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David Bronstein vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951), Moscow URS, rd 24, May-11
Semi-Slav Defense: Accepted (D44)  ·  1/2-1/2



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David Bronstein vs Mikhail Botvinnik (1951)

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-22-07  talisman: <refutor> botvinnik(black) offered the draw.22...Q-b4 23...KN-d5
Apr-16-10  DrGridlock: Rybka scores the final position as an advantage to Black:

click for larger view

1. ³ (-0.64): 22...Qb4 23.Qe2 Kg8 24.g3 Nd5 25.Bd3 Rd8 26.Be4 Qb6 27.Qc2 c5 28.Bh7+

2. ³ (-0.48): 22...Nd5 23.Nxd5 cxd5 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 25.Rxd5 Qb4 26.Rd1 Qxa4 27.b3 Qc6 28.h4

3. ³ (-0.40): 22...Kg8 23.Qe5 Qb4 24.b3 Nd5 25.Ne4 a5 26.h3 Rd8 27.Qd4 Bc8 28.Rd3 Qe7 29.f4

4. ³ (-0.31): 22...a5 23.b3 Qc7 24.Qc5 Kg8 25.h3 Rd8 26.Rxd8+ Qxd8 27.Qe5 Bc8 28.Qb8 Kh7

5. ³ (-0.28): 22...a6 23.b3 a5 24.h3 Qb4 25.Ne4 Nd5 26.Qc5 Qxc5 27.Nxc5 Rb8 28.Kh2 g6 29.Kg3

Fairly "generous" draw offer from Botvinnik (who could afford some generosity at that point, since he would retain the title with a draw), and obvious acceptance by Bronstein.

Apr-16-10  DrGridlock: Black's (Botvinnik's) continuation 7 ... c5 is rare, appearing 12 times in the ChessGames database. It had only previously been played in 1947:

Cortlever vs T Van Scheltinga, 1947

a black victory. The line has an overall winning record for White - 4 wins, 2 losses and 6 draws. The line has not produced a Black victory since 1992.

Bronstein improves on the first games line at move 8 for white (e5) with Bxc4. After the exchange on d4, Black drives away white's bishop with h6. White has a choice of where to retreat his bishop, and he chooses to gambit the e-pawn with the retreat to e3. All three games in the database with this retreat were drawn. Other options are Bf4, Bh4, Bxf6 and Bb5+. The modern options have led to more victories for the White pieces.

After the bishop retreat to e3, Botvinnik accepts the e-pawn gambit, and retreats his knight. There are now the discussed options for White at his move 12. Bronstein played Qf3, others have suggested and analyzed Ndb5. Rybka suggests another line, which is a small improvement on these:

click for larger view

1. = (0.12): 12.Ncb5 Na6 13.Nf3 0-0 14.Qxd8 Rxd8 15.Bxa7 Bd7 16.Bb6 Rdc8 17.Ne5 Bc5 18.Bxc5 Bxb5

2. = (0.07): 12.Ndb5 Nc6 13.Qxd8+

3. = (0.05): 12.Qf3 0-0 13.Rfd1 Nbd7
14.Be2 Bxc3 15.bxc3 Nd5 16.Bc1 Ne5 17.Qg3 Qf6 18.Bxh6 Qxh6

4. = (0.03): 12.Na2 Be7 13.Qe2 0-0 14.Rfd1 Bd7 15.Nc3 Bb4 16.Qf3 Qc7 17.Bd3 Nc6 18.Ndb5 Qb8

5. = (0.00): 12.Qe2 0-0 13.Na2 Ba5 14.Rfd1 Qe7 15.Bf4 Re8 16.Nf3 Nc6 17.Bd6 Qd8 18.Nb4 Nxb4

It's the c-knight, and not the d-knight played to b5 which gives White the best chance for an advantage. White regains the gambited pawn (by taking black's a-pawn), with some sharp piece-play following in the middle game.

There's not much of a difference between Rybka's evaluation of Ndb5, Ncd5 and Qf3 to call one move a blunder or another a good move. Differences at that level come down to styles of game that one wishes to pursue.

