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Boris Spassky vs Mikhail Botvinnik
URS-chT (1966), Moscow URS, rd 6, Sep-29
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-08-03  drukenknight: cannot white play a3 at some pt and create a little space for the K?

Schiller has this game in his book, World Champion openings. He does not mention the N could block the check earlier in the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <drukenknight> Playing a3 will weaken the b pawn, at what point do you feel white should play a3.

Does Eric Schiller's book mention this possibility?

Oct-09-03  drukenknight: I thought you would play over those moves that you had proposed and see at what moment...

64.Kc1. Well 64...e3;65.Nxe3 Bxe3+;66.Kb1 Bb6 isnt 67 a3 next?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <drukenknight> Take a deep breath my friend. Being a new parent isn't easy and I detect a little irritability.

OK after 67.a3 bxa3;68.Ka2 Kb5;69.Ka1 Kxb3 Now even though the 'a' pawn is a rook's pawn the bishop is the right colour and it will queen.

69.Kb1 makes no difference the a pawn will still get through.

Please do try to get some sleep.

Oct-10-03  drukenknight: Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Okay Benzol, cut the comedy and let's get serious. THis game is driving me crazy, and I cant figure out what happened at the end. You are right, my plan doesnt work, but what exactly is going on?

Yes Botwinnik's 62 Nf1 does seem okay, the chessbase computer moves the pieces around in circles. But the computer does the same w/ 62 Kd1. The game does seem to change when black plays e3, but even then the computer is taking a lot of moves from there.

I am not sure Botwinnik has really explained what happens. If it was obvious to Spassky that he had lost the game on move 62 he probably would have resigned then. The last several N moves do not appear to change the board much so when did he realize the game was lost and how?

Can anyone explain this in terms we can understand?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <drukenknight> Since Spassky didn't resign at move 62 and remember he was the World Championship Challanger that year, there is no reason for you and I to knock ourselves out trying to fully comprehend this ending.

Botvinnik comments at one point after move 49 " When the game was adjourned, I analysed only the variations given in the previous note (move 44 - Ed). Therefore Black's later play was not always consistent, but this should hardly have affected the result ".

It seems that Botvinnik felt that the game was able to be won by an overall look at the position on the board, but as events showed Spassky felt he could hold it. It was pointed at that 62.Nf1 could have saved White (See previous posts) but with the knight move to c4 it could no longer return to e2 and this decided the game.

In the final position Botvinnik comments " the b4 pawn will inevitably queen ".

So mate perhaps you and I should step back and let crafty or someone else have a look to see what they can come up with.

Oct-10-03  drukenknight: No the knight can no longer return to e2, however there is Nd6 which was not tried earlier instead of Kd2 or whatever it was...

There are at least two possibilities in the final position

Kxe3 or b6 but they dont seem to work.

Oct-11-03  drukenknight: Why analyze this you ask? well ok, for one thing, the players had overnight to analyze it apparently, so it is no crime for us to step back and try to study the endgame for awhile and put in some time.

Ultimately, we may be able to learn something about B/N endings or maybe we will just be more confused.

ANyway looking back on it, there was some problem that was created before the adjournment, look at 36 b5 that sets off some shock waves...

Okay what else, you said that spassky's plan was to liquidate the k side pawns. SO when does he finally push the b pawn? When the action is over.

What if 36...g5 isnt that the right time to use this move; doesnt the resulting action get rid of the problem with the passed pawn?

Jan-01-05  aw1988: 36...g5?? is completely useless.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: <drukenknight> I believe that <36...g5> cannot rectify the Black position. Botvinnik could still penetrate on the K-side forcing his opponent back. One possible method is:

<37.hxg6> b6 (to prevent c5) 38.g5 hxg5 39.Nxg5 Kd7 40.Ke4 Bg7 41.Kf4 Ke7 42.Ne4 Bh6+ 43.Kg4 Bg7 44.Kg5 a5 45.c5 bxc5 46.Nxc5 Bf8 47.Nb7 e5 48.Nxa5 Ke6 49.Nc4 winning.

Sep-26-06  outplayer: How did Spassky lose the opening advantage ECO says he has at move 20?
Sep-26-06  outplayer: 27.Qd4 seems to be a better move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Well, as pointed out in one of the Botvinnik quotes above, Spassky's 28th move loses a pawn. Not sure I approve of 22. Nxf7 either, since after 22...Rf8 23. Nd6 Rxf4 Black seems to have freed his position. Maybe 23. g3 first, to defend his own f-pawn, or 23. Kb1 to step out of the pin of the c-pawn.

For whatever it's worth, I don't think White's advantage at move 20 is very big.

Sep-26-06  outplayer: 22.Qe4! protects c4 and f4 and attacks b7 and f7.
Sep-26-06  outplayer: 22.Qe4 Rd8 23.Qd4 Qa5 24.Kb1
Jul-05-07  talisman: the old man knew his caro-kann.he had a 50%+ score with it.takes it to spassky in his prime.almost feel better for tal and 61.
Jun-26-09  M.D. Wilson: Amazing. Spassky never beat Botvinnik in the games listed in this database.
Jun-26-09  percyblakeney: <Now white has to play an ending a pawn down>

Engines don't see Spassky's 28th as losing his tiny advantage, and they don't see any pawn down endgame either. The pawn losing mistake is 31. Ke2 since Kc2 keeps material equality, after for example 31. ... Bf2 32. g4 Bg3 33. Nd4.

Jul-24-09  M.D. Wilson: Yes, 31. Kc2 is better it seems. I'm sure Botvinnik and Spassky played a lot more games than the number listed in the database.
Aug-06-09  Ulhumbrus: The result of the game following the position after 20 Ne4 Be7 21 Nd6+ suggests that a Knight which is placed magnificently may be nevertheless inferior to a powerful bishop.

After 23...Rxf4 White's e5 pawn is weak and falls following an exchange of the neavy pieces and the transference of Black's KB to the long diagonal.

Aug-06-09  Marmot PFL: i dont have botvinniks notes but 27 c5 looks like a good move. it guards Nd6, attacks b4 and opens up c4 for the white queen.
Feb-01-12  LawrenceBernstein: Nice shot 27...Rf1! #tactics
Apr-11-16  Howard: Someone alluded to this game in Korchnoi-Spassky 1966, in which Korchnoi played an impeccable knight ending to beat Spassky.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

62 Nf1! (Averbakh) with the following ideas:

a) 62..Kc3 63 Ng3 e3 64 Kd1 Kb2 65 Ne2 Kax2 66 Kc2 =

b) 62..Bc7 63 Ne3 Bf4 64 Ng4 Bg5 65 Nf2 Ke5 66 Ng4+ Kf5 67 Nf2 Bc1 68 Nh3 Bb2 69 Ke3 Ne5 70 Ke2 Bd4 71 Ng5 Kf5 72 Nf7 Bb6 73 Nd6+ Kf4 74 Nc4 =

c) 62..Bc5 63 Ng3 Ke5 64 Nh5 Be7 65 Ke3 Bg5+ 66 Ke2 Kf5 67 Ng3 Ke5 68 Nh5 Kd4 69 Ng3 Bf4 70 Nf5+ Kc5 71 Ng7! idea 71..Kxb5 72 Nh5 Bh6 73 Nf6 e3 74 Ng4 =

Nov-29-19  ewan14: 27 .... Rf1 !
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