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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
Russia (1965), Ch URS, Moscow
English Opening: King's English. Two Knights' Variation Smyslov System (A22)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-07-12  Ulhumbrus: 8...Bc5 may be intended to induce the advance b4.

The move 14...Be6 refuses to advance the pawn on d5 or to exchange it

21 g4 keeps back the f6 pawn but weakens the f4 square. Smyslov attacks the weakened square f4 with his bishop at once by 21...Bh6.

With 24...Rfd8 Smyslov offers Botvinnik his f6 pawn but for the next eight moves Botvinnik appears to lack sufficient time to take the f6 pawn and Botvvinik finally withdraws the N on e4 to c3 after Smyslov defends the f6 pawn.

May-20-13  dmvdc: <Ulhumbrus: With 24...Rfd8 Smyslov offers Botvinnik his f6 pawn but for the next eight moves Botvinnik appears to lack sufficient time to take the f6 pawn....>

Smyslov attributed Botvinnik not taking the f6 pawn to the latter's (correct) evaluation that taking it (specifically, 25.Nxf6+ Kf8) would allow Black to play his king to e7 and gain an advantage in the endgame.

May-20-13  dmvdc: For what it's worth, Smyslov indicates that White resigned without resuming after adjournment, with 41.Nf8 being the sealed move. And since Smyslov was known for his endgame technique, here's the variation he gives in his annotation on the game:

<Indeed, after 41...Kf4 42.Nd7 Bd4 43.h5 (or 43.Nf6 Kxf3 44.Kd3 Kf4 45.Nd5+ Kg4 46.Nc7 f5 47.Nxa6 f4 48.Nc7 f3 49.Nxb5 Kh3 and ...f2) 43...Kxf3 44.Kd3 f5 45.h6 Ba1 46.h7 e4+ the passed pawns decide the issue.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: Seems like the last decisive game between these great, evenly matched rivals.

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