To the question of whether 11 ... Bxc3 picks up a pawn: this is the continuation of

M Brodsky vs A Van de Oudeweetering, 2004

Black continued 12 ... 0-0 and Rybka gives this evaluation:

click for larger view

1. ² (0.27): 12...0-0 13.Nb5 Nc6 14.Qc2 Qh4 15.Be2 Nf6 16.Rfd1 Nd5 17.Bc5 Rd8 18.g3 Qg5 19.h4

2. ² (0.34): 12...Nxc3 13.Qe1 Nd5 14.Bxd5 Qxd5 15.Nb5 Na6 16.Rd1 Qc6 17.Nd6+

So yes, Black does pick up a pawn, but White's pieces come alive with Black's king in the center of the board. I did not run a deep-enough Rybka analysis to be definitive, and the program kept switching between which queen move was best for white at move 13, but that would have been an analysis Bronstein would have LOVED to have done over the board. With Bronstein attacking, and needing the win for the title, THAT would have been the game that everyone would have wanted to see. Maybe someday this continuation will grace a grandmaster game.

Apr-16-10  BarcelonaFirenze: Najdord told once that, after losing a game, Fischer was very sad, almost crying... Bronstein asked him: "Are you crying because you have lost a game? Look at me... I've been obliged to lose the world match and I don't cry...". Najdorf tells that he knew this for Fischer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Except Bronstein didn't lose. He drew.
Apr-16-10  DrGridlock: Everett - you know that, and I know that, but nobody else in 1951 knew that. In the rules that Botvinnik had set up, a draw in the match retained the title for the current champion. Bronstein wrote,

"When the 24th game was finished, many journalists came to the stage and asked Botvinnik to hold a press conference. The Champion agreed, but "forgot" to invite me to attend also."

The results of the drawn 24'th game were treated by Botvinnik, and the Soviet chess community, the same as if Bronstein had lost the 24'th game.

Apr-16-10  Petrosianic: <Everett - you know that, and I know that, but nobody else in 1951 knew that.>

Including Bronstein? That hardly seems likely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Btw, besides the drawn result, I believe that "quote" is BS. Bronstein didn't even revise what went down in '51 while he setting fire to the legacy of Zurich '53 in his final days...
Apr-16-10  DrGridlock: Petrosianic - I have a feeling that after drawing a match for the world championship, and then watching Botvinnik conduct a "solo" press conference, that Bronstein began to get a clue about what had happened.
Apr-16-10  Petrosianic: Probably, but I doubt he thought he lost the match, even if everyone else did.

Although Chess Life once thought he had won! Seriously, in the late 80's, Bronstein was a guest at a US Open, and the Chess Life article twice described him as a former world champion. I don't think it was done deliberately to make any kind of point, I just got the feeling it was a really badly researched article.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is a photo of the final game:

Premium Chessgames Member
  blazerdoodle: Smart of Fischer to leave Botvinnik off his top 10 list. The sleazeball.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <euripides>

You wrote:

<I have read, in Gligoric's essay on the World Championships, that Bronstein offered the draw and Botvinnik said something like 'your offer is so attractive that it is impossible for me to refuse it'. White played the last move so this is probably right.>

You, or maybe <Gligoric>, might be confusing that anecdote with this game here- Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1954.

On this final game against Smyslov in the 1953 world championship match, this is what <Botvinnik> had to say:

<"...when Smyslov, after considering his 22nd move, decided, to my great surprise, to offer a draw, thus giving up any last hope in this match of winning the title of world champion, what was I to do? <<<'Your offer is so tempting',>>> I replied, <<<'that it is impossible to refuse...'>>> To the credit of both players it should be added that this game was the only one where there was a premature end to the struggle.">

-Mikhail Botvinnik, "Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)" Kean Neat ed., transl. (Olomouc 2012), p.29

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: And more on this topic:

<euripides>: <I have read, in Gligoric's essay on the World Championships, that Bronstein offered the draw and Botvinnik said something like 'your offer is so attractive that it is impossible for me to refuse it'. White played the last move so this is probably right.>

According to Evgeni Ellinovich Sveshnikov, it was actually <Botvinnik>, not <Bronstein>, who proposed the draw- despite the fact that white did indeed play the last move in the game.


