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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Tal World Championship Match (1960), Moscow URS, rd 9, Apr-02
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation (B18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-23-08  Alphastar: I do not really see what's so strong about 21. f4!? Rae8 22. Re5 Re6! with 23. ..Ng4 to follow, when black has pretty much solved all of his problems.
Mar-21-08  Knight13: <Benzol: <drukenknight> 11.Nxe6 was probably irresistible to Tal. He got 2 pawns for the piece and good play for his other pieces. Exchanging off the white square bishops allowed white to obtain a good outpost for his knight at f5. It was a mistake, however, to exchange Queens at move 21 and allow his pawns to be doubled.> Tal obtained 3 pawns for the knight, though, as you see. Qg3?? is a blunder, and techinically it's the same as losing a full pawn for White. And also he forgot that the creation of the passed d-pawn wouldn't hold since by that point Black had really defense and stuff. After exchange of queens Tal's lost strategically and positionally.
Mar-26-08  Eyal: Botvinnik's 16...g6 is a key move in the game – giving up a third pawn for the piece, but reducing White's attacking possibilities and transforming the position into something much more comfortable for Black. Otherwise, White would get to play h5 with a strong bind. Besides calling his 21.Qg3 the weakest move of the match, Tal praises 23...Rf8 as Botvinnik's best move in the match – establishing Black's positional advantage by preventing the white king from coming into play (24.Kf2? Ne4+) and preparing the blockade of the kingside by Ng4 and Ndf6.

Botvinnik apparently saw this game as an inspiration for the return match, at least in retrospect: <A year later… I was able to demonstrate that the creative flaws in the play of the talented player from Riga were more important than his phenomenal calculating ability; but in the first match I was able to demonstrate this perhaps only once – in the ninth game.>

Mar-26-08  acirce: Kasparov says in OMGP that 16..Bh2+ 17.Kh1 and only now 17..g6 (and 18.Bxh6+ <Kg8!> rather than <18..Rxh6?> as in Botvinnik's analysis) would have been objectively stronger than 16..g6 but less practical.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I have a booklet of this match and it says Tal prepared the knight sacrifice.

I'm not convinced the ending (when Tal resigned) is not a draw - I can't see how Black can win.

I suspect Botvinnik may have anticipated the sac BTW.

Good game by both players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Position when Tal resigned:

click for larger view

To answer my own question the win is reasonably easy but Black has to be careful he doesn't play to sloppily as it can be draw or even a loss! The computer played now 58 ...Ke5 [I was heading away with 58 ... Ne2 but later I found Ne3 and with the winning method but it looks as though this manouevre is best for Black now)

58 ... Ke5! 59. Kb4 Ne6 60. Kb6 and Ke4! wins as if 61. Kxb7 Nc5+ (showing) that a classic use of the knight is this kind of tricky fork even to get a draw in some positions)

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So now if from the diagram 61 ..Ke4 say 62. a4 Nd8! 63. Kc7 Nc6 which wins.


But form the starting point - or end point...

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But someone not as skilled Messrs Tal etc (like me!) might muck about with:

58 ... Ne6 59 Kd5 Nd8 (I think 59 ..Nf4+ is best) 60 Kd6 Kf7 61 Kc7 Ne6+ and it is looking lie a possible draw..the need for accuracy even in "obviously lost positions" is clear)

If the knight goes the wrong way it is almost a loss although played carefully it is probably always a least a draw...

--- >>

click for larger view

This position above (Black to play) is a draw - actually even the drawing method is useful to know as it (this kind of battle of the knight v the King and pawn etc) comes up in actual games quite a lot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Tal repeated 6 N1e2 as in games 5 & 7. This continuation is rarely seen today. 6..Nf6 seems to be an improvement over 6..e6 played in game 5 and 6..Nd7 played in game 7. Botvinnik after 10..Bd6: "Now Black wants to castle after which the position of the pawn at h4 would give him an obvious advantage. Therefore, when I was preparing for the game I anticipated that Tal would without hesitation sacrifice a knight for two pawns, in addition obtaining fine piece play." Tal recommends 13 Nh5..Rf8 14 f4 as a more promising continuation but surprisingly when this variation was played againg against Vukic in Bugojno 1978 Tal played 14 c4?! instead and had to fight for a draw. 39 a4 was probably a better defense. Botvinnik took 42 minutes to seal 41..Kf6. He apparently had everything worked out though the endgame is quite tricky. For instance, if White plays 52 Kb5 I was having trouble finding the win for Black though I assume it is there.
Jan-25-09  M.D. Wilson: This game went according to plan for Botvinnik. It's a technical game, but Botvinnik still had to make sure Tal couldn't get any counterplay.
Apr-18-09  BISHOP TAL: move 23 fritz 11 Kf7 -.28 was # 1 and Rf8 was #2 -.16 .It showed botvinnik played stronger in the following moves obvoiusly, cuase he won
Oct-31-09  Hesam7: <<21. Qg3?? (0.41)>

