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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
"Mikhail the Chief" (game of the day Sep-28-2006)
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954), Moscow URS, rd 4, Mar-23
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Alekhine Defense (D22)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 104 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-11-06  Jack Kerouac: The best remark I ever read about Botvinnick was about his "Iron logic".
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Jack Kerouac: The best remark I ever read about Botvinnick was about his "Iron logic".>

What was the remark?

May-11-06  euripides: <The best remark I ever read about Botvinnick was about his "Iron logic".> Jack is projecting his good friend Neal's misfortune on the most virtuous Misha, who, I can assure him, was never in the nick. In 1930s Russia this took some doing. Jack would have escaped this fate only by achieving some worse horror such as being chucked in the loony bin. My good friend Socrates got done in by a much more moderate state.
May-14-06  Breyannis Nektarios: The most amazing story about Botvinnik I have ever read is about the adjournment of his 23rd match game with Bronstein. He didn't reveal the move he had sealed to his friend and second Flohr, until the start of the second session, fearing "leakage" to Bronstein...So, Flohr was analyzing the wrong move all night long!
Sep-28-06  cyruslaihy: Symslov was NOT down in material when the endgame started, he had 3pawns for a knight. a knight can't mate, but 3pawns had a good prospect, much better than a knight
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Typical example of the long tough struggles characteristic of the Botvinnik-Smyslov rivalry. Smyslov's pawn sac is an ingenious idea, trying to set up a fortress over the entire board, but it doesn't quite work.
Sep-28-06  JohnBoy: The line suggested by <Breyannis Nektarios> is quite interesting, but even with Botvinnik's 54.Bf2 I don't see the win. Does black not play 54...Rxg4, demanding a reply by white? The rook at G2 has to be guarded by the queen, allowing ...Qxd5 guarding the queening square a8. Admittedly, white is better as black will have a hard time mobilizing his central pawns and must retain a vigil on a8, but is white's win immediate?
Sep-28-06  JohnBoy: In the line I just gave, after 54...Rxg4 55.Qf1, black should probably play 55...Qf3 to inhibit white's h3 release. This will allow black to play ...e4 and try to get things moving before the a pawn kills him.
Sep-28-06  Jack Kerouac: Jack back on September 28.
Socrates might have been done in a more moderate state, but I was done in Michigan.
Sep-28-06  periscope: Botvinnik was a great player but refused (feared) to play Fischer for the title.

I've always thought his championship years when he denied Fischer a challenge should be asterisked.

Sep-28-06  ughaibu: I can no longer be bothered.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <2)Smyslov didn't spot 51...Nxg4!, which would stretch Botvinnik's calculating abilities to the utmost (just a few moves before the second time-control!). White wins only after 52.f3,Qh7! 53.fxg4! and if 53...Qxe4 54 Bf2!! (Botvinnik)>

<JohnBoy><Does black not play 54...Rxg4, demanding a reply by white?> If 54...Rxg4, then 55.a7! (see diagram) with idea 55...Rxg2 56.Qh5+ Qh7 (56...Kg7 57.Rxg2+ Kf6 58.Bh4+ with mate.) 57.Qxh7+ Kxh7 58.Rxg2

click for larger view

Problem is that black has no reasonable alternative to 55...Rxg2 due to threat 56.Qxg4 Rxg4 57.a8=Q+ .

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <periscope> is obviously trying to make Fischer fans look silly.
Sep-28-06  kevin86: An odd evolution in this game. White had a powerful king side attack-then late in the game,he took over things with a passed pawn. Finally the game is decided by an unmoved,long-ignored passed pawn on h2
Sep-28-06  trumbull0042: <kevin86> Yeah. It's interesting to flip through the pgn just staring at the pawn on h2. You know he's just waiting there, patiently scheming!
Mar-21-08  Knight13: The king side Smyslov defended very well. But the two passed pawns, not too good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bishoprick: Euripides, your good friend, Socrates, had it coming. Read I.F. Stone's "The Trial of Socrates."
Jan-16-11  soothsayer8: wow, what a game! A good old fashioned king side brawl! I don't understand what was behind 16...c4, looks like black is trying to sac a pawn for an open file to put his rook on, but on the queenside? All Botvinnik did was move his king to the other side, put up a beautiful defense, and with those two missing pawns on the queenside for black and that nice little walking lane for the king, black was toast.
Jun-20-13  talisman: <soothsayer8> "Smyslov clearly over-estimates Black's chances, and now he not only remains a pawn down...but also increases the scope of white's pieces. The move 16...c4 must looked at as the reason for black's defeat." Botvinnik.
Jan-08-14  bkpov: what could have happened after 55.--Bc5+ followed by Ne8??
Jan-08-14  Edeltalent: <bkpov> 55...Bc5+ 56.Bf2 Nd7 57.Bxc5 Nxc5 58.a7 or 56...Bxf2+ 57.Kxf2 and passers everywhere are too much to handle for the black Knight and King.
Jul-14-17  Toribio3: Botvinnik delivered the coup de grace!
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: The Alekhine Variation with 3..a6 and 4..Bg4 had also been used in game 3 of the 1934 Bogoljubov-Alekhine match. 6..b5 7 Ne5 would have been good for White. Botvinnik did not like Smyslov's pawn sacrifice with 16..c4?! recommending instead 16..Qf4 followed by ..f5. 22..Qh4?! was a waste of time; 22..f4 at once looks better. Smyslov's attempts to play for an attack with 25..Rf8, 26..Rf6 and 27..Bf8 seemed unrealistic; perhaps 27..Rf7 would have been more solid. 39..Bd8 would have been an improvement avoiding the loss of a second pawn. White missed the line 45 Qc4..Qh3 46 d6..Bxd6 47 Qc6 which would have given Black less play than he got in the game. Black would have posed more problems for White with 51..Nxg4 though with best play White would still have been winning.
May-21-20  Ulhumbrus: After 19 Kf1 it is possible that the thought crosses Smyslov's mind, to his horror, that Botvinnik is going to do again what he did in the second game, namely, losing his right to castle and then going on to win all the same.
Jun-03-20  Ulhumbrus: After 19 Kf1 it is possible that the thought crosses Smyslov's mind, to his horror, that Botvinnik is going to do again what he did in the second game, namely, losing his right to castle and then going on to win all the same.

However how can Black take advantage of it?

White's king's rook is temporarily cut off but in return White's king's bishop ties Black's queen's rook to the defence of the a6 pawn.

The move 19...Nc5 covers a6 but on 20 Qxb4 the knight has no useful discovered attack. With Black's f pawn on f5 the discovered attack ...Nxe4 would be possible.

This suggests preparing the move ...Nc5 by 19...f5 and this is indeed what Smyslov plays.

However on 20 Rg1 the move 20....Qh5 seems inconsistent. Why has Black played 19....f5 if not to prepare the move ...Nxe4 ? This is not going to work if White can answer the move ..Nxe4 with fxe4 discovering an attack on Black's queen.

This suggests 20...Qf6 eg 20....Qf6 21 Rg2 Nc5 22 Qxb4 Nxe4

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