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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1958), Moscow URS, rd 15, Apr-10
Caro-Kann Defense: Maroczy Variation (B12)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-17-05  euripides: Black has two significant positional advantages: the advantage of 2Bs vs B+N or B vs N, combined with White's vulnerable pawns. Against this White's knight is very well placed and Black is some way from creating a pased pawn. So the question is whether Black can find a winning plan.

Black is threatening to bring the king to the queen's side whereas White's king is tied to the defence of the pawns. One way for white to deal with this would be to exchange off the white-squared bishops, leaving the pawns as they are. However, if White plays Bf3 Bxf3 gxf3 White's remaining pawns can be attacked by the black king, and Black can make it difficult for White to get ths king to support f3 and retake with the king e.g. 55...h4 56 Kf2 Bc5+. For this reason I think it would be difficult to save White.

Jul-17-05  Veryrusty: Personally, even if White played Bf3, I'd cede the long diagonal temporarily as the two bishops work better together than if there is only one. Centralize the king on black squares (e.g. e5), use the black-squared bishop (e.g Bc5) to keep White's king away and just keep hitting weak backwards or isolated pawns (a4, c2, g2). It would be a methodical squeeze but it would win remorselessly.
Jul-17-05  Veryrusty: Note also that White's bishop is bad (same squares as pawns), Black's good (hitting enemy pawns), and the only place White can cover both the c2 and g2 pawns is e4, where a Black King will drive it away.
Jul-17-05  who: With 2 bishops, one is bound to be good.
Jul-17-05  farrooj: not necessarily if any one of them doesn't have an active post
Nov-27-07  Whitehat1963: Has anyone performed a computer analysis of the final position?
Jan-08-08  TigerG: Is this the only world championship match that the challenger lost on time?
Mar-20-08  Knight13: <TigerG> No. Karpov did that against Kasparov.
Mar-20-08  mistreaver: <Kasparov vs Short, 1993 (drawn position) > According to Tibor Karoly that was won by black
Mar-03-09  Dredge Rivers: Time, time, time! What has become of me?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <offramp: <Eggman: Botvinnik did indeed lose this game on time in a position in which, according to Gligoric, Black has a big advantage.> I have often seen it written that Botvinnik lost on time in an overwhelming position - but this looks drawn to me. How is black supposed to win this ending?>

Here are Botvinnik's own comments: "It is clear that after 55. ... f5 56.Kf2 Kf6 57. Bf3 Be8 Black's two active bishops, centralised king and pawn majority on the kingside give him every chance of a win. Here I was absorbed by the question: how can Black more quickly win a piece - by creating a passed pawn after ...g6-g5-g4, on the h-file or the f-file? It seems that an f-pawn is stronger since the queening square at f1 can then be controlled via both the a6-f1 and h3-f1 diagonals." Source: "Botvinnik-Smyslov/ Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958" [New in Chess (c)2009] at page 244.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Botvinnink continues (ibid.): "As I sat there, absorbed in these thoughts, great was my astonishnent when the chief arbiter Stahlberg came over to our table and announced that Black had lost on time. Having 2-3 minutes for a couple of moves, I had simply forgotten all about the clock and had exceeded the time limit ..."
Apr-23-09  WhiteRook48: Smyslov used psychology here. After 55. Kg1:
Black, closing in on a win, had two or three minutes left to play a couple of moves. White felt that his presence at the board helped remind his opponent of the impending time control. "I specifically left the stage" so that he would relax, he recalled. It worked. Black relaxed so much that he analyzed and analyzed- and his flag fell before he made a move.
Apr-24-09  WhiteRook48: has anyone analyzed this position?
Feb-05-11  Hesam7: Position after 55. Kg1:

click for larger view

Stockfish 2.0.1 gives the following @ <depth 38>:

55. ... Kf6 56. Nc3 Ke5 57. Bb5 Bb7 58. Kf1 Bf6 59. Be8 Ke6 60. Nd1 Be4 61. Bb5 Bxc2 62. Ne3 Be4 63. Bc4+ Kd6 64. Bxf7 Bd4 65. Nc4+ Ke7 66. Bg8 h4 67. Na3 Bd3+ 68. Ke1 Bc5 69. Nc4 Bb4+ 70. Kd1 Be4 71. Ne3 Bc6 72. Bb3 Bc5 73. Nd5+ Kd6 74. Nf4 g5 75. Ne6 Bxg2 76. Nxg5 Be3 <-1.69>.

