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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 17, Apr-28
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation (E80)  ·  0-1



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Given 17 times; par: 122 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-23-05  avidfan: Now the last task is to mate with the two bishops, a good exercise for the beginner. On 87.♔d7 ♗xb7 88.♔e6 ♗e4! If 89.♗d7 ♗f5+ 90.♔e7 ♗e5! 91.♔f7 ♔c6 92.♔e7 ♔c7 93.♔f7 ♔d7 94.♔f8 ♗g6! 95.♔g8 ♔e6! 96.♔f8 ♔f6 97.♔g8 ♗f7+ 98.♔h7 ♗f4! 99.♔h8 ♗h6 100.♔h7 ♗f8 101.♔h8 ♗e6 102.♔h7 ♔f7! 103.♔h8 ♗g7+ 104.♔h7 ♗f5# Stalemate traps must always be avoided!!

In the mate of knight and bishop, the king must be coralled in the corner matching the colour of the bishop. An optimum position to achieve is one such as

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Oct-23-05  norami: A bit of trivia. This is the only game from a World Champion match that reached a position with no pawns.
Oct-23-05  iron maiden: How about Leko vs Kramnik, 2004?
Oct-23-05  norami: I stand corrected. Leko and Kramnik played on until there were no pawns, and not much of anything else. You got to give them credit for playing it out and not agreeing to a draw with a full board.
Jul-27-08  nimh: 31...Kh8?? is a blunder. Botvinnik responded with another blunder, missing a clear win. 32.e6 Rxe6 33.dxe6 Qxe6 34.Bxa8 Rxa8 35.Nxb5 Qxa2

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Analysis by Rybka 2.3.1 mp 32-bit :

36.f5 Rg8 37.f6 Bh6 38.Nxa7 Qe6 39.Qf3 Re8 40.Nc6 Qc4 41.Ne7 Rd8 42.Rd1 Rxd1+ (3.04) Depth: 18 00:06:00 46218kN

Jul-28-08  RookFile: I guess the computers have shown that for any reasonable position, King and 2 bishops win against King and knight. For the longest time, it was thought that the king and knight can hold.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: With 77. ♔a6, Botvinnik attempted to reach the "fortress" position analysed by Horwitz and Kling in 1851:

Aug-18-09  WhiteRook48: <avidfan> in the 84 Kd7 line, what if white plays the knight to b3?
Aug-21-09  True2theGame: <WhiteRook48> The problem is: 84. Kd7 …Kb6 85. Nb3 …Be3 86. Kd6 …Bd1 87. Na1 …Bd4 and the Bishop pair mating sequence is thematic. Nice technical grind by Tal to insure the teeth of those Bishops sank deep into the flesh of that Knight and secure the win! If 84 Kb7 ...Kb5 85. Nb3 ...Be3 etc.
Oct-13-10  Garech: Absolutely incredible game from Tal!



Dec-16-10  kevin86: A great game! The fact that it was a WC game makes it more so.

Here is my listing of possible wins of two pieces vs one-no pawns-

BB v n=most likely
BB v b=a fair chance
BN v n = less so
BN v b=rare
NN v B or N=fogettabouttit! even two knights v king is a draw.

Mar-23-11  soothsayer8: Solid sacrifice from Tal, good job by Tal recognizing the real worth of that pawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <nimh: 31...Kh8?? is a blunder. Botvinnik responded with another blunder, missing a clear win. 32.e6 Rxe6 33.dxe6 Qxe6 34.Bxa8 Rxa8 35.Nxb5 Qxa2> This game was played exactly 50 years ago. Also, After 32.e6 fxe6 (the more natural move), 33.Qg6 is deadly.
Feb-14-12  screwdriver: It would've been nice to have been played out further.
Mar-09-12  screwdriver: Ok, if you follow the King moving to d7 line, you can see how the knight will be trapped on a1 eventually. White resigned and here is one line...84.Kd7 Bb5+ 85.Kc8 Kb6 86.Nb3 Be3 87.Kd8 Ba4 88.Na1 Bd4 (and that wins the knight) Then, one must mate with the 2 bishops versus the king. I think most tournament players would force black to prove they know it. But at the world championship level, it's kind of slap in the face.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: After 76...Bxb4 Black has a mate in 28 moves per the Nalimov tablebases: 77.Nc5+ Kd6 79.Nxa6 Bc3 79.Kb5 Bf1+ 80.Kb6 Bf6 81.Nb4 Bd8+ 82.Kb7 Kd7 83.Nc2 Ba5 84.Ne3 Be2 85.Nc2 Bd3 86.Na1 Bc3 87.Nb3 Kd6 88.Kb6 Bc4 89.Na5 Bd4+ 90.Kb7 Be6 91.Ka6 Kc5 92.Nb7+ Kb4 93.Nd6 Bc5 94.Kb7 Bxd6 95.Kc6 Bc5 96.Kc7 Bd5 97.Kd8 Bc6 98.Kc7 Kb5 99.Kd8 Kb6 100.Kc8 Be7 101.Kb8 Bd7 102.Ka8 Be6 103.Kb8 Bd6+ 104.Ka8 Bd5#

Of course, the Nalimov tablebases (or any other tablebases) didn't exist in 1961 so it was theoretically possible that Tal might not have found the right moves to mate within 50 moves of the last pawn capture, particularly if time was a factor. But that's doubtful, particularly given the adjournment after move 80, and Botvinnik probably thought so also, even if he didn't see the forced mate all the way to the end.

BTW, after 77.Kxa6, the Nalimov tablebases indicate that Black mates in 23 moves, so 77.Nc5+ apparently prolongs the inevitable for another 5 moves.

Dec-17-13  Mudphudder: Wow, seeing Tal in the endgame is such a rarity. Not to mention the strangeness of a K+B+B endgame.
Oct-21-15  thegoodanarchist: Truly a remarkable game. Unfortunately I don't have a good GOTD pun for it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: "Saemisch Procedure as Last Year".
Oct-22-15  Howard: Andrew Soltis alluded to this game in a 1981 column in CL & R.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Howard: Andrew Soltis alluded to this game in a 1981 column in CL & R.>

There was also a brief allusion to it in a Scottish newspaper in 1979.

Jul-27-16  Ironmanth: This has just become a real favorite. Scintillating maneuvers! Wonderful stuff from both. Deep and intense chess to savor. Thanks for this.
Nov-03-18  Saniyat24: What a game...wish this game was annotated...
The e-file is jam packed after 14.Qe1...!
Nov-03-18  Saniyat24: One Knight cannot run away from two bishops...!
Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: Those pesky pontiffs will pursue him round the clock. One travels in the light, the other in the dark. There will be no rest for his soul. He will run till exhaustion
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