Table of Contents
by Hans Ree
The Lead-up to the Great Tournment
by Dr. J. Hannak
The Preparations for the Netherlands Leg
by G.W.J. Zittersteyn
The Official Opening
An Excursion into the Past
by Dr. Max Euwe
The Games from the Past
The Hague Leg
The Moscow Leg
The Official Closing Ceremony
by G.W.J. Zittersteyn
The Former and the Present World Champion
by Dr. J. Hannak
(free PDF download):
Introductory remarks for rounds 1-10 by L.G. Eggink.
Introductory remarks for rounds 11-25 by G.W.J. Zittersteyn.
The match-tournament of 1948 in The Hague and Moscow was one of the most important events in the
history of chess. It produced a new world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, and it was also the start of a
new era in which the championship would be regulated by FIDE by means of an intricate system of
qualification tournaments that would function with only small changes for decades.
When Alexander Alekhine died on March 24, 1946, negotiations for a championship match between
him and Botvinnik were well underway. The possibility of this match had already been discussed by
the two players in Amsterdam right after the AVRO tournament of 1938.
It had been the intention of the Dutch broadcasting company, AVRO, that their tournament would
produce a challenger for Alekhine, and at the time it was indeed considered by many to be a
candidates tournament. But not by Alekhine himself, who had never agreed to this. The winner of
AVRO was Paul Keres, who shared first place with Reuben Fine, but with a better tie-break score.
Botvinnik finished third.
Being passed over by Alekhine in favor of Botvinnik must have been a disappointment for Keres, the
first of many in his struggle for the world championship. Anyway, the war that broke out in Europe in
1939 put a temporary end to all speculation about a match for the crown.
In 1946, after Alekhine’s death, FIDE took matters in hand, strongly encouraged by the only surviving
world champion, Max Euwe. At a FIDE congress in Winterthur, Switzerland, it was decided who
would be the participants in the championship tournament, which at that time was scheduled to take
place in 1947. Apart from the five players who would actually play in 1948, there was Reuben Fine,
along with one place reserved for one of the winners of the Staunton tournament in Groningen, and the
Treybal Memorial in Prague, both to be played later in 1946.
The Prague tournament would be won by Miguel Najdorf, and as Groningen was won by Botvinnik,
who already had a ticket to the championship tournament, Najdorf thereby secured a place for
himself, or so he must have thought at the time.
Practical difficulties delayed the championship tournament. In 1947, another FIDE congress convened
in The Hague. Later, Euwe liked to say that he had been world champion for one day, as during the
congress the idea came up to reinstate him as world champion, on the condition that he would play a
match against Sammy Reshevsky, and the winner of that match would play Botvinnik for the title.
Apparently even during Euwe’s one day of glory, Botvinnik was seen as the man.
But nothing came of that idea. When, the next day, the Soviet delegation arrived, it was to be a match-
tournament again. Najdorf was dropped from the list of participants, probably because the Prague
tournament was not considered strong enough. Indeed, it wasn’t, but on the other hand, consulting Jeff
Sonas’ chessmetrics site, I find that there Najdorf is considered to have been the world’s number two
based on retrospective ratings for 33 consecutive months, between July 1946 and June 1949. Najdorf
had a point, when, in 1947, in an interview, he declared himself ready to take on all championship
Early in 1948, Fine withdrew from the tournament for professional reasons. He would later give
several different reasons, even writing that the safety of the foreign masters would be questionable in
That would have been a good opportunity to give Najdorf back his place, but this didn’t happen.
When the tournament started in March 1948 in The Hague, one could say that the Soviet Union, a
recent member of FIDE, had negotiated well. Had there been a match between Alekhine and
Botvinnik, the outcome would have been in no doubt. Botvinnik would have crushed Alekhine.
But taking the point of view of the Soviet Chess Federation, not much was lost. At the start of the
match-tournament, it may have been an exaggeration to say that they had it all in the bag, but they
certainly held the trumps.
Three of the five contenders were Soviet citizens, though the Estonian Keres was a reluctant one.
Although originally the whole tournament was supposed to have been held in the Netherlands, it had
been decided that only the first two legs would be played in The Hague, and the last three in Moscow.
And, finally, there was Botvinnik, who, since the so-called Absolute Championship of the Soviet-
Union in 1941, had been first in every tournament in which he had played, and was generally
recognized as the strongest player in the world.
Nevertheless, at the start of the tournament, the Dutch had great hopes for Euwe. Only two years
earlier, he had finished second at the great tournament in Groningen, only a half-point behind
Botvinnik. Against Botvinnik, he had a plus score, +2 -0 =4. Euwe was almost 47-years old, but at
that time this was not considered such a big handicap as it would be now.
But Euwe started miserably, with four losses, and he never recovered. After more than two months of
battle, Botvinnik became world champion, as expected, with the fine score of 14 points out of 20
games. Vassily Smyslov was second with 11 points, Keres and Reshevsky shared third place with
10½, and Euwe was a sad tail-ender with only 4 points.
A curious incident, not mentioned in this book but later described by Euwe, happened at the Polish-
Russian border, when the players and their entourage were on their way to Moscow for the second
part of the tournament. Soviet custom officials were intrigued by the strange hieroglyphic-looking
notes in Euwe’s luggage that in fact constituted his opening repertoire. What should they do?
Making a phone call to Moscow, obviously, where it was decided that Euwe’s notes should be
confiscated, checked at leisure in Moscow, and eventually given back. It was a scenario for one of
Reuben Fine’s nightmares. Perhaps the safety of the foreign players would be assured, but not that of
But Botvinnik intervened and phoned Moscow himself. After many hours of waiting it was decided
that Euwe could keep his notes, provided that he signed a declaration that nothing in it would be
detrimental to the Soviet state. To Botvinnik, Euwe joked that in any event, his analyses were either
aimed at Reshevsky, or bad and useless. All is well that ends well.
The Cold War has left no trace in this tournament book. You might say that it had already started right
after the end of World War II, but certainly 1948 was a milestone. In February, the month before the
tournament started, a coup in Czechoslovakia had brought practically all power to the Communist
Party. On March 10, the day when Euwe resigned his adjourned, spectacular fourth-round game
against Smyslov, in Prague the dead body of the non-communist Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk was
found; he had probably been murdered.
These events must have made a big impression on many people who were involved with the
tournament, but the Dutch chess notables who wrote the nontechnical parts of this book, decided –
perhaps wisely – not to let the uncomfortable subject of politics interfere with the beautiful story of
international friendship and Russian hospitality and love of chess.
There was one participant to whom politics must certainly have been a subject better to avoid: Paul
The Dutchman Karel van het Reve, who would become one of the country’s most prominent writers,
had joined the trip to Moscow as interpreter. His personal aim was to prepare a dissertation in the
Later, he related that on May 1, the chess group got prominent places to watch the military parade in
Red Square, which meant that Keres had an excellent view of the mighty forces that had occupied his
native Estonia. When the spectacle was finished Keres just said, “So, let’s go play bridge.”
Near the end of the book, the Austrian Jacques Hannak touches on politics when he writes about
Botvinnik’s world-view, meaning that Botvinnik was a staunch Communist. Though he makes it clear
that he doesn’t share this conviction – Hannak was politically active as a social democrat – he
respects Botvinnik for the firm moral principles that Alekhine lacked and concludes, “After Alekhine,
we again have as champion a human being with moral principles. We hail the new world champion
An issue about which a lot would be written later, but not in this book, is the question whether Keres
felt himself forced to do less than his best in his games against Botvinnik. Perhaps it was not yet an
issue at that time.
In my opinion, there were signs that something was amiss, especially as may be seen in game 30.
There, Keres, normally a fine endgame player, after adjournment, reaches a rook endgame that could
be drawn by basically doing nothing, but instead with 50.a4, and the subsequent 53.Rd5 and 54.Ra3,
he maneuvers his rook to the most passive position on the board.
In fairness, I must point out that highly qualified observers have considered this atrocity to be just one
of those things that can happen to even the greatest players, but I don’t agree. Overlooking a mate in
one, yes, but not this.
Though The Hague-Moscow was the low point of Euwe’s chess career, this did not prevent him from
producing a fine tournament book. I think an English translation has been long overdue and I am glad
that it can now be enjoyed and studied not only by the Dutch, but by a much greater part of the chess
Habemus Papam (We have a Pope)
The Lead-up to the Great Tournament
by Dr. J. Hannak
After a two-year interval, the entire worldwide chess community once again has its world champion.
After so many months of uncertainty and tension, of disappointment and hope, the highest position in
the chess empire has once again been filled. It was not easy to satisfy both our organizational and
esthetic needs. I speak of esthetic needs advisedly, since the absence of a world champion does little
to detract from chess from an organizational point of view. But it does strike people of this sports-and
statistics-filled century as unpleasant when the inner glory of chess achievement should not be
captured in comparably impressive outward form.
Nothing is more significant than the difference between the ideas of today and those of 40 or 50 years
ago. In those days, it was precisely the most zealous chess promoters and chess idealists who
referred to the world championship with disapproval and contempt. Now, the establishment of the
world championship has become such a necessity that, at long last, a serious attempt has been made to
subject the championship to firm rules. The organizational regulation and control, not only of the title
of world champion, but also of the form and manner in which this title may be achieved and held,
seem to us almost more important than the fact that an end has finally been put to a period in which
one could speak of a “vacant position.” What we consider the real progress and the fundamental
novelty of this development is not the mere fact that we have a world champion again, but that his
position will from now on be defined in part by standards. In the coming years, it will be up to FIDE
to demonstrate whether these standards can actually be upheld, or whether the anarchic situation of
the past will once more reassert itself. We regard this as an extremely important issue. If the world
championship is once more compromised by disregard for the regulations that have been laid down,
those people who are still, like the generation of 50 years ago, ill-disposed toward the entire
institution and reject it as damaging to chess, will have proven themselves right. With regard to this,
the title, more than ever, will entail obligations.
Now we still owe the reader some insight into how the present state of affairs has arisen. The
experience with earlier matches for the world championship has not been overly positive. Not only
were those matches preceded and followed by disputes of a technical nature, but in addition there
were also problems of a financial and personal nature, contradictions, evasions – in short, restraining
influences of every kind. Up to the present day, all Steinitz’s successors – with the honorable
exception of Dr. Euwe – have been reproached for their reluctance to give the truly strongest players
of their time opportunities to pit their strength against them in a match. In Lasker’s case, this reproach
is least justified, as this master, after all, did match himself against virtually all the great players of
his time: Marshall, Tarrasch, Janowski and Schlechter.
The censure is already more pertinent in Capablanca’s case, and it is fully justified in the case of
Alekhine, who refused to grant his predecessor Capablanca a rematch and was not inclined to play
matches against Nimzovitch, Réti and Dr. Vidmar. Twice he opted for the aging Bogoljubow, and
then, on the third occasion, he chose the young Euwe who, however, threw an enormous spanner in
The arbitrariness surrounding the world championship culminated under the aegis of Alekhine. All of
these considerations notwithstanding, it would be unfair to concentrate only on this side of the issue.
In a baseball or football championship, despite the enormous financial stakes and risks that so
frequently attend them, the existence of the players themselves is much less directly at stake. The
massive interest generated by these branches of sport provides a solid material base, not only for the
winners but also for the vanquished who, after all, will always be able to make a new bid for victory
The chess master’s case is different: he is alone, he does not have the backing of a powerful financial
concern, and the admiration of the chess community, spread out over the entire world, cannot provide
him with a living. Football players play their sport for some ten years, after which they choose
another occupation. But a chess master is a chessplayer for life, and it is a bitter livelihood as long as
the profession of chess master remains completely unprotected socially and economically. As long as
there is no massive and dependable audience with spending power to promise the chess master a
modest existence, as long as there is such a surge towards this uncertain profession that the personal
competition between players is only intensified, and as long as the chess master is virtually left to
fend for himself within the free economy, he has no other choice than to fight tooth-and-nail to defend
his position, achieved by a match victory and the winning of his title.
In fact, the shame and indignity of having to depend on all kinds of patrons and operators of gaming
houses, casinos, etc., has already partly broken the only men who guarantee the continued existence of
mankind’s noblest mental recreation, and one would have to be a personality of the spiritual stature of
a Lasker to preserve one’s greatness of character in these circumstances. Which brings us to the
thorny problem of “Alekhine.”
There can be very little doubt that, as far as the pure art of chess is concerned, Alekhine must have
been the greatest genius in the history of chess until today. If anything of chess is destined to remain
immortal, it will be his games and analyses. In another one hundred or one thousand years, people
will hardly be interested in how the man Alekhine behaved in other areas. Meanwhile, we his con-
temporaries who have, sometimes with an oppressive heaviness of heart, been forced to witness the
dark side of his nature, endeavor not to justify but certainly to explain his shortcomings.
A ruler from the aristocratic class, accustomed to commanding and despising his slaves from an early
age, a Czarist officer full of indomitable passion and self-indulgence, reduced to a “nobody” by a
great revolution, sent to prison, exiled. And in this desperate uncertainty, he sublimated all these
imperious characteristics in a game. Everything which he was incapable of realizing in his public life
– lording over the lives and deaths of his subjects – he now becomes on the sixty-four squares of the
chessboard. All the spiritual desire and sensual creative urges of his nature, his will, the indomitable
will to power, are now restricted to the wood of the black and white pieces. In them, his genius
manifests itself; through them, his vices force themselves upon the world.
His tortured nerves lead him into narcotics and make him surrender himself to wine and liquor. He
longs for the life of a gentleman and as a consequence pursues pecuniary interests. He marries a few
times without his soul being involved, seeking only riches and power. Whoever resists him is his
enemy, and whoever covets his world title and wants to take it away from him becomes the object of
his hatred. Outside of chess he, with all his demonic characteristics, is congenial and fascinating by
his total surrender to everything that interests his mind. Conversations with him belong to one’s most
cherished memories, yet one cannot divest oneself of the feeling: opposite is a noble predator that
may at any time strike with his mighty claw.
His absolute self-obsession, which a normal human being is simply unable to comprehend, at the
same time renders the egocentric Alekhine unable to care about the needs, happiness, joy or sorrow
of others. His attitude toward the world around him is so naive that he is incapable of understanding
whether he has done evil or good. He merely acts in response to the instincts of his predatory nature,
and in certain respects one cannot possibly hold him responsible for the outrageous things that he has
For these reasons he is also extremely naive in political issues, and completely subject to the dictates
of the moment. Uncertain, he gropes between the fear of a regime that has driven him into foreign
exile and his yearning to be finally invited to a tournament in Moscow. Today he says this, tomorrow
that, but always with the same fervor. The last time I saw him, in Lisbon in March 1941, the first thing
he called out to me was: “Well, what do you say about your good friend Euwe? He cooperates with
the Germans, but I just fled France to escape from the Germans, although I still have a castle and
dollars there. I am prepared to play the Russian grandmaster Botvinnik or the Jew Reshevsky for the
world title. I already have a visa for Cuba in my pocket, and from there I will go to New York. We
will soon meet there.”
When he declared this, he was fully convinced of the truth of his words. But a few days later the
Nazis attacked Yugoslavia and Greece, and now Asia Minor and Suez were also under threat. This
caused Alekhine to go to the other extreme. I had hardly arrived in New York when I was given the
sensational news in both the Marshall and the Manhattan clubs that Alekhine had returned to France
and had started publishing a series of abusive articles which progressed from attacks on Jewry in
chess to bemoaning the Bolshevization of chess. Alekhine was now backing the other horse, betting
on victory for the Germans. These essays were Alekhine’s moral downfall. Although everyone who
knew him was aware that Alekhine, for all his shortcomings, had never evinced any sign of anti-
Semitism and had certainly not expressed his own true opinion, it was generally agreed that such a
person could no longer be recognized as world champion. For the chess world, too, there exists
something higher than the most beautiful immortal game; for the chess movement, too, there is such a
thing as honor.
This is where the first seeds for a championship tournament to fill the vacancy of the world title were
sown. Reuben Fine was the first person to express this thought, first among his friends and then in a
long article in the New Yorker Chess Review.
He was full of optimism at the time, and convinced that he would be able to find a few hundred
people in America prepared to donate one hundred dollars each to make it possible to organize a
tournament. He telegraphed Botvinnik and contacted the Russian authorities. Fine was also the first
person, as far as we know, who energetically took the initiative in this matter. It strikes one,
therefore, as somewhat tragic that, just when the goal he had been working towards for so many years
had been reached, he withdrew from the tournament just a few days before the start. No doubt there
are deeper causes behind this withdrawal; it is the conscious or unconscious expression of the
disappointment Fine had felt during his many years of trying to bring his plan to fruition. For he was
not long in finding out that things were not as simple as he had imagined. The first question to be
answered was what attitude to take toward Alekhine, but it turned out to be impossible to come to an
agreement on this. Fine, utterly loyal, was happy to leave the decision to his fellow grandmasters. The
only unalterable demand would have to be that such a tournament be held, and that Alekhine not be
allowed either to decide in this matter or to select his opponents.
A year of back-and-forth discussions started. Arguments, debates for and against, sessions,
conferences, committees, reform proposals ... but the only result was that the talks remained
deadlocked and that the proposal could not be carried forward. Opinions were divided; the debate
was no longer about including or excluding Alekhine, but also about the fundamental question of
whether the championship should be decided in a match or a tournament.
One issue became irrevocably clear whatever was going to happen: as far as the Russians were
concerned, Alekhine was finished. The statements in the Russian press did not leave any room for
doubt about this. Faced with the choice between proceeding without the participation of the world’s
leading chess nation and declaring in favor of the already so heavily impugned Alekhine, the “West,”
of course, decided to divest itself of Alekhine. Alekhine himself, all things considered a deeply
unhappy man with all the black spots in his character, had retired to Spain towards the end of the war.
Meanwhile it had also become clear that his chess abilities had also reached their nadir; he even
failed to score decent results against weak Spanish opponents. This meant that the world
championship was now held by hands that were already impotent.
When Hastings continued the illustrious tradition of its Christmas tournament at the turn of the year
1945, Alekhine had originally been among the invited participants. In order not to offend the Russians
his invitation was revoked, but the Russians declined to participate anyway. The negotiations about
organizing the world championship continued, and since the Russians were also favorably disposed
toward the idea, there seemed to be good prospects of a satisfactory solution being arrived at as early
In the meantime, however, fresh political tensions arose in a world that had so recently emerged more
dead than alive from the most terrible of all wars. Even a neutral art so aloof from worldly ambitions,
which chess after all is, cannot prevent itself becoming a little world of politics. In early 1946, a
surprising diplomatic chess move was made: Russia declared itself willing to organize a match
between Alekhine and Botvinnik, and Alekhine joyfully clutched at this straw in hopes of returning to
chess life. He is unlikely to have harbored any illusions about a favorable outcome for himself if the
match were to materialize, since he was, after all, no longer the chess god Alekhine, but a ruined man.
In all human estimation, Alekhine would have been easy prey for Botvinnik. This would also have
been a solution for the problem with the world championship, one that could even have laid claim to
being “legitimate.” No one was likely to have serious objections against a giant like Botvinnik taking
up the scepter – in him, no unworthy person would have ascended the throne. But it would still have
left a painful feeling that would be hard to bear, for it would mean that the “Botvinnik” era had started
without the new champion having earned his elevation with a victory over the strongest contender.
Alekhine’s dramatic death put a quick stop to this putative encounter, but it complicated the situation
even further, since it was now the first time that a reigning world champion had died. Not a single
provision had been made for the succession. The anarchy surrounding the world championship up to
that point could not have been cast in starker perspective. No other option remained but to start all
over again negotiations about organizing a title competition.
From this moment on, former world champion Dr. Euwe started playing a decisive part in the success
of this undertaking. The energy and self-denial with which he, largely behind the scenes and with
great modesty, served the revival of the world championship will live on forever in chess history. He
is the driving force behind virtually everything that FIDE tries to implement. At the FIDE Congress in
Winterthur, the old plan was revived. Masters Botvinnik, Euwe, Fine, Keres, Reshevsky and Smyslov
would come together in a tournament, the winner of which would receive the title of world champion.
But this was only the basic formula, and even as such it flew in the face of tradition, since it meant
that for the first time in history the principle that the world championship should be decided by a
match would be abandoned: instead of the customary head-to-head match, the issue will be decided
by a tournament this time. The experience of many years has shown that tournament results depend far
more on the vagaries of fate than do match results. Even the starting line-up of participants is open to
dispute. Why, for example, precisely these six chosen players, and why not add others? With the
exception of Smyslov, the reputation of these players is based on a performance average dating back
ten years. Have no new talents emerged since that time, whose claims should also be taken into
account? At the above-mentioned Congress, this objection was met by deciding that a seventh person
might be added, viz., the winner of the upcoming tournaments in Groningen and Prague, if he was not
one of the present six.
But also, what was supposed to happen when it had been decided who the new champion would be?
How would the championship be organized in the future? One school of thought was in favor of
sticking with the world champion tournament format and organizing a new world championship
tournament every four years, applying the same criteria for selecting the participants as are used in the
Soviet Union, America, the Netherlands, Switzerland and other countries. The opposing school of
thought wanted to adhere to a match system no matter what, since this, as mentioned above, constitutes
a far better measure of a player’s ability than a tournament. The compromise they eventually arrived
at was a combination of the two systems. In the future, the world champion himself, in accordance
with tradition, will defend his title in a match, while his challenger will be determined by a
tournament. This arrangement takes away an important privilege from the new world champion: he
will no longer be allowed to select his opponent himself, but his challenger will be appointed by
means of a tournament.
This immediately creates a fresh problem: who will be entitled to participate in such a tournament?
This, too, should be determined with as little arbitrariness and as little dependence on chance as
possible. The solution that FIDE has decided on will not find universal favor. Zonal tournaments will
be organized, whose winners are to play an official tournament (Candidates’ tournament) against the
players from the world championship tournament who had failed to win the title (five players). The
winner of this tournament would then become the official challenger of the world champion.
The main drawback of this system is that the zones are geographical ones. But the art of chess does
not organize itself along geographical lines. There are regions with very mediocre players and others
where the number of strong players is quite large. Insofar as such zonal tournaments have been held,
they have in no way convinced us that this approach is the correct selection procedure. It would
probably be more effective after all to organize a great international tournament without referring to
zones every three or four years, and use this to select the man entitled to challenge the world
champion within a certain period of time. As said, however, it is at any rate a historical step that from
now on the challenger of the world champion will be selected on the basis of objectively determined
criteria. In this respect, this system bears some resemblance to the Davis Cup in tennis.*
We must not forget, however, that although a format may work very well in theory, it may still bitterly
disappoint in practice. Who is going to finance the future world championships? Up to now, this had
been the cardinal point: it was precisely because of this financing problem that most plans for
matches had failed to work. We repeat emphatically that the world champion has every conceivable
right to extract as much as possible from his hard-won position, frequently achieved at the cost of
great privations, to enable him to lead a dignified life commensurate with his position and cultural
needs. For those who sneer at material things and who, on behalf of the goddess of chess, with
pompous words demand idealism at the expense of others, we have nothing but heartfelt contempt.
How poor was even Alekhine when he died, who of all world champions had been most adept at
turning his genius to account. No, no, he who sacrifices his life in order to share with people of all
continents the treasures of his chess genius is entitled not to slink through this vale of tears like a
hungry beggar. The chess world ought to be ashamed of itself that it has kings living in misery. No
future Steinitz must be allowed to die in the poorhouse.
On the other hand, we know, and this is something we briefly mentioned before, that the chess world
itself is poor in a material sense. In the long term, only state and societal support will be able to
stimulate its development. Therefore, let me draw your attention to Botvinnik’s excellent idea that he
explained in the British magazine Chess two years ago. When it comes to challenging the world
champion on the basis of victory in an earlier tournament, the challenger must first do his utmost to
raise the necessary financial means in his own country. If that country abandons him, then the job of
providing the money falls to the country of the world champion. Chess demands international
solidarity, and the holder of the world title has the same obligations as his challenger, viz., to strive
for the realiztion of the match with all his strength. We cannot have the world champion comfortably
waiting until his opponent has garnered the necessary funds. The world championship should become
a cooperative venture between the two players, and especially between the states who claim the
titleholder and the challenger as their citizens. This leads Botvinnik to a radical conclusion: if the
titleholder’s country is unable or unwilling to organize the match, the world champion should lose his
title and, unconditionally, a new world champion should be appointed by staging an international
tournament. In this way, Botvinnik elevates the art of chess to a matter of honor for the nations
involved. The world championship should now be removed from the domain of personal caprice and
taken into the domain of collectivism. A people that abandons its own world champion is not
deserving of a world champion. It is only with the exertion of such moral pressure that the value of
chess as well as the master’s material existence can be guaranteed. But there is still a long way to go.
Initially, everything seemed to proceed peacefully after the Winterthur Congress. The Groningen
tournament produced a winner in Botvinnik, which obviated the necessity of increasing the number
from six to seven. Then the first disillusionment followed; the Prague tournament, organized with such
marvelous effort, fizzled out to nothing. It was so weakly contested that the victory of the Pole
Najdorf was of little consequence. This is why Najdorf (wrongfully, strictly speaking) was not
admitted to the tournament. There was also some unfriendliness from America. The U.S. Chess
Federation objected to the two American masters admitted to the tournament in Winterthur having
been selected without the Congress bothering to consult with the American federation. America did
not accept having their choice of contestants being dictated to them. Besides, Fine had not
participated in the American championship of 1946. In America, the desire took shape to send
Reshevsky to the world championship, but not Fine. In Fine’s place they wanted to send runner-up
Kashdan or Reshevsky’s predecessor Denker. This agitation may have angered Fine and may have
been one of the reasons why he eventually withdrew from the world championship.
But these controversies were not the worst. The fight over where the tournament was to be held had
far worse consequences. Fine had initially insisted on New York or Los Angeles, but this proposal
elicited only a lukewarm response in America; they were not really interested there. So the American
cities were removed from the list. More heated discussions about this problem flared up in Europe.
As so often in the past, the personality of Dr. Euwe fanned the flames of enthusiasm in the
Netherlands. This little country was prepared to make the big sacrifices – after the two Euwe-
Alekhine matches and the AVRO tournament of 1938 – to also organize this historic world
championship. But the Russians, impassioned by the same enthusiasm and ambition, wanted Moscow
as the battleground. The negotiations stalled, and suddenly word went out that the tournament, which
had been planned for July 1947, had been canceled and that FIDE had washed its hands of the whole
This looked very much like a complete disaster, and it cannot be denied that these reports elicited
bitter reactions in the chess world. New plans were designed with the aim of at least creating a
period of transition. The most attractive plan seemed to be to declare Alekhine’s predecessor in the
world championship, Dr. Euwe, interim world champion. This could be justified as follows: the man
to whom Dr. Euwe had lost his title in 1937 had died, and now other people could try to do what
Alekhine had done, viz., defeat Dr. Euwe in a match. Establishing a temporary world championship
would renew the zeal of the other interested parties and greatly accelerate the speed of the stalled
negotiations. There was a lot to be said for this idea, but Dr. Euwe did not make the slightest attempt
to promote it, being far more preoccupied with trying to pick up the threads of the interrupted
negotiations again. He traveled to Moscow, Switzerland, South America and New York, everywhere
with the aim of making the tournament a success. But when, with great regret, we were forced to
conclude that Euwe’s achievements in the area of chess in 1947 were far below the level one might
justifiably have expected from a player of his class, this was undoubtedly due to the fact that his main
aim had not been to pursue personal successes in chess, but to concentrate all his efforts on organizing
the world championship. His indefatigable work was eventually crowned with success, and we owe
it to him that the tournament finally came about. The decision was made in August 1947 during a
FIDE meeting in The Hague. For the first time, the Russians were also present at the meeting, and the
personal contact helped to clear away misunderstandings.
The result was a complete victory. It was decided unanimously to start the tournament on March 1st
1948, with the first leg taking place in Holland and the second in Russia. The number and names of
the participants remained unchanged. The players were to face each other four times, which meant
that the tournament would consist of 20 rounds. The reaction from The Hague was one of general
relief and great satisfaction. We frankly admit that people were not entirely free from worries: they
would not truly believe this until the tournament had actually started. At the last moment the
organizers received the disappointing news of Fine’s withdrawal. But the players quickly came to an
agreement about the new situation. No replacement, only the five masters. Now the players would
face one another five times instead of four. But this tilted the center of gravity even more in the
direction of the Russians. They now had an absolute majority of players, and of the 25 rounds of the
tournament, 10 would be played in the Netherlands and 15 in Russia. The influence of all these
circumstances on the eventual outcome should not be underestimated. But it was certainly better to
bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion than to have the whole arrangement collapse again.
Habemus Papam – we have a new world champion, and he will be the representative of our great
spiritual republic. What the new man has achieved is the result of his individual performance, which
he owes to his own abilities. What has been achieved in our great spiritual republic is that a
democratic arrangement has arisen in her bosom. Victory for the spiritual power of the new world
champion, victory, too, for the collective responsibility of the world champion to the whole and the
whole to him. No longer is the world championship a lawless chaos; it will become an institution
based on democratic principles. The world championship tournament has truly made World History.
The Organizing Committee: K.J. Nieukerke, J.C.D.M. de Wit, G.W.J. Zittersteyn, L.G. Eggink, J. Keuzenkamp, G. van
The Preparations for the Netherlands Leg
Dr. Hannak already pointed out in his article how important it is that the tournament for the world
championship will henceforth be held under the auspices of FIDE, and that from now on, the
champion will be bound by the regulations created by that body.
When, in 1946, the FIDE Congress in Winterthur decided to determine the new world champion by a
tournament between the six strongest players of the world and selected Botvinnik, Dr. Euwe, Fine,
Keres, Reshevsky and Smyslov to be these players, the entire chess world was overjoyed. People
were happy that a satisfactory solution would be arrived at for the problem of the world
championship, and they generally agreed with the choices that had been made.
The people of our country were particularly delighted, since the organization of the entire tournament
had been entrusted to the KNSB (Royal Netherlands Chess Federation), and at a time when the
financial market was firm enough, to use an Exchange term, to be prepared to support such an event.
More is the pity, then, that for various reasons that we will not go into here, the tournament of 1947
never came about.
Last year, the world championship was once more on the agenda at the FIDE Congress. The Russians,
who had indicated that they wanted to become members of the World Chess Federation, were not
present at the start, and when they failed to appear the next day as well, the Congress provisionally
decided to appoint Dr. Euwe as interim world champion, with the obligation to play a number of
matches yet to be decided upon within a certain period. The next day, the Russians joined the
deliberations, and the world championship came up for discussion once again. It was decided to
return to the six-player tournament agreed on in 1946, and Russia and the Netherlands were jointly
charged with organizing it. One leg was to be played in each of the two countries, and when lots were
drawn, the first leg was assigned to our country.
Now there was work to be done, and the executive board of the KNSB immediately applied itself to
the job. Initially it seemed that the financial part of the proceedings would not cause any problems.
There were a few interested parties, and it merely seemed a matter of deciding who would be the
lucky one. But when push came to shove, they all withdrew, scared off by the cost, which was higher
than had been expected.
What made this even more unpleasant was that we were now getting into time-trouble, since the
tournament was scheduled to start in the Netherlands on March 1st, 1948, and all these preliminaries
had cost a great deal of time. Our diligent fellow-member Mr. Van Harten then worked exceedingly
hard to get something organized in Amsterdam. He seemed successful at first. But unfortunately here,
too, it was merely the semblance of success: he never got a definitive commitment.
Things were threatening to go wrong, but failure had to be prevented at all cost. “Well, of course,”
said another diligent fellow-member in the person of Mr. Nieukerke. “So in that case we must try to
move the tournament to The Hague.” Mr. Nieukerke, who is a member of the town council of The
Hague, went to see the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor rather liked the idea, partly because this year
happened to be a special one for the royal seat. Not only would it celebrate the 50th anniversary of
the reign of our Queen, but the city itself would also commemorate the 700th anniversary of its own
existence – and this tournament could be taken on as part of the festivities. The Lord Mayor proposed
to the Municipal Executive that they guarantee financial support up to a certain amount, which
proposal was unanimously accepted. The proposal was also approved by the finance committee, and
was then passed by the city council without a vote.
Together with the commitments we had already received, we now had a more solid base to continue
our work from. Now the first thing to do was to talk to the chessplayers. They should show that they
were prepared to make a financial sacrifice for such an important event that would make our country
the focus of worldwide attention for a long time. An executive committee was appointed whose every
member put all his energy at the service of the great goal. Without taking anything away from the labor
of the other members, all of whom did an excellent job, I would like to give one of them a special
mention, viz., our secretary Keuzenkamp. He has shown himself to be an excellent organizer who did
an immense amount of work with the greatest possible energy.
Do not think, dear readers, that everything went smoothly all the time. There have been problems and
setbacks, but the glorious enthusiasm of all the people involved eventually carried the day. Our Dutch
chessplayers showed themselves at their best, and I am pleased to pay them tribute here. We are
grateful and delighted; thanks to their cooperation the tournament also became a financial success. It
goes without saying that we are equally grateful for the indispensable support we received from other
And so it was that everything was settled in time, and we were able to wait with confidence for
March 1st, the day when the tournament would be officially opened with a reception by the city
The Official Opening
Lord Mayor W.A.J. Visser LLM, together with his spouse, received all the guests, and there were
many. Not only chessplayers but also non-players, officials of various ranks, numerous servants of the
Netherlands’ Queen Wilhemina – with only a few servants of Queen Caïssa among them – and not
forgetting the small army of photographers ready to launch a concentric attack on the central figures of
this evening in due course.
It was a colorful group, brightened by the many ladies. A convivial atmosphere prevailed throughout,
heightened by cheerful music. There were well-spread buffets that were eagerly – in some cases too
eagerly – availed of later. In short, it was an extraordinarily pleasant occasion, although there was
little that reminded one of the fact that this was the official opening of the tournament for the world
Just after eight o’clock, the Lord Mayor started his opening speech, which was brief and to the point.
He was exceedingly pleased that The Hague enjoyed the honor of staging the first leg of this
tremendous contest. In contrast to other battles, this one would not divide but unite. The tournament
would be a symbol of good relationships and harmony among peoples. He concluded with the best
wishes for the success of the tournament. After him, pleasant words were spoken by the president of
FIDE and by the president of the KNSB. Mr. Postnikov, president of the Russian Chess Federation,
spoke in similar spirit as the Lord Mayor, emphasizing the importance of such meetings for
strengthening the cultural ties between the world’s peoples. In this Babel, interpreters ensured that the
speeches were understood by all.
Then the lots were drawn in alphabetical order. This meant that Botvinnik drew the first number,
which was no. 1! An omen? You would almost say so, because Botvinnik captured the title
convincingly. Euwe drew no. 2, but unfortunately did not follow Botvinnik’s example. Smyslov
became no. 3, Reshevsky no. 4 and Keres no. 5.
For several hours people stayed together in companionable talk, renewing old ties of friendship and
forging new ones, until this feast eventually also belonged to the past. There is no doubt that all those
present will cherish very pleasant memories of this enjoyable reception and the varieties of food and
An Excursion into the Past
Dr. Max Euwe
An examination of the earlier meetings between the five participants leads us to places in chess
literature that, although differing in place and time, have in common that they belong to the most
attractive ones in the international chess garden. Nearly all the games these matadors have essayed
with each other are worthwhile. Most of them are distinguished by the extraordinary fighting spirit on
both sides, and constitute the liveliest propaganda for our game one could possibly imagine. It is a
pity that technical constraints force me to restrict my comments to a few scant observations. By way
of minor compensation, diagrams have been added at the most crucial points, which will enable the
reader to observe the course of the fight virtually at a single glance.
The Statistics of the Past
How often and with what result have the five participants in the world championship tournament
faced one another? A statistical overview shows us that they have fought one another a total of 75
times before this tournament. The oldest one of these games dates from 1934: Botvinnik-Euwe
(tournament in Leningrad), the youngest from late 1947: Keres-Botvinnik (Chigorin memorial
tournament in Moscow). This means that these 75 games were played within a period of less than 15
years. The table below shows the detailed results:
Time and place of the individual encounters are made clear by the following overview:
Botvinnik vs. Smyslov: Russian championship tournament 1940, draw. Russian championship
tournament 1941, two wins and two draws. Sverdlovsk 1943, win and draw. Moscow championship
1943, loss. Russian championship tournament 1944, win. Russian championship tournament 1945,
win. Groningen 1946, win. Moscow 1947, draw.
Botvinnik vs. Keres: AVRO tournament 1938, two draws. Russian championship tournament 1940,
draw. Russian championship tournament 1941, one win and three draws. Moscow 1947, win.
Botvinnik vs. Reshevsky: Nottingham 1936, draw. AVRO tournament 1938, win and draw. USSR-
USA team match 1946, win and draw.
The Games from the Past
Botvinnik 8½, Smyslov 3½ (+6 -1 =5)
The tremendous superiority of Russia’s first player is confirmed in the course of most games. One
more or less gets the impression that Smyslov is playing against his “big brother” – courageous,
inventive and enterprising but not yet strong enough. Smyslov’s special abilities, his knowledge of the
openings, his sharply calculated combinational play, his deep strategic insight, his subtle endgame
play – they never really come into full play, because Botvinnik is just slightly better than him in all
One thing should be kept in mind, however: all these games were played between a young and rising
Smyslov who had not yet reached the height of his powers, and a Botvinnik in his prime, so it is
possible that later encounters will paint a different picture.
(1) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Ruy Lopez [C99]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.h3 0-0 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5
11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 c×d4 13.c×d4 Nc6 14.a3 More aggressive is 14.Nb3. 14...Bd7 15.d5 Na5
16.Nf1 Nh5 17.Bd3 g6 18.Bh6 Rfc8 19.Ne3 Qd8 20.b4 Nc4 (D)
Typical Botvinnik: the text move amounts to a pawn sacrifice. But by making it, Black not only solves
the problems associated with his cramped position, but also creates counterplay on the queenside by
virtue of the open c-file and his bishop pair. Compare the position after the 28th move. 21.B×c4 b×c4
22.Rc1 c3 23.Qb3 Qc7 24.Rc2 Nf4 25.Nd1 Qc4 26.Q×c4 R×c4 27.R×c3 Rac8 28.R×c4 R×c4 The
situation is clear: White has virtually run out of options, which means that Black is in practically no
danger of losing. 29.B×f4 e×f4 30.e5 Kf8 31.Nb2 Rc3 32.e6 Be8 33.Re4 g5 34.Nd4 Bf6 35.Kh2
Stronger is 35.e7, followed by 36.Nf5. 35...Be5 36.Nf3 R×f3 (D)
An interesting combination that does not change either player’s chances, but does breathe new life
into the game.
37.e7+ Kg7 38.R×e5 White need not fear the endgame after 38.g×f3 B×b2 39.a4 Ba3 40.Rc4.
38...R×f2 39.R×g5+ Kf6 40.Nd3 Ra2 With 40...Rd2 41.Rg8 R×d3 42.R×e8 R×a3, Black retains
some of his advantage. 41.Rg8 K×e7 42.N×f4 R×a3 43.Rg4 Bd7 44.Rh4 Bf5 45.Ne2 Bg6 46.Rf4
h5 47.Nd4 Kd7 48.b5 ½-½
(2) Smyslov – Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship
French Defense [C19]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Ne7 7.Nf3 Sharper and better is 7.Qg4.
7...Nbc6 8.Bd3 Qa5 9.Qd2 c4 10.Be2 Qa4! Blocking the white a-pawn and with it, indirectly, the
bishop on c1. 11.h4 Bd7 12.h5 h6 13.Nh4 Nf5 14.N×f5 e×f5 15.Rg1 Ne7 16.g4 f×g4 With 16...g5
17.h×g6 f×g6 18.g×f5 B×f5, Black could have retained some advantage. 17.B×g4 B×g4 18.R×g4 Nf5
19.Qe2 Qd7 20.Rf4 Qe6 21.Qf3 g6 22.a4 0-0-0 23.Ba3 (D)
The chances are roughly equal: White is better on the queenside, Black on the kingside. Neither
player can undertake anything decisive. 23...b6 24.Kd2 Rhg8 25.Rb1 Kb7 26.a5 Rc8 27.a×b6 a×b6
28.Qg4 Kc6 29.Rh1 Kd7 30.Rh3 Rce8 31.Rhf3 Kc7 32.Qh3 Better is 32.h×g6, followed by the
exchange sacrifice on f5. By neglecting to push forward on the kingside, White allows Black to take
control of the other wing. 32...Rg7 33.Qh1 Ra8 34.Qc1 Rgg8 35.Qb2 Ra4! 36.Bd6+ Kc6 37.Qb1
Rga8 38.Qh1 Ra1 39.Qh3 Rg1 40.h×g6 Raa1! (D) Decisive.
41.Re3 Rad1+ 42.Ke2 N×d4+! And White resigned (43.c×d4 Rge1+) 0-1
(3) Botvinnik – Smyslov
USSR Absolute Championship
King’s Indian Defense [E70]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nge2 e5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 Nh5 9.d×e5 d×e5 Given
the changed situation (...h7-h6 and ...g6-g5), the Exchange Variation is far more favorable for White
than is usually the case in the King’s Indian. 10.Q×d8+ K×d8 11.0-0-0+ Nd7 12.Nd5 c6 13.Ne3 Kc7
14.Nf5 Bf8 15.R×d7+! (D)
Interesting and strong. 15...K×d7 16.B×e5 f6 17.Bc3 Ke6 18.g4? With 18.h4! g4 19.Ned4+ White
retains his advantage. 18...Nf4 19.N×f4+ g×f4 20.Bd3 a5 21.a3 Bc5 22.e5 Kf7! Not 22...f×e5 in
view of 23.Re1 etc. 23.e×f6 B×f5 24.B×f5 B×f2 25.Rf1 Bh4 26.Bd3 Rhf8 27.c5 B×f6 28.R×f4 Kg7
29.B×f6+ R×f6 Now Black is better, but he does not have enough of an advantage to win. 30.Bf5
Rff8 31.Kc2 Rfe8 32.h4 Re5 33.b4 a×b4 34.a×b4 Re3 35.Kb2 Rd8 36.Kc2 Ra8 37.Kb2 Re2+ (D)
37...Rae8 would have yielded Black more winning chances. 38.Kb3 Rae8 39.Rd4 R8e7 40.Rd6 Rf2
41.Bd3 Rf6 42.Rd4 Ref7 43.Bf5 h5 44.b5 h×g4 45.B×g4 c×b5 46.Bd7 Rf1 47.B×b5 Rb1+ 48.Kc4
Rc1+ 49.Kb4 Re7 50.Bd3 Re3 51.h5 Kh6 52.Rd5 Rh3 53.Kb5 Rd1 54.Be4 ½-½
(4) Smyslov – Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship
Ruy Lopez [C84]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 b5 9.Bc2 d5 As soon as
Black makes the central advance d5, his position will be fine. 10.Nbd2 d×e4 11.d×e4 Be6 12.h3 h6
13.Nh2 Nh7 14.Ng4 Bg5 15.Qe2 Qd6 16.Ne3 Rfd8 17.Nf3 B×e3 18.Q×e3 Qe7 19.Nh2 Nf8
20.Qf3 Rd7 Maneuvering and more maneuvering by both sides: Black is trying to take control of the
d-file, while White wants to transfer a knight to f5. 21.Nf1 Nh7 22.Ng3 Rad8 23.Nf5 Qf6 24.g4 Ne7
25.Qg3 Bc4 26.f3 Bd3 27.Bb3 c5 28.Be3 c4 29.Bd1 Ng5 30.h4 Ne6 31.a4 b4! (D)
A pawn sacrifice to (1) prevent possible counterplay by White along the a-file; and (2) create another
weakness in the white center. 32.c×b4 Nf4 33.Kh1 g5 34.b5 a5 35.Bc5? A mistake that should have
led to defeat in short order. Better is 35.Rc1. 35... N×f5 36.g×f5 Kh7 37.Qg4 g×h4 38.Rg1 h5
38...Bf1!, threatening 39...Bh3, is stronger (39.Rf1 Rg8!).
39.Qg5 Q×g5 40.R×g5 f6 41.Rg1 Nh3 42.Re1 Rg8 43.Ra2! Bb1 44.Ra1 Bd3 45.Ra2 Nf4 46.b4
Rc8 47.b6 Rb7 48.Be3 a×b4 49.a5 b3 50.Ra3? With 50. Rb2, White retains drawing chances
(50...Ra8 51.Bd2 or 50...c3 51.R×b3 c2 52.B×c2 B×c2 53.Ra3). 50...b2 51.Ba4 c3 52.Rb3 Ne2
53.Bb5 B×b5 54.R×b5 Nd4 55.B×d4 e×d4 56.a6 (D)
A curious position. White launches a last-ditch attack, which is beaten off decisively. 56...R×b6!
57.R×b6 d3 58.Rg1 d2 59.R×f6 Rc7 60.Rfg6 With the intention of forcing a draw with 61.R6g5
after 60...c2. 60...d1Q 0-1 This was a very interesting game.
(5) Botvinnik – Smyslov
USSR Absolute Championship
Petroff Defense [C42]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.N×e5 d6 4.Nf3 N×e4 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.d3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Q×e2+ 8.B×e2 Be7 9.Nc3
Bg4 10.Nd4 B×e2 11.Nc×e2 Nd5 12.B×e7 N×e7 13.0-0-0 Nbc6 14.N×c6 N×c6 15.Rhe1 Kd7 ½-½
Draw. A striking contrast with the previous game.
(6) Smyslov – Botvinnik
French Defense [C19]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Ne7 7.a4 Smyslov does not repeat the
mistake he made in Game 2, and deploys his dark-square bishop as quickly as possible. Nbc6 8.Nf3
Bd7 Stronger is 8...Qa5. Botvinnik is handling the opening somewhat passively, which lands him in
trouble. 9.Be2 Qc7 10.0-0 h6 11.Ba3 b6 12.d×c5 b×c5 13.B×c5 N×e5 14.N×e5 Q×c5 15.N×d7
K×d7 Black loses his castling rights without compensation. 16.Bb5+ Kc7 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qe5+ Qd6
19.Qf6 e5 20.Qf3 e4! (D)
Keeping his loss to a minimum.
21.Q×f7 Raf8 22.Qg7 Qf6 23.Q×f6 R×f6 At the cost of a pawn, Black has entered an endgame in
which he will have to work very hard to draw. Yet he succeeds without any demonstrable oversight
on Smyslov’s part. 24.Rad1 Rd8 25.Rfe1 Nf5 26.Bf1 Re6 27.g3 h5 28.f3 Re7 29.Bg2 Rd6 30.f×e4
d×e4 31.R×d6 N×d6 32.Kf2 Re5 33.Ke3 Ra5 34.B×e4 N×e4 35.K×e4 R×a4+ 36.Kd5 Ra5+
37.Kd4 Kd6 38.c4 Rf5 39.Re8 Rf2 40.h4 Rg2 41.c5+ Kd7 42.Re3 a5 43.Ra3 Kc6 44.c4 a4 45.Ke4
K×c5 46.Kf3 Rd2 47.R×a4 (D)
A clean pawn up, but it is not enough. 47...Rd3+ 48.Kf4 Rd4+ 49.Ke3 Rd6 50.Ra1 K×c4 51.Kf4
Rd4+ 52.Ke5 Rd3 53.Rc1+ Kb5 54.Rg1 Rf3 55.Ke6 Kc4 56.g4 Rf4 57.g5 Kd3 58.Ra1 Ke3
59.Ra7 Ke2 60.Rh7 Ke3 61.Rh6 R×h4 62.Kf6 Ra4 63.K×g6 h4 64.Kh5 Kf3 65.g6 h3 66.Kg5 ½-½
(7) Botvinnik – Smyslov
Three Knights’ Game [C46]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nd5 Be7 5.d4 d6 6.Bb5 Bg4 7.d×e5 d×e5 8.h3 Bd7 9.Qe2 Nf6
10.Bg5 0-0 Liquidating with 10...N×d5 11.e×d5 B×g5 12.d×c6 b×c6 13.Q×e5+ Qe7, leading to
virtual equality, is better. 11.B×f6 B×f6 12.0-0-0 Be6 13.B×c6 b×c6 14.N×f6+ Q×f6 15.Qe3! (D)
This strong move constitutes the only justification for White’s previous play. White has opened the b-
file to weaken the black pawn structure. If Black succeeds in coordinating his pieces, the attack on
White’s castled position might become very dangerous. The text move prevents 15...Ba2 (16.b3 a5
17.Qg5!) and prepares the exchange of queens (16.Qg5). 15...Rab8 16.a3 Rb5 17.Qg5! Rfb8 18.b3
h6 19.Q×f6 g×f6 20.Rd3 f5 21.e×f5 B×f5 22.Rc3! Bd7 23.Rd1 Be8 24.a4 Ra5 25.Nd2! Rd5
26.Ne4 R×d1+ 27.K×d1 Rd8+ 28.Ke2 Kg7 29.Rg3+ Kf8 30.Nf6 (D)
Threatening wholesale liquidation with Rg8+, after which a winning pawn ending will arise. Black
can no longer prevent the loss of material. 30...Ke7 31.Ng8+ Ke6 32.N×h6 f5 33.Rg7 Bd7 34.Rg6+
Kd5 35.g4 f4 36.Rg8 R×g8 37.N×g8 Kd4 38.Nf6 Bc8 39.f3 Kc3 40.h4 1-0
(8) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Ruy Lopez [C82]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5
10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 N×f2 (D)
Dilworth’s continuation, which yields promising play. But with good counterplay by Black it appears
to be insufficient. 12.R×f2 f6 13.e×f6 Q×f6 14.Qf1 Bg4 15.Kh1 B×f2 16.Q×f2 Rae8 17.Qg3 Ne5
18.Bd1 Nd3 19.h3! Bh5 (D)
Stronger is 19...Qb6, with at least a draw for Black. 20.Bc2 Nf4 21.Ng1 c5 22.Ndf3 Ne2 23.N×e2
R×e2 24.Bd1 Re6 25.Bd2 After Black’s oversight on move 19, White has defended excellently and
is now definitely better. 25...h6 26.Kh2 Re4? Making White’s job easier. 27.Ng5! h×g5 28.B×h5
Re5 29.Bf3 Qe7 30.a4 Kh7 31.a×b5 a×b5 32.Ra7 Qd6 33.Bg4 Rd8 34.Kh1 d4 35.c×d4 c×d4
Black must not capture this bishop in view of 37.Bf5+ etc. 36...Re1+ 37.Q×e1 Q×f4 38.Rd7 R×d7
39.B×d7 d3 40.Bg4 d2 41.Qe2! (D)
The rest is no longer difficult. 41...b4 42.Qd3+ g6 43.Kg1 Kh6 44.b3 Kg7 45.Bf3 Qf7 46.Kf2 Qe6
47.Qe3 Qd6 48.Bd1 Qd5 49.g4 Kh7 50.Ke2 1-0 Smyslov’s first and only win against Botvinnik!
(9) Smyslov – Botvinnik
French Defense [C19]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Ne7 7.a4 See Games 2 and 6. 7...Nbc6 8.Nf3
Qa5! 9.Bd2 c4! 10.Ng5 h6 11.Nh3 Ng6 12.Qf3 Bd7 13.Nf4 N×f4 14.Q×f4 Ne7! 15.h4 B×a4! (D)
This requires courage: snatching a pawn in an undeveloped position with the capturing piece pinning
itself. But Botvinnik has assessed his chances correctly. 16.h5 Better is 16.Be2, followed by 17.Bd1.
16...Qb5! 17.Kd1 Rc8! 18.Bc1 Rc6 19.Be2 Ra6 Black has unpinned his bishop without weakening
his position. 20.Kd2 0-0! 21.g4 Now White launches a dangerous attack, which Botvinnik just
manages to parry. 21...f6! 22.e×f6 R×f6 23.Qc7 Rf7 24.Qd8+ Kh7 25.f4 Qa5 26.Qb8 Nc6 27.Qe8
Re7 28.Qg6+ Kg8 29.Ba3 e5!! (D)
The magnificent refutation of the white attack. 30.f×e5 30.Be7 Ne7 will cost White his queen.
30...N×d4!! 31.Bb4 Qd8! 32.Q×a6 b×a6 33.c×d4 Rb7! 34.R×a4 It looks as if White is still getting
some chances, but Black’s next moves dash his last hope. 34...Qg5+ 35.Kd1 a5 35...c3! is even
stronger. 36.Bf3 R×b4 37.B×d5+ Kf8! 38.Rf1+ Ke8 39.Bc6+ Ke7 40.R×b4 Q×g4+ 0-1
(10) Botvinnik – Smyslov
Slav Defense [D13]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.c×d5 c×d5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 e6 7.e3 Be7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.h3 Bd7 10.0-0
a6 White has more elbow room, which is usually the case in this line. 11.Rc1 Be8 12.Bb1 Nh5
13.Bh2 f5 14.Na4 Bd6 15.Nc5 B×h2+ 16.N×h2 Qe7 17.Qb3 Rf7 18.g4! (D)
Beautiful play. Without worrying about the weakening of his own king position, White uses the text
move to launch an attack on both wings. 18...f×g4 19.h×g4 Nf6 20.f4 With the threat of 21.g5,
followed by 22.Ng4 and 23.Qd3. 20...b6? A peace offering that fails to have any effect. Better is
20...Na5. 21.Q×b6 Rb8 22.Q×a6 e5 Desperation. 22...Rb2 will run into 23.Qd3, with a winning
attack. 23.d×e5 N×e5 24.f×e5 Q×e5 25.Qe6 Qg3+ 26.Kh1 R×b2 27.Rc2 Rb8 28.Rg2 Qh4 29.g5
Nh5 30.g6 (D)
Black is given short shrift. 30...h×g6 31.B×g6 1-0
(11) Botvinnik – Smyslov
Grünfeld Defense [D09]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 d×c4 6.Q×c4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nc6? Better is
8...Nfd7. Now White takes control of the center. 9.d5 B×f3 10.g×f3 Ne5 11.Qe2 c6 12.f4 Ned7
13.Bg2 Nb6 If 13...c×d5, then 14.e5. 14.Rd1 Qc7 15.0-0 Rfd8 16.Rc1 Qd7 17.Rfd1 Qg4 18.Q×g4
N×g4 19.B×b6 a×b6 20.d×c6? Stronger is 20.e5!, with continuing pressure on Black’s position.
20...b×c6 21.e5 Nh6? (D)
The decisive error, which will soon cost Black two pawns. Correct is 21...Rac8 22.Bh3 h5 23.f3
22.B×c6 R×d1+ 23.R×d1 Rc8 24.Nd5! Botvinnik liquidates in his usual exemplary fashion. 24...Bf8
25.Rc1 Nf5 26.Rc4 e6 27.N×b6 Rb8 28.Na4 Rd8 29.Be4 Nh4 30.Kf1 Bh6 31.Bb7 Nf5 32.Ke2
Nd4+ 33.Ke3 Nf5+ 34.Kf3 Nd4+ 35.Ke4 Ne2 36.Rc8 R×c8 37.B×c8 N×f4 38.b4 Nh3 39.b5 N×f2+
The rest is no longer difficult. 40...Bf4 41.h3 f6 42.B×e6+ Kg7 43.e×f6+ K×f6 44.Nc5 Ke7 45.Kd5
g5 46.a4 Nd1 47.a5 Nc3+ 48.Kc6 N×b5 49.K×b5 Bb8 50.Kb6 1-0
(12) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Ruy Lopez [C90]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.d3 The usual
continuation here is 9.h3. The text move leads into quiet drawing territory, from which, despite
energetic play by Botvinnik, there is no escape. 9...Be6 10.Nbd2 B×b3 11.Q×b3 Nd7 12.Qc2 Nb6
13.Nf1 d5 14.Ng3 Qd7 15.Be3 d×e4 16.d×e4 Nc4 17.Nf5 Rfd8 18.Rad1 Qe6 19.Bc1 R×d1
20.R×d1 Rd8 21.b3 R×d1+ 22.Q×d1 Nd6 (D)
The players might as well have agreed a draw here.
23.Ng3 f6 24.Ne1 Nb7 25.Nf5 Nd6 26.N×e7+ N×e7 27.Ba3 f5 28.e×f5 Ne×f5 29.Nc2 e4 30.Qd2
h6 31.Bc5 Qe5 32.Ba7 Kh7 33.h3 a5 34.Ne3 N×e3 35.B×e3 a4 36.Bf4 Qc5 37.b×a4 b×a4 38.Qe2
Qc6 39.Be5 Qd5 40.B×d6 c×d6 41.a3 ½-½
The sealed move. After their home analysis, the players decided to call it a draw.
Botvinnik 5, Keres 3 (+2 -0 =6)
In his encounters with Keres, we also note a definite superiority on the part of Botvinnik, albeit of a
different nature than against Smyslov. Whereas the games between Smyslov and Botvinnik that we
have commented on above are invariably life-and-death struggles, the games between Botvinnik and
Keres are usually rather on the boring side. One gets the impression that Botvinnik wants to keep a
tight rein on his dangerous opponent by forcing a type of play on him that does not suit him.