Annotations of this game by Evgeni Sveshnikov:

<"19...Rxd4 20.Rxd4 Bc5 21.Rd1 Bxe3 22.Qxe3 <<<Draw agreed on the proposal of Black.>>> Of course, in the final position Black has a big advantage, and it is especially marked after the accurate 22...Qb4!, and if 23.Qe2, then 23...Nd5! 24.Ne4 a5, when White has no way of strengthening his position, whereas under the cover of his strong knight at d5 Black gradually prepares the advance of his central pawns. But the title of world champion is far more valuable! Final match score: Botvinnik 12 Bronstein 12.">

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Match for the World Championship- Botvinnik Bronstein Moscow 1951" Igor Botvinnik ed. Ken Neat transl. (Edition Olms 2004), p.102

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <blazerdoodle: Smart of Fischer to leave Botvinnik off his top 10 list. The sleaze ball. >

Wow! I've never thought of Fischer as a sleazeball.

Oct-01-14  RookFile: Botvinnik was a worthy champ. However, taking Steinitz as an example, Botvinnik doesn't measure up to the task of being top 10. Steinitz won matches as champ. Botvinnik - not exactly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Most players in Botvinnik's situation (needing only a draw) would not have played such a sharp variation. Reading Bronstein's comments gives the impression that he was not very confident in his opening preparation. There is nothing wrong with the sideline 6 a4 but he seemed to play it on a whim without much advance preparation. 8 Bxc4 was a new move that led to a position after 9 Nxd4 very similar to the Vienna variation with the extra move a4 included. This does not work in White's favor because with the pawn on a4 the Black bishop on b4 doesn't have to worry about a queen check on a4. After missing the tricky 12 Ndb5! Bronstein lost any opportunity to play for a win.
Oct-08-18  Tiggler: <offramp: <blazerdoodle: Smart of Fischer to leave Botvinnik off his top 10 list. The sleaze ball. >

Wow! I've never thought of Fischer as a sleazeball.>

I've never thought of him as anything else. Oh, yes he did play chess quite well for a short period.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I was in the playing hall at the Bled Olympiad (2002) and I yelled out, "<Hey! Sleazeball!!>"

Only Garry Kasparov turned around.

Oct-09-18  Howard: Regarding the comparison between Botvinnik and Steintz, need one remind you that the caliber of opposition that the former faced was not very comparable with that of the latter ?!
Apr-11-19  oolalimk1: If he wanted to go easy on the champion 10Be3 was the way to do it alright.
Aug-14-20  Wanda Nida: [Event "WCC 1910, match drawn 5:5, Lasker was lucky & had white last game, defanding champion that keeps the title if match is drawn should not have white the last game. Was Schlechter screwed, did Lasker demanded 2 points win to relinquish crown? Schlechter should be rightly named co-champion until 1921. Lasker didnt defand his title for 11 years, that's totally unacceptable!!!"]

[Event "wcc"]
[Site "Berlin"]
[Date "1910.??.??"]
[Round "10"]
[Comments "Strange loss, Schlechter had easy draw, nerves?"] [White "Lasker Em"]
[Black "Schlechter C"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Bd3 O-O 7. Qc2 Na6 8. a3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 b4 11. Na4 bxa3 12. bxa3 Bb7 13. Rb1 Qc7 14. Ne5 Nh5 15. g4 Bxe5 16. gxh5 Bg7 17. hxg6 hxg6 18. Qc4 Bc8 19. Rg1 Qa5+ 20. Bd2 Qd5 21. Rc1 Bb7 22. Qc2 Qh5 23. Bxg6 Qxh2 24. Rf1 fxg6 25. Qb3+ Rf7 26. Qxb7 Raf8 27. Qb3 Kh8 28. f4 g5 29. Qd3 gxf4 30. exf4 Qh4+ 31. Ke2 Qh2+ 32. Rf2 Qh5+ 33. Rf3 Nc7 34. Rxc6 Nb5 35. Rc4 Rxf4 36. Bxf4 Rxf4 37. Rc8+ Bf8 38. Kf2 Qh2+ 39. Ke1 Qh1+ 40. Rf1 Qh4+ 41. Kd2 Rxf1 42. Qxf1 Qxd4+ 43. Qd3 Qf2+ 44. Kd1 Nd6 45. Rc5 Bh6 46. Rd5 Kg8 47. Nc5 Qg1+ 48. Kc2 Qf2+ 49. Kb3 Bg7 50. Ne6 Qb2+ 51. Ka4 Kf7 52. Nxg7 Qxg7 53. Qb3 Ke8 54. Qb8+ Kf7 55. Qxa7 Qg4+ 56. Qd4 Qd7+ 57. Kb3 Qb7+ 58. Ka2 Qc6 59. Qd3 Ke6 60. Rg5 Kd7 61. Re5 Qg2+ 62. Re2 Qg4 63. Rd2 Qa4 64. Qf5+ Kc7 65. Qc2+ Qxc2+ 66. Rxc2+ Kb7 67. Re2 Nc8 68. Kb3 Kc6 69. Rc2+ Kb7 70. Kb4 Na7 71. Kc5 Kc8 72. Kb6+ Kb8 73. Rc7 Nc8+ 74. Kc6 Na7+ 75. Kd7 Nb5 76. Rc8+ Kb7 77. a4 Na7 Schlechter could have won it all, he should have been proclaimed co-champion of the world, this was drawn, it was his match. There is enough proof Lasker demanded +2 winning score if Schlechter was to become champion, if it's true, how insane; duh, imagine if Schlechter won this game & thus the match, then questions will arise, how come he did not win it? 10 games match in 1910 1-0

