Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954), Moscow URS, rd 2, Mar-18
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Bronstein (Byrne) Variation (E45)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 25 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

Annotations by Stockfish (Computer).      [32435 more games annotated by Stockfish]

explore this opening
find similar games 104 more Botvinnik/Smyslov games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: If you register a free account you will be able to create game collections and add games and notes to them. For more information on game collections, see our Help Page.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.


Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-07-04  fred lennox: Interesting game. Botvinnik moves pawns a little less than half the moves (14) Like Staunton and Petrosian, he is a pawn pusher. Smyslov, as Capablanca and Karpov, pushes pawns mainly to develop pieces or make the bishop good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  samvega: Yeah, very interesting. 18.d5 cd 19.Qxd5 Na6 20.Nxf2 Kxf2 21.g6+ etc.
Aug-07-04  Shah Mat: i too am a 'pawn-pusher'. few things make my day like cramming a couple of pawns down my opponent's throat. all you need is one or two to screw his whole game...which is why openings like the French Winnawer are so appealing.
Jun-13-05  fred lennox: This is one of the finest games between these two. 10.g4 shows black's position to suddenly be inferior judging from the play. The pawn majority in the center is solid enough to create a remarkable wing attack. The economy of bringing the king rook into play is masterful.
Jun-13-05  Kangaroo: <<fred lennox>: This is one of the finest games between these two.> Sorry to argue, but the finest game, in my opinion, is

Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1954

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: If A says <Game X is <one> of the finest games between these two.> and B says <Sorry to argue, but Game Y is the finest game between these two>, then A and B are not even disagreeing, much less arguing.
Jun-13-05  Kangaroo: Good point!
<<keypusher>: If A says <Game X is <one> of the finest games between these two.> and B says <Sorry to argue, but Game Y is the finest game between these two>, then A and B are not even disagreeing, much less arguing.>

I agree that both are the <finest>. And perhaps there are <several more> games between <these two champions> to be <titled> this way.

Jan-11-06  HillGentleman: Consider 9...Nxd5, 10 Nxd5,exd5.
After the exchange of a pair of knights, the pawn thrust seems less potent.
Apr-23-06  Ulhumbrus: The attack 10 g4 is unsound on the face of it, and can be forecast to fail. Of the options available to him, Smyslov chose a mistaken one at at least one point. In which case, which were the right ones?
Apr-23-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 11..Nfd7, 11...Ne4 may be better.
Apr-23-06  Ulhumbrus: Instead of 10...c6, 10...Ne4 or 10...c5 warrants a look at.
Apr-23-06  Ulhumbrus: 10 g4 exposes White's king side, a most considerable concession. Black therefore loses less on balance, in the event that Black sacrifices a pawn.
Apr-28-06  Cyphelium: <Ulhumbrus> I remember reading somewhere that 10. g4 was prepared by Botvinnik before the game. Though perhaps black can equalise somewhere, it's certainly a move putting black under pressure. 10.- ♘e4 loses a pawn to 11. ♘cxd5 and 10.- c5 drops one too after 11. dxc5 bxc5 12. ♘cxd5. On 11.- ♘e4 I suggest 12. ♘xe4 dxe4 13. h4 with the idea to play 14. ♕c2 next. I'm not sure how black will cover that e4 pawn.
Jun-29-07  Tomlinsky: According to trainer and Botvinnik associate Mikhalchishin the great man of course had prepared this. He also had a response mapped out for 10...g5 as well. 11.Nh5! and now 11....Nxh5 12.gxh5 followed by Qf3 poses a number of strategical problems for Black. If he castles h4/Rg1 start a powerful attack and if he prepares for long castling then White opens up the centre with e4 retaking with the queen. White's king is much safer than its counterpart.

It's a very clever strategy having forfeited castling rights by trading off light bishops with Black unable to immediately take advantage of light-squared weaknesses as he is too busy defending.

Mar-21-08  Knight13: 10. g4 Botvinnik starts king side attack early. He must've realized that Black can't blow up the center and get to his king. That move must've took a lot of preparation.
Jul-11-09  ToTheDeath: In Secret Weapons of the World Champions Mikhalchishin demonstrates this game as an example of Botvinnik using the Flank attack 10. g4! to take control of the center.

If 10...h6 11.Qf3 c6 12.h4 and g5 is coming with more force- White's king is safe enough on f1 and Black will not be able to castle short. If 10...g5!? 11.Nh5 as elaborated by <Tomlinsky> above.

11...Ne4 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.h4 h6!? may have been better, with sharp and not so clear play- Black's e pawn is vulnerable but he is activating his rook and challenging White's pawn advance.

Kasparov: <10. g4 Goes without saying! The right moment cannot be missed. By pushing the knight from f6 White creates disharmony among Black's pieces, which becomes a crucial factor when the position is opened.>

12... Bd6? <This mistake multiplies the effect of White's main idea. 12...O-O 13. Qg4 - the massive concentration of the enemy's forces make the black king feel pretty nervous. The next not obligatory but colourful line shows the potential for White's attack: 13... Na6 14. e4 dxe4 15. Nxe4 f5 16. gxf6 Nxf6 17. Qe6+ Kh8 18. h5! Nxe4 19. Ng6+ hxg6 20. hxg6+ Bh4 21. Qxe4 Rxf2+ 22. Kg1 Kg8 23. Rxh4 Qf6 24. Rf4 (The tempting 24. Bg5? even loses- Qxg5+ 25. Kxf2 Rf8+ 26. Ke2 (26. Ke1 Qg1+) 26... Qb5+ 27. Ke3 Qb3+ etc.) 24... Rxf4 25. Bxf4 Rf8 26. Bg3 Nb8 27. d5 with a big advantage.

