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Paul Keres vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1955), Moscow URS, rd 19, Mar-14
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Guimard Defense (C03)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-07-04  emilio martinez: The last move is corrected noted ?
Mar-17-05  Chris00nj: Interesting that Keres was +1 -6 against Botvinnik after WWII, but following 1953, Keres won two in a row. Makes you wonder....
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Yes, and then came the Daniel-Sinyavsky show trial in 1966, and Botvinnik promptly crushed Keres twice. It's all becoming clear now...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The immediate context makes this game even more itneresting.

This was played in the last round of the Soviet Championship. At the time, Geller was leading with 12.0, while Botvinnik and Smyslov had 11.5. Keres, who had never been a factor, was two points back.

As it turned out, Geller lost in the final round, but Smyslov could only draw. Hence, a win would have given Botvinnik the title, a draw a tie for first.

He never came close. I'll bet Keres slept well that night.

May-23-11  bronkenstein: <He never came close. I'll bet Keres slept well that night.>

Hehe i bet so :)

BTW is it possible that Botvinnik THE theoretician , maestro of preparations was simply lost after 7(hey , 7, SEVAN!!) Bxf3 ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Bronkenstein>: An improvement for Black is 6....exd4, as in the following game: Fischer vs R Byrne, 1965.

<Phony Benoni> The last of Keres' three wins against Botvinnik, in the following year, came in the final round of the Alekhine Memorial, and allowed Smyslov to share first with Mikhail Moiseevich: Keres vs Botvinnik, 1956.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: MB completely outplayed in the opening. This isn't 1948, though. A little too late for keres.
Mar-02-22  andrewjsacks: Here you see why Botvinnik stopped playing in Soviet championships. "First among equals"? I disagree. There is not one year beginning in 1951 when Botvinnik was demonstrably the best player in the world.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <andy>, with all respect, I believe that was the point of Botvinnik's 'primus inter pares' statement: he realised he was the titleholder, but possessed enough objectivity and candour to acknowledge the fact that he was in no way as dominant as most of his predecessors.
Mar-02-22  RookFile: I'd have to give it to Botvinnik in 1952 because he did win the USSR championship that year, but I agree with the overall point that Botvinnik was basically the same strength as Keres, Reshevsky, Smyslov, etc. during the 1950's.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: There should be a FAQ for this, but "primus inter pares" means precisely someone who is considered pre-eminent by reason of seniority or the like. Think the oldest member of the Roman Senate as an example.

< RookFile: I'd have to give it to Botvinnik in 1952 because he did win the USSR championship that year, but I agree with the overall point that Botvinnik was basically the same strength as Keres, Reshevsky, Smyslov, etc. during the 1950's>

Yes, exactly. As Botvinnik himself said at his press conference after regaining the title from Tal in 1961, <Perhaps [the] title is not in fact so significant, since it is quite clear there is a group of international grandmasters who play roughly equally strongly>. He knew what <first among equals> meant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: That is most interesting; in an interview he granted to <New In Chess> in the mid 1980s, Botvinnik acknowledged Smyslov as being the strongest player in the world in the 1950s, something I do not imagine would ever have happened at the time.
Mar-03-22  andrewjsacks: <perfidious> Thank you for expressing your opinions. I always like to interact with you. I know my view there is a minority one, but I hold to it strongly.
Mar-03-22  andrewjsacks: <perfidious>I also aver that a healthy Tal would have won the rematch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <andy>, it is unfortunate that we never saw that put to the test, but to his credit, and in typical fashion, Tal never said one word about his health. Stand-up guy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <andrewjsacks> It's funny, every few years you snort that Botvinnik wasn't <first among equals>. You are wrong about that, because you don't know what the phrase means, but Botvinnik did.

I've pointed this out before, but maybe it will stick this time.

<[Botvinnik] said he was "primus inter pares," which means "first among equals." We get it from the Romans. Quoting wikipedia, <It is typically used as an honorary title for those who are formally equal to other members of their group but are accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their seniority in office.>

Botvinnik was referring to the fact that he was world champion without, in fact, being demonstrably better than several of his top rivals. His statement is the antithesis of "self-serving egotism.">

Paul Keres (kibitz #1023)

Mar-04-22  andrewjsacks: <perfidious> Yes, he was most gracious indeed.

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