Twice we see livelier games, in both of which Botvinnik comes out on top, the first time when Keres
takes the risk of castling queenside, and the second time when he settles for an inferior endgame.
(13) Keres – Botvinnik
Queen’s Indian Defense [E17]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 b6 3.c4 Bb7 4.g3 e6 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Re1 d5 8.Nc3 Nbd7 9.Ne5 Ne4 10.c×d5
N×c3 11.b×c3 N×e5 12.d6 B×g2 13.d×e7 Q×e7 14.K×g2 Nc6 15.Qa4 Qd7 16.e4 Rfd8 17.Rb1
Rac8 18.Be3 Na5 19.Q×d7 R×d7 (D)
The battle has already been fought. 20.Rb4 f6 21.Ra4 Rcd8 22.Rc1 Kf7 23.Rd1 Nc6 24.Rb1 Na5
25.Rd1 Nc6 26.Rb1 Na5 ½-½
(14) Botvinnik – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E29]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 B×c3+ 5.b×c3 c5 6.e3 0-0 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Ne2 d6 9.Ng3 b6 10.Bb2
Ba6 A very good alternative is 10...Ne8, followed by f7-f5. 11.e4 Rc8 12.Rc1 c×d4 13.c×d4 e5
14.Qa4 Na5 15.0-0 Qe8! (D)
The equalizer! Now 16.Q×e8 Rf×e8 17.Nf5 runs into 17...Rcd8 (not 17...B×c4 18.Rfd1.) 16.Qb4
Nc6! 17.Qa4 Na5 18.Qb4 Nc6 19.Qd2 White spurns the draw, but the further course of the game
proves him wrong. His bishop pair is offset by his weak pawn structure. 19...Qd8 20.d5 Na5 21.Qb4
Nd7! 22.Be2! Very subtle: now 22.Q×b6? will fail to 22...Rc5 23.Nf5 Re8, with the threat of
24...Nb7. 22...Nc5 23.Rc3 Rc7 24.Bc1 Bc8 25.f4 f6 26.f5 Qd7 27.Be3 Ba6 28.Rfc1 Rfc8 29.Bd1
Qe8 30.Be2 Rb8 31.h3 Bc8 (D)
The position is deadlocked. Neither player can undertake anything. 32.B×c5 R×c5 33.Nf1 Ba6 34.a4
Bc8 35.Nd2 Bd7 36.Ra1 Qd8 37.Nb3 N×b3 38.R×b3 Rbc8 39.Rc3 Qc7 40.Kf2 Ra5 41.Rb3 ½-½
(15) Botvinnik – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E13]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Bg5 Bb7 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 B×c3+ 8.b×c3 d6 9.Nd2 The
slower occupation of the center with e4 and f3 almost never leads to an advantage in this opening.
The same happens here: very soon closed positions will arise in which neither player can afford to
take the risk of launching a winning attempt. 9...e5 10.f3 Qe7 11.e4 Nbd7 12.Bd3 g5 13.Bf2 Nh5
14.g3 Ng7 15.Qe2 h5 16.h4 g×h4 17.R×h4 Nf8 18.Rh2 Ng6 19.d5 0-0-0 20.Nf1 h4 21.g4 Qf6
22.Qe3 Kb8 23.Nd2 Ne8 24.0-0-0 c6 25.Kb2 Nc7 26.Nb3 Na6 27.Rdh1 Rh7 28.Bf1 Rdh8 29.Be1
The position is equal. Both players have strong and weak points, but it seems to be impossible for
either White or Black to launch a promising attack.
(16) Keres – Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E35]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.c×d5 e×d5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Better is 7.B×f6. 7...c5 8.0-0-0
A risky continuation, but one that at the time this game was played enjoyed a good reputation.
8...B×c3 The first in a series of moves that leads to a winning position for Black almost by force.
9.Q×c3 g5 10.Bg3 c×d4 11.Q×d4 Nc6 12.Qa4 Bf5 The final nail in White’s coffin. 13.e3 Rc8
14.Bd3 Qd7! Threatening to win the queen. 15.Kb1 B×d3+ 16.R×d3 Qf5 (D)
This is already decisive. 17.e4 N×e4 18.Ka1 0-0 19.Rd1 b5! The last hammer blow. 20.Q×b5 Nd4
21.Qd3 Nc2+ 22.Kb1 Nb4 0-1
(17) Botvinnik – Keres
USSR Absolute Championship
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D27]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 Nf6 5.B×c4 e6 6.a4 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.h3 0-0
11.Nc3 Rd8 Both sides are preparing for d4-d5. 12.b3 Bd7 13.Bb2 Be8 14.d5 Finally. 14...e×d5
15.B×d5 Nd4 This liquidation almost gives Black equality. 16.N×d4 N×d5 17.Nf5 N×c3 18.B×c3 f6
19.Qg4 Bg6 20.Ba5 (D)
Although this does not look bad, it fails to yield anything in the end. 20...R×d1+ After 20...Q×a5
21.N×e7+ Kf7 22.N×g6 h×g6 23.Rd7+, White would get good chances. 21.R×d1 Qe5 22.N×e7+
Q×e7 23.Rd7 Qe4 24.Qg3 Qc6 25.Qc7 Q×c7 26.R×c7 Rb8 27.Bb6 Bc2 28.a5 B×b3 29.B×c5 Bd5
30.f3 Bc6 31.Bb6 Rf8 (D)
A draw is already a foregone conclusion. 32.Bc5 Rd8 33.e4 Rd7 34.Rc8+ Kf7 35.Kh2 Rd2 36.Kg3
Bb5 37.f4 g6 38.f5 g×f5 39.e×f5 Bc6 40.Kf4 Rd5 41.Rc7+ Rd7 ½-½
(18) Keres – Botvinnik
USSR Absolute Championship
Two Knights’ Defense [C50]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 h6 7.B×f6 Q×f6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.c3 0-0 A
slight inaccuracy. Better was 9...a6 or 9...Ne7. 10.a4 White fails to take the opportunity to weaken the
black position with 10.b4 Bb6 11.a4. 10...a6 11.0-0 Ba7 12.Ne3 Ne7 13.d4 Ng6 14.Re1 c6 15.d×e5
This leads to simplification and a draw, but White no longer had an advantage anyway. 15...N×e5
16.N×e5 d×e5 17.Qf3 Qe7 18.Rad1 Be6 19.B×e6 Q×e6 20.Nf5 Rad8 21.h4 Kh7 22.h5 g6 23.Ne3
Kg7 24.g3 Bb6 25.Kg2 (D)
The draw is inevitable, since both players will be able to ward off any danger by wholesale
exchanges along the d-file. 25...R×d1 26.R×d1 Rd8 27.R×d8 B×d8 28.Qg4 Q×g4 29.N×g4 Bc7
30.Ne3 b5 31.a×b5 a×b5 32.Nc2 Bd6 33.h×g6 f×g6 34.Ne1 Kf6 35.Nd3 Ke6 36.Kf3 h5 37.Ke3 g5
38.Kf3 Bf8 ½-½
(19) Botvinnik – Keres
USSR Absolute Championship
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D36]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 Nbd7 5.c×d5 e×d5 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 c6 8.Qc2 Nf8 An interesting
maneuver before castling. 9.Bd3 Ne6 10.Bh4 g6 11.0-0 Ng7 12.b4 a6 Not 12...B×b4 in view of
13.B×f6 Q×f6 14.N×d5 c×d5 15.Qa4+. 13.B×f6 B×f6 14.a4 Bf5 (D)
The point of Black’s set-up: the text move forces exchange of the bishop on d3. 15.b5 0-0 16.b×c6
b×c6 17.Rab1 Qd6 18.e4 This leads to a quick liquidation. 18...d×e4 19.N×e4 B×e4 20.B×e4 ½-½
Drawn in view of the continuation 20...B×d4 21.Q×c6 Rad8.
(20) Keres – Botvinnik
Dutch Defense [A95]
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d5 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 In combination with the next
move, not overly effective. 8...Kh8 9.c×d5 c×d5 10.Bf4 Nc6 11.Ne5 Bd7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qd3 Nh5
14.Bd2 Bd6 15.N×c6 B×c6 16.Qf3 Qe8 17.Qd3 Nf6 18.a3 Rc7 19.Bg5 Ng4 20.Qd2 Nf6 With the
threat of 21...Qh5. 21.Bf4 Qd7 22.B×d6 Q×d6 23.Qf4 (D)
Completely unnecessary. White allows himself to end up in an unfavorable endgame. Better is
23.Rc2, followed by doubling the rooks. 23...Q×f4? 24.g×f4 Rfc8 25.e3 With 25.Na2, White still
almost equalizes. 25...Bb5 26.Rfe1 Kg8 27.f3 Bc4 28.Bf1 Ne8 29.B×c4 R×c4 30.Kf2 Nd6 31.Ke2
b5 32.Kd3 b4! (D)
This leads to a positive advantage. 33.Na2 After 33.a×b4 R×b4 34.Rb1 Rcb8 35.Kc2 Nc4 Black also
wins a pawn, and the same happens after 33.Ne2 b×a3 34.b×a3 R×c1 35.R×c1 R×c1 36.N×c1 Nc4.
33...b×a3 34.b×a3 Ra4 35.R×c8+ N×c8 36.Nc3 R×a3 Black is a solid pawn up and will also have
chances to attack the pawns on White’s kingside. As a result, the win is now only a matter of time.
37.Kc2 Nd6 38.Rb1 Kf7 39.Rb4 Ra1 40.Kd3 Ra3 41.Kc2 Ra1 42.Kd3 Re1 43.Ra4 Nc4 44.R×a7+
Kg6 45.e4 Re3+ 46.Kc2 R×f3 47.e×f5+ K×f5 48.R×g7 Rf2+ 49.Kb3 Rb2+ 50.Ka4 R×h2 (D) The
previous and next diagrams clearly show the gradual progress Black is making.
Botvinnik 3½, Reshevsky 1½ (+2 -0 =3)
The games between Botvinnik and Reshevsky take the form of battles between two tacticians in which
Botvinnik, to be sure, shows himself the more capable of the two, but in which Reshevsky certainly
has chances. Botvinnik’s knowledge of the openings is superior, which is why he usually plays with
the wind at his back. It also largely explains why he usually emerges from the openings with an
advantage. Equally striking is the way in which these great combination players tactically outplay one
another completely in some games. One time Reshevsky is the victim, the next time Botvinnik. But
regardless from which point of view one looks at these encounters, they are, without exception, of the
very highest level and more than worth replaying.
(21) Reshevsky – Botvinnik
Dutch Defense [A95]
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d5 7.Nc3 c6 8.Rb1 Qe8 9.c5 Fixing the pawn
structure, while at the same time determining future strategy: queenside versus kingside. 9...Qh5
10.b4 Ne4 11.Qc2 Nd7 12.b5 Bf6 13.Bf4 Qe8 13...Nd×c5 will not yield anything in view of
14.N×e4 f×e4 (14...N×e4 15.b×c6) 15.Q×e5. 14.Bc7 Rf7 15.Ba5 e5 16.e3 N×c3 17.B×c3 e4
18.Nd2 Nf8 (D)
A position typical of this variation. 19.f3 c×b5 20.f×e4 d×e4 21.d5 B×c3 22.Q×c3 Bd7 23.Nb3 Rc8
24.g4 g6 25.Qd4 Qe7 26.Rbc1 Be8 27.Rf4 Rd8 28.Rcf1 Qd7!
The saving move: Black is slowly extricating himself from White’s grip. 29.g×f5 g×f5 30.Bh3 Q×d5
31.R×f5 Q×d4 32.N×d4 Rg7+ 33.Kh1 Bd7 34.Rh5 B×h3 35.R×h3 Rg5 (D)
White’s positional advantage compen-sates for the lost pawn. 36.Nf5 Rd7 37.Rh4 Rc7 38.Nh6+ Kg7
39.Nf5+ Kg8 39...Kh8 would be met very strongly by 40.Nd4!. 40.Nh6+ Kg7 41.Nf5+ ½-½ A draw
(22) Botvinnik – Reshevsky
English Opening [A25]
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e3 d6 6.Nge2 Nge7 7.d4 A kind of reversed Sicilian, in
which White builds up a slight advantage.
7...e×d4 8.e×d4 0-0 9.0-0 Nf5 10.d5 Ne5 11.b3 a5 12.Bb2 Nd7 13.a3 Nc5? Wasting a tempo. Now
White’s position is clearly better. 14.b4 Nd7 15.Qb3 Nd4 16.N×d4 B×d4 17.Rad1 Bg7 18.Rfe1
a×b4 19.a×b4 Nf6 20.h3 h5 (D)
In order to be able to play Bc8-f5, but the black position cannot really afford such time-wasting.
21.c5! With this and his next move White launches a powerful attack. 21...Bf5 22.Nb5! Bd7 23.c6
b×c6 24.d×c6 Bc8? Better is 24...Be6. 25.N×d6! Be6 Of course, 25...c×d6 runs into 26.c7, 26.R×e6!
Decisive. The point of this sacrifice is that White will capture on c7 and in doing so create two
connected passed pawns. 26...f×e6 27.Nf5 Qe8 28.N×g7 K×g7 29.Rd7+ Rf7 30.Be5 Kg8 31.R×c7
R×c7 32.B×c7 Ra1+ 33.Kh2 Ra7 34.Be5 Rf7 35.c7 Nd7 36.Qc2! Rf8 37.c8Q 1-0 A convincing
finale. If 37...Q×c8, 38.Q×g6#.
(23) Reshevsky – Botvinnik
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E46]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Nge2 d5 6.a3 Be7 7.c×d5 N×d5 8.N×d5 e×d5 9.g3 Nd7
10.Bg2 Nf6 The opening has failed to yield White anything. The position is dead even. 11.0-0 Bd6
12.Nc3 c6 13.b4 a6 14.Re1 Re8 15.Bb2 Bf8 16.Qd3 Be6 17.f3 Nd7 18.Na4 b6 Preparing the
“exchange” of the square c5 for c4, that soon follows. 19.Rac1 b5 20.Nc5 Nb6 21.Bc3 Ra7 22.e4
Not a very felicitous moment for this advance, as Black’s powerful counterplay shows. 22...Nc4
23.Ra1 B×c5 24.d×c5 Rd7 (D)
Black is already better. 25.Qd4 f6 26.f4 d×e4 27.Q×e4 Rd3! 28.Rac1 R×c3! Botvinnik finds the
winning combination. 29.R×c3 Bf7 30.Rd3 Qb8? (D)
After 30...Qc8, White could have resigned (31.Red1 R×e4 32.B×e4 Qe6 etc.). 31.Red1! R×e4
32.B×e4 Qf8 Black will be unable to retain his material advantage. 33.Rd8 Be8 34.Re1 Kf7
35.B×h7 Ne5 Otherwise White would continue 36.Rd×e8 Q×e8 37.Bg6+, etc. In addition, White
would meet 35...Qh8 very strongly with 36.Bf5!. 36.f×e5 Qh8 37.Bc2? 37.e×f6 would have led to a
quick win: 37...Q×h7 38.f×g7, etc. 37...Ke7 38.Rc8? (D)
After 38.Ra8 White’s position would still be winning. 38...f5! 39.B×f5 Qh5 40.g4 Qg5 Now the
activity of the black queen guarantees the draw. 41.Rc7+ Kd8 42.Rc8+ Ke7 43.e6 g6 44.Rc7+ Kd8
45.Rd7+ Kc8! 46.e7 g×f5 47.Rd8+ Kc7 48.R×e8 Q×g4+ 49.Kh1 Qf3+ 50.Kg1 Qg4+ ½-½
(24) Botvinnik – Reshevsky
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E49]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.a3 B×c3+ 7.b×c3 d5 8.Ne2 Far better is 8.c×d5.
8...d×c4! 9.B×c4 Nc6 10.a4 Stronger is 10.0-0. 10...Qc7 11.Ba3 b6 12.Qc2 White is procrastinating
too long and will soon be in trouble on the queenside. 12...Rd8 13.Rc1 Na5 14.Ba2 c×d4 15.c×d4
Q×c2 16.R×c2 Bd7 The weakness of the a-pawn and the c4-square already guarantee Black a
considerable advantage. 17.Nc3 Rdc8 18.Kd2 Nc4+ 19.B×c4 R×c4 20.Rhc1 Rac8 21.Kd3? 21.a5
b5 22.Nd1 was called for. 21...e5! (D)
This yields Black at least a pawn, since 22.d×e5 fails to 22...Bf5+. 22.f3 Bf5+ 23.e4 R×d4+ 24.Ke3
Be6? 24...Bd7 would have won easily, as it prevents White’s next move. 25.Nb5! Now White gets
beautiful counterplay. 25...R×c2 26.R×c2 R×a4 27.Bd6 Ra5 28.Nc7 h6 29.N×e6 f×e6 30.Rc8+ Kh7
31.g4! Rb5 32.h4 a5 33.Ra8 Rb3+ 34.Ke2 Rb2+ 35.Ke3 Ra2 36.B×e5 With 36.Ra7! White can
even play for a win. 36...Nd7 37.B×g7! (D)
Forcing a draw. 37...K×g7 38.Ra7 Ra3+ 39.Ke2 Ra2+ 40.Ke3 Ra3+ 41.Ke2 a4 42.R×d7+ Kf8
43.Rd3 Ra1 44.Rd1 ½-½
(25) Reshevsky – Botvinnik
French Defense [C18]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Ba5 This is not as good as the normal 5.B×c3+, since White
now has the very strong continuation 6.b4!. 6.Qg4? Ne7 7.d×c5 B×c3+ 8.b×c3 Nd7 9.Q×g7 Rg8
10.Q×h7 N×e5 11.Be2 Qa5 12.Bd2 Q×c5 13.Nf3 N×f3+ 14.B×f3 e5 Black is already clearly
better: he controls the center and the white queen has gone astray. 15.Bh5 Bf5! (D)
Beautiful and fearless. 16.B×f7+ Kd7 17.Qh6 R×g2 With 17...Rh8 Black could have won a piece,
but after 17...Rh8 18.Qf6! Qc6! 19.Q×e5 Raf8 20.B×d5 Q×d5 21.Q×d5+ N×d5, the endgame would
still have been difficult. 18.Rf1 Qb6? 18...Qc4 would have been far stronger. 19.Q×b6 a×b6 20.0-0-
0 Now the chances are equal again. 20...R×a3 21.Kb2 Ra4 22.Be3 Be6 23.B×e6+ K×e6 24.B×b6
R×h2 25.Rg1 Rh6 26.Rg7 Rg6 27.Rh7 Nf5 28.R×b7 Nd6 29.Kb3 Ra8 30.Rc7 Rb8 31.Rc6 Kd7
32.Rc7+ Ke6 33.Rc6 Rb7 Black makes a last-ditch attempt that actually meets with success, although
he is skirting the abyss. 34.c4 d×c4+ 35.Kb4 Ke7 36.Ka5? Better is 36.Rd5. Both players were in
terrible time-trouble here. 36...Kd7 37.R×c4 Re6? Correct is 37...Rg8!. 38.Ka6 Rb8 39.Rc7+ Ke8
40.Ka7 With 40.Rh1 White retains a considerable advantage. 40...Rd8 41.Rh1? (D)
The decisive error: 41.Rb1 is called for. Reshevsky, who had not written down his moves, thought he
was still in time-trouble. 41...Nb5+ 42.Kb7 N×c7 43.B×c7 Rd4! Now Black liquidates impeccably.
Botvinnik 2, Euwe 4 (+0 -2 =4)
When contemplating this result, which must be called extraordinarily bad for Botvinnik, one must
keep in mind what was already said in the comments to Botvinnik-Smyslov, but then with “reversed
colors”: at the time of our first encounters, Botvinnik was still an up-and-coming player, whereas I
was in the prime of my life. In addition, it seems as if Botvinnik played somewhat timidly on a couple
of occasions, something that, generally speaking, is not in his nature at all. For the rest, I have the
impression that Botvinnik’s all-round style suits me better than the hyper-sharp style of an attacking
player like Keres.
(26) Botvinnik – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C83]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.c3 Be7
10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Qe2 Nc5 12.Nd4 N×b3 13.N2xb3 Qd7 14.N×c6 Q×c6 15.Be3 In this variation, the
fight is all about the c5-square. 15...Bf5 16.Rfd1 Rfd8 17.f3 Bf8 18.Qf2 a5 (D)
Black is trying to drive the knight from b3 to c5, after which he can force a game with opposite-color
bishops. 19.Rd2? Better is 19.Rac1. Now Black seizes the initiative. 19...b4 20.Rc1 Qa4 21.Nd4
Bg6 22.b3 Qe8 23.c×b4 B×b4 24.Rdd1 c5 25.Nc2 B×c2 A good alternative is 25...Qx5 or 25...c4.
26.R×c2 d4 27.Bg5 Rd5? Now White gets back into the game again; the correct move for Black is
27...Rd7. 28.f4 a4 29.Qf3 Gaining an important tempo. 29...a×b3 30.a×b3 Rd7 31.f5 Rda7 32.Qg3
Ra1 33.Rcc1 R×c1 34.R×c1 Kh8 35.Rf1 Ra6 36.h3 Qa8 37.Kh2 Qe8 38.Rf3 (D)
Stronger is 38.e6! (38...f×e6? 39.f6). 38...Ba5 Now Black deploys the bishop for defense, which
saves the game for him. 39.Bf4 Bc7 40.Rf1 Ra8 41.Re1 Qc6 42.e6 B×f4 43.Q×f4 f×e6 44.f×e6
Re8 45.e7 h6 46.Qf5 Qd6+ 47.Kh1 Kg8 48.Re6 Qd7 49.Qe5 ½-½
(27) Botvinnik – Euwe
Caro-Kann Defense [D27]
1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.e×d5 c×d5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Nf3 d×c4 8.B×c4 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 A
position from the Queen’s Gambit Accepted has arisen, which offers Black excellent prospects
because of his control of the d5-square in front of White’s isolated d-pawn. 10.Rc1 a6 11.Bd3 h6
12.Be3 Nb4 13.Bb1 b5 14.Ne5 Bb7 15.Qd2 Re8 Intending to be able to defend with ...Be7-f8 after
16.B×h6 g×h6 17.Q×h6. 16.f4? Too impetuous; better is 16.f3. 16...Nbd5 17.N×d5 Better is 17.Bf2.
17...Q×d5 18.f5 Bd6 19.f×e6 R×e6 (D)
Black is considerably better. 20.Bf5 20.Nf3 would be met very strongly by 20...Ne4. The text move
costs White a pawn. 20...Re7 21.Bh3 B×e5 22.d×e5 Q×e5 23.Bf4 Qd5 24.Q×d5 N×d5 White’s
bishop pair makes the win more difficult for Black. 25.Bd2 Rae8 26.b3 Re2 27.Rf2 Nf6 28.Ba5
R×f2 29.K×f2 Ne4+ 30.Kf1 Ng5 31.Bd7 Better is 31.Bg4. 31...Re7 32.Bf5 Re5 33.Bb1 Be4
34.B×e4 N×e4 35.Rc6 This leads to a quick defeat. 35...Rf5+ 36.Ke1 (D)
36.Kg1 is met by 36...Rf2 37.a4 Rb2!; the rest is no longer difficult for Black. 36...Rf2 37.a4 R×g2
38.R×a6 b×a4 39.b×a4 R×h2 40.Ra8+ Kh7 41.Bb6 Ra2 42.a5 h5 43.a6 h4 44.a7 h3 45.Bg1 Nf6!
46.Kd1 Ng4 47.Re8 h2 48.B×h2 R×a7 49.Bb8 Ra8 50.Rd8 Ne5 51.Bc7 R×d8+ 52.B×d8 Kg6
53.Ke2 Kf5 54.Ke3 Kg4 55.Bc7 Nf3 56.Kf2 f5 0-1
(28) Euwe – Botvinnik
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E34]
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.c×d5 Q×d5 6.e3 c5 7.a3 B×c3+ 8.b×c3 Nbd7 9.Nf3 b6
10.c4 Qd6 11.Bb2 Bb7 12.Be2 Rc8 13.0-0 Be4 13...Ng4 meets with 14.d5!. 14.Qc3 0-0 Correct is
14...c×d4. 15.Rad1 Rfd8 16.d5! (D)
This advance yields White an advantage (16... e×d5 17.c×d5 B×d5? 18.e4!). 16...Qf8 17.d×e6 f×e6
18.Ne5 Qe7 19.N×d7 N×d7 20.Rd2 Bc6! 21.Bg4 Nf6 White was threatening 22.Be6+. 22.R×d8+
R×d8 23.Rd1 R×d1+ 24.B×d1 Qd6 25.Be2 Kf7 26.f3? With 26.g4! White increases his advantage
considerably. 26...Ba4 27.Bd3 h6 28.g3 Bc6 29.Kf2 e5! 30.Be2 Nd7 31.Qd3 Q×d3 32.B×d3 e4
Forcing the draw. 33.B×e4 B×e4 34.f×e4 Nb8 35.Kf3 Nc6 36.Bc3 g6 37.Kf4 a6 38.a4 Ke6 39.h4
Nb4 40.Kf3 Nd3 41.Bg7 Ne5+! Breathing new life into the endgame. 42.Ke2 N×c4 43.B×h6 Nb2
44.Bg7 N×a4 45.g4 b5 46.h5 g×h5 47.g×h5 Kf7 48.Ba1 Nb6 (D)
48...b4 would have run into 49.e5, threatening 50.e6+. 49.Kf3 b4? Correct is 49...a5. Now Black
finds himself in danger of losing. 50.e5 Nd7 51.Ke4 Ke6 52.h6 Nf8 53.Kd3 Kd5 54.e4+ Kc6 55.Kc4
a5 56.e6 With 56.Kb3 White would have retained excellent winning chances. 56...Kd6 ½-½ Drawn
in view of 57.Bg7 Nh7 58.e7 K×e7 59.K×c5 Kf7 60.Kb5 Kg6 61.K×a5 b3 62.Ka4 b2, etc.
(29) Botvinnik – Euwe
Réti Opening [A13]
1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.b3 Nf6 4.Bb2 Be7 5.e3 c5 6.c×d5 e×d5 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 Nc6 9.d4 b6 10.Nc3
Bb7 11.Rc1 Ne4 12.d×c5 N×c3 13.B×c3 b×c5 Black has the hanging center that as a rule not only
entails risks but may also offer him attacking chances. 14.Qd2 Qd6 15.Rfd1 Rad8 16.Bf1 Qh6 17.g3
Bc8 18.Ne5 N×e5 19.B×e5 Bg4 20.Be2 Qh5 Forcing opposite-color bishops and therefore a draw.
21.B×g4 Q×e5 (D)
Botvinnik arrives in Holland and is met by Euwe.
There’s little left to play for now. 22.Qe2 Qd6 23.Bf5 Qb6 24.Qf3 g6 25.Bb1 d4 26.e4 a5 27.Rc4
Qd6 28.Bd3 Rb8 29.Rc2 Rb4 30.Bc4 a4 31.Re2 Qf6 32.Q×f6 B×f6 33.Rd3 Kg7 34.Kg2 Be7
35.e5 Rfb8 36.Rf3 Rf8 37.Rd3 Rfb8 38.Rf3 Rf8 39.h3 Rb7 40.Rd3 a×b3 41.a×b3 Ra7 ½-½
(30) Euwe – Botvinnik
Grünfeld Defense [D96]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 c6 6.Bf4 d×c4 7.Q×c4 Be6 8.Qd3 Nd5 9.Bd2 Better is
9.N×d5. 9...Nb4 10.Qb1 c5 11.d×c5 N8a6 12.e4 N×c5 13.Bb5+ Bd7 14.0-0 0-0 15.Be3 B×b5
16.N×b5 Qd3? (D)
A serious mistake in a position that favors Black rather than White. 17.Nc7 Winning the exchange.
The rest is easy. 17...N×e4 18.N×a8 R×a8 19.Rd1 Q×b1 20.Ra×b1 e6 21.Rd7 b6 22.Rc1 Bf8
23.Ne5 Nd5 24.N×f7 Be7 25.Ne5 Bf6 26.Nd3 N×e3 27.f×e3 Bg5 28.Rcc7 B×e3+ 29.Kf1 Nf6
30.R×a7 Rc8 31.Rg7+ Kh8 32.Rgc7 Rd8 33.Ne5 Re8 34.Re7 1-0
(31) Botvinnik – Euwe
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D27]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d×c4 4.e3 e6 5.B×c4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.a4 Nc6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.Nc3
0-0 11.b3 See also Game 17. 11...Bd7 Better is 11...Na5. 12.Bb2 Rac8 13.d5 This advance leads to
a clear advantage for White. 13...e×d5 14.N×d5 N×d5 15.B×d5 Bg4 16.Qc4 Bh5 17.B×c6 Q×c6
18.Ne5 Qe8 19.Rd5 Rd8 20.Nd7? (D)
A serious mistake that hands over the initiative to Black. With 20.g4 Bg6 21.f4!, White could have
created excellent winning chances. 20...R×d7 21.R×h5 Qd8 22.Rf1 g6 Repulsing the white attack.
Now Black gets chances along the d-file. 23.Rh3 Rd1 24.g4 R×f1+ 25.K×f1 b5 26.a×b5 a×b5
27.Qf4 f6 28.e4 Qd1+ 29.Kg2 Bd6 29...Qc2 would have been slightly stronger. 30.Qf3 Q×f3+
31.R×f3 Be5 32.B×e5 f×e5 (D)
A rook ending that favors Black, but not enough to win. 33.Rc3 Rc8 34.Kf3 Kf7 35.Ke3 Ke6 36.f4
e×f4+ 37.K×f4 c4 38.b×c4 b×c4 39.h4! h6 39...Rc5 would have been met by 40.e5 Rc8 (40...Kd5
41.Re3) 41.h5 Kd5 42.h×g6 h×g6 43.Kg5 Rc6 44.Re3 Re6 45.Kf4, and White will just manage to
force a draw, as deep analysis shows. 40.g5 h5 41.Ke3 Ke5 42.Rc2! c3 43.Kd3 Rd8+ After
43...Rc6 44.R×c3 R×c3+ 45.K×c3 K×e4 the endgame is drawn, since the white king reaches f6 just in
time. 44.Ke3 Rd4 45.R×c3 R×e4+ 46.Kf3 R×h4 47.Rc6 Rf4+ 48.Ke3 Re4+ 49.Kf3 Kf5 50.Rf6+
K×g5 51.R×g6+ ½-½
Smyslov 3, Keres 6 (+1 -4 =4)
Keres and Smyslov are to some extent exact opposites. Whereas Keres often tries to reach his goal by
brute force, Smyslov definitely prefers quieter means, and some of their encounters are duly
characterized by this antithesis. But certainly not all of them, because we also see Keres secure
victory in a couple of difficult positional games, which seems to suggest a certain superiority on
Keres’ part. Meanwhile, we should not lose sight of the difference in age, because Smyslov’s
resistance is gradually growing stronger, and the two last games they played are battles between
opponents of totally equal merit.
(32) Keres – Smyslov
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D55]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 b6 7.c×d5 e×d5 7...N×d5 would have been
more in the spirit of this variation. 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Qc2 Nbd7 10.0-0 h6 11.Bf4 a6 12.Rfd1 Ne8
13.Rac1 Bd6 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.B×d6 Q×d6 16.Ng3 With his quiet set-up White has built up a slight
advantage on both the queenside and the kingside. 16...g6 17.h4 h5 18.Ng5 c5 19.Bf5! (D)
A surprising turn that launches a blistering attack. Black must not take on f5 in view of 20.N×f5
followed by 21...Ne7+. With the text move, White is threatening, among other things, 20.B×d7 Q×d7
21.N×h5. 19...c×d4 20.Be6! A second surprise. 20...d3 21.Q×d3 Ne5 White’s assault seems to have
been repulsed. 22.Qb1 f×e6 23.f4 Recapturing the piece, since knight on e5 cannot move in view of
24.Q×g6+. 23...Kg7 24.f×e5 Q×e5 25.Rf1 The real point of White’s play. He is keeping the
possibility of N×h5+ in store for the moment. 25...R×f1+ 26.R×f1 Nd6 27.N×h5+! (D)
Now this is decisive. 27...Kh6 28.Nf6 Q×e3+ 29.Kh1 Qd4 30.N×e6 Q×h4+ 31.Kg1 d4 32.Qc1+ g5
(33) Smyslov – Keres
Ruy Lopez [C68]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.B×c6 d×c6 5.d4 e×d4 6.Q×d4 Q×d4 7.N×d4 Bd7 8.Be3 0-0-0 The
characteristic set-up in the Exchange Variation: a sound pawn structure against the bishop pair. In this
game, both players try to make their advantage tell, but without success. As a result, the game does
not offer any new insights. 9.Nc3 Re8 10.0-0-0 Bb4 11.Nde2 f5 12.e×f5 B×f5 13.a3 Bd6 14.Bf4
Bc5 15.Ng3 Bg6 16.f3 Nf6 17.Rhe1 Bf2 18.Rf1 Bc5 19.Rfe1 R×e1 20.R×e1 Rf8 21.Be5 Re8
22.Re2 Bg1 23.Nf1 Bc5 24.Bg3 R×e2 25.N×e2 Bd6 26.Kd2 Kd7 (D)
27.Nf4 Be8 28.Nd3 c5 29.c4 b6 30.b3 Nh5 31.Be5 Ke6 32.Bc3 Nf4 33.N×f4+ B×f4+ 34.Kd1 g5
35.g3 Bd6 36.Nd2 Be5 37.Ne4 B×c3 38.N×c3 Ke5 39.Kd2 Bh5 40.Ke3 ½-½
(34) Smyslov – Keres
USSR Absolute Championship
Ruy Lopez [C87]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Bd7 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 0-0 9.Nbd2 e×d4
10.c×d4 Nb4 11.B×d7 Q×d7 12.Qb3 A good alternative is 12.d5. 12...a5 13.a3 Na6 14.Nf1 d5
15.e5 Ne4 16.N1d2 a4 17.Qd3 N×d2 18.B×d2 c6 Stronger is 18...c5. 19.Ng5 B×g5 20.B×g5 Nc7
21.Re3 Ne6 (D)
Black has the knight against the bad bishop, but to offset this, White has considerable attacking
chances on the kingside. 22.Qf5? Far stronger is 22.Bf6!, after which 22...g×f6 23.Qf5! leads to a
winning position for White. For this reason, Black is forced to continue with 22...Nf4 and 23...Ng6.
22...Nc5 23.g4? With this move White lands himself in a very unfavorable endgame. 23.Qf4 would
have been preferable. 23...Q×f5 24.g×f5 f6! A subtle intermediate move, with which Black
beautifully exploits the doubled pawns. Now 25.B×f6 will run into 25...Ne4!. 25.e×f6 Ne4 26.f×g7
R×f5 27.Be7 K×g7 28.f3 Nd2 29.Kf2 Better is 29.Kg2, as we will soon see. Now Black has a large
advantage. 29...Re8 30.Rae1 Ne4+ 31.Kg2 R×e7 32.f×e4 R×e4 33.R×e4 d×e4 34.R×e4 Rb5 (D)
The rook ending is winning for Black. The d-pawn cannot be defended in the long run. 35.Re2 Rb3
36.Kf2 Kf6 37.Ke1 h6 38.Rg2 Ke6 39.Kd1 Kd5 40.Kc2 Rh3 Not 40...K×d4 at once in view of
41.Rg4+ and 42.Rh4. 41.Rd2 Kc4 42.Kb1 h5 43.Ka2 Rh4 44.Rf2 K×d4 The rest is simply a matter
of technique. 45.Rf7 b5 46.Rf2 Rh3 47.Rd2+ Rd3 48.Rf2 Kc4 49.Rc2+ Kd5 50.Rg2 Rh3 51.Rd2+
Kc5 52.Rc2+ Kb6 53.Rf2 c5 54.Rf6+ Ka5 55.Rf2 c4 56.Rg2 c3 57.b4+ a×b3+ 58.K×b3 c2+
59.K×c2 R×a3 60.Kb2 Rf3 61.Re2 h4 62.Rd2 h3 63.Re2 Ka4 64.Kb1 Rf1+ 65.Kc2 b4 66.Kd3
Rd1+ 67.Kc2 Rg1 0-1
(35) Keres – Smyslov
USSR Absolute Championship
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d6 5.e3 0-0 6.Nge2 e5 7.Bd2 Re8 8.a3 B×c3 9.B×c3 e×d4
Better is 9...e4. After the text move White gets good and free play. 10.N×d4 Ne4 11.Bd3 N×c3
12.Q×c3 Not 12.B×h7+ Kh8 13.Bd3 in view of 13...Qh4+. 12...Nd7 13.0-0 Ne5 14.Bc2 Bd7
15.Rad1 Qe7 16.Rfe1 a6 17.f3 Nc6 18.Be4 Very subtle! White puts pressure on the black position
with all kinds of delicate maneuvers: 18...N×d4? now fails to 19.e×d4, with two threats. 18...Rab8
19.Ne2 f5 20.Bd5+ Kh8 21.Ng3 Ne5 22.f4 Ng4 23.h3 Nf6 24.Bf3 Ne4? (D)
A strategic error that not only allows White to shield his weakness on e3, but also gives him the
advantage of knight against bad bishop. 25.B×e4 f×e4 26.Rd4 Qh4 27.Rd5 h6 Not 27...Q×g3 in view
of 28.Rg5. 28.Kh2 Kg8 29.c5 Be6 30.Rdd1 d5 31.Rf1 Qf6 32.Q×f6 g×f6 The endgame is winning
for White, but the winning process is still far from easy. However, Keres once again carries out this
difficult job to perfection. 33.f5 Bf7 34.Rc1 c6 35.Ne2 h5 36.Nd4 Kf8 37.b4 Ke7 38.a4 Rg8
39.Rb1 Be8 40.g3 Bd7 41.Rg1 Ra8 42.Rg2 a5 (D)
Smyslov, who is convinced that he will lose the game in the end, does not want to remain passive.
This tactical decision is understandable, but as so often it only hastens the end. 43.b5 c×b5 44.a×b5
a4 45.c6 b×c6 46.b×c6 Bc8 47.Ra2 Kd6 48.Rb4 Ke5 49.Rb×a4 R×a4 50.R×a4 B×f5 51.Ra7 Bc8
52.Rh7 Kd6 53.R×h5 Kc5 54.g4 f5 55.N×f5 B×f5 56.R×f5 K×c6 57.Kg3 Kc5 58.h4 Kc4 59.h5 Re8
60.h6 d4 61.e×d4 e3 62.Rf1 e2 63.Re1 Kd3 64.g5 Re3+ 65.Kg4 1-0 A fine victory for the white
player, or for the white knight, really, which, like a general, led maneuvers from a fixed position for
(36) Smyslov – Keres
USSR Absolute Championship
Ruy Lopez [C99]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5
11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 c×d4 13.c×d4 Nc6 14.Nb3 Rd8 Not a very good idea. 15.Bd2 Qb8 White was
threatening 16.d5, followed by 17.Ba5. Black’s best bet is 15...e×d4. Now his position gets very
cramped. 16.d5 Na7 17.Na5 Bd7 18.Bd3 Rc8 19.b4 Bd8 20.Nb3 Bb6 21.Nh4 g6 (D)
White is better, although he is not yet winning. 22.Qf3 Bd8 23.Bg5 Ne8 24.B×d8 R×d8 25.Qe3 Nc8
26.Nf5 Qb6 27.Qg5 f6 28.Qg3 Kh8 29.Nh6 Kg7 30.Qh4 Ne7 31.Re3 Ng8 32.N×g8 K×g8 33.Rg3
Kg7? And Black finally collapses under the relentless pressure. Correct is 33...Ng7 (if 34.Q×f6 Rf8).
34.Kh2 Rdc8 Not 34...Q×f2, of course, in view of 35.R×g6+. 35.f4 e×f4 36.Q×f4 Qd8 37.Nd4 Qe7
38.Nf5+ B×f5 39.e×f5 Qe5 40.Qf1 h5 (D)
Another nice stratagem from Black. 41.Re1 41.h4, followed by 42.Re1, wins easily. 41...h4!
42.R×e5 h×g3+ 43.K×g3 d×e5 44.Qe2 White will still has to work hard with his queen against two
rooks, but his attack, which soon gathers momentum again, eventually decides the issue. 44...g5
45.Kh2 Rc3 46.h4 g×h4 47.Qg4+ Kf8 48.Be4 Rd8 49.Q×h4 Kg8 50.Qg4+ Kf8 51.Qh5 Ke7
52.Qh7+ Kf8 53.Bf3 R×f3 Forced, in view of the threat of 54.Bh5, among other reasons. 54.g×f3
R×d5 55.Kg3 Ng7 (D)
Now there follows an instructive battle between the queen and the rook and knight. 56.Qh8+ Kf7
57.Qc8 Rd2 58.f4 e×f4+ 59.Kg4 Rd4 60.Qb7+ Kg8 61.Q×a6 R×b4 62.Q×f6 f3+ 63.K×f3 Rb1
64.Qd8+ Kf7 65.Qd5+ Kf8 66.Qd6+ Kg8 67.f6 Nf5 68.Qd3 Re1 69.Q×f5 Rf1+ 70.Kg4 R×f5
71.K×f5 Kf7 72.a3 1-0
(37) Keres – Smyslov
USSR Absolute Championship
Grünfeld Defense [D96]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 c6 6.c×d5 N×d5 7.e4 Nc7 Better is 7...Nb6, to be
followed by Bc8-e6. Black soon finds himself in a very cramped position. 8.Be3 0-0 9.Be2 Nd7
10.Rd1 b6 11.0-0 Bb7 12.a4 Qc8 13.h3 Ba6 14.Rc1 Qb7 15.Rfd1 Rac8 16.Nd2 B×e2 17.N×e2
Ne6 18.Nc4 Qa6 19.f4 Nf6 20.Ng3 c5 (D)
To transfer the knight to d4, which will lead to the loss of a pawn in the long run, but affords Black at
least some relief. 21.d5 Nd4 22.B×d4 c×d4 23.Ne5 R×c1 24.R×c1 Bh6 25.Nd3 Nd7 26.Rc6 Qa5
27.Qc2 b5 28.a×b5 Q×b5 29.Ne2 Bg7 30.Rc7 a5 31.Qc4 Q×c4 32.R×c4 Rb8 33.e5 f6 34.e6 Nb6
This pawn is finally ripe, but things are not yet easy for White. 35...f5 36.Ne5 Nc8 37.Rd2 Correct is
37.Rc4 Nd6 38.Rc6 R×b2 39.Nc3 Rc2 40.R×d6!. 37...Rb5 38.Nc3 Rc5 39.Na4 Rc1+ 40.Kh2 Bf6
41.g4 With this move, White throws away his advantage by exposing his king. 41...f×g4 42.h×g4 g5
43.Nd7 Kg7 44.Nac5 g×f4 45.Ne4 Bh4 46.Kh3 Be1 47.Rd3 Rc4 48.Ng5 Bb4 49.b3 Rc1 50.Kg2
Nd6 51.Nh3 Ne4 52.N×f4 Rc2+ 53.Kg1 Bd6 Black is already assured of perpetual check. 54.Re3
Nc3 55.Nh5+ Kg6? The decisive mistake. Correct is 55...Kh6. 56.Ne5+ Kg5 57.Nf7+ K×g4
58.N×d6 N×d5 59.Re5 Nf4 60.N×f4 K×f4 61.Nf7 (D)
The start of a new phase. 61...Rb2 62.Rb5 Re2 63.Nd8 Rb2 64.Nb7 Re2 65.Nc5 With 65.N×a5
White wins. Now Black will see to it that the queenside pawns are exchanged, after which a draw is
inevitable. 65...Ra2 66.Na6 a4 67.Rb4+ Kg3 68.R×a4 Rb2 69.Kf1 R×b3 70.Nc5 Re3 71.Ra7 Re5
72.Ra3+ Kg4 73.Rc3 h5 74.Kf2 h4 75.Rc4+ Kg5 76.Kf3 Rf5+ 77.Kg2 Re5 78.Kf2 Rf5+ 79.Kg1
Re5 80.Kg2 Re3 81.Rc1 Kg4 82.Rc4+ Kg5 83.Kf2 Re5 84.Kf3 Rf5+ 85.Ke3 Kf6 86.Rc2 h3
87.Kd4 Rh5 88.Rf2+ Rf5 89.Rh2 Rh5 90.Ne4+ K×e6 91.R×h3 ½-½
(38) Keres – Smyslov
English Opening [A34]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c5 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3 d5 5.c×d5 N×d5 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.0-0 Nc7 In combination with Black’s
ninth move, this is a serious mistake that soon makes Black’s position untenable. 8.b3 Be7 9.Bb2 e5
10.Rc1 f6 11.Na4 b6 Although the black bastion looks solid enough, it will be overrun in another few
moves. 12.Nh4 Bd7 13.e3! (D)
Threatening 14.Qh5+, so that Black does not have time to prevent White from playing the break d2-
d4. 13...0-0 14.d4! Winning at least a pawn. 14...e×d4 15.e×d4 Rc8 16.d×c5 b5 17.Nc3 f5 18.Rc2!
B×h4 Another few finesses for a quick finish to the game. 19.Rd2 Rf7 20.g×h4 Ne6 21.N×b5 N×c5
22.Nd6 Re7 23.N×c8 Q×c8 24.Ba3 Ne4 25.B×e4 f×e4 26.B×e7 N×e7 27.R×d7 1-0 Short but to the
(39) Keres – Smyslov
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E13]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Bg5 Bb7 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 Ne4 9.Qc2 d6 10.Nd2
Stronger is 10.Qa4+ or 10.Bd3. 10...B×c3 11.b×c3 N×g3 12.h×g3 Nd7 13.f3 Qe7 14.Bd3 0-0-0
15.a4 a5 16.Rb1 (D)
White has opted for a somewhat lukewarm approach and now finds himself in a very bad position.
16...g4 17.f4 h5 With 17...e5, Black increases his advantage considerably. 18.Be4 d5 19.Bd3 h4
20.c5 h×g3 21.Rg1 f6 22.Nb3 e5 23.Qe2 e×f4 24.e×f4 Qg7 25.Kd2 Rde8 26.Qf1 Qe7 27.Qe2
Q×e2+ 28.B×e2 Re4 29.Rbf1? White has more or less held his own and restricted his disadvantage
to a one-pawn deficit with doubled pawns, but the text move, which is not very strong, lands him into
trouble all over again. Correct is 29.c×b6, followed by 30.B×g4. 29...R×e2+! (D)
30.K×e2 Ba6+ 31.Kd2 B×f1 32.R×f1 Rh2 33.Rg1 f5 34.c×b6 c×b6 35.Kd3 Nf6 36.Nd2 Kd7
37.Nf1 Nh5! Very strong. It goes without saying that White must not capture on h2. 38.Ke3 Kc6
39.Nd2 Nf6 40.Nf1 Ne4? After 40...Nh5, followed by 41...b5, Black wins. 41.Kd3 Nf2+ 42.Ke3
Ne4 43.Kd3 Rh8 44.Ne3 Nd6 45.Re1 Re8 46.Rh1 Re4 47.Rh6 R×f4 48.c4! The counterblow, just
in time. 48...d×c4+ 49.N×c4 Rf3+ (D)
A highly interesting turn. 50.Ne3! After 50.g×f3 g2 Black wins, whereas 50.Ke2 Rf2+ 51.Kd3 R×g2
transposes back to the game. 50...Rf2 51.Nc4 R×g2 52.R×d6+ Kc7 53.d5 Rg1 White will have to
play very carefully to secure the draw. 54.Rc6+ Kd8 55.Rd6+ Kc7 56.Rc6+ Kd8 57.Rd6+ ½-½
Neither player can afford to sidestep the repetition without running the risk of losing.
(40) Keres – Smyslov
Slav Defense [D13]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.c×d5 c×d5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4 e6 7.e3 Be7 8.Bd3 0-0 9.Rc1 b6 10.0-0
Bb7 11.Ne5 Nb4 Black has gone for a rather unfortunate set-up (...Bc8-d7 is better than ...b7-b6 and
...Bc8-b7), with the result that White will soon get a strong attack. Instead of the text move, Black
should play 11...N×e5 followed by 12...Nd7. 12.Bb1 Nd7 13.Qh5 g6 14.Qh6 N×e5 15.B×e5 Bf6
16.f4 B×e5 17.f×e5 f5 18.Nb5! (D)
This is far stronger than 18.e×f6 R×f6, after which Black gets back into the game. With the text move,
White is threatening to settle the issue immediately with 19.Rc7. 18...Rc8 19.Nd6 R×c1 20.R×c1
Qe7 21.h4 Ba6 22.h5? Giving away the win that White could force with 22.a3!, for example,
22...Nd3 23.B×d3 B×d3 24.h5 g5 25.Nc8!, or 24...Qh4 25.Nf7! Q×h5 26.Q×h5 g×h5 27.Ng5.
22...Qh4 23.a3 Nc6 The difference is plain to see. 24.R×c6 Forced, in view of the threat of
24...N×d4. 24...Qe1+ 25.Kh2 Qh4+ ½-½
Smyslov 2, Reshevsky 1 (+2 -1 =0)
Too few games from which to draw definite conclusions. Smyslov’s wins give the impression that
they are based on a great superiority in theoretical knowledge, which Reshevsky’s great tactical
abilities cannot make up for.
(41) Reshevsky – Smyslov
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D36]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.c×d5 e×d5 6.e3 Be7 7.Qc2 0-0 8.Bd3 Re8 9.Nf3 Nf8
10.h3 c6 11.Bf4 Bd6 12.B×d6 Q×d6 13.0-0 Qe7 14.Rab1 Ne4 15.b4 The usual state of affairs in
this variation: the minority attack b2-b4-b5 on the queenside, to which Black replies with an attack on
the kingside. 15...Ng5 16.N×g5 Q×g5 17.Kh2 Ng6 18.f4 Qh4 19.Qd2 Qe7 20.Qf2 f6 Not
20...Q×e3, of course, in view of 21.Rbe1. 21.f5 Nh8 22.Rfe1 Nf7 23.e4 (D)
Black’s initiative has forced White to change his plans: he has first had to secure his king position
(18.f4) and his center (23.e4), before continuing his action on the queenside (25.b5). 23...Qd6+
24.Kg1 Bd7 25.b5 Rad8 26.Bc2 d×e4 27.N×e4 Qc7 28.Bb3 Kf8 29.Nc5 Nd6 30.Be6! Already the
winning continuation. 30...N×b5 31.B×d7 R×d7 32.Ne6+ R×e6 33.f×e6 Re7 34.Qf5 (D)
Even better is 34.R×b5 c×b5 35.d5, but the text move will also be sufficient in the long run.
34...N×d4 35.Q×h7 N×e6 36.Qh8+ Kf7 37.Qh5+ g6 38.Qf3 Nd4 39.Qg4 c5 40.h4 Qd7 41.R×e7+
Q×e7 42.Kh1 b6 43.Qf4 Kg7 44.Qf2 Nc6 45.h5 Ne5 46.h×g6 Qd6 47.Qh4 N×g6 48.Qg4 Qe5
49.Rd1 Kf7 50.Rd7+ Ne7 51.R×a7 Qe1+ 52.Kh2 Qe5+ 53.g3 Qd5 54.Qe2 Qe6 55.Qd3 f5 56.Ra4
Kf6 57.Qd2 Nd5 58.Rh4 Kg7 59.Qg5+ Qg6 60.Qd8 Nf6 61.Kg2 Qe8 62.Q×e8 N×e8 63.Kf3 Nf6
64.Kf4 Kg6 65.Ke5 Ne4 66.Rh8 c4 67.g4 c3 68.g×f5+ Kg7 69.K×e4 K×h8 70.Kd3 1-0
(42) Smyslov – Reshevsky
USA-USSR Radio Match 1945
Ruy Lopez [C82]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5
10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 f5 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nbd4 N×d4 14.N×d4 B×d4 15.c×d4 f4 This leads to very
complicated positions that have been particularly thoroughly studied in Russian circles, in several
branches as far as move 30, or even further. Hence the name “grand variation.” It seems that with
optimal play, White will come out on top. 16.f3 Ng3 17.h×g3 f×g3 18.Qd3! The point of White’s
defense: after 18...Qh4 he wants to immediately return the material he has won (Q×h7+) in order to
force a favorable endgame. 18... Bf5 19.Q×f5 R×f5 20.B×f5 Qh4 21.Bh3 Q×d4+ 22.Kh1 Q×e5
23.Bd2 Q×b2 (D)
23...c5 is known to be better, but appears to be insufficient as well (24.Rae1 Q×b2 25.Bf4 d4
26.Be6+ Kh8 27.Bd5). 24.Bf4 c5 With 24...d4, Black could still create some counter-chances. After
the text move the black pawns will soon be paralyzed, after which White’s combined attack of rooks
and bishops will decide the issue. 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.B×d5 Rd8 27.Rad1 c4 28.B×g3 c3 29.Be5 b4
30.Bb3 Rd2 31.f4 h5 32.Rb1 Rf2 33.Rfe1 Qd2 34.Rbd1 Qb2 35.Rd8+ (D)
The beginning of the end. 35...Kh7 36.Bg8+ Kg6 37.Rd6+ Kf5 38.Be6+ Kg6 39.Bd5+ Kh7 40.Be4+
Kg8 41.Bg6 1-0 Black resigned in view of 41...Rd2 42.B×c3!.
(43) Reshevsky – Smyslov
USA-USSR Radio Match 1945
Slav Defense [D15]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 d×c4 5.e3 b5 6.a4 b4 7.Na2 e6 8.B×c4 Be7 Black has relatively
few opening problems to overcome in this line, whereas White only has to make some inaccurate
moves to find himself in a losing position. Hence the lack of popularity of this variation. 9.0-0 0-0
10.Qe2 Bb7 11.Rd1 a5 12.Bd2 This is too passive. Better was 12.e4. 12...Nbd7 13.Nc1 Qb6
14.Nb3 c5 15.Be1 Rfd8 16.Bb5 Bd5 17.Nbd2 Qb7 18.Nc4 Nb6 19.Nce5 Ne4 20.d×c5 N×c5
21.Nd4 Rdc8 (D)
Not 21...B×g2 in view of 22.f3 Bh3 23.Bc6. 22.f3 Nb3 23.N×b3 B×b3 24.Rd3 Bc2 25.Rd2 b3!
26.Bf2 Bb4 Black’s superiority is already considerable. 27.Rd4 Nd5 28.Nd3 e5 29.N×e5 Bc3!
Nicely played. Now, after 30.b×c3 N×c3 31.Qe1 N×b5 32.a×b5 b2, etc., will be decisive. 30.Nc4
30...B×d4 31.e×d4 Qc7 32.Bg3 Qa7 33.Qe5 Nb4 34.Nd6 Rf8 35.Qe3 Rad8 36.Qc3 Qe7 37.Re1
Qg5 38.Qe3 Qg6 39.Ne4?With 39.Nb7, White might have been able to save the game. Now he loses
his extra pawn, which constituted at least some small compensation for the exchange. 39...B×e4
40.Q×e4 Nc2 41.Q×g6 h×g6 42.Rc1 N×d4 43.Bc7 Rd5 44.Bc4 Rc8 45.Ba6 Re8 46.Kf1 Nc2
47.Kg1 Re1+ 48.R×e1 N×e1 49.Kf2 Nc2 50.Ke2 Rc5 51.Bg3 Nb4 52.Bd3 g5 53.Be4 Rc4 54.Be1
Kf8 55.Bc3 f6 56.g4 Ke7 57.Kd2 Kd6 58.Ke2 Nd5 59.B×a5 R×a4 60.Be1 Ra2 61.Kd3 R×b2
62.Kc4 Re2 63.Bg3+ Nf4 64.K×b3 R×e4! 65.f×e4 Ke5 66.h4 K×e4 67.h×g5 f×g5 68.Kc4 Kf3
69.Be1 K×g4 70.Kd4 Kf3 71.Ke5 g4 0-1
Smyslov 1, Euwe 0
One single game, in which Smyslov shows himself to be an outstanding endgame expert.
(44) Smyslov – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C77]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 Smyslov goes for a quiet set-up, well suited to
his type of play. 6...g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Re1 b5 9.Bc2 0-0 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 Qe8 12.Nbd2 Nh5 13.Nf1
g5 14.Bg3 Ne7 Better is 14...Nf4; after the text move, Black will find himself in trouble. 15.a4! (D)
Very strong, since 15...Bd7? fails to 16.N×e5!, and 15...Be6? to 16.N×g5!. 15...N×g3 16.h×g3 Be6
17.d4 f6 18.Bb3 White has a slight advantage, which he is hoping to convert in the endgame.
18...B×b3 19.Q×b3+ Qf7 20.Q×f7+ K×f7 21.Ne3 Rfb8 22.a×b5 a×b5 23.d5 h5 24.Kf1 g4 25.Nh4
Bh6 26.Nef5 Ng8 27.Ke2 Ra4 28.R×a4 b×a4 29.Rb1 Rb3 30.Kd3 a3 31.Kc2 R×b2+ 32.R×b2
a×b2 33.K×b2 Bd2? With 33...Bg5 and 34...B×h4, Black would just have managed to save the draw.
White is winning. His king has more maneuvering space and the black pawns are weak. 34.Kc2 Be1?
35.f3 Ne7 36.N×e7 K×e7 37.f×g4 h×g4 38.Nf5+ Kf7 39.c4 Kg6 40.Kb3 Kg5 41.Ka4 B×g3
Keres 4½, Reshevsky 3½ (+3 -2 =3)
Two brawlers of the worst kind, who are afraid of nothing and are fairly evenly matched. Remarkably
enough, it is Keres, the younger of the two, who usually shows himself the more levelheaded player –
he already showed maturity at a young age – whereas the prodigy Reshevsky does not seems likely to
settle down any time soon.
(45) Keres – Reshevsky
Queen’s Pawn Game [D02]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3 Bg4 6.Nbd2 e6 7.Qa4 A kind of reversed Cambridge
Springs, but with the dark-square bishop on f4 instead of c1. 7...B×f3 8.N×f3 Qb6 9.Rb1 Be7
10.Bd3 0-0 11.0-0 Rfd8 12.Bg3 Better is 12.h3. 12...Rac8 13.Ne5 Nh5 14.Qc2 g6 15.N×c6 Q×c6
16.Be5 f6 17.Bg3 White has wasted quite a few tempos, so there is no question of an opening
advantage. On the contrary: Black is better, although – partly because of the opposite-color bishops –
his advantage will most certainly not be enough to win. 17...N×g3 18.h×g3 Kg7 19.g4 e5 20.Qe2
Qe6 21.Rbe1 Rc7 22.f3 Rh8 23.Bc2 White is maneuvering extremely badly and is continually forced
to make fresh concessions. 23...Qb6 24.d×e5 f×e5 25.b3 c4 26.Qd2 Rd8 27.Kh1 c×b3 28.B×b3
After 28.a×b3 Qc5, White is no longer able to cover the c-pawn. 28...Qa5 29.Rc1? (D)
A truly elementary mistake. With 29.Rd1, White is still able to made a draw. 29...d4 30.e×d4 e×d4
31.Rfd1 d×c3 Black has not only won a pawn, but has also created a strong passed pawn. 32.Qe3
R×d1+ 33.R×d1 Qg5! 34.Qd4+ Kh6 35.Qf2 Qh4+ 36.Q×h4+ B×h4 37.Kh2 Bg5 38.Bc2 Re7
39.Rd3 Bd2 40.Kg3 Re2 0-1 There inevitably follows Bd2-e1(+) and c3-c2. Keres, who went on to
win the elite tournament of Baden, is completely unrecognizable in this game.
(46) Keres – Reshevsky
Stockholm Olympiad 1937
Ruy Lopez [C90]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.d4 Qc7
11.a4! b4 Slightly better is 11...Bb7. 12.c×b4 c×b4 13.h3 0-0 14.Nbd2 Be6 15.Nf1 Rfc8 16.Ne3 g6
17.b3 Nh5 18.Bb2 Bf6 19.Rc1 e×d4 20.N×d4 20.B×d4 was impossible in view of 29...B×b3!.
20...Qd7 21.Rb1 Rc5 22.Ndf5! B×f5 White has gradually succeeded in setting up an attack: 22...g×f5
is now met by 23.e×f5!. 23.e×f5 B×b2 24.R×b2 Re8 25.Bd3 Qc6 26.Qg4 Qb6 Better is 26...Rc3!
(27.Q×b4 R×d3 28.Q×a5 Nf4!). 27.Rbe2 Rce5 28.f×g6 h×g6 29.B×g6! (D)
A promising sacrifice. 29...f×g6 30.Q×g6+ Kh8? This loses. While it is true that 30...Ng7 is not
good either in view of 31.Nf5!, Black would have been able to hold with 30...Kf8 31.Nd5 Qc5
32.R×e5 R×e5 33.R×e5 d×e5 34.Qf5+, with equal chances. 31.Nf5 R8e6 Black is unable to rescue
the knight. 32.Q×h5+ Kg8 33.Qg5+ Kf8 34.Qg7+ Ke8 35.N×d6+ Q×d6 36.R×e5 R×e5 37.R×e5+
Kd8 38.R×a5 Qd1+ 39.Kh2 Qd6+ 40.Qe5 Q×e5+ 41.R×e5 1-0
(47) Reshevsky – Keres
Queen’s Indian Defense [E16]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 B×d2+ 7.Q×d2 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.Qc2 Nbd7
10.Nc3 Qe7 11.e4 Rac8 12.Rfe1 e5 13.Rad1 White has some slight superiority in the center, but
there is little he can do with it, since Black also has enough of a foothold there. 13...Qa4 14.Qa4
Stronger is 14.Nh4, possibly followed by 15.f4. 14...Rc7 Indirectly covering the a-pawn. 15.Qa3
Re8 16.b3 g6 17.d×e5 A simplification that fails to yield anything. 17...d×e5 18.Q×e7 R×e7 19.Bh3
Bc8 20.b4 Nf8 21.B×c8 R×c8 22.Rd6 Ne8 23.Rd3 (D)
White cannot undertake anything along the d-file, since Black will be able to provide sufficient cover
for the d7-and d8-squares. 23...f6 24.Red1 Kf7 25.a4 Ke6 26.Rd8 Rec7 27.Kf1 Ke7 28.R8d3 Rd7
29.R×d7+ N×d7 Black is even slightly better now, because d4 constitutes a weakness for White.
30.Ke2 Nd6 31.Nd2 Nf8 32.Ra1 Ne6 33.a5 b5 34.c×b5 Nd4+ 35.Kd3 c×b5 36.Rc1 Ke6 37.Ne2
Nc6 38.Rb1 Rd8 39.Kc3 f5! 40.e×f5+ g×f5 41.f3 Rc8 42.Kd3 Ne8 43.Nc3 Nf6 44.Rb2 Not
44.N×b5 in view of 44...Nd5!. 44...a6 45.g4? (D)
With this move White digs his own grave. But even without this error, Black still has excellent
winning chances. 45...e4+! Not 45...f×g4 46.f×g4 N×g4 47.Nde4!, with counterplay for White.
46.f×e4 Ne5+ 47.Kc2 f×g4 48.Kb3 Nc4 49.N×c4 R×c4 50.Re2 Ke5 51.Re1 h5 The majority on the
very edge of the kingside is decisive. 52.Rd1 h4 53.Rd8 g3 54.h×g3 h×g3 55.Rd3 g2 56.Ne2 56.Rg3
is met by 56...R×c3+. 56...R×e4 57.Ng1 Re1 0-1
(48) Keres – Reshevsky
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D29]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.B×c4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Qe2 b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.Rd1 Nbd7 10.a4
b4 Better than 10...c4, after which White will be able to execute the central advance e3-e4 to greater
effect later. 11.Nbd2 Qc7 12.Nc4 Be7 13.Nfe5 White’s position is slightly better, because his
knights are positioned more actively. 13...0-0 14.Bd2 Rac8 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.a5 Unnecessarily
weakening the white position. 16...Bd5 17.N×d7 N×d7 18.e4 B×c4 19.B×c4 Q×a5 20.Ra1 Qc7
This leads to a serious disadvantage; correct is 21.B×a6. 21...a5! Now Black remains a pawn up in a
good position. 22.Be3 White is playing for opposite-color bishops, but this will not help him.
22...N×c5 23.B×c5 B×c5 24.b3 Bd4 25.Rac1 a4! As always, Reshevsky is acting very vigorously.
26.b×a4 b3 27.g3 b2 28.Rc2 B×f2+! (D)
Beautiful play: Now 29.K×f2 fails to 29...R×d1 30.Q×d1 Qb6+ etc. 29.Kg2 Bd4 30.Bb3 Bc3 31.Rf1
Qb7 32.Ba2 Rd4 Black captures another few pawns, which will settle the issue. 33.Rf3 R×a4
34.Bb1 R×e4 35.Qd3 Rd4 36.Qe3 Rdc4 37.Kh3 Bd4 38.Qd3 R×c2 39.B×c2 R×c2 40.Q×d4 Rc8
41.Rd3 h6 0-1
(49) Keres – Reshevsky
Sicilian Defense [B70]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 c×d4 4.N×d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5 This continuation is only promising if Black
has not yet played ...g7-g6 (Richter variation). 6...Bg7 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.Nb3 0-0 9.Bh6 a5 10.B×g7
K×g7 11.a4 Be6 12.Nd4 N×d4 13.Q×d4 Qc7 Black has nothing to fear. 14.Be2 Rac8 15.0-0-0 Qc5
16.Q×c5 R×c5 17.Rd4 Rfc8 18.Kb1 d5 19.Bd3 d×e4 20.N×e4 N×e4 21.B×e4 f5 ½-½
(50) Keres – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C79]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.B×c6+ b×c6 7.d4 N×e4 8.Re1 f5 9.d×e5 d5
10.Nd4! c5? A serious mistake. With 10...Bc5 Black could have preserved the balance. 11.Ne2 c6
12.Nf4 With the threat of 13.Qh5+. 12...g6 13.c4! d4 13...d×c4 would also have been met by 14.Qa4.
14.Qa4 Bb7 (D)
15.f3! Ng5 16.h4! Nf7 17.e6 Q×h4 After 17...Nh6 or Nd6, White plays 18.e7! B×e7 19.Nd5 etc.
18.e×f7+ K×f7 19.Nd3 Bd6 Black can thrash around for a bit longer, but he is no longer able to offer
serious resistance. 20.f4 Rae8 21.Qd1 g5 22.Nd2 g4 23.Nf1 Re4 24.Nf2 R×e1 25.Q×e1 Re8
26.Qd1 Qh6 27.Nd3 Bc8 28.Bd2 Qh4 29.Qc2 Re2 30.Re1 R×e1 31.B×e1 Qe7 32.Qd2 h5
33.Ne5+ Kg7 34.Qe2 h4 35.Nd2 Bd7 36.Nb3 Be8 37.Nc1 Bf7 38.b3 Bh5 39.Ncd3 Kh6 40.g3 h3
41.Qb2 Be8 42.Qa3 Qa7 43.Qa5 Be7 44.Bd2 1-0
(51) Reshevsky – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E47]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 d6 6.Nge2 e5 7.0-0 Re8 8.Ng3 B×c3 9.b×c3 c5 Both
players have gone for a fairly tame setup. White has some attacking chances by way of compensation
for his doubled pawns. 10.Qc2 h6 11.d5 Nbd7 12.f4 e×f4 13.e×f4 Nf8 14.Bd2 Bd7 15.h3 a6 16.a4
b5 The correct way to create counterplay. 17.a×b5 a×b5 18.R×a8 Q×a8 19.c×b5 N×d5 20.Ne4 Qb8
21.f5 Nh7 22.c4 Nb4 23.B×b4 c×b4 24.Qf2 d5! After liquidation, this will lead to complete
equality. 25.c×d5 B×b5 26.Qd4 B×d3 27.Q×d3 Qb6+ 28.Kh1 Nf6 29.N×f6+ Q×f6 30.d6 Rd8
31.Rd1 b3! (D)
Securing the draw. There is nothing left to play for. 32.Q×b3 Q×f5 33.Qb6 Rd7 34.Qd4 Qe6
35.Qd3 Qg6 36.Qb5 Qe6 37.Qc6 Kh7 38.Qc2+ Qg6 39.Qd2 Qe6 40.Qf4 Qg6 41.h4 Qe6 42.h5
Kg8 43.Rd4 Kh7 44.Kh2 Kg8 45.Rd2 Kh7 46.Rd4 Kg8 47.Rd1 Kh7 ½-½
(52) Keres – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C90]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5
11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.Nf1 Be6 13.Ne3 d5 This advance will yield Black at least equality. 14.e×d5 N×d5
15.N×d5 Q×d5 16.Qe2 Bf6 16...f6 is met by 17.d4 c×d4 18.Bb3 Qd6 19.B×e6+ Q×e6 20.c×d4, with
initiative for White. 17.Bg5 B×g5 18.N×g5 Bf5 19.Ne4 Rad8 Better is the simple 19...B×e4.
Forcing a liquidation that favors White. 20...Q×d3 21.Q×d3 R×d3 22.N×c5 Rd2 23.N×a6 R×b2
24.Rad1 Na5 25.R×e5 N×b3 Black cannot maintain material equality. 26.R×f5 R×a2 27.Nb4 Re2
28.R×b5 Rfe8 29.Nd3 Nd2 30.Rb2 Nc4 31.R×e2 R×e2 32.Re1 R×e1+ 33.N×e1 (D)
A difficult endgame that Reshevsky miraculously steers to a draw. It is almost unbelievable that there
should not be more in it for White, but at the same time it is hard to see where Keres might have made
a mistake. 33...Kf8 34.Kf1 Ke7 35.Ke2 Kd6 36.Nc2 Ke5 37.Ne3 Nb2 38.Nd1 Na4 39.Kd3 Kd5
40.Ne3+ Kc5 41.Nf5 g6 42.Nh6 f5 43.Nf7 Kd5 44.Ng5 Nc5+ 45.Ke3 h6 46.Nf3 g5 47.g3 Ne4
48.Nd4 N×c3 49.N×f5 It seems as if the last exchange has improved White’s chances, but the rest of
the game shows that this is not the case. 49...h5 50.Ng7 h4 51.g×h4 g×h4 52.f4 h3 53.Nf5 Ke6
54.Ng3 Kd5 55.Kf3 Kd4 56.Nh1 Nd1 57.Nf2 Ne3! The virtuoso Reshevsky at work: 58.N×h3 will
be met by 58... Nf1 59.Kg2 Ne3+ 60.Kf2 Ke4, with a draw. 58.Kg3 Kd5 59.K×h3 Ke6 60.Kg3 Kf5
Unbelievable! Despite his two extra pawns, White will no longer be able to win.61.Kf3 Nf1 62.h3
Nd2+ 63.Ke2 Nc4 64.Kd3? This will cost White his f-pawn, but 64.Nd3 Ke4 or 64.Kf3 Nd2+ yields
nothing either. 64...Nb6 ½-½ In view of the fact that 65.Ke3 will be met by 65.Nd5+.
Keres 9½, Euwe 9½ (+7 -7 =5)
Keres is a sharp combination player who is not afraid of even the greatest complications and always
fights with the motto “All or nothing.” My abilities are of a more strategic kind, but while Keres’
combinative powers had not yet reached their peak, I was able to best him. This superiority did not
last long, though. Keres was already an accomplished grandmaster at 21 years of age, and from that
time on the only question in our encounters was which was going to play the pivotal role, tactics or
strategy. However, since it is usually easier for the tactician to steer the fight into the area of tactics
than for the strategist to fight the battle on strategic grounds, Keres was bound to come out on top in
the long run.
(53) Keres – Euwe
French Defense [C02]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 c×d4 5.Q×d4 Nc6 6.Qf4 White is going for a sharp set-up that is
dangerous for both players. 6...f5 7.Bd3 Nge7 8.0-0 Ng6 9.Qg3 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.a3 Nb8
Intending possibly to transfer this knight to e4 via d7 and c5. 12.Nbd2 a5 13.Nb3 Na6 14.a4 Nb4
15.Nfd4 Bd7 16.Bb5 Nc6 Black is unable to execute his plan; the knight has returned to c6 again.
17.c4? Correct is 17.c3. 17...N×d4 18.N×d4 Bc5 19.Qd3 B×b5 20.N×b5 (D)
Not 20.c×b5 in view of 20...Qb6, and not 20.a×b5 in view of 20...d×c4. 20...Qh4 Launching a sharp
attack. 21.Qf1 Rad8 22.Be3 d4 23.Bd2 d3 24.b3 f4 A decisive reinforcement of the attack. 25.Re4
Rf5 26.Rae1 Rh5 27.h3 Rg5 28.Nd6 Q×h3 29.B×f4 N×f4 30.R×f4 Qg3! 31.Rfe4 Rh5 0-1 (D)
(54) Keres – Euwe
Stockholm Olympiad, 1937
Ruy Lopez [C83]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Be3
Na5 11.Nd4 0–0 12.f3 Nc5 12...N×b3? would lose a piece (13. 13.N×b3 Ng5 14.h4). 13.f4 Nc×b3
14.N×b3 Nc4 15.Bd4 Bf5 Not 15...N×b2 in view of 16.Qc2, followed by 17.f5. 16.Rf2 a5! 17.Nc5
a4 18.Qc1 Qe8 19.Nd2 Qc6 20.b4 a×b3 21.Nd×b3 (D)
Attack and counter-attack more or less balance each other out. 21...Ra3 22.g4? Be4? Black should
play 22...B×g4, since 23.f5? would have failed to 23...B×f5 (24.R×f5 Qg6+). 23.f5 Bh4 24.N×e4
d×e4 25.Rg2? Correct is 25.Re2 in order to prevent the advance of the black e-pawn. 25...Rfa8!
26.Nc5 Not 26.Qf4 in view of 26...R×b3, and not 26.g5 in view of 26...e3!. But the text move is not
satisfactory either, since it will cost a pawn. 26...N×e5 27.B×e5 Q×c5+ 28.Bd4 Qd5 29.Qf4 c5 (D)
Black is already winning. 30.B×g7 K×g7 31.g5 R×c3 32.Q×h4 Q×f5 33.Qh6+ Kg8 34.Qc6 Rd8
35.Q×b5 Rcd3 36.Rf1 Rd1 37.Rgf2 37.Qe2 is more tenacious. 37...Qg4+ 38.Kh1 e3 39.R×f7 e2
40.Qb3 R×f1+ 41.R×f1+ c4 0-1
(55) Keres – Euwe
Réti Opening [A09]
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3 Nc6 4.e×d4! N×d4 5.N×d4 Q×d4 6.Nc3 Bg4? Better is 6...Nf6. 7.Qa4+ c6?
Correct is 7...Bd7; the text move will quickly result in a losing position. 8.d3 Nf6 9.Be3 Qd7 10.d4
e6 11.f3 Bf5 12.0-0-0 Bd6 13.g4 Bg6 14.h4 h5 15.g5 Nh7 16.c5 Be7 17.d5! (D)
The decisive breakthrough. Black cannot play 17...e×d5 in view of 18.N×d5 c×d5? 19.Bb5, etc.
17...0-0 18.d×c6 Q×c6 19.Q×c6 b×c6 20.Rd7 The endgame is completely winning for White.
20...Rfe8 21.Ba6 This will lead to the loss of the black c6-pawn, after which the rest is simple.
21...e5 22.Rc7 Nf8 23.Bb7 Rab8 24.B×c6 Ne6 25.B×e8 N×c7 26.Bd7 a5 27.c6 Rb4 28.b3 f6
29.Kb2 f×g5 30.h×g5 Bf7 31.Rd1 Rh4 32.Rd2 Rh1 33.f4 Bb4 34.f×e5 Bg6 35.a3 B×c3+ 36.K×c3
h4 37.e6 Re1 38.Kd4 Kf8 39.Bf2 N×e6+ 40.Kd5 Nc7+ 41.Kc5 1-0
(56) Euwe – Keres
Dutch Defense [A84]
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Nc3 f5 4.Qb3 Qe7 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.Q×c3 Nf6 7.g3 d6 8.Nf3 b6 9.Bg2 Bb7 10.0-
0 Nbd7 11.b4 0-0 11...e5 is met very strongly by 12.d×e5 d×e5 13.Nh4. 12.Bb2 Rac8 13.Rfd1 c5
14.d×c5 b×c5 15.Qd3 Nb6 Indirectly covering the pawn on d6. 16.b5 Rfd8 17.a4 d5 18.c×d5 R×d5?
After 18...Nf×d5 Black is slightly better. Now White is able to get back into the game and take the
initiative. 19.Qc2 R×d1+ 20.Q×d1 Nc4 21.Bc1 e5 Better is 21...Ne4!. 22.Qb3 Bd5 23.Nd2 e4
24.N×c4 Qe6 25.Bh3 B×c4 26.Qc2 Bd5 27.a5 Now White is vastly superior: he has the bishop pair
and a pawn majority on the queenside. 27...Bb7 28.Bb2 Nd5 29.Qc4 h5 30.e3 Kh7 31.Rd1 g6
32.Bf1 Rc7 33.Qb3 Rd7 34.Bc4 Kh6 35.h4? After 35.Ba1, threatening 36.Qb2, White has an easy
win. 35...f4! Black’s best counter-chance. 36.e×f4? (D)
After 36.B×d5 R×d5 37.R×d5 Q×d5 38.Q×d5 B×d5 39.g×f4, White should still win. 36...e3!
37.B×d5 Or 37.f×e3 Qg4!. 37...e2! The beautiful point. Now 38.B×e6 is followed by mate in another
few moves. 38.Re1 38...Q×d5 39.Q×d5 R×d5 40.f3 Rd1 ½-½ And a draw was agreed in view of
41.Kf2 B×f3 42.Ba3 Bg4 43.B×c5 Rd5 44.B×a7 R×b5, and White’s extra pawn is worthless.
(57) Keres – Euwe
Réti Opening [A12]
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.b3 Bf5 4.Bb2 e6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.0-0 h6 8.d3 Bc5 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Qc2
Qe7 A set-up with good chances for both players, but one that requires accurate maneuvering. 11.e4
d×e4 12.d×e4 Bh7 13.a3 a5 14.h3 Bb6 15.Bc3 Nc5 16.Ne5 Rfd8 17.b4 R×d2 (D)
Black goes for a liquidation that leads to a roughly equal position. 18.Q×d2 Not 18.B×d2 in view of
18... Nc×e4 19.Qb2 Rd8! 20.Be3 B×e3 21.f×e3 Rd2! etc. 18...Nb3 19.Qe1 N×a1 20.B×a1 a×b4
21.a×b4 c5 22.b5 Bc7 23.Nd3 With 23.Bb2 White retains a slight advantage. The text move will
soon lead to an absolutely drawn position. 23...e5 24.Qe3 Nd7 25.Bb2 f6 26.Rc1 Bg6 27.Bf1 Bf7
28.Ne1 Nf8 29.Qd3 Ne6 30.Ng2 Nd4 31.Ne3 Ra2 32.Qb1 Ra8 33.Rc3 Qd7 34.Ra3 R×a3 35.B×a3
Nf3+ 36.Kg2 Ng5 37.Nf5 b6 38.Qd3 ½-½
(58) Euwe – Keres
Match (1), Netherlands 1939-40
Ruy Lopez [C91]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4 9.h3 is usually
preferred. 9...Bg4 10.d5 Na5 11.Bc2 Ne8 Better is 11...c6; see Game 64. 12.Nbd2 g6 13.a4 More
accurate is 13.b4, and only then 14.a4. 13...c5! 14.d×c6 b4 15.Nf1 N×c6 16.Bh6 Ng7 17.Ne3 Be6
18.c×b4 Rb8 An artificial maneuver: 18...N×b4 is simpler. 19.b5! a×b5 20.a×b5 R×b5 21.Ba4 Rc5
21...Rb6 would be met by 22.Nd5 B×d5 23.e×d5 Nb4 24.Be3, and White is better in view of having
the bishop pair. After the text move, White could also have played 22.Nd5 to good effect, e.g. 22...
Nd5 B×d5 23.e×d5 Nb4 24.Be3 R×d5 25.Qb3 Qb8 26.Bd2!. Now Black will have to continue with
26...R×d2, when after 27.N×d2 d5 he will find himself in a slightly inferior position. 22.Qd2 Qb8
23.Rec1 Rc8? Correct is 23...R×c1+ followed by 24...Nb4. 24.R×c5 d×c5 25.B×c6 R×c6 26.Nd5
Bd8 Or 26...B×d5 B×d5 27.Q×d5 Q×b2? 28.Ra8+ Bf8 29.R×f8+! etc. 27.Bg5 Stronger was 27.Qc3!,
maintaining a strong initiative. 27...Rd6! 28.B×d8 (D)
28.Bf6 would have been stronger: 28...B×d5? 29.B×e5! etc., or 28...R×d5 29.e×d5 B×f6 30.d×e6
N×e6, and White can still play for a win. 28...Q×d8 29.N×e5 29.Nf6+ would not lead anywhere:
29... Kh8 30.Qh6 Rd1+ 31.Ne1 R×e1+, etc. In addition, 29.Qh6 fails to 29...B×d5 30.Ng5 Ba2!.
29...B×d5 30.e×d5 R×d5 31.Qe1 ½-½
(59) Keres – Euwe
Match (2), Netherlands 1939-40
Ruy Lopez [C83]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.c3 Be7
10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Qe1 A harmless novelty. 11...Nc5 12.Nd4 Qd7 13.Bc2 f6 Equalizing the position.
14.N×e6 N×e6 15.Nf3 f×e5 16.N×e5 N×e5 17.Q×e5 Bd6 18.Qh5 g6 19.Qh3 Rf7 20.Bh6 Bf4
21.Rae1 B×h6 22.Q×h6 Nf4 23.g3 Raf8 24.f3 After 24.g×f4 Q×g4 it would have been a draw at
once. 24...Nh5 25.Qe3 Ng7 26.f4 Re8 27.Qd2 Rfe7 28.R×e7 R×e7 29.f5! (D)
An interesting pawn sacrifice. 29...g×f5 30.Qg5 Re5 31.Qf6 Qe8 32.B×f5 N×f5 33.R×f5 R×f5
34.Q×f5 Now the draw is an accomplished fact. 34...Qe3+ 35.Kg2 c6 36.Kh3 Qh6+ 37.Kg2 Qd2+
38.Qf2 Qd3 39.Kh3 Qc4 40.Qf6 Q×a2 41.Q×c6 ½-½
(60) Euwe – Keres
Match (3), Netherlands 1939-40
Ruy Lopez [C87]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.Re1 Bd7 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 0-0 9.Nbd2 e×d4
10.c×d4 Nb4 11.Bb3
See Game 34, in which Black played 11.B×d7. 11...c5 12.Nf1 Bb5 13.Ng3 d5 Simpler is 13...c4
14.Bc2 N×c2 15.Q×c2 d5, with approximately equal chances. 4.e5 Ne4? Better was 14...Ne8.
15.N×e4 d×e4 16.R×e4 Bd3 17.Re3 c4 18.a3 (D)
This leads to a liquidation that results in White not only getting an extra pawn, but also attacking
chances. 18...c×b3 After 18...Nd5 White has a very strong reply in 19.R×d3. 19.a×b4 Bc4 20.Nd2!
Bd5 Not 20...Q×d4? in view of 21.Re4. 21.N×b3 B×b4 22.Rg3! f6 23.Bf4 Kh8 24.Nc1 Be7 25.Qg4
g6 26.e×f6 B×f6 27.Be5 Rc8 28.Nd3 Rc4 28...Rc2 yields Black more chances of counterplay.
29.h4! Qb6 30.Rd1 Rc2 31.h5! (D)
Decisive. 31...B×e5 32.d×e5 Be6 33.Qg5 Bf5 34.h×g6 B×g6 35.Qh6 Rg8 36.Rd2 R×d2 37.Q×d2
Rd8 38.Qh6! Qc6 39.Nf4 Qc1+ 40.Kh2 Kg8 41.R×g6+ h×g6 42.Q×g6+ 1-0 Nothing helps; if
42...Kf8, 43.Ne6+ Ke7 44.Qf6+, or 42...Kh8 43.Qf6+ Kh7 44.Qf7+.
(61) Keres – Euwe
Match (4), Netherlands 1939-40
Ruy Lopez [C84]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.0-0 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.Nd5 Na5 9.N×e7 Q×e7
10.d4 0-0 11.d×e5 d×e5 12.Bg5 Bb7 13.Qe1 N×b3 14.a×b3 h6 15.B×f6 Q×f6 A very quiet set-up
on the part of both players, but now things soon start livening up. 16.Qe3 Qc6 17.Rfe1 f6 Or
17...Q×c2 18.Re2 Qc6 19.N×e5. 18.b4 Qc4 Now 18...Q×c2 runs into 19.Rac1 and 20.R×c7. 19.c3
Rfd8 20.Nd2 Qf7 21.Ra3 Rd6 22.Nb3 Rad8 23.Nc5 (D)
The white knight is far stronger than the black bishop, and if White were to succeed in exchanging
several major pieces, he should win the endgame. 23...Bc8 24.h3 Rd2 25.Re2 Rd1+ 26.Kh2 Qh5!
27.b3 Rb1 28.Nd3! The knight has to return to reinforce the defense: 28.Rd2 fails to 28... R×d2
29.Q×d2 B×h3, and 28.Re1 to 28...R8d1. 28...Be6 29.Rd2 Rd1 30.R×a6 R×d2 31.Q×d2 B×b3
32.Qe3 Qd1 The just-completed liquidation has weakened the black attack, but White’s positional
advantage has likewise been reduced (a6-pawn has gone). 33.Nc5 Bc4 34.Ra7 Rc8 35.Qg3 Qd6
36.Ra6 Qe7 37.Qe3 Rd8 38.Ra7 Kf8 39.Qc1 Qd6 40.Nb7 Qd2 41.Q×d2 R×d2 The endgame is
completely equal. 42.Ra8+ Ke7 43.Rc8 R×f2 44.R×c7+ Kf8 45.Nd6 Bd3 46.Kg3 Rc2 47.Kg4
Better is 47.Kf3 Bc4 48.N×c4 R×c3+ 49.Ke2 b×c4, and despite Black’s extra pawn, the endgame
results in a draw. 47...R×g2+ 48.Kf5 Kg8 49.Rc5? Even now White could still force a draw with
49.c4! (49... b×c4 50.b5 Rb2 51.Kg6 Rg2+ 52.Kf5, etc.). 49...h5 50.c4 Too late, but White’s position
was already bad: 50.N×b5 Rf2+ 51.Ke6 (51.Kg6? B×e4+ 52.K×h5 Rg2) 51...B×e4, and the black
pawns are more dangerous than the white ones. 50...b×c4 51.b5 Rb2 52.Kg6 Rg2+ 53.Kf5 Bf1! (D)
54.b6? White’s only chance is 54.Ke6. 54...Rb2 55.Kg6 Not 55.b7 in view of 55...B×h3+, and White
will be mated in six moves. 55...B×h3 56.K×h5 Be6 Threatening mate again, in two moves this time.
57.Nf5 R×b6 58.Rc7 B×f5 59.e×f5 Rb2 60.R×c4 Rg2 0-1
(62) Euwe – Keres
Match (5), Netherlands 1939-40
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 Nc6 7.e3 Re8 8.Bd3 e5! 9.d5? Now White
will have an inferior position. Correct is 9.d×e5. 9...e4! (D)
A beautiful intermediate move. 10.d×c6 Other moves quickly lead to a win for Black, for example:
10.B×e4 B×c3+ 11.Q×c3 g5!, or 10.Be2 Ne5! 11.B×f6 Q×f6 12.Q×e4? B×c3+ 13.b×c3 Nf3+!.
10...e×d3 11.Q×d3 d×c6! 12.Q×d8 B×c3+! 13.Qd2 13.b×c3 R×d8 14.B×f6 g×f6 also leads to a
large advantage for Black (15.Nf3 Be6 16.Nd2 Rd3). 13...B×d2+ 14.K×d2 Ne4+ 15.Ke2 Be6
16.Rc1 g5 17.Bg3 Rad8 18.Nf3 c5! Threatening to win at once with 18...g4. 19.Rhd1 After 19.B×c7
Rd7 20.Ba5 b6 21.Be1 Red8 White is in a very difficult situation. 19...R×d1 20.K×d1 g4! 21.Ng1?
White’s best option is 21.Nh4 Rd8+ 22.Ke1, and now 22...Rd2? fails to 23.f3!. This still yields
White some drawing chances. After the text move, it is curtains. 21...Rd8+ 22.Ke1 Rd2 23.f3 R×g2!
The point. 24.f×e4 R×g1+ 25.Kd2 R×c1 26.K×c1 B×c4 27.b3 Bd3 28.B×c7 h5 29.Kd2 Bb1 30.Kc3
h4! 31.a4 B×e4 32.Kc4 b6 33.a5 b×a5 34.K×c5 Bc2 35.Kb5 B×b3 36.K×a5 Kg7 37.Ka6 Kg6 38.e4
g3! 39.h×g3 h3 40.g4 Kg5 0-1
(63) Keres – Euwe
Match (6), Netherlands 1939-40
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E33]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 0-0 Better is 5...d6. 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 d6 8.e3 Qe7
9.Be2 e5 10.d5 Nb8 11.Nd2! Nbd7 12.0-0 a5 13.Rae1 Re8 14.f4 B×c3 15.Q×c3 Ne4 This provides
some relief, but it fails to lead to complete equality. 16.N×e4 Q×h4 17.g3 Qe7 18.Bg4 Nf6
19.N×f6+ Q×f6 20.B×c8 Ra×c8 21.Rf2 b6 22.Ref1 Qg6 23.f5 Qf6 24.e4 (D)
Now an interesting strategic battle breaks out; White will try to eventually play the advance g4-g5,
and Black cannot afford to stand idly by. 24...c6 25.d×c6 R×c6 26.a4 Kf8 27.Rd1 Rec8 28.b3 Ke7
29.Qf3 Kd7 30.h4 Kc7 31.Kf1 Kb7 32.Ke2 For reasons of safety, both kings repair to the other
wing: you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. 32...R8c7 33.Rh2 Qd8 34.g4 f6 35.Rg2
Rc8 36.Rg3 Qd7 37.Qd3 Qf7 38.Rh1 Rh8 39.Rhh3 Rcc8 Black need not fear 40.Q×d6 (40...Rhd8
and 41...Rd4). 40.g5! (D)
The strategic high point of the game. 40...h×g5 41.h×g5 Qc7 42.Qd5+ Ka7 43.Rd3 R×h3? 43...f×g5!
yields good drawing chances (44.R×h8 R×h8 45.Q×d6 Q×d6 46.R×d6 Rh4). 44.R×h3 f×g5 45.Rh7
Qe7 46.Kf3 Rf8 47.Kg4 Rf7 48.b4! Very beautiful play. Black is totally paralyzed on the kingside,
which is why White now starts an action on the other wing. 48...a×b4 49.a5 Qb7 After 49...b×a5
50.Q×a5+ Kb7 51.Q×b4+ Kc7 52.Qa5+ Kb7 53.Rh3, Black is hopelessly lost. 50.a×b6+ K×b6
51.Q×d6+ Ka7 52.Q×e5 b3 53.Rh3! Decisive. 53...Rf6 54.Qd4+ Rb6 55.R×b3 1-0
(64) Euwe – Keres
Match (7), Netherlands 1939-40
Ruy Lopez [C91]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4 Bg4 10.d5 Na5
11.Bc2 c6 Compare Game 58, in which Black played 11...Ne8. 12.d×c6 N×c6 13.Nbd2 b4 14.Ba4
An attempt to refute Black’s set-up that founders on Black’s fine counterplay. 14...Rc8 15.B×c6 b×c3
16.Bb7 c×d2 17.B×d2 Rb8 18.B×a6 d5! (D)
The point of the black defense. 19.Be2 B×f3 20.g×f3 Bc5 20...R×b2 21.Bc3 would favor White.
21.Rb1 d×e4 Now 22.f×e4 will not work in view of 22...B×f2+!. 22.Be3 Bd4 23.B×d4 e×d4 24.Bf1
Qd5 A difficult position. White has two connected passed pawns, but his kingside has been
weakened. 25.f×e4 N×e4 26.Qf3 f5 27.b3 Qa8 28.a4 Rb6 29.Rbd1 Qa5?? (D)
A gross error. Correct is 29...Rg6+ 30.Bg2. 30.Bc4+ 1-0 30...Kh8 is met decisively by 31.R×e4.
(65) Keres – Euwe
Match (8), Netherlands 1939-40
Slav Defense [D10]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 d×c4 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 e×d4 6.Q×d4 The sacrifice 6.B×c4 (from the sixth match
game, Alekhine-Euwe 1937) is not correct: 6... d×c3 7.B×f7+ Ke7 8.Qb3 c×b2 9.B×b2 Qb6
(10.B×g8 R×g8!). 6...Q×d4 7.N×d4 Bc5 8.Be3 Nf6 9.f3 White is marginally better: he will at any
rate win back the gambit pawn. 9...b5 10.a4 b4 11.Nd1 Ba6 12.Rc1 Nfd7 13.f4 0-0 14.B×c4 Re8
15.Nf2 B×d4 16.B×d4 B×c4 17.R×c4 c5 18.Be3 Not 18.B×c5 in view of 18...Rc8 19.Nd3 Na6.
18...Nb6 19.R×c5 N×a4 20.Rc2! Nd7 (D)
It seems as if Black has a satisfactory position, but in reality he is almost lost, since his queenside
pawns are weak and his knights are kept in check by the bishop. 21.Ke2 a5 22.Rd1 Nab6 23.b3 a4
This costs a piece, but it is the only way for Black to create counterplay. 24.b×a4 R×a4 25.Rc6
Ra2+ 26.Ke1 Also winning is 26.Kf1, as we will soon find out. 26...f5 27.e5 N×e5 28.f×e5 R×e5
29.Rd8+ Or 29.R×b6 R×e3+ 30.Kf1 Ree2, with a draw. 29...Kf7 30.Rc7+ Kg6 31.Rd6+ Kh5
Very beautifully played. 32...Kh4? With 32...f×g4 Black would just have succeeded in securing the
draw (33.Nd1 Ra1! 34.Kd2 Nd5). 33.R×g7 R×e3+ 34.Kf1 h5 35.Rh6! 1-0 The mate cannot be
parried without considerably material sacrifices. An exceptional finale.
(66) Euwe – Keres
Match (9), Netherlands 1939-40
Queen’s Indian Defense [E19]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Qc2 N×c3 9.Q×c3 d6 In
Game 70, Black continued even more strongly with 9...Be4. 10.Qc2 f5 11.Ne1 Qc8 12.e4 Nd7 13.d5
A slight inaccuracy. Correct is 13.e×f5 e×f5 14.d5. 13...f×e4 14.Q×e4 14.Bex4 is simply met by
14...Nf6. 14...Nc5 15.Qe2 Bf6 16.Bh3 Re8 17.Be3 Qd8 18.B×c5 e×d5! (D)
Intending to meet 19.Be3 with 19...d4, after which Black retains a slight advantage. 19.Be6+? This
move costs at least a pawn. 19...Kh8 20.Rd1 d×c5 21.Ng2 d4? Correct is 21...Qe7. 22.f4? Now
22.Re1 still causes problems for Black. 22...d3! The start of a magnificent combination. 23.R×d3
Q×d3! 24.Q×d3 Bd4+ 25.Rf2 After 25.Kh1 R×e6, the knight soon falls. 25...R×e6 26.Kf1 Rae8
27.f5 Re5 28.f6 (D)
An attempt to create some breathing space. 28...g×f6 29.Rd2 Bc8 30.Nf4 Re3 31.Qb1 Rf3+ 32.Kg2
R×f4!! Again, beautifully played. 33.g×f4 Rg8+ 34.Kf3 Bg4+ 0–1 35.Ke4 Re8+ 36.Kd5 Bf3+
(67) Keres – Euwe
Match (10), Netherlands 1939-40
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E33]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.e3 e5 The central action that is characteristic of the Zurich
variation. However, if Black does not execute this advance after the “official” preparation and in the
“official” move order (5...d6 6.a3 B×c3+ 7.Q×c3 0–0 8.b4 e5), we speak of the Half-Zurich – see
also Games 62 and 63. 6.d×e5 N×e5 7.Bd2 d6 8.a3 B×c3 9.B×c3 White has gone for an original set-
up, in which he will be able to use his bishop pair to the best effect. 9...0-0 10.Nf3 Nfd7 11.Be2 Qe7
12.Rd1 N×f3+ 13.g×f3 f5 14.Rg1 Rf7 15.Qd2 Nf6 Correct is 15...Nc5. 16.c5! (D)
The winning breakthrough. 16...d5 The only way for Black to prevent a quick loss (if 16...d×c5
17.Qd8+ Ne8 18.Bc4, or 16...Ne8 17.Qd5 c6 18.c×d6!). 17.B×f6 Q×f6 18.Q×d5 Be6 19.Q×b7
Raf8 20.f4 Re7 21.Rd2 Bf7 22.Q×a7 22.Rg3 would have made for a simpler win. 22...Qh4 23.Qb7
R×e3 24.Qg2 g6 25.Qg5 Rh3 26.Q×h4 R×h4 27.Rd4 R×h2 White has won back one pawn, but his
position remains hopeless. The rest is no longer difficult. 28.Bf3 Be8 29.a4 Rf6 30.Rh1 R×h1+
31.B×h1 Kf8 32.Bb7 Bc6 33.B×c6 R×c6 34.b4 Ke7 35.Kd2 h5 36.a5 Ra6 37.Kc3 Ra8 38.c6 Rh8
39.b5 h4 40.b6 c×b6 41.a×b6 h3 42.b7 42.c7 wins even more quickly. 42...h2 43.Rd1 Rd8 44.R×d8
h1Q 45.b8Q Qc1+ 46.Kb4 Qb2+ 47.Ka5 Qc3+ 48.Kb6 Qb4+ 49.Kc7 1-0
(68) Euwe – Keres
Match (11), Netherlands 1939-40
Slav Defense [D13]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.c×d5 c×d5 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bf4 Qa5 In a symmetrical variation like this
one, it is generally speaking not so advisable for the black player to play so aggressively. 7.e3 Ne4
8.Qb3 e6 9.Bd3 Bb4 10.B×e4 d×e4 11.Nd2 0-0 12.0-0 12.N×d4 would be met by 12...e5, followed
by 13...Be6. 12...Qf5 Better is 12...B×c3 followed by 13...f5, since the text move is going to cost
Black a pawn without compensation. 13.Nd×e4 B×c3 14.Ng3! Not 14.N×c3 in view of 14...N×d4!.
14...Qd5 15.b×c3 Na5 16.Qb4 b6 17.e4 Qc6 18.Rfd1 Rd8 19.Rd3 Ba6 20.Rf3 Rd7 21.Nh5 (D)
Risky. The idea behind the text move is 21...Be2 22.Nf6+ g×f6 23.Rg3+ Kh8 24.Bh6 Bh5 25.Bg7+
Kg8 26.Bh6+ Bg6 27.f3, with attacking chances for White. However, Black has a piece for two
pawns. 21...f6? Black should have gone for the above-mentioned variation. Now he is hopelessly
lost. 22.Rg3 Kh8 23.N×g7 Q×e4 Or 23...R×g7 24.R×g7 K×g7 25.Qe7+ Kg8 26.Q×f6!, etc. 24.Nh5
Qf5 25.N×f6 The rest is simple (25...Nc6 26.N×d7 N×b4 27.Be5+). 25...Rf7 26.Be5 Nc6 27.Qd6
N×e5 28.d×e5 Raf8 29.h3 Bc4 30.Rd1 B×a2 31.Qd8 1-0
(69) Keres – Euwe
Match (12), Netherlands 1939-40
Réti Opening [A09]
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.e3 c5 4.B×c4 Nf6 5.0-0 a6 The flank development that now follows is only
really effective in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted; here it only leads to weaknesses. 6.b3 b5 7.Be2
Bb7 8.Bb2 Nbd7 9.a4 Qb6? Better is 9...b4. 10.a×b5 a×b5 11.R×a8+ B×a8 12.Na3 Bc6 13.d4! This
causes the position to be opened up, which underlines White’s lead in development. 13...e6 14.d×c5
B×c5 15.Nd4 B×d4 16.Q×d4 Qb7? The only slight chance of a draw is for Black to exchange
queens. 17.Qb4! (D)
White is completely winning already. Besides having several weaknesses, Black will no longer get
around to castling. 17...Nd5 18.Qd6 Ne7 19.Rc1 b4 20.Nc4 Nf5 21.Qf4 B×g2 If 21...0-0, 22.Na5
naturally follows. 22.Nd6+ N×d6 23.Q×d6 1-0 If 23...Bh3 24.Bf3, or 23...Bh1 24.f3; White also
(70) Euwe – Keres
Match (13), Netherlands 1939-40
Queen’s Indian Defense [E19]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Qc2 N×c3 9.Q×c3 Be4 See
Game 66. 10.Ne1 B×g2 11.N×g2 c6 12.d5 12...e4 can be met very strongly by 12...d5. 12...c×d5
13.c×d5 Na6 14.Nf4 Qc8 15.Qf3 e5 16.d6 (D)
A pawn sacrifice to keep the fight going. 16...B×d6 17.Nh5? Stronger is 17.Nd5; the text move
allows Black to liquidate. 17...Be7 18.Be3 Qc6 19.Q×c6 White has no other option than to exchange,
as otherwise his knight would be in trouble. 19...d×c6 20.g4 Bc5 21.B×c5 N×c5 22.Rac1 a5 23.Rfd1
½-½ and here Keres offered a draw in order to secure match victory. Of course, with restrained play,
Black should win.
(71) Keres – Euwe
Match (14), Netherlands 1939-40
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D28]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 Nf6 5.B×c4 e6 6.0-0 c5 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.Rd1 b5 9.Bb3 c4 10.Bc2
Nb4 11.Nc3 N×c2 12.Q×c2 Nd5 13.b3 Better is 13.e4. 13...c×b3 14.Q×b3 Bb7 15.Ne5 N×c3
16.Q×c3 Rc8 17.Qe1 Bd6 18.Nd3 Too risky: the text move allows the black bishops to swing into
murderous action. 18...Qh4 19.h3 0-0 20.a4 b4 21.N×b4? White should not accept this sacrifice,
which diverts the knight. 21...Bf3! (D)
And now White must not accept the bishop sacrifice (22.g×f3 Q×h3 23.f4? B×b4 24.Q×b4 Qg4+, or
23.Nd3 f5, or 23.e4 Bh2+ 24.Kh1 f5!, in all cases with a winning position for Black). 22.N×a6 f5
23.Ba3 White has no time to rescue the exchange, since Black is threatening 23...Rf6 and 24...Rg6.
23...B×a3 24.R×a3 B×d1 25.Q×d1 f4 26.e4 Qe7 27.Rb3? Better is 27.Rd3 or 27.Qb3. 27...Qd6
28.Qd3 Not 28.Nc5? in view of 28...R×c5!, and not 28.Nb4 in view of 28...Rc4. 28...Rfd8 29.Nb4
Q×d4 30.Q×d4 R×d4 31.Nd3 g5 32.h4 R×a4 33.f3 h6 34.h×g5 h×g5 (D)
Although Black is now a full exchange up, the win will not at all be easy, since White has no
weaknesses and the white knight has a lot of maneuvering space. 35.Rb5 Kf7 Black does not need to
cover g5 (36.R×g5 Ra1+ and mate). 36.Rb7+ Kf6 37.Nf2 Kg6 38.Rb5 Rc1+ 39.Kh2 Raa1 40.Rb2
Rf1 41.Rc2 Kh5 42.Rb2 g4 The only way to effect a breakthrough. 43.f×g4+ Kg5 44.Rc2 Kf6
45.Rb2 Ke5 46.g5 Ra3 47.Nh3 Slightly better is 47.Re2, to continue with 48.Nh3 only after
47...Rg3. 47...K×e4 48.g6 Raa1 49.Nf2+ Kf5 50.g7 Ra8 51.Rb7 Rg8 Or 51...R×f2? 52.Rf7+ and
53.Rf8. 52.Nd3 Kf6 53.Nc5 R×g7 54.R×g7 K×g7 55.N×e6+ Kf6 56.Nc5 Ke5 57.Kh3 Kf5 (D)
This endgame is still just about winning. 58.g4+ Making Black’s job easier; but even 58.Kh2 Rd1
will not offer White any hope in the long term. 58...Ke5 59.Nd3+ Ke4 60.Kg2 Rb1 61.Nc5+ Ke3 0-1
Reshevsky 2, Euwe 2 (+1 -1 =2)
Reshevsky is an agreeable opponent. He is not afraid of anything and will go for any line on offer.
Moreover, he is not an opening specialist, so his opponent does not need to be too afraid of falling
victim to a prepared variation that may bring the game to an untimely end. The result of all this is that
in almost all games a lively middlegame arises, in which one is given every chance to hone his
(72) Euwe – Reshevsky
Queen’s Indian Defense [E16]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 B×d2+ 7.Q×d2 0-0 8.Nc3 d6 8...Ne4 runs
up against the well-known combination 9.Qc2 N×c3 10.Ng5!. 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.0-0 c5 11.Rad1 c×d4
Better is 11...Nbd7. Now White starts exerting strong pressure on d6. 12.N×d4 B×g2 13.K×g2 Rc8
14.Qd3 Nbd7 15.Nf3 Ne5 Solving the weakness d6 at the expense of a pawn minority on the
queenside. 16.N×e5 d×e5 17.Qf3 Rab8 18.b3 a6 19.Ne4 N×e4 20.Q×e4 b5 21.c×b5 R×b5 22.Rc1
Rbc5 23.R×c5 Q×c5 White steers his positional advantage into a major piece endgame that offers
him good winning chances. 24.Rd1 Qb5 25.Rc1 Rd8 26.Rc7 g6 27.Qf3 Rf8 28.Ra7 a5 29.Qd3?
Better is 29.Qc3. 29...Qc5 30.Ra6 Qb4 31.Ra7 Qc5 32.Qe3 Qd5+ 33.Kh3 Time-trouble: better is
33.f3. 33...h5 34.Qc3 Qd1 With 34...Qh1 Black could have forced a draw, but he overlooks this
chance in time-trouble. 35.Kg2 Q×e2 36.R×a5 Qe4+ 37.Qf3 Qc2 38.h4 Rc8 39.Ra7 Rc7 40.R×c7
Q×c7 White has reached the a queen ending and, as a consequence, has increased his winning
chances. 41.Qa8+ Kg7 42.a4 Qb6 Better is 42...Qc3, intending to continue with 43...e4! after 43.a5.
43.a5 Q×b3 44.a6 Qa3 (D)
Black can no longer prevent the a-pawn from promoting; nor will he will he be able to force
perpetual check, for example, 44...Qa2 45.a7 e4 46.Qb7 e3 47.a8Q Q×f2+ 48.Kh3 Qf1+ 49.Kh2! e2
50.Qb2+, etc. 45.a7 e4 46.Qb8 Qf3+ 47.Kg1 Qd1+ 48.Kh2 Qe2 49.Qe5+ 1-0 The try 49...Kh7 is
met simply by 50.Qf6. Also, 49...f6 is insufficient in view of 50.Qc7+ Kh6 51.Qf4+.
(73) Euwe – Reshevsky
Stockholm Olympiad 1937
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D22]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 Bg4 5.B×c4 e6 6.Qb3 B×f3 7.g×f3 b5 8.Be2 Nf6 9.a4 b4 10.a5?
In the hope of being able to capture the b-pawn, but this far too optimistic. Correct was 10.Qc4, with
good play for White. 10...c5 11.d×c5 B×c5 12.Qc4 Qe7 13.b3 0-0 14.Bb2 Nbd7 15.Nd2 Rfc8
16.Qh4 Nd5! Definitely puts to rest all White’s attacking chances. 17.Q×e7 B×e7 18.Nc4?
Removing the protection of the b-pawn and allowing Black to get an advantage through a deep
combination. 18...Nc5 19.e4 Nc3 20.Nb6 N×b3 21.N×c8 R×c8 22.B×a6 Rc5! The point. Black wins
at least a pawn now. 23.0-0 N×a1 24.R×a1 Bd8 25.B×c3 b×c3 26.Bd3 B×a5 The presence of
opposite-color bishops will afford White some drawing chances. 27.Kf1 g5 28.Bc2 Kg7 29.Ke2 Kf6
30.Rh1 h5 31.h4 Bb6 32.h×g5+ K×g5 33.Rg1+ Kf4 34.Rg7 Rc7 35.Rh7 Rd7 36.Bd3 Kg5 37.e5
B×f2 38.K×f2 R×d3 39.R×f7 h4? (D)
Black has shown some excellent play so far, and by eliminating the opposite-colored bishops he has
reached a clearly winning position. The text move, however, is something of a blunder; 39...c2
40.Rc7 Rd2+ 41.Ke3 Rg2 would have been a relatively easy win for him. 40.Rc7 h3 41.Kg3 h2? (D)
Again not the strongest continuation. With 41...Kf5 42.K×h3 R×f3+ 43.Kg2 Rd3 44.Rc5 Ke4 Black
could still have won. 42.K×h2 R×f3 43.Kg2 Rd3 44.Rf7 c2 44...Kg6 would have been met by
45.Rf6+ followed by 46.R×e6. 45.Rc7 Rd2+ 46.Kf3 Kf5 47.Rc5 Rd3+ 48.Kf2 Rd2+ 49.Kf3 Rh2
50.Kg3 Re2 51.Kf3 Rd2 52.Ke3 ½-½
(74) Euwe – Reshevsky
Grünfeld Defense [D70]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.c×d5 N×d5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 0-0 8.f4 Nc6 Black sacrifices
two tempi to open the diagonal for his fianchettoed bishop. 9.d5 Nb8 10.Nf3 Better is 10.a4. Now
White will soon be in trouble. 10...c6 11.Qb3 c×d5 12.N×d5 Or 12.e×d5 B×c3+ 13.b×c3 Q×d5
14.B×b6 Qe4+!, etc. 12...N×d5 13.e×d5 Nd7 14.Be2 Qa5+ 15.Bd2 Qb6 16.Bc3 B×c3+ 17.b×c3
Qe3 White is continually troubled by the fact that he has postponed castling. 18.c4 A virtually forced
pawn sacrifice. 18...Q×f4 19.0-0 Qc7 20.Kh1 Nf6 21.Qe3 Bg4 22.Qh6 22.Ne5 would have given
White better chances. 22...B×f3 23.R×f3 b5! Undermining the white pawn structure. 24.c×b5 Qe5!
Very subtle. 25.Re1 N×d5 26.Rh3 Qg7 White’s attack has been beaten off, but he still has chances on
the queenside. 27.Qd2 e6 28.Rd3 Rab8 29.a4 Nb6 30.Qb4 30.a5 would have been far better.
30...Rbc8 31.a5 Nd5 32.Qb3 Rc5 33.Bf3 Rb8 34.B×d5 Rc×b5 35.Qa2 e×d5 36.R×d5 Qc3 Black
has a solid extra pawn, but White can still play. 37.Rf1 Rb2 38.Qa4 Rb1 39.Rdd1 R×d1 40.R×d1
a6 41.h3 Rb5 42.Ra1 Kg7 (D)
Now Black has a very easy win in view of the fact that the white pieces are tied to the protection of
a5. 43.Qa2 Qb2 44.Qa4 Rg5 45.Ra2 Qc3 46.Ra1 h5 47.Qa2 Rf5 48.Kh2 g5 49.Qa4 Rf4 50.Qa2
g4 51.h×g4 Qe5! After 51...h×g4 52.Qd5, White would still have gotten drawing chances. 52.g3 Re4
53.Qb1 Re2+ 54.Kh3 h×g4+ 55.Kh4 Rh2+ 56.K×g4 Qe2+ 0-1
(75) Reshevsky – Euwe
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D54]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Rc1 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4 8.B×e7 Q×e7 9.c×d5 N×c3
10.R×c3 e×d5 11.Bd3 c6 The game has taken on the character of the Exchange Variation. White has
the optioin of a minority attck on the queenside. 12.Ne2 Nd7 13.0-0 Nf6 14.Nf4 Bg4 15.Qc2 Nh5
16.N×h5 B×h5 17.Rc5 Bg4 18.Rb1 Better is 18.b4, despite the possibility of 18...b6 19.R×c6 Q×b4.
Now Black will get an attack as well. 18...Rae8 19.b4 Qg5 20.Kh1 a6 21.a4 f5 (D)
Attack and counter-attack are in full swing. 22.f4 Qe7 23.Re1 Rf6 24.h3 Re6 25.Qf2 Not, of course,
25.h×g4 in view of 25...Qh4+. 25...R×e3 26.R×e3 Q×e3 27.Q×e3 R×e3 28.B×a6 b×a6 29.h×g4
f×g4 30.Kh2 Rd3 31.R×c6 R×d4 32.R×a6 R×b4 33.Kg3 ½-½
The Hague-Moscow 1948
The Hague-Moscow 1948, Progressive by Cycle
Tuesday, March 2, 1948
Game 1: Euwe-
Game 2: Smyslov-
Although one would have expected the big Hall of the Zoo to have insufficient seating capacity for
such an important tournament, the big room was not quite full when the four players who were to take
up arms against each other entered the hall, accompanied by loud cheers from the audience. As the
evening wore on, however, more and more people arrived, and in the end it could justifiably be
called a full house.
The hall, which is perfectly suited for such occasions, contained many little tables, surrounded by
chairs, on which the chessboards and pieces that the spectators had brought along were quickly set
up. Immediately in front of the stage, which would be the scene of the battle, a fairly large area had
been cordoned off for the officials and the press. This space was completely filled. On one side it
contained mainly Russian reporters, seconds and supporters doing their jobs; in the middle were the
officials and some well-known Dutch chess players, and the other side was for the rest of the
journalists: Dutchmen, Belgians, Englishmen, etc. Mühring wandered around everywhere, picking up
interesting tidbits as he went.
Behind this three-part group was a rope barrier with a long row of chairs behind it for those who
were happy to watch and talk without needing any chess accouterments. This long row was fully
occupied for the entire length of the tournament. Most people there seemed to have booked their seats
for the duration, since the same faces popped up every evening, always well before the start of the
When the perfectly correct, objective, experienced and corpulent tournament leader Prof. Vidmar had
fired the symbolic starting gun, the Lord Mayor of the royal seat, Mr. Visser LLM, obliged players
and audience by executing the first move on both boards. We assume that His Excellency had been
duly instructed for this task, since he acquitted himself with perfect mastery and to the satisfaction of
both white players.
The game Euwe-Keres saw the Ruy Lopez opening. It was the Neo-Steinitz variation, possibly as a
posthumous tribute to the great master of chess theory. Chances were roughly equal until move 24, but
then Euwe made a mistake that eventually led to his defeat. He played 24.f4?. On move 26, the
Estonian launched a counterattack with 26...b5!!. Euwe’s 28th move, 28.Qc4?, turned out to favor his
opponent, and after Keres’ 31st move, 31.Qg4!, the Estonian grandmaster was winning. And although
he made a mistake in time-trouble on move 35, playing c7-c6 instead of Rc3, White was equally beset
by time-trouble, and the game quickly slipped out of Euwe’s grasp. On move 56, he exceeded his
time, but whatever he would have played, the game was well and truly lost. It goes without saying that
the Dutch supporters were sorely disappointed.
The drawing of lots. Botvinnik, Euwe, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Van Harten, Prof. Vidmar, tournament leader, His
Excellency Valkhof, Soviet Ambassador. Behind them: Zittersteyn, Klein and Nieukerke.
The game Smyslov-Reshevsky was a Ruy Lopez as well (Closed Variation). The Russian built up a
positional advantage that was already quite obvious by the 20th move. Reshevsky had to be very
careful, so he was lucky when Smyslov made a fairly serious mistake on move 25 with which he
threw away most of his advantage. His 27th move put paid to any illusions he might still have been
harboring: 27.Bg3 instead of 27.Rc1. Reshevsky even managed to capture a pawn, but the opposite-
color bishops did their well-known job, and the game finished in a draw on move 41.
Standings after the first round: Keres 1; Reshevsky and Smyslov ½; Euwe 0; Botvinnik not played yet.
(1) Euwe – Keres
Ruy Lopez [C75]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6
The difference between the normal Steinitz (3...d6) and the Neo-Steinitz mainly boils down to the fact
that White cannot simply play 5.d4 now. 5...b5 6.Bb3 N×d4 7.N×d4 e×d4, and now 8.Q×d4 fails to
8...c5 (9.Qd5 Be6 10.Qc6+ Bd7 11.Qd5 c4).
A good alternative is 5...f5; see Game 21.
It is questionable whether the black king’s knight is so much better positioned on g6 than on f6 that
it’s worth wasting a tempo on this move. But this entire variation by Black should be seen more as a
search for less well-trodden paths than as an attempt to find a flawless set-up.
This is stronger than 7.h4; see Game 9. Now 8.Ng5 is threatening to become unpleasant.
7...h6 8.Nbd2 Ng6
A good alternative was 8...g5.
If White were to castle too early, Black would be able to launch a dangerous flank attack with Ng6-f4
9...Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Ne3 Bf6
11...Nf4 runs into 12.Nd5, but 11...Re8, possibly followed by 12...Bf8, is a good possibility.
If 12...Bg4, 13.h3 B×f3 14.Q×f3, and now 14...e×d4 fails to 15.N×f6+. 12...Re8 is not satisfactory
either; see Game 22.
13.c×d4 was not really playable in view of 13...Bg4.
Too early: stronger was 14.Bc2, for example, 14...Be6 15.N×e6 f×e6 16.N×f6+ Q×f6 17.f4, with
strong pressure on the enemy position.
14...Q×f6 15.f3 Nf4
This will turn out to be ultimately a waste of time. Correct is 15...Na5 16.Bc2 c5, followed by
Black was threatening 16...N×d4 17.c×d4 Q×d4+!.
16...B×c6 17.Be3 Rad8 18.Qd2 Ng6
The knight is better advised to return to e6.
19.Bd4 Qe7 20.Rae1 (D)
This looked like the correct moment to exploit the favorable positions of the bishops and storm
forward with the f-pawn: 20.f4 B×e4 21.f5, followed by 22.f6, with a quick decision. But Black has
the following parry: 20.f4 Q×e4! 21.f5 Qe2!!, and White runs out of decent moves.
Lord Mayor W.A.J. Visser plays the first move in the Euwe-Keres game.
This time White could have gone forward: 21.f4 B×e4 22.B×g7!. It is doubtful, however, whether the
liquidation 22...K×g7 23.Qd4+ Kh7 24.R×e4 f5 25.R×e8 R×e8, which is virtually forced for both
sides, would offer White realistic winning chances. Nevertheless, White should in any case have
gone for this continuation, which entails no risk for him at all, since the text move yields absolutely
nothing. In addition it may be said that other ways of continuing the attack would allow Black to
launch a counter-action in the center, for example 21.a3 Ba4 22.Ba2 c5, or 21.Bc2 Bb5 22.Rf2 c5,
soon followed by d6-d5, with good play for Black.
Neutralizing White’s bishop pair.
22.B×a4 Q×a4 23.Qc3 f6
An important moment: can White sacrifice on f6? It seems that he can, since several variations work
out well for him. But against the best defense White’s attack is bound to peter out: 24.B×f6 g×f6
25.Q×f6 Nh8! 26.Q×h6 Rd7! with a counterattack, or 26.e5 Qd7!, and Black will be able to defend
This weakening of the white center is motivated by nothing in particular and is the start of White’s
24...Kh7 25.b3 Qd7 26.Qf3
Better is 26.a4 or 26.Qd3.
The signal for the counterattack.
Only 27.c×b5 gives White any hope of equalizing.
Wrong again: after 28.b×c4 Qc6, possibly followed by Re8-e7 and Rd8-e8, Black would also have
been better, but he would yet not be winning.
A beautiful and decisive piece sacrifice.
29.R×e4 d5 30.Q×a6 d×e4 31.Be3 Qg4!
Suddenly Black holds all the trumps. The text move prevents the retreat of the white queen to e2 and
32.h3 Qg3 33.Qe2 was not sufficient, either in view of 33...Nh4!, threatening both 34...Nf3+ and
34...N×g2, or 34...Rd3.
A fresh hammer blow: now 33.Q×e4 fails to 33...Qe2!.
Everything fits perfectly.
Virtually forced: 34.Qc2 would be met by 34...f5, with the threat of 35...e3 followed by 36...e2, etc.
34...f5 35.Qb7 c6
Short of time, Black loses the thread. Simpler is 35...Rc3 (threatening 36...c6) 36.Qd5 c6 37.Qd2
36.Q×c6 Rc3 37.Qd5 Rc5 38.Qd2 R×c1! 39.h3?
White is in time-trouble as well. After 39.Qf2, Black would have had a hard time of it.
39...Nf3+ would have won at once.
40.Qe2 Q×f4 41.R×c1 Q×c1+ 42.Kh2 Qf4+ 43.Kg1
43.g3 is met decisively by 43...Qd2!.
The endgame is winning for Black. Once he has transferred the knight to a more central position, the
rest will play itself.
44.Qc2 Ne7 45.a4 Qd4+ 46.Kh2 Qe5+ 47.Kg1 Nd5 48.Qd1 Nc3 49.Qc2 Kg6 50.Kh1 Qe1+
51.Kh2 Ne2 (D)
The execution begins.
52.Qc6+ Kh7 53.Qc5 Ng3 54.Qd6 Nf1+ 55.Kg1 h5 56.Qf4 0-1
Precisely when White played this move, his flag fell and he had officially exceeded his allotted time.
But he loses quickly anyway: 56...Ne3+ 57.Kh2 h4, and then 58...Nf1+, 59...Ng3+ and 60...Qh1 mate.
(2) Smyslov – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C99]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7
This is the Closed Variation, in contrast to the Open Variation, which arises after 5...N×e4. The text
move leads to a solid position against which White can only develop a moderate initiative. Add to
this that in several lines Black will get decent counterplay, and the general preference for this
approach has been sufficiently accounted for.
6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3
The ABC of this variation is: before occupying the center with d2-d4, White prevents the pin Bc8-g4.
9...Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7
The characteristic maneuver with which Black keeps his center intact: the queen on c7 defends e5,
while at the same time exerting pressure on the white position along the c-file.
12.Nbd2 c×d4 13.c×d4 Nc6 14.Nb3
Confronting Black with annoying problems.
14...Rd8 will not do; see Game 36 from “The Past.”
15.Be3 a4 16.Nbd2 Bd7
After 16...a3 17.b×a3 R×a3 18.Qc1! or 16...Nb4 17.Bb1 a3 18.Qb3!, White also retains some slight
17.Rc1 Rfc8 18.Bb1 Qb8 (D)
White has built up an excellent position; his pieces can move freely, whereas Black must continuously
be aware of small and big threats and is virtually powerless to undertake anything himself.
19.Nf1 Na5 20.R×c8+ B×c8
20...Q×c8 is impossible in view of 21.d×e5.
21.Bg5 h6 22.Bh4 Nc6
22...Nc4 would not yield anything in view of 23.b3 a×b3 24.a×b3 Na3 25.Bd3!.
23.Ne3 N×d4 (D)
Sooner or later, Black will have no choice but to release the tension, but it is doubtful whether the
best moment for this has arrived. One thing is certain, though, the text move allows White to build up
a large advantage, whereas after, for example, 23...Qb7 24.d×e5 (24.Nd5 N×d5 25.e×d5 N×d4 is
easy for White) 24...d×e5 25.Nd5 Be6 26.B×f6 B×f6 27.N×f6+ g×f6 28.Nh4 Kh7 29.Qf3 Qe7 30.Nf5
B×f5 31.e×f5 Rc8 32.Qd5, White would certainly be better, but probably not yet winning.
24.N×d4 e×d4 25.Q×d4?
A serious blunder. Correct was 25.Nd5!, for example: (1) 25...N×d5 26.e×d5 Bf8 27.Qd3 g6 28.Qg3
Qc7 29.Bf6 Kh7 30.h4, with a decisive attack; (2) 25...Qa7 26.N×f6+ B×f6 27.B×f6 g×f6 28.Qf3!
Qe7 29.e5 Bb7 30.Be4!, and wins.
25...Qa7 26.Qd3 Be6 27.Bg3?
With 27.Rc1, White might have retained some slight advantage.
Better is 28.Rd1.
28...B×d5 29.e×d5 Ra7 30.Rd1
What White missed in his calculations was that 30.Bh4 fails to 30...Qb4!.
30...Rc7 31.Bh4 g6 32.a3 Q×d5
Warding off all the dangers and even capturing a pawn, although the presence of opposite-color
bishops will prevent Black from winning the game. Maybe 32...N×d5 would have been slightly
33.B×f6 Q×d3 34.B×d3 B×f6 35.B×b5 B×b2 36.Rd3 Rc5 37.B×a4 Ra5 38.Bb3 B×a3
38...R×a3 is met by 39.Rf3 Ra7 40.Bd5, followed by 41.Rb3 and 42.Rb7, also with a draw.
Recapturing the pawn, since 39...Ra7 meets with 40.B×f7+.
39...d5 40.B×d5 R×d5 41.R×a3 ½-½
Thursday, March 4, 1948
Game 3: Keres-
Game 4: Botvinnik-
The late afternoon of March 4th saw the start of the second round of the battle of the giants. On the
first day of play, there had been a good number of spectators, but now the hall was, so to speak, jam-
packed. And no wonder! Botvinnik, tipped to be the future world champion from the word go, was to
play against the former world champion! Was a stronger magnet conceivable? The hearts of thousands
and thousands of Dutchmen pounded with anticipation. Euwe’s results against Botvinnik to date
warranted high hopes of success (Groningen!).
The Russian grandmaster, who has perfected the art of shrouding himself in an impenetrable haze of
uncommunicativeness and never allows officials, chess fans or journalists to worm a firm statement
out of him, was greeted with some applause when he entered the playing hall, which elicited a smile.
His average build does not impress, but the intelligence radiating from the eyes of this self-absorbed
thinker certainly does. The temperament of a Keres, the curt determination of a Reshevsky, the
seeming lethargy of a Smyslov, the courteous, gentlemanly manners of Euwe – all these are alien to
him. Botvinnik is a tight-lipped person who only divulges the stirrings of mind and soul in his chess
thoughts, his analyses, his match and tournament play. When he sits at the board, arms crossed in front
of his chest, always in the same position with his eyes fixed on the board and with only an occasional
glance at his opponent or the other players on the podium, one cannot but come to the firm conviction
that “There sits a chess master of the very first rank; one who harbors an indomitable will to win and
knows how to persevere.”
A completely different type than a Steinitz, a Lasker, a Capablanca, an Alekhine, an Euwe. Is his great
talent for the game of games fed by blazing ambition? We do not know! His reaction upon losing or
winning tells us nothing. He is collected, coolly averse to all over-ardent admiration, does not react
sharply to criticism leveled at his play, the way a Tarrasch used to do. This is indeed a man cast in
the mold from which world champions are cast. And yet when, in the scarce moments one is allowed
to do so, one observes him in his relations with his lovely wife and his adorable little daughter, he
can glimpse the soul of this taciturn, impassive chess fighter and gain a different impression of
Botvinnik the man than what he sees while observing him at his grandiose work!
The hopes of the Dutch chess players were by no means fulfilled in this round.
The Russian demonstrated his grandmastership in excellent fashion. It was a Slav Queen’s Gambit
(Romih’s Half-Meran). With his 15th and 17th moves, Ba2! and Ne5! respectively, Botvinnik secured
an advantage, assisted by Euwe’s 17...Be5?. The threats multiplied at an alarming rate, forcing Euwe
to strike his colors as early as move 32. Aside from the disappointment with this outcome for the
Dutch part of the audience, the entire hall was enthusiastic about the outstanding achievement of
The other game, between Keres and Smyslov, which was also a Slav Queen’s Gambit, albeit with the
Schlechter variation, saw a weakening of Black’s play at move 8 (b7-b6?). Keres replied 9.Qb3:
according to Euwe, 9.e4 would have been even stronger. Keres played a weak move in 16.Rad1,
which gave Smyslov the chance to improve his chances with 16.Qa5!. But the Estonian recovered his
stride and with f2-f4-f5, launched a sharp attack that Smyslov did too little to parry (21...N×c5?). The
white f-pawn immediately continued its advance, and after a few more moves the Russian was forced
Standings after the second round: Keres 2/2; Botvinnik 1/1; Reshevsky ½/1; Smyslov ½/2; Euwe 0/2.
(3) Keres – Smyslov
Slav Defense [D94]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 g6 5.d4
A very unusual route has taken us to the Slav Queen’s Gambit.
5...Bg7 6.c×d5 N×d5
6...c×d5 is simpler, although even then White gets some slight initiative after 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Qb3 e6
7.Bc4 0-0 8.0-0 b6?
Unnecessarily weakening his position. Better is 8...Be6 or 8...Nb6 9.Bb3 Bg4.
Even stronger is 9.e4 N×c3 10.b×c3 Bb7 11.e5, with excellent attacking chances for White.
Virtually forced, since White was threatening 10.Ne5.
10.b×c3 Ba6 11.Ba3
11.B×a6 N×a6 12.e4 or 12.a4 is more effective.
11...B×c4 12.Q×c4 Re8
Intending to continue with 12...Qd5.
Otherwise Black would be unable to continue his development: 13...Nd7 14.Q×c6 Rc8 15.Qa4 R×c3
may be met by either 16.Q×a7 or 16.e5.
14.Qb3 Nd7 15.c4 (D)
Black was threatening 15...Nb6, with counter-chances.
The correct move here is 15...c5!: (1) 16.c×b5 c×d4 17.Rac1; (2) 16.Rfd1 c×d4 17.N×d4 b×c4
18.Q×c4; (3) 16.d×c5 B×a1 17.R×a1 b×c4 18.Q×c4. In variations (1) and (2) White has only a slight
advantage, while the correctness of the exchange sacrifice in variation (3) is highly doubtful.
With 16.c×b5 White could have retained a large advantage, whereas the text move gives rise to
unclear positions in which the issue will have to be decided by tactical means.
Quite correct. Now Black threatens 17...b×c4.
Now 17.c×b5 runs into 17...R×b5. The text move may be positionally bad, but it does open the
possibility of combinations that will be very dangerous for Black.
It is hard to decide whether 18.Bc1 is better here. In the two main variations, the white bishop is
certainly more effectively positioned on c1 than on b2: (1) 18... Re7 19.Ng5 Re7 20.f4 e×d4 21.f5;
(2) 18...e5 19.Ng5 Rf8 20.Qh3 h6 21.Q×d7.
18...e5 19.Ng5 Re7 (D)
A difficult dilemma: Black does not need to be afraid of the liquidation 19...Rf8 20.Qh3 h6 21.Q×d7
h×g5, but the game continuation remains strong, even after 19...Rf8: 20.f4 e×d4 21.f5, and now
21...Q×c5? would be impossible in view of 22.N×f7! (with the threat of 23.Nh6+, forcing Black to
play 22...R×f7, which would lose an exchange after 23.f×g6). But Black may have a stronger
continuation in 21...N×c5, even though after 22.Qh3 h5, White would have a choice of three favorable
continuations: 23.N×f7, 23.B×d4 and 23.g4!.
20.f4 e×d4 21.f5 (D)
A surprise. Smyslov only expected 21.Qh3 (an attacking move that does look more solid from a
strategic point of view) and because of his time-trouble fails to adapt to the changed situation.
The decisive error. Black should not relinquish control of f6 under any circumstances. Correct is
21...Q×c5, after which 22.N×f7 could be met by 22...d3! 23.Kh1 Qc2 (compare the same variation
with 19...Rf8 instead of 19...Re7). Meanwhile, White has another option available after 21...Q×c5,
viz. 22.e5, which offers him very good prospects:
(1) 22...N×e5 23.B×d4 Qd5 24.Qh3, etc.;
(2) 22...Qd5 23.Qh3, etc.;
(3) 22...d3+ 23.Kh1 Qc2 24.f6, etc.;
(4) 22...B×e5 23.f×g6 and:
(4a) 23...B×h2+ 24.K×h2 Q×g5 25.R×f7!, etc.; (4b) 23...Qd5 24.Qh3 etc.;
(4c) 23...d3+ 24.Kh1, and now:
(4c1) 24...Qc2 25.R×f7, and White has the better chances; (4c2) 24...Qd5! 25.g×f7+ Kg7, and the
result is unclear.
22...h6 will also be met decisively by 23.f6 B×f6 24.R×f6 h×g5 25.B×d4, etc.
23.f6 Bh6 24.f×e7 B×g5 25.Qf3 f6 26.B×d4 Nd7 27.h4 1-0
The try 27...B×b4 fails to 28.Qh3!.
(4) Botvinnik – Euwe
Semi-Slav Defense [D46]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bb4
One of the ways to sidestep the Meran. Van Scheltinga has often played this type of Half-Meran of
7.a3 Ba5 8.Qc2 Qe7 9.Bd2 d×c4 10.B×c4 e5 11.0-0 0-0
11...e4 was impossible in view of 12.N×e4.
12.d5, as played in Game 9, is probably even stronger.
Now Black is ready for ...e5-e4.
13.Ne4 N×e4 14.Q×e4 a5
A good alternative is 14... Nf6 15.Qh4 e4, after which the liquidation 16.Bb4 Bd6 17.B×d6 Q×d6
does not yield White any advantage worth mentioning.
A subtle move to prepare 16.Bc3, which White could not really have played at once in view of
15...Nf6 and 16...e4, followed by b7-b5-b4.
With 15...Kh8! Black retains reasonable play, since he then threatens 16...f5, whereas 16.d×e5 N×e5
results in a better position for White.
16.Qh4 e4 17.Ne5! B×e5? (D)
Black retains good chances of equalizing after 17...Be6 18.Bb1 Bd5!, for example 19.f3 B×e5
20.d×e5 Q×e5 21.Bc3 Qe6! 22.B×f6 Q×f6 23.Q×f6 g×f6 24.f×e4 Be6, and Black’s position is
certainly not inferior.
18.d×e5 Q×e5 19.Bc3 Qe7 20.f3! (D) The beautiful point. Now 20...e×f3 runs into 21.Bb1! h6 (the
threat was B×h7+) 22.R×f3 Nd5 23.Rg3!!, and Black will not be able to capture on h4 in view of
mate in three.
Also, 20...Be6 is suspect in view of 21.f×e4! B×a2 22.R×f6!, after which 22...g×f6 23.B×f6
immediately leads to mate. This means that Black will have to find a different continuation; but
because of the tremendous power of bishop on c3, he remains in trouble.
20...Nd5 21.Q×e7 N×e7 22.f×e4 (D)
White has secured a clear endgame advantage: his bishops, in combination with rook on f1, are
exerting strong pressure on the black position, in comparison with which Black’s counter-trump – the
better pawn structure – fades into insignificance.
But Black does not yet need to despair, provided he realizes that he is only able to save himself if he
succeeds in eliminating the white bishop pair, even at the expense of a pawn, for example, 22...Be6
23.B×e6 f×e6 24.R×f8+ R×f8 (if 24...K×f8? then 25.Rf1+ Kg8 26.Rd1) 25. B×a5 Ng6, or even
better, 22...Ng6! 23.Rd1 Be6 24.B×e6 f×e6 25.Rd7 R×f1+ 26.K×f1 Rf8+ 27.Ke2 Rf7.
In that case, White is best advised to keep the rooks on the board, as despite White’s extra pawn,
exchanging rooks would almost certainly lead to a draw. A possible continuation would be: 27...Rf7
28.Rd6 Nf8 29.Rd8 Rd7 30.Rb8 Kf7 31.B×a5 Ng6, most certainly with winning chances for White,
although Black has a good chance to get away unscathed.
If Black had really wanted to make an attempt to tackle the bishop pair without sacrificing a pawn, his
only option would have been 22...Bg4, after which White would have continued as follows: 23.Rf4
Bh5 24.g4 Bg6 25.h4 h5 26.Kh2 Kh7 27.Rg1 f6!, and Black would still be able to defend, although he
would have to watch out continually for possible breakthroughs like g4-g5 and e4-e5.
Threatening 24.R×f7 or 24.B×f7+.
23...Be6, although insufficient as well, would have been relatively better.
24.Rd6 Ba6 25.Rf2 Bb5 26.e5
The doubled pawns are now going to decide the game.
26...Ra7 27.e6 Nh8 would be met by 28.Rf4!, with the threat of 29.Rg4.
To prevent Ne7-d5, which would still allow Black to go for opposite-color bishops.
To prevent 28.Rd7.
28.e6 f6 29.R×b6 Bc6 30.R×c6
White is giving his opponent short shrift.
30...N×c6 31.e7+ Rf7 32.Bd5 1-0
Monday, March 8, 1948
Game 5: Smyslov-
Game 6: Reshevsky-
Since there were no adjournments, the masters had three rest days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. How
they spent these free days we do not know. Euwe even had another free day on Monday and spent
most of his time in Amsterdam, where he probably immersed himself in chess analysis and
journalistic activities. Euwe has the habit of working rather hard on his free days and in his free hours
during tournaments and matches: radio speeches, journalism, analyses; in short, his days are fully
occupied, also after his tournament games, and his “free” days are usually only free in an illusory
All this is in stark contrast to the world champions before him, with the exception of Steinitz. When
Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine played their matches for the world championship, all things outside
of playing their match games, analyzing their adjourned positions and thinking about their chances
against their rival were absolutely taboo. And Botvinnik, Smyslov and, in the main, also Keres and
Reshevsky, follow the example of the earlier generations of world championship candidates. The
urge to work can also be too strong! However strong of mind, nerves and body, a person has only so
much stamina. Overestimate it, and you are bound to pay for it in the long run!
When the games of Round 3 started on Monday, March 8th, the hall was half empty. Euwe was not
playing, and it is possible that many people were still so affected by his two losses that their
enthusiasm had taken a beating. The journalist-chess players were all there: Kramer, Prins, Mühring,
Zittersteyn, Slavekoorde, Van ‘t Veer, Van der Leeden, Straat LLM, Golombek, Yanofsky, Paul
Devos and of course the Russians and their chaperones. Professor Vidmar is sitting on the stage with
Kotov, ready to receive the four masters. His stay in Scheveningen seems to agree with him, for he is
in high spirits and has not yet lost any weight. Like Kmoch, Vidmar is an exemplary leader of this
kind of tournament! They are two completely different men. Kmoch is joviality personified, without
forgetting punctuality and sharp supervision even for a second. Vidmar is serious and ponderous of
appearance and manner, although on occasion still appreciative of a witticism and a pleasant chat.
But he completely matches his Austrian colleague in objectivity and alertness. Officials, chess
masters and spectators know it: the leadership of the tournament has been placed in completely
The spectators, although limited in number (this, too, must be taken relatively!), were very anxious to
witness the course of the fight between the two Russian masters. It was a Grünfeld-In-dian game
(Three Knights’ Variation). On move 15, Smyslov managed to take the initiative (Bf4!), securing a
positional advantage. On move 27, he could, instead of playing Re4, have created winning chances
with Re2!. It is true that after Re4 Smyslov also won a pawn, but after Re2! he could have done this
in more favorable circumstances. When almost the entire hall started thinking that Botvinnik was in
danger of losing, he surprised the spectators – and probably his opponent as well – with a power
move: 28...Nf6!, forcing an endgame with equal chances that Black, although a pawn down, managed
to draw with accurate play. Although many people were of the opinion that Smyslov could have
continued more strongly on move 43 and might have created winning chances, analysis shows that
even in that case White cannot win against correct defense by Black. The game was followed with
great interest and tension by the audience, whose number had increased in the course of the evening.
The game Reshevsky-Keres claimed an equal amount of interest. Reshevsky got a slight advantage in
a Réti Opening. He agitated sharply on the kingside, and when Keres played ...f7-f6 on move 20,
instead of the far better ...Bf6, the latter ended up visibly worse. White got the bishop pair, but soon
found himself in time-trouble. But it is precisely in time-trouble that the American is at his most
dangerous. If this is really true, incidentally, he must be a danger to every opponent, because there is,
so to speak, not a single game in which he does not end up in time-trouble!
The spectators’ hearts were in their mouths as they watched the result of the first time-control. Black
did not seem to know how to parry the white assault. With 35.h5!, Reshevsky created a decisive
advantage, after which he rattled off the rest of his moves à tempo, going click-clack on the board,
while Keres looked on in a daze, at least for him. In the end, it made no difference what he played,
but his 39th move, Bd4?, was the quickest way to have him put out of his misery.
And it is true that it did look as if he wanted to apply the rather hackneyed phrase “Besser ein Ende
mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende” [Better a horrible end than endless horror]! With
40.Qe8+ and Rb8 Reshevsky put an end to the game, accompanied by cheers from the kibitzer chorus.
A finale that those present will not easily forget!
Standings after the third round: Keres 2/3; Botvinnik and Reshevsky 1½/2; Smyslov 1/2; Euwe 0/2.
(5) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Grünfeld Defense [D96]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3
This set-up – with the knight on f3 and queen on b3 – is considered the most favorable set-up against
the Grünfeld Indian these days.
Smyslov prefers to play 5...d×c4; see Games 15, 23, 28 and 48.
6...c×d5 is met very strongly by 7.Bg5.
Botvinnik used to prefer 7...N×c3, but the drawback of this continuation is that a later ...c6-c5 can
always be met by d4-d5 (because c3 is covered).
8.Be3 Be6 9.Qc2 Bc4
An unusual maneuver in this opening. Black uses it to make his job easier by exchanging pieces,
although without equalizing completely. White remains lord and master of the board for a long time
thanks to his superiority in the center.
10.Be2 Na6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Rfd1 Qd6 13.b3 B×e2 14.N×e2 Rac8 15.Bf4!
Forcing the queen to make a decision: queenside or kingside.
Slightly better is 15...Qd7, since on e6, the queen is soon exposed to the attack Ne2-f4.
Now White’s superiority is slowly taking on definite shape. Correct is 16...Bh6.
17.Bg3 Qf7 18.Nf4 Bh6 19.Nd3 f5 20.Nc5 (D)
Although this move leads to a liquidation that confirms White’s advantage, it is hard to get away from
the impression that, on the other hand, the text move makes Black’s job easier by allowing him to
exchange an inactive knight for an active one. 20.Re1 was probably better.
Not 21.Ne5 Qf5 22.N×a6 b×a6 23.N×c6 in view of 23...Nd5, with good play for Black.
21...N×c5 22.d×c5 Nd5 23.Re1 Rce8
Better is 23...Bg7, followed by 24...Bf6.
White gratefully takes the opportunity to take control of this important diagonal.
24...Bf4 25.Bb2 Qf5 26.Qc4 e5 27.Re4
27.Re2! would have yielded White good winning chances, since it would have prevented the black
knight from jumping to f6 with tempo. In that case, White would have captured the black e-pawn in far
better circumstances than in the game.
28.Re2 is still a good move here.
Forcing a liquidation that is safe for Black.
29.Q×f7+ R×f7 30.R4e2 Nd7 31.b4 a5
It is very important to weaken the white b-pawn in this way.
32.a3 a×b4 33.a×b4 Rfe7 34.g3
White captures the black e-pawn, albeit without getting a decisive advantage.
34...Bh6 35.N×e5 Bg7 36.f4 Nf6 37.Kf2 Nd5
The weak b-pawn!
38.Re4 Nf6 39.R4e3 Nd5 40.Rb3 g5!
Securing the draw.
41.Kf3 Rf8 42.Re4 Nf6 (D)
Deep psychology: with 42...g×f4 43.g×f4 N×f4, Black could have won his pawn back, but then he
would still have to do some hard work for the draw after 44.R×f4 B×e5 45.B×e5 R×e5 46.Re3 Rh5.
The text move – played fairly shortly after the resumption – seems to be based on an analysis, and in
order to sidestep it, Botvinnik immediately settles for a draw through a repetition of moves.
Objectively better is 43.Rc4 Nd5 44.Kg4 g×f4 45.g×f4 Bh6 46.Bc1, although White is still unable to
win against a good defense.
43...Nd5 44.Re4 Nf6 ½-½
(6) Reshevsky – Keres
Réti Opening [A15]
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 b6 3.d3
Very interesting: Black goes for the Queen’s Indian set-up, which usually leads to a sharp fight for the
possession of e4. White immediately settles this fight to his advantage by playing his d-pawn to d3 for
the moment, intending not to advance it further until he has taken control of e4.
Simpler was 3...c5, but Keres doesn’t like symmetrical positions.
4.e4 d6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.d4
Now a King’s Indian has arisen in which Black has gained the move ...b7-b6. But it is a gain of
6...0-0 7.Be2 Bb7 8.Qc2 e5 9.d×e5
A better alternative is 9.d5. The Exchange Variation usually does not yield much.
Not 10.N×e5 in view of 10...N×e4.
More accurate is 10... Nbd7 11.0-0 c6 12.Rfd1 Qc7.
11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Rfd1 c6 13.b4 Qe7
Preventing 14.b5, which would have been met very strongly by 14...c×b5 and 15...Rc8. But Black
could also have played 13...Qc7 14.b5 Nf8. Black does not need to be afraid of the liquidation
15.b×c6, followed by 16.Nd5, for the foreseeable future.
14.Rab1 Nf8 15.a4 Qc7
Intending to continue with 16...Ne6.
Another possibility is 16...c5 17.Nd5 B×d5 18.c×d5 Red8, followed by Nf6-e8-e6. In the meantime,
however, White can continue with Nf3-d2-c4.
17.R×d8 R×d8 18.a5 (D)
White is playing very aggressively on the queenside, and his intentions are clear: b2-b4-b5 was
meant to “loosen” c6, so that White can avail himself of the d5-square. And a2-a4-a5 was meant to
weaken b6, so that a knight appearing on d5 will find an object to attack there.
18...c5 was still a good move here. The text move is not much use.
19.a×b6 a×b6 20.Bg5 f6
20...Bf6 would definitely have been better. Now White gets a slight advantage.
21.b×c6 B×c6 22.Bd2 f5
Black does not need to be afraid of 23.Nd5 yet, since he will be able to meet it with 23...B×d5
23.Bg5 Re8 24.h3 f×e4?
This only aggravates the situation, since it helps Black’s opponent to secure the bishop pair. After
24...Nh6!, the move 25.e×f5 would have been very risky in view of 25...e4!. But then White has the
better continuation 25.Be3, after which he retains a slight initiative.
25.N×e4 B×e4 26.Q×e4 Nf6 27.Qe3 N8d7 28.Qb3 Rb8 29.Be3 Nc5 30.Qc2 Ra8 31.Ng5 Re8
Black does not know exactly where to go.
32.h4 e4 33.Nh3 Rd8 34.Nf4 Rd6 35.h5! (D)
35...g×h5 would also be met by 36.Nd5! N×d5 37.c×d5, with the threat of 38.Bf4.
36.Nd5 N×d5 37.c×d5 h6
37...Kh8 would have been slightly better.
White liquidates: but his main aim is not to win the pawn, but the greater elbow room that the white
pieces will get after the text move. This will enable him to launch an immediate mating attack.
38...b×c5 39.Q×e4 Bd4?
All moves would have lost, but this one makes exceptionally short work of it.
40.Qe8+ Kg7 41.Rb8 1-0
He will either be mated or lose his queen.
Tuesday, March 9, 1948
Game 7: Botvinnik-
Game 8: Euwe-Smyslov 0-1 45 moves
Again a jam-packed hall! No wonder! People wanted to see how Euwe would perform this time.
Despite his two defeats, our national champion made a cheerful impression. The pressure of work did
not seem to have affected his mood. Through the good offices of his spouse, incidentally, he is plied
with coffee during his games, which is said to work wonders for one’s intelligence, at least the use
Descriptions of the former world champion: that he is a gentleman chess player; that he does not drink
alcohol; that he never smokes, not even a cigarette; that he is affability and courtesy personified
towards everyone he meets; that he started as a teacher of mathematics, then went into business, then
went back to teaching again to become deputy-principal of a high school, and then devoted himself
completely to chess and went to work for the Royal Dutch Chess Federation; that he has a wife who
surrounds him with female solicitude; that he has three daughters, one of whom is a constant
companion; that he thinks himself to be more of a match player than of a tournament player; that he is
intensely involved in making propaganda for chess in the Netherlands, nay, in the entire world; that he
became world champion through his victory over Alekhine and was made a Knight of the Order of
Orange Nassau by the Queen – all this is tremendously interesting and has been pointed out many
times and in many places.
But for us the most important thing is that Euwe is the man who has made Dutch chess great, who has
awakened love and respect for it in thousands upon thousands of hearts and who is keeping it alive.
This is his everlasting fame, and this is what the Dutch chess folk will always remember with deep
Euwe was to fight Smyslov in the fourth round. It turned out to be a dramatic encounter – and a
tragedy! After extraordinarily lively play from both sides, for which our compatriot was mostly
responsible, Euwe had succeeded in creating a clear advantage. This advantage needed to be
expressed in some power move or other. After Black’s 32nd move (Bc4), Euwe’s pieces were drawn
up threateningly and in perfect coordination opposite the black king, which had lost most of its loyal
supporters and was cowering behind a few scanty pawns. A sacrifice had been in the air for several
And there it came: 33.N×g6!!. A brilliant continuation. Black was forced to take the knight; otherwise
he would have been hopelessly lost. Hence 33...f×g6. And now 34.Qg4 would have spared the
Russian any more thinking. The spectators in the hall, the press people, the officials, everyone
smelled blood! On virtually every board on which the spectators did their analyses, the move Qg4!!
was already being played, for everyone was convinced that a brilliancy prize was in the offing.
But then, to their dismay, they saw Euwe sacrifice the second knight: a totally unnecessary and
extremely risky sacrifice! Loud murmurings arose in the hall, and the loudspeakers urged the audience
to calm down.
It is true that the second knight sacrifice yielded some chances, but it was still incorrect. After
34.N×g6? K×g6 35.Qf3, White might still have tried to steer for a draw, but in the long run this would
also have backfired against a seasoned fox like Smyslov. Young in years, old in experience! Although
the inscrutable face of the Russian gave as much indication of his thoughts as the bricked-up façade of
a postwar house, things probably looked different inside. He must have found it hard not to heave a
sigh of relief upon seeing Euwe’s second knight sacrifice.
With a handful of accurate and powerful moves, he demonstrated the incorrectness of the second
sacrifice. On move 42 the game was adjourned, to be resumed in the small Kurhaus hall the following
afternoon. When Euwe saw Smyslov’s sealed move, he immediately resigned the hopeless game.
It goes without saying that the outcome of this game was a tremendous disillusionment for both Euwe
and his thousands of supporters. People went home dejectedly. An inglorious end to a magnificent
The game Botvinnik-Reshevsky was equally dramatic! In a Nimzo-Indian game (Rubinstein variation)
Botvinnik made a serious mistake on move 11, giving the American an advantage. Reshevsky
continued with strong and enterprising play and ended up in a clearly winning position. After 24
moves, the Russian master was looking at a losing position.
But Reshevsky could have played more strongly on his 25th move. All was not lost, however, until
the American blundered badly with Bc5?. He was in serious time-trouble and on this occasion he
broke with his habit of playing ex- tremely strong moves precisely in such straits. With 28...Ng5!, he
would surely have won the game! In his bewilderment (imagine Reshevsky bewildered!!) he
blundered again on the next move: 29...Q×f5, whereas 29...Bd4 would certainly have yielded a draw.
Botvinnik mercilessly tightened the noose that his opponent had put around his own neck. There
followed 30.Qe4 Qh3 31.Nh2 Rc6 33.Nf4, and at this point the tournament director established that
Reshevsky had exceeded his time and declared the game lost for him. But the game was overripe for
resignation anyway. Both Reshevsky and Euwe will undoubtedly remember their games from the
fourth round of this tournament till the end of their days!
Standings after the fourth round: Botvinnik 2½/3; Keres 2/3; Smyslov 2/ 4; Reshevsky 1½/3; Euwe
(7) Botvinnik – Reshevsky
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E51]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 d5 5.a3 Be7
Not a bad idea. The text move is better, in any case, than 5...B×c3+ 6.b×c3, which enables White to
launch a tremendous attack, as has already been demonstrated on various occasions (for example
Botvinnik-Capablanca 1938 and Botvinnik-Alexander 1946).
6.Nf3 0-0 7.b4
A good alternative is 7.Bd3 or 7.Be2, intending to play a type of reinforced reversed Meran with
8.d×c5 and 9.b4.
7...Nbd7 8.Bb2 c6 9.Bd3
Slightly better is 9.Qc2.
9...d×c4 10.B×c4 Bd6
10...Qc7 looks better.
A serious mistake that completely turns the tide. The white knight should stay on the queenside to help
avert any attacks on the formation a3-b4. With 11.Qc2 White could have gone for a line from the
game Kottnauer-Kotov (Chigorin tournament, December 1947) that is known to favor White,
especially in view of the fact that White even has a tempo more here, although this is offset by
Black’s dark-square bishop being on d6 instead of on c7. A possible continuation is 11.Qc2 e5
12.Ba2 Qe7 13. Bb1, with a strong attack for White.
Reshevsky is not going to let this opportunity pass by.
12.b5 Nb6 13.Bd3 c×b5 14.B×b5 Bd7 (D)
Black’s position is clearly better. He has a lead in development and White has weaknesses on the
The immediate 15.Qd3 is met by 15...Na4.
15...a4 16.Qd3 Ra5 17.Nc3 Qe8
With 17...Nfd5 Black can force his opponent into this liquidation.
18.B×d7 Q×d7 19.0-0 Rc8 20.e4 Nc4
A magnificent square for this knight.
21.Bc1 e5 22.Rd1 e×d4 23.Q×d4 Qe6 24.Ra2
White has no decent moves left to play.
24...h6 25.h3 Ra6 (D)
The sacrifice 25...Ne5 is not correct: 26.Q×d6 N×f3+ 27.g×f3 Q×h3 28.Qg3. But now Black is
threatening 26...Ne5. Instead of the text move, Black could also have played the very strong 25...Rh5.
Objectively speaking incorrect, but it is the only way White has left to get some play.
Black rightly accepts the pawn he is offered, but 26...N×d5 27.e×d5 Qf5 is also very good.
27.Re2 f5 28.g4 (D)
The point of White’s counterplay.
A terrible mistake in time-trouble. 28...Ng5! would have won quickly and convincingly: (1) 29.R×e6
N×f3+ 30.Kg2 N×d4 31.R×d4 f×g4, etc.; (2) 29.N×g5 Q×e2 30.Nf6+ g×f6 31.Qd5+ Kh8 and wins.
But Black also have retains his advantage with 28...Qf7 or 28...Ne5.
A second mistake: with 29...B×d4 30.f×e6 B×f2+ Black could still have drawn.
30.Q×e4 Q×h3 31.Nh2 Rcc6?
Now he loses another piece. Three of the four time-trouble moves were wrong and cost two pieces!
A rather sad record for the quickest rapid player in the world.
And here Black exceeded the time control.
(8) Euwe – Smyslov
Ruy Lopez [C98]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5
As regards the opening, see Game 2.
Played to force White to show his hand. But the text move has a tiny drawback, as the further course
of the game will show. Preferable is 12...Bd7, after which Black does not need to fear the advance
The exchange method, which yields White a slight positional advantage based on the fact that he now
has the possibility to put a piece on d5 at some stage.
13...d×c5 14.Nf1 Be6 15.Ne3
Inferior is 15.Ng5 in view of 15... Rad8 16.Qe2 Bc4 or 16.Qf3 Bc8, with the threat of 17...h6.
15...Rad8 16.Qe2 g6
Preventing the combination that might arise out of a possible Ne3-d5, for example 16...Nh5? 17.Nd5!
B×d5 18.e×d5 R×d5 19.B×h7+ K×h7 20.Qe4+.
17...Nh5 is met by 18.N×e6 f×e6 19.g3!, with some advantage for White.
18.Bd2 Kg7 19.Rad1 h6 20.Nf3 Be6 21.a4 Qb8 (D)
Black does not want to play 21...c4 here, because he is afraid – probably for no good reason – of the
foray to d5: 22.a×b5 a×b5 followed by 23.Nd5. Here are some variations: (1) 23...N×d5? 24.e×d5
(1a) 24...B×d5 25.N×e5 N×e5 26.Q×e5+ Q×e5 27.R×e5 Bf6 28.R×d5! R×d5 29.B×h6+; (1b)
24...R×d5 25.B×h6+ K×h6 26.R×d5 B×d5 27.Qd2+, with advantage for White; (2) 23...B×d5!
(2a) 24...N×d5? 25.N×e5, again with advantage for White; (2b) 24...R×d5!:
(2b1) 25.B×h6+? K×h6 26.R×d5 N×d5 27.Qd2+ Nf4! 28.N×e5 Bg5, and Black wins in view of the
threat of 29...Nh3+; (2b2) 25.Be4 N×e4 26.Q×e4 Rdd8! 27.N×e5 N×e5 28.Q×e5+ Q×e5 29.R×e5,
and Black is slightly better in view of the bishop on d2 being tied down.
But White can continue more simply and more strongly with 23.Bc1, after which the leap to d5
remains within the realms of possibility.
Black, who was thinking he would simplify the game by exchanging the rooks, is soon forced to
conclude that this exchange only hastens the crisis on d5.
23.R×d1 Rd8 24.R×d8 B×d8 25.a×b5 a×b5
Not 25...Q×b5 in view of 26.Bd3.
With this move White reaches his strategic goal. Black will be unable to capture on d5, as witness the
following variations: (1) 26...N×d5 27.e×d5 B×d5 28.B×h6+ K×h6 29.Qd2+, with advantage for
White; (2) 26...B×d5 27.e×d5 N×d5 28.Be4 and:
(2a) 28...Nde7 29.Qe3 g5 30.Q×c5 etc.;
(2b) 28...Nce7 29.B×d5 N×d5 30.N×e5, with various threats, for example 31.Nc6 or 31.B×h6+.
26...Ng8 27.Be3 c4 28.b3
White makes a quick attempt to exploit the currently unfavorable position of the black pieces.
Safer is 28...c×b3 29.B×b3. This continuation fails to lead to complete consolidation, however,
since, for example, 29... Nf6? 30.N×f6 B×b3 fails to 31.Ng4, with the dual threat of 32.B×h6+ and
It goes without saying that Black must not capture this piece (29...Q×e5?? 30.Bd4).
Pawn for pawn. But while the black passed pawn is still completely harmless, the elimination of the
central e5-pawn is the signal for a fierce attack.
30.Bb1 Qb7 31.Bd4 Kh7 32.Nf4 Bc4 (D)
The critical position. Now Smyslov had expected the following quiet winning continuation: 33.Qg4
(threatening a sacrifice on g6) 33...Nf6 34.Qg3 (still threatening to capture on g6) 34...N×e4 35.Qe3!,
and regardless of whether Black withdraws his knight or defends it with 35...f5, White always plays
the decisive 36.Ne×g6.
Also good, and in any case more attractive than the variation given above.
White was threatening 34.Nf8 mate, preventing Black from capturing on e2.
Too much of a good thing: 34.Qg4 would have won almost effortlessly, for example: (1) 34...Qf7
35.e5 Ne7 36.e6 Qe8 37.Nh5 Ng8 38.Ng7!, and the black queen will be unable to continue covering
g6; (2) 34...Ne7 35.e5 Bf7 36.h4! Qc6 37.e6 Be8 38.h5, etc.; (3) 34...Bf7 35.e5 Bg5 36.e6;
(3a) 36...B×f4 37.Q×f4 B×e6 38.Qe5, and wins; (3b) 36...Be8 37.N×g6 B×g6 38.Qf5! Qg7 (the only
move) 39.Qf7!! Q×f7 40.e×f7 B×b1 41.f8N#!.
(4) 34...Bg5 35.N×g6! K×g6 36.Qf5+, and mate will follow.
34...Qf7 would not be met by 35.Nf8+ in view of 35...Q×f8 36.e5+ Kh8 37.Qe4 Qg7 38.e6 Nf6!, and
Black will be able to defend, but by 35.Qd1!!, after which 35...Q×g6 fails to 36.e5.
Better is 35.Qf3, although this continuation also loses in the end: 35... Be6! 36.Qf8! Kh7 37.Q×d8
and now: (1) 38.Bf6 Bf5!!, and White will be unable to make progress; (2) 38.Qd5 Qd7 39.Q×b5
N×d4 40.Q×d7+ B×d7 41.c×d4 Ne7 42.d5 Kg7, and Black should win.
35...Kf7 36.Qh5+ Kf8 37.f4
The sad acknowledgment that there is nothing left to play for. 37.Bc5+ Be7 38.Qf5+ Ke8 39.Qg6+ is
met by the saving 39...Bf7!.
Black also has other ways to win.
38.Qf5+ Ke7 39.Qh7+ Kd8
Very subtle: now 40.Q×b7 is met first by 40...B×d4+!.
40.B×b6+ Q×b6+ 41.Kh2 Qe3
42.Qf5 Nc6 0-1
Black’s sealed move. White resigned the game without resuming play.
Thursday, March 11, 1948
Game 9: Reshevsky-
Game 10: Keres-
The five players had once again enjoyed a day of rest. There were no adjourned games. Little has
been seen of this drawback of the system to date, in contrast to other tournaments, where
adjournments are the order of the day. Smyslov did not have to play today.
Again, Keres did not seem to be his normal self. White played 25.a4, which Black met by 25.Bh6.
This put White in an unpleasant bind the awkwardness of which Keres should have realized.
But in a serious misreading of the situation he wanted to break through with his pawns on the
queenside at all costs. And elsewhere in the game he also did incomprehensible things. The gallery
was unanimous in its opinion that the Estonian’s game had by no means been a grandmasterly piece,
but more of a second-string effort. Botvinnik finished the game correctly.
The game Reshevsky-Euwe, a Slav Queen’s Gambit (Romih’s Half-Meran) showed an opening
advantage for White, Black having met 12.d5! with 12...c5?, instead of with 12...B×c3. After the
latter move, the white attack would not have gained such momentum. By playing d5-d6, White drove a
sharp wedge into the black position, and the pawn duly became a thorn in Euwe’s flesh!
After a wholesale exchange, the players emerged from the smoke of battle with a bishop and four
pawns each. White sensibly refrained from swapping his b-pawn for Black’s c-pawn, as this would
probably have enabled Euwe to make a draw after all. He played 40.b3, and after 40...Kf7 41.Ke3,
Euwe sealed the move 41...Bc8 after which the game was adjourned and both players could
investigate their possibilities in their home analysis. Realizing that further resistance was futile, Euwe
resigned. His fourth defeat in succession!
Standings after the fifth round: Botvinnik 3½/ 4; Reshevsky 2½/4; Keres and Smyslov 2/4; Euwe 0/4.
(9) Reshevsky – Euwe
Semi-Slav Defense [D46]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bb4 7.a3 Ba5 8.Qc2 Qe7 9.Bd2 d×c4
10.B×c4 e5 11.0-0 0-0 12.d5! (D)
Confronting Black with a very difficult problem. For the opening, see Game 4.
The worst possible choice! Other possibilities are: (1) 12...B×c3 13.B×c3 c×d5 14.Bb4 and:
(1a) 14...Nc515.B×d5 N×d5 16.B×c5 Qc7 17.Rac1! Re8 18.Qd2, with advantage for White; (1b)
14...Qe6! 15.B×f8 d×c4 16.Bb4 a5 17.Bc3 b5, and Black has reasonable compensation for the
exchange; (2) 12...Nb6 13.Ba2 B×c3 14.B×c3 Nb×d5 15.B×e5 Bg4, with an almost equal position;
(3) 12...e4 13.N×e4 B×d2 14.Ne×d2 c×d5, and Black has a slight disadvantage due to his isolated d-
pawn; (4) 12...Bc7 13.d×c6 b×c6, and the question is whether the weakness of Black’s c-pawn will
be of much consequence.
Black cannot capture this pawn in view of 14. Nb5 Qb6 15.b4+-.
13...Qd8 14.Rad1 Rb8 15.Nd5
Practically capturing a pawn.
15...B×d2 would be followed by an unpleasant intermediate check on e7.
16.B×a5 Q×a5 17.R×d5 e4
Black’s only hope of counterplay: 17...b5 would have been met by 18.Bd3.
Not, of course, 18...Nf6 in view of 19.R×c5!.
19.Ba2 Qb6 (D)
19...Bb7 is met by 20.Rf5 c4 21.B×c4.
20.Rf5 would have been stronger:
(1) 20...Nf6 21.R×c5 Q×d6 22.N×f7!, etc.;
(2) 20...c4 21.Q×e4 and:
(2a) 21...g6 22.Qh4 h5 23.Rd5, and Black’s weakened kingside will not survive for much longer.
(2b) 21...Q×d6 22.R×b5 Nf6 23.Q×c4 Ba6 24.Q×f7+! R×f7 25.N×f7 Qc7 26.R×b8+ Q×b8 27.Rd1,
etc.; 20...Bb7 21.Rd2
White might have considered the intermediate move 21.Ng5 (if 21...Nf6?, then 22.Rf5!, and if 21...g6,
then 22.Rf5 c4 23.Rd1).
21...c4 22.Bb1 g6 23.Qc3 Rfe8 24.Nf6+?
This simplification is going to help the defense. Better is 24.Ng3.
24...N×f6 25.Q×f6 Qc6 26.e4
26.Qg5 would have confronted Black with bigger problems.
26...Re6 27.Qf4 Rd8 28.Rfd1 a5
Black’s only chance: his pawn majority on the queenside.
29.h4 h5 30.d7?
Too hasty. White should first build an impregnable fortress on the queenside with 30.Qg3 b4 31.a×b4
a×b4 32.Rd4! c3 33.b×c3 b×c3 34.Bc2, and only then proceed to convert his passed d-pawn.
This move enables Black to capture the enemy passed pawn and equalize the position. Note that
31.Rd6 fails to 31...Re×d7, or to the even stronger 31...Rd×d7!.
31.g4 31...Re×d7 32.g×h5 R×d2
Another possibility is 32...g×h5 33.Qg5+ Kf8, after which White will have to exchange the rooks
himself in order to be able to capture the h-pawn. This would have led to the same position as in the
comment to move 35, but with one more tempo for Black.
33.R×d2 R×d2 34.Q×d2 (D)
34...Qf6! leads to a relatively easy draw, for example, 35.h×g6 f×g6 36.Qg5 Q×b2, etc.
The decisive error. After 35...Kf8 36.Q×h5 Qd7 or 36...Qd6, Black retains good drawing chances.
36.Q×g6+ f×g6 37.f4 b4
Black, who is powerless in the face of White’s king march to d4, tries to solve his problems quickly
with his queenside pawns.
38.a×b4 a×b4 39.Kf2 c3 40.b3!
Frustrating Black’s plan. After 40.b×c3 b×c3, Black still has some chances of drawing, since White’s
h-pawn is “wrong.”
40...Kf7 41.Ke3 Bc8 1-0
The sealed move. After the resumption Black resigned without making another move.
(10) Keres – Botvinnik
English Opening [A13]
1.c4 e6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 d4
As a rule, this advance is good after White has already played g2-g3, since it robs the “round-up
maneuver” e2-e3 of some of its strength.
4.b4 c5 5.b5
5.b×c5 would at least have weakened the black center.
5...e5 6.d3 Bd6
More accurate is 6...Be7, since White can now continue with 7.Nd2 and 8.Ne4.
Stronger is 7.e3 or 7.Nd2 (7...f5 8.e4!).
7...Qc7 8.Ne2 h5
A very original set-up by both players. Black is trying to provoke h2-h4, after which a later f2-f4 will
create a weakness at g4.
Better is 9.f4, despite the possibility of 9...Bg4 and 10...h4.
9...Nh6 10.0-0 Bg4 11.f3 Be6 12.f4 Bg4 13.f5 Nd7 14.Nd2 g6! 15.f×g6 f×g6
Black is slightly better now: the g5-square is not as weak as than g4, and besides, White’s e3 may
become weak as well.
16.Nf3 Be7 17.Rf2 Qd6 18.B×h6? (D)
A better plan for White is 18.Bd2, followed by Qc2, Raf1 and Qc1. Another good possibility is
18.Kh1, followed by Neg1 and Nh3. After the text move, White must constantly be aware of the
possibility of a foray to e3.
18...R×h6 19.Qd2 Rh8 20.Ng5 Nf6
Wasting time: better is 20...Rf8 at once.
Stronger is 22.a4, with the intention of forcing a7-a5.
22...Nd7 23.Ng5 Rf8 24.R×f8+
The fact that White repeated moves enables Black to correct his mistake on move 20.
Now White should not allow the bind that follows. The correct move, therefore, is 25.Nf3, with
25.Nh7 another good possibility.
25...Bh6 26.a5 Qf6 27.Nc1
It goes without saying that 27.Rf1 Qe7 28.Rf7? Q×f7! fails to 28...Q×d7!.
27...0-0–0 28.Nb3 Rf8 29.Ra1 (D)
After 29.Rf1 Qe7 30.R×f8+ N×f8 31.Qf2 Black would not have played 31...B×g5? 32.h×g5 Nh7, in
view of 33.b6! a6 34.N×c5! Q×c5 35.Qf7, but 31...Ne6!.
29...Qe7 30.Qc1 Kb8 31.Ra2 Rf7 32.Qa3
The immediate 32.b6 is slightly better, since it obviates the necessity for Black to close the position
with a7-a6 later (see move 41).
32...B×g5 33.h×g5 Bd1
Now the g5-pawn is doomed.
A little joke.
34...B×b3 35.Rb2 Bd1 36.Q×d1 Q×g5 37.Qe1 Nf8 38.Kh2 Qf6 39.Bh3 Nh7 40.Qd1
White could still play 40.b6 here.
40...Ng5 41.b6 h4
After 41...a6 42.Bg2 White would still get some chances.
This looks better than it really is.
