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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Mikhail Tal
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 9, Apr-07
English Opening: King's English. Two Knights' Variation Keres Variation (A23)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-03-05  rjsolcruz: In a 6-board clock simul at Meralco Chess Club on Nov 30, 2005, NM Cabellon played 3 e3 (against me) instead of the 3 g3 of Botvinnik. He won on all boards.
Jan-15-06  Father Karras: Clever of Botivnnik to lure Tal into ruining his own pawn formation at the expense of winning a worthless pawn.
Mar-24-08  Knight13: Memorable on how Botvinnik won this seemingly drawn ending.
Oct-26-08  Paraconti: Drawn ending? Tal was way too adventurous in the opening and ended up with a broken pawn structure which Botvinnik expertly won in the endgame. The result was never in doubt after the opening, only a matter of time.
Apr-10-11  M.D. Wilson: Technique and time
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The length of this game makes it easy to overlook the very interesting opening. Tal had won game #8, and was out for blood here. Botvinnik showed his best hypermodern skill to get a firm grip on the position and grind out a win in a long ending.

3....c6 aims to build a big pawn center, and 4.Nf3 cuts across that plan, leading to a sort of Alekhine's reversed. After 4....e4 5.Nd4 d5 6.cxd5 Qb6 7.Nb3 cxd5 8.Bg2, normal is supposed to be 8....Bf5, though White still got an advantage in Reshevsky vs Keres, 1963.

Botvinnik answered Tal's ultra-aggressive 8....a5 with 9.d3! a4 10.Be3 Qb4 11.Nd4, when 11....Qxb2 is well answered by 12.0-0. After 11....a3, Botvinnik played 12.Nc2, which could have allowed Tal to bail out with 12....Qa5, preventing 13.Nxa3. Instead Tal plunged in with 12....Qxb2?, which Botvinnik refuted with the fine 13.Bd4! stalemating the queen and threatening Rb1.

After 13....Bb4, White grabbed a clear advantage with 14.Nxb4 Qxb4 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.0-0!. The game continued 16....Be6 17.Rc1 Nc6 18.dxe4 (rolling up the pawn center) dxe4 19.Nxe4 Bxa2 20.Nd6+! (going after the b-pawn) Kf8 21.Nxb7 (triumph of the long diagonal).

The ending after 21....Ne5 22.Nc5 Rb8 23.Na6 Bb3 24.Nxb4 Bxd1 25.Rfxd1 Rxb4 was not so easy, but Botvinnik's superior pawns eventually brought home the point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Maybe this opening will make ughaibu like Botvinnik a little better.
Feb-10-13  ughaibu: Ha! As it goes, I already like Botvinnik a little better, probably. It depends on which remark you have in mind. Anyway, the opening is fun, sure enough. Thanks.
Dec-17-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: In this game, Botvinnik showed an special kind of chess, he makes a trap in the opening, where Tal fall innocently. Look at position after the move 16th. (Diagram). If you come here, know the players but don't know which has the White colors, you will see: white is developed, the king castles, the crush of the black center and a ♘ sacrifice which can't be accepted. Black is undeveloped, didn't castle, ♕ exposed, king side pawn structure destroyed, a distant ♙ at a3 more easy to loose and a center colapsed. What would you think?

You'll imagine that White is Tal, but this is not true. Then you imagine Tal looking at his opponent, as if he sees another Tal on the other side. But this one, exchanged the ♕ and went to a long final, typical of Lasker or Capablanca, which of course, is not the beach of Tal. He was destroyed step by step slowly. This kind of victory damages the player confidece, because the opponent winned by litle things, not with combinations, confusion, tactics and traps. Botvinnik win simply by unreparable and positional end-game technique. A marken victory.


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May-14-20  joddon: a great positional struggle...being behind 2 pawns but not a bad position...Tal wants to fight but Botvinnik refuses to blunder.
Jan-08-21  Whitehat1963: Good high-level look at the Opening of the Day.
Apr-13-21  tbontb: Botvinnik advances methodically to realise the endgame advantage. Finally, 65.Bd5 breaks the Black line-up on the 7th rank and soon leads to an exchange of Rs, helping White clarify the position and simplify matters. However, alternatives such as 64....Raa2 65.Bd5 Rab2 66.g4 Rc7 67.Rf5+ Kg7 68.g5 suggest there is no real way for Black to maintain the pressure in the long-term.

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