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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vladimir Alatortsev
Leningrad (1934), Leningrad URS, rd 1, Aug-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Modern Variation. Normal Line (D55)  ·  1-0

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-19-04  Helloween: According to Kasparov in OMGP part 2, this is a groundbreaking game where Botvinnik founded the moving of the g-pawn in closed games, as it had previously only been seen in certain 1.e4 games(particularly Sicilians). Kasparov cites 6...a6?! as unnecessary, and also 8...c6?!(instead suggesting 8...Nbd7 and ...Re8, ...Nf8). He claims 10...Nxg4? as the fatal mistake, with 10...g6 suggested as Black's last chance(although Black is clearly worse, and succeptible to an attack with h4-h5}). He says the strange Knight manouevers only hasten Black's demise. 18...Bf5?? loses immediately, but 18...Nf6 19.Ng5 is grim, too.
Jul-20-04  Dudley: I must admit that I wouldn't think of 10.g4 in this type of position at all, and still don't fully understand it. This game had the look of going into a minority attack or something and then here comes 10.g4!?, and it's a pretty old game at that.
Jul-20-04  Helloween: Back those days, the minority attack was considered to be White's best bet in this type of position. That's probably why Black played 6...a6?!, thinking it would slow down the minority attack. 10.g4! is great because it threatens 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 and 13.Bxh7+.
Jul-20-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: I am skeptical of the claim that Botvinnik invented g4 in closed games.

Alekhine-Yates, Hamburg 1910, is a much earlier example of g4 in a Queen's gambit.

Jul-21-04  Helloween: <beatgiant> In the game you cite,Alekhine vs Yates, 1910, White plays h2-h4, castles long and plays Kb1 first. Then he plays g2-g4 as part of a general kingside pawn storm. This is not an example of the g4 attack in closed games, of which I believe Botvinnik was the first practitioner.
Jul-21-04
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <In the game you cite,Alekhine vs Yates, 1910, White plays h2-h4, castles long and plays Kb1 first. Then he plays g2-g4 as part of a general kingside pawn storm.>

It seems Kasparov's remark about "founding the moving of the g-pawn in closed games" must apply to something very specific about the plan used by Botvinnik in this game. Otherwise, there are many earlier examples of g4 in a closed game, and not all of them involve castling long or pawn storms.

For example, in Maroczy-Suechting, Barmen 1905, White uses g4 in a closed game without castling and as part of a space-gaining manuever instead of a storm to open lines against the king. Also, it's not clear to me that Botvinnik's game is distinguished by no castling long or pawn storm, since White does castle long and plays g4 to open lines against the king in this game.

I would be interested in knowing the earlier examples of this from Sicilians mentioned by Kasparov. Do you know which games he was referring to?

Jul-22-04  Helloween: <beatgiant>Maroczy vs H Suechting, 1905, as you referred to, is definitely not an example of the g2-g4 attack in the opening. White played the pawn to g3 first, and didn't advance it to g4 until later as a middlegame developed. The g2-g4 attack in closed games is best shown by the popular Shabalov-Shirov gambit, ala Kasparov vs X3D Fritz, 2003.
Jul-14-07  spasskey69: Kasparov's analysis of Black's best plan is found in Botvinnik's game collections, Volume One. So it was Botvinnik, not Kasparov, to whom this analysis must be credited.
Feb-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: Another early g2-g4 attack in closed games: Nimzowitsch vs Alekhine, 1912
Aug-22-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I Koenig vs H Weiss, 1919
Aug-03-10  Damianx: i like 14 Nf2 15 Bh4 16 Pg6 4 black
Aug-03-10  Damianx: 16 Pg5
Mar-01-19  DonChalce: after this, i am not sure if Botvinnik is insanely good or Alatortsev just plays too badly. but the later seems to be true though.
Mar-22-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <earlier examples of this from Sicilians>

The most well-known pre-1930's Sicilian with early g4 is probably Lasker vs W Napier, 1904

The opening was repeated in Reti vs Weenink, 1919 and Reti vs Saemisch, 1921

Anyone know other examples?

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