Undoubtedly Black had a number of other opportunities with reasonable chances to defend.>

18. d5! Rxd6

<A desperate exchange sacrifice to avoid immediate disaster that comes after 18... cxd5 19. Qxd5 Na6 20. g6 Nc7 (20... Nf8 21. gxf7+ Kh8 22. h6 Nc7 23. Nf5) 21. gxh7+! Kxh7 22. Qf5+ etc.>

20. Qf3 <Now the primitive 20. dxc6 Nxc6 gives Black a glimpse of hope, so Botvinnik maintains his domination, adding a quality advantage to his material one.>

20... Qxd5 <Queens on the board did not offer any relief- 20... cxd5 21. Rg1 Qd2 22. Rd1 Qxb2 23. Qxd5>

23. b4! <finishing the hapless knight off>

30. Rdc3 <and the rook exchange is inevitable so Black resigned> 1-0

Dec-28-11  PinnedPiece: Guess the move score 54 Par 52.
Jul-10-13  Ulhumbrus: 10...0-0! 11 g5 Ne4 makes a counter-attack upon the g5 pawn and now White's king is uncastled with White's king side exposed to attack. I would guess that if Alekhine had tried this as White against Lasker or Capablanca, Alekhine would have lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

<Botvinnik> on a "surprise move" and the benefits of home preparation:


click for larger view

<An improvement found in the quiet of my study. <<<For my opponent, of course, it was a surprise.>>> After 10.Qf3 c6 11.g4 0-0 Fine obtained a good position [Shainswit vs Fine, 1951 ]. But now Black does not manage to castle, since White carries out the entire plan without wasting a tempo on Qf3...

This game is a clear example of how useful home preparation can be.>

Mikhail Botvinnik "Half a Century of Chess" Ken Neat ed., E. Strauss transl. (Cadogan 1984), pp.185-87

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Tomlinsky: According to trainer and Botvinnik associate Mikhalchishin the great man of course had prepared this. He also had a response mapped out for 10...g5 as well. 11.Nh5! and now 11....Nxh5 12.gxh5 followed by Qf3 poses a number of strategical problems for Black. If he castles h4/Rg1 start a powerful attack and if he prepares for long castling then White opens up the centre with e4 retaking with the queen. White's king is much safer than its counterpart.>

In the 1980s, <ray keene> published a work on the Nimzo-Indian in which he discussed this possibility, concluding that Black's chances were not so bad as all that. At the 1984 New England Open, a game Charland-A Shaw went on 10....g5 11.Nd3 and for some reason, while familiar with the recommendation 11....h5, at the board, I did not wish to try it, playing instead 11....c6.

Dec-19-16  Albanius: if 12 ..h6 W can play
13 g6 and if Bxh4? 14 gf7+ Kf7 15 Qh5+
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 5..Ba6 is referred to as the Fischer variation. The only Nimzo Indian in the match; instead of 6..Be7 played here Smyslov tried 6..Bxc3+ three times in the 1957 match scoring a loss and two draws. 10 Qf3 had been played in Shainswit-Fine NY 1951; 10 g4 was Botvinnik's prepared novelty.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 18.d5 was a good move but 18.g6 would have won instantly, as 18....hxg6 19.hxg6 fxg6 20.Qb3 or even 20.Rh8+ Kxh8 21.Nf7+ is not an option for black, and 18...Qf6 19.gxh7+ Kxh7 (or 19...Kh8 20.Bg5 Qxg5 21.Nxf7+ +-) 20.Qd3+ Kg8 21.Nf5 with next Rg1 leads to decisive attack.
Jan-29-20  SChesshevsky: Botvinnik's g4 idea here didn't seem to catch on much. But he used a similar g4 idea again in a QGD in the 1963 match with Petrosian.

Botvinnik vs Petrosian, 1963

That more common use appears to score decently by the cg database, maybe as a surprise. Seen in a couple of other world championships also:

Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1981

Kasparov vs Karpov, 1985

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970
by uglybird
Game 70
from Garry Kasparov's On My Great Predecessors (2) by AdrianP
by Malacha
Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
from Chess has something magic .... by arielbekarov
1954 World Championship Game #2
from Road to the Championship - Vasily Smyslov by suenteus po 147
Botvinnik's best games
by prahlaad
World Championship Game #2
from WCC Index [Botvinnik-Smyslov 1954] by Suenteus Po
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 6.a3
from Nimzo-Indian, Rubinstein Variation by KingG
from botvinnik best games by brager
Botvinnik's best games
Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games
by KingG
Game 30
from Move by Move - Botvinnik (Lakdawala) by Qindarka
Botvinnik's instructive games
by micartouse
the rivals 2
by ughaibu
Game 218
from number 3 by Frodo7
Match Botvinnik!
by amadeus
Match Smyslov!
by amadeus
g2-Botvinnik in a knockout
from WC-Botvinnik-Smyslov trio by kevin86
from Lipnitsky Modern Chess Theory by cgrob
Game 2, Botvinnik leads 2-0
from 1954 World Chess Championship by Penguincw
plus 70 more collections (not shown)

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC