh1 black cannot force the swap and the win would have been harder.>

<al wazir> Take a look at <sastre>'s commentary below:

52. Kh1 Qh5! (White Queen is pinned by the Black Queen supported by the Black g-pawn).


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The g-pawn will draw white away from his keystone pawn at d3-and his game will fall with it...
Dec-06-11  TheChessGuy: Botvinnik was renowned for his 'austerity' of character [rimshot].
Dec-06-11  drnooo: Too bad more details are not available about Keres's trying to escape during the war: if so down to the bone then with all the ones Stalin was slaughtering left and right, he would hardly have stopped with Keres lest somebody in very very high circles stepped in. Stalin had to know of the escape attempt (if so, if it really happened) Yet other than a mention in Wikipedia, I have found no other mention of the attempt.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: The medieval battle of Againcourt:


I wonder why this opening is named "Againcourt"? Could it be for the long line of pawns facing each other, mirroring battle tactics of the Hundred Years War?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <HeMateMe: The medieval battle of Againcourt: <

I wonder why this opening is named "Againcourt"?>

Presumably it is named <Agincourt> because Black meets the English Opening with a French Defense set-up.

< Could it be for the long line of pawns facing each other, mirroring battle tactics of the Hundred Years War?>

That sounds more like World War I to me. The illustration at your wikipedia link, with archers blazing away at each other from about 10 feet, doesn't bear much resemblance to the actual battle.

Interesting description of the fighting in wikipedia. Hard to believe that the French, with a huge numerical advantage, would choose a narrow battlefield where they could not bring most of their soldiers into action. Years ago I read John Keegan's account in <The Face of Battle> -- worth your time, but I can't remember what he said about this.

I don't like the opening name, I have to say. Agincourt was a legendary English victory, so to apply it to this opening battle between the English Opening and the French Defense sort of prejudges the merits, I think. Also, the French didn't defend at Agincourt: they attacked. Maybe "Agincourt Defense" refers to Henry's clever defensive setup at the start of the battle, but then the names of the openings are backwards.

I'm probably overthinking this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Overthinking this some more, when Black plays ...e6 and ...d5 against the English, he's not playing the French Defense, obviously. He's saying <a fig for your fancy flank strategy. Either play the Queen's Gambit (as in Fischer vs Spassky, 1972) or concede me an equal or superior share of the center> (as in this game).

So, yeah. Not a great opening name. To quote Botvinnik, <brilliant, but that's all!> (about White's tenth move in the game below).

Tolush vs Botvinnik, 1939

Jan-25-18  tgyuid: for me, 45...Nxf3 is the story of this tournament; the point at which romantic uncertainties resolve as demonstrable mathematics
Jan-25-18  tgyuid: furthermore i think euwe would be quite proud tthat his generation was superseded by the kind of quality only professionalism may posess
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