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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
"The Passed Tense" (game of the day Jul-29-2017)
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954), Moscow URS, rd 9, Apr-03
French Defense: Winawer. Retreat Variation Armenian Line (C18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Garech: Fantastic game; as AJ pointed out, I am amazed it has not featured as GOTD yet and will recommend something now. Damn these unpunnable Russian names!!


Mar-20-12  LoveThatJoker: Guess-the-Move Final Score:

Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954.
Your score: 31 (par = 31)


May-11-12  pericles of athens: whew! now that's how you play the winawer! beautiful.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: 19.Qxe4!!

I wish I could have met you. I'd say nice shot!

Jan-14-15  SpiritedReposte: Good shot man.
Jun-04-15  chessgamer2000: 21...Nd7 22.Rxc8mate would be pretty
Jun-04-15  chessgamer2000: sorry. 22.Rxc8+ Qd8 then..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Oh. I thought it was going to be the game Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1941, featuring this position:

click for larger view

With 9 passed pawns!

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <LIFE Master AJ: ...This wonderful effort - one of Smyslov's finest has never been "The Game of The Day," nor has it been featured as a POTD.

Strange, weird, and soon to be corrected. (I hope.)>

Extraordinary prescience. One is tempted to suspect the machinations of the occult.

Jul-29-17  ughaibu: Is it nine passed pawns? Or is it seven?
Jul-29-17  john barleycorn: For a change here are some of Smylov's comments to this game:

19. Qxe4!! ends the short but heated battle. The black king is in a mate net.

18. ... Rxg5 would prolong the game but could not save it. 19.hg5 Re4+ 20.Be2 Ng6 (or 20.Ne6 21.g6! fg6 22.Rh8+ Ke7 23. Rg7+ etc.) 21.Kf1 Nf4 22.Qa6 and white stays ahead

16....Rc4 a fatal idea which is elegantly refuted. Better was 16.....b6 17.g4 Nxd4 18.Qxd4 Qxa3 though after 19.Bd3 the white advantage is beyond doubt.

16.Rb1! this humble move lays the foundation for the attack . 16....Nxd4 17.Qxd4 Bb5 with exchange of the white bishops is not possible. Taking on f5 is not good for white as the Nf8 gets to e6

15.Nd4 centralizes the knight and prevents Rc8-c4-e4+. 15.....Rc4 16.Qe3 Ra4 17.Rb1 Rxa3 18.Nb5 with attack.

14.Bg5! prevents Black from castling queenside and dominates the black squares. most important is the threat to advance the h pawn.

11....Nf8 Botvinnik recommended 11...Qc7 but white has the strong response 12.Bb5! (12...Rxg2 13.Kf1 Rg8 14.Rg1 and the black king is in a hopeless situation after the rooks get off. If 12....a6 then 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.0-0 and white has the better game.

10....Nd7 better 10....Nc6, Bd7 and 0-0-0 in this sharp position

6.b4 the known recommendation by Alekhine. If 6....cb4 7.Nb5 ba3+ 8.c3 gives white an excellent development.

Jul-29-17  john barleycorn: Botvinnik in his comments to this game

Unzicker vs Botvinnik, 1954

where he played 7....Kf8:
(my translation)

<A few month's before the Olympiad I played 7....Ne7 in the 9th game of the WC against Smsylov and found myself in great troubles after 8.ba5 ..... 16.Rb1.

The improvement 10....Nc6 11.Nf3 Qc7 12.Bf4 Bd7 13.Bd3 0-0-0 14.Lg3 Ng6 was discovered much later....>

So much for <Botvinnik forgot 10.Nc6>. You cannot forget what you did not know.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ughaibu: Is it nine passed pawns? Or is it seven?>

I would agree with PB, 9 passed pawns!
Two, however, are tailgating. And the punishment for tailgating is DEATH.

