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Yoel Aloni vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Tel Aviv Olympiad Final-A (1964), Tel Aviv ISR, rd 1, Nov-10
Benoni Defense: Modern Variation (A56)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-20-05  Ingolf: 31.-d3! is the key move of Botvinnik's combination, since the obvious 31.-Rf2 would have allowed white to hang on through 32.Rb8+ Bf8 33.Rxf8+ Kxf8 34.Rf4+!

After 31.-d3, white is lost:

32.Re3 Qh4+ 33.Kg1 Bd4 34.Qxd3 Qe1+!

After 34.-d2!:
35.Qe2 Bd4+! 36.Rxd4 Qg3+ 37.Qg2 Rf1+! 38.Kxf1 Qe1#

And in the final position, where black has just sacrificed his queen by moving his king: 37.Qxh3 d1Q+ ; 37.Rb1 Qb3! .

(Variations from the danish book 'Bogen om skak', 1980).

Aug-07-07  unixfanatic: Very clever game - Botvinnik clearly understands how important passed pawns really are
Nov-29-09  dzechiel: Black to move (31...?). Black has four pawns for a rook. "Insane."

Black has the draw in hand with ...Qh3+, ...Qg3+, so he must be going for more here.

I saw the key move


which threatens 32...Qf3+ and 33...Qxe4, but the rest of the play was above my pay grade. Really outstanding stuff from Botvinnik.

Looking forward to Monday.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Down a ♖ to four ♙s, three of them woefully weak, I think I'll take the draw by perpetual check . . .


After 32. Rb8+/Re8+ Bf8 33. Ne7+ Kg8, white is out of checks. I think.

Nov-29-09  SufferingBruin: 1000 rating, trying to get better.

31...d3 looks good but then my head started hurting.

How about perpetual check? Hey, I just drew against the Israeli national champion! Seriously, I don't see it.


Botvinnik: he was pretty good.

Nov-29-09  ComboKal: Wow! How did white's king get left so wide open! I must go back and replay the game. Even up a rook, the white king is too vulnerable here.
Nov-29-09  RandomVisitor: 31...d3 wins, but it also wins if played earlier, on move 28.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Wow! The simple 31...d3 activates so many threats that white is simply lost.

click for larger view

For example, white's queen now no longer protects the e rook, creating the threat 32...Qf3+, winning the rook.

It does not help that white's queen cannot move off of the back rank because of the existing threat ...Rf1#.

Finally, after 36...Kg8, black saves his advantage.

click for larger view

He knows that sacrificing his queen is OK, because he can promote with check, seeing 37 Qxh3 d1Q+ 38 Kh2 Rf2+ 39 Qg2 etc.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Make that 31...Rf2 32. Re8+ Bf8 33. Ne7+ <Kf7>. Now the only check white has is 34. Rxf8+, and after 34...Kxf8 35. Nxg6+ (36. Rb8+ Kxe7) hxg6, black has a won ending. What am I missing?
Nov-29-09  RandomVisitor: It looks after 26.c5! White is back in the game and can start pushing the c-pawn for equal chances.
Nov-29-09  SharkBait: First I looked at 31... Q-KB6+
If 32 k-R2 P-Q6 (d3)Hanging the white Rook. If the white rock goes anywhere but KB5 then 33... Q-KB7+ 34K-R3 R-B6+ 35 KN4 Q-N6++ A lot of similiar lines if the King moves to a different square. The white N can always throw a check at K7+ but that does not help in the long run. If 33 RB4 B-K4 Pinning the rock winning and white looks lost. I guess time to check.
Nov-29-09  cyclon: Delightful play by Botvinnik.
Nov-29-09  SharkBait: More Lines If 31... Q-KB6+ 32 K-R2 P-Q6 33 Q-K1 and I see no press for black. Oh well
Nov-29-09  outsider: In his 4-volume selection of games and articles, Botvinnik told that in his later visit to Israel, he had to solve this puzzle himself and immediately saw that he was familiar with the position, but had to think a lot before finding the solution. according to him, he found it very difficult to see the position from the white's point of view while he saw it from the black's while playing. so, don't worry, guys, botvinnik also struggled :))

I easily remembered the idea of the game because it got stuck in my memory that ...d2 somewhere was decisive, but even with this unintended *cheating* i still failed to find the best moves of the white. good luck to others :)

Nov-29-09  goodevans: I thought that 31 ... d3 could be adequately met by 32 Re1, missing that 31 ... d3 also vacates d4 for the bishop, e.g.

31 ... d3
32 Re1 d2
33 Rd1 Qh3+
34 Kg1 Bd4+

Nov-29-09  goodevans: I've just finished playing through the whole game and as a result added it to my "favorite games" collection.
Nov-29-09  gofer: I have been looking at this for a couple of minutes and I thought I could get to a position where black is 4 pawns up, with the queens are still on the board. At that point white has no immediate checks and so black has a chance to either push the d pawn or look to trade off queens either way blacks king is pretty safe and white's king is very open. But then I realised that white has one last trick up her sleeve 35 Qb8+!