42...h×g3+ 43.K×g3 Rf8 44.b×a7+
Keres is setting a little trap, since the solid continuation 44.Bg2 hopelessly loses: 44... Ne6 45.Kh2
Qf4+ 46.Q×f4 N×f4, followed by the advance of the passed g-pawn. Also, 44.Bg2 Ne6 45.Bh3 Nf4
46.Qd7 fails to 46...Ne2+.
44...K×a7 45.a6 N×h3!
After 45...K×a6? 46.Ra2+ Kb6 47.Rb2+ Ka7, White could have forced a draw with 48.R×b7+!.
Now Black gives a series of checks to force the win.
47.Kg2 Qf1+ 48.Kh2 Rf2+ 49.R×f2 Q×f2+ 50.Kh1 Qe1+ 51.Kg2 Qe2+ 52.Kg1 Qe3+ 53.Q×e3
d×e3 54.a×b7 K×b7 55.Kg2 Kb6 56.Kf3 Ka5 57.K×e3 Kb4 58.Kd2 g5 0-1
Monday, March 15, 1948
Game 11: Keres-
Game 12: Reshevsky-
The first half of the tournament leg to be played in the Netherlands is behind us. Those five rounds did
not lack for excitement and tension! And not for disappointments either. Reshevsky and Euwe can
think back ruefully to the beautiful chances that they allowed to go up in smoke against Botvinnik and
Smyslov respectively – the former because of the scourge of time-trouble, which this time got the
better of him; the latter by a too hasty attempt to play even more beautifully than beautiful.
In the game Keres-Euwe, a Ruy Lopez with the closed variation, Euwe got a slight advantage. On
move 22, White permitted himself to play a less strong move, Rdc1, instead of going for
simplification. His 26th move, Bg3, was not too strong either and allowed Black to win a pawn. The
Dutch master did not fully exploit the chances he was given, however, enabling Keres, although a
pawn down, to get away with a draw, proposed by Black.
Reshevsky played cunningly against Smyslov. Smyslov got four pawns for a bishop, which must be
considered a material plus. But was it really? The impromptu experts, i.e., the critics in the hall,
could not agree. Not that there were noisy outbursts. Oh no, the hall was utterly quiet that evening.
One would almost say that they were taking a leaf from the Moscow audience’s book. Smyslov tried
his utmost to break through with his pawns, but the American adroitly steered the game into safe
When you see Reshevsky jauntily entering or leaving the hall, you would think you are looking at a
businessman. And you would be right. Reshevsky runs a very reputable accountancy office and is
inundated by work every day. How he manages to prepare for a difficult tournament like this one and
still preserve sufficient energy and stamina to put up a solid fight is beyond most people’s
comprehension. Sammy does have the occasional chat with chess acquaintances in this country, but
about his and his rivals’ games he is anything but forthcoming. Where these topics are concerned, you
will get exactly out of him what he wants to tell you – and that is little enough!
About other things he talks with moderate enthusiasm. About the chess situation in the United States
and the relationships between the chess players there, he also has relatively little to say. He has only
a few hobbies. Chess is number one, of course, and smoking is number two! He sends cigarettes up in
smoke by the dozen every day, and he is the only one of the five matadors who smokes. As far as we
have been able to ascertain, none of them sacrifices to Bacchus or Cambrinus.
When Samuel Reshevsky traveled the world as a chess prodigy, with his father as his impresario, you
would not have thought that he would develop into a chess giant. Because that is what he is! Child
prodigies rarely grow old in their line of business. He feels especially at home in strange positions:
he does not at all shrink from unexpected situations that confuse many of his colleagues. On the
contrary, he virtually always manages, even in the direst of time-troubles, to wriggle out of them.
Only against Botvinnik did he surprise his audience, and probably himself, by being beaten into the
ropes and counted out by the time-trouble demon.
Standings after the sixth round: Botvinnik 3½/4; Reshevsky 3/5; Keres and Smyslov 2½/5; Euwe ½/5.
(11) Keres – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C86]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Qe2
A little variant on the usual set-up with 6.Re1. No one knows whether it is better or worse, except
that it is played less often.
6...b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5
The gambit line has more strength here than after 6.Re1: Black’s chances arise mainly from in the
complications following 9.e×d5 Bg4 10.d×c6 e4, so White would be well advised to stay clear of
Keres stays in quiet waters.
It is hard to find a developing plan as long as the e-pawn continues to float.
10.c×d4 N×d4 11.N×d4 Q×d4 12.Be3 Qd6 (D)
In Keres-Lilienthal (Parnu 1947), Black played the inferior 12...Qd8 13.Nc3 c6 14.h3 Nd7 15.Rac1
Bb7 16.Qh5, with a large advantage for White.
Better is 13.Rc1!, intending to follow up with the maneuver Nb1-d2-b3(-c5) after 13... Be6 14.B×e6
A good alternative is 14.Bc2.
Now Black no longer has anything to fear. The doubled pawns protect important central squares,
while any white attack along the open f-file will be doomed to certain failure in advance.
Solving Black’s doubled pawns without giving White a chance to undertake anything.
15...e×f4 16.B×f4 e5 17.Bg3
Better is 17.Bg5.
17...Rad8 18.Rad1 Qe6
White was threatening 19.d4, but after the text move it is Black who has a threat, viz., 19...b4.
19.Rf5 Bc5+ 20.Kh1
20.Bf2 runs into 21...B×f2+ and 22...b4.
20...Bd4 21.Bh4 Rd7 22.Rc1?
White neglects to take this opportunity to simplify the position. With 22.Rfd1, followed by a
wholesale exchange on f6, White probably still has a draw. Now he gradually finds himself in a
22...Rdf7 23.a3 B×c3 24.b×c3 (D)
24.R×c3 would have run into 24...Nd5! (25.R×f7 Q×f7 26.Rc1 Nf4!).
24...Nd7 25.R×f7 R×f7 26.Bg3?
26.d4? would have been met by 26...Qh6! (27.Qe1 Rf4 28.Bg3 R×e4), but instead of the text move,
White ought to have played 26.Qc2!, after which the main dangers (...Qe6-b3 and ...Qe6-h6) would
have been averted for the moment.
Now Black wins at least a pawn in a good position.
27.d4 Q×a3 28.Qd1
Intending to have b3 available after the retreat of the black queen (28...Qd6 29.Qb3), but for other
purposes the queen is better placed on e1.
An unpleasant turn for White that transfers the knight to e4, with all the consequences that this entails
29...Q×c3 is too risky because of 30.d×e5, and now: (1) 30...Rd7 31.Qf1 N×e4 32.e6 and:
(1a) 32...Re7 33.R×a6 N×g3+ 34.h×g3 h6 35.Qf5, etc.; (1b) 32...Rd8 33.Qf7+ Kh8 34.Rf1, etc.;
(2) 30...N×e4 31.e6 and:
(2a) 31...Rf8 32.e7 Re8 33.Qd5+ Kh8 34.Rf1, etc.; (2b) 31...Rf6 32.R×a6, and Black’s situation is
After 30.B×e5 N×e4 Black retains the better chances.
30...N×e4 31.Qd3 (D)
Despite Black’s extra pawn in a very good position, the win is not so easy. Worth considering now is
31...Rf5!, for example: (1) 32.Q×e4?? Rf1+ etc.;
(2) 32.h3? Rf1+ 33.R×f1 Q×f1+ 34.Q×f1 N×g3+, and Black will win the pawn ending; (3) 32.e6
N×g3+ 33.h×g3 Rh5+ 34.Kg1 Qc5+ 35.Qd4 Rd5! 36.Q×c5 R×c5 37.R×a6 Kf8 and: (3a) 38.Ra3
(3b) 38.Ra8+ Ke7 39.Rg8 R×c3, etc.;
(3c) 38.Ra5 Ke7 39.c4 R×c4 40.R×b5, with slight drawing chances for White; (4) 32.Qd5+ Kh8
33.Kg1 N×c3 34.Qd3, and the situation is not very clear.
After both 34...Na4 and 34...Qc5+, the coordination between the black pieces has been broken, after
which the white e-pawn starts playing a part again.
This retreat is certainly not going to solve the problem.
After 32.Qd5?, the issue is decided by 32...c6!.
Better in any case is 32...Ne4: “retirer pour mieux sauter” (taking back a step to jump higher).
33.h3 Qc8 34.Qa2 ½-½
At my suggestion Keres accepted a draw here. I had offered the draw out of fear that I would mess up
the position in time-trouble (a justified fear, I suspect). Objectively speaking, 34...h6 would have
been better, since the endgame after 35.Q×a6 Q×a6 36.R×a6 R×f1+ 37.Kh2 Kf7 is very good for
Black. In the meantime, White could also have played differently: he does not have to capture on a6,
and in that case there is not much Black would be able to do.
(12) Reshevsky – Smyslov
Slav Defense [D17]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c6
Another way to arrive at the Slav Defense!
4.Nf3 d×c4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 e6 7.f3 Bb4 8.e4
It is not easy to understand why the Reshevsky is going for this line, which allows his opponent to
make a piece sacrifice that, according to theory, will yield him at least a draw.
9.f×e4 N×e4 10.Bd2
The theory books will tell you exactly why 10.Qf3 Q×d4 11.Q×f7+ Kd8 is not going to yield White
anything (for example, 12.Q×g7?? B×c3+ 13.b×c3 Qf2+ and mate).
10...Q×d4 11.N×e4 Q×e4+ 12.Qe2 B×d2+ 13.K×d2 Qd5+ 14.Kc2 Na6
Black has four pawns for a piece in an excellent position. It is hard to believe that White is enjoying
15.Rd1 Qa5 16.N×c4 Q×a4+ 17.b3 Qa2+? (D)
With this move Black throws away the advantage that he could preserve with 17...Nb4+ 18.Kc3
Nd5+ (if 19.R×d5? Qa1+). This keeps the queens on the board, which is of great importance to Black
in view of the exposed position of the white king.
18.Kc3 Q×e2 19.B×e2 Ke7
Now White is even slightly better, since Black is unable to prevent the loss of one or two pawns in
the long run. The white pieces will soon start exerting strong pressure on the black position.
Quite correct. Less clear is 20.Nd6 b5 21.Bf3 Rad8! 22.Nb7 R×d1 23.R×d1 Rc8 24.Ra1 Nb8
25.R×a7 Rc7 26.b4 f5. It is a remarkable fact that in most cases White cannot afford to settle for just
Threatening 21...Ne4+, followed by 22...Nf2.
21.Bf3 Rhc8 22.b4 Na6 (D)
Another possibility is 23.Ra1 Rab8 24.N×c6+ b×c6 25.R×a6 c5 26.R×a7+ Kf8 27.b×c5 R×c5+
28.Kd4, but it is doubtful whether White will be able to undertake much after 28...Rf5. But both this
and other variations clearly show that it is White who is running the show.
23...Rab8 24.Ra1 f5 25.Rhc1? (D)
White is letting his best chance slip through his fingers: 25.Rhe1!, then for example: (1) 25...Kf6
26.N×c6 b×c6 27.R×a6 Rb6 (27...c5 will not work so well now: 28.Re×e6+ Kf7 29.Bd5 or 28...Kg5
29.R×a7) 28.R×b6 a×b6 29.Rc1 c5 30.b5, etc.
(2) 25...Nc7 26.B×c6 b×c6 27.N×c6+ Kf6 28.N×b8 R×b8 29.R×a7, etc.
White has no choice but to start liquidating (Black was threatening to consolidate with 26...Nc7 and
26...b×c6 27.R×a6 c5
The point of the black defense (see the comment under move 25, where this point was missing).
28.Rc4 R×b4+ 29.R×b4 c×b4 30.R×a7 h6 31.Ra6 Ke5 32.K×b4 g5 33.Rc6
33.Bd1 would still have yielded White some slight practical chances, but after the rook exchange,
there is nothing left to play for.
33...R×c6 34.B×c6 Kd4 35.Bd7 Ke3 36.B×e6 Kf2 37.Bd5 g4 38.Kc5 Kg1 39.Kd4 K×h2 40.Ke5
Kg3 41.K×f5 h5 42.Kg5 h4 43.Bc6 h3 44.g×h3 g×h3 45.Bb7 ½-½
Tuesday, March 16, 1948
Game 13: Smyslov-
Game 14: Euwe-
There was extraordinary interest from the public in the seventh round! No wonder! People wanted to
see how Euwe was going to fare against his dangerous rival this time. His draw in the previous round
had somewhat revived the flagging hopes of his admirers, and everyone was waiting anxiously to see
what would happen. And ... the spectators got value for their money! They saw the real Euwe again! It
is true that he did not win, but he played excellently.
Exactly the same could be said about Botvinnik. In spite of all kinds of experiments, the position
remained equal virtually throughout the game. This time they played the Tarrasch variation of the
French Defense. All those present followed the game attentively, although it did not impress with
fireworks or risky stratagems.
Many well-known people from the chess world attended the proceedings unfailingly every night. Old
Mr. Smid from Hattem (you will undoubtedly know him as the father of the Euwe plaque), despite his
76 years, had come to The Hague a few times to see his friend and holiday guest Euwe play. Mr.
Rueb, the president of the International Chess Federation, did not miss a single night, and he was
often accompanied by his wife.
Zittersteyn was always there as well, working hard as a reporter and always available in his capacity
of chairman of the organizing committee. Van Harten, who had played such a crucial part in
organizing the tournament, never failed to make an appearance and was constantly busy imparting
information to those who required it. Nieukerke, often accompanied by his wife; Leenbruggen LLM,
Duif, Belinfante LLM, Dr. Niemeyer, Dr. L. Fick, occasionally accompanied by his brother W. Fick
LLM, Vice-President of the Supreme Court. The latter still has a great interest in the game of games,
but to his regret he no longer has time to play in clubs or tournaments. Also Gouwentak, Hoving,
Herfkens, Bianchi, Waling Dijkstra with Jan van Vliet, Versluis, Van Bruinesse, Schwenke, Max
Wijnans; in short, a great number of prominent chess personalities attended the playing sessions.
De Wit, a member of the organizing committee, and not forgetting Keuzenkamp, the indispensable
motor of the organization; De Bruyn, secretary of the KNSB, and Modderman, who together with
Brouwer, secretary of the The Hague chess federation, had taken it upon himself to sell books, for
which a perfectly equipped stand had been erected, dispensing hundreds of books and chess
requisites to the public.
Many new ties of friendship were forged and many old ones strengthened, for which purpose the big
restaurant turned out to be admirably suited, just as it was the perfect place for clearing up and
drowning minor old misunderstandings. But it is time to return to the stage!
The game Smyslov-Keres (a Catalan) was no less deserving of the spectators’ attention than that
between Euwe and Botvinnik. Initially, the position remained equal until it got the better of the
Russian – the Estonian pinching one of his pawns. This was on move 27. One could also describe it
as an unnecessary pawn sacrifice – while other people might call it a bit of a blunder. Black simply
covered the c-pawn after 28.Qc5 by advancing it to c6. It is possible that there was a deeper purpose
behind Smyslov’s move, but this deeper purpose remained a mystery to all spectators. On move 57,
Smyslov laid down his king, extending the hand of conciliation to his rival with the smile that is so
characteristic of the Russian master.
Standings after the seventh round: Botvinnik 4/5; Keres 3½/6; Reshevsky 3/5; Smyslov 2½/6; Euwe
(13) Smyslov – Keres
Catalan Opening [E02]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 d×c4 5.Qa4+ Bd7
More common is 5...Nbd7 6.Q×c4 a6, with the intention of advancing the queenside pawns. With the
text move Black wants to permanently neutralize the usually so effective activity of the bishop on g2,
but this tactic has certain drawbacks and in any case requires some concessions.
6.Q×c4 Bc6 7.Nf3
7.f3 is met by either 7...Bd5, followed by 8...c5, or the simple 7...Nbd7 (8.e4 e5 9.d5 Nb6).
7...Bd5, followed by 8...Nc6, was worth considering here.
8.Nc3 Nb6 9.Qd3 Bb4 10.0-0 0-0 11.Rd1
Junge-Alekhine, Munich 1942, continued 11.Bg5 h6 12.B×f6 Q×f6 13.e4 Rfd8, after which the black
bishops were withdrawn to e8 and f8 to good effect.
Black decides not to play 11...Qe7 in order to prevent the position from reverting to the above-
mentioned variation with him a tempo down. It is an open question, however, how much this tempo
12.Bd2 Qe7 13.a3 B×c3
The first concession: Black loses the bishop pair.
14...Ne4 would be met by 15.Qb4!, and Black will not get the chance to exchange the white dark-
15.Be1 Rac8 16.Bf1 Bd5 17.b4
White must prevent c7-c5.
The consequence of the 16th move; now White is ready for f2-f3 and e2-e4.
18...Ne4 19.Qc2 Nd6 20.f3 g5
And this is concession number two: Black must under no circumstances allow e2-e4.
21.Ng2 f5 (D)
Keres-Smyslov in progress.
It is hard to decide whether White is better here. If he were to fail to play e2-e4 or start some other
action, his bishop pair would never come into its own.
22.Bf2 Nf6 23.Ne1 a5
Exploiting the absence of the white dark-square bishop.
24.Nd3 Ra8 25.Bg2 Ra7 26.Re1
A better plan for White is 26.b×a5 R×a5 27.Be1, followed by 28.Bb4.
An unnecessary pawn sacrifice. White is better advised returning to the above-mentioned plan with
Rec1 and Bc1.
27...N×b5 28.Qc5 c6 29.a4 Nd7 30.Qc2 Nd6 31.Ne5 (D)
31.Nc5 also is a good move, after which Black’s best plan of defense is 31... Nf6 32.e4 f×e4 33.f×e4
b6! 34.Rac1 b×c5 35.e×d5 Q×c2 36.R×c2 e×d5 37.R×c5 Nde4!, and the question is who is better in
31...Nf6 32.Rac1 Raa8 33.Nd3 Rab8 34.Nc5 b6
Now almost the identical position has arisen as in the above comment (only with the black rook on b8
instead of on a7).
35.e4 f×e4 36.N×e4
The endgame after 36.f×e4 b×c5 37.e×d5 Q×c2 38.R×c2 e×d5 39.R×c5 Nde4! offers Black good
chances. The moves that now follow were made in extreme time-trouble.
36...Qg6 37.Qe2 Rb7 38.Nc3 Bc4 39.Qb2 b5 40.a×b5 c×b5 41.Ne4
The sealed move, which will still yield White good chances. He is already threatening to win a piece
with 42.N×d6 R×d6 43.R×c4, while the move Qb2-a3 may also be important in certain circumstances
(after the knight exchange).
41...Nd×e4 42.f×e4 Ng4! (D)
Typical of Keres. The first thing he does is go for tactical chances, without taking consideration of the
material balance. The sacrifice connected to the text move will in any case yield Black a draw, with
good winning chances if White slips up, whereas other moves, although preserving Black’s material
advantage, allows White’s bishop pair to swing into action, with all the attendant tactical
consequences, for example: (1) 42...Rf7 43.d5 e×d5 44.e×d5 N×d5 45.Red1 Rfd7 46.Qe5, eventually
followed by 47.Bd4; (2) 42...Rbd7 43.d5 e×d5 44.Bb6.
43.R×c4 Qh5 44.Rc2?
This is insufficient, as the rest of the game shows. It is true that 44.h3 does not work either in view of
44...N×f2! (45.K×f2 Rf7+ and 46.b×c4, or 45.Rc6 N×h3+), but with 44.h4!, White could have held
out: 44... N×f2! 45.Rf1! (45.Rc6 Nd3 46.Qe2 Q×e2 47.R×e2 b4) 45...Nd1 46.Qb3 b×c4 47.Q×b7
Ne3, and after 48.Rf6, the game would in all probability end in a draw.
44...Q×h2+ 45.Kf1 Rf7 46.Ree2 Q×g3 (D)
Now Black is threatening 47...Nh2+ 48.Kg1 Nf3+ 49.Kf1 N×d4 50.Rcd2 e5, or possibly 49...Nh4
50.Bh1 Qh2. White has two defenses against this play: (1) 47.Rc3 Qd6, and Black will get at least
four pawns (two pairs of connected passed pawns!) for the piece, and (2) 47.e5 and:
(2a) 47...Rdf8 48.d5 R×f2+ 49.R×f2 R×f2+ 50.R×f2 Q×f2+ 51.Q×f2 N×f2 52.K×f2 e×d5 53.B×d5+,
with a draw; (2b) 47...Nh2+ 48.Kg1 Nf3+ 49.Kf1 N×d4? 50.Rcd2, with advantage for White; (2c)
47...b4! 48.d5 Nh2+ 49.Kg1 Nf3+ 50.Kf1 Nh4 51.Be4 e×d5 52.Rcd2 Qh3+ 53.Ke1 Nf3+ 54.B×f3
Q×f3, and Black has the better chances.
This quickly leads to a fairly easy win for Black.
47...Q×c3 48.R×c3 Rdf8 49.Rcc2 N×f2 50.R×f2 R×f2+ 51.R×f2 R×f2+ 52.K×f2 a4 53.Bh3 Kf7
White still finds the only way to stop the passed pawns, but then goes on to lose due to his lack of
54...e×d5 55.Bd7 Kf6
55...a3 would also be met by 56.Bc6.
56.Bc6 d×e4 57.B×b5 a3 0-1
And White resigned (58.Bc4 Ke5 59.Ke3 h5, etc.).
(14) Euwe – Botvinnik
French Defense [C08]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.e×d5 e×d5 5.Bb5+ Nc6
In Game 34, 5...Bd7 is played, which move is roughly equivalent to the text.
This will lead, after wholesale liquidation, to an endgame in which Black has an isolated d-pawn that
is a source of small but persistent difficulties for him. White, incidentally, could also have played
6...Qe7 7.d×c5 Q×e2+ 8.N×e2 B×c5 9.Nb3 Bb6 10.Bd2
This excellent move, with which White prepares for the maneuver Bd2-b4-c5, was conceived by
10...Nge7 11.Bb4 a6 12.Bc5 Bc7
After 12... B×c5 13.B×c6+ b×c6 14.N×c5 White has a good knight against a bad bishop.
This exchange is not necessary, which is why 13.Bd3 would have been preferable.
13...b×c6 hands White definite control of the important c5-square.
14.0-0–0 Be6 15.Ned4 0-0-0
Better was 15...N×d4, since White now takes possession of the c5-square anyway by exchanging on
16.N×c6 b×c6 17.Rd4
17.Bd4 would have been met by 17...
Rde8! (18.B×g7 Rhg8). With the text move White unleashes a powerful initiative: he is now
threatening 18.Ra4 Kb7 19.Bd4!, followed by 20.Nc5+ or 20.B×g7.
17...Kd7 18.g3 f6 19.Ra4 Ra8 20.Re1 Rhe8 (D)
Vacating the important c5-square for the knight. Another possibility is 21.Bf8, but after 21... R×f8
22.Nc5+ Kd6 23.N×e6 Rae8! 24.N×f8 R×e1+ 25.Kd2, White cannot play for a win because his
knight is too far away. But yet another good alternative is 21.Bd4 Bd6 22.Re3 Bf7 23.R×e8 B×e8
24.Nc5+ B×c5 25.B×c5, and despite the presence of opposite-color bishops, White has excellent
22.Nc5+ is still very good for White here.
It goes without saying that Black does not want to exchange the bishops.
Intending to play Nc5+ after all; however, Black will no longer allow this.
23...Bf5 24.Rd1 Kc7 25.Rdd4
25.c4 would be met by 25...Be4, and White would have no choice in the long run but to play c4-c5,
after which this pawn will be in the way of its own pieces.
25...Be4 26.Ra5 (D)
After 26.Bf4+, Black would not play 26...Kb6 in view of 27.Rdb4+ B×b4 28.R×b4+ and mate, but
Beautifully played. Now the black bishop will go to the queenside via f1 in order to meet the threats
27.Nc5 Bf1 28.Nd3
Now 28.Bf4+ would still be met by 28...Kc8!, and not by 28...Kb6 in view of 29.Rb4+ K×a5
30.Rb7!, and mate. With the text move, White cuts off the black bishop from the queenside, which is
necessary now, for example, 28.Rb4 Bb5 29.a4 R×e3! 30.f×e3 Kb6.
Playing for opposite-color bishops with 29.R×e4 and 30.Nc5 no longer yields any winning chances,
since the white rook now has less freedom to operate on both wings (the fourth rank has already been
blocked, and in the long run, the fifth rank will not remain open either).
29...R×a4 30.R×a4 B×d3 31.c×d3 c5 32.b3 d4
Otherwise White plays 33.d4.
33.Bd2 Kb6 34.Kd1 Re8 35.a3
White could still try 35.Rc4 here: 35... a5 36.Ra4 Ra8 37.Ke2. Black then continues with 37... Bd6
38.Kf3 f5, thus preventing penetration by the white king. He will then continue to consolidate his
position with Bd6-c7 and Kb6-b5.
35...Kb5 36.Ra5+ Kb6 37.b4 Re5 38.b×c5+ B×c5 39.f4 Re8 (D)
39...Re3? will lose by just one tempo: 40.R×c5 K×c5 41.B×e3 d×e3 42.Ke2 Kd4 43.g4 g6 44.g5 f5
45.h3 a5 46.a4 Kc3 47.K×e3 Kb4 48.Kd4 K×a4 49.Kc4 Ka3 50.d4.
40.Ra4 Kb5 ½-½
Thursday, March 18, 1948
Game 15 Botvinnik-
Game 16 Keres-
It cannot be said that this round managed to rouse the special attention and appreciation of the
audience. The attendance was modest this evening. Euwe did not play, and as the presence of the
national champion always stimulates the public to visit the tournament, the relatively low turnout was
no real surprise. As regards the game Botvinnik-Smyslov, the public was wrong. It may have ended in
a draw, but it was a game full of tension.
Normally it is not in Keres or Reshevsky’s spirit to produce grandmaster draws. If there is anyone
who, if at all possible, will move heaven and earth to get a result, it is the Estonian master! Keres is a
respectable family man these days. His wife and children had stayed in the Soviet Union. It was
reported that his wife would have been allowed to accompany him to Holland, but that his two
children would have had to stay in the Soviet Union. This rumor was probably spread by malevo- lent
spirits, because the Soviet authorities would surely have enough of a sense of justice to acknowledge
the family rights of the citizens living under them!
In his youth, friend Paul was a boy of the kind that the 19th-century Dutch poet Hildebrand pictured in
the little poem adapted from the German: “How splendid when the boyish smock/Still glides over the
shoulders!” Paul Keres also loved bell-ringing and running and climbing up streetlights to turn them
off. “Naught on earth disturbs his play,/Or makes him less aloof/Except for marbles going astray/Or
balls landing on a roof!”
The slender young man that the audience saw on the world stage in The Hague was extremely quiet
and modest. A happy glint appeared in his eyes when someone inquired after his children. On
occasion, one could hear something in his replies to questions that he would prefer to leave
unanswered that was reminiscent of the former “whelp.” This happened when he gave the annoying
questioner an adroit brush-off.
On such occasions, a glint in his eyes betrayed ill-concealed amusement at the way he had parried a
difficult question. A likable, utterly fair chess player with the courage to take risks like no other
player, and whose games are nearly always worth studying. Just take your time to play over the games
of his match against Dr. Euwe! Keres is not one for sitting quietly at the chessboard. He often gets up
to walk with slow, deliberate steps up and down the platform, eyes on the ground, sometimes
glancing at the demonstration board, analyzing in his head. It is surprising for someone with such a
lively temperament as Keres to have such a deliberate gait. If one compares short-legged Reshevsky’s
jaunty little steps with the long, deliberate strides of the Estonian, one cannot help but laugh.
But in their eighth-round game there was nothing, absolutely nothing to laugh about – except maybe
for the two players, because they could go home early. For the spectators, however, many of whom
had traveled great distances to get here, it was nothing short of disillusioning.
The game Botvinnik-Smyslov, the Three Knights variation of the Grünfeld Indian, was of a
completely different caliber. Botvinnik built up a very good position, but was unfortunately beset by
time-trouble from move 22 on. This prevented him from reaping the benefits of his sound strategy.
Smyslov exploited White’s time-trouble to reinforce his position. His one-pawn deficit turned out to
be no problem; the initiative he managed to create constituted sufficient compensation. He got the
better position, but failed to convert it to the desired result.
Standings after the eighth round: Botvinnik 4½/6; Keres 4/7; Reshevsky 3½/6; Smyslov 3/7; Euwe
(15) Botvinnik – Smyslov
Grünfeld Defense [D98]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 d×c4
In Game 5, Black played 5...c6 here.
6.Q×c4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7
A maneuver Smyslov likes to play, and which has not met with a refutation in this tournament; see
Games 23, 28 and 43. The idea behind the text move is, on the one hand, to open the diagonal for the
king’s bishop, and on the other, to support the action of the bishop by operating on the queenside with
In the other games cited above White played 9.Qb3. With the text move, White prevents the knight
from being exchanged for the bishop, so as not have to take into account the merits (favorably or
unfavorably) of the doubled f-pawns.
9...Nb6 10.Qd3 c6 11.f3 Be6 12.Rd1 Na6 13.a3
White is building a fairly solid position, but he is not entirely free from worries, since d4 is
vulnerable to attack.
13...Qd7 14.Qc2 (D)
White does not want to wait any longer, as Black was already threatening 14...Rad6, with an attack on
d4, while a possible Nd2-b1 always had the drawback that the c4-square would become available.
14...B×d4 would be met by 15.Ndb1 c5 16.Nb5 Rfc8 17.B×d4! c×d4 18.N1c3!, and White recaptures
the pawn with a slight advantage. Yet Black should have gone for this continuation anyway, since the
text move allows White to use his solid center at his complete leisure.
Another possible set-up is Ra8-d8, Qd7-c8, Kg8-h8 and f7-f5.
16.Be2 B×e2 17.Q×e2
17.N×e2 might have been slightly better.
17...Rad8 18.0-0 Qe6
To provoke Nb3-c5 and then to drive this knight back again: subtle tempo play!
19.Nc5 Qc8 20.Kh1 Nd7 21.Nb3 b6 22.Qc4
White has a very good position, but unfortunately, Botvinnik was already in such time-trouble at this
point that he was unable to reap the benefits of his excellent set-up.
22...Qb7 23.f4 e6
White was threatening 24.f5.
24.Rc1 Nf6 25.Bg1 Rc8 26.Rc2 Rfd8 27.Qe2 Nb5! (D)
Quite correct. Black does not want to wait until White’s time-trouble is over, but starts getting active
himself. He did not have to be afraid of the exchange on b5, since the continuation 28.N×b5 c×b5
29.R×c8 R×c8 30.e5 Nd5 31.Q×b5 Rc2! would give him ample compensation for the lost pawn.
28.e5 N×c3 29.b×c3 Nd5 30.c4
Too early: better is first 30.Nd2, only later to be followed by c3-c4. The text move weakens d4.
30...Ne7 31.Nd2 Nf5 32.Ne4 (D)
White decides to have a go at it, since 32.Nf3 leaves him with too passive a position.
Black also had to be consistent by striking at once, as otherwise White’s 33.c5, followed by 34.Nd6,
would have gained in strength. It must be said, by the way, that in less favorable circumstances
32...R×d4? would cost the exchange: 33.B×d4 N×d4 34.Nd6 Qd7 35.Qf2 N×c2 36.N×c8, etc.
33.B×d4 R×d4 34.Nd6 R×d6 35.e×d6
White has captured a “Pyrrhic” exchange. Black’s bishop diagonal has been opened, and the d6-pawn
will prove to be untenable. Now Botvinnik’s genius will have to transform this Pyrrhic victory into a
real one. He realizes – despite his pressing time-trouble – that even two pawns would not constitute
full compensation for the exchange in this case if he were to succeed in exchanging the queens. His
opponent comes to the same conclusion a little while later, which is precisely the edge that Botvinnik
has on all his rivals.
35...c5 36.Rd2 Rd8 (D)
If Black had realized that he should think twice about exchanging the queens, he might have preferred
36...Bd4 here, for example, 37.Qf3 Qd7 38.g4 Rc6 39.f5 e×f5 40.g×f5 R×d6, with winning chances
for Black. In that case, however, 37.Rfd1 Rd8 38.R×d4 c×d4 39.R×d4 Qc6 40.Qd2! (not 40.Qe5 in
view of 40...Qc5) would have led to a draw anyway.
Now 37...Qd7 cannot be recommended, as after it, White has a choice between: (1) 38.g4 Bd4 39.f5
e×f5 40.g×f5 Q×d6 41.f×g6 f×g6 42.Qf7+ Kh8 43.Re2; and (2) 38.Rfd1 Bd4 39.R×d4 c×d4 40.R×d4,
in both cases with attacking chances for White.
38.R×f3 Bd4 39.g3 R×d6 40.Kg2 f5
Black does better to leave this move out, since it soon becomes clear that the plan connected with it
(to play h7-h6, followed by g6-g5, to free the e-pawn) cannot be realized.
41.a4 Kf7 42.Rb3 Kf6 43.Ra2 a5
Black could not afford to allow a4-a5, but the text move has considerably reduced the value of his
queenside majority, so it is becoming clear now why it will be White who will call the shots in this
44.Rd2 Ke7 45.Kf3 (D)
The adjourned position. The general opinion was that if Black had sealed the correct move – 45...h7-
h5 – a draw would soon be inevitable. Smyslov was of the same opinion and added by way of
explanation that Black did not need to fear the breakthrough h2-h3 and g3-g4 then, because it would
make Black’s position so strong that he could in most cases even allow the rooks to be exchanged. An
example: 45...h5 46.h3 Kf7 47.g4 h4! 48.g×f5 g×f5 49.Rb1 Ke7 50.Rbd1 Kf7 51.Rg2 Be5 52.R×d6
B×d6 53.Rd2 Be7 54.Rd7 Ke8 55.Rb7 Bd8, and there is nothing White can do.
When Botvinnik was asked for his opinion afterwards, he said that he had specifically prepared for
h7-h5, and had found several variations that ended in problem-like wins through zugzwang. In any
case, he thought it a pity that Smyslov had not sealed the best move, because this had forced him to
conceive of an entirely new plan, although he had been convinced from the very beginning that there
should be a winning plan against any other continuation than 45...h7-h5.
And quickly, before Black might still hit on the idea of playing h7-h5.
Otherwise White plays 47.g5, followed by h2-h4-h5.
47.Rg2 Ke7 48.Rd3 Kf7 49.h4
Not the best move: at a later stage, White experiences some problems associated with the weakness
of the h-pawn.
In order to fix h4 at once.
50.R×g4 h5 51.Rg2 Rd8
With the threat of 52...Bf6.
52.Rgd2 Ke8 53.Rg2 Kf7 54.Rgd2 Ke8 55.Ke2 (D)
55.Ke4 would be met by 55... Bf6! 56.R×d8+ B×d8, with a draw (57.Ke5 Ke7 58.R×d8? K×d8
59.K×e6 b5!). After the text move, 55...Bf6 is impossible in view of 56.Rd6 (the difference being that
the rook on d2 is now defended).
55...Ke7 56.Rd1 Rf8 57.Rf1 Bf6 58.Rb3 B×h4 59.R×b6
The pawn exchange has increased the number of possibilities without changing the chances.
59...Bg3 60.Rb7+ Kf6 61.Rb5 Kf5?
Better is 61...Kg7, after which White still retains some winning chances with 62.R×a5 B×f4 63.Ra7+,
followed by 64.a5.
After 62...Kg4 White decides the issue with 63.Rg5+.
63.Re5+ Kd4 64.Rd1+ K×c4 65.Re4+!
The tempting 65.Rc1+ yields nothing: 65... Kb3 66.Rb5+ Ka2!, and White is no longer able to make
65...Kc5 66.Kf3 h4 67.Rb1 Kd6 68.Rb6+ Kd7 69.Kg4 Rf5 (D)
With 70.Ra6! White would have forced his opponent into zugzwang: (1) 70...K-any 71. Ra×e6+;
(2) 70...R-along the f-file 71.R×a5;
(3) 70...R-along the fifth rank 71.Re×e6 (70...Rh5 71.Re×e6 h3 72.R×g6 h2? 73.Rg7+, and mate); (4)
(5) 70...Bf2 71.Re×e6.
Also note that the immediate 70.Rb×e6? fails to 70...R×f4+ 71.Rf4 K×e6.
70...Ke7 71.Rb7+ Kf6 72.Rb5 e5 73.Rd6+ Kg7 74.R×a5?
With 74.f×e5, White would still have won, albeit in very complicated fashion: 74... R×e5 (if
74...B×e5 75.Rd7+ and 76.R×a5) 75.R×e5 B×e5 76.Ra6 Bc3 77.K×h4, and the following is going to
happen: (1) White king on d3: the black king must stay on g7 or f7 to cover g6: as soon as the black
pawn goes to g5, the white king will return and capture the g-pawn; (2) White rook on b1 via b6: the
bishop cannot go to b4 (in view of R×b4), and therefore must abandon the e1-a5 diagonal and protect
its a-pawn from the other side (a5-d8); (3) In view of the small number of squares available to the
bishop on this diagonal, White will not find it hard to drive away this piece again and in doing so
capture the a-pawn (e.g., Rb5, Bd8, Kc6-d7).
The above is merely an outline. Working it out more in more detail us going too far here.
74...R×f4+ 75.Kh3 Kh6 76.Raa6 Kh5 77.R×g6 R×a4! 78.Rh6+ Kg5 79.Rhg6+ Kh5 ½-½
Draw. This game lasted for 10 hours!
(16) Keres – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C71]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c4
This move, intended against both d5 and b5, has the drawback of adding to the weakness of d4.
The correct reply: if necessary, Black will sacrifice the bishop pair to eliminate the knight on f3, and
in doing so weaken d4 even more.
6.Nc3 Nge7 7.h3 B×f3
7...Bh5 would abandon the strategic idea of move 5.
This knight will soon have to return to e7, but that is not to say that the text move is wrong.
9.Nd5 Rb8 (D)
Another possibility is 10.b4, after which 10... b5 11.c×b5 a×b5 12.Qc3 leads to very complicated
play: 12...Nd4! 13.N×c7+ Kd7 14.N×b5 N×b5 15.Qc4 Qb6 16.Q×f7+, and it is very doubtful
whether White has sufficient compensation for the sacrificed piece.
After 10...Qd7 11.N×c6 b×c6, White is slightly better.
Not 11.d4 in view of 11...b5, but 11.d3 is a good possibility: 11... b5 12.N×c6 N×c6 13.c×b5 a×b5
14.Bb3 Qd7 15.Be3. But Black has a better continuation in 11...Qd7.
11...Qd7 12.d3 Nc8 13.Bd2
Better in any case is 13.b4, intending to withdraw the light-square bishop behind the b-pawn if
necessary, and to fianchetto the other bishop.
13...Be7 14.Qg3 Bf6 15.Rc1
15.b4 is still preferable.
16.B×c6 is more efficient.
16...Qd8 17.0-0 Nd7 18.a3 Nc5 19.Ba2 0-0 20.b4 Ne6 (D)
Black has a satisfactory position because of his control of the d4-square.
With 21.Rb1 White could have prevented the liquidation that now follows.
After 22.B×f4 e×f4 23.Qf3 Ne5 24.Qd1 f3 25.d4 f×g2 26.K×g2 Ng6 a wild position arises that is
certainly not bad for Black.
Not 23.Rcd1 in view of 23...Nb2, and the knight escapes.
Black has nothing better than to return the pawn.
And in view of their time-trouble, the players settled for a draw.
A possible continuation would have been: 24...Ne7 25.B×f4 e×f4 26.Q×f4 Ng6, with equal chances.
Tuesday, March 23, 1948
Game 17: Reshevsky-
Game 18: Smyslov-
Slowly a pattern is emerging in the contest. Botvinnik is the number one favorite, of course, but some
people are still putting their money on Reshevsky. According to them, he is the most unpredictable
participant in this powwow of the Big Five. This means that he may suddenly spurt forward. Time
A larger number of spectators has turned out for this round. People want to see how Euwe will
perform and what the cunning American will have to put forward against Botvinnik. Sometimes the
audience becomes a bit too boisterous, and De Wit has to resort to the bullhorn (sorry: microphone;
the sound can easily mislead one!) a few times to admonish the spectators to be quiet.
It was another round with dramatic developments! Reshevsky, who had allowed the win to slip
through his fingers in his previous game against the Russian wizard, was certain to put up a fight,
while Euwe, who had suffered an undeserved loss against Smyslov, would naturally try to get his
revenge. Man proposes, but the Fates dispose.
The game Reshevsky-Botvinnik saw a Dutch Defense – a small courtesy by the Russian toward the
little country where he and so many others from the chess world had enjoyed hospitality? Botvinnik
followed his own insights in this opening, but after a lively middle game he found himself in an
endgame one pawn down. Had he sacrificed it? Had he lost it because of some faulty calculation?
Who will say? But he was lucky, because Reshevsky was beset by raging time-trouble. This had
enabled Botvinnik to save his skin the last time.
The American was really troubled by his old malady in this tournament! From move 28 on, he was
already forced to more or less play à tempo to keep the Professor, who was already circling his table
looking out with Argus’ eyes, from pouncing.
On the fatal 28th move, Reshevsky failed to play his queen to b3, a move that would probably have
seen him victorious. But he put the king on f2, which was his misfortune. But the scourge of time-
trouble drove him along mercilessly, while Botvinnik was also playing under fairly severe time-
pressure. Many people were of the opinion that Reshevsky’s 30th move, 30.Qb3, let the win slip and
that 30.Rf3 might win. However, this also results in a draw. After playing another few lightning-fast
moves, the gentlemen decided to settle for a draw, and it is unlikely that either of them could have got
more out of the position. For Reshevsky, this draw was definitely scant consolation! For the second
time he had failed to seize his chance to finish off his most dangerous rival.
The game Smyslov-Euwe, a closed line of the Ruy Lopez, followed a normal course for many moves.
In their previous encounter, the Russian had netted an undeserved win with an extraordinary amount
of help from Lady Luck. Today’s play seemed to have little in the way of a pattern – the art of
positional shuffling reigned supreme. Yet Smyslov appeared to have retained a miniscule sliver of
Shuffling and more shuffling of pieces! And in this art, if we may call it thus (according to the late
Daniël Noteboom, this positional shuffling is precisely what constitutes the art in chess!), Euwe was
less well versed than his opponent who, with exemplary patience and great sagacity, slowly but
surely built up a winning position. When the game was adjourned, Euwe’s position was clearly
inferior. He had to abandon his defense of the kingside, after which Smyslov used his bishop to
capture the lone pawn left on that flank, which decided the game. The Russian’s shuffling skill and his
indefatigable stamina had carried the day!
Smyslov is the youngest participant in this Battle of the Titans, turning 27 in the course of the
tournament. A quiet, perfectly collected person: friendly, always ready to crinkle his face into a
smile. He hardly talks, probably because of his meager knowledge of other languages. But this lack of
knowledge of foreign languages is also a great help to him, since it saves him from having to answer
all kinds of questions that he would prefer to ignore. It is worth the effort of addressing him, just for
the miraculous skill with which he feigns his lack of understanding. “Yes,” “no,” and “play” are the
main ingredients of his conversation, as we already wrote in the KNSB journal and are free to quote
Yet this young man is the politest and most amiable guy in the world, and when you see him or talk to
him, you would think him to be a shy youngster. But beware when he unsheathes his chess rapier!
Then his engaging smile disappears and you are confronted with the self-absorbed thinker, the tireless
bulldog, the great explorer! When he strides across the stage during the game (and he did so often,
accompanied by Keres), you cannot help thinking that you are looking at a sleepwalker. He moves
forward with extreme deliberation, step by step, as if he wants to establish with infallible accuracy
how many millimeters wide the floor of the stadium is, staring straight ahead as if expecting a ghost.
We have always imagined Buddhas to be sitting in the lotus position, with their hands meaningfully
folded. That, at least, is how all of them in Java, where we visited the famous Hindu ruins, were
positioned. But Smyslov created a walking specimen. His face amiably set, sometimes crinkling into
a serene smile and staring into space.
His ascent in the chess world, however, had no similarity to a slow-motion movie! His rise was
quick and inexorable, and in view of his age and environment, the chess world is justified in
expecting many great things from him. Standings after the ninth round: Botvinnik 5/7; Keres and
Reshevsky 4/ 7; Smyslov 4/8; Euwe 1/7.
(17) Reshevsky – Botvinnik
Dutch Defense [A91]
1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nh3 0-0 6.0-0 d6
Botvinnik only plays the Stonewall continuation (...d7-d5) if White has developed his knight to f3.
This preference is based on good grounds: first, the white knight, which from f3 will go to h4, is
positioned very unpleasantly opposite the weakest point (e6) of the Stone Wall formation, and
second, the correct antidote (f3-e4) against the Stonewall formation (d5-e6-f5) is easiest to produce
when the king’s knight is not in the way on f3.
7.Nc3 Qe8 8.e4
Too early, according to Botvinnik, but one would have to be quite an expert of this variation to be
able to endorse this viewpoint, since on the face of it, White iseems to get good play; Black will soon
be saddled with a weak d-pawn. Against this, however, Black will get a lot of elbow room on the
kingside, with the result that he, too, will have good attacking chances.
Not 9.N×e4 at once in view of 9... N×e4 10.B×e4 e5, with an attack on the knight at h3.
9...c6 10.N×e4 N×e4 11.B×e4 e5 12.Ng2 Nd7 13.Ne3 e×d4!
Without batting an eyelash! Black acts as if there is no such thing as a weak d-pawn, and the course of
the game will show that his assessment is correct.
14.Q×d4 Ne5 15.f4
The only move: White must not allow the knight to descend on f3.
15...Ng4 16.N×g4 B×g4 17.Re1 Bf6 18.Qd3 (D)
Black’s assessment is borne out: 18.B×h7+? would fail to 18...K×h7 19.Qd3+ Qg6, while 18.Q×d6
cannot be recommended in view of 18...Rad8 and: (1) 19.B×h7+ K×h7 20.R×e8 Rf×e8! etc.;
(2) 19.Qb4 Bd4+ 20.Kh1? (20.Kg2 Qh5 etc.) 20...Q×e4+ and mate; (3) 19.Qa3 Bd4+ 20.Kh1 Qh5
with a strong attack.
18...Qh5 19.Bd2 Rfe8
Not, of course, 19...B×b2 in view of 20.Rab1 and 21.R×b7.
Better is 20.Re3. On the other hand, 20.Bc3 is not satisfactory either, in view of 20... B×c3 21.Q×c3
Re6, followed by doubling the rooks.
Black returns the compliment. With 20...Re6 he could save himself an important tempo, creating very
good winning chances in the process.
Black cannot afford to waste time defending the d-pawn.
22.B×d6 Re6 (D)
The lost tempo: 22...R×e4 now fails to 23.R×e4 R×e4 24.Q×e4 Bf5 25.Qe3! B×b1?? 26.Qe6+, and
mate will follow in another few moves.
A reckless sacrifice that turns the tide. With 23...Bf5! Black would have retained excellent play, for
example: (1) 24.Rbe1? B×e4 25.R×e4 R×e4 26.R×e4 R×e4 27.Q×e4 Qd1+ and 28...Q×d6; (2)
24.Be5 B×e5 and:
(2a) 25.B×f5 Rd6 26.B×h7+ Kh8! 27.Qc2 Bd4, etc.;
(2b) 25.f×e5 R×e5 26.Rbe1 Qg5, with pressure on the white position.
24.Q×d6 Rd8 25.Qc7
25.Qb4 would be met by 25...Bd4. The text move ties the bishop to defending the rook.
25...Qc5 26.Rbe1 Rf8
26...Rd1 is met by 27.Bd5+. The text move is meant to enable Black to eventually play Bd4.
27.Q×b7 Bd4 (D)
With 28.Qb3!, White could have reached a very favorable endgame: 28...Rd8!, and now: (1) 29.h3?
B×h3! 30.Kh2 Bg4, and the white rook cannot make way in view of Qc5-h5+; (2) 29.Kg2 B×e3
30.Q×e3 Q×e3 31.R×e3 Rd2+, with a draw as the most likely result; (3) 29.Bg2 B×e3+ 30.R×e3?
Rd1+ 31.Bf1 h5 (31...Bh3? 32.Qb8+ and mate) 32.Qb8+ Kh7 33.Qe5? Bh3!, etc.; (4) 29.a4! a5
30.Kg2 B×e3 31.Q×e3 Q×e3 32.R×e3 Rd2+ 33.Kg1, with winning chances for White.
28...Qa5 is not as strong as it looks: 29.Bf3 Qd2+ 30.R1e2 B×e3+ 31.Kg2!, and White retains his
29.R×e3 Qd4 30.Qb3
Or 30.Bf3 Re8 31.Qb3 R×e3 32.Q×e3 Q×b2+, with a draw.
30...Qd2+ 31.Kg1 Qc1+
31...Be2 leads to a draw as well, both after 32.h4, and the simple 32.R×e2 Q×e2 33.B×c6!.
32.Kf2 Qd2+ 33.Kg1 Qc1+ ½-½
(18) Smyslov – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C90]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Na5 Qc7
Normally, the Chigorin maneuver Nc6-a5, followed by c7-c5 and Qd8-c7, is executed after Black has
castled; see, for example, Game 8: 8...0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7. The set-up Black has gone
for here has four minor points that will become clear further on.
9.Bc2 c5 10.d4 Qc7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Nf1
The Exchange Variation 12.d×e5 d×e5 has little force here, because by putting pressure on e4 Black
will always be able to prevent the white knight from jumping to d5 via f1-e3 (point 1). In addition,
the Advance Variation would be ineffective here, because this line only comes into its own in
combination with a flank attack, and at this point Black has not castled yet (point 2).
12...c×d4 13.c×d4 Rc8
Point 3 is that 14.Ne3 will now fail to 14...N×e4! (if Black had already castled, this latter move
would have been refuted by 15.Nf5!) And point 4, finally, is that the now usual defense 14.Bd3 Nc6
15. Be3 is less effective in view of 15...Ng4.
So when we take stock, we see that the four points mentioned have forced White to go for a certain
set-up – not a bad one, incidentally – in which the omission of h2-h3 constitutes a gain of tempo for
White. So the question remains whether the Chigorin set-up before castling is an improvement.
14.Re2 0-0 15.Ng3 Rfe8 (D)
Worth considering is 15...g6 16.Bh6 Rfe8 17.Rc1 Ng4.
After 16.Nf5 Bf8 17.Bg5 Nd7 18.Rc1 Black is just in time to play 18...f6, since 19.Bb3+ meets with
16...Bf8 17.Bb2 g6 18.Qd2 Bg7 19.Rc1 Nd7 20.Ree1 Nc6 21.Bb1 Qb6
Both players improve their set-up. Black’s play is primarily intended to force White to show his hand
in the center.
22.d×e5 would be met by 22...Nd×e5!. Another plan for White begins with 22.Rcd1, but the text
move in any case provides White considerably more elbow room.
22...Ne7 23.Bc3 Ba8 24.h4
White does not play 24.Ba5 immediately in view of the reply 24...Bh6!.
24...h5 25.Ba5 Qb8
Now 25...Bh6 is no longer possible: 26.Q×h6 Q×a5 27.N×h5! g×h5 28.Q×d6, and White gets at least
three pawns for the sacrificed piece in a position with good attacking chances.
26.Nf1 R×c1 27.R×c1 Rc8 28.Ne1 Nc5
After 28...R×c1 29.Q×c1, the white queen comes to a3, after which Black would find it hard to
prevent losing a pawn (a6 or d6).
This queen sortie does not achieve much, but in view of the time the players had left on their clocks it
was no longer possible to come up with a well thought-out plan.
29...Kf8 30.Qe3 Ng8 31.Qh3 Bh6 32.Rc3 Ne7 33.Bc2 Nb7 34.R×c8+ Q×c8 35.Q×c8+ N×c8
Black has forced his opponent to liquidate and has reached an equal endgame, albeit one with a few
36.Bc3 Nc5 37.Bb4 Ke7 38.f3 Kd7?
Probably the decisive error. Black should continue 38...Nb6 and 39...Nbd7. But it was not easy to see
here – even aside from the time-trouble – that the set-up Ke7-Nd7 is so much better than the set-up
39.Nd3 N×d3 40.B×d3 Ne7 41.g4!
At precisely the right moment.
41...h×g4 42.f×g4 Bc1
The counterstroke 42...f5, on which the set-up Kd7-Ne7 is based, fails to 43.g5 Bg7 44.Ne3, and
Black remains completely hemmed in. But now he has the very strong threat of 43...f5.
43.g5! Bb7 (D)
White has many more possibilities than Black in this position, because two of Black’s pieces are very
badly placed: the bishop on b7 and knight on e7, but especially the knight. If Black were to succeed in
reaching the set-up Ke7-Nd7, all his problems would be solved: the knight would go to c5, and
bishop would be able to get out via c8. But White takes great care to prevent Black from taking up
this ideal position.
44.Kf2 Nc8 45.Ne3 Ke7
45...Kb6 is simply met by 46.Ba5, but now Black is threatening the maneuver Nc8-b6-d7.
46...Ba3 47.Kg3 Bc5 48.Bd2! (D)
Again preventing Nc8-b6, albeit in a far more sophisticated way: 48...Nb6 49.h5!, and now: (1)
49...B×e3 50.B×e3, with an attack on the knight, with the result that Black will not have time for
g×h5; (2) 49...Nd7 50.h6 Nf8 51.Ng4 Nh7 52.Nf6! N×f6 53.g×f6+ K×f6 54.Bg5+!, etc.; (3) 49...g×h5
(3a) 50...Kf8? 51.b4, followed by the capture of the d-pawn; (3b) 50...Kd7 51.Be2, followed by
52.B×h5, reinforcing the white position.
48...Kf8 49.Nc2 Ke7 50.Be2 Na7 51.Ba5 Nc8 52.Bg4 (D)
Now White has prevented both 52...Bb6, in view of 53.B×c8, and 52...Nb6, in view of 53.b4.
It is not easy to sit idly by while one is being slowly strangled. The text move does not improve
Black’s position, but what move does? White meets 52...Ba7, intending to finally play Nc8-b6-d7,
with 53.Nb4, and now: (1) 53...Nb6 54.Kf3 Nd7 55.Nc6+! B×c6 56.d×c6, etc.; (2) 53...Bb6 54.B×c8
B×a5 55.Nc6+ B×c6 56.d×c6, and wins.
53.g×f6+ K×f6 54.Bd8+ might have been even better.
53...f×g5 54.h×g5 (D)
A very difficult position for Black – no zugzwang yet, but it could easily come to that. 54...Ba7 is met
by 55.Kf3 Nb6? 56.Nb4 Nd7 57.Nc6+ B×c6 58.d×c6 K×e6 59.c7, etc.
Black forces a decision; the text move is going to cost a pawn, but it will provide Black with
breathing space, albeit artificially and only good for about ten moves. After that, the enemy passed
pawn will advance far enough to cut off all supply lines again.
55.b4 Nc4 56.b×c5 N×a5 57.c×d6+
Not, of course, 57.c6 in view of 57...B×c6!.
57...K×d6 58.Bf7 Nc4 59.B×g6 a5 60.Kg4 b4 61.Bf5 Ke7 62.Be6 Nd6 63.Ne3 N×e4 64.Kf5 Nd6+
65.K×e5 Nf7+ 66.Kf4 Nd8 67.Nf5+ Kf8 68.g6 N×e6+ 69.d×e6 a4 70.Ke5 1-0
And Black resigned, since 70...Bc6 (to parry 71.e7+ Ke8 72.g7) will cost a piece after 71.g7+ Kg8
72.Ne7+. A beautiful endgame!
Thursday, March 25, 1948
Game 19: Euwe-
Game 20: Botvinnik-
The last day of the Netherlands leg! What will it bring? The hall is filled to capacity; the galleries are
thronged with people and the back of the hall is almost full. There is a kind of electricity in the air.
Yet the spectators in the hall are extraordinarily quiet and follow the course of the games with intense
And no wonder! The game Euwe-Reshevsky, a Neo-Steinitz Ruy Lopez, was more than worth all this
attention. Reshevsky lost a pawn, then gave up a piece for two pawns, so that Euwe entered a
favorable endgame a bishop up but a pawn down. The Dutch chess community was justified to have
solid hopes of victory for its national champion! When the game was adjourned, the verbal analyses
broke out. Pieces went clitter-clatter on the boards as if there was no tomorrow. It did not take long,
however. Only the most seasoned and fanatical chess enthusiasts stayed to continue the post-mortem;
the great majority hurried home, full of confidence in a positive result. But it would go differently!
Euwe had sealed the move 41.Re3, which was correct. Then there followed 41...Rh1+ 42.Rg1 Qh2.
The slippery American wanted to sell his life as dearly as possible, which was his right and his duty.