Unquestionably, the weakest move in the match. I frankly thought it was bad, but somehow all the other continuations were even worse. Actually, at this point, White does not stand so badly. He only had to decide on the advance 21. f4! and after 21. ... Rae8, to play 22. Re5!. I did not like the fact that Black could continue 22. ... c5. On 23. c3 cxd4 24. cxd4, the White Queen on d3 is not defended and Black can take advantage of this by capturing on e5. However, the analysis should be continued two moves further, and it will be seen that these threats are fictitious. Actually, on 24. ... Nxe5 25. fxe5 Rxe5, White has a simple enough reply - 26. Bxf6+ - and he wins back all of his material and is even a pawn ahead. On 24. ... Rxe5 25. fxe5 Rxe5, the strong Bf4 follows. Be that as it may, the sharp continuation 21. f4 would have given White, if not the advantage, then, in any case, better practical chances. But now matters are very difficult;the ending may be lost.> -- from "Tal - Botvinnik 1960" by Mikhail Tal

After 21. f4 Rybka 2.2n2 gives 21. ... Rae8 22. Re5 Re6 23. Bxf6+ (otherwise ... Ng4) 23. ... Nxf6:

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and things don't look good for Tal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Richard Taylor> Actually, the position when Tal resigned was:

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If 59.Kb5 Nc3+ and 60...Nxa4

If 59.Kc5 Nxg3 60.Kb6 Ne4 61.a5 Nd6 62.Kc5 (62.Kc7 Nc4) Nc8 63.Kd5 Na7 and Nc6 and wins.

But I suspect there are several ways to win at this point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: In addition to the quotes from Tal's book about his 1960 match with Bovinnik that <ughaibu> and <Hesam7> posted, there is some more information on this game (and on the match) on the Chess Book forum in a post by <crawfb5> in which he reviews Tal's book on the match:

ChessBookForum chessforum

As it turns out, Botvinnik played relatively quickly after the sac and told Tal that the sac would have been much more dangerous in game 5, suggesting that after that game he had analyzed it at home and therefore was ready to play against it in game 9.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Fusilli: <Richard Taylor> Actually, the position when Tal resigned was:>

Thanks - yes - thanks for that! It was a great "stoush" Botvinnik played well and Tal attacked quite well! Great game by two great players.

Aug-01-12  kitbitzer31: Why not 13...Kd8? In one of my games, i repeated this exact variation and my opponent played 13...Kd8. There followed, 14.d5 c5 15.Nh5 Nbd7 16.Nxg7 Bg6 17.h5 Be8 (18.Bg8 was the move I calculated here but i concluded that it would be refuted by 18...Qb6. My next move is explained by this very idea.) 18.Qe2 Nb6 19.Bc8??? Qxg7 0-1. Where did I went wrong? I then searched up this variation and saw this game. Apparently, in his notes, Tal simply said 'Worse would have been 13...Kd8 since the Black King would not find any refuge in the queenside.' Can anyone explain this to me in concrete variations or at least describe Black difficulties in this variation?
Aug-01-12  kitbitzer31: By the way, <ugi>, the exact quote in his book is : (After Black's 19th move), " Here I would like to digress slightly. In the course of a chess game, opponents develop their ideas completely differently. Many chessplayers(especially in the younger generation), in the course of a five-hour game, will study the basic calculations, and their work will approximately consist of 'if i go there, he goes there' as the position warants. The more experienced chessplayer who study the secrets of the art more profundly frequently do not bother themselves with such fatiguing matters and, conforming to basic, usually unshakeable principals, plan their further play. To illustrate, I would like to cite the dialogue which occurred after the end of the ninth game between Botvinnik and myself. When I, in rapid-fire succession, began to show Botvinnik the different variations in which Black gets a good game, he said, 'At first, I though that this position was better for White, but later I found the correct plan: I had to exchange Rooks and keep the Queens on the board.' At first, such an evaluation of the position seemed to me rather abstract, but when I began to go over the numerous variations, I came to the conclusion that Botvinnik was absolutely correct: in an ending without Queens, White's well shaped pawn chain with the support of the active Bishop guarantees him a definite edge. With the Queens on the board, Black can count on a strong attack in view of the weakness of g4." - Tal from his book Tal-Botvinnik,1960.
Aug-02-12  kitbitzer31: In fact,the more I think about it, the more 13..Kd8 seems better, unless i'm missing something..
Aug-03-12  kitbitzer31: Can somebody help answer my question please????? Why not 13...Kd8? Why? Why?
Aug-03-12  LoveThatJoker: <kibitzer31> This is what Stockfish came up with after 30 minutes in regards to 13...Kd8:

Analysis Diagram - Position after 13...Kd8

click for larger view

A) 14. Nf5 Re8 15. Qf3 Bxf5 16. Qxf5 Nbd7 17. Bd2 Nf8 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. Qxf6+ Qe7 20. Qxe7+ Rxe7 21. Bf5 Kc7 22. g3 Rg7 23. Re4 Nd7 24. Rae1 Rf8 25. Bh3 h5 26. Re6 Nb6 27. Rh6 <-0.16/25>

B)14. Nh5 Rf8 15.Nxf6 Rxf6 16. Qg4 Bh2+ 17. Kh1 Rxf2 18. Be3 Rf6 19. Rf1 Bd6 20. Rxf6 gxf6 21.Bxh6 Qe7 22. Re1 Nd7 23. Bd2 f5 24. Qg5 Qxg5 25. Bxg5+ <-0.48/24>


PS. You should know that Stockfish prefers Botvinnik's 13...Nbd7.

Aug-05-12  kitbitzer31: <LoveThatJoker>, thanks very much for your engine's analysis. I appreciate it. Now, I wish I could say that it helped me understand the position better but it didn't. To be honest with you, it did more harm to my understanding of the position than good. Maybe I'm not that highly rated yet that I understand all the moves the computer recommend. I think that computers rob chess players of the creativity of analysing the position themselves. I mean, you just left your engine running for 30 minutes to produce such moves on the board. Did you even take the time to analyse such a position? I know you think that the more you play like a computer, the better you are but I beg to differ. It robs you of your ingenuity and creativity in analysing such a position. No man can ever play chess the way a computer can but,fear not,for no computer can ever play chess the way a man can. So, thanks for all the help but I would rather take help from someone who views the game of chess as something much more than just numbers...
Aug-05-12  kitbitzer31: I play the game of chess because in chess, a mathematician is allowed to paint and an artist is allowed to calculate. I didn't play the game of chess to memorise a certain order of moves to win. But this generation of chess players wants to win. They care more for the results. Grandmaster draws are becoming more and more frequent. Whereas previously, grandmasters too would draw but at least these draws were pleasing from a creative point of view.... The advancement of technology has damaged chess to such an extent that I doubt the game of chess can be viewed the way it once was.. Today, more and more non-chess players think that chess is simply a game of memory... Much like tic-tac-toe, where it has been solved. Memory plays a prominent part of a chess player's arsenal these days while creativity and the ability to outcalculate your opponent takes a back seat...(End of rant)
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kitbitzer31> Using an engine as an aid to one's analysis is fine, so long as one understands what that engine produces. The difficulty could come when crossing the line into relying on its output and not thinking for oneself.
Aug-05-12  kitbitzer31: From <perfidious>, "Using an engine as aid to one's analysis is fine, SO AS LONG AS ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT THAT ENGINE PRODUCES." I agree. The point is that I don't understand what the engine <LTJ> used is saying. I don't understand the move it produces. Thus, can someone explain the moves to me? I know that's asking for too much but please...
Aug-05-12  kitbitzer31: For instance, after 14.Nf5, I was afraid of 14...Bxf5. But the engine doesn't consider that at all. It instead gives 14...Re8. Why? On what basis is such a move made?
Sep-16-12  csmath: One of the most brilliant active defensive game of all time. 16th and 23rd moves by Botvinnik were absolutelly !! brilliant moves. The ending play with knight against king on queenside is a textbook material.

Botvinnik, the most universal player of 20th century (nevermind Spassky) refutes Tal's home analysis over the board with genuine master play. Yes, he lost a match but he seeded the preparation for routing Tal in return match.

I use to think Alekhine-Fischer-Kasparov is the top but analising master games by Botvinnik I can hardly restrain myself from utmost admiration for the "patriarch."

Oct-26-15  DrGridlock: Tal touches on alternative play should black continue 12 ... Nbd7.

Mikhail Tal - Mikhail Botvinnik

click for larger view

Tal writes:
"It would have been better to continue 12 Nbd7, and only only 13 Re1 play 13 ... Qc7. A position that actually arise in the game would have then arisen, albeit a move later. However, White can play the surprising "rim shot" 13 Nh5, which gives his opponent an unpleasant position. Very interesting variations arise in which Black is hard pressed to defend himself. Evidently, the best reply to 13 Nh5 is 13 ... Rf8, but after 14 f4, the bishop on 36 will be reinforced, giving rise to very diverse combinations. I think the reader will be rather interested in analyzing this sharp continuation."

Analyzing this sharp continuation (the 13 Nh5 "rim shot" in the 12 ... Nbd7 variation), one finds that:

(i) 13 ... Rf8 is not "evidently the best reply." After 14 14 Nxg7+, Black is sunk rather quickly.

(ii) 13 ... Qe7 defends better for Black. After this, Black forces simplifying exchanges which dissipate White's attack, leaving little compensation for White's sacrificed piece. One such continuation might run:

14 Bf4 o-o-o
15 Re1 Bxf4
16 Nxf4 Qd6
17 Nh5 Nxh5
18 Qxh5

Mikhail Tal - Mikhail Botvinnik

click for larger view

Black's king is tucked safely away, and White's attack has been turned away.

In summary:
The (computer assisted) analysis of Tal's "rim shot" shows that its bark is worse than its bite, and that with Qe7 instead of Rf8, Black does not at all end up with an "unpleasant position."

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