Jul-29-17  ughaibu: If doubled pawns both count as passed, we can propose a fairy problem: find the quickest sequence to establish sixteen passed pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After the opening moves we have 9. RxR RxR 10. QxR RxR 31. RxR RxR 32. RxR QxR 33. RxR QxR 34. RxR RxR 35. RxR RxQ 36. RxR QxR 37. QxR RxR 38.RxR RxR 39. QxR RxR 40. RxP QxP 41. RxR RxR 42. RxR QxR 43. RxR QxR 44. RxR RxR 45. RxR RxQ 46. RxR QxR 47. QxR and then 47...RxR with 11 passed pawns.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: <LIFE Master AJ: ...This wonderful effort - one of Smyslov's finest has never been "The Game of The Day," nor has it been featured as a POTD.

Strange, weird, and soon to be corrected. (I hope.)>

Extraordinary prescience. One is tempted to suspect the machinations of the occult.>

Hilarious! I almost snorted coffee out of my nose.

Jul-29-17  RandomVisitor: If back wants to try 5...Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 then he should at least consider these possible continuation lines:

click for larger view

Stockfish_17061704_x64_modern: <3.5 hours computer time>

+0.19/45 7.Nb5 Bc7 8.Nxc7+ Qxc7 9.f4 Bd7 10.Bd3 Ba4 11.Bb2 Nc6 12.Ne2 Qb6 13.Nxd4 Nge7 14.Qd2 0-0 15.g4 Rfc8 16.Ra2 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Qd8 18.0-0 Nc6 19.Bc5 Qh4 20.Qg2 a6 21.Bf2 Qh6 22.Qf3 g6 23.Bc5 Bb5 24.h3 Bxd3 25.cxd3 b5 26.Rb2 Qh4 27.Kg2 Kg7 28.Rc1 h5 29.Bf2 hxg4 30.Qxg4 Qxg4+ 31.hxg4

<+0.12/45 7.Qg4 Kf8 8.Nb5 Bb6> 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.Bb2 h5 11.Qf4 Nge7 12.Bd3 Rh6 13.h3 Kg8 14.Nbxd4 Ng6 15.Nxc6 Nxf4 16.Nxd8 Bxd8 17.Bc1 Nxd3+ 18.cxd3 Rh8 19.Be3 Bd7 20.Ke2 Rc8 21.Rhc1 Rxc1 22.Rxc1 a6 23.Nd4 f6 24.f4 Kf7 25.Nb3 Bc6 26.g3 fxe5 27.fxe5 Bc7 28.Nd4 Bxe5 29.Nxc6 bxc6 30.Rxc6 Ra8 31.Kf2 Kf6 32.Kg2

Jul-29-17  john barleycorn: < RandomVisitor: If back wants to try 5...Ba5 6.b4 cxd4 then he should at least consider these possible continuation lines: ...>

let's not forget:

7.Nb5 Bc7 8.f4 or 8.Bg5!?

7.Qg4 Kf8 8.ba5 dc3 9.a4

(No Stockfish on board though)

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Well A J finally got his wish! This game finally became GOTD! Smyslov played a nice combination in this game & really took advantage of Botvinnik's weak back rank, his weak b5 square & uncastled ♔.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AJ: I think the end result should have been 19.QxR/e4!!, Black Resigns.>

Who wants to lose in under twenty moves, though?

Fine game by the future champion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Speaking of A J, from looking at his profile, I see that he still checks out CG sometimes.
Jul-31-17  john barleycorn: < eternaloptimist: Speaking of A J, from looking at his profile, I see that he still checks out CG sometimes.>

Yes, he "checks out" but cannot check in. We have to be optimistic eternally before that happens. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Looks like h-pawn costs black a rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Video analysis of this game:
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: In games 1 and 3 Smyslov played the quieter 7 Nb5 losing game1 and drawing game 3. 11..Nf8? released pressure on e5, better was 11..Qc7 which Botvinnik had already successfully played in a 1951 training game with Ragozin.
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