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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Laszlo Szabo
Alekhine Memorial (1956), Moscow URS, rd 13, Oct-30
English Opening: Great Snake Variation (A10)  ·  1-0



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Given 25 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: BS, Black finds away to limit both b4 and f4 breaks, so Botvinnik breaks in the center, ultimately dominating the d-file and infiltrating Szabo's position right through the center of the board.

Of note, 21.c5! strands Black's bishop, while Ne7 is also stuck in the mud. To create something out of nothing, Black plays ..f5, creating another weakness on g6. His N now is strapped to the weaknesses on g6 and c6.

Jul-20-20  PJs Studio: Szabó was a strong GM. Botvinnik showed him the power of home analysis and restricts his play beautifully. I really enjoyed this one.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: SF has a very disenchanting effect on this game.

After 24.Kf7:

click for larger view

Now 25.Rbd7 would have won quickly, e.g. 25....Rg8 (not an imposing move, but can you find a stronger one?) 26.Bg5 Rge8 27.Rxc6 Rad8 28.Rb7 Rd5 29.Rf6+ Kg8 30.Re6 and the knight perishes.

Instead Botvinnik's 25.Nd4 allowed ...Bxc5, after which 26.Rdd7 Bxd4 27.Rxd4 Reb8 28.Rc7 Rc8 29.Rcd7 Ke8 would have left Black still breathing.

Szabo's 25....Reb8 allowed a nice exchange sacrifice: 26.Rxe7+! Kxe7 27.Nxc6+ Kf7 28.Ne5+! Ke7 29.Nxg6+ Ke8 30.Rd5 Ra6 31.Rxh5! with an easy ending.

Instead Botvinnik's 26.Rbd7 again allowed ...Bxc5: 27.Rxc6 Ke8 28.Rcc7 Rc8 29.Nf5 Nxf5 30.Bxc5 Rab8 and again Black is still in it.

But Szabo blundered with 26....Ke8, after which 27.Ne6 is certainly good enough, but 27.Bg5 was mate in 14.

Earlier, after 16....dxc4:

click for larger view

17.bxc4 was strong, but I expected 17.Rd2! Qe8 18.Bb6 Na6 19.f4 with a winning advantage.

Jul-21-20  Howard: Picky point, but “24.kf7” was Black’s move, not White’s. The way it’s typed in implies otherwise.
Jul-22-20  Retireborn: <keypusher> All my sources for this game give 25.Nf4 as played, not the weak 25.Nd4.

Can the truth be confirmed either way?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Retireborn: <keypusher> All my sources for this game give 25.Nf4 as played, not the weak 25.Nd4. Can the truth be confirmed either way?>

It ought to be possible...this was one of the biggest tournaments of the 1950s. Any one of our historians seen a tournament book? Or a contemporaneous article?

25.Nf4 would make a lot more sense.

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