31 ... Rf2

Importantly, 32 Qg1 (the only way of directly stopping Qh2# or Qg2#) Qf3+ 33 Qg2 Qxg2#, so black has to stop the mate by attacking the black king.

32 Ne7+ Kf7 winning
32 Nf6+ Bxf6 winning
32 Re8+ Bf8 33 Ne7+ Kf7 34 Rxf8+ Kxf8 35 Rb8+ Kg7 36 Nf5+ Rxf5 37 Qb7+ Kh6 winning

Now for the main line...

32 Rb8 Bf8
33 Rxf8 Kf8
34 Rf4+ Rxf4
35 Qb8+! (I had originally thought that black kept the queens on the board and just played Nxf4)

35 ... Kg7

(36 Qe5+ Kh6 can be introduced but I think it is worse for white as it becomes a straight pawn race which black wins easily as there are no available checks for the knight)

36 Qxf4+ Qxf4
37 Nxf4

Now for the interesting part black has a pretty secure position but can one of the pawns queen?

38 ... Kf7!

Removing any obvious checks and allowing the king to cover the c pawn from queening. As long as black follows this idea the white king can easily block the c pawn and the knight cannot protect the a and d pawns, so the king must try to protect the d pawn and then g and h pawns come into play!

Game over...

Time to check...

Nov-29-09  gofer: I was way off... 35 Qb1+ was the best defense, but I missed the obvious continuation after 35 ... Kg7 36 Nxf4 at which point black is losing...

...two misses in two days, better luck next week...

Nov-29-09  Twocolors: There's a lot more that can be said about this game. It's an illustration of the old saying that the queen is the worst possible blocking piece. (e.g. take the position after move 26 and change the places of the white queen and knight...see the difference). 27.Re1? might actually be the decisive mistake. Much better would have been 27.f4! when 27..Rae8 28.Rb7 nearly equalizes. Worse still: Botvinnik himself could have played much better. In the actual game 28..d3! is an instant knock-out (and IMHO is more consistent with the big man's earlier play.)For instance 29.Rd1 (or Qd1) loses to 29..Rxg3! and mates. The Benoni bishop is a killer when reaching d4. For me this is a (ever so small) blemish on the beauty of this game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Be no need for anything bar a push. I dig pawn in pressurizing the queen and allow the knight charge. Botvinnik makes the right decision looking again for a deserved cash in. Still it was nice technique even if white is taking the mick a bit with his reduced pawn count. Ng6+ and Qh4+ is sorta last chance saloon, the desperado checks mean nothing each step is one further away.
Nov-29-09  sethoflagos: With BR pretty well tied to defending b8 and Be5 probably roasted by Ne7+, I suppose the solution will be one of Botvinnik's trademark silent but deadly pawn advances.

31 ... d3 seems positive, robbing e4 of defence and creating a hole for the bishop at d4.

32. Re1 or 32. Qe1 are now going to find d2 very uncomfortable to deal with. 32. Re3 will probably get .. Qh4+ 33. Kg1 d2 with Qg4+ and d1=Q to come.

Somewhere or other white will throw in Ne7+, but doesn't appear to have any credible follow up.

Unfortunately I can't come up with a clear forcing line or crushing material advantage. So time to check.

Hmm... not sure that this doesn't belong in the 'move that didn't lose a won postion' category.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: What a battue.
Nov-29-09  goodevans: <tonyboy:
why not 37...Rb1 ?>

I don't see an instant win (does anyone else?), merely that once the Qs come off then black's extra pawns are worth far more than the exchange. I'm no endgame expert but I think if black starts pushing the the a-pawns then white will eventually be overwhelmed.

Nov-29-09  donehung: Does anyone out there have an opinion on whether Botvinnik saw the finnish from 29 ..Rxg3 or if it was intuitive? If the former is true my hopes of future greatness have been dashed once again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <tonyboy>

Fritz finds this:

37. Rb1 Qd3

click for larger view

Threatens d1=Q. 38. Rd1 Bd4+

click for larger view

Now, 39. Kh2 Rf2+ or 39. Kg2 Qf3+ followed by Qxd1 or 39. Kh1 Rf1+.

Or on 39. Rxd4 (probably white's best), we have this piece of typical Fritz butchery.

39. Rxd4 Qe3+ 40. Kh1 Qf3+ 41. Kh2 Qe2+ 42. Kh3 Rf3+ 43. Qg3 Qxd1 44. Rd8+ Kf7 45. Rd7+ Ke6 46. Rxd2 Rxg3+ 47. Kxg3 Qxd2

On balance, I think resignation was about right, especially against Botvinnik. In my local club I might have played on though...

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