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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1957), Moscow URS, rd 13, Apr-04
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Bronstein (Byrne) Variation (E45)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-18-08  Knight13: <33...b4?!> Huh?
Apr-24-11  bronkenstein: One of Botvinnikīs finest games , he was so proud of it that he said : ˝The game was played in the very style of Capablanca ! ˝ (from his autobiography , ˝Half a century in chess˝) .

This is , in fact , double compliment since Botvinnik , in his comments , concentrates on mistakes and flaws mostly , no matter whether he speaks of his opponents or of himself , being sharp and merciless quite often , therefore sentences like this one are rarity (in fact i cant remember anything similar in the whole book)... and , secondly, he admired Capablanca as the greatest chess talent ever , the only time he dared to compare himself with his idol is this one (to my knowledge) .

Apr-24-11  cunctatorg: It isn't completely obvious to an ordinary amateur why Vassily Smyslov had resigned after Mikhail Botvinnik's 41st move... after the adjournment and the subsequent analysis I guess...

Has it to do with the power of the two passed connected pawns also?

Apr-24-11  bronkenstein: And now on the moves (i will try to remember his key comments since i havenīt got the book here , and some time has passed since i have read it last time).

9.a4 very usefull move, letting bishop on the best diagonal available (a3-f8 that is ) and having possibility to go a4-a5 sometime later.

11. ... Nc6 ! , sacrificing c5 pawn, black would return it fast with an excellent position .

14. Bf3 Ng5 ...Smyslov probably expected draw by repetition here ( Be2 Ne4 Bf3 Ng5 etc ) but ... 15. Bc6 !

18. 0-0 (18. d:c5 b:c5 19. B:c5 N:f3+ !? followed with 20.Qh4+ might be unpleasant ... ).

20. d5! ... Soon white will have 2 passed pawns in the center , giving him decisive advantage, since black neither can move his passers on the queens flank ( they are under fire and will be blocked on the black squares eventually , the black squared bishop that black exchanged for white knight in the very opening is missing...) nor can he block white pawn mass in center (due to strong white black squared bishop on the board ) .

28. Qd2 , with Bc3 to follow and black pawn mass is blocked .

32. Ra2 ... Black is helpless.

33. ... b4 !?, a desperate pawn sacrifice , trying to break black squares blockade and gain some activity , but the game is already decided.

41. Ra8+ ... Time trouble is over, and black resigned . And indeed, what can he do against simple advance of the white pawn center ?

˝ The game was played in the very style of Capablanca ! ˝

Dec-20-15  cunctatorg: Where Smyslov committed mistake or inaccuracies?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 17...f5 seems weakening. Botvinnik controlled the center after that. Maybe better was the original plan of preparing b5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli> As you no doubt noticed too, Smyslov's knight was stranded and faced with the threat of 18. h4. Does he need to play 17...h6 then?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Maybe 17...Qf6 and White can't play h4 because of nxf3+. Then Black can continue Rd8, cxd4 etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Calli>
Good find! After 17...Qf6, 18...Nxf3+ is a big threat. On 17...Qf6 18. 0-0 Rfd8, now 19. h4 would drop too many pawns for the knight.

White might reply 17...Qf6 18. Kf2, but now the f-pawn is pinned, giving the knight an escape via e4 when needed. I haven't found a way for White to get an advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Botvinnik's opening preparation really let him down in this match, but it seems like he was well-prepared here for the Nimzo-Indian.

9.a4 seems to be his novelty and is a good way to develop the bishop. 12.Nb5 looks good. And 15.Bxc6! gives white a commanding center.

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