[Event "World Championship 19th"]
[Site "Moscow R6"]
[Date "1951.03.26"]
[Round "24"]
[Comments "Weird game, Bronstein had easy draw, was it bad nerves cuz it was final game?"] [White "Bronstein, David I"]
[Black "Botvinnik, Mikhail"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B63"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 h6 8. Bxf6 gxf6 9. O-O-O a6 10. f4 Bd7 11. Kb1 Be7 12. Be2 Nxd4 13. Qxd4 Qa5 14. Rhf1 h5 15. Rf3 Qc5 16. Qd2 Bc6 17. Re3 Qa5 18. Bf3 O-O-O 19. Qd3 Rd7 20. h4 Kb8 21. a3 Bd8 22. Ka2 Qc5 23. Re2 a5 24. a4 Bb6 25. b3 Rc8 26. Qc4 Qxc4 27. bxc4 Rh8 28. Kb3 Rdd8 29. Rd3 Bg1 30. Red2 Kc7 31. Ne2 Bf2 32. Rd1 Bc5 33. Ng3 Rdg8 34. Ne2 Rh7 35. f5 e5 36. Nc3 Bd4 37. Rxd4 exd4 38. Rxd4 Rhg7 39. Ne2 Rxg2 40. Bxg2 Rxg2 41. Nf4 Rg3+ 42. Kb2 Rg4 43. Nxh5 Rxh4 44. Nxf6 Kb6 45. Rxd6 Kc5 46. e5 Rd4 47. Rxd4 Kxd4 48. Ng4 Bxa4 49. e6 fxe6 50. f6 Be8 51. Kb3 e5 52. c3+ Ke4 53. Nh6 Kf4 54. f7 Bxf7 55. Nxf7 e4 56. Nd8 e3 57. Kc2 Kg3 58. Kd1 Kf2 Again, almost a champ. ♗otvinik kept the title he didn't deserve, this was luck and (communist) pressure on ♗ronstein was not small, ♗ronstein should have been named co-champ of the world because he drew the match. He was white in the final game, if the champ retains title if match is drawn, opponent should be allowed last game's color, at least here ♗otvinik was blak! 0-1

Aug-14-20  AlexPomor: Everyones around are so trustful, so funny))) I think, if Bronstein writed: "Botvinnik used the secret Stalin's chess computer!", you would believe to that sci-fi. By the way, Vainstein (Bronstein's second in time of the match 1951) was the boss of GULAG and closest friend of Beria. Bronstein didn't remember and didn't write about this! Most probably Botvinnik was pressed to lose the match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: @ <<AlexPomor>>

What you trying to say here ??

David Bronstein was favoured by the COMMIES ??

Or what ???

Aug-16-20  Olavi: Itis indeed 'funny' how many westerners like me swallowed everything Bronstein wrote hook, line and sinker. Vainstein, his best friend, whom he much praised, was the financial boss of NKVD/KGB, second under Beria. Still I think it's unfair to accuse him of double standards because of that. Possibly.
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