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David Zaslavsky vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Leningrad Ch (1926), Leningrad URS
Queen's Gambit Declined: Cambridge Springs Variation (D52)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-09-14  mrsaturdaypants: Very helpful, <Cheapo by the Dozen>. Thanks. But I think your line

32 ab cb
33 Qd1 Rc1

doesn't work. Black's b pawn is still on the third rank here, isn't it?

Instead, I think the refutation of 32 ab is

31 Rxc4 dxc4)
32 ab c3
33 Qe1 c2
34 Qc1

and now black's knight goes to d5, b4, and a2, attacking the promotion square for his c pawn, and there's nothing white can do. His king comes up one square short.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I think that 30...Qxc1+ 31. Nxc1 Rxc1+ 32. Kf2 Rc2+ 33. Ke3 Rxa2 also wins. Black can build a sort of combat outpost out of his a and b ♙s and his ♖, for example, by 34. Qe1 Rb2 35. Qa1 Rb3+ 36. Kd2 b5, and then swing his ♘ into action. But it's a long struggle and I'm not sure of all the moves, so I went with the line Botvinnik used.
Jul-09-14  M.Hassan: Black to play 30...?
Black is a pawn up

One of Black pawns can becaome a passed pawn and....

31.Rxc4 dxc4 two connected pawns
32.axb3 cxb3
33.Qe1 b2
34.Qb1 Rc1+

Jul-09-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: <Mrsaturdaypants>, you're welcome, and I'm sorry for the typo/brain cramp you picked up on! <M.Hassan> happens to have shown what I meant by that line.

What's tricky about this problem is that White has lots of tempi but nothing useful to do with them. If he doesn't get a blockade in place, Black just promotes in the usual way, where "usual way" in some lines means a back rank rook shot. And if he does get a blockade in place, then Black turns out to win anyway via the knight tour.

Jul-09-14  Thumbtack2007: Yes, no mating combination is there, but a Queen sac works with the passed pawns. As an aside, I've always liked the Cambridge Springs variation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn ahead.

White threatens 31.Rxc4.

The possibility of obtaining a dangerous passed pawn suggests 30... axb3 31.Rxc4 dxc4:

A) 32.axb3 cxb3

A.1) 33.Qf2 Rc1+ 34.Qf1 b2 - +.

A.2) 33.Qe1 b2 34.Kf2 Rc1 - +.

A.3) 33.d5 Nxd5 34.Qd4 Rc2 35.Qd1 Ne3 followed by ... b2, winning.

B) 32.Qf2 c3 33.Qe1 (33.axb3 c2 - +) 33... c2 34.Qc1 b2 - +.

C) 32.Qe1 b2 33.Qb1 c3 34.Qc2 Nd5 followed by ... Ne3 or ... Nb4, winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Ah, the power of the passed pawn. One of the most surprising and delightful things in chess, a miraculous metamorphosis from grunt to Royalty with a free gender realignment thrown in for good measure. From humble footsoldier to the strongest piece on the board, with lady bits. Or as the Black Eyed Peas would have it, my lovely lady lumps.

This is the position if we roll on a few moves. After 30...axb3 31. Rxc4 dxc4 32. axb3 cxb3 33. Qe1 b2

click for larger view

At first glance you might think that white should be okay here. It is his turn to move and he has a free hand to do whatever he likes. Black's passed pawns are doubled and isolated. The pawn on b2 isn't protected by anything. White controls the b1 queening square. Surely White can counterattack with moves like Qb1 or Qb4 when the b2 pawn's dreams of becoming a diva crumble into dust like a withered and dried out powder compact.

The problem of course, is that black has the move Rc1 which pins and protects, lifts and separates, firms and tones, smooths and revitalises.

But let's play with the position a little. Let's imagine that the white king wasn't on the back rank. Let's tuck him away safely on h2...

click for larger view

Now Rc1 loses its sting. White plays Qb1 without fear.

A neat little combination by Botvinnik. Like yesterday's POTD, I don't think he intended the tactic many moves ago, but when the opportunity came up he took it.

Jul-09-14  diagonalley: hmmmm.... yes... after evaluating 30... QxR+ leading to Q v RNPP as positive (but not overwhelming) the idea of first capturing the white knight and following up by the capture of white's rook with the QP (connecting the advanced pawns and also freeing Q4 for black's knight) starts to look very strong. OTB i wouldn't have bothered to calculate any further.
Jul-09-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: The other part of my typo was that Rc1 isn't check in all lines; it depends on where White's queen is at the moment.
Jul-09-14  morfishine: After 30...axb3 31.Rxc4 dxc4 Black's passed pawns win

White can blockade for a few moves, but then Black's Knight moves in for the kill; for example, 32.Qe1 b2 33.Qb1 c3 34.Qc2 Nd5


