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Viktor Korchnoi vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Leningrad-Moscow Match (1960), rd 1, Dec-03
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Fischer Variation (E44)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-17-04  drukenknight: This is all wishful thinking on the part of Korchnoi, the most basic thing to think about is The Opposition. Look at moves 46-50 and see how easily the white K penetrates to e7 or whatever in Korchnoi's line.

How does that happen? Simple, he moves the black king into opposition BEFORE the pawn is grabbed, checks are given, all the stuff happens.

obviously anyone can look like a deep positional genius if they are allowed to gain opposition. Look if black throws the "useless" d pawn forward just prior to this..

(same korchnoi line but now:)
47. Kxd4 Kg8
48. Bc3 Bf7
49. Ke5 Kg7 (Now he gives opposition)
50. Kd6+ Kf8 (and again)
51. Kc5 Bc4
52. g6 Bd3

In Korch. line the K is driven into the corner g7/h8 because of the penetration. You can set up many positions of this sort, but I dont think this can be won if you can keep the opposition, but go ahead; SHOW ME YOUR WINNING LINE!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: < (same korchnoi line but now:) 46...d4!
47.Kxd4 Kg8
48.Bc3 Bf7
49.Ke5 Kg7 (Now he gives opposition)
50.Kd6 Kf8 (and again} >

DK I can follow you up to here but why 51.♔c5? Wouldn't 51.g6 be better for White and where does Black play his bishop?

Nov-17-04  acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)
Nov-17-04  drukenknight: Benzol: I have to get back to you. I am setting up new computer, a windows 2000 machine. THe windows 98 machine keeps crashing on the dsl, hopefully I will be back online later today and have a better connection. thx.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: DK: No problem, catch up with you later mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)> 2...c5-c7! Achieving Geller's Fortress
Nov-17-04  aw1988: <acirce: 1.e4 c5 2.Ke2! (distant opposition)> I play that all the time. I dub it the "Steinitz Opposition Gambit".
Dec-03-04  aw1988: <tamar> LOL, that one took me a while to get.
Jun-15-05  aw1988: So what's the verdict? I see a lot of previous analysis, so does Korchnoi win?
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <aw1988: So what's the verdict?>

White's winning, hence all the sarcastic remarks about the opposition.

Following <Korchnoi>'s line with <drukenknight>'s attempted improvement, it goes 42...Kg8 43. Kf4 Kh7 44. g5 Bh5 45. Bb4 d5 46. Ke5 d4 <47. Kf6> breaking the blockade.

It might continue 47...d4 48. g6+ Kg8 49. Kg5 Be2 50. f6 Bc4 51. Kf4, and White's king will come around to support the f7 push. For example, 51...d3 52. Ke5 d2 53. Bxd2 Kf8 54. Bb4+ so that 54...Ke8 55. Kf4 followed by the king march to g7 and pawn to f7, or 54...Kg8 55. Kd6 Kf8 56. Kd7+ Kg8 57. Ke7, etc.

Aug-10-05  RookFile: I continue to find it humorous that
this line of the Nimzo Indian continues to be called the Fischer variation, when Botvinnik played it before Bobby did, to say nothing of Alekhine, who was playing it before Bobby was even born.
Jan-15-07  Fast Gun: Interesting problem-like ending with opposite coloured bishops: It is hard to believe that these two players only ever played each other four times, especially when you consider the number of games that Botvinnik has played against Bronstein, Keres, Smyslov and Tal !! And also the number of times that Korchnoi has played against Petrosian and Spassky: It is probably because that when Botvinnik became World Champion he did not play in tournaments, but only in World title matches and since Korchnoi was not a contender for a title match until 1978, by which that time Botvinnik had retired:
Jan-15-07  Pawnsgambit: stupid game.
Jul-27-09  kingfu: Stupid game? Between 2 of the best players ever? With opposite colored bishops? How can it be the Fischer variation when it had not been invented , yet? Have I asked enough questions?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: This was the board-one game (of 40) in the Leningrad-Moscow Match, Moscow 1960. (Tolush-Bronstein played board two.)
Mar-02-12  ewan14: Once again - it was Korchnoi who suffered from the drawing pact at Curacao in 1962

He was in the better position to win it than Fischer

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Nice endgame play by Korchnoi. This type of ending is usual drawn.


♔♗♙♙ vs. ♔♗♙♙

Decisive: 35.8%
Drawn: 64.2%

Endgame Explorer: BPP vs BPP

Mar-28-13  The Rocket: 18. Rae8 is a big blunder, although Botvinnik were well aware of the pawn haning. Black needs to play e4, and is doing ok. Rae8 instead gives up a pawn for no real counterplay.
Sep-05-13  TheFocus: From the Leningrad - Moscow Team Match.
Mar-30-16  kingfu: Another question: How is it that Botvinnik and Korchnoi only played against each other 4! times?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <kingfu> I think it's just that Botvinnik didn't play that much chess post-WWII; he generally limited himself to two or three events a year.

Boris Spassky played him 7 times, but 4 of those were in a single 1970 tournament. Tal only played him twice outside of their two matches, and Polu also only played him twice. Slightly older masters like Petrosian, Geller, and Taimanov did play him a bit more often.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: RIP korchnoi
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <kingfu....How is it that Botvinnik and Korchnoi only played against each other 4! times?>

<Retireborn: <kingfu> I think it's just that Botvinnik didn't play that much chess post-WWII; he generally limited himself to two or three events a year.>

From 1957-63 in particular, Botvinnik was also heavily involved in his numerous matches for the title; when he first encountered Korchnoi (1952), the younger player was taking his first steps in high-level competition, and their second meeting (1955) would mark Botvinnik's swan song in Soviet championships, one of the strongest ever held.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <perfidious> Yes, it's a pity that there weren't more Korchnoi-Botvinnik games after 1960. I'd have liked to see Botvinnik playing against Reti, Nimzowitsch, and Rubinstein too, come to think of it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: plang: 7 b3 was a new, very quiet way of responding to Blacks double-edged 8..f5; the sharper had been played previously. Korchnoi was critical of 11 d5!? as it did not open diagonals for White's bishops; 11 0-0-0 and 11 Be2 were alternatives. 16..Qh3 would have been interesting with White likely castling on the queenside with a sharper position. 18..Rae8? gave up a pawn without sufficient compensation; Black would have kept his advantage with 18..exf 19 exf..Rae8 20 Rae1..Qh5. With 20..Ba4?! Botvinnik may have missed Korchnoi's simplifying combination starting with 21 Bxh7+. Winning for White would have been 26..Rxc4? 27 Re7..Rg8 28 f5..Kh6 29 f6. In the book Korchnoi - Move by Move the following line was given (from the final position): 42..Be2 43 Kf4..Bd1 44 g5..Bh5 45 Kg3..Kg8 46 Kh4...Bf7 47 g6..Bc4 48 Kg5..Ba2 49 Bb4..Bc4 50 Bxd6..Ba2 51 f6..Bb3 52 Bb4..Bc4 53 Kf4..Be6 54 Ke5..Ba2 55 Kd6..Kf8 56 Kd7+..Kg8 57 Ke7. Some one here mentioned here that Black had lost on time - I can find no evidence of that and am 99% sure that it is not so.

A very tricky ending - Korchnoi says that 31..Bc6 would have been a tougher defense and gives a long winning line that would have been difficult to find. Korchnoi - Move by Move gives a similar line and also shows that the key capture on f5 with the pawn rather than the King (after the f5 break) is the key. It is fascinating that connected g and h pawns are only good for a draw (while split f and h pawns win) while connected f and g pawns (as in the game) win.

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