Feb-05-11  tonsillolith: <42. Ng4> caught my eye, and it seems like it wins either the queen or the f6 bishop. I searched for a while and couldn't find any answer to it. Surely I'm missing something?
Feb-05-11  paul1959: <tonsillolith> 42 Ng4 Qg5 43 Nxf6 Qxg2# 43 Rxf6 hxg4 is unclear
Feb-05-11  Hesam7: <paul1959: <tonsillolith> 42 Ng4 Qg5 43 Nxf6 Qxg2# 43 Rxf6 hxg4 is unclear>

It is not unclear! Black is winning: <42. Ng4?? Qg5 43. Rxf6 hxg4 44. Rf2> the rook had to move and this is the only square where White does not lose quickly. For example after 44. Rf1? gxh3 and the weakness of g2 shows <44. ... gxh3 45. Kg1 hxg2 46. Qxd4+ Kg8 47. Qf4> defending against ... Qc1+ <47. ... Qh5! 48. Rxg2> forced as White could not defend against both ...Qh1+ and ... Qd1+ <48. ... Bxg2 49. Kxg2 Qd5+>

click for larger view

Feb-06-11  tonsillolith: Ah ok, thanks guys. The main thing I missed was that pesky mate on g2.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

More on how <Botvinnik> lost this game on time.

<"In the 15th game Smyslov chose a risky opening, and on this occasion the adjourned position was <<<completely lost>>> for him....">

Smyslov had sealed <41.h3>, making this the adjourned position-

click for larger view

<I had a real opportunity to increase my lead to 10-5, but 'in my joy' I neglected my analysis, [and] <<<committed an oversight>>> at the start of the adjournment session...>

<Botvinnik's> "oversight" was to play <41...h5>, a move he thought about for only 2 minutes 13 seconds after viewing <Smyslov's> sealed move-

click for larger view

Harry Golombek on <41...h5>:

<"A <<<bad move>>> that unnecessarily returns the pawn. In fact, all of Botwinnik's play from the adjournment (move 41) can only be explained by his feeling out of sorts.">

Botvinnik continues:
<...and on the 55th move (still in a winning position!) <<<I forgot about the clock and lost on time!!>>> And this (not, of course only 'this', but also my confusion, caused by fatigue) for a time saved Smyslov.

In the rules it is written that if a contestant has made a move, but has forgotten to press his clock, the arbiter may remind him about the clock. However, in the rules it does not say the arbiter may remind a contestant that he has not made the time control move, and so Stahlberg, operating in strict accordance with the regulations, in fact did nothing to avert the loss on time.">

*Gideon Stahlberg was arbiter for this match.


-Mikhail Botvinnik <"Botvinnik's Complete Games (1942-1956) and Selected Writings (Part 2)"> Ken Neat, transl., ed., (Olomouc 2012), p.34

-Harry Golombek
<"The World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958"> (Harding Simpole 2002 -original copyright Golombek 1957), pp.151-52*

*Pagination of this section of the 1958 portion of this volume follows the original pagination from the <"British Chess Magazine"> No.6 (July 1958), pp.151-52

Jan-26-14  SChesshevsky: <WCC Editing Project: More on how <Botvinnik> lost this game on time.>

Great info. I was wondering how many other WC games in the modern era, say after that 1940's championship tournament, were decided on time?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <SChesshevsky: <WCC Editing Project: More on how <Botvinnik> lost this game on time.> Great info. I was wondering how many other WC games in the modern era, say after that 1940's championship tournament, were decided on time?>

I was wondering that as well. What a disaster that the upward-scroll on my computer does not work!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <offramp>

Possibly an inexpensive "fix" might simply be turning your computer upside down?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <WCC Editing Project: <offramp> Possibly an inexpensive "fix" might simply be turning your computer upside down?>

I did that and found this post:

<Jul-17-05 offramp: There have only been three games lost on time in World Championship matches: the one above; Kasparov vs Short, 1993 (drawn position) and Kasparov vs Karpov, 1986 where Karpov would have lost anyway.>

Jan-28-14  SChesshevsky: <offramp>

Thanks for the info.

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