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Alexey Suetin vs Mikhail Botvinnik
USSR Championship (1952), Moscow URS, rd 19, Dec-28
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer Variation. Traditional Vartiation (B63)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-26-09  JohnBoy: Having just spent half an hour considering the end of Reshevsky vs Smyslov, 1991 , the idea of a mating net was not far from my mind. Nice puzzle - subtle, but easy if one knows what to be looking for.
Nov-26-09  Prelate: Hmmm- a nice end-game study. The white king appears safe enough, but closer examination reveals that he has only one flight square to prevent mate by white next move, namely d4. Black therefore must choke d4 - but how? No less than the mighty black monarch himself! 76.... kc5! And white must surrender his rook for black's bishop because every other move leads to 77.....Re3# The rest of the game is an easy win. Time to check+.....
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Prelate> <And white must surrender his rook for black's bishop because every other move leads to 77.....Re3#> Not quite, but the alternative loses the pawn endgame: 77.Ke5 Rxd3 78.Rxg5 Rd5+ etc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: 76...Kc5! is both easy and hard to find, in my opinion. Easy, in a puzzle context with black to play: I found it quickly once I saw that the mating theme was the only realistic winning try. But it's quite hard to foresee it as white on the previous move - probably because it's a self-pin, and one tends to discount such moves. I suspect Suetin never saw it coming.
Nov-26-09  David2009: 76...e5 threatening Re3 mate, Black can either resign or give up the exchange.

It took me a little while to spot this. My first try was: 76...Rg4+ 77 Kf3 Rf4+ 78 Ke3! (or 81 Kg3 Rxa4 79 Rxg5 Ra3 wins the B with a winning RPP vs R ending) 78...Rf5+ 79 Ke2 (forced to save the R) Re5+ 80 Kd1 (or perhaps f1) Kd5 and the Black K makes ground: but not enough to win.
Egg on my face. 76 ...e5 does NOT threaten mate since the White King escapes to f5. Ah well. "Nul points" to borrow the Eurovision phrase.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Interesting debate here on whether ...Kc5 is an easy or hard key move. In my case, I'd say once I found ...Kc5 it took me less than a minute to realize it won, but it took me awhile to find it. I considered several moves before I got around to this one, and I think this would be true of most players - this just isn't the type of move you'd consider first.

So, I'd rate the key move for this puzzle as easy to analyze, not so easy to find.

Nov-26-09  Prelate: True- I did briefly consider the possibilities after 77....ke5 But decided it wasn't worth white's effort to drag out the pawn ending! Still, I should analyse further in my posts...(for my penance I will study several more chess problems...:)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OBIT> <So, I'd rate the key move for this puzzle as easy to analyze, not so easy to find.> I think what makes Kc5 difficult to find is its counterintuitive nature, in that Black self-pins his own Bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <ComboKal> No, it wasn't obvious to me either! I went down an entirely different track...

But when I saw the answer, I could instantly see why it was much better than my feeble effort. Hence, for me "obvious" - easy to see once (ahem!) you know the answer, but still managed to elude me.

<Slaps forehead and exclaims "doh!">

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: My point about the puzzle context was simply that there are no other real 'tries' in the position. No other tactical tricks - the bishops are on opposite colours, the enemy rook can't be attacked, etc. There's no easy way to force exchanges into a won ending. But there *is* a possible mate threat, and ...Kc5 jumps out as the way to make it work.

This is much harder to find after 75 moves of a tough OTB game, with no guarantee that a win exists. Making it a puzzle changes everything.

Nov-26-09  WhiteRook48: I had 76...b5... trying for a mating attack with self-block
Nov-26-09  tivrfoa: why the turkey in the <chessgame logo>. great game by the way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <tivrfoa>It's Thanksgiving, aka Turkey Day, in the U.S. We see you're from Brazil, so we'll let it go. :)
Nov-26-09  ComboKal: <Once> re: <Slaps forehead and exclaims "doh!">

That is my forte! I do it at least once per game.

Nov-26-09  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium):

Suetin vs Botvinnik, 1952 (76...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Up a P, in an endgame with Bs of opposite color. The White Ke4 has 1 legal move, d4, suggesting an attack on Ke4, by advancing the passer Pe6.

Candidates (76...): Re3+, Rg4+, e5, Bd2, Kc5

[76...Re3+ 77.Kd4 e5+ 78.Kc4 goes nowhere]

[76...Rg4+ 77.Kf3 Rxa4 78.Rxg5 Ra3 loses to 79.Ke2]

[76...e5 77.B any goes nowhere]

[76...Bd2 goes nowhere]

76...Kc5 (threatening 77...Re3#)

White must drop Rh5 or Bd3 to avoid mate!

I do not mind admitting I found the move extraordinarily hard to find. Fortunately, process of elimination works very well when you have no clock.

Nov-26-09  turbo231: Great puzzle so simple, of coarse I missed the King move.
Nov-26-09  A Karpov Fan: got it
Nov-26-09  njchess: Nice solution from Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Relatively easy, there were no 'big' alternatives.
Nov-28-09  Eduardo Leon: <The Long Diagonal>, I wouldn't call that being a jackass. You just didn't see something.
Mar-02-12  screwdriver: I was wondering how Botvinik was going to win this once I saw he was only up a pawn with bishops of opposite colors and a rook. Grabbing the mate net idea, sure did come in handy. I guess, the pawn on e6 made it possible in this unique situation.
Mar-15-12  HOTDOG: 75.Kd4! e5+ (or 75...Re3 76.Rh6) 76.Ke4 Re3+ 77.Kf5 Kd5 78.Bc4+ = (Botvinnik)
Jul-08-15  zydeco: Taimanov, hearing the result of this game (which denied him first prize in the tournament), said, 'it's a fraud'.

It seems to me like white shouldn't have too much trouble holding onto his pawn with 26.h3. White's rook gets tied down to the g-pawn, and black's king has a nice route into the kingside, but white keeps the extra pawn. 26.g3 seems like a sign of nervousness by Suetin, trying to trade down to a drawish endgame.

41.Rg1 is a bad blunder (as opposed to 41.Re2). 40.Nb1 sets up the blunder, creating the pin along the third rank.

In spite of all these mistakes, Suetin seemed to have the draw well in hand in the bishops of opposite colors endgame. 73.Rh3 draws and I guess 75.Kd4 can draw as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Here's Botwinnik's take (from the intro of his best games Vol 2 1942-1956):

"Late in December 1952, in Moscow, the 20th USSR Championship was coming to an end. <When I resumed my game from the last round, I was not in the best of spirits. Initially I had retained every chance of winning, but I played weakly, and before Black's 58th move it was already clear that the game should end in a draw: there were oppositeĀ­ colour bishops. Meanwhile, only success in this game would enable me to catch the leader Mark Taimanov, and keep open an opportunity of fighting for the championship of the country. And to win this title was simply essential.> A few months earlier, on the proposal of other participants, I had been excluded from the Olympiad team, since, in the opinion of my colleagues, I was now a poor chess player. <The 20th Championship was the first after the Olympiad, and, naturally, I wanted to demonstrate that the World Champion could still perform successfully.

I managed to win that last round game [this game] and to share first place in the tournament with Taimanov. Our match concluded successfully for me, and for the last (and 7th) time I won the title of USSR Champion.> True, there were a number of adventures in the match..."

Jul-25-22  Open Defence: 16.Be2 might have been better than Bb3 , I dont think Black has enough to attack on the Q side
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