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Mikhail Tal vs Mikhail Botvinnik
Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961), Moscow URS, rd 16, Apr-24
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Tal Variation (B12)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-20-04  Giancarlo: 4.h4, just like Kramnik, but then followed by 5.g5, in the Leko-Kramnik series. Now that's a Pawn storm!

Leko: Ummm, should I castle King Side? :-p

Oct-20-04  maoam: After 39.f4 there's a neat little circle of pawns too...
Nov-02-05  misguidedaggression: That's actually normal in Caro-Kann endgames. The idea is that after all the pieces are off; for example:

click for larger view

White can break through with f5

1.f5 exf5 2.gxf5 and 3.e6

1.f5 g6 2.hxg6 fxg6 3.fxg6

1.f5 Kb6 2.f6 gxf6 3.exf6 e5 4.g5 e4 (hxg5 5.h6) 5.g6 e3 (fxg6 6.f7) 6.gxf7 e2 7.f8=Q e1=Q 8.Qd6+ Kb7 9.Qe7+ and wins.

Notice that 1.g5 doesn't win here because Black can get in the square. 1.g5 Kb6 2.g6? fxg6 3.hxg6 h5 4.f5 exf5 5.e6 Kc6 and black wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part I

After a disastrous opening, Botvinnik showed cunning, patience and creativity, finally escaping to a pawn-down heavy pieces ending, which he managed to draw in 90 moves. But you can’t help but wonder: how did Botvinnik mess up the opening so badly? And why couldn’t Tal finish him off? Notes in brackets are by Smyslov; my and Shredder’s comments are in plain text.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 c5

<In almost every game Botvinnik finds new paths. In the previous games of the match the moves 4….h6 and 4….h5 were employed here. Now Black decides to begin counterplay on the queenside without delay. However, this plan proves inadequate and leads to opening difficulties.>

5.dxc5 Qc7

5…..e6, trying to follow 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 as played in Games 4 and 6, here loses the bishop after 6.g4. In his prematch notebook, Botvinnik gave 5….Nc6 6.Bb5 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 e6 8.g4 d4 9.Qxd4 Bxc2 10.Bd2 Qxb5 11.Nxb5 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Be4 13.f3 Bd5 14.Nb5 Kd7 <= because of …f6.> Shredder disagrees with this evaluation, rating White a full pawn up. Perhaps Botvinnik had second thoughts, but in any case he winds up in a terrible position. .


White could also try the ultra-greedy 6.Qxd5: 6….e6 7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.Bxc6+ bxc6 9.Qd4.


<Both sides are aiming for rapid development. Of course, if 6….Qxe5+, there would have followed 7.Be3 and then 8.Nf3, bringing out the pieces with gain of tempo.>

Shredder slightly prefers 6….Nd7, but Black is in bad shape in any event.

7.Nf3 Rd8 8.Nb5 Qc8 9.Nfd4

<9.c3 also came into consideration, and if 9….Bg4, then 10.Qa4, or 9….a6 10.Nbd4 consolidating the material gain.>

9…..Bg4 10.f3 Bd7 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Nd4 Qb8 13.Qe2 e6

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<Necessary in view of the threat of 14.e6. Now White cannot hold his extra pawn, but with a simple maneuver he secures for himself a clear positional advantage.>

14.Nb3<!> Bxc5

<Of course, it is undesireable for Black to exchange this bishop and leave himself without a defender of the dark squares. But how else can he complete his development?>

15.Nxc5 Qb4+ 16.c3 Qxc5 17.Be3 Qa5 18.b4

<18.Qf2 Ra8 19.Qg3 was perhaps a more subtle continuation, aiming to provoke a weakening of the kingside.>

18….Qc7 19.Bc5 Ne7 20.h5 h6

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<It was hardly worth moving the bishop from its good position. After 21.f4 Ra8 22.Qf2 and 23.Bd3 it would have been difficult for Black to complete the mobilisation of his forces.>

21.Qb7 22.0-0-0 Ra8

<It was risky to accept the exchange sacrifice: 22….Nf5 23.Bc5 Ng3 24.Qf2 Nxh1 25.Qh4 Bc8 26.Bd3 and White gains a strong attack.>

23.g4 a5 24.Qf2 axb4 25.cxb4 c5<!>

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<A subtle pawn sacrifice. In a difficult position Black resourcefully seeks ways of activating his game. Going into an endgame by 25…..Qa7 26.Qxa7 Rxa7 did not promise any relief in view of 27.Kb2 Bc8 28.Rc1 etc.>

Of course, 25….c5 is only possible because Tal castled, led astray by the exchange sacrifice. Now most of his advantage is gone.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Part II


26.Bxc5 allows …Ba4 and ...0-0.


<26….Qxb4 was inadequate in view of 27.Bd6 Qc3+ 28.Qc2 Qxc2+ 29.Kxc2 Ba4+ 30.Kb2 Bxd1 31.Bb5+ Kd8 32.Rxd1. But now, at the cost of a pawn, Black gets rid of White’s ‘terrible’ dark-square bishop.>

27.Qxc5+ Ke8 28.Kb2 Rc8 29.Qd4 Ba4 30.Rc1 Rxc1 31.Kxc1 Kd7

<No benefit was gained by 31….Qc6+ 32.Kd2 Qc2+ 33.Ke3, whtn the White king escapes from the pursuit.>

32.Kb3 Rc8 33.Bd3

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<With every move Black consistently improves his position. With the exchange of bishops he increases his chances of a successful defence in the ending with heavy pieces.>

34.Rd1 35.Qa6 35.a3 Bxd3 36.Rxd3 Ke7 37.Qe3 Ke8 38.Qd2 Rc7

<With limited time for thought before the time control, both sides make waiting moves and do not undertake any active measures.>

39.f4 Kd7 40.Qe3 Kd8

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<Here the game was adjourned and Tal sealed his next move. White has managed to retain his extra pawn, but it is not easy to exploit this advantage in view of the possible activity of the black queen.>

After 48.Rc2

<It transpires that without the exchange of rooks White cannot strengthen his position and begin advancing the queenside pawns. To carry this out he is forced to return the pawn.>

After 57….Ka8

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<A subtle move. White tries to tempt his opponent with the f5 pawn, and in retun to win the d5 or f7 pawn (after 58….exf5), while if the queen takes on f5, the white king hides from the checks.

Black takes the correct decision – to retain his e6 pawn and control the f1-a6 pawn and control the f1-a6 diagonal with his queen.>

After 68….fxe6

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<This move by Tal was criticised and it was suggested that 69.Kb3 would have given him winning chances, for example 69….Ka6 70.Kc3 Qc6+ 71.Kb2 Qb5 72.Kb3 Kb7 73.Kc3 Qf1 74.Qd3 Qe1+ 75.Kb3 and the white pieces break through into the opponent’s rear.

Meanwhile instead of 73….Qf1 Black should play 73….Qe2!, attacking the e5 and h5 pawns and making the move 74.Qd3 impossible, after which it is not apparent how White can strengthen his position.>

After 69.Qc3 Shredder’s evaluation goes from roughly +1 for White to 0.00, and remains there until the end. But the computer does not seem to be able to find a way for White to make progress even if Qc3 is not played.

The game was adjourned for the second time at move 90, and agreed drawn.

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