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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1957), Moscow URS, rd 15, Apr-09
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal. Bronstein (Byrne) Variation (E45)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-20-08  Knight13: Stupid ...Nxg2 stuff I thought Botvinnik was gonna win for a second.
Oct-27-08  whiteshark: 47.Kf3?? blows the win away.

47.Rf4 was the winning move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Golombek noted that Smyslov missed an opportunity an move 28, when 28...Rxc4! 29.Qxc4 Rc8 30.Qxc8 Bxc8, would have given Black the advantage.

Fritz confirmed this line favors Black: (-.67) (22 ply) 31.Bc1 Bb7 32.Nd6 Bc6 33.Nc4 Qh4, (-1.19) (26 ply) 34.Bxf4 Qxf4 35.Nxb6 g5 36.Rab1 Kg7. Also favoring Black is: (-1.14) (23 ply) 35.Ne5 Be8 36.Ra3 f6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Botvinnik spent 5 minutes on his move 31.Ra3, leaving him only 19 minutes to reach the time control at move 40.

Golombek noted the danger for White in this position with the following line: 31.h3?? Nxh3 32.gxh3?? Bxf3+ 33.Kh2 Qg3+ mate.

Smyslov then spent 17 minutes on his move 31...Rc5?, leaving him only 20 minutes to reach the time control.

Golombek stated that 31...Rc5 was, <A most ingenious method of continuing the attack.>

However, Black's plan of 31...Rc5? and 32...Rf5? was incorrect. Fritz indicated Black should instead try to hold the position by: (.24) (20 ply) 31...Rb8 32.Qd2 Rbc8, or (.31) (20 ply) 31...Ra8 32.Nc7 Rab8.

After 31...Rc5? 32.Re1 Rf5?, Fritz confirmed the play then followed the best line for several moves: 33.Nd6 Nxg2 34.Bxg2 h3 35.Bxh3 Bxf3+ 36.Rxf3 Rxf3 37.Nxf7 Rxf7 38.Bxe6.

Smyslov's plan beginning with 31...Rc5, has resulted in an inferior position for Black.

After 37.Nxf7 Rxf7, both players had less than 3 minutes to reach time control!

Smyslov then blundered by playing 38...Rxd4?. Instead, (.73) (23 ply) 38...Qf6! 39.Qb3 Rxd4 40.c5 Kh8 41.Bxf7 Qc6+ 42.Bd5 Rxd5 43.Qxb6 Qxc5 44.Qxc5 Rxc5, and it appears Black still has good drawing chances.

Finally the time control was reached! Botvinnik played 40.Bxf7+ with only 10 seconds remaining on his clock! Smyslov also had only seconds remaining for his moves 38-40.

After 38...Rxd4?, the position was lost for Smyslov. After 5 minutes of additional thought, Botvinnik sealed the strongest move 41.Qe6. A very good alternative was 41.a5.

What happened next is hard to explain. The game was adjourned overnight in a seemingly hopeless position for Black.

Golombek stated they all assumed it would not take the World Champion long to win an ending they all regarded as mere technique. However, it turned out very different. Golombek stated the overnight analysis of Botvinnik and his assisting masters, Goldberg and Averbakh, was clearly defective in that they selected the wrong liquidation plan 42.Qc6, instead of the much superior 42.Qd5!, which would have led to an easily won ending.

Golombek does point out that 47.Rf4! Rxa4 48.Kf3 would still have won, as the Black King is cut off, one line further from the passed Pawn.

Apr-24-11  bronkenstein: Ty Pawn and Two and whiteshark .

And , I must say , the way Botvinnik keeps his formation in the center (and therefore advantage ) for so long is impressive , same as Smyslov´s ability to complicate and be resourcefull in bad/lost position with all the tactical trickery on Kflank (31....Rc5! , 33. ...N:g2! ).

No matter what fritz says , i believe that Smyslov would lose the game by choosing ´precise´ passive defensive move like 31. ...Rb8 instead of the complications he opted for .

May-09-16  zydeco: Throughout his career, Botvinnik had three trump cards: superior opening preparation, merciless technique, and most of all excellent adjournment analysis. It's strange, in this match, to watch all three of his assets desert him. He lost several games in the opening - and was especially weak on the black side of the Sicilian. He gave away a couple of wins with shoddy technique. And in this game his overnight analysis breaks down.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Hmmmm, 54.Rf5+ Ke6 55.c5 with next 56.h5 still looks dead lost for black.
Mar-09-23  syracrophy: Smyslov missed 28...♖xc4!!. Though Smyslov could prepare long-term strategies, makes me think how Tal would've seen this on at the heights of a World Championship match.

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