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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Karl Robatsch
Varna Olympiad Final-A (1962), Varna BUL, rd 6, Oct-03
English Opening: Great Snake Variation (A10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: 64...Bf2 65.a5 Kf7 66.a6 Ke8 67.Nb6 ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: A question has arisen on Mikhail Chigorin pages, whether Black played the endgame accurately. < RookFile: Black must have played like a chump to find a way to lost the postion in your first diagram. > While I share the sentiment that it is hard to believe that such an endgame is not salvageable for Black, improvements are hard to come by. Here are some lines I looked at; none brings Black safely home:

48...dxe5 49.dxc6 bxc6 ...

49...c5 50.Nf7+ Kg7 51.Nxe5 dxe5 52.Ke4 Kf6 53.h5 ...

52...Kf6 53.Nxd5 Kg5 54.a4 Kh4 55.Nf4 b6 56.Ng6+ Kxh3 57.Nxe5 dxe5 58.Ke4 Kg4 59.Kxe5 Kg5 60.Kd6 Kf6 61.Kc6 Ke7 62.Kxb6 Kd8 63.Kb7 ...

Dec-03-05  RookFile: I think the mistake is 54.... d5. Black ends up loses that pawn anyway, so the whole idea of trying to have some light square control just wastes time.

The principled move is 54.... Kh5, going straight for the pawn.

54.... Kh5 55. a4 Kh4 56. Kc4 Kxh3 57. Kb5 Kg4 58. Kb6 Kf5=

It's useful to keep the d pawn to give black a pawn to push while white's trying to organize his knight pawn and king to block out black's bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile: I think the mistake is 54.... d5. ... The principled move is 54.... Kh5, going straight for the pawn.>

54...Kh5 55.Nd4 Kh4 allows one of the deux-ex-machina forks that keep poping up ... 56.Nf3 Kxh3 57.Nxe5 dxe5 58.a4 Kg4 59.Ke4 ...

Dec-03-05  RookFile: Ok, I was playing 55. a4 instead of
55. Nd4.

55. Nd4 prevents the pawn raid. So:

55... d5 works now:

56. Nf5 Kg5 57. Ne3 Kh4 58. Nxd5 Kxh3

This is different. Black can simply
leave his pawn on b7, and it takes
white so long to win it, that black's
king gets back in the ballgame.

However, there were some tricks here that I didn't see: so my statement about Robatsch's play seems way too harsh.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> Yes, this endgame is deceptively hard to save: In the 54...Kh5 55.Nd4 d5 variation, I'd be thinking of <56.a4>. My probe lines look like 56...Bf6 57.Nf5 Kg5 58.Nd6 Kh4 59.Nxb7 Kxh3 60.a5 ..., and/or 56...Bc7 57.Ne6 Bb6 57.Nf4+ Kh4 58.Nxd5 Bf2 59.Nf4 Kg3 60.Ke4 ... All in all, saving this still looks a rather imposible task.
Dec-03-05  RookFile: 54..... Kh5 55. Nd4 d5 56. a4!

Good move. Takes some digging, but
the surprising 56.... Kg6 appears to
hold. 57. h4 Bg3 58. Nf3 Bf2 is ok
or 57. Nb5 Kf5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <RookFile> It does appear that Black gains by this strange Kh6-h5-g6 maneuver a tempo, and thus saves the game. The following I think is the critical variation:

<54...Kh5 55.Nd4 d5 56.a4 Kg6 57.Ne6> (here is the tempo as compared to the game; that is, if 55....Kg6 there) <57...Kf5 58.Nc5 b6 59.Nd7 Bc7 60.h4> (60.Kd4 Ke6 61.Nf8+ Kf7 62.Nh7 Kg6 63.Nf8+ Kf7 =; knight has no way out) <60...Ke6 61.Nf8+ Kf7 62.Nh7 Kg6 63.Ng5 Be5 ...>, whereas the knight excapes, but Black is now seems poised to hold the game.

(64.Ke3 Kf5 =, or 64.Kc2 Bf6 65.Nf3 Kh5 66.Kb3 Bxh4 67.Nxh4 Kxh4 68.Kc3 Kg5 69.Kd4 Kf6 70.Kxd5 Ke7 71.Kc6 Kd8 72.Kb7 Kd7 73.Kxb6 Kc8 74.Ka7 Kc7 =)

Sep-16-07  gambitfan: Endgame ♘ + ♙ // ♗
153 games
20% win / 80% draw

Interesting endgame winning scheme!

Apr-11-09  Rubenchik: 59... Ba5
The bishop took the long diagonal and get easy draw.(Botvinnik)

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