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Vasily Smyslov vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954), Moscow URS, rd 3, Mar-20
French Defense: Winawer. Retreat Variation Armenian Line (C18)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-11-03  ughaibu: One for Drukenknight (if he ever comes back) a tripled pawn equals a bishop.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Interesting Game
Sep-17-03  fred lennox: The Bishop is worth more than the tripled g pawns. Smyslov should of gone for a kingside attack. As Botvinnik states 27 Qg2...Rfe1, h6...Ba5, Re5 with a powerful attack. Smyslov's mistake is to go for automatic exchanges thinking a superior positon will win itself. Instead black is left with no winning attacks. What makes weak pawns really vunerable are heavy pieces. Attack! not lay back.
Sep-18-03  ughaibu: If 27.Qg2 how about Rc4?
Sep-19-03  fred lennox: I like Re7...Qd8 or 6, Bxc4...dxc4, Qxb7. No credit to my broad strategy if this works for I did not see the interesting...Rc4
Oct-19-03  ughaibu: DRUKENKNIGHT: What's your view?
Oct-19-03  drukenknight: well ugi, for one thing, I had to modify my theory of doubled pawns. For second it is way too late in the morning, I was feeding baby the last couple hourse. But let's see....

Okay the game ended in a draw; and black had 3 more pawns for the B, so material was even that seems fine. Perhaps there was a problem not one of material/attack but time/space?

You know Botwinnik. is like the only player in history to retreat the B to a4 in the Winawer. Tal also did that once vs Fischer, at Leipzig.

if you look at the early going, black is actually ahead in development, if that is the case then I say start making exchanges, start doing stuff. Forget that stuff: "all the pieces must be on their best squares before the attack" If the guy is behind in development why let him catch up? Besides is it really an attack? you're just trying to take advantage in some way.

You can see that this is actually what Botw. does try to do. 11....NxN I would agree that makes sense, now he has 3 pieces out vs only 1 for white. Perfect how often do you get that as black?

Why not 12...a5? Just keep exchanging, good things are bound to happen if your opponent has made serious error. Is black going for an attack? material? who cares? just read and react.

14...f6 you can see that was just a little late huh? A move or two earlier would have better effect, black makes 2 moves 12/13 and whatever advantage there was is lost.

Oct-19-03  ughaibu: Thanks for the long reply, if you'll indulge me I'll think about your suggestions little by little, on the theoretical side, I thought Smyslov was well ahead but it turned out to be an illusoion. Had the three pawns been on the queenside (famous queenside majority) I think Smyslov would've won, on the kingside they act somewhat as a barbed wire fence does.
Apr-08-08  Knight13: I like how Botvinnik keeps his bishop on c1 and let the position tell him where it belongs, which is definitely b2!!!
Feb-24-11  shalgo: Botvinnik calls both 14...f6 and 17...Qe8 serious mistakes, remarking after 18...Ng6 that "this leads to a completely lost position, but it is already difficult to know what to advise Black."

Stockfish, however, concludes that Black is fine after 18...f5 and that 14...f6 and 17...Qe8 were not mistakes at all. Instead, 18...Ng6 was a big error.

The computer agrees with Botvinnik's conclusions that 25.a5! would have been more precise and that 27.Qe6+ throws away White's large advantage. the computer prefers 27.Qe7 and 27.Qg2.

Feb-08-12  Poisonpawns: On move 14..Perhaps h6 or a6 according to Wade,Whiteley, and Keene 19.f5 is winning according to Wade,Whiteley, and Keene in the book:World Chess Championship Botvinnik to Kasparov. They cite 25.Rae1? as an error when (25 ed Qxe2 26.Bxe2 Rc2 27.a5 wins. They also give 27.Qe6+? saying that Qg2! wins. They give = after 31..Kxe8
Jun-24-14  offramp: Game 3; 20th March 1954. MMB had won the first two games so it was 2-0 before this game.

Botvinnik gives 16.g2-g4 an exclam.

click for larger view

...But what about 16...♘f5xd4!! ?
An incredible resource! White's pawn centre is about to be devastated!

Jun-29-18  Howard: The latest edition of the NIC Yearbook states that Smyslov missed a win in this game.

First time, I've read that !

Jun-29-18  Boomie: <offramp: Botvinnik gives 16.g2-g4 an exclam...But what about 16...♘f5xd4!!>

A belated attempt at a partial answer.

After the forced line:

17. Nxd4 fxe5 18. fxe5 Bxe5 19. Rxf8+ Qxf8 20. Be3 Qxb4

click for larger view

Stockfish gives white a slight edge. But with its top line starting with 21. Kg2, you wonder.

My spidey sense tells me that if black can get the central passers moving, he might be winning. If white gives up a piece for the 2 pawns, then black has the outside passer to fall back on. So I would rush to push e5 and d4.

Clearly, a lot of analysis needs to be done to reach a definitive outcome.

Jun-30-18  Howard: My "spidey sense" tells me that 25.a5! would have given White a won position...

...or, at least, that's what the NIC Yearbook states.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: In game 1 Black had played 9..Nbc6; 9..Bd7 was new. 11 c3 was given an explanation point by Botvinnik but it has not been repeated much. 19..exf 20 gxf..fxe 21 fxg..e4 22 gxh+..Kh8 23 Nh4 would have been losing for Black as he doesn't have time to retake the piece. Wood provided extensive analysis that White would have been winning after 25 exd..Qxe2 26 Bxe2..Rc2 27 a5
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: To insert 25.a5 could have been more promising. Also 25.exd7 Qxe2 26.Bxe2 Rc2 27.a5 looks well for white.

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