Jul-09-14  whiteshark: <30...axb3 31.Rxc4 dxc4> and White can't stop the passed pawn(s).
Jul-09-14  zb2cr: Missed this one. I was hung up on 30. ... Qxc1+; 31. Nxc1, Rxc1+; 32. Kf2, Rc2+; 33. Ke3, Rxa2. This may win, butif so, it would undoubtedly have to be classed as Saturday-level difficulty.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Wow! I actually got this one. I was looking for mate, and then saw the potential 3 on 1 majority for black on the queenside.
Jul-09-14  gars: I did not see it, but it is a beautiful combination all the same.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: I tried some hopeless causes and then had what I hope is a flash of inspiration. I soon realised that
30 …. Qxb3 and
30. …. Qxd4 and
30. …. Qe2 all fail spectacularly to
31. Rxc8+ and mate after a hopeless knight intervention At first, the only ray of hope I could see was
30 …. Qxc1+
31. Nxc1 Rxc1+
32. Kf2 Rc2+
33. Kg3? Rxa2
Then it all gets dark… Can the queen come to f4, threatening Qb2and if Nd7 then Qc5 capturing the b pawn. I could not see a clear route to getting the black rook behind its pawn. Rook and knight versus queen looks rough even with two extra pawns. Maybe the rook does not take on a2 but goes instead to c3, hoping to play Ne4…

But then….
30. ...axb3 looks exciting
31. Rxc4 dxc4 (not Rxd4)
32. axb cxb
I don’t see this through to the end – presumably the queen comes back to e1 but with the rook behind it and the b pawn in support can the c pawn queen? If
32. e5 bxa is surely decisive…
I hope at least I am on the right lines. Post first and play it through afterwards…. (Medium easy it says. For Botvinnick perhaps....)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: Thanks <nearly everyone> for showing this through to the end.... but I see quite a few of us made slips on the way. Is this really any variation of "easy"?
Jul-09-14  kevin86: Another quiet solution: the new passed pawn will soon cause a major threat to black's game.
Jul-09-14  sombreronegro: The queen for a rook and a knight did look playable to me. Basically the trouble is if the pawn is not blocked the queen has trouble stopping the advance from the flanks aided by a rook. A direct attack means the pawn can advance. Trying to control the square in front fails because of the rook sliding in. She has to get in front of the pawn of a file not from a rank when a rook is directly on the pawn's flank. .

So I did think a X b3 looked OK. I was not sure if there was something better but it did look like the best option. The rook has the second rank aided by the pawn and the last rank has the white king under fire so not time for the queen to blockade.

Jul-09-14  BOSTER: <Once: A neat little combo by Botvinnik. I don't think he <intended> the tactic many moves ago>.

I think that <Once>,who is usually right, but not today. Botvinnik <intended> this tactic not many moves ago, but before move least after 28.Qh4.

This is the pos. white to play 28.

click for larger view

White should play 28.Rd1 with idea Rc1 fighting for "c " file.

But he decided to catch black with the <pin> the black queen. So Botvinnik certainly saw it when white played 29.Rd1 and gave white what he wanted.

Playing "a4" his intention was to give the gift ,which white couldn't resist to take, and white have taken it with 30.Rc1.

Jul-09-14  Olsonist: I had 30 ... QxR, 31 NxQ RxN+ 32 Kf2 Rc2+ 33 K any Rxa2 which is similarishy.

Two connected passed pawns + R + N is pretty overwhelming.

Jul-09-14  Coriolis: I woke up today to the sound of baboons ransacking the kitchen. I chased them out the window that they came in with a knobkerrie (whilst yelling and cursing) and closed it. And then they came in through the other window. Chased them out and closed it. Then they came in through a window that I previously thought it was impossible for them to enter through... aaarrrgghh!!! The filthy, potent, indefatigably intrusive beasts looked like to me what the passed pawns possibly looked like to white; although my story had a happier ending. Not a great analogy, all I can see is baboons at the moment.
Jul-09-14  RookFile: I had the same feeling as olsonist. In fact, I viewed it as a little safer than the way Botvinnik played it. But, hindight is always 20-20, and now I prefer Botvinnik's approach.
Jul-09-14  SuperPatzer77: <MySaturdayPants> Your line is perfect!!

click for larger view

30...axb3!!, 31. Rxc4 dxc4, 32. axb3 c3! (<MySaturdayPants>'s line), 33. Qe1 (forced) c2, 34. Qc1 Nd5! (Ready to attack the White Queen), 35. Kf2 Nb4, 36. Ke2 Na2, 37. Kd2 Nxc1, 38. Kxc1 Rc3, 39. b4 b5 - now see diagram below: - White is in complete Zugzwang.

click for larger view

What a superb game by Mikhail Botvinnik!!!


Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Looked hard at this one for a while then found the game continuation. Then thought a little bit longer and decided that it was indeed a win for black. Do passed pawns often play a role in Wednesday-level puzzles?
Jul-09-14  resty: Botvinnik!!
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