Wednesday, January 7, 2009


“With the score standing at 5-4 in Botvinnik’s favour, the World champion was clearly losing ground against an opponent who seemed to be increasing in stature with every game… The spectators, aroused by the terrific fight into which the match had developed, thronged the hall.”

Every seat in the Tchaikovsky Hall was occupied. The game itself was high drama. Botvinnik came up with an improvement and dominated the proceedings only to find Smyslov turning the tables on him.

Twice brilliant moves by Smyslov caused the packed crowd of spectators to burst into applause.”

World Championship 1954 by Harry Golombek

Botvinnik – Smyslov
World Championship Match 1954 (10)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6 6.Qb3 Bxf3 7.gxf3 b5 8.Be2 Nd7 9.a4 b4 10.f4! Ngf6

Not 10...c5? 11.d5!

11.Bf3 Ra7?

A passive move. But what should Black play?

If 11...c6?! 12.Bxc6 Rc8 13.Bxd7+ Qxd7 14.Nd2 Botvinnik.

11...Rb8 was considered bad on account of 12.Qc4 But after 12...c5 13.0–0 it may not be so bad for Black-NSH (13.Qxa6?! cxd4 14.exd4 Be7 15.0–0 Qc7 =∞)

The critical variation is11...c5 !? 12.Bxa8 (12.d5? c4!) 12...Qxa8 13.Rg1 (13.0–0 Qf3) 13...cxd4 14.exd4 Bd6 15.Be3 0–0 16.Nd2 Rc8 17.Kd1! (17.Ke2?! Nd5 18.Rac1 Re8 =) 17...Nd5 18.Rc1 and White is better, Malakhatko-Papenin, Alushta 2001.

12.Bc6! Be7 13.Nd2

Not 13.e4?! 0–0 14.e5 Ng4 with the idea of Nh6-f5.

13...0–0 14.Nc4

With the idea of Na5.

14...a5! 15.Ne5

15.0–0!? 15...Nb8 16.Bg2 c5 17.dxc5 Bxc5 18.Qc2 Botvinnik

15...Nb8 16.Bd2 Nd5! 17.e4 Nb6 18.Be3 Bd6 19.Bb5 Qh4! 20.Rc1

20.0–0–0 Bxe5 21.dxe5 c5 offers Black chances of a counterattack on the White king.

20...Kh8 21.Be2?

A pointless move unless he wishes to place the bishop on f3. [Instead he should play 21.Nf3 ! 21...Qh6 (21...Qg4 22.Ke2 Bxf4? 23.Rcg1+-; 21...Qh5 22.Be2) 22.Ng5 Qh4 23.e5 Be7 24.Nxf7+ ! 24...Rxf7 25.Qxe6 Rf8 (25...Rxf4 26.Bxf4 Qxf4 27.0–0±) 26.d5 Rb7 27.Rg1↑ according to Botvinnik.

21...Bxe5 22.dxe5 N8d7 23.Bb5

Not 23.0–0? c5 threatening both ...c4 and ...g5.



The decisive error. Oblivious of Black's threat, White hopes to play Qg3 on the next move. Instead he should play 24.Qc2, although after 24...g5 (24...c5 25.Rd1) 25.fxg5 Nxe5 26.Be2 b3 27.Qxb3 Qxe4 28.f3 Nd3+ ! 29.Qxd3 Rxd3 30.fxe4 Rxe3 Black is better.

24...Nxe5! 25.Qe3 Ng4 26.Qg3 Qxg3 27.fxg3 Nf2! 28.Kxf2 Rxd2+ 29.Ke3 Rxb2 30.Rb1 Rxb1 31.Rxb1 c5 32.Rd1 Ra8

32...g6? 33.Rd8+ Kg7 34.Rb8 Nd7 35.Rc8 gives needless chances to White.

33.Rd6 Rb8 34.Kd2

If 34.Rc6? c4 35.Bxc4 Nxa4–+

34...c4 35.Kc2 g6 36.Rc6 c3! 37.Kb3 Rc8!


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