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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 3, Mar-20
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bishop Attack Classical Defense (E48)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-29-04  ughaibu: Oh yes??
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I don't see any reason for not to play 35.Bxb7, but Botvinnik's continuation 35.Bc4 is very good. Tal's 37...d3 was definitely bad, but it is very difficult to find any satisfactory alternative there. Maybe he should have tried 35...a5 with idea 36.bxa5 Bxa3, but white's position is then also significantly better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: If Tal played 14. Ne6 against me, I'd never hear the end of it!

-- M.M. Botvinnik

OK, I made that quote up.

Oct-12-06  aw1988: I don't like 14. Ne6. 14. Qc2 is probably better.
Mar-23-08  Knight13: Yeah. 14. Ne6 is nothing but a flashy move.
Oct-26-08  Paraconti: Must have been a dream come true for Botvinnik when he realized he could play 14.Ne6:-)
Oct-26-08  clocked: 35.Bxb7 was probably not played due to d3
Oct-26-08  Pyke: <<Paraconti>: Must have been a dream come true for Botvinnik when he realized he could play 14.Ne6:-)>

From Botvinniks annotations: after 13.Ng5

<"Temporarily gaining control of the e4 square and setting the opponent a simple trap. Tal however, was so convinced of the artlessness of his opponent, that he promptly fell into it. 13. ... Ng6. While the knight was at e7, Black could hace safely made the prophylactic move 13. ...h6. Now, however, White carries out a tactical operation, exchanging the enemy light-square-bishop and gaining significant positional advantage."> (from Return Match for the World Chess Championship: Tal - Botvinnik. By M.M. Botvinnik, p.21)

Feb-02-12  optimal play: <White carries out a tactical operation, exchanging the enemy light-square-bishop and gaining significant positional advantage.> So the point of 14.♘e6 was not to win any material, but to leave Black with weak light-squares?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Position after 33.Bd5.

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Tal, who had been on the defensive the whole game, uncorked 33....Nd4!?. After 34.Bxd4 exd4 Botvinnik, probably in time pressure, played the timid 35.Bc4, and Shredder thinks the game was almost equal. 35.Bxb7 d3 (with the idea 36.Rxd3 Qb5) could have been met with 36.Qe3.

Tal now proceeded to lose the game a second time: 35....c5?! 36.b5 Bf6? 37.f4 threatening to take over with e5, doubling rooks on the h-file and e6. Rather than submit to this, Tal preferred to sacrifice a pawn, but got nowhere near enough for it. In the final position White threatens Qb7+. If 43....Qa8 44.Bd5 Qd8 45.f5! (Shredder) Black gets squashed.

Shredder thinks that 33.Bb5 would have been stronger than Botvinnik's choice.

A very interesting game.

Feb-03-13  Nerwal: The position around 35. ♗c4 is not an easy one for chess engines. They can certainly defend this position better than Tal, but most of them (not Houdini) are also underestimating Botvinnik's simple plan of ♗d3, ♖h1 followed by the gradual advance of e, f ang g pawns (and, generally speaking, the strength of an attack with opposite-colored bishops).
Feb-04-13  RookFile: In other words, Botvinnik chose the type of game shrewdly, because Tal was the closest thing the chess world has yet seen to a chess engine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <If 43....Qa8 44.Bd5 Qd8 45.f5! (Shredder) Black gets squashed.>

44....Qd8 is a terrible move, of course. Much stronger is 44....Qe8, hindering f4-f5. After thinking for hours, Shredder comes up with 45.g5 Qd8 46.a4 Rh8 47.Be6 Qa8 48.Qc6 Rf8 49.Rh4 and at this point Shredder pitches another pawn with 49....c4.

Has anyone seen published analysis about this ending?

Jun-24-14  erihan79: Taking the pawn on b7 on move 35 is not really in the spirit of the position, which is one of opposite colored bishops where the initiative is more important than losing tempo catching a pawn and providing a chance for counterplay to the opponent.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Has anyone seen published analysis about this ending?>

After 43.Bc4, Botvinnik wrote:

<The sealed move. After 43....Qd7 White wins by 44.Qc6 Qxc6 45.bxc6 Rc8 46.e6, while if 43....Qd7 44.g5 Rc8 (else 45.Qc6 and 46.Qf6+) 45.f5 gxf5 46.Rxh7+ Kxh7 47.Qh4+ Kg7 48.Qh6#. Black resigns.>

Presumably he would have played 44.Qc6 against 43....Qa8 too.

May-15-20  RookLifter: Played through all Tal games from his first in the database until this one. And this was the first in which he gives a kind of squeamish impression... Backing and defending appearantly planeless instead of trying to complicate and mount poisonous attacks

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