Euwe had to be extremely careful! After 43.Qg4 g6, the critical moment had arrived! Perhaps White
did his homework somewhat superficially, or maybe he felt too sure of himself in the conviction that
the endgame was always winning, even after returning the bishop. However this may be, he played
44.Re2, after which Reshevsky snatched the knight on h5. If Euwe transferred his knight to f6, and
then to f4, instead of playing Re2, the white victory is assured, even though the win would by no
means have been smooth sailing even then! Now the American managed to save the draw. This was
the second time that Euwe let a certain win slip through his fingers! The Dutch chess players went
home deeply disappointed. A dramatic game ending in an anticlimax!
The game Botvinnik-Keres, with the Rubinstein variation of the Nimzo-In-dian, saw dramatic
developments as well, but was of an entirely different caliber. Here it was the grandmaster giving a
lesson to his disciple. Keres’ play seemed to be totally overwhelmed by the psychological pressure
that always seems to paralyze him when he is facing Botvinnik. He seemed mesmerized by the
personality of his redoubtable rival. And Botvinnik did play strongly, albeit without doing anything
remarkable. Only the combination with which he finished the game justifiably compelled the
admiration of the spectators. After Keres’ 20...Nd7, there followed 21.Rg7+ Kg7 22.Nh5+ Kg6. It
looked as if Keres opted for a quick death rather than to continue to endure the torture, his last move
giving his opponent the chance to put him out of his misery with 23.Qe3. There was nothing
grandmasterly in Keres’ play in this game.
So now the Netherlands leg of the battle had been fought. A few days later the participants,
accompanied by some Dutch friends, traveled to the Soviet capital to continue the fight there.
Standings after the tenth round: Botvinnik 6, Reshevsky 4½, Keres and Smyslov 4, Euwe 1½.
(19) Euwe – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C75]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 Bd7 6.d4 Nge7 7.h4
Better is 7.Bb3, as played in Game 1. The text move is aimed against Ne7-g6, but has the drawback
that White will find it almost impossible to castle.
7...h6 8.Be3 e×d4
Black finds it difficult to continue his development: 8...Ng6 would cost a pawn after 9.h5 Nf4
10.B×f4 e×f4 11.Qd2 Qf6 12.Rh4.
9.c×d4 d5 10.e5 b5 11.Bc2 Na5 (D)
Or 11...Nb4 12.Bb3, after which 12...Bf5 will not yield anything: 13.Qd2 Nd3+ 14.Kf1, and Black
does not have a good defense against 15.Bc2 (if 14...c5 15.d×c5 Rc8 16.Bc2 N×c5 17.B×f5 N×f5
12.Nc3 Bg4 13.a4 c6 14.Qd3
A very good possibility is 14.a×b5 c×b5 15.0-0, but one doesn’t like to castle behind an advanced
14...Bf5 15.Qe2 b4 16.Nd1 Qd7 17.Rc1 B×c2 18.Q×c2
The players keep the position roughly balanced: White is exerting pressure along the c-file, but for the
rest, his pieces are somewhat cluttered and scattered.
Or 18...Qf5 19.Q×f5 N×f5 20.g4 Ne7 21.Nd2 h5 22.f3, with equal chances.
19.g4 Ne7 20.Nd2 Q×g4
Far stronger is 20...h5!, intending to free f5 in another way.
21.Qc5 Nb7 22.Q×b4 Nd8 23.f3 Qg2 24.Rg1 Qh3 25.Bf2 Qc8 (D)
After this the black queen will find itself in the firing line of the rook, so a better move is 25...Qd7. It
is hard to decide who is better in that case. White has the open g-file, as well as attacking chances on
the queenside, but Black will be able to position his knights very strongly on f5 and e6, while also
exerting pressure with his rook along the b-file.
26.Qc3 Nf5 27.Ne3 Rb8?
An elementary mistake that costs a pawn. Correct is 27...N×e3 28.Q×e3 Qf5.
28.N×d5 Qd7 29.Nf4 Bb4 30.Qd3 0-0 31.Kf1
White would probably have been better advised to play 31.Rc2 first, with the intention of recapturing
with the rook after 31...Re8 32.Kf1 B×d2.
It goes without saying that Black will not allow this knight to come to e4.
32.Q×d2 Ne6 33.Nh5
33...Kh8 34.Rg4 Rb3 35.Rc3 Rb4?
A second error, which causes fresh problems for Black. After 35...Rfb8 or 35...Qd5, things would not
have been so easy for White.
Again the fatal d5-square!
The alternative 36...R×g4 37.f×g4 Ne7 is no better. In that case, White has a choice between: (1)
38.d6 Nd5 39.Rb3, and
(2) 38.Nf6 followed by either:
(2a) 38...g×f6 39.Q×h6+ Kg8 40.d×e6 Qd1+ 41.Kg2 Qd5+ 42.Kg1 Q×e5 43.e×f7+, with advantage
for White; (2b) 38...Qd8 39.Rd3 c×d5 40.N×d5 N×d5 41.R×d5, also with advantage for White.
A difficult choice. Other possibilities are:
(1) 37.R×b4 a×b4 38.R×c6 Rd8 and: (1a) 39.Rd6? N×d6 40.d×e6 Q×e6 41.e×d6 R×d6, and despite
his material deficit, Black has good chances; (1b) 39.Rc4 Q×d5 40.Q×d5 R×d5 41.R×b4 R×e5
42.Nf4, and White will have to fight a difficult endgame; (2) 37.R×c6 and:
(2a) 37...Rd8? 38.Rd6! N×d6 39.d×e6 Q×e6 40.N×g7!+-; (2b) 37...R×g4 38.f×g4 Ned4! 39.B×d4
Q×d5 40.g×f5 Q×c6 41.Kf2 Qe4 (41...Rd8? 42.e6 f6 43.N×f6!) 42.Qf4, and White should win in the
After the text move both knights are threatened, which means that the sacrifice that now follows is
37...Q×d5 38.Q×f5 R×b2 39.Rd3 Qa2 40.Be1 Rh2
Black suddenly gets reasonable counterplay.
41.Re3 Rh1+ (D)
The adjourned position: I only counted on 41...Nd4, after which I could defend adequately with
42.Qe4 Rh1+ 43.Rg1 Qh2 44.Qg4.
42.Rg1 Qh2 43.Qg4 g6 44.Re2?
Throwing away the win: correct was 44.Nf6, as I had suspected during the game; but given the
limited time, I had not succeeded in devising a suitable line of defense against 44...Nf4. The first
move is simple enough: 45.Ne4!, but what follows after is a maze of twists and turns, as witness the
following variations: (1) 45...R×g1+ 46.Q×g1 Qh3+ 47.Kf2 Rb8 48.Bc3 Rb1 49.e6+ and: (1a)
(1b) 49...Kh7 50.Nf6+ Kg7 51.Nh5+ Kh7 52.N×f4 Q×h4+ 53.Qg3 Rf1+ 54.K×f1 Q×g3 55.e7, etc.;
(2) 45...Nh3! 46.R×h1 Q×h1+ 47.Ke2 Rb8 48.Qg3! (this move in particular, which we only
discovered halfway along our trip to Moscow, is anything but obvious. The more plausible 48.Bc3
will not yield anything in view of 48...Kh7 49.e6 Rb1!); (2a) 48...Rb1 49.Nd2!, etc.;
(2b) 48...g5 49.h×g5 h×g5 50.N×g5 Rb2+ 51.Kd3 N×g5 52.Q×g5 Qf1+ 53.Kc3 Rb4 54.Qd8+ Kg7
44...R×g1+ 45.Q×g1 Q×g1+ 46.K×g1 g×h5
White still has a slight endgame advantage, but against Reshevsky’s flawless defense this proves
impossible to convert. There followed: 47.Re4 Kh7 48.B×a5 Rb8 49.Rb4 Ra8 50.Bb6 Kg6 51.a5
Kf5 52.Re4 Ra6 53.Kf2 Nf4 54.Rc4 c5 55.Kg3 Nd5 56.Bd8 Ra8 57.Bb6 ½-½
(20) Botvinnik – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E28]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Re8
A good system against the variation chosen by White can be found in Game 27.
The correct set-up, which Botvinnik, judging by the amount of time he used, must have found over the
7...e5 8.Ng3 d6 9.Be2 Nbd7
Better is 9...c5, followed by Nb8-c6, as Black’s continuation is too passive. One should keep in mind
that White acquired the bishop pair and control of the center in the opening, which means that it is up
to Black to create compensation for this. To this end, Black must exploit his lead in development and
White’s doubled c-pawns.
10.0-0 c5 11.f3 c×d4
This move solves the problem of White’s doubled pawns. For the same reason, 11...d5 cannot be
recommended either (12.c×d5 N×d5 13.Bd2), but after 11...Nf8 Black at least have retains a solid
position. 11...b6, on the other hand, would not have been very good in view of 12.e4 and 13.f4.
Again not a very fortunate decision; better possibilities are either 12...d5 (13.c5 e×d4 14.e×d4 b6) or
12...e×d4 13.Q×d4 Qb6.
And here Black should play 13...Be6 first, in order to provoke 14.d5, and then continue with 14...Bc8
Now White takes full control of the proceedings. The strength of the text move resides in the fact that
White is keeping the option of Q×d4 open, intending to play this move as soon as the reply Na4 has
been eliminated. In addition, the text move prevents the advance ...d6-d5, which is very strong after,
for example, 14.e×d4.
14...Be6 15.Rc1 Re7
Slightly better is 15... Rc8 16.Q×d4 Na4 17.Ba1, and now: (1) 17...Qb6 18.Q×b6 N×b6 19.B×f6
g×f6 20.Nh5, or (2) 17...Nc5 18.e5, in both cases with some slight advantage for White.
Only now that the reply 16...Na4 is no longer dangerous for White does he capture the pawn in the
A serious mistake, which hands White all the trumps. A better defense is 16...Rc8 17.Rfd1 Qc7, and
after 18.Q×d6 Q×d6 19.R×d6, Black continues with 19...Rec7, to capture the white c-pawn.
Opening all the files and deploying a new and strong piece for the attack.
17...d×c5 18.R×c5 Qf4
18...Qd8 runs into 19.Qe3, also with a quick decision.
Or 19...Rd7 20.Qb4 Qb8 21.Bb5, and Black can no longer defend adequately.
After 20...Ne8 White will win with 21.Nh5.
A beautiful decision.
21...K×g7 22.Nh5+ Kg6
After 22...Kf8 23.N×f6 N×f6 24.Q×f6 it is also curtains.
And Black resigned, since he is no longer able to prevent mate on g5 or h6.
The Moscow Leg
During our journey to Moscow, we were given the first intimations of the tremendous interest in chess
in the Soviet Union.
It started in Berlin, where we were the guests of the Russian military government. In Berlin, too, there
were many strong chess players, both among the military and among the Russian citizens living there.
The presence of the grandmasters was immediately latched onto as an opportunity for simultaneous
displays. Euwe, Kotov, Reshevsky and Smyslov were the chosen players – Botvinnik and Keres
already having given their simultaneous displays on their way to the Netherlands – and that same
evening, the four grandmasters found a select little group of 25 players, most of whom were of
Category 1 strength (our major league), waiting for them to do battle, watched by hundreds of
spectators. I do not know the exact results, but I do know that Kotov was the first grandmaster to
finish, and for the rest I believe that Smyslov won the greatest number of games. The next day, the
general in command and his staff sent us on our way, with a military band adding luster to the
When we continued our journey and entered Russian territory, we saw more examples of the
enthusiasm for chess in that country. At each station of any significance a deputation of chess players
awaited us. In Minsk, we were introduced to the champion of White Russia, Veresov, known in our
country as the leader of the Russians who took part in the Staunton tournament [i.e., Groningen 1946
– TK]. In Brest-Litovsk, were we had to change trains, there were hundreds of interested visitors,
speeches and music.
Then on to Moscow, where we arrived on the morning of Sunday, April 4th. We were welcomed by a
large number of officials and chess masters, and, it goes without saying, numerous photographers. The
grandmasters, Mrs. Euwe and Dr. Vidmar were given flowers, and Mrs. Kotov handed the present
author a beautiful bouquet that he enjoyed for more than a week in his hotel room.
During the first week of rest, our hosts went out of their way to give the grandmasters and the other
guests every opportunity to enjoy all the beautiful things Moscow has to offer.
The Official Opening Ceremony
Saturday, April 10th. The official opening of the Moscow leg of the tournament in the magnificent,
enchantingly lit Hall of Columns.
The hall was full to the rafters. All the heavyweights of Russian chess life were seated on the stage,
together with the five grandmasters in the tournament and their seconds, the tournament leader with
his assistants and numerous foreign guests.
Chairman Postnikov gave the opening speech. He called chess one of the means to forge cultural ties
between nations, which is so necessary for mutual understanding and for fostering peace and
He was followed by Romanovsky, one of the grandmasters of the previous generation. Romanovsky
expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the tournament was held in Moscow, the center of millions
of chess players, and he, too, expected that such tournaments would contribute to the forging of ties of
friendship between nations.
The president of the KNSB regarded it as a special privilege to be able to visit the El Dorado of
chess players. In his own country he would call the interest in our beautiful game considerable, but it
paled into insignificance compared to Russia. On behalf of the Dutch delegation he thanked the
Russian hosts cordially for their extremely generous welcome and for the friendliness and helpfulness
they had experienced everywhere they went.
Then Mr. Kemenov addressed the guests on behalf of the Bureau for External Cultural Relations. He,
too, drew attention to the notable significance of chess to reinforce cultural ties between the nations.
Let me wish all participants the best of luck, he concluded. And with a laugh he continued: “But in my
heart I hope a Russian will win.”
Dr. Euwe, greeted with thunderous applause, used the Russian language and started with words of
gratitude for the marvelous good care with which the guests had been surrounded. He mentioned the
tremendous interest that we had already experienced during the journey to Moscow, and which had
reached a climax in the capital. His 1½ points filled him with shame and he would try to do better in
Moscow, where the conditions were perfect. He concluded by expressing thanks on behalf of all the
Dutch visitors for having been admitted as members of the great Russian chess family.
Prof. Dr. Vidmar, who was also received with tumultuous applause, was the last speaker. He said
laughingly: “My job as an arbiter is to see everything and say nothing. I have had it very easy so far,
and I hope that my actions as arbiter will meet with the approval of all chess players.”
As a festive conclusion to the proceedings, several of Russia’s greatest artists treated those present to
piano music, recitations, singing and dancing.
Sunday, April 11, 1948
Game 21: Euwe-
Game 22: Smyslov-
Round 11 started at half-past five in the evening. The hall was fairly overflowing with spectators.
Grandmaster Kotov told me exultantly that all the admission tickets for the entire week had been sold
in three hours.
I had been told that at least five thousand chess players would follow the tournament in Moscow,
which is why I had imagined a giant hall, something like the Palais Gaumont in Paris. But the Hall of
Columns – which owes its name to its beautiful pillars – only has room for two thousand spectators.
But in the corridors and in other rooms, where demonstration boards had been set up as well, the
games were followed by many more hundreds of enthusiasts.
I was informed that the Russians were very fond of this hall for staging such tournaments. It is
certainly a gem, yet I think that the layout of the hall was less suitable than, for example, that in The
Hague, because (1) the Hall of Columns contained fixed rows of chairs, as in a cinema, starting
almost immediately in front of the stage, so that (2) no room was left for big tables for the officials
and invited guests. Add to this the fact that smoking was prohibited and that no refreshments were
available in the hall, and one can understand that there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing during the
games, which did not always happen noiselessly.
Worth a mention are the ingenious demonstration boards hanging high above the stage, which were
operated from behind. These boards also indicated the number of the move to be played and who was
to move. It was a shortcoming, however, that the moves were not written down, so that people who
could not be there for the start had no way of ascertaining the course of the game before their arrival.
A small army of photographers had descended on the hall to take pictures of the heroes of the first day
in Moscow, Euwe, Keres, Reshevsky and Smyslov. The gentlemen were not easily satisfied, because
their cameras could be heard clicking long after the games had started.
As in the first round, the game Euwe-Keres was a Ruy Lopez with the Neo-Steinitz defense, except
that Keres did not play 5...Bd7 this time, but went for the Siesta variation with 5...f5, of which he
turned out to have prepared a special continuation. In his Theorie der openingen (Theory of
openings) Euwe himself calls 8...d5 extremely risky in view of 9.f3, but now the novelty was sprung,
viz., 9...e3. Our compatriot failed to find the best reply, which is always difficult, of course, in such
limited time, and after a mistake on move 15 he quickly found himself in a hopeless position. He
resigned on move 26. Smyslov-Reshevsky also gave us the Neo-Steinitz defense of the Ruy Lopez, in
which the American again played 5...Nge7. Until 12.Nd5 this game was identical to Euwe-Keres
from the first round. Then Reshevsky played a bad move, which landed him in an extremely difficult
position. Smyslov expertly exploited his opponent’s difficulties. With an adroit maneuver he managed
to force the exchange of several pieces, a transaction that netted him a pawn, and when it was time to
adjourn, he was winning. The next day, Reshevsky played on for another 12 moves and then resigned.
(21) Euwe – Keres
Ruy Lopez [C74]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 f5
In Game 1, Keres continued with the positional move 5...Bd7 here, but this did not result in a very
good position; now he is going to try his luck with combinations. Like all gambits, this one, which
gets its name from the Siesta tournament of Budapest 1928, leads to very lively play, but without
entailing the considerable risks for the gambit player that are associated with most other gambits. All
in all, a very acceptable continuation, This is an assessment that is also borne out by the fact that
Capablanca, who everyone will agree tended to be a very solid player, used to be a great adherent of
the Siesta Gambit in his time.
6.e×f5 B×f5 7.d4 e4 8.Ng5 d5 9.f3 e3
Up to this point, the players have followed the usual routes, but the text move presents fresh
problems. The intention behind the pawn sacrifice is simple: 10.B×e3 h6 11.Nh3 B×h3, and Black
has compensation. But White does not have to take the pawn at once, and the working-out of this idea
leads to very complicated positions.
Opening a retreat square for the knight on g5.
The game has already reached a high pitch, as witness the many possibilities, only some of which
will be reviewed here: (1) 11.B×e3 Qe7 12.Qe2 and:
(1a) 12...Bd3? 13.Q×d3 B×f4 14.Nf7! and wins (14...K×f7 15.0-0!); (1b) 12...Bg4 13.Q×g4 Q×e3+
14.Qe2 B×f4? 15.Ne6, etc.; (1c) 12...Nf6! 13.Nf3 Bg4! (Black must never allow the white knight to
settle on e5) 14.Nbd2 0-0, and Black is better, partly because White cannot castle in view of the
reply Bd6xf4; (2) 11.Qh5+! and:
(2a) 11...Kd7? 12.Nf7 Qe8 13.Ne5+, etc.;
(2b) 11...Bg6 12.Qf3 Qf6 13.Q×e3+ Nge7 14.Qe6!, with a superior position for White (14...Q×e6+
15.N×e6 h6 16.N×g7+ and 17.f5); (2c) 11...g6 12.Qf3 Qf6 13.Q×e3+ Nge7 14.Nf3? Be4 15.0-0 0-0
This continuation resembles 2c above, with this important difference: that Black has g6 available,
which will turn out to be of great significance.
Not 12.B×e3 in view of 12...h6, and not 12.Q×d5 in view of 12...B×f4 13.Nf3 Nge7.
This exchange has an advantage (doubling of the black pawn formation) and a drawback (White
allows Black to have the bishop pair). In the course of the game, only the drawback comes to the fore:
Black is lord and master of the light squares in White’s position, which is why White should play
13.0-0 at once.
Note that 14.Nf3 was impossible in view of 14...B×b1 15.R×b1 Qg6, with an attack on the rook and
the g-pawn. The significance of the g6-square is already showing itself.
15.Nf3 is met by 15...Be4!, after which 16.Ne5 is impossible in view of 16... B×e5 17.d×e5 Qg6
(again, g6). But after 15.Nf3 Be4 White could have forced a draw in a curious manner: 16.Ng5!,
because if the black bishop does not return to f5, White will continue with 17.Qe6+ and the queens
will be exchanged. The text move should therefore be regarded as the decisive mistake.
Not only the black queen but also the knight makes good use of g6.
There is no way in which White will be able to avoid a disadvantage: 16.Nb3 would be met by
16...N×f4 17.R×f4 Q×g5, and Black has not only the bishop pair, but also good attacking chances.
16...Rae8 17.Qf2 Bd3
The light-square bishop is having a feast!
Black could also have decided the game with 18... h6 19.Ngf3 B×f4 20.g×f4 N×f4, but the text move
is more forcing.
19.Q×e1 B×f4! (D)
This sacrifice breaks the back of the white position. No wonder: Black has all his pieces at hand,
whereas White’s queenside is still undeveloped.
20.Qe6+ brings no salvation either: 20.Qe6+ Q×e6 21.N×e6 Be3+ 22.Kh1 Rf1+! 23.Kg2 (23.N×f1
Be4#) 23...Rf2+, winning a piece.
20...N×f4 21.Ndf3 Ne2+ 22.Kg2 h6
It is all so very simple: the knight on g5 cannot budge and will be lost.
Or (1) 23.Qf2 h×g5 24.B×g5 Qg6, followed by 25...Be4; (2) 23.Bd2 h×g5 24.N×g5 Be4+!, etc.; (3)
23.h4 h×g5 24.N×g5 Qf5, and wins.
23...Qf5 24.Qe3 h×g5 25.Bd2 Be4 0-1
(22) Smyslov – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C75]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c3 Nge7 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bb3 h6 8.Nbd2 Ng6 9.Nc4 Be7 10.0-0
0-0 11.Ne3 Bf6 12.Nd5 Re8
As regards the opening, see Game 1, in the comments to which it was also observed that 12...e×d4 is
the correct continuation here.
Black cannot take back with the pawn now in view of 14.N×f6!+ (the bishop on d7 is hanging).
After 13...Ng×e5 14.N×e5 N×e5, White would continue very strongly with 15.f4.
14.N×e5 d×e5 15.Qf3
White has a clear advantage: the bishop pair, a strong knight and generally great freedom of play.
A better option is 15...Na5, after which White must play 16.Bc2 (not 16.B×h6 in view of
This exchange will not bring Black relief: better is 16...Qc8.
Not 17.e×d5 in view of 17...e4.
17...Qe7 18.Qf5 (D)
After 18...Qe6 19.Be3 White retains a large advantage in any endgame that follows. In addition,
18...Rad8 fails to 19.R×d8 R×d8 20.B×h6! g×h6 21.Q×g6+, but certainly not 20.Q×g6? at once in
view of 20...Rd1+!.
19.Be3 Ne6 20.Rad1 Red8?
Better is 20...Rad8, as will become clear later (see the next diagram with the hemmed-in rook on a8).
Black can hardly stir and is prepared to accept a weak pawn rather than continuing his helpless
22.R×d6 c×d6 23.Qg4 Kh8 24.Bb6
White’s plan is becoming clear: now he is threatening to capture the d-pawn with 25.Rd2 and
26.Qd1. There is very little Black will be able to do against this, for example, 24...Ncd8 25.Rd2 f6
26.B×e6! (not 26.Qd1 in view of 26...Nf7) 26...N×e6 27.Qd1, etc.
Intending to follow up with Nb8-d7-f6-d8, but Black never gets time to realize his plan. The text
move would only have been good with the black rook on e8 (see the comment to the 20th move).
25.B×e6 f×e6 26.Qh4! (D)
A problem move that seals the fate of d6.
26...Q×h4 27.g×h4 is equally hopeless.
White goes for the simplest way: now he will win at least a pawn in a good position.
27...Q×d8 28.B×d8 Nd7 29.Bc7 Nc5 30.R×d6 Rc8 31.Bb6 Na4 32.R×e6 N×b2 33.R×e5 Nc4
After 33...R×c3, White decides the issue with 34.Bd4! Rc2 35.Re7, etc.
34.Re6 N×b6 35.R×b6 R×c3 36.R×b7 Rc2 37.h4 R×a2
In the last 10 moves, both players have indulged themselves by capturing pawns left, right and center,
without any change to the material situation and the chances arising from it. White is still a pawn
ahead, and in view of the division of the pawns “two extra on the kingside, one fewer on the
queenside,” the endgame will be an easy win for him. The last part, which is very instructive because
of its simplicity, does not require any comment.
38.Kg2 a5 39.h5 a4 40.Ra7 Kg8 41.g4 a3 42.Kg3 Re2 43.Kf3 Ra2 44.Ke3 Kf8 45.f3 Ra1 46.Kf4
a2 47.e5 Kg8 48.Kf5 Rf1 49.R×a2 R×f3+ 50.Kg6 Kf8 51.Ra8+ Ke7 52.Ra7+ 1-0
Tuesday, April 13, 1948
Game 23: Keres-
Game 24: Botvinnik-
On this day, the interest of the photographers was even greater than two days previously. This was
understandable, since it was Botvinnik’s first appearance in Moscow. The Russian hoped to avoid
their interest by sacrificing five minutes of his time, but it was to no avail: the photographers were
patient, and when Botvinnik finally appeared, to tumultuous applause from the audience, he was
photographed from every side.
Keres-Smyslov: the latter played his beloved Grünfeld Indian, against which Keres played what
Euwe calls the reinforced Russian defense, 4.Nf3 and 5.Qb3. Play and counterplay balanced each
other out; a pawn sacrifice by Black was only temporary, as was another pawn sacrifice by the same
player later. Maybe White could have created winning chances on move 35, but when he failed to
take the opportunity, the position took on a utterly drawish character. At the end of the playing time,
both players were left with a bishop and four pawns, and the next day they agreed to a draw without
resuming play. Botvinnik-Euwe: by a transposition of moves the main line of the Meran defense
arose, in which White opted for the Blumenfeld continuation, 11.Nb5. Euwe did not meet this with
11...Ne5 which, in his Theorie der openingen, he indicates as the most important and probably best
reply, but with 11...a×b5 – he will explain the reason for this deviation in his analysis. Euwe’s 16th
move was weak: at that point, and with the best defense, he could still have equalized. With his 21st
move, when Black, incidentally, had run out of completely satisfactory moves, he allowed White to
execute a beautiful maneuver to secure a decisive advantage. After this, Black’s position quickly got
worse, and on move 36 he threw in the towel.
Thus far, Euwe’s good intention of doing better in Moscow had largely come to nothing.
(23) Keres – Smyslov
Grünfeld Defense [D99]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 d×c4 6.Q×c4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7 9.Qb3
As regards the opening, see Game 15.
See also Games 28 and 48, in which White plays 10.a4. The text move does not to yield much.
Despite the opposition of rook and queen on the file! White now wins a pawn, but this is only
temporary, as the e5-pawn cannot be covered sufficiently.
11.d×e5 N8d7 12.Be2 Qe7 13.Bg5 (D)
This is pointless. Correct is 13.h3, intending to meet 13...Be6 with 14.Nd5!, while White also has a
satisfactory position after 13...B×f3 14.B×f3 N×e5 15.Be2.
14.Nb5 would be met by 14... B×f3 15.g×f3 Q×e5, but 14.h3 would have been slightly better than the
text move again.
Quite correct. 15.Nd4? leads to an advantage for Black: 15... c5 16.Ndb5 B×e2 17.N×e2 c4 18.Qb4
Nd3, etc. Nor is 15.Nb5 particularly good: 15... N×f3+ 16.g×f3 Bd7!, and now 17.N×c7? fails to
15...N×d5 16.e×d5 N×f3+ 17.B×f3 B×f3 18.Q×f3 (D)
The general liquidation has led to approximate equality, but the position is by no means simple yet.
After 18...Qa4, difficult complications may yet arise: (1) 19.Bf6 and:
(1a) 19...Q×a2 20.B×g7 K×g7 21.Qc3+, followed by 22.Q×c7, and White gets a dangerous passed
pawn; (1b) 19...B×f6 20.Q×f6 Q×a2 21.h4, with chances that are hard to assess; (2) 19.Be7 Rfe8
20.Ba3, also with difficult play.
Black is not interested in adventures, and soon a dry position arises with very little left to play for.
19.Rd2 Rfe8 20.Rc1 Be5 21.g3 a5 22.Kg2 a4 23.Re2 Bd6
23...Qb5 is slightly better: the text move leaves f6 open, which enables White to regain the initiative.
24.Rce1 R×e2 25.R×e2 Re8 26.R×e8+ Q×e8 27.Bf6 Bf8 28.d6!
This advance brings back the tension.
28...c×d6 29.Q×b7 Qe6 30.Bc3 Q×a2 31.Qe4 (D)
Black’s extra pawn is only of a temporary nature. With the text move White is threatening the very
A simpler approach is 31...Bg7 32.Qa8+ Bf8, but then White could still have tried 33.Bd2: (1)
33...Kg7 34.Bh6+! K×h6 35.Q×f8+ and:
(1a) 35...Kg5 36.Q×d6, with chances for White;
(1b) 35...Kh5 36.Qg7, with difficult play;
(2) 33...Qe6! 34.Bh6 Qe7 35.B×f8 Q×f8 36.Q×a4, and White is only marginally better (the more
remote passed pawn).
After 32...Qe6 33.Qh8+ Kf7 34.Q×h7+ Ke8 35.h4 White would still retain winning chances.
33.Qh8 Ke8 34.Q×h7
Or 34.Bg7 Qf7 35.Bh6, in order to go for the liquidation B×f8 followed by Q×h7(+) at the right
moment, after which White gets at least a favorable endgame.
Correct was 35.Qh8! in order to tie the black queen to its base (in view of Bc3-g7), and then to
continue with 36.Qd4. After the text move, the draw is inevitable.
35...Qd5+ 36.Kg1 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qd5+ 38.f3 Qb5 39.Qd4 Qe2+ 40.Qf2 Q×f2+ 41.K×f2 Kf7
42.Ke3 Ke6 ½-½
Here the game was adjourned and a draw was agreed without play being resumed.
(24) Botvinnik – Euwe
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D49]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 d×c4
So this is going to be the real Meran, not the Half-Meran as in Games 2 and 9!
7.B×c4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4
The characteristic move of the Blumenfeld variation. White immediately advances in the center so as
not to give Black time to consolidate.
9...c5 10.e5 c×d4 11.N×b5
All this is known.
In former times, 11...N×e5 12.N×e5 a×b5 was played almost exclusively, but it seems that
Stahlberg’s continuation 13.Qf3! would yield White at least a positive advantage.
The consistent continuation: certainly not 12...Q×f6? in view of 13.Qf3!.
13.f×g7 B×g7 (D)
The starting point of many complications. The normal continuation here is 14.Qe2 0-0 15.0-0, and
now: (1) 15...Nc5? 16.B×h7+ K×h7 17.Ng5+ Kg6 18.Qg4 f5 19.Qg3, with a winning attack for
White, as demonstrated in the games Kottnauer-Kotov, Prague 1946, and Kottnauer-Pachman,
Moscow 1947; (2) 15...Bb7 and:
(2a) 16.B×b5 B×f3 17.g×f3 Nc5 18.Bc4 Qd6, and Black will get attacking chances for the sacrificed
pawn; (2b) 16.Re1 b4 17.Bf4 Ra5, with roughly equal chances. Black just manages to prevent White
from becoming lord and master of the e5-square, which would have unleashed an irresistible attack.
This move, which in former times was not played in order to prevent the exchange of the white
attacking bishop for the knight on c5, completely upsets Black’s plans. After, for example, 14...Bb7
15.Re1 0-0 16.Bf4, Black no longer has time for 16...b4 and 17...Ra5, which means that he has to
play, for instance, 16...Rac8, the consequences of which could be 17.Ne5! N×e5 18.B×e5 B×e5 (if
18...f6? 19.B×d4!) 19.R×e5, and wins.
If Black plays 16...Rad8, White replies 17.Rc1, with the unpleasant threat of 18.Bc7, while 16...Rfd8
is met by 17.Ne5 N×e5 18.B×e5 f6 19.Qh5 h6 20.B×f6!, or if 19...f×e5 20.Q×h7+ Kf8 21.h4. Always
the same picture: the opening of the d1-h5 diagonal, decimation of the black defenses and general
mobilization against the kingside.
Even if the correctness of one or the other of the sacrificing variations cannot be proven conclusively,
White will be given so many options that one can be sure that one of the many attacking plans will
inevitably strike home.
Consistent and possibly just enough.
The immediate 15...0-0 fails to the well-known sacrifice 16.B×h7+ (see the comment under the above
diagram), but with 15...N×d3 16.Q×d3 Black gets around to castling (16...0-0), albeit without
equalizing completely: 17.Re1! and: (1) 17...Bb7? 18.Ng5 and wins (after 18...f5 the e-pawn will no
longer be defended); (2) 17...f6 18.N×d4;
(2a) 18...e5 19.Nf3!;
(2b) 18...Rd8 19.Be3 e5 20.Nb3.
16.Re1 Rd8? (D)
The immediate 16...0-0 fails to 17.B×h7+ K×h7 18.Ng5+, etc.
In addition, 16...N×d3 17.Q×d3 0-0 fails to 18.Ng5 again (see the comment under the 15th move), but
with 16...N×d3 17.Q×d3 B×f3 18.Q×f3 0-0 Black almost equalizes, because as soon as Black has
succeeded in setting up the formation f6-e5, his position will be very good again, and it is hard to see
what more White would be able to do than slow down the realization of this set-up, for example,
19.Qg3 Kh8 20.Be5 f6 21.Bd6 Rfe8 22.Rac1 Rac8. Meanwhile, the question remains whether White
would not get some attacking chances with 18.g×f3 (instead of 18.Q×f3) after all, since the doubled
pawns are of minor importance.
Relevant here is the game Szabó-Foltys (Budapest 1948): 16...N×d3 17.Q×d3 B×f3 18.Q×f3 0-0
19.Rac1! Rac8 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.h4 Rfe8 22.h5 h6 23.Be5 f6 24.Bf4 e5 25.Qg6, and wins. Black
should have played 21...Rg8.
Schmidt draws attention to 16...Bd5, for example, 17.Be5 B×e5 18.N×e5 Rg8, but besides 19.g3 Rg7
20.Qh5 Qb7!, as indicated by Schmidt, 19.Bf1 would also be very good for White. Black’s king will
in any case remain exposed, and his counter-action along the g-file does not compensate for it.
To be able to withdraw the knight without being surprised by Bf4-c7.
The decisive turn.
This was Black’s last chance to castle, but it would have been far from enough. White would win as
follows: 19.Ng5 h6 20.Bh7+ Kh8 21.Qh5!, and now: (1) 21...Qa5 (intending to meet 22.Q×h6? with
R×e5!) 22.N×f7+ and: (1a) 22...R×f7 23.Q×f7, etc.;
(1b) 22...K×h7 23.Ng5+ Kg8 24.Qg6, etc.;
(2) 21...f6 22.Qg6! (threatening 23.Bg8!) 22...h×g5 23.Qh5 Rc8 24.B×f6, and wins.
Other continuations will cost at least a pawn, for example, 19...Ke7 (or 0-0) 20.R×d5 B×d5
21.N×d4, or 19...Rg8 20.B×h7+ (but 20.R×d5! B×d5 21.b4! would be even stronger).
20...Rg8 is best met by 21.Bf1. Also, 20...0-0 can be met simply by 21.Qg4+ Kh8 22.Q×d4.
Now Black has run out of satisfactory continuations: (1) 21...0-0 22.Nd7, and White wins the
(2) 21...Rg8 22.Q×h7 R×g2+ 23.Kf1, etc.;
(3) 21...Ke7 22.Qa3+ b4 23.Qg3 and:
(3a) 23...h6 24.Qg7 Rf8 25.Ng6+, etc.;
(3b) 23...Rf8 24.Qg5+ Ke8 25.Ng4;
(4) 21...Rf8 22.b4 and:
(4a) 22...f6 23.Q×h7+! f×e5 24. Rc7, etc.;
(4b) 22...Ke7 23.Rc5, and White wins at least one important pawn; (5) 21...f6, see the game.
22...f×e5 23.Qg7 Rf8 24.Rc7 Q×c7
A last-ditch attempt: 24...Qd6 would fail to 25.R×b7 d3 26.Ra7 Qd8 27.Q×h7, with the threat of
25.Q×c7 Bd5 26.Q×e5 d3
Black can play on for a little while, but he no longer has any realistic chances.
27.Qe3 Bc4 28.b3 Rf7 29.f3
29.b×c4 is also possible, but White is taking no chances.
29...Rd7 30.Qd2 e5 31.b×c4 b×c4 32.Kf2 Kf7
32...c3 fails to 33.Q×c3 d2 34.Qc8+ Ke7 35.Q×d7+, etc.
33.Ke3 Ke6 34.Qb4 Rc7 35.Kd2 Rc6 36.a4 1-0
Thursday, April 15, 1948
Game 25: Smyslov-
Game 26: Reshevsky-
A black day, meaning that it was a good day for the players behind the black pieces. In the game
Smyslov-Botvinnik, we got to see a Sicilian defense for the first time in this tournament. It became, in
Euwe’s terminology, the main line of the Semi-Dragon, in which White did not play the usual 7.Qd2,
but opted for 7.Be2 instead. With his ninth move, Smyslov forced his opponent to double his f-pawn –
unless he preferred to sacrifice a pawn, which might not even have been such a bad idea – but he got
no chance to exploit it. His 17th move looked very good, which is probably why he executed it so
emphatically, but it was merely a shot in the dark.
He did manage to isolate the black pawns, but this only gave the black pieces more elbow room.
Botvinnik made excellent use of the space – his two bishops became especially active – and drove
his opponent more and more into a corner. On move 37, Botvinnik won an exchange, three moves
later followed by a pawn. After this the game was adjourned, but Smyslov resigned it immediately the
next day, without resuming play. A fine performance from the champion!
Reshevsky-Keres. This game, which was postponed because Reshevsky was feeling out of sorts, was
played on April 19th. It was the accelerated Meran Defense, in which Keres played 5...a6, upon
which Reshevsky took the opportunity to advance his c-pawn. A typical position arose, in which
Keres, on his 15th move, overlooked that Reshevsky could make a pseudo-sacrifice – the start of a
brilliant combination – to win an important pawn. After this, the American could have played more
strongly, but at the adjournment the general opinion was that he still had winning chances, although
they had been reduced by a few weak moves before the time-control.
The adjourned position demanded deep analysis. Keres and his second turned out to have done their
work best, at least better than Reshevsky, who was too obsessed by the idea that he should still win
the game. Soon after the resumption Reshevsky had to give up an exchange. He did get two pawns
back for it, but now the win had become completely illusory. Yet the American could not let the idea
of winning go, failed to take his last drawing chance on move 55, and ended up losing. A bitter
disappointment for our friend Samuel.
(25) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Sicilian Defense [B62]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 c×d4 4.N×d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Be2
The more common move here is 7.Qd2. If White were to treat this variation like a normal
Scheveningen, he would surely not get an advantage.
7...Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ndb5
A sortie that is not going to yield anything; no disadvantage, but no advantage either.
The consequence of the previous move.
Black might consider the pawn sacrifice 10...B×f6 11.N×d6 Qc7 12.N×c8 Ra×c8. The text move is
more solid: the doubling on the kingside is of little consequence in this variation.
11.Nd4 Kh8 12.Kh1 Rg8 13.f4 Bd7
A good alternative is 13...Qb6 14.Nb3 Bd7.
Another plan, possibly better, is 14.Nf3, followed by 15.Bd3 and potentially by f4-f5.
Correct is 15.Nce2 Na5 16.b3 b5 17.c3. The exchange reinforces Black’s pawn structure, so that he
soon is in a position to advance his center.
15...b×c6 16.Ne2 d5!
Before White prevents this advance with 17.c4.
White is consistently trying to weaken the black pawn structure, and although he is 100% successful –
in the course of just five moves all Black’s pawns become isolated or doubled! – this tactic does not
really lead to any improvement in his position, since the black pieces have now been released and
become devilishly active (especially the bishops!). Instead of the text move, White should play
17.Qd2, followed by 18.c4, after which his disadvantage is restricted to a minimum.
Another shot that hits the target, which is to say, only the black pawn structure (compare the previous
comment). Another option for White would have been 18.f×e6 f×e6, followed by 19.c4, but Black is
going to continue with 19...Bd6 and 20...Be5 and will in any case retain a considerable advantage.
18...d×c4 19.Qd4 c5 20.Q×c4 Bd6 21.g3 Bb5 22.Qc2 e×f5 23.e×f5
White has reached his goal: the black pawns have become very weak. But strangely enough, they are
unassailable at the moment.
24.Qd2! is better. It is true that Black would have been able to sacrifice his bishop on g3 after 24...
B×e2 25.B×e2, but White refuses the offer, plays 26.Bf3, and can still hope for a draw, partly in view
of the opposite-color bishops.
After 25.Nc3 Black has a choice between:
(1) 25...Bc6! and:
(1a) 26.Nd5? R×f3!, etc.;
(1b) 26.B×c6 Q×c6+ 27.Kg1 B×g3, etc.;
(1c) 26.Bg2 B×g3 27.h×g3 Re×g3 and wins (28.B×c6 Rh3+ 29.Rh2 R×h2+ 30.Q×h2 Q×c6+); (2)
25...R×f3 26.R×f3 Bc6 and:
(2a) 27.Raf1 B×g3!;
(2b) 27.Ne4 Re8 28.Re3 Qe7 29.Rae1 Be5 30.g4 Bd4, and White is tied hand and foot.
A sad retreat, but a necessary one: 26.Nc3? Re1+ etc.
26...Bd3 27.Qd2 c4
Black has pulled off a masterpiece of strategy.
28.Rf3 Re8 29.Rd1 (D)
The endgame after 29.R×e3 Q×e3 30.Q×e3 R×e3 hardly offers chances either. In addition, 29.Qc3
runs into 29...Kg7! (30.R×e3 Q×e3 31.Nf3 Qf2!).
This leads to a quick defeat. 30.R×e3 Q×e3 31.Q×e3 R×e3 32.Bf1 would have constituted a more
tenacious defense: (1) 32...Bd4 33.B×d3 and:
(1b) 33...c×d3 34.Nh3!;
(2) 32...B×f5! winning more slowly.
Now Black will capture at least an exchange.
31.b×c4 B×c4 32.Bf1 R×d1 33.Q×d1 Rd8
With 33...Qe1 Black also captures important material.
The race has been run.
35.Qc3 Bd4 36.Qd3 Qe3 37.Q×e3 B×e3 38.Bg2 B×f3 39.B×f3 Rd2 40.Ne2 R×a2 41.Kg2 0-1
A fine performance by Black!
(26) Reshevsky – Keres
Semi-Slav Defense [D45]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 a6
Black omits Nb8-d7 in order to be able to play d×c4 at once, followed by the queenside advance, but
this tactic has the drawback that White will no longer have to allow his opponent’s expansion on his
This is known as the best weapon against the accelerated Meran.
6...Nbd7 7.b4 a5
This is how Black forces his opponent into immediate action. More common is 7...g6, Bf8-g7 and
Qd8-c7, eventually followed by e6-e5. One advantage of the text move, however, is that the desired
central advance can be executed at once now.
Black need not fear 9.d×e5 Ng4, as c5 is unprotected.
Interesting, but the question is whether White does better to postpone this action. Safer and better are
9.Be2 and 10.0-0 first.
Aimed against a sacrifice on c5.
The correct way to get compensation for White’s great space advantage on the queenside. Opening the
position with 10...e×d4 11.e×d4 favors White.
Another possibility is 11...g6, followed by 12...Bh6, to prevent the rolling-up maneuver f2-f3 by
putting pressure on e3.
12.Be2 h5 13.b6 Qd8 14.h3
To prevent 14...Ng4. But a strategically better way to do this was 14.f3 e×f3 15.g×f3.
14...Nf8 15.0-0–0 Ne6? (D)
Allowing White to unleash a beautiful and very surprising combination, which Black could prevent
with 15...Ng6. In that case, White would continue with 16.f3!.
A deeply calculated stroke of genius.
The main line goes 16...d×e4 17.d5 B×c5 (if 17...N×c5 18.B×c5 B×c5 19.d×c6) 18.d×c6! B×a3+
19.Kc2! Bd6 20.R×d6! Q×d6 21.c×b7+, etc.
Black settles for the loss of a pawn, which is the correct decision, since the continuation 17...d×e4
18.d5 B×c5 19.d×c6! B×a3+ 20.Kc2 cannot be recommended here either (20...Q×b6? 21.c×b7+ Ke7
18.Nd2 0-0 19.Rhg1
This is the start of a stage of back-and-forth maneuvering in which both players are trying to find their
opponent’s weak spot. In this phase, Reshevsky, who set up the game so magnificently, does not show
his best side – probably because he is of the erroneous opinion that the win should now follow
19...Re8 20.Bd3 Bf8 21.Bb2
Not great either, but a tempo more or less does not matter too much here.
21...Ng5 22.Qc2 a4
Black is playing strongly and boldly, but then, he has nothing left to lose. The black a-pawn may
become very weak, but it will later cooperate in the execution of all kinds of surprising combinations.
23.a3 Qe7 24.Rde1 Ne4 25.Nf1
After the exchange on e4, Black takes control of the important e6-a2 diagonal, and in particular of the
25...Qg5 26.f3 Nf6 27.Kb1
Far better is 27.g4 h×g3 28.R×g3 Qh4 29.Qf2, with good attacking chances.
27...Nh5 28.Bc3 Bd7 29.f4?
The weakening of e4 constitutes a serious drawback, possibly even a definitive obstacle for White’s
later advance. Correct is 29.Qf2, followed by g2-g4.
29...Qh6 30.Qf2 Qf6
31.Kb2 Bf5? (D)
An incorrect combination in time-trouble, which Reshevsky fails to see through as well. White could
safely have accepted the pawn sacrifice: 32.B×f5 Q×f5 33.Q×h4 Qd3 34.Q×h5 B×c5?! 35.d×c5 d4,
and he will just be able to defend with 36.B×d4 (not 36.e×d4 in view of 36...R×e1 37.B×e1 Q×d4+)
32.Qc2 Be4 33.g4
Finally! But now the open g-file is not completely effective because of the weakening of e4.
33...h×g3 34.N×g3 N×g3 35.R×g3 B×d3 36.Q×d3 Re4 37.Reg1 Rae8 38.Rf1
White has lost track. His flag is about to fall.
38...Qh4 39.Rfg1 R8e6
Now the threat is 40...R×e3! 41.R×e3 Qf2+ 42.Bd2 Q×g1.
40.Qd2 f5 (D)
With 40...Rg6!, Black could have forced a fairly certain draw. After 41.R×g6 f×g6, White’s e-and h-
pawns cannot easily be defended, e.g., 42.Qe1 Q×h3 43.Bd2 Be7 44.R×g6 Bf6, and Black is
certainly not worse.
The adjourned position, in which both players used their analytical powers to come up with a decent
plan of attack and defense. Keres was in a better position in this respect, because he has so many
options that it would be impossible for his opponent to study them all, whereas he himself can adhere
to a previously chosen line.
41...Qh5 42.Bd2 g6
A very good set-up, which also includes a subtle trap.
43.Bc1, followed by 44.Qd1, is preferable, although after the exchange of queens the endgame is
probably not winning.
After the immediate 44.R×g6+ R×g6 45.R×g6+ Kf7, White’s f-pawn falls.
White walks into the trap. With 45.Rg2 Qh3 46.Qf1 Kf7 47.Qg1 Qh7 48.Rh2, he retains some
45...R×g6 46.R×g6+ Kf7 47.Rg5 (D)
There is no other square available, but 47.R×c6! guarantees at least a draw: 47... b×c6 48.b7 Re8
49.Q×f5+, and now: (1) 49...Ke7? 50.Qe5+ 51.Q×e8+;
(2) 49...Kg8 50.Qg6+ Kh8 51.Q×e8 Q×d2+, and Black is forced draw by perpetual check; (3)
49...Kg7 50.Kc3!, and in view of the double threat of 51.Qd7+ and 51.b8Q R×b8 52.Qe5+, White
will at least win back the rook he had sacrificed.
The point of Black’s surprising combination.
The trap is sprung: White loses an exchange.
49.Kc3 Qh3 50.R×f6+ K×f6 51.Qc2 Qf1 52.Q×a4
With three pawns for the exchange, White still has a material plus, but his king is exposed and his
pawns have no way to advance.
52...Qa1+ 53.Kc2 Re8 54.Qb3 Ra8 (D)
White wants to defend his third extra pawn at all cost, but this stubbornness is going to cost him the
game. With 55.Qb2!, he could have reached a draw in splendid fashion: 55... Q×a3 56.Q×a3 R×a3
57.e4! d×e4 58.d5! c×d5 59.c6! Ra6 (59...b×c6 is impossible in view of 60.b7, while 59...Ra8
60.Bc3+ would lead to the same liquidation) 60.Ba5!! Ra8 61.Bc3+ Ke6 62.Be5 Rc8 63.Bc7 b×c6
64.b7 Rg8 65.b8Q R×b8 66.B×b8 d4, and neither player will be able to win the ensuing endgame. So
if Black wants to play for a win, he will have to continue with 55...Qf1 after 55.Qb2, but with a good
defense White does not need to lose this endgame.
The start of an attack that will quickly decide the issue.
In hopes of getting some counterplay. Other moves lose hopelessly.
56...Rh1 57.e5+ Ke7 58.Qe3
The only move: 58.Qb2 Rh2+ and 58.Bd2 Qd1+ will cost White his queen, while 58.Be3 Qd1+
exchanging queens will cost him his bishop.
58...Qa2+ 59.Kc3 Rh2 60.Qd3
White is making forced moves.
60...Qa1+ 61.Kb3 Qc1 62.f5 Qb2+ 63.Ka4 Rh8 0-1
Or 63...Rh3!. A tense game!
Sunday, April 18, 1948
Game 27: Botvinnik-
Game 28: Euwe-
The first game was a Nimzo-Indian, in which Botvinnik played his beloved Rubinstein variation and
his opponent went for the sharp but effective continuation 4...c5. Reshevsky’s first goal was to curb
the activity of the white bishops, after which he turned his attention to the weak c-pawn. For
Botvinnik, this pawn became a source of concern that hindered the deployment of his troops. He was
quickly reduced to a more defensive stance, and his difficult position took a lot of thought. He got into
time-trouble – which was starting to beset Reshevsky as well – played a weak move (31.Rd2) and
slowly but surely found himself in a formal squeeze. In desperation he sacrificed a knight, but it was
not enough to stave off defeat.
The spectators remained silent, which had never happened before after a game had been decided.
What was the matter? Most of them were not aware of the result! The last few moves had been played
lightning fast and had not been shown on the demonstration boards. Now the arbiters first had to
ascertain whether the required number of 40 moves had been played. When this turned out to be the
case, Botvinnik resigned and Reshevsky was awarded for this well-deserved win with affectionate
In the game Euwe-Smyslov, the white player had decided not to play 1.e4 for a change – the Ruy
Lopez is greatly indebted to him in this tournament, but it cannot be said that the reverse is also true –
but Smyslov stayed with the Grünfeld Indian. Up to the 10th move, they followed the game Keres-
Smyslov, but then Euwe deviated. He launched a novelty, and this time it was Smyslov who had to
experience how difficult it is to find the correct reply over the board. Euwe captured a pawn, and
after another few moves his opponent was forced to shed an exchange. It was a pity that on move 27,
Euwe neglected to take the chance of concluding the game with a beautiful finale by means of some
fireworks starting with a queen sacrifice. Now the fight was continued till move 42, when Black was
on the point of losing a piece and resigned.
On one side of the stage Botvinnik’s first defeat; on the other side the first victory of the former world
champion, which unfortunately would remain his only one.
(27) Botvinnik – Reshevsky
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E29]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Nc6
We find the same opening in Game 20, except that Black is playing far more effectively here. With
...c7-c5 and ...Nb8-c6, the white doubled pawns are fixed and an attack on c4 is prepared, while the
activity of the white bishops in the direction of the queenside is very restricted.
We will soon see Black succeeding in curbing the activity of these bishops in the direction of the
7.Bd3 0-0 8.Ne2 b6 9.e4 Ne8
This maneuver, conceived by Capablanca (Johner-Capablanca, Carlsbad 1929) is primarily meant to
enable Black to play f7-f5 at the right moment, the significance of which will soon become clear.
10.Be3 d6 11.0-0 Na5
With this and the following move Black starts exerting pressure on c4.
12.Ng3 Ba6 13.Qe2 Qd7 14.f4?
As Black’s reply clearly shows, this advance – which, incidentally, is the normal way to start an
attack on the kingside – has considerable drawbacks. Better is 14.e5, after which the chances are
The realization of Black’s strategic plan. On the left wing, the white bishop pair has already been
locked in, and now the right wing will be blockaded. The text move not only closes the diagonal of
the bishop on d3, but also stops the f-pawn, which means that the diagonal of the bishop on e3 will
also be blocked.
As a result, the white bishop pair will be unable to play an active part in the game from this moment
on, allowing Black to concentrate fully on exploiting the weak spots in the white position, starting
Wasting a tempo: better is 15.Rad1 at once. Another possibility is 15.d5, but after 15...g6!, White
will be unable to make progress, since 16.d×e6 Q×e6 17.e×f5 g×f5 would cost at least the c4-pawn.
15...g6 16.Rd1 Qf7
Black must not target c4 too soon: 16...Qa4 17.d5! B×c4 18.d×e6 B×e6 19.e×f5 g×f5 20.B×c5!
16...Rc8. But Black could also have played 16...Rc8.
This only results in more weaknesses. In addition, the text move releases the pressure on f5, which
definitely entails the positional bankruptcy of the white position. Correct was 17.Rfe1.
17...Rc8 18.Rfe1 d×e5 19.d×e5
19.f×e5 costs a pawn after 19...c×d4.
19...Ng7 20.Nf1 Rfd8 21.Bf2
One of the locked-in bishops has finally found a little space, but it remains very modest.
21...Nh5 22.Bg3 Qe8
Now c4 comes under heavy fire.
23.Ne3 Qa4 24.Qa2 (D)
The attempt to create counter-chances with 24.Bc2 fails to 24... Bc2 Q×a3 25.R×d8+ R×d8 26.Rd1
Nc6! 27.R×d8+ N×d8 28.Qd2 Nf7 29.Qd7 Q×c3, etc. All threatened spots are covered for now, but
the situation is anything but pleasant for White.
24...N×g3 25.h×g3 h5
To prevent possible counteractions with g3-g4.
26.Bc2! surely yields more counterplay: 26... B×c4 27.B×a4 B×a2 28.Bd7 Rb8 29.Rd6 Kf7 30.Red1.
After this Black can continue with 30...Ke7 (threatening 31...Nb7), intending to meet 31.c4 with
31...N×c4. But the situation would still not be far from easy after 32.R×e6+ Kf7 33.Rf6+ Kg7
34.N×c4 B×c4 35.Rfd6.
26...Kf7 27.Kf2 Qb3
Avoiding further complications.
28.Q×b3 N×b3 29.Bd3
Black was threatening 29...Nd2 and 30...Ne4+, but 29.Nf1 is far better, forcing Black to break
through with g6-g5 in the long run to realize his positional superiority.
29...Ke7 30.Ke2 Na5 31.Rd2
It is very strange to watch Botvinnik landing himself in a squeeze with this and his next moves. The
correct tactic is to wait and see, but this is precisely what a player of the strength and temperament of
Botvinnik finds so hard. In the Neue Züricher Zeitung, H. Johner indicates 31.Rh1 Kf7 32.g4 f×g4
33.N×g4 here, but Black does not have to accept the offer and can simply continue with 33...B×c4!.
A pointless demonstration that does nothing to improve White’s chances.
The simplest. Both 32...f×g4 33.B×g6 and 32...h×g4 33.Rh1 lead to unnecessary complications.
33.g×f5 g×f5 34.Red1 (D)
The squeeze is complete. Better, although also insufficient, was 34.Rdd1 Nb3 35.Rh1 Kf7 36.Rhg1
(36.R×h5 R×d3!) 36...Bb7 37.Rh1 Kg6 38.Rhg1 h4 39.Rh1 Kh5 40.Rhg1 Nc1+ 41.R×c1 R×d3
42.Rcd1 Be4!, and wins.
White has run out of moves: after 35.Rh1 Black will decide the issue with 35...B×c4.
Winning important material.
Desperation; the rest is not important.
36...e×d5 37.B×f5 N×d2 38.R×d2 d×c4 39.B×d7 R×d7 40.Rf2 Ke6 41.Rf3 Rd3 42.Ke2 0-1
(28) Euwe – Smyslov
Grünfeld Defense [D99]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 d×c4 6.Q×c4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7 9.Qb3 Nb6
In Game 23 White played 10.Rd1. The text move is certainly sharper.
Black must not accept the pawn sacrifice: 10...B×f3 11.g×f3 B×d4 12.B×d4 Q×d4 13.a5, etc.
In Game 48, Black continued with the stronger 11...B×f3 12.g×f3 Qd6.
