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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
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Feb-08-04  refutor: any opinions on the fantasy variation played by such champions as smyslov and alekhine (3.f3). the most popular line according to the database is (3. ... dxe4 4.fxe4) but that seems to be playing into White's hands? i used to play that line as black, but after getting some success with 3.f3?! v. the pirc and king's indian i was gonna try it out v. the mighty caro. any thoughts? in all honesty, i prefer botwinnik's treatment here, playing ...e6 before developing the bishop and trying to get ...c5 in ASAP
Feb-09-04  slapwa: Why didn't black play 44 ..., Bd4, and surely the result is 0.5:0.5, isn't it?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 44...Rc8 is okay. What I don't understand here is the result. Black is a little bit better in the final position thanks to his Bishop pair. If the game ended at this point, then the most probable result seems to be draw.
Feb-09-04  euripides: The second time control used to come at 56 moves - perhaps this is lost on time. Ihave a dim memory reading that Botvinnik lost some games on time in good positions during his world championship matches.
Feb-09-04  unsound: <refutor> see Caro-Kann (B10) for some comments on the fantasy variation
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Botvinnik did indeed lose this game on time in a position in which, according to Gligoric, Black has a big advantage. Botvinnik was not in a time scramble - he simply forgot about the clock. A win here would have made the score 10-5 in Botvinnik's favour ... instead he now lead 9-6. It was academic in the end: Botvinnik still wound up winning the match and regaining his title.

So far as I know, there were no other instances of Botvinnik losing on time in a World Championship match, at least not in an advantageous position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: As <Eggman> points out a full five point lead went begging with this game. It's just as well for Botvinnik that he still had a healthy lead in the match. I wonder how he must have felt when the arbiter told him he'd lost on time?
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: right, <Benzol>: And by <Eggman>'s comment <he simply forgot about the clock. A win here would have made the score 10-5 in Botvinnik's favour ...> we have a clear insight that, without this undeserved loss, (something, in ultimate analysis, quite similar to what ocurred in the 2nd Game of the '72 Reykjavik match), Botvinnik could win this match in a very comfortable way, even more than it was actually - and , nevertheless, his final victory was not seriously threatened anyway
Premium Chessgames Member
  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?
Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
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>.

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