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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov
"From Russia With Love" (game of the day Nov-19-2016)
Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1957), Moscow URS, rd 17, Apr-13
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Slav Formation (A15)  ·  0-1



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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Vasily Smyslov (1957) From Russia With Love
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-14-09  blacksburg: if you ever get confused about what <outflanking> means, this is the game to look at.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: A quite quiet little brilliancy--fascinating to watch Botvinnik's defense's slowly dissolve. I think 35.g4 might have been the losing move, although it's hard to be certain.

Also, don't mean to nitpick, but I think this opening is a Neo-Grunfeld by transposition.

Sep-17-09  paavoh: Detailed analysis of this game after move 40 in today's Endgame Corner by Karsten Müller in Chesscafe. The link may be valid for a week. Enjoy!

Briefly, an immediate 41.b4 axb4 42.Nxb4 Kh6 43.a4 would have equalized according to Kasparov or even 44.a4 as analyzed by Sullivan.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: In his analysis of this game (given in “Botvinnik-Smyslov: Three World Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958”, by Mikhail Botvinnik, New in Chess ©2009, at page 158), <Smyslov> considers <43. a3> (instead of Botvinnik's actual 43. Kg3) and (among several variations he gives) after the further 43. … Kh5 44.b4 axb4 45.axb4 Bxh4 46.b5 Bd8 47.Kg3 g5 48.fxg5 Kxg5 49.Kf3 Bb6 50.Ne1 Kf6 51.Ke2 f4, <Smyslov says> that “bad is 52. Kd3 … <and Black wins because of 52. … fxe3>”. [emphasis added]

This conclusion seems doubtful because White seems to hold after the following possible continuations (after 52. … fxe3): 53.Nc2! e5 54.Nxe3 Ke6 55.Nxd5! Kxd5 (or 55...Bxd4 56.Nxc3 Bxc3 57.Kxc3=) 56.dxe5 Bd4 57.b6 Kc6 (or 57...Bxe5 58.b7 Kc6 59.b8Q=) 58.e6=.

Thus, it seems that 43. a3 might have offered White good drawing chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: BTW, the position after the analysis line starting with <43. a3> and running through <52. ... fxe3>, from which the second paragraph in my preceding post gives analysis starting with <53. Nc2>, is as follows:

click for larger view

Sep-26-11  sicilianhugefun: A beautiful example of outflanKING!
Feb-15-13  Shelter417: I don't get it. Why didn't Botvinnik move his king to d3 and take the pawn (around move 40 or so)? He gave up the h-pawn anyway.
Jul-18-13  offramp: < sicilianhugefun: A beautiful example of outflanKING Shelter417: I don't get it.>

I don't get it either. What's the joke?

Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: This is a strange game indeed. Having exchanged his dark-square Bishop Botvinnik had an even position at move 34 because of Black's misplaced a5 and b4 Pawns. But then he opens up the position for the Black Bishop with g4, like people have mentioned here. Then he exchanges Knights in move 40, allowing Black an advanced passed Pawn. There is the pretty obvious plan of 40.Nb2 Nxa2 41.Nc5 with activity for his knights. Like <Shelter417> mentions, he also had the King trek beginning at move 45 to take the Black c3 Pawn. Curious, he must have been seeing something I am not. Does he explain this game somewhere?
Jun-17-14  Chessman1504: This is one of my favorite games. The depth of the artistic beauty is astonishing. I needed inspiration and I got it.
Jun-18-14  offramp: Isn't this the game where Smyslov pretended to be out when Botvinnik's second rang up to offer a draw?
Jun-18-14  ughaibu: But Botvinnik didn't trust his seconds, especially when Smyslov was concerned, so I suspect it wasn't a genuine offer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: See this section of Chess Notes where Wolfgang Heidenfeld showed up the superficiality of the Harry Golombek annotations of this game in his book of the match:
Nov-19-16  offramp: Today's title, "From Russia With Love" refers primarily to the Ian Fleming novel. That title was in turn based on the standard phrase used in what used to be called "letters", written messages sent by post from one human to another. These letters often ended with the phrase, "From [name of sender] with love. The same sort of phrase was used by the Beatles in the song "From Me To You", viz, Just call on me and I'll send it along <with love from me to you YEAH!>"

Those letters were often sent in what in those days were called "envelopes", parallelepipedic encasements of paper with an openable elevation.

These envelopes were also used for sealed moves in chess.

Move 41 in this game was sealed and it was played in Russia, hence the pun.

Nov-19-16  morfishine: <offramp> Thank you for your most elucidating explanation. I would've spent all of Saturday trying to tie in the 007 movie:


Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: I love a good parallelepiped story!
Nov-19-16  catlover: <offramp> Such primitive forms of communication. Little better than smoke signals.
Nov-19-16  wtpy: Took a while to see that if white plays 54 Kd3 Kf7 55 Kc3 Ke7 wins for black, because he will play Bf2 win the e pawn and waltz in his f pawn. Stellar play by Smyslov,not that this is surprising.
Nov-19-16  morfishine: Fairly obvious, I guess, all in all



Nov-19-16  RandomVisitor: After 39...Nc3

click for larger view

Komodo-10.1-64bit: <syzygy TB6>

0.00/46 40.Nxc3 bxc3 <41.b4> axb4 42.Nxb4 Kf7 43.Kg3 Ke7 44.Kf3 Bxh4 45.Ke2 g5 46.fxg5 Bxg5 47.Kd3 Kd6 48.Nc2 Kc6 49.Kxc3 Kb5 50.Kd3 Ka4 51.Ne1 Kb4 52.Ke2 Kc4 53.Nd3 f4 54.exf4 Bf6 55.Nc5 Kxd4 56.Nxe6+ Ke4 57.a4 Bc3 58.Nc5+ Kxf4

Nov-20-16  RandomVisitor: 41.Kg3 also draws

click for larger view

Komodo-10.1-64bit: <syzygy TB6>

0.00/58 41.Kg3 Kh6 42.Kf3 Kh5 43.Ke2 Kxh4 44.a4 Kg3 45.b4 axb4 46.Nxb4 g5 47.fxg5 Bxg5 48.Kd3 Bd8 49.Nc6 Bc7 50.Kxc3 f4 51.exf4 Kxf4 52.Kb4 e5 53.dxe5 Kf5 54.Kb5 d4 55.Nxd4+

Jan-25-17  Howard: Kasparov analyzes this endgame in his MGP. Remind me to look that up this e evening, when I get home.
Jan-22-20  Hailelmo: Move 46 ...Kxg5
why not take with the bishop?
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Hailelmo: Move 46 ...Kxg5 why not take with the bishop?>

Why not take with the king?

I don’t get posts like this. Smyslov won the game. Is there something wrong with his 46th move? Is there some reason to suppose taking with the bishop would have been better? If so, explain.

Oct-02-22  jerseybob: <An Englishman:.. I think 35.g4 might have been the losing move, although it's hard to be certain.> It was a blunder for sure. If the white king could've remained on g4 to enforce a future h5 it might have some merit, but 36..f4+! stops that idea. White's game is difficult in any case, with the black bishop able to gain tempi. I like the way the black king slowly muscles its way down the board.
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