12.Be2 e6 13.h3 B×f3 14.B×f3 e×d5 15.e×d5 Qh4 (D)
Interesting play: Black is threatening to get counterplay with either 16...Qb4, 16...Qc4 or 16...Nc4.
But he has yet other options:
Smyslov, Euwe and Botvinnik arriving in Moscow.
(1) 15...Qd6 and 16... Qb4;
(2) 15...Nc8 16.Q×b7 Nd6 17.Qb3 Rb8 18.Nb5, and Black recaptures the sacrificed pawn with
18...Nb4 or 18...Qd7. White remains better because of his bishop pair against Black’s weakened
16.B×b6? runs into 16... Rae8+! (17.Be3 R×e3+), while 16.0-0? is met by 16...Nc4! (17.Q×b7? Rfb8
Aimed against the threat of 17.Bg5.
Far better is 17...Qe7, after which 18.d6 Qe5! 19.d×c7 Nd5 leads to good play for Black. White then
does best to continue with 18.0-0 Qb4 19.Q×b4 a×b4 20.B×b6 c×b6 21.Nd6, followed by 22.Nc4.
White is constantly trying to create fresh weaknesses on the black queenside, which makes his bishop
pair all the more effective.
Black’s position was already bad, but the text move is just too passive and quickly leads to a losing
position. Black should try 18...Nb4, despite possibilities like 19.d×c7 Q×c7 (19...Qd3 maybe?)
20.Rc1 Qd8 21.0-0, after which Black has at least a little counterplay.
19.d×c7 Q×c7 20.0-0
The white bishops control the board, whereas the black knights have no squares.
20...Re6 21.Rac1 Qe5
21...Qe7 meets with 22.Rc4, and White doubles rooks along the c-file.
The first material result: Black must not play 22...Q×b2 in view of 23.Q×c8 R×c8 24.R×c8+ Bf8
22...Ne7 23.Ng5 Rf6
The intermediate move, 23...Rb8, fails to remedy the situation after 24.Qa7.
Forced, since otherwise the knight on e7 would fall.
25.g×f4 Q×f4 26.Q×e7 Bf6 (D)
26...Bh6 is met by 27.N×f7 Q×f7 28.Q×f7+ K×f7 29.Rc6, etc.
A pity. 27.Q×f7+! wins quickly and beautifully: 27...R×f7 28.Rc8+ and: (1) 28...Kg7 29.Ne6+;
(2) 28...Rf8 29.R×f8+ K×f8 30.Ne6+;
(3) 28...Bd8 29.R×d8+;
(3a) 29...Rf8 30.Ne6;
(3c) 29...Kg7 30.Ne6+.
27...Q×e3 28.f×e3 B×g5 29.Rc3
The endgame with a full exchange up is also easily winning for White, although there are still a few
minor obstacles to scale.
29...f5 30.Rd1 Nc5!
Nice! (31.R×c5? B×e3+).
The revenge! (31...Rb8 32.Kf2 N×b3? 33.R×b3 R×b3 34.Bd5+).
The quickest way to the win: White gives up the e-pawn but will soon get Black’s a-pawn in return.
32...B×e3+ 33.Kg2 Na6
Another little joke (34.R×a5? Bd2).
34.Rd7 Bf4 35.Ra7 Nb4 36.R×a5 Kg7 37.Rb5 Bd2 38.Rc7+ Kf6 39.Rd7 Be1 40.Rb6+ Kg5 41.h4+
41...Kh6 runs into 42.Rbb7 etc., while 41...K×h4 42.R×b4+ boils down to the same thing as the text
There is no point continuing after 42...B×b4 43.Rd4+.
Tuesday, April 20, 1948
Game 29: Reshevsky-
Game 30: Keres-
The first game, an English Opening, started with 1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3, after which Euwe pushed his
d-pawn. This turned out to be a strong advance. Black succeeded in keeping control of the d4-square,
despite all White’s attempts to remove the pressure. Black’s 14th move was a witty one, and it was a
pity that it did not yield him an advantage but, on the contrary, put paid to his slight positional plus.
Shortly afterwards the position was “dead drawn,” and on move 26, the players duly decided to share
the spoils. But it must be said to Black’s credit that he had called the tune throughout the game.
The game Keres-Botvinnik was a French defense, one of the chosen weapons of the Russian
champion. Keres got a tiny advantage and for a little while it even seemed that he had winning
chances. But the time-trouble demon put a spanner in the works. At the adjournment, his advantage
had turned into a deficit. An endgame with two rooks on both sides had arisen, in which Keres was a
pawn down. But it still took a weak continuation in the second sitting to turn his position into a losing
one. On move 73, the matter had been settled.
In The Hague, the Russian leaders had complained a few times about the noise in the Dierentuinzaal
(“Zoo Hall”), and Kotov assured me that the audience in Moscow would be as quiet as a mouse. I
told him that I thought this admirable. In the meantime it had become clear as early as the first few
games that this deathly hush was somewhat lacking. On several occasions, Kotov was forced to urge
the audience to be quiet. And in this round the spectators got so noisy that the “Silence” sign was
shown and the worst culprits were threatened with removal from the hall.
After this round the standings were: Botvinnik 9 (out of 12), Keres 6½, Reshevsky 6, Smyslov 5½
and Euwe 3. Botvinnik has maintained his 75 percent score, and a ferocious struggle for second place
breaks out between three of the candidates.
(29) Reshevsky – Euwe
English Opening [A13]
1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3 d4
Also compare Game 10. The advance to d4 is very strong here as well and at least good enough for
Immediately undermining the black outpost, but this action is robbed of some of its strength by the fact
that White has already played g2-g3, which now turns out to weaken his position.
This liquidation leads to a positional disadvantage. Better is 5.d3.
5...N×d4 6.Bg2 Nh6
Black aims this knight against d4 as well.
7.0-0 Nhf5 8.d3 Be7 9.N×d4 N×d4 10.Nd2 0-0 11.Nf3
White has no choice but to continue to draw in new troops, all of which find new objects to exchange
on d4. Any other tactic might well result in a considerable advantage for Black.
11...Bf6 12.N×d4 B×d4 13.Rb1 e5 14.b4 Bf5
Allowing White to start a liquidation in which Black’s slight positional plus is neutralized again.
Better is 14...Rb2, and only then 15...Bf5.
15.B×b7 B×d3 16.B×a8 (D)
Not, of course, 16.Q×d3? in view of 16...B×f2+.
The only difficult moment in the game. Another possibility is 16...B×b1 17.Bd5 c6! (if 17...B×a2?
18.Qc2) 18.B×c6 Bd3. 19.Bg5! would be met by 19...Qd6 20.Be7 (if 20.c5? Qg6!) 20...Q×e7
21.Q×d3 Q×b4, with equal chances.
17.Q×f1 Q×a8 18.Qe2 Qc6 19.Bb2 g6 20.B×d4 e×d4
The position is perfectly equal now.
21.Qd3 Qd6 22.Rd1 Q×b4
Another simple drawing continuation is 22...Rd8 23.a3 c5 24.b×c5 Q×c5 25.Kg2, etc.
23.Q×d4 Re8 24.Kg2 Qb6 25.a3 Q×d4 26.R×d4 Re6 ½-½
(30) Keres – Botvinnik
French Defense [C08]
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.e×d5 e×d5 5.Ngf3
In Games 14 and 34, White plays 5.Bb5+ here, which seems to be stronger.
A good move, which Botvinnik found over the board. Its purposes are: (1) to prevent Bb5+; (2) to
force White to play d4xc5 in view of the threat of c5-c4, followed by b7-b5; and (3) to vacate a7 for
the dark-square bishop.
6.d×c5 B×c5 7.Nb3 Ba7 8.Bg5 Nf6 9.Nfd4
Better is 9.Qe2+ Qe7 10.B×f6 g×f6, with equal chances: Black’s weakened pawn structure is
compensated for by the bishop pair. After the text move it is Black rather than White who is better.
9...0-0 10.Be2 Qd6 11.0-0 Ne4
Here Black should play 11...Nc6, followed by 12...Bb8, with very good play.
12.Be3 Nc6 13.N×c6
Otherwise Black will play 13...Bb8 after all.
14.Q×d5 N×f2! 15.Q×d6 Ne4+ would have led to a slight advantage for Black.
14...b×c6 15.Bd3 Nf6 16.Qe1
White’s last few moves are preparations for a quick attack.
The best defensive maneuver, intended to block the attacking diagonal of the bishop. After 16...Re8
17.Qh4 the continuation 17...R×e3 is quite suspect in view of 18.R×f6 Q×f6 19.Q×h7+ Kf8 20.Qh8+
Ke7 21.Rf1 (21...Bb7 22.Qh5 Qe6? 23.Nc5, or 22...g6 23.Qh6).
17.Qh4 f5 18.Rf4
With the threat of 19.R×g4.
18...N×e3 is impossible in view of 19.Re1. But Black could also play 18...Rf6.
With 19...c5, Black at least retains some advantage.
20.Raf1 Raf7 21.Nd4 N×d3
This exchange, which is virtually forced, constitutes a minor success for White, since the white knight
is stronger than the black bishop because of the weakness of e5 and other dark squares.
22.c×d3 c5 23.Nf3 Qb6
And suddenly Black is presented with some minor problems: 23...Re7 is impossible in view of
24.R×f5!, and 23...Re8 runs into 24.Re4!.
24.Rh4 h6 25.Ne5?
Far stronger is 25.Qe5, from which square the white queen supports both the defense and the attack
26.b3 was called for, but Black is in any case already better.
27.e×d4 is met by 27...f4 28.Rh×f4? Q×d4+!.
27...Q×b2 28.R×d5 Be6
The immediate 28...Q×a2 meets with 29.Rc5 followed by 30.Rc7.
Both players were already in time-trouble.
30...B×d7 31.R×d7 Rg6 32.Qf3 Qe5 33.Rd4 Rb8 34.Qf4 Qe6 35.Rd2
White has a few minor problems to solve: 35.Q×f5?, for example, would fail to 35...Q×e3+ 36.Qf2
Rb2!! (37.Q×e3 Rg×g2+ etc.). After the correct defense, however, the draw should soon be an
35...Rb5 36.h3 Re5 37.Kh2 Rf6 38.Rfd1?
It is hard to understand why White is abandoning his e-pawn: 38.Rf3 gives him an easy draw.
38...Re4 39.Qb8 R×e3 40.Rd8 Qe5+ 41.Q×e5 R×e5 42.R1d2 g5 (D) The first adjournment. Black
is better, of course, because of his extra pawn, but this should not be enough for a win.
It is true that this threatens mate (44.R2d7+ Kg6 45.Rg8#), but opening one’s own position has
serious drawbacks. Correct is 43.R8d5.
43...Rf7 44.R8d7 Kg7 45.g×f5 Re×f5 46.a3 Rf2+
More accurate is 46...Ra5 47.R7d3 Ra4.
47... R2f3+ 48.Kg4 R×a3 only leads to a draw: 49.R×f7+ K×f7 50.Rd7+ (D) and now:
(1) 50...Kf6 51.Rd6+ Kg7 52.Rd7+, and Black is unable to make progress; (2) 50...Ke6 51.Rh7 Ra4+
52.Kg3 Rh4 53.Ra7 Ra4 54.Rh7, draw (54...Kf5 55.R×h6 Ra3+ 56.Kg2 a5 57.Ra6 – as soon as the
black king marches to the other wing, White attacks the g-pawn); (3) 50...Kg8 51.Ra7 (51.Rd6 will
do as well) 51...Ra4+ 52.Kf5 Rh4 53.R×a6 R×h3 54.Kf6! (threatening perpetual check) 54...Rf3+
55.Kg6 g4 56.K×h6, etc.
48.R×d2 Rc7 49.Rd4!
White can safely sacrifice the a3-pawn: after 49...Rc3+ 50.Kg4 R×a3 both 51.Rd7+ (see above) and
51.h4 lead to a draw.
With 50.Ra4 White could have made sure of the draw. Now his position is becoming critical again.
50...Kg6 51.h4 Kh5 52.h×g5 h×g5 53.Rd3
53.Rd5, intending to continue with 54.Ra5, also proves insufficient after 53...Rc3+ 54.Kf2 Kh4
(55.Ra5 Rc6, and the g-pawn advances).
53...Rc4 54.Ra3 a5 55.Kh3 Rb4 56.Kg3 Rf4 (D)
The second adjournment. Black is winning, but the route to the win is not at all easy. After 57.Kh3,
for example, the obvious 57... g4+ 58.Kg3 Kg5 would only yield a draw, because of 59.Rb3! R×a4
60.Rb5+ Kf6 61.Rc5 Ke6 62.Rg5 Kd6 63.Kf2! Kc6 64.Ke2 Kb6 65.Rg6+ Kb5 66.Rg5+, when
66...Kb4 would be met by 67.R×g4+ and a rook exchange, after which the white king would arrive
just in time.
57.Ra1 Rg4+ 58.Kh3 Re4 59.Ra3 Kg6
The correct approach: the black king will have to go to the other wing.
60.Kg3 Kf5 61.Kf3
Making the win easier. Correct is 61.Kh3 in order to preserve the possibility of Rg3, with an attack
62.Rb3 runs into 62...R×a4 63.Rb5+ Kf6, and the black king will, if necessary, disappear behind the
62...Rd4 63.Ra1 Kd5 64.Rb1
Not 64.Rf1 in view of 64...Kc5! 65.Rf5+ Rd5, etc.
64...Rb4 65.Rf1 Ke4 66.Re1+ Kd4 (D) 67.Kh2
The right idea (vacating the g-file), but far too late! It is true that other moves are not sufficient either,
but White could still put up some resistance, for example, 67.Rf1 R×a4 68.Rf5 Ra1! 69.Kf2 a4
70.R×g5 a3 71.Ra5 Kc4 and Black wins, since the white king cannot approach (72.Ke2? a2! etc.).
67...R×a4 68.Rg1 Rc4 69.R×g5 a4
This endgame is far simpler now: the outside pawn is protected horizontally.
70.Kg2 Kc3 71.Kf3 a3 72.Ra5 Kb3 0-1
Thursday, April 22nd, 1948
Game 31: Keres-
Game 32: Reshevsky-
It looks as if Keres has chosen Euwe to be the victim of his novelties. In Round 11, he had already
sprung a surprise in the Siesta variation of the Ruy Lopez, and this time, in the same opening and
playing the white pieces and convinced that Euwe would go for the open variation, he had another
surprise up his sleeve. But it was nothing like a nice surprise Christmas gift. As Dr. Euwe himself
says in so many words in his analysis, this variation might well sound the death knell of the Open
So Euwe was once again faced with a puzzle, and as we stated before, the solution usually requires
more time than a player has available during a game. In truth, such problems can only be investigated
in one’s study, and it is quite possible that even there – as Euwe is surmising in this case – no answer
will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, Euwe had been used as the guinea pig, and for the experimenter it
was a successful test.
In Reshevsky-Smyslov, a Slav Queen’s Gambit, the play followed well-trodden paths. After the
opening Reshevsky created some complications and did some experimenting on the kingside with his
queen during which he had to be careful to prevent her majesty from being taken prisoner. But despite
all his ingenious attempts he failed to secure even the slightest advantage; the cool Russian unfailingly
found an adequate reply. Yet the fight was continued until the bitter end, without either player being
able to change the inevitable outcome. Reshevsky was not very happy with the result, thinking that the
gods were against him.
(31) Keres – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C81]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4
The Open Variation was played four times in this tournament, and although the results scored with it
(2½-1½ to White’s advantage) are not terribly bad for Black, it is still quite possible that these four
games have been a sort of swan song for the Open Variation. The question of the Open Variation
centers on a certain continuation that was not taken into account very much in the past, but which
meets both the tactical and the strategic demands that one can make of a sound continuation.
6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.Qe2!
This is the continuation in question, whose strategic value is based on the idea of putting the king’s
rook on d1 in order to enable the advance c2-c4, which will undermine Black’s entire set-up. And it
seems that tactically, too, the text move is a reinforcement: the fight is brought forward, which always
favors the player who has castled first.
But what about the bishop on b3? In former times, White played 9.c3 in order to provide it with a
retreat square, but in many variations nowadays, especially those that favor the white player most,
White coolly allows the bishop to be exchanged for a knight, which has reduced the significance of
c2-c3 for those variations to practically zero.
Black completely ignores the change in White’s set-up, but he will soon find out that he is wrong to
do so. In Games 36, 38 and 42 Black played the stronger 9...Nc5.
10.Rd1 0-0 (D)
With 10...Na5, Black prevents the important advance c2-c4 for the moment, but after that both the
strategic 11.Nbd2 and the tactical 11.Nd4 are very strong, for example: (1) 11.Nbd2 and:
(1a) 11...N×d2 12.B×d2 N×b3 13.a×b3 0-0 14.b4, or 14.Ba5, and White is positionally better; (1b)
11...Nc5 12.Nd4 0-0 13.c4!, and White has executed his strategic advance regardless (13... d×c4
14.N×e6); (2) 11.Nd4 c5 12.Nf5! and:
(2a) 12...c4 13.N×g7+ Kf8 (13...Kd7 14.Q×e4) 14.Bh6 Kg8 15.N×e6 f×e6 16.Qg4+ Ng5 17.h4; (2b)
12...B×f5 13.B×d5 Ng5 14.B×g5 B×g5 15.Qf3! (Romanovsky).
11.c4 b×c4 12.B×c4
White has achieved his strategic aim, and Black is facing difficult problems: his d-pawn is weak, the
knight on e4 is hanging, and the a-pawn may be captured in certain circumstances.
An attempt to relieve the pressure by exchanging pieces, but it will come to nothing. Meanwhile, the
question is whether Black has anything better. After 12...Na5 White must not capture on a6, of course
(13.B×a6 Nc5 14.Bd3 Nab3), but continue with 13.Bd3 Nc5 14.Bc2, and White has everything he
wished for. All that is left of Black’s normally so intimidating queenside pawn majority is a hanging
pair of pawns that may very easily get weak. White’s queen knight will find a normal developing
square on c3 and therefore does not need to be brought into play via d2-f1-g3, and White’s bishops
are facing the right way. In short: White has won an important strategic victory, which will only need
to be tactically and strategically perfected for White to achieve the desired aim.
13.Be3 B×e3 14.Q×e3 Qb8
Everything with tempo: the b-pawn and the bishop at c4 are under attack.
Things do not look so bad for Black, but the next few moves will bring a sudden change, or rather, a
clarification of the strategic situation.
16.Nd4 meets up with 16...c5 17.N×e6 f×e6 18.f3 c4!, with counter-chances for Black.
16...N×d2 17.R×d2 N×b3 18.a×b3 (D)
Taking a good look at the position, you can only conclude that Black is very bad. White is threatening
to block the black position along the c-file, reducing all the black pieces to half their strength,
especially the bishop on e6, which will have no maneuvering space if the formation c6-d5 is blocked,
and therefore constitutes a bad bishop.
18...Qb6 19.Q×b6 c×b6 is also bad for Black: 20.Rc1 Rac8 (Black must not passively allow 21.Rc7)
21.Rdc2! R×c2 22.R×c2 Rc8 23.R×c8+ B×c8 24.Nd4, and White has an important advantage in this
endgame of knight against bad bishop. Yet this liquidation and similar ones offer Black the best
Black rightly refuses to allow himself to be hemmed in and accepts an exchange that eliminates
White’s only weakness, the doubled b-pawns. After 19...Qb4 20.Rc5! Rab8 21.Rd3, followed by
22.Rdc3, 23.Nd4, etc., Black would have very little left to hope for, and after 19...Qb6 20.Q×b6
c×b6 21.Rdc2 we would be back in the above-mentioned endgame of knight against bad bishop.
20.R×c5 R×c5 21.Q×c5 Q×b3 22.Nd4 Qb7? (D)
Now Black allows himself to be locked in anyway. His only chance was 22...Qc4, for example: (1)
23.Rc2 Q×c5 24.R×c5 Rb8 25.Rc2 Rb4 26.Rd2 Kf8, and Black can still play; (2) 23.Q×c4 d×c4
24.f4 c3! 25.b×c3 Bc4, and the revived bishop is going to play an important role, partly in view of
the strength of the passed a-pawn.
Despite the fact that Black is a pawn down, his drawing chances, especially in the latter variation, are
It was tempting to occupy the c-file, but this would lead nowhere, for example 23...Rc8 24.Qd6 Qc7
(the knight-bishop ending with the rooks on the board will always be the least evil in these
circumstances) 25.Rc2! Q×d6 26.e×d6 (26.R×c8+ B×c8 27.e×d6 would win as well, since the white
knight would go to c5 and the white king to d4) 26...R×c2 (26...Rd8 27.Rc6 etc.) 27.N×e6!! f×e6
28.d7, and wins.
A few preparatory measures before dealing the decisive blow.
24...g6 25.f4 h5
This does constitute a serious weakening, but if Black had allowed g2-g4, possibly followed by f4-
f5, he would not have had much left to play for either.
Positioning the white rook to attack either the queenside or kingside. White need not fear 26...Q×b2 in
view of 27.N×e6 f×e6 28.Qe7, etc.
With the intention of taking the bishop to e4 via f5, which is not a bad plan in itself. It also prevents a
possible f4-f5. But unfortunately, this will require too much time.
27.Qb6 Ra8 28.Ra3 Qa7 (D)
Black is just in time to prevent his immediate demise.
Keres’ first inferior move in this game. The simple 29.Q×a7 R×a7 30.Kg3 wins, albeit not too easily,
but after the text move Black could have created counter-chances that would have made the win
In time-trouble, Black does not think it advisable to conceive of a new plan, so he returns to the
positional “threat” of Be6-f5-e4. The correct continuation, however, is 29...Rc8!, with the threat of
30...Rc4, which would have forced White into a complete retreat: 30.Rd3 Rc4 31.Qd2 Bd7, and
White will have to start from scratch again.
Black executes his “threat” and soon finds himself in a lost position. 30...Qa7 was preferable.
Black cannot afford to allow 32.Rc7.
Relatively better is 32...Be6; we will soon see how badly the bishop is needed for the defense.
And now there is no cure against the threat of 34.Rc8+ and 35.e6.
A blunder in the end. But Black is lost anyway, for example, 33...Kh7 34.Rc8 Qe7 (intending to meet
e5-e6 with f7-f6) 35.e6 (threatening 36.Nf5 or 36.Rh8+) 35...f6 36.Nc6 d4 37.Q×d4 B×c6 38.R×c6,
(32) Reshevsky – Smyslov
Slav Defense [D19]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 d×c4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3
Also compare Game 12, in which White played 6.Ne5.
6...e6 7.B×c4 Bb4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Bg4
The formerly so common exchange maneuver has drawbacks, because White has two ways in which
to make a promising pawn sacrifice: 10.Bd3 and 10.g4.
A novelty, but in view of the further course of the game, the simplest way to equalize.
11.Q×f3 Nbd7 12.Rd1 e5
Smyslov is very fond of this pseudo-sacrifice on e5. See also Game 23.
13.d×e5 is simply met by 13...N×e5!.
The start of a series of intermediate moves by both players.
After 14.b×c3 c×d5 15.B×d5 N×d5, Black certainly is not worse.
After 14...b×c6 15.b×c3, White is clearly better, and after 14...Ba5 15.c×d7, the b-pawn is left
hanging. The text move blocks the diagonal to b7 and opens the way to e5.
15.Qf5 Be5 16.c×d7 Qc7 (D)
Black has a satisfactory position: the pawn on d7 will soon be untenable, and the white bishop pair
cannot work very effectively, because the dark-square bishop remains hemmed in (also one of the
advantages of Black’s 14th move).
Another option is 17.Be2. The bishop is rather exposed on b3.
17...g6 18.Qg5 Kg7 19.f4
Black was threatening to capture the queen with ...h6 and ...g5.
19...e×f3 20.g×f3 h6
Not, of course, 20...N×d7? 21.R×d7.
21.Qg2 Qb6 (D)
Slightly stronger is 21...Rfd8, after which 22.f4 is inferior, in view of 22...B×f4! 23.e×f4 Qb6+, etc.
With 22.Qc2, White might have retained a slight plus: 22... Rfd8 23.a5 Qc7 24.Q×c7 B×c7, and the
bishop pair is going to play a part after all.
23.a5 looks stronger than it is: 23... Qc5 24.Ba4 b5! 25.a×b6, and White is in trouble in view of the
threat of 26...b5.
23...R×d7 24.R×d7 N×d7 25.f4!
A little trap: 25...B×f4 26.Rb3 Qc5 27.Rc3 Qb6 a5!, winning a piece.
25...Bf6 26.Rb3 Qc5!
Suddenly the “doubling” of the bishops on the c-file is going to play a part.
The immediate 27.R×b7 boils down to the same thing.
More subtle, but not decisive either is 28.b3 Qc3 29.R×b7, and now: (1) 29...Rc8 30.R×d7 Q×c2
31.Q×c2 R×c2 32.Bd2, and White wins a pawn; (2) 29...Nf8! 30.Qd5 (White has nothing better)
30...Qe1+, with a draw by perpetual check.
Now 28...Nf8 fails to 29.R×f7+! K×f7 30.Qb7+ and wins (30...Be7? 31.Bb3).
29.R×d7 Q×c2 30.Q×c2 R×c2 31.Bd2 B×b2
The liquidation has resulted in a completely equal position. The draw is already an accomplished
fact, and what now follows should only be regarded as the consequence of the very commendable
stubbornness and will to win on the part of the two opponents, something that we have already
witnessed a few times in this tournament, especially on the part of Reshevsky and Smyslov.
32.Kf1 a6 33.Ke2 Bc1 34.Kd1 R×d2+ 35.R×d2 B×d2 36.K×d2 g5 37.Ke2 f5 38.Kf3 Kf6 39.e4
f×e4+ 40.K×e4 g×f4 41.K×f4 a5 ½-½
Sunday, April 25, 1948
Game 33: Smyslov-
Game 34: Euwe-
In the first game, an Orthodox Queen’s Gambit, Keres did not take his job seriously enough. Perhaps
he still had the two games from The Hague in mind, in which Smyslov had, so to speak, gotten
nowhere. These two games were surely etched deeply into Smyslov’s memory as well, and we may
be fairly certain that he was driven by feelings of revenge. And this time he was given the chance to
get his own back. Smyslov’s ingeniously conceived and effectively executed strategic plan –
weakening the queenside – was expedited by Black’s 12...Bd6. Keres started exerting himself when it
was too late, but by that time he was only wasting his energy; Smyslov was not going to let his prey
escape. On move 41, the game was adjourned and later resigned without play being resumed.
Euwe once more tried 1.e4 against Botvinnik, probably because he could assume with reasonable
certainty that the latter would use his pet weapon of the French Defense, of which Euwe did not have
bad memories from their previous game. And yes, Botvinnik duly played 1...e6, albeit only to deviate
on move 5. His memory of the previous encounter would not have so pleasant, because at that
occasion he had been forced to throw all his defensive talents into the fray to prevent landing himself
in a worse position. Euwe got the slightly better game, then erred slightly and later made life rather
difficult for himself with a less than solid move. But the balance was soon restored, and in the end
Botvinnik deemed it advisable to force a draw through perpetual check, since otherwise his opponent
might have secured a slight advantage.
(33) Smyslov – Keres
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D36]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5
The Exchange Variation is still known as one of White’s most dangerous weapons in the Orthodox
Queen’s Gambit, a viewpoint that this game will once again confirm.
6...c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.c×d5 e×d5 7.Bd3 Be7 8.Nf3
Another system of development consists of 8.Qc2, followed by 9.Nge2 and 0-0-0.
8...0-0 9.Qc2 Re8 10.0-0 Nf8 11.Rab1
The most effective preparation for the minority attack b2-b4-b5, which is well known to be the
strategic consequence of the Exchange Variation. Instead of the text move White can also play
11.Ne5, a continuation that provokes a wholesale liquidation 11...Ng4 12.B×e7 Q×e7 13.N×g4 B×g4,
which is not entirely unfavorable for White.
11...Ng6 12.b4 Bd6?
Stronger is 12...a6, intending to meet 13.a4 with 13...Ne4.
13.b5 Bd7 14.b×c6 B×c6 (D)
After 14...b×c6 15.Bf5!, the c-pawn will soon become irretrievably weak.
With the threat of 16.B×f6 Q×f6 17.Q×d5. This demonstrates a further drawback of Black’s 12th
move. One gets the impression that Black, under the motto “Let’s wait and see,” has taken things a bit
too lightly. Now he has seen and experienced!
16.Bb5 at once would have offered Black more defensive possibilities after 16...Nd7.
16...B×f6 17.Bb5 Qd6
A full house in the Hall of Columns follows the games.
Black cannot exchange on b5, since this costs a pawn.
An attempt to create counterplay that does nothing to improve the situation.
The leasser evil is 19...B×b5 20.Q×b5 b6 21.Rc6 Qd7.
20.B×c6 b×c6 21.Qa4 Ne7 22.Rb7
The crowning touch to White’s strategy: his occupation of the seventh rank practically seals Black’s
22...a5 23.h3 Reb8 24.Rcb1 R×b7 25.R×b7 c5 (D)
This costs a pawn, but Black has run out of satisfactory continuations, for example, 25...Rb8
26.R×b8+ Q×b8 27.Q×a5 Qb1+ 28.Ne1, etc.
White should not go for the capture of the pawn too soon: 26.d×c5? Q×c5 27.N×h4 d4! 28.e×d4? Qd5
29.Rd7 Qe4, winning a piece.
Or 26...c4 27.R×a5, but the protected passed pawn might still give Black some counterplay.
27.Ne×d4 Rc8 28.Nb3 Bc3 29.Q×h4
White takes the correct pawn. 29.N×a5 is bad in view of 29...Qa6!, for example 30.Rb7 B×a5
31.R×e7 Rc1+ 32.Kh2 Bc7+ 33.R×c7 Qd6+!, etc.
Black is doing his best, but he is fighting a losing battle.
30.g4 a4 31.Nbd4 B×d4 32.N×d4 Qe5
In an attempt to create some final counter-chances with 33...Rc1+ followed by 34...Qe4, or else the
Black has to beat a hasty retreat: 33...Rc1+ 34.Kg2 Qe4 35.Rb8+ costs a piece (35...Nc8 36.Qd8+).
Now it is White who can launch an attack. He is not only threatening 35.Ra8+, but also 35.Ng5.
The capture of the second pawn spells the end.
35...Ng6 36.Qh5 Qf6 37.Qf5 Qc6 38.Ra7 Rf8 39.Rd7 d4 40.R×d4 Ra8 41.a4 1-0
Adjourned and resigned by Black without resuming play (41...R×a4 42.Rd8+ Nf8 43.Q×f7+, etc.).
(34) Euwe – Botvinnik
French Defense [C08]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.e×d5 e×d5 5.Bb5+ Bd7
See also Game 14, in which Black played 5...Nc6.
Without a wholesale exchange, which leads to a slightly better endgame for White, this variation
results in a decent enough position for Black, as has been demonstrated several times before (see, for
example, Game 30).
6...Qe7 7.B×d7+ N×d7 8.d×c5 N×c5
The liquidation 8...Q×e2+ 9.N×e2 B×c5 10.Nb3 Bb6 11.Nbd4 also yields White a slight endgame
9.Nb3 Q×e2+ 10.N×e2 N×b3 11.a×b3 Bc5
This continuation is aimed against 12.Be3 and 13.Nd4, which allows White to maintain a strong grip
on the important d4-square. Now White will have to look for other ways to achieve the same aim.
12.Bd2 Ne7 13.Bc3 Nc6? (D)
Black regards the d4-square as more important than the possible loss of a pawn that might arise out of
the threat to g7. But he is wrong, as the comment to the next move shows.
Correct is 14.Rd1! (White must continue to protect his f-pawn), as witness the following variations:
(1) 14...0-0-0 15.B×g7 Rhg8 16.Bf6 and:
(1a) 16...Rde8 17.Kf1 Re6 18.R×d5;
(1b) 16...Rd6 17.Bh4 R×g2 18.Bg3 Rf6 19.Kf1 Rf×f2+ 20.B×f2 R×f2+ 21.Ke1, and White will
emerge victorious (if 21...Ne5 22.R×d5); (2) 14...d4 15.N×d4! and:
(2a) 15...0-0-0 16.N×c6, and White will retain at least one extra pawn (16...Rhe8+ 17.Ne5!); (2b)
15...B×d4 16.B×d4 0-0-0 17.Be3.
Now White is getting into some minor trouble. Better is 15.R×d5, with equal chances after 15...f6, or
even better after 15...0-0 (16.Rd7 Rfe8! 17.Ng3 B×g3 18.h×g3 Re7).
15...Rg8 16.Bh6 R×g2 17.R×d5 Rd8 18.R×d8+
18.Rf5 would be met by 18...Rd6 and 19...Re6.
18...N×d8 19.Kd2! Ne6 20.Be3 Ke7 21.B×f2 R×f2 22.Ke3 Rf5 23.Ra1 a5
Possibly better is 21...a6, since the text move allows White to realize the liquidation with b3-b4.
24.Ra4 Rh5 25.h4 Re5+ 26.Kf3 Rf5+ 27.Ke3 Re5+ 28.Kf3 Rf5+
And Black has a draw through perpetual check, since allowing b3-b4 would result in a slight
advantage for White. 28...Rc5 does not solve Black’s problem either, in view of 29.Nc3, followed by
29.Ke3 Re5+ ½-½
Draw by a repetition of moves.
Tuesday, April 27, 1948
Game 35: Botvinnik-
Game 36: Keres-
This Botvinnik-Smyslov game turned out to be the longest one of the tournament. And Smyslov,
incidentally, takes first prize in long games, as witness: Smyslov-Keres (Round 7), 57 moves;
Botvinnik-Smyslov (Round 8), 77 moves; Smyslov-Euwe (Round 9), 70 moves.
It hardly needs saying that the opening was a King’s Indian, albeit not the customary Grünfeld
variation. Botvinnik opted for another approach and felt slightly more at home in the ensuing positions
than his opponent. He came out of the opening with an advantage: control of the center and more
maneuvering space. After that he started posing threats that forced Black to weaken his position.
However, when the moment came, he failed to act decisively. This gave Smyslov the chance to catch
his second breath and create counter-chances, which, however, he failed to exploit as well. And as
the clocks ticked on, the draw took on a firmer shape. At the adjournment, Botvinnik was a pawn up
in a rook ending, but this advantage proved insufficient for the win.
The second part of the game, in which they finally got around to a classical endgame, required yet
another full sitting. After another 40 moves the players decided to divide the point.
Keres opened with 1.e4 again, probably in hopes of being able to play another Ruy Lopez. Reshevsky
fulfilled his hope, but did something that no one had expected. He actually went for the Open Defense!
Had the American not followed the game Keres-Euwe from the 16th round, or had he discovered a
refutation of the “novelty?” Judging by the game, one would be inclined to conclude that the latter was
the case, but that might be saying too much. In his later game against Euwe, Smyslov demonstrated
that White has a stronger continuation. However this may be, Reshevsky had definitely learned a thing
or two from the game Keres-Euwe.
It was plain to see that he was planning to give as good an account of himself as possible, something
in which he admirably succeeded. With a fine pawn sacrifice he launched a ferocious attack that
forced Keres to call on his best defensive skills to avoid being overrun. Keres succeeded in averting
the worst dangers, but his opponent held onto the initiative. A weak move (31.c3) hastened the end.
With a fine exchange sacrifice – made in raging time-trouble! – the American definitively decided the
game in his favor. They did adjourn the game after the 40th move, but the next day Keres capitulated
without resuming play. A splendid performance by Reshevsky.
After this round the players would have a few free days in order to be able to participate in the
festivities of May 1st and 2nd.
(35) Botvinnik – Smyslov
King’s Indian Defense [D76]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3
Botvinnik has had enough of Smyslov’s pet variation in the Grünfeld Indian (see Games 15, 23, 28
and 48). It is a very good tactic to change variations from time to time, regardless of whether this
other variation is slightly stronger or slightly weaker.
3...d5 4.c×d5 N×d5 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.0-0 Nb6
The position still has the character of the Grünfeld Indian, but White’s set-up in this line is slightly
different: the queen stays on d1, the king’s bishop is fianchettoed and the d4-e4 center will be
achieved at a later stage.
This advance is usually of doubtful value if the diagonal of the king’s bishop has not yet been opened.
A better option might be 8...Nc6 9.d5, with the intention of then opening fire on the white outpost with
...c6 and ...e6.
9.Bf4 c6 10.Qc1 Re8
Intending to meet 11.Bh6 with 11...Bh8. Keeping this bishop is particularly important for Black in this
White’s development is proceeding more smoothly and efficiently than Black’s, which does not say
much for the set-up chosen by the latter.
12.h3 a4 13.e4 Bd7 14.Ne5
White is clearly better. He controls the center and has the greater space.
14...Qc8 15.Kh2 Rd8
Perhaps 15...Nc7, followed by 16...Ne6, is preferable. The text move leads to further concessions.
An unpleasant weakening, but what else is Black to do? 16...Bf8 runs into 17.Bh6, and Black’s
bishop will be exchanged.
17.N×d7 Q×d7 18.Be3 Kh8
White was threatening 19.N×a4 (19...N×a4 20.Qc4+).
The only way to create counterplay. Black must stop sitting idly by, and one advantage of the text
move in any case is that the bishop will get back into the game.
20.d5 c5 21.Bb5 (D)
White must not strike too early. 21.B×a6 R×a6 22.B×c5, for example, fails to yield anything in view
of 22...f×e4 23.Bd4 (if 23.N×e4 then simply 23...N×d5) 23...Qf5 24.Qe3 Nc4! 25.B×g7+ K×g7
26.Qd4+ e5! 27.Q×c4 Q×f2+, and a draw.
The black queen would be less well positioned on d6 in view of 22.f4!, with the threat of 23.e5
(22...e5 23.d×e6 Q×e6 24.e5).
22.e×f5 g×f5 23.Qc2 would have opened good prospects for White. 22.N×a4, on the other hand, does
not yield anything in view of 22...N×a4 23.B×a4 f×e4, and Black gets several counter-trumps (for
example, and in particular, the pressure of his bishop on b2).
Black allows his bishop to be exchanged, since 22...Qc8 23.e5, followed by 24.d6, is extremely
23.B×e5+ Q×e5 24.f4 Qg7 (D)
White balks at the consequences. It is true that the immediate advance 25.e5 is suspect in view of
25...Nb4 (or maybe even 25...Nc7), but after 25.B×a6 R×a6, White can safely play this strong
advance. Yet even then Black has chances, despite White’s positional advantage. Some possibilities:
(1) 26...Qg8 27.Qd2 N×d5? 28.N×d5 e6 29.Nf6! R×d2+ 30.R×d2, and White wins (30...Qf8
31.Rd7); (2) 26...g5! 27.Qe3 Nd7 28.Rd2, and White can calmly continue to reinforce his position,
before undertaking some decisive action.
Suddenly Black’s troops are up in arms: 26.Q×e4 is not really possible in view of 26...a3!. But the
text move also has certain drawbacks, as the rest of the game shows.
26...a3 27.b×a3 Nc8? (D)
Smyslov draws a parallel between this weak move and his 18th move in Game 28. Correct is
27...Nc7!, for example: (1) 28.Q×e4 R×a3, with advantage for Black;
(2) 28.Q×c5 Nb×d5 and:
(2a) 29.N×e4? Qb2+ and 30...Q×b5;
(2b) 29.N×d5 N×d5 30.R×d5 (stronger is 30.a4!) 30...R×d5 31.Q×d5 Qb2+, etc.; (2c) 29.Be2, with a
tenable position for White.
After the text move Black loses a pawn.
28.N×e4 Nd6 29.B×a6 N×e4 30.Q×e4
30.Bb7? would have reawakened Black’s slumbering attacking spirits: 30...Qb2+ 31.Kg1 R×a3!
32.Q×e4 R×g3+ 33.Kf1 Qh2!, etc. In addition, 30.Be2 would be met by 30...Ra4.
30...R×a6 31.R×c5 R×a3 32.Rd2 Rda8 33.Qe6
This looked tempting, but in the end it turns out to be no good, since it allows Black to simplify the
position and make it easier to play for him. Correct is 33.Qc4!, which would have prevented
33...Rc3, while the text move introduces the possibility of Rc8+, which might become important.
33...Qf6 would be met by 34.Rc7, and White should win in the long run.
33...Rc3! 34.R×c3 Q×c3 35.Qe5+
35.Rg2 would have yielded better winning chances. The rook ending that now arises looks good, but
will fail to come to anything, because Black simply has too many attacking chances. Nearly all the
white pawns are in need of protection.
35...Q×e5 36.f×e5 Kg7 37.Kg2 Kf7 38.Rf2+
Better is 38.K×f3. White was in serious time-trouble here.
38...Ke8 39.Rd2 Ra3 40.Rb2 Rd3 (D)
Even stronger is 40...Ra5! and if 41.Rd2 e6!, or 41.R×b7 R×d5 42.e6 Kf8 (not 42...Kd8? 43.Rd7+,
and White wins due to the fact that his passed pawn is more remote), in both cases with an even
easier draw than after the text move.
This is the adjourned position. The draw is there, but Black still has to fight for it.
41.Rb5 Kd8 42.a4 b6
Black is right not to allow 43.a5.
White cannot make any progress, for example 43.Kf2 Kc7 44.a5 b×a5 45.R×a5 Kb6 46.d6! (not a bad
attempt) 46...e×d6 47.e6 Rc3!, etc.
43...R×d5 44.Rb8+ Kd7 45.Rh8
White switches flanks.
45...R×e5 46.R×h7 Ke6
Botvinnik has indicated a shorter route to the draw: 46...Re2+ 47.Kf3 Ra2 48.Rg7 Ra3+ 49.Kf4
R×a4+ 50.Kg5 Ra3 51.Kh4 Ra6 52.g4 Ke8 53.Kg5 e5!.
47.Rh4 Re2+ 48.Kf3 Ra2 49.Re4+
A better option is 49.Rf4, which at least cuts the black king off from the kingside.
49...Kf6 50.Rf4+ Kg7 51.Rc4 Ra3+ 52.Kg4
All White’s efforts are in vain; he no longer has any realistic winning chances.
52...e5 53.Kh4 Kh6 54.Rb4 Ra1 55.Kg4 Ra3 56.h4 Kg7 57.h5 g×h5+ 58.K×h5 Kf6 (D)
After 58...R×g3?, White wins with 59.Rg4+, since the black king is out of the square. After the text
move, 59.g4? will fail to 59...Rh3#. The rest is not important. There still followed: 59.Kh4 Kf5
60.g4+ Kf6 61.Rb6+ Kf7 62.Rb7+ Kg6 63.Rb4 Kf6 64.Rb6+ Kf7 65.Rb7+ Kg6 66.Ra7 e4
67.Ra6+ Kf7 68.g5 e3 69.Kg3 e2+ 70.Kf2 Re3 71.Ke1 Kg7 72.Ra7+ Kg6 73.Ra8 Kg7 74.a5 Re5
75.g6 K×g6 76.a6 Kg7 77.Ra7+ Kg6 78.Rb7 Ra5 79.Rb6+ Kf7 80.K×e2 Ke7 ½-½
(36) Keres – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C81]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.Qe2
See Game 31.
This is stronger than 9...Be7, but it remains an open question whether the text move will lead to
10.Rd1 N×b3 11.a×b3 Qc8
Not a bad idea, and in any case the most logical way to prevent c2-c4 – or at least to hinder it,
because in Game 38, Smyslov demonstrates that there is no question of preventing it.
12.Nc3 would be met by 12...Nb4, covering d5 and exerting permanent pressure on c2, but a stronger
option than the text move is 12.c4! (see Game 38).
12...h6 13.Bh4 Bc5
Another possibility is 13...Be7, but Reshevsky wants to play a sharp game.
Now it would take many twists and turns to defend the d-pawn, but Black intends to sacrifice it
14...g5 15.Bg3 Qb7!
Not 15...Ne7 in view of 16.N×b5!, nor 15...g4 16.Ne1 Nd4 17.Qd2, with strong play for White. With
the text move Reshevsky makes a very subtle pawn sacrifice to further his attack.
16.N×d5 0-0-0 17.Nf6 g4 18.Ne1
18.Nh4, intending to take away f5, might be better. On the hand, the white knight would be completely
out of play on h4.
19.Qe4 has drawbacks: 19...Bf5 20.Q×b7+ K×b7, with strong pressure on the white position.
19...h5 20.Bf4 h4 (D)
This is the kind of position Black had in mind when he sacrificed the pawn. The attack looks very
promising, but the white pieces, although somewhat scattered, are still positioned very effectively for
the defense, with the strangely placed white knights offering excellent services.
21...g3 is met simply by 22.h3!, and the attack stalls.
After 22.g3, Black has a choice between two strong continuations: (1) 22...Kb8, followed by 23...Bc8
with the bishop going to the long diagonal; and (2) 22...Bb6, if possible followed by 23...Nf3+.
The start of the liquidation.
23.Q×g2 Nf3+ 24.N×f3 B×e3!
It is important to capture this bishop first, since after 24...g×f3 25.R×d8+ R×d8, White would be able
to avoid the further weakening of his position with 26.Qg5!.
25.R×d8+ R×d8 (D)
White is clearly wide of the mark with this move. Although it is true that 26.N×g4 was also going to
cause White many problems in view of 26... Rg8 27.h3 Bf4 (28.Ne1 Bd5!), still 26.f×e3! g×f3 27.Qf2
would have been far stronger. A few possibilities: (1) 27...Bh3 28.e4 Bg2 29.Qc5!, and White is
better; (2) 27...Bf5 28.c3 Qc6 29.Rf1, also with advantage for White; (3) 27...Qc6 28.e4 Kb7,
possibly fol- lowed by Be6-c8 and Qc6-e6, with counter-chances for Black.
In the endgame that now arises, the black bishops are far stronger than the white knights, and, given
the circumstances, White’s extra pawn will only play a minor part.
27.Nd3 Bf5 28.Re1
Or 28.Qg3 Qc6 29.Qf4 Qe6, also with an important advantage for Black that should at least lead
allow him to recapture the pawn.
28...a5 29.Ne4 Kb8 30.b4 (D)
Very good: now White gets control of c5.
After 30...a×b4 31.N×b4 B×b2, Black loses the initiative: 32.Nc5! Q×g2+ 33.K×g2, and White
threatens the very unpleasant 34.Nc6+.
This quickly leads to a losing position. Better is 31.Nec5! in order to exploit the possibility created
by the previous move, even though the endgame after 31...Q×g2+ 32.K×g2 B×c5 33.N×c5 Rd2! is
pretty bad for White (34.b3 B×c2).
31...B×e4 32. Re4
32.Q×e4 Q×e4 33.R×e4 B×c3 34.b×c3 R×d3 is at least as bad for White.
33.b×c3 R×d3 34.Q×g4 might have been slightly better.
33...Q×g2+ 34.K×g2 R×d3! (D)
The beautiful consequence of the previous moves.
White is lost. Black’s passed a-pawn is going to cost him at least his rook.
36.Rd5 c6 37.Rd8+ Kc7 38.Ra8 Kb7 39.Rf8 B×e5 40.R×f7+ Kb6 41.f4 0-1
Adjourned and resigned by White without resuming play.
Monday, May 3, 1948
Game 37: Reshevsky-
Game 38: Smyslov-
The rest and the Labor Day activities did not seem to have had an equally salutary effect on all the
players. At first it looked as if only Reshevsky had benefited from the vacation, because in his game
against Botvinnik, in which the Russian was given the chance to play his beloved Nimzovitch
variation of the French Defense, he built up a magnificent attacking position. Unfortunately, he left out
a necessary final preparatory move and struck a mite too early, with the result that his advantage was
transformed into a deficit. It needs to be said that the time-trouble demon raised its ugly head just at
this time, both for him and for Botvinnik. This may explain why the latter overlooked a simple way to
the win and even allowed his opponent a beautiful chance to save his skin, which Reshevsky,
however, failed to take. On move 41, the death-knell could already be sounded for White, but this sad
ceremony was postponed until the next day and move 48.
Meanwhile, Reshevsky may justifiably pride himself on the fact that he has been the only player to put
Botvinnik in serious danger of losing on no fewer than three occasions.
The game Keres-Reshevsky had not frightened Smyslov off the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez, as
he showed with his 1.e4 against Euwe. It turned out that he had discovered that Keres could have
continued more strongly (12.c4, with the point of 14.Qe4), and now Euwe once again had a job to do.
He spent an hour and 20 minutes on it, and by that time had calculated the relevant continuations. He
found one sound one, viz., 14...Nb4, but changing his mind at the last minute he played a move that
seemed to be safer. He had not looked at the consequences of this move, which happened to be the
worst one he could have made! The rest of the game needs no comment. Euwe himself calls it a game
of cat and mouse. On move 26, the poor little mouse died.
(37) Reshevsky – Botvinnik
French Defense [C18]
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 B×c3+ 6.b×c3 Qc7
In order to parry the attack on g7 (7.Qg4) that will now be met with 7...f5; but the more usual 6...Ne7
may well be stronger.
7.Qg4 f5 8.Qg3
After 8.e×f6 N×f6 Black no longer has anything to fear, of course.
In order to be able to continue with 8...Ne7, which would now fail to 9.Q×g7 Rg8 10.Q×h7 c×d4
11.Kd1!, and White has good attacking chances (11...Q×e5 fails to 12.Nf3, followed by 13.c×d4). But
8...Nc6 is a good move for Black.
After 9...Q×c2 10.Bd2 White gets a considerable lead in development.
10.Bd2 0-0 11.Bd3 b6 12.Ne2 Ba6 13.Nf4 Qd7 14.B×a6 N×a6 15.Qd3 Nb8
One can see how much time the exchange of light-square bishops has cost Black!
White has built up a magnificent attacking position.
16...Nbc6 17.Rh3 Rac8
Better is 17...Ng6, possibly followed by Ng6-h8-f7.
18.Rg3 Kh8 19.h5 Rf7 20.h6
Another possibility is 20.Ke2, followed by 21.Rh1, but White’s actual continuation, which ties many
black pieces to the defense, turns out to be very strong.
Wasting time. White could continue immediately with 21.Ne2 and Bd2-g5, since the plan behind the
text move – advancing c2-c4 – is not feasible.
22.c4? would have been met by 22...d×c4 23.R×c4 N×e5!.
Making room for the black rook and therefore starting a measure of counterplay.
23.Kf1 Rc4 24.Kg1 Nbc6 25.Bg5 Ng8
It goes without saying that Black cannot allow the check on f6.
Black fails to go for the correct set-up: better is 26...Nd8, followed by 27...Nf7.
27...Qd7, if possible followed by Nc6-d8-f7, is still preferable.
28.Nf4 Rc6 (D)
Urgently necessary: e6 needed extra protection, both in view of the threat of 29.N×d5 and because of
the possibility 29.Bf6+. In addition, the text move vacates c4 for the black knight.
White is sacrificing too early and in doing so throws away the entire game. Not sufficient either is
29.Ng6+? because of 29...Q×g6! (not 29...h×g6 in view of 30.h7!), but the position contains two
preparatory possibilities offering great prospects: (1) 29.Rge3 Nc4 30.R3e2 and:
(1a) 30...N×a3? 31.Bf6+ N×f6 32.e×f6, and White will capture e6 or d5, with a decisive attack; (1b)
30...Qd7 31.Bf6+ N×f6 32.e×f6 R×f6 33.Qg3!, with a very strong attack (33...Nd6? 34.N×d5! e×d5
35.Re7 and 36.Qe5); (2) 29.Ree3 Nc4 30.Ref3 N×a3 31.Rh3 a5 32.Rfg3 a4 33.Bh4, threatening
34.N×g6+ and 35.h7.
29...N×f6 30.e×f6 Nc4
This move, preventing White from doubling his rooks, constitutes the refutation of White’s
31.Qb1 Q×f6 32.a4 g5 33.Nd3 f4
With 33...Q×h6 Black has a very easy win, but both players were in terrible time-trouble again.
34.Rh3 g4 35.Rh1 Rc7
Stronger is 35...Nd2 followed by 36...N×e4; now White is getting counter-chances again.
36.Qd1 Qg6 37.Rh4 f3 38.g3 Rcf7 39.Nf4? (D)
39.Ne5 N×e5 40.R×e5 offers many more possibilities, and it is not clear how Black would win this
position in view of the great strength radiated by White’s h-pawn, for example, 40...Rf5 41.Qe1 R8f6
42.c4! d×c4 43.Qe4, with all kinds of chances.
40.g×f4 R×f4 41.Qb1 Rf5
Now White no longer has a defense against g4-g3, which means that the game will be soon be over.
42.Qd3 g3 43.Qf1 g×f2+ 44.K×f2 Rg5
Threatening both 45...Rg2+ and 45...Qc2+.
45.Qh3 Rg2+ 46.K×f3 Nd2+ 47.Ke3 Rg3+ 0-1
(38) Smyslov – Euwe
Ruy Lopez [C81]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.Qe2
See also games 31, 36 and 42.
9...Nc5 10.Rd1 N×b3 11.a×b3 Qc8 12.c4!
This is stronger than 12.Bg5, as played in Game 36.
12...d×c4 13.b×c4 B×c4 14.Qe4! (D)
The point of White’s pawn sacrifice. Now there are various possibilities, only a few of which offer
any decent chances for Black, for example: (1) 14...Nd8 15.R×d8+ and:
(1a) 15...Q×d8? 16.Qc6+, etc.;
(1b) 15...K×d8 16.Bg5+ Be7 17.Nc3, with a winning attack; (2) 14...Qb7 and:
(2a) 15.Nd4? 0-0-0! etc.;
(2b) 15.e6? B×e6 16.Ne5 Nd8! 17.R×d8+ R×d8, and wins; (2c) 15.Nc3! (preventing Nc6-d8)
15...Bc5 16.e6 f×e6 17.Ne5 Bd5 18.R×d5, etc.; (3) 14...Nb4! and:
(3a) 15.Na3? Bb3!;
(3b) 15.Nc3 c6, followed by 16...Nd5, with an adequate defense; (3c) 15.Bg5 Bc5! 16.Rd8+ Q×d8
17.B×d8 R×d8, with some counterplay for Black. White would therefore probably do better to play
16.Na3 first, and only then to proceed with the liquidation 17.Rd8+; (4) 14...Ne7?; see the game
With the same idea as 14...Nb4 (viz. c7-c6, followed by the occupation of d5), and also with the
intention of eliminating 15.Bg5.
Here the difference with Variation 3a becomes clear. Black cannot win a tempo with 15...Bb3 in
order to play 16...c6 in view of the reply 16.Rd3! (16...Bc2 is impossible because of the knight now
on a3 – this is what Euwe overlooked).
Sad, but what else? 16...Be6 is met by 16.N×b5.
16.N×c4 b×c4 17.Q×c4 Qb7 (D)
17...Qe6 is refuted by 18.R×a6! Q×c4 19.R×a8+ Nc8 20.R×c8+ Ke7 21.Rc7+ Ke6 22.Nd4+, etc., or
21...Ke8 22.Bg5. The rest is a game of cat and mouse.
18.e6 f6 19.Rd7 Qb5 20.Q×b5 c×b5 21.Nd4 Rc8 22.Be3 Ng6 23.R×a6 Ne5 24.Rb7 Bc5 25.Nf5 0-
Not 25...B×e3, in view of 26.Nd6+.
And Black resigned, since after 26...B×e3, White decides the game with 27.Ne7, while 26...g6
27.B×c5 R×c5 28.Nh6+ Kh8 29.Raa7 is also hopeless for Black.
Tuesday, May 4, 1948
Game 39: Euwe-
Game 40: Botvinnik-
In the first game, the Zurich variation of the Nimzo-Indian, Euwe’s rather timid play allowed
Reshevsky to execute his development plan unopposed and offer to exchange queens as early as move
15 in order to liquidate to an endgame that offered him the better chances. A strategically correct but
tactically unjustified move proved too much for the white position, and after this move, Euwe was
fighting a losing battle. He did succeed in holding on until the time-control, when the game was
adjourned, but the next day he resigned without play being resumed.
In the game Botvinnik-Keres, there were no crafty variations. White did not approach the opening
very systematically, which yielded Black a lead in development. But Keres did not conduct his action
on the queenside correctly, allowing White to wrest back the initiative. He never let go of it again.
The major pieces left the scene of the battle, and although the two players were still equal in material
at the adjournment – both had a knight and six pawns – Black’s doubled pawns meant that, in effect,
White was already a pawn up. After the resumption the fight, which offered Black little prospect of
surviving, was continued for another 20 moves, at which point Keres threw in the towel. The fourth
defeat against Botvinnik in succession! It seems that Keres, who can turn in such extraordinary
performances in other games, cannot throw off a certain paralysis when playing Botvinnik.
After this fresh victory there was only a theoretical chance that Botvinnik could still be caught by one
of the other players; practically speaking, the title was already his. This could also be inferred from
the boisterous mood of the spectators during the last few days. Kotov had to urge them repeatedly to
be quiet – the “Silence” sign had been in place continuously for quite some time – and even
tournament leader Prof. Dr. Vidmar found himself forced to intervene sometimes. But all of this was
to little avail, and as Botvinnik’s victory became more assured, the audience grew ever more
The standings after the 20th round were as follows: Botvinnik 12 (out of 16). Still the 75 per cent he
had also scored after the first 10 rounds. Reshevsky and Smyslov 8½, Keres 7½ and Euwe 3½.
(39) Euwe – Reshevsky
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E33]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bd2
This set-up, which is also a favorite of Flohr’s, has the advantage that White will remain in control of
the important square e4 even after the exchange on c3.
A better move order is 6...Qe7 7.a3 B×c3 8.B×c3 a5, and only then 0-0. The reason for this will soon
7.a3 B×c3 8.B×c3 a5
Intended to prevent b2-b4, but Black could not afford to do without this tempo in the present position.
9.e4! would have been far better, since in that case Black would not have the reply e6-e5. After 9...d5
(other moves are met by e4-e5) 10.c×d5 e×d5 11.e5 Ne4 12.Bd3 White is undoubtedly better.
This development has both advantages and drawbacks as compared to 10.Be2. A drawback is that
after the advance e6-e5 White has to reckon with the fork e5-e4, but an advantage is that on d3 the
bishop helps to prevent this advance.
10...e5 11.d×e5 d×e5 12.0-0
Better was 12.Ng5 h6 13.Ne4, and there is still a chance that the bishop pair will finally come into its
own. After the text move that chance is lost.
Not 12...e4 in view of 13.B×f6 e×d3 14.B×e7, winning the exchange.
White has no better defense against the threat of e5-e4. 13.Ng5 is met by 13...e4! 14.B×f6 e×d3
15.B×e7 (if 15.Q×d3 Q×f6) 15...d×c2 16.Bc5 Re5 and wins, while after 13.Nd2, the same
liquidation, 13...e4 14.B×f6 e×d3 15.B×e7 d×c2 16.Bh4 Bf5!, leads to a positional advantage for
13...B×f5 14.Q×f5 Qe6
Black makes excellent use of this chance and steers towards an endgame that offers only him winning
15.Q×e6 R×e6 (D)
This weakening turns out to be one too many for the white position to bear. The text move is
strategically justified as preparation for b4-b5, but tactically wrong, since the white pawns will soon
become objects of attack for the grateful black knights. Correct is 16.Rfd1, after which Black retains
a slight advantage with 16...a4. Another possible continuation was 16.Ng5, followed by 17.f4.
16...Ne4 17.Bb2 f6
The necessary protection of the black centre. Now the bishop will bite on granite, as Dr. Tarrasch
used to say in such cases.
Black was threatening to win a pawn with 18...a×b4.
18...Ne7 19.Rfd1 Rd6!
Very strong. White must not exchange on d6, since Black then recaptures with the c-pawn, after which
White will be unable to maintain his control of c4.
20.Kf1 Nc8 21.Rdc1
Aimed against 21...Nb6, and also with the intention of creating some counterplay by advancing the c-
Dashing White’s hopes.
Hastening his demise, but White can only choose between evils: (1) 22.b×c6 R×c6, and the c-pawn is
doomed; (2) 22.Ke2 Nb6 23.Rc2 Rad8, and White will soon be unable to stir, while the c-pawn will
fall in the long run anyway.
22...N×c3 23.R×c3 e4 24.Ng1 Nb6 25.Ne2 f5 26.Ke1 Rad8 27.Rc2 Kf7 28.Ng3
White can do little more than making his knight jump to and fro a bit. Opposition along the d-file will
not work in view of the weakness of c4, and a preparatory move like 28.h4 (to take possession of the
f4-square for the knight) will cost a pawn by force: 28...Rh6 29.g3 g5!.
28...Ke6 29.Nf1 Rd3 30.Ng3 g5 31.Ne2 Na4 32.Ng3 Ke5
32...Nc3 is met simply by 33.Rcc1, but Black is in no hurry.
33.Nf1 h5 34.f3 Rb3
In order to transfer the knight to d3 via b2.
35.f×e4 f×e4 36.Rf2 Nb2 37.Rc2 Nd3+ 38.Ke2 Rf8
39.Nd2 Rf2+ 40.Kd1 Rb2 (D)
With a nice point.
41.R×b2 N×b2+ 42.Kc1 R×g2 0-1
Adjourned and resigned by White without resuming play. He will lose at least two pawns without
(40) Botvinnik – Keres
Queen’s Pawn Opening [D06]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Bf5 3.c4 e6 4.c×d5
Better is 4.Qb3 at once, intending to meet 4...Nc6 with 5.c5.
Now the white attack has lost much of its strength.
With the counter-threat of 6...Nb4.
6.Q×b7 would be met by 6...Nb4 7.Na3 Rb8 8.Q×a7 Ra8 9.Qb7, and Black has a choice between a
draw by “perpetual attack” (9...Rb8) and capturing a piece (9...R×a3 and 10...Nc2+), with winning
With the text move White is playing for simplification, a wise decision when things are threatening to
take a wrong turn.
6...Be7 7.B×e7 Ng×e7 8.e3 Qd6 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.Rc1
White should continue this tactic of simplification with 10.Bd3. Now Black will get a slight
White must not allow a5-a4-a3.
11...Rfc8 12.Bd3 a4 13.Qc2 B×d3 14.Q×d3 Nd8
Black has a lead in development and is ready for action on the queenside.
15.0-0 Ne6 16.Rc3 b5? (D)
An unnecessary and at the same time irreparable weakening of the queenside that hands over the
initiative to White. Correct is 16...b6, followed by 17...c5.
Not, of course, 17.Q×b5 Rcb8 18.Qd3 R×b2, when Black gains space. With the text move, White
prepares the maneuver Nf3-e1-d3.
17...Rcb8 18.Ne1 Nc8
The black knight also wants to get active and is aiming to go to c4 via b6. White, however, not only
succeeds in preventing this maneuver, but also in capitalizing on the absence of the knight from e7.
The first consequence of Black’s previous move, which does not seem to be very serious, however.
19...Qe7 20.Nd3 Nb6 21.Nb4
With this and his next moves White ties the knight on b6 to the defense of d5.
21...Rd8 22.Qf5 Rd6 23.Rfc1 R×c6?
After the immediate 23...Rad8, Black may still be able to save the game.
24.R×c6 Rd8 25.R×b6! (D)
A pseudo-sacrifice with which White secures a large advantage.
25...c×b6 26.Nc6 Qc7 27.N×d8 Q×d8
Black’s doubled b-pawns hardly count, so in practical terms White has an extra pawn.
After 28.Nb1 (intending to capture a pawn with 29.Nc3) Black replies 28...Qc7 29.Nc3 b4!, which
still gives him drawing chances (30.a×b4 a3).
Black will not survive in the long run, with or without exchanging queens.
29.Q×c7 N×c7 30.Nb1 Kf8 31.Kf1 Ke7 32.Ke2
The advance of the kings that is so characteristic of these endgames.
32...Kd6 33.Kd3 Kc6 34.Nc3 Ne8 35.Na2
The knight is transferred to lend greater strength to e3-e4.
35...f6 36.f3 Nc7 37.Nb4+ Kd6 38.e4 (D)
Black has no choice but to exchange, since otherwise White would play 39.N×d5. The pawn ending
after the knight exchange is hopeless for Black.
39.f×e4 Ne6 40.Ke3 Nc7
Repeating moves in time-trouble.
Black could have put up more of a fight with 41...Ke7 42.e5 f×e5 43.d×e5 Ke6.
42.Nd5 Kc6 43.h4 Nd8
This is a bad square for the knight, as will soon become clear. Better is 43... Nf8 44.Nf4 g6!,
intending to deny the hite knight access to h5.
Now 44...g6 is inferior in view of 45.h5! g5 46.Nd5, etc.
45.Nh5 Ne6 46.Ke3
The immediate 46.d5 meets with 46...Nc5+, with counter-chances.
46...Ke7 47.d5 Nc5 48.N×g7
With White practically two pawns up, the win will only be a matter of time now.
Short shrift: after the knight exchange the pawn ending is an easy win. There still followed: 49...Nd7
50.Kd4 Ne5 51.Ng7 Nc4 52.Nf5+ Kc7 53.Kc3 Kd7 54.g4 Ne5 55.g5 f×g5 56.h×g5 Nf3 57.Kb4
N×g5 58.e5 h5 59.e6+ Kd8 60.K×b5 1-0
Thursday, May 6, 1948
Game 41: Euwe-
Game 42: Smyslov-
All in all, Euwe did not play this tournament under a lucky star, and in this encounter with Keres,
Lady Luck was not on his side again.
In a game with a sharp set-up by both players, Euwe got the best chances. It was a complicated
position – of the sort in which Keres feels like a fish in the water – but this time the complications he
created were not successful, at least initially. His 27th move was a mistake that should have cost him
the game, but Euwe was so kind as to not exploit it. On the contrary, he repaid the compliment by
blundering himself. As an excuse for the two players it may be said that time was getting short. Yet
even after this comedy of errors the situation was not yet hopeless for White. But Euwe is among the
players least inured to time-trouble; he blundered again, and this time it proved fatal.
Smyslov and Reshevsky actually played the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez again. Reshevsky must
have thought of his last game against Keres, and Smyslov of his game against Euwe. And again it
turned out that Reshevsky had made good use of the experience of others (see 10...b4). Smyslov could
not repeat his previous play and saw himself faced with a fresh problem – one that he did not succeed
in solving to his complete satisfaction (see 20.Be7). Black even had a slight advantage going into the
endgame, but all Reshevsky’s attempts to create something decisive out of it bounced off Smyslov’s
correct counterplay. Shortly before the adjournment, the latter shed a pawn to ensure a draw in an
endgame of rook + two pawns vs. rook + three pawns. But Reshevsky was not interested in a draw,
and this time Smyslov could not be blamed for this game also becoming one of his longest.
After a complete second sitting the situation had not changed. Reshevsky, however, still found it
impossible to reconcile himself to a draw and considered a third sitting necessary. When White’s
sealed move was revealed, Reshevsky finally settled for half a point.
(41) Euwe – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Bg5 h6
An interesting attempt, in combination with the next move, to breathe new life into this defense. The
idea behind the text move is to have ...g7-g5 available at any time.
6.Bh4 c5 7.d×c5
Another possibility is 7.Nf3, but the text move is sharper.
The point of Black’s set-up. 8.a3 would now be met by 8...B×c3+ 9.Q×c3 g5 10.Bg3 Ne4 11.Qc1!
(or 11Qc2? Qa5+! 12.b4? N×b4, which explains why White must cover the rook at a1) 11...Na×c5,
and White finds himself in trouble because of his arrears in development.
8.e3 N×c5 9.Nge2
9.a3 is still linferior because of 9... B×c3+ 10.Q×c3 Nfe4! 11.B×d8 N×c3 12.Be7 Nb3! 13.B×f8
K×f8, and Black has the better endgame.
The text move, which leads to annoying complications, has the drawback that the light squares will be
locked in, but the advantage that the knight on c3 will get extra support.
Forced; but White is now in the midst of a position that suits his opponent down to the ground.
A promising pawn sacrifice, which is the consequence of what went before.
11.c×d5 Rc8 12.Kb1 (D)
White can try 12.d×e6 f×e6 first, but he is keeping this possibility for later, because he wants to keep
the black queen more firmly in its place. Compare 12.d×e6 f×e6 13.Kb1 Qa5! with 12.Kb1Qa5?
13.B×f6 g×f6 14.Rd4.
Black has other possibilities to continue his attack: (1) 12...g5 and:
(1a) 13.d×e6 N×e6 14.Bg3 Qa5, with good chances (15.Bd6 B×d6 16.R×d6 b5); (1b) 13.Bg3 N×d5
14.N×d5 e×d5 15.R×d5 Ba4! 16.Qc4 Qa5!; (2) 12...e5 (a surprising continuation of a positional
character, based on the conclusion that there is next to nothing White can do to improve his position)
13.B×f6! Q×f6 14.Ng3 Kh8! (otherwise White plays the very strong 15.Nce4), and Black maintains
strong pressure on the white position.
13.d×e6 f×e6 14.Qb3 B×c3
14...Qa5 would now be met by 15.B×f6 and:
(1) 15...R×f6 16.R×d7 Nc5 and:
(1a) 17.Qd1 N×d7 18.Q×d7 Rd8 19.Qb5 Rd1+ 20.Kc2 Rd2+ 21.Kc1!, and the black attack will stall
(21...Q×b5 22.N×b5 R×f2 23.a3!); (1b) 17.Qc4!. A simple continuation that enables White to retain
his advantage; (2) 15...Nc5 and: (2a) 16.R×d7 N×b3 17.R×g7+ Kh8 18.Rf7+, with a draw (18.Rg5+
R×f6 19.R×a5 N×a5 would lead to an endgame an exchange down); (2b) 16.Qc4 g×f6 (16...R×f6
17.R×d7 leads to 1b) 17.a3, etc.
15.N×c3 N×c3+ (D)
Black settles for weakening of the white king position, but it is highly doubtful whether ihe has
sufficient compensation for the sacrificed pawn. Another option for Black is 15...Qe8, but it seems
that White then is able to defend: 16.B×f6 N×c3+ (16...R×f6 17.Ne4) 17.B×c3 Ba4 18.Q×b7 and: (1)
18...B×d1? 19.Q×g7#; (2) 18...Rf7 19.Qe4 B×d1 20.Bd3, etc.; (3) 18...R×c3 19.b×c3 B×d1 20.Bd3,
and although this position is not without danger for White, one may assume that the two-pawn lead
should clinch the game in the long run.
16.b×c3 Qe8 17.Rd4 Nd5
Worth considering is 17...Kh8, followed by 18...e5.
18.c4 Nb6 19.Bd3 Na4
Intending to transfer the knight to c5, where it is positioned aggressively and at the same time prevents
the set-up Bc2-Qd3.
20.Bc2 Nc5 21.Qc3 b5
White is not only a healthy pawn up, but also in possession of the bishop pair. With cool and
collected play these advantages should lead to victory, so Black is leaving no stone unturned to keep
the fight alive.
22.Ka1 a5 23.c×b5
On this or the next move, White can capture on a5, but this would open an important attacking file for
23...B×b5 24.Qb2 Qc6 25.Rg4
White correctly refuses to restrict himself to defense, because even with the cooperation of nearly all
one’s pieces it is not always easy to defend a weakened kingside effectively.
25...Rf7 26.Bf6 (D)
Another attacking move, which will at the same time allow White to transfer his queen to the other
Another crisis has arisen, and once again both players have many possibilities: (1) 26...Nd7?
27.B×g7 Q×c2? 28.Bc3+, winning the queen; (2) 26...Be2 and:
(2a) 27.R×g7+? R×g7 28.B×g7 Q×g2, etc.;
(2b) 27.f3! Rcc7 28.Bd4, and the fight continues;
(3) 26...h5 and:
(3a) 27.R×g7+ R×g7 28.B×g7 Q×g2 29.Rb1 Q×g7 30.Q×g7+ K×g7 31.R×b5, with advantage for
White; (3b) 27.Rg5 Rcc7 28.Rd1, with complications similar to the game.
With the threat of 28.Rd8+, etc.
Both players being in time-trouble, they were unable to calculate the consequences of this
complicated position with sufficient accuracy. Correct is 27...Nd3, after which 28.R×d3 is met by
28...Q×c2, while 28.B×d3 B×d3 29.R×d3? leads back to the game. Correct in that case would be
28.B×d3 B×d3 29.B×g7 R×g7 30.R×g7+ R×g7 31.R×d3, with advantage for White, although the win
would still be far from easy.
Returning the compliment too generously. White can play 28.B×g7 here, but the strongest
continuation, which also leads to a clear-cut win, is 28.R×d3 N×d3 29.B×d3, for example, 29...Rb7
30.Qc3! Qd5 31.Rd4! (after 31.e4 the reply 31...Qd7, with the threat of 32...e5 would be annoying)
31...Q×g2 32.Rd8+ Rf8 33.R×f8+ K×f8 34.Qc8+ Kf7 35.Bb2, etc.
28...N×d3 29.R×d3 R×f6
Now 30.Q×f6 is impossible in view of 30...Qc1 mate. White is still a pawn up, but his king is
exposed, a circumstance that, with only major pieces on the board, carries a lot of weight. Yet with
good play, White should still be able to hold the draw.
Preparing to triple the major pieces.
White finds relief with the maneuver 31.Rd8+ Kh7 32.Rc8, for example, 32...Rc5? 33.R×g7+ R×g7
34.R×c6, with advantage for White. But Black continues with 32...Qd7 33.R×c7 Q×c7, recapturing at
least the h-pawn, since White has to transfer his knight to parry the threats along the c-file.
Threatening both 32...Rc1+ and 32...Rc2.
32.Rd8+ Kh7 33.Rd1 Rc2 34.Qd4? (D)
This loses the game. With 34.Qa3 White probably holds: 34...R×g2 35.Qd3+ (1) 35...g6 36.Qd7+
R×d7 37.R8xd7+ Q×d7 38.R×d7+, and the endgame is drawn; (2) 35...Rg6, and Black is unable to
undertake anything for the moment.
34...Rc1+ 35.Kb2 Qc2+ 0-1
And White resigned, since 36.Ka3 Rc3+ will cost him the queen (with mate)!
(42) Smyslov – Reshevsky
Ruy Lopez [C81]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 N×e4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.d×e5 Be6 9.Qe2 Nc5
In Games 36 and 38 Black played 10...N×b3 11.a×b3 Qc8, which is suspect in view of Smyslov’s
pawn sacrifice 12.c4!. With the text move, Black is trying to invalidate the advance c2-c4.
11.Be3 N×b3 12.a×b3 Qc8 13.c4 d×c4
13...b×c3 14.N×c3 would lead to a large advantage for White (14...Nb4 15.Na4, followed by
A necessarily wasted tempo, since 14...Be7 15.Bg5 0-0 16.Qe4 is very good for White, for example,
16...Rd8 17.Nbd2! Qd7 18.Nf1 Qe8 19.R×d8, winning a pawn.
15.Nbd2 Be7 16.Nb3 0-0 17.Bc5 Bg4
White has built up an excellent position, but Black is defending outstandingly. The text move gives the
black pieces some more breathing space, while at the same time weakening the e-pawn.
18.Qe4 B×f3 19.g×f3
Forced, since 19.Q×f3 would be met by 19...N×e5.
Stronger is 20.f4!, for example:
(1) 20...Qg6+ and:
(1a) 21.Q×g6 f×g6 22.B×e7 N×e7 23.Rd7, etc.;
(1b) 21.Qg2, also with advantage for White;
(2) 20...g6 21.B×e7 N×e7 22.Nc5 Qh3! and:
(2a) 23.N×a6? R×a6 24.R×a6 Qg4+, etc.;
(2b) 23.Rd7 Nf5 24.Qg2, and White retains his advantage.
20...N×e7 21.Nc5 Qg6+ 22.Q×g6
Or 22.Kh1 Rfd8.
22...N×g6 23.N×a6 N×e5
Black has just barely succeeded in escaping a disadvantage, and now he is even slightly better thanks
to the doubled pawns on the enemy kingside.
A nice turn. Black is threatening 25...Rfa8, so White has no choice but to liquidate.
25.N×b4 R×a1 26.R×a1 Rb8 27.Nd5
Or 27.Ra4 N×f3+ 28.Kg2 Nd2 29.Na6 R×b3 30.N×c7 Rc3!, and the c-pawn falls.
27...R×b3 28.f4 N×c4 29.Rc1 Nd2
The endgame is a draw, and all Black’s attempts to exploit White’s doubled f-pawns founder on
Smyslov’s resolute counterplay.
30...Nf3+ 31.Kg2 Nh4+ 32.Kf1 Rb2 33.Ne3 Rb4 34.f5 f6 35.Rc5 Kh7
Slightly better is 35...h5 36.Nd5 Re4 (preventing Ne7+), but this reinforcement would not have led to
The simplest option: White goes for the rook ending of 3 against 2.
37.Ne7 Re4 38.Ng6 N×g6 39.f×g6+ K×g6 40.Kg2 h5 (D)
The first adjourned position. Black cannot undertake anything of any significance and might as well
settle for a draw here. But that is nothing for Reshevsky. There still followed: 41.h3 f5 42.Rc6+ Kg5
43.Rc7 g6 44.Rc6 Rd4 45.Ra6 h4 46.Rb6 Rd3 47.Ra6 Kh5 48.Ra8 Rd6 49.Rh8+ Kg5 50.Kf3
Rd3+ 51.Kg2 Rd4 52.Kf3 Kf6 53.Rf8+ Kg7 54.Ra8 Rd3+ 55.Kg2 g5 56.Ra6 Rd7 57.Rb6 Re7
58.Ra6 Kf7 59.Rh6 Re6 60.Rh8 Kg7 61.Rh5 Kg6 62.Rh8 Rc6 63.Rg8+ Kf6 64.Rf8+ Ke5 65.Rg8
Kf4 66.Rh8 Rc5 67.Rh5 Rc6 68.Rh8 Rg6 69.Rh7 Ke5 70.Rh8 Kf6 71.Rf8+ Ke6 72.Rh8 Kf7 73.f4
The sealed move after the second session. Reshevsky offered a draw without resuming play. Why had
he suddenly changed his mind? Had his analysis convinced the American champion? One of the Dutch
officials gives the following interpretation: Reshevsky appeared 10 minutes late, whereupon one of
those present observed: “We thought you were lost.” “Me, lost?” Reshevsky exclaimed startled –
thinking of his game – “No, it’s a draw, I offer a draw.” A few minutes later the misunderstanding
was resolved, but the game remained a draw – and rightly so, because there is really no life left in it.
Sunday, May 9th, 1948
Game 43: Keres-
Game 44: Botvinnik-
The first round that resulted in two draws. One achieved after a tenacious struggle, the other one a
“grandmaster draw,” the first one in this tournament.
Botvinnik’s early draw offer was understandable. He only needed another half-point to secure the
title, so he had no reason to throw himself into all kinds of adventures. At the time of his offer, the
position was such that Euwe did not see the point of fighting for a win at all costs either.
It goes without saying that a storm of applause went up when the result was announced, and it was
well deserved. The new world champion had convincingly shown himself superior. The organizers
had anticipated the possibility that this round might bring the decision, so when the demonstration
board showed the outcome “draw,” the game Keres-Smyslov was interrupted for 15 minutes to give
the audience the chance briefly to pay homage to the new champion – an opportunity that the
photographers and movie-camera operators, who had not really had much to immortalize for a long
time, gratefully jumped at.
After this interlude the game Keres-Smyslov could be continued. This had turned into a kind of
Exchange Variation of the Grünfeld Indian, albeit one in which White had left his d-pawn in its place
for the moment in order to take the sting out of Black’s characteristic move c5, which was unpleasant
for White in the original line. Keres missed the strongest continuation a few times, and after a
wholesale exchange Black was slightly better when the game was adjourned. His advantage was not
sufficient for the win, however, and soon after the resumption the players decided to settle for a draw.
The fight for first place had been decided, but the other places were still entirely open.
(43) Keres – Smyslov
English Opening [A16]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.c×d5 N×d5 4.e4 N×c3
4...Nb4 5.Bc4 is met by 5...Nd3+ 6.Ke2 Nf4+ 7.Kf1 e5 8.d4, with advantage for White, but by
5...Be6!, after which the exchange on e6 will cause some very weak spots in the white position.
Mikenas-Goldberg (Leningrad 1947) opened in this way was decided in Black’s favor after 17
This gives the game the character of the Exchange Variation of the Grünfeld Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6
3.Nc3 d5 4.c×d5 N×d5 5.e4 N×c3 6.b×c3 c5), but by postponing d2-d4 for the moment White
succeeds in invalidating c7-c5.
Aimed against c7-c5.
6...Nd7 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 c5 9.0-0 0-0 10.d4
Now we find ourselves in a variation of the Grünfeld Indian after all, except that – as already
observed – this one slightly favors White, because the sharpening of the fight for d4 has been
postponed to the middlegame.
10...c×d4 11.c×d4 Nb6
Or 11...b6 12.e5 Re8 13.Qb3 e6 14.Nd2 Bb7 15.Bf3, also with good play for White.
12...B×d4? is impossible in view of 13.Rad1, of course.
Or 13...B×f3 14.B×f3 B×d4? 15.Bc5, or 15.e5.
14.Rc1 Ba4 15.Qb4
Stronger is 15.Qe3, which maintains the pressure. The text move only leads to simplification in the
15...e6 16.Bb5 B×b5 17.Q×b5 Re8 18.Rfd1 Rc8 (D)
The point of the defense is that 19.R×c8 Q×c8 20.Rc1 Qb8 21.Bd6 will now be met by 21...Rc8!.
19.Bc5 Qc7 20.Rb1 Qc6
Forcing liquidation and in doing so securing the black position.
21.B×b6 a×b6 22.e5
22.Q×b6 Q×e4 23.Q×b7 Q×b7 24.R×b7 Rc2! is virtually a draw, as is 22.d5 e×d5 23.e×d5 Q×b5
24.R×b5 Red8. With the text move, which briefly takes the black bishop out of the game, White wants
to make an attempt to exploit the black doubled pawns.
22...Q×b5 23.R×b5 Rc6 (D)
Now White finds himself in some slight trouble. Correct is 24.Rdb1 Rec8 (if 24...Ra8 25.g3 R×a2
26.R×b6 R×b6 27.R×b6, with some slight chances for White) 25.g3 Rc1+ 26.R×c1 R×c1+ 27.Kg2
Rc6, and Black will easily coast to the draw.
24...Ra8 25.Rd2 Bh6
The bishop comes to life again.
26.Rdb2 Bc1 27.Rb1 R×a2 28.R×b6 R×b6 29.R×b6 Rb2 30.R×b2 B×b2
Black is slightly better, but it is not enough.
31.Kf1 Kf8 32.Ke2 Ke8 33.Kd3 b5 34.Ng5 h5 35.h3 Ba3 36.f3 Be7 37.Ne4 Kd7 38.g4 Kc6 39.Ng3
h×g4 40.f×g4 b4 41.Kc4 g5 42.Ne4 b3 43.Nc3 b2 44.Kb3 f6 45.K×b2 f×e5 46.d×e5 Kc5 47.Kc2
Kd4 48.Nb5+ K×e5 49.Kd3 ½-½
(44) Botvinnik – Euwe
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D35]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.c×d5
An exchange that Botvinnik has played before (for example in his game against Kottnauer, Groningen
1946) and with which he wants to go directly to the Exchange Variation, while avoiding all kinds of
continuations of the Orthodox Queen’s Gambit. The difference with the normal Exchange Variation is
that Black has not yet played Nb8-d7, which gives him more freedom in deciding his set-up.
4...e×d5 5.Nc3 c6 6.Qc2
To prevent the development Bc8-f5.
Black will play Bc8-f5 anyway. At the same time, the fianchetto to some extent reinforces the black
king’s position, which will prevent later attacks.
7.Bg5 Bg7 8.e3 Bf5 9.Bd3
9.Qb3 is simply met by 9...Qb6.
9...B×d3 10.Q×d3 0-0 11.0-0 (D)
As a result of an unfortunate coincidence, this move was broadcast into the world’s ether with one
zero too many (in other words, castling queenside instead of kingside), but remarkably enough, and
despite a quick b2-b4 (14th move), hardly anyone thought of a mistake, and the world press had little
to say about such a blatant breach of the elementary safety regulations as b2-b4 would have been, if
Botvinnik had really castled queenside.
This reminded me of an event of about 30 years ago, when the chess editor of a small provincial
newspaper felt called upon to comment on the game Capablanca-Dr. Olland (Hastings 1919). This
game started with the Rubinstein variation of the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4. c×d5
e×d5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3), after which Capablanca decided the game fairly quickly with the exchange
sacrifice Rc1×c6. A beautiful game, except for a little accident: the newspaper had printed 2.e2-e4
instead of 2.c2-c4. But aside from 4.c4×d5, which according to the columnist should be 4.e4×d5,
everything was correct. Capablanca’s 10.Ra1-c1 was somewhat mysterious – the rook behind an
immobile pawn – but one should be able to pass over such trifles. The rook apparently thought so as
well: 18.Rc1xc6!. But the editor refused to be daunted and ended with the following observation:
“Strictly speaking, this move is prohibited by the rules of the game, but aside from this little blemish,
still a beautiful game!”
Max Euwe and Mikhail Botvinnik.
11...Nbd7 12.Ne5 Qe8 13.N×d7
13.f4 would not yield anything:
(1) 13...Ne4? and:
(1a) 14.N×d7? Q×d7 15.N×e4 d×e4 16.Q×e4 Rae8 17.Qd3 R×e3!, etc.; (1b) 14.N×e4 d×e4 15.Qb3!,
and White is better; (2) 13...Qe6 14.Rae1 Rae8, followed by 15...Ne4, with satisfactory play for
13...Q×d7 14.b4 Rfe8 ½–½
And here Botvinnik offered a draw, which I accepted in view of the following continuations: (1)
15.b5 Ne4 16.b×c6 Q×c6, with satisfactory play for Black; (2) 15.B×f6 B×f6 16.b5 c5 17.d×c5 B×c3
18.Q×c3 Q×b5, etc.
With this result, Botvinnik’s world championship, which had already long been a practical certainty,
also became a mathematically accomplished fact.
Tuesday, May 11, 1948
Game 45: Smyslov-
Game 46: Reshevsky-
The second day of draws; this is s fairly common phenomenon towards the end of a tournament, when
the consequences of so many weeks of effort begin to make themselves felt. And the standings also
played their part, of course. The first game, a Queen’s Gambit Accepted, in which the new world
champion played a relatively rare variation, the decision came early. There was still a lot of material
on the board, but the position held no prospects for either player.
In the game Keres-Reshevsky, the outcome of which was important for the former in view of the
possibility of him securing second place, the American turned out to have lost much of his fighting
spirit. He showed no signs of his energetic style; apparently, chess fatigue had started to tell on him
as well. In this game, much of the material was cleared away, and by move 26 all life had gone out of
the game, making the draw a wise decision.
(45) Smyslov – Botvinnik
Queen’s Gambit Accepted [D22]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 Bg4
A rarely played variation, but one that appears to be sufficient for equality.
5.B×c4 e6 6.Nbd2
The usual continuation here is 6.Qb3 B×f3 7.g×f3 b5 8.Be2, with equal chances. Another possibility
is 6.d5, after which 6...Nf6 seems to be Black’s best defense, and not 6...e×d5 7.B×d5 Qe7 in view of
8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qb3!, with advantage for White. The text move is somewhat passive and will soon
lead to simplification and a draw.
6...Nd7 7.0-0 Ngf6 8.h3 Bh5 9.b3 c5 10.Be2 c×d4 11.N×d4 B×e2 12.Q×e2 Bc5 13.Bb2 0-0 (D)
Nothing is happening.
14.Rac1 Rc8 15.Rfd1 Qe7 16.N4f3 Bb4 17.R×c8 R×c8 ½-½
And drawn faute de combattants (for lack of combatants).
(46) Reshevsky – Keres
Nimzo-Indian Defense [E32]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3
This is simpler than 5.Bg5, as White played in Game 41.
5...B×c3+ 6.Q×c3 b6 7.Bg5
As we will see later, this bind does not cause Black any serious problems. Stronger is 7.e3 Bb7 8.f3
or the immediate 7.f3.
Now 8.f3 runs into 8...c5 9.e4? N×e4!.
8...d6 9.e3 Nbd7 10.Qc2
Better was 10.Be2, but White no longer wants to take the sortie Nf6-e4 into account.
Intending to continue with 10...Ne4 anyway.
11.Nd2 c5 12.d×c5 b×c5 13.b4
Simpler is 13.Be2 at once, but the text move won’t do any harm either.
13...e5 14.b×c5 d×c5 15.Be2 h6
Not 15...B×g2 in view of 16.Rg1 Bb7 17.Bh6, etc.
Forced, since 16.Bh4 can now be met by 16...B×g2 after all.
16...N×f6 17.0-0 Qc6 18.f3 Rfe8 (D)
Attack and defense are balancing each other out.
19.Bd3 Rad8 20.Rfd1 Qc7 21.Ne4 Re6 22.N×f6+ R×f6 23.Bh7+ Kh8 24.R×d8+
24.Be4 is met very strongly by 24...Rfd6.
24...Q×d8 25.Rd1 Rd6
Or 25...Qa5 26.Be4 B×e4 27.Q×e4 Rd6 28.Rb1.
26.R×d6 Q×d6 ½-½
Thursday, May 13th, 1948
Game 47: Botvinnik-
Game 48: Euwe-
Towards the end a new routine on the program: the Four Knights game of the Ruy Lopez. This must
have been an indication of peaceful intentions on Botvinnik’s part, since if Black goes for the
Rubinstein variation with 4...Nd4, there is little for White to play for. This makes it somewhat
surprising that Reshevsky did not play this line, all the more because he proposed a draw in a later
stage of the game, apparently happy with half the spoils. But Botvinnik did not accept the proposal,
which is understandable because he had a slight positional advantage at that point.
Reshevsky gradually got into trouble. In an awkward situation he still found a witty continuation that
almost got him back on his feet, but when he let his last drawing chance slip a few moves later
(29...Nd4; one assumes that he no longer harbored illusions of winning by this stage) he was crushed.
After his pleasant experience in Round 14, Euwe apparently wanted to give Smyslov another
opportunity to play his beloved Grünfeld Indian. Smyslov duly went for this opening, which indicated
that he had found an improvement in the defense. And he had (11...B×f3 etc.). It nevertheless required
a few mistakes on Euwe’s part to give Smyslov an advantage. And Euwe, who had been in an
engaging mood all through the tournament, begrudging no one except himself anything, did make
mistakes. With the first one he threw away his winning chances, with his second he missed the
opportunity to restore the positional balance, and with the third he allowed his last chance to slip
through his fingers. And so Smyslov won on move 38. For the Russian this was a win of great
significance, because it meant that he had claimed second place; for the American, the disappointment
of his loss against Botvinnik was exacerbated by the fact that he was now reduced to fighting for third
It goes without saying that Smyslov’s victory was received with tumultuous cheers.
(47) Botvinnik – Reshevsky
Four Knights’ Game [C49]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5
The Four Knights Game has two sides. On the part of the white player it may be an invitation to a
quick draw (4...Nd4 5.N×d4 e×d4 6.e5 d×c3 7.e×f6 Q×f6 8.d×c3 Qe5+, with wholesale liquidation),
but it may also be a long-term plan to make modest winning attempts without running any risks in a
virtually symmetrical position.
There are two possibilities: either Reshevsky spurns a draw against the new world champion, or he
is unfamiliar with variations like 4...Nd4 5.Ba4 in case Botvinnik refuses to go for the Exchange
Variation, 5.N×d4. However this may be, the text move means that he is ready for battle, with all the
dangers this involves.
5.0-0 0-0 6.d3 B×c3 7.b×c3 d6 8.Bg5 Qe7
One of the most commonly played variations of this in itself relatively rare opening: Black prepares
the maneuver Nc6-d8-e6.
9.Re1 Nd8 10.d4 Ne6 11.Bc1
The usual retreat: the bishop is not much use on h4.
This is less accurate. Correct was 11...c5! (12.d×e5? d×e5 13.N×e5? Nc7!), followed by 12...Qc7, in
order to maintain the center in the easiest way possible.
12.Bf1 Nf8 13.Nh4 Ng4? (D)
In contrast, 13...N×e4 is dangerous in view of 14.R×e4 f5 15.Bc4+ Kh8 16.Qh5! f×e4 17.Bg5 Qd7
18.Bf7!, with a strong attack for White (18...e×d4 19.Re1 d5 20.c×d4, followed by 21.Re3), but the
text move is surely too optimistic. With his development incomplete and a cramped position, the
black player is confronting a well-prepared and well-armed opponent. Small wonder that this is
going to cause problems for him.
Why not indeed?!
Forced, but the knight is very badly placed here.
Necessary to remove in advance the sting from the threat of Bc1-g5, which will arise very soon.
There was no way to prevent the doubling on h6. But White was threatening more: 18.Bg5 Qe6 19.d5,
winning a pawn, which threat is now parried by the counter-threat 18...N×h4 (followed by
Very strong. Now Black is at a loss for a good continuation.
A second mistake, which makes the black position virtually untenable. Correct is 18...Q×f3, although
even after this move Black hasa hard time of it after 19.Be2 Qf6 20.Bc4! (20...Be6?? 21.Bg5).
Now f3 is covered, so that White is threatening to win a pawn on h6.
19...B×g2 20.K×g2 d5
A nice swindling attempt that almost leads to the consolidation of the black position.
21.e×d5 e×d4 22.c×d4
With 22.B×d4 White would have released the pressure along the c3-h6 diagonal.
At the expense of a pawn Black returns the written-off knight to a strong position.
23...Nfh4+ 24.g×h4 Nf4+ leads nowhere on account of 25.Kg1!.
24.c4 h5 25.h4
25.Rab1 first would have prevented the strong counterstroke that now follows.
To undermine the pawn on d5.
26.Qg5 Q×g5 27.h×g5 h4
Hastening the crisis, but 27...b×c4 28.B×c4 does not have yield Black compensation for either
White’s extra pawn or bishop pair.
28.Bd3 h×g3 29.B×g3 (D)
Better is 29...N×g3 30.K×g3 b×c4 31.B×c4 Kf8, with some slight drawing chances for Black.
29...Ngh4+, on the other hand, like the text-move, will rapidly lead to defeat: 30.B×h4 N×h4+ 31.Kh3
b×c4 32.Be4! Ng6 33.d6 c6 34.B×c6 Rab8 35.d7, etc.
There is no other way for Black to rescue the knight on d4.
31.d×c6 N×c6 32.Be4 Rac8
If 32...Rdc8 then 33.c×b5, of course.
33.R×d8+ N×d8 34.Bf5 Ra8 35.Re8+ Kh7 36.c×b5 f6
Black is almost stalemated. There still followed: 37.Bc7 Ne6 38.R×a8 N×c7 39.R×a7 N×b5 40.Rd7
f×g5 41.a4 1-0
(48) Euwe – Smyslov
Grünfeld Defense [D99]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 d×c4 6.Q×c4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7 9.Qb3 Nb6
10.a4 a5 11.d5 B×f3
Compare Game 28, in which Black played the weaker 11...Na6.
This looks risky, but turns out to be just possible. Black prepares a liquidation that, in particular,
makes g7 much more effective.
13.Nb5 Qb4+ 14.Q×b4 a×b4 15.N×c7
15.a5 runs into 15...Rc8 16.Nd4 c5 or 16.Bd4 c6, and Black will also get counterplay.
After this relatively weak move it is White who has to fight for a draw. Correct is 16.R×a4 N×a4
17.b3, and now: (1) 17...Rc8 18.d6 and:
(1a) 18...e×d6 19.Nd5 Rc2 (White was threatening 20.Ne7+) 20.b×a4 b3 21.Bd3 Ra2 22.0-0, etc.;
(1b) 18...Nc3 19.d×e7, etc.;
(2) 17...Nc3 18.Bh3 (to prevent 18...Rc8) 18...Be5 19.Bb6 Na6 20.N×a6 b×a6, and White has a
slight positional advantage.
Certainly not 16...N8d7 17.Bh3!, after which both knights would be tied down by the bishops.
17.Nb5 Rc8 18.Be2 b3
To prevent 19.Nd4.
19.Bd2, intending to occupy c3, is not clear in view of 19...Rc2 20.Bd1 Ra2! 21.B×c2 b×c2 22.Rc1
B×b2, and Black has sufficient compensation for the sacrificed exchange. The text move does lose a
pawn (a doubled one), but White at least succeeds in neutralizing the black bishop.
19...B×b2 20.R×b2 R×a3 21.Kd2 Na6 22.Rhb1 Nac5 23.Bd4
23.Bb5 leads to equality in fairly simple fashion, since it enables White to recapture the sacrificed
pawn any time he wanted to.
24.Be3, intending to continue with Be2-b5 after all, runs into the very strong 24...f5!. But instead of
the text move, which opens the d-file for Black, 24.B×c5 would in any case have been stronger, all
the more so because after another few moves White opts for this exchange anyway.
24...N×e6 25.Be3 Ndc5 26.B×c5
Another weak move: 26.Bb5 poses Black more difficult problems. Now that White has given up the
bishop pair, the situation will soon become critical.
26...N×c5 27.Kc3 (D)
“Pour la galérie” (for the gallery). 27...Na4+ (or 27...N×e4+) would now be met by 28.Kb4, with an
attack on the black rook.
The simplest parry, which forces the white king to retreat.
28.Kd2 Kg7 29.Ke3 Rd8 30.Rc1 b6 31.Bc4 Rda8
The b3-pawn is covered indirectly: 32.B×b3? Rb4 33.Rc3 Na4! or 33.Rcb1 Ra3 – note the
significance of Black’s 28th move, which has ruled out B×f7+.
33.Rcb1 R8a4 34.Kd2? (D)
The white king leaves the third rank to finally become a real threat to the b3-pawn, but the text move
leads to defeat by force. After 34.f4, White still has something to play for.
35.Kc3 Rd3+ and 36...R×f3, or 35.Ke3 Rd3+ 36.Ke2 Rc3 were surely not better.
35...Na4 36.R×a2 b×a2 37.Ra1
37.B×a2 fails to 37...Nc3+ 38.Ke3 Ra4 39.Bb3 Rb4 40.Rb2 Nd1+!.
38.Ke1 runs into 38...Rb4 39.B×a2 Ra4.
And White resigned, since 39.R×d1 would be met by 39...N×d1 (check!), while 39.R×a2 N×a2
40.B×a2 Rh1 offered no hope of salvation either.
Sunday, May 16, 1948
Game 49: Reshevsky-
Game 50: Keres-
The last round turned out to be a most exciting one. What very few people, possibly no one, had
expected came to pass. Keres, who had never yet defeated Botvinnik and had cut a particularly poor
figure against him in this tournament, beat the new world champion!
Since Keres opened with 1.e4, it turned into a French Defense, of course, which he must have counted
on, since he played a rare variation that gave him ample opportunity to display his attacking talents.
Botvinnik did not react in the way we are used to from him, otherwise he would not have let the
chance of complete equality or of a draw through repetition of moves slip through his fingers. As it
was, he found himself in a slightly worse position, and after failing another few times to find the
strongest continuation his position was soon hopeless. On move 39, Botvinnik gave up the fight.
This was a sign for all hell to break loose! Dozens of cheering spectators stormed forward, the
spotlights were turned on and the photographers swung into action. True pandemonium!
In their enthusiasm, the spectators forgot that another game was in progress. May Prof. Vidmar
forgive me for having to address a word of reproach to him. Up to this point, his leadership had been
perfect and to everyone’s satisfaction, but here he was remiss in his duties. He should have stopped
the game Reshevsky-Euwe immediately, only to allow it to be resumed after the excited spectators
had quieted down.
After Keres’ victory the outcome of Reshevsky’s game against Euwe had become even more
important to the American, since it meant that he would now have to win in order not to finish in
fourth place. Reshevsky had set up the game, the Tarrasch variation of the Queen’s Gambit (Dr.
Tarrasch himself would have called it the decelerated Tarrasch variation) quite sharply, and Black
had to do his utmost to prevent himself from being reduced to a worse position. White was operating
on the left flank, while Euwe created chances on the other wing with a witty counteraction. At the cost
of two pawns he exposed the enemy king somewhat, which compelled White to be extremely vigilant
in his turn.
It was a pity for the chessplayers who were attentively following this lively game (Reshevsky would
surely have been of a different opinion) that a mistake by Black put an end to the tension. Euwe then
made an attempt to secure a draw by sacrificing a knight, but his opponent refused to walk into the
trap, and after another few moves he secured the win, enabling him to claim shared third and fourth
place together with Keres.
The final standings: Botvinnik 14 (out of 20), Smyslov 11, Keres and Reshevsky 10½, Dr. Euwe 4.
(49) Reshevsky – Euwe
Queen’s Gambit Declined [D40]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 c5 5.Nf3 Nc6
Tarrasch called this position the normal position of the Queen’s Gambit, because he was of the
opinion that both players had played the best and most efficient moves.
This exchange, by which White gives up the center and develops an enemy piece, could find no favor
in Tarrasch’s eyes, but the insights into this opening are different these days.
Now White could, after 7...0-0 8.b4, play a kind of reversed Meran, that is to say a sharp variation
whose value is about at par, with one tempo more. Black must not allow this to happen.
The tempting 7...d4 is met simply by 8.Na4!. After the text move a Queen’s Gambit Declined with
reversed colors arises.
8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 d×c4
Here, too, Black must be careful not to end up in a reversed variation in which the difference in
tempo is going to play an important part. The starting-point for the assessment of this position is the
following variation of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 d×c4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.B×c4
c5 6.0-0 a6 7.a4 Nc6 (see “Games from the Past” 17 and 31). White’s main aim here is to play the
advance d4-d5 after the preparatory maneuver Qd1-e2, followed by Rf1-d1. In the position with
reversed colors this strategic plan, however, is not suitable at all: 9...Qe7? 10.c×d5 Rd8 11.e4 e×d5
12.e×d5 Be6 13.Bc4, etc. For this reason, Black prefers to simplify the position with exchanges and
in doing so to restrict his opening deficit – if there is one – to a minimum.
After 10.Q×d8 R×d8 White might be marginally better (weakness of b5), but a draw remains the most
likely outcome. It is understandable that Reshevsky decides to fight in view of the tournament
standings, although this entails a small concession, since Black will get a slight space advantage.
10...e5 11.B×c4 Bg4 12.Ng5 Bh5
Better is 12...g6 or 12...h6. The text move is only justified if it is followed quickly by Bh5-g6. What
we see is the opposite, however: Black not only leaves out Bg6, but in addition returns the bishop to
g4 shortly afterwards (16th move). This means that the text move is a waste of time. Note that
12...Qe7?? fails to 13.Nd5!.
Forcing Black to weaken his kingside.
Consistent was 13...Bg6, but after 14.B×g6 h×g6 15.Qa4, possibly followed by 16.Qh4, White would
get excellent attacking chances.
14.Nge4 N×e4 15.B×e4 (D)
White has an excellent position and Black will have to play accurately to prevent White from getting
a decisive advantage. The greatest handicap for the black position is that 15...Rc8 will not
consolidate it in view of the simple reply 16.Bf5. But if Black prepares this rook move with 15...Bg4,
White plays 16.B×c6 b×c6 17.Qe4, after which he can choose which pawn he wants to capture on his
Now 16.Nb5 Bb6 17.B×c6 b×c6 18.Q×c6? fails to 18...Be2 19.Re1 Rc8, etc.
This move has become possible because the white queen must not abandon the bishop at d2.
17.h3 Be6 18.Nb5
White gives his opponent no time to consolidate.
Not 19.B×c6 b×c6 20.Q×c6 Rc8 21.Qd6 Bc4.
Black tries to compensate for the pressure on his position by launching a counteraction on the
kingside: given the circumstances, this is the best tactical option for Black, despite the dangers
associated with it.
Both players calmly continue with their plans.
White hits the nail on the head. Inferior is 21.N×b7 Ne7 22.Nd6 f5! 23.B×a8 R×a8, and Black has a
promising attack for the sacrificed exchange.
21...Ba7 22.Q×b7 Ne7 23.Bf3
A move with a defensive purpose. White threatens to beat off the black attack with 24.Ne4, followed
by 25.Ng3, intending to then continue raiding the enemy queenside. Winning the exchange with
23.Qa6? f5 24.B×a8 R×a8 25.g3 Qh5 is not as good.
23...f5 24.Kf1 (D)
This is necessary, since 24.e4 fails to 24...f4, threatening 25...B×g2.
Black’s best chance. Some other possibilities are: (1) 24...Bg4 25.Qb3+ Kh7 26.B×a8 B×d1
27.R×d1 R×a8 28.Bc3, and White is better; (2) 24...Rab8 25.Q×a7 e4 26.N×e4 f×e4 27.B×e4, and
the black attack surely is less dangerous than in the game; (3) 24...Rfb8 25.Qd7 e4 26.B×e4! f×e4
27.Q×h3, again with advantage for White.
The text move costs a couple of pawns, but it yields Black a powerful initiative.
The point of Black’s combination, which offers him many more chances than the simple 25...e×f3
26.Q×f3. Now 26.Q×a7 runs into 26...e×f3 and wins.
The only move.
A difficult position: White is two pawns up, but his king is exposed to direct attacks along the open f-
With 27...Qf6 28.Ke2 Qa6+ 29.Ke1 Qf6 Black might have made an attempt to force a draw, but this
would not have yielded the desired result after 30.Qf4!. This does not, however, prove that Black’s
attack would have been insufficient, since the ensuing position would still offer Black countless
possibilities (30...Qg6, 30...Qe6 or even 30...Q×b2), and one certainly cannot say that the white king
is out of danger. Aside from the text move and the above-mentioned continuation, however, the move
27...R×b2 was also worth considering.
With the threat of 29.Be6.
The decisive error. Correct is 28...Nf5, with all kinds of chances. The text move allows for an
adequate reinforcement of the defense.
Now it is curtains. The only weak point in the white position is e3, but Black is unable to get to it
29...Kh8 30.Be1 Qf6 31.Bc3 Qa6+ 32.Be2
Some repetition of moves in order to gain time.
32...Qc8 33.Bg4 Qa6+ 34.Kg2!
The white pieces are suddenly becoming surprisingly active.
A sacrifice born out of desperation, which is only correct if White accepts it immediately.
36.Q×f5 now meets with 36...Qe2+, with a draw by perpetual check.
And Black resigned. The simplest refutation of 36...Qe2+ 37.Kh1 Rg8 would be 38.R×a7, while the
immediate 36...Rg8 would also be seen off by 37.R×a7!.
(50) Keres – Botvinnik
French Defense [C15]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2
A rarely played variation that Keres had apparently saved for this occasion to indulge his
combinatory skills. The usual continuation is 4.e5; see Game 37.
In Alekhine-Flohr, Nottingham 1936, play continued 5.N×e4 Q×d4 6.Bd3, whereupon Black could
have secured an advantage with 6...Q×b2.
5...Q×d4 encounters the very sharp 6.0-0-0. Another possibility is 6.Nf3, which continuation, after
many complications starting with 6...f5, would lead to a forced draw.
6.Q×g7 Rg8 7.Qh6 Nc6
Here, too, 7...Q×d4 is sharply met by 8.0-0-0.
8.0-0-0 Rg6 9.Qh4 B×c3
It is too dangerous for Black to try and capture a pawn, so he intends to complete his development as
quickly as possible.
10.B×c3 Qd5 11.b3
Not 11.Kb1 in view of 11...e5.
Providing the white queen with a good retreating square, while at the same time continuing the attack
on the black fortress, whose primary aim must be to open the position.
12...Bd7 13.Bb2 Bc6
Better, or at least safer, is 13...0-0-0.
14.c4 Qf5 (D)
14...Qa5 costs a piece after 15.d5!. But Black gets counter-chances after 15...e×d5 16.B×f6 Nf5
17.Qf4 R×f6 18.Qe5+ Re6 19.Q×f5 Q×a2!, for example, 20.c×d5 Q×b3, followed by perpetual
A promising pawn sacrifice, with which White succeeds in opening the position in order to exploit
the fact that Black has not yet castled.
15...e×d5 16.f×e4 d×e4
16...N×e4 is met by 17.Nf3 Rg4 18.Qe1, also with a powerful initiative.
Quite correct. Botvinnik is not the kind of man to remain passive in a difficult position.
Another possibility is 18.Q×h7, but here it could be said that Keres is not the kind of man who will
allow himself to be diverted from his attack by the possibility of capturing a mere pawn.
18...Rc8 runs into 19.Nf4. Black sacrifices the pawn back in order to reinforce his counterplay.
19.Q×c7 Rc8 20.Qf4 Qe3+ 21.Rd2 (D)
After 21.Kb1 Q×f4 22.N×f4 Nf2 23.N×g6 N×g6 24.Be2 N×h1 25.R×h1 Nf4 Black is certainly not
Incomprehensible. Black could at least establish whether White would be happy with a draw:
21...Qe1+ 22.Rd1 (if 22.Kc2? Ne3+ 23.Kc3 N7d5+) 22...Qe3+, and now either 23.Rd2, with move
repetition, or 23.Kb1 (see above). After the text move, Black finds himself in a less favorable
22.N×f4 e3 23.Rc2 Rg5 24.Be2 Nf2 25.Re1 Rd8 26.g3 (D)
Better is 26...Be4 27.Rc3, but even then White is better, as may be seen from: (1) 27...Rd2? 28.Bf1
Nf5 29.Nd5! B×d5 30.Rc×e3+! N×e3 31.K×d2, etc.; (2) 27...Nf5 28.Nd5! B×d5 29.c×d5 R×d5
30.Bc4 and: (2a) 30...Rd8 31.Rc×e3+! N×e3 32.Bf6! Rf5 33.R×e3+ Kd7 34.B×d8 K×d8 35.Be2,
with advantage for White; (2b) 30...Rd6 31.Ba3, and thanks to his bishop pair, White retains a strong
attack with countless possibilities, which in the long run should at least be good for recapturing the
27...Bf3 runs into 28.Ba3! (28...R×f4 29.R×f2), but after the text move Black has nothing left to play
28.g×f4 Nd3+ 29.B×d3 R×d3 30.Rc3!
The refutation. Black’s exchange sacrifice would only offer him chances if the e-pawn could be
maintained, and after the strong text move this will not be the case.
30...R×c3+ 31.B×c3 Nf5 32.Bd2 Kd7 33.B×e3 b6 34.Bf2 f6 35.Kd2 h5 36.Kd3 Nh6 37.Bh4 f5
38.Re7+ Kd6 39.h3 1-0
Max Euwe takes a stroll in Moscow, accompanied by the Dutch writer, Karel van het Reve, who served as an interpreter
during the Moscow leg of the tournament.
The Official Closing Ceremony
On May 18th, the tournament was officially closed in the beautiful Hall of Columns. The company had
gathered in equally large numbers, but was even more international than at the opening ceremony, as
representatives from Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland and Sweden also put in appearances.
Once again, the entire occasion was orchestrated by Mr. Postnikov, who also gave the opening
speech. Taking stock, he called winning the world title a victory of Soviet sport, after which he
proceeded to hand the floor to a stream of speakers, all of whom sang the praises of the new world
champion and Russian chess in every conceivable way. Like Mr. Postnikov, many of them
emphasized the significance of such encounters for reinforcing cultural ties and fostering friendship
between the nations.
Writing down everything that was said, even in abbreviated form, would take up far too much space.
For some speakers we will make an exception, but for the rest we will restrict ourselves to recording
Prof. Dr. Vidmar (the tournament director): “It fills me with pride to have had the honor of being
arbiter in this important tournament. All participants have behaved correctly. Botvinnik has fully
deserved his victory, but it will burden him with great obligations.”
Mr. Rueb (president of FIDE): Mr. Rueb expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the tournament
for the world championship had been held under the auspices of FIDE for the first time. He praised
the excellent organization and offered the new world champion his heartfelt congratulations on his
well-deserved success. He then proceeded to hang an enormous laurel wreath around the new world
champion’s neck and presented him with the trophy donated by the American H.A. Dittmann via the
United States Chess Federation (thunderous applause).
Wynagrodov (head of the chess section of the Sports Committee of the Soviet Union): “The new
masters are different from the old ones, because they have ties with the masses,” said the speaker.
“Prof. Vidmar rightly said that the world title will burden the champion with great obligations.” He
expressed his thanks to the KNSB for organizing the first leg, after which he presented Botvinnik with
a magnificent chess set in a luxury box on behalf of the chess section.
-Dr. Florian (Hungary)
Max Euwe speaking in the Hall of Columns.
-Zittersteyn (the Netherlands)
-Opoèensky (Czechoslovakia): Who presented Botvinnik with a beautiful goblet on behalf of the
-Raikoviæ (Yugoslavia): Not only a good chess player but also a good soccer player.
-Bykova (women’s champion of Russia).
-Wojnarowic (Poland): who presented the world champion with a statuette.
-Toshev (Bulgaria): see Raikoviæ.
-Kemenov (on behalf of the Bureau for -External Cultural Relations).
Dr. Euwe: Tremendous applause. Euwe said more or less the following in Russian. “At the start I
said that, in view of the ideal conditions here, I expected to score a better result in Moscow. This
expectation was not fulfilled, but it should not be concluded that the conditions were less than ideal.
On the contrary. How then can I explain this failure to do well? I do not know, but for the last year or
more I have felt like a runner with a twisted knee.” He extended sincere congratulations to Botvinnik,
whose victory, