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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 10, Apr-10
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Tal Variation (B12)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-28-06  Runemaster: An unusual game. Neither side moved its queen rook and the Black kingside pieces were very slow to come out.

This was played in the era of adjournments, which I find a bit annoying. As is often the case, I would have liked to see White fight on here, rather than resign after adjournment analysis.

Overall, the game is another good example of Botvinnik's ability to reinvent himself. It's true that Tal's health was bad at this time, but B was 50 years old and had been badly beaten in the previous years' match.

Botvinnik found openings that Tal didn't combat well, particularly the Caro-Kann as in this game. Above all, B managed to reach the general type of position, especially queenless ones, where he was much stronger, while avoiding the sort of attacking positions in which Tal excelled.

This always makes me think of Kramnik in the 2000 match; he managed to regularly take the games into queenless positions that neutralised Kasparov's strengths and emphasised his own.

Jul-28-06  euripides: <This was played in the era of adjournments, which I find a bit annoying.> It was really very inconsiderate behaviour to play chess before 1990. Couldn't they have waited ?
Jul-28-06  paladin at large: <Runemaster> Thanks for the game and comments - Botvinnik really seems to have Tal off balance from 14.....b4 onward.
Jul-30-06  talisman: 9.bishop-e3?? for white?
Jul-31-06  Runemaster: <euripides> <It was really very inconsiderate behaviour to play chess before 1990. Couldn't they have waited ?> Fischer obviously agreed with you - he waited until 1992.
Oct-06-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Why does white resign here? Sure, black is better, up a pawn and more space, but is there a clear win for black that white should resign?
Oct-06-08  Pyke: <Breunor> Botvinnik himself writes in his annotations after 38. ... Bf5:

"Black unhesitatingly gives up his g5 pawn, since the passed f3 pawn is not dangerous. The outcome will be decided by the breakthrough of his pawns on the queenside,which White is unable to avoid."

Hope this helps where to look. Also, as mentioned earlier, the game was adjourned in the final position, so Botvinnik had time to find the best plan for Black to convert his advantage.

This was the 10th game, played on 10th April 1961. With this win Botvinnik increased his lead to 6,5 - 3,5.

Oct-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Thanks Pyke!

Apr-02-10  Chess Network: Science chess! :)
May-01-10  shreyaslathi: ??? what are adjournment rules !!
May-01-10  Open Defence: in the old days games were adjourned and resumed the next day...
May-18-12  polarx: <Runemaster: Botvinnik found openings that Tal didn't combat well, particularly the Caro-Kann as in this game.>

Caro-Kann was played 6 times in the 1960 WC Match.
3 draws. Botwinnik won 1 game. Tal won 2 games.

Caro-Kann was played 9 times in the 1961 WC Return Match. 5 draws. Botwinnik won 2 games. Tal won 2 games.

According to CG.com's database, runemaster is not right.

Apr-22-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <polarx: <Runemaster: Botvinnik found openings that Tal didn't combat well, particularly the Caro-Kann as in this game.> Caro-Kann was played 6 times in the 1960 WC Match.
3 draws. Botwinnik won 1 game. Tal won 2 games.

Caro-Kann was played 9 times in the 1961 WC Return Match. 5 draws. Botwinnik won 2 games. Tal won 2 games.

According to CG.com's database, runemaster is not right.>

I don't think he's wrong. +1 over 15 games is not exactly what you look for with White.

Jan-08-14  zydeco: Very strange game -- both sides' positions look horrible out of the opening.

I guess 5....Bd7 is necessary to avoid 5....Bh7 6.e6.

I don't understand 6.h5 at all although apparently it's standard in this line. 6.c4 looks good instead.

8.Bh3 looks dubious; why not 8.Bg2 or 8.Na3?

9.Be3 is probably a mistake. 9.Ne2 looks very natural.

Botvinnik plays very aggressively on the queenside with ....Na5, ....b5, and ....b4, which works out well.

Tal's combination with 20.Ne5 is pretty but he puts his best piece out of play and untangles black's kingside for him. 20.Ke2 followed by Rhc1 and Ne5 might have been better.

23.d5 is probably necessary to keep black's knight from coming to d5.

White's almost in zugzwang in the position after 28.....Bh7 but he can repeat with 29.Nf7+ and Ne5 and I don't really see how black makes progress: maybe bring the king to f8/g8 and the knight to b5 or move the knight and bishop and try to bring the king to f4? Tal prefers to sacrifice a pawn instead.

In the final position black can play ....b5 then ....Re8, trade rooks on the e-file, trade the knight for bishop on d4, then play ....Bb1 provoking a3 and ideally play ....c3 with check followed by ....bxa3. One way or another he'll get a couple of passed pawns.

Feb-16-14  Marmot PFL: I would have played this out myself, but for a player in bad health it might take too much energy.
Jun-13-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: If you let Shredder run forever in the final position it produces a valuation of more than -4 though the variations don't make a lot of sense. Eventually, as noted by zydeco, Black winds up with a couple of passed pawns on the queenside (or wins a piece).

Botvinnik's notes are interesting but spare. After 5....Bh7 he indeed feared 6.e6 and cited a Gufeld-Spiridonov game that went 6....fxe6 7.Bd3 Bxd3 8.Qxd3 Qd6 9.f4. It doesn't seem to be in the database.

He sniffs that 9.Be3 is <inconsistent. to say the least> and says that White should have considered 10.f4 followed by Nf3. Of 10.Qb3 he writes <Usually Tal avoids the exchange of queens, but here he changed his habit, and wrongly so, since in the given situation the exchange favors black.> After 10....cxd4 11.Qxb6 was forced to avoid losing a pawn after 12.cd Bb4+.

In the game, after 12....Na5:

<But now, of course, Black avoids the win of a pawn (12....Nb4 13.Kd2 Rxa2 Rxa2 Nxa2) since the initiative would have passed to the opponent. Instead of this he rapidly advances the b-pawn, initiating the plan Capablanca demonstrated in his encounter with Janowski (1916). This game was given by the third World Champion in <My Chess Career>.>

Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916

Botvinnik doesn't follow Capablanca for long, however.

13.Nc3 b5 14.Bf1 b4

<14....Nc4 could also have been played, but Black has no objection to the white knight occupying an insecure position on b5 and even penetrating to d6. All this will merely assist the mobilization of Black's forces.>

After 16.....Nc4 Botvinnik says that he again rejected the win of the a2 pawn (16....Nb3 17.Rb1 Rxa2) <since it would be hard for Black to bring his bishop at f8 into play.>

Of 20.Ne5, he says White appears to be creating complications, but in the end it all reduces to further simplification. He also says that 23.d5 is forced to prevent an immediate pawn breakthrough on the queenside.

Botvinnik doesn't comment, but Shredder agrees with Zydeco that 29.Nf7+ and Ne5 is stronger than Tal's pawn sacrifice.

Apr-11-21  tbontb: In the adjourned position, Tal must have concluded it was impossible to maintain the d4 blockade after plausible lines such as 43.Ke3 (or Bg7 Kc5) Nxd4 44.Nxd4 Bd3 44.Kd2 Re8 46.a3 Re4, so chose to resign.
Apr-11-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The game was played on April 10th 1961, 60 years ago.
Apr-11-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Was this game broadcast to the world back then?
Apr-12-21  Petrosianic: No, you could only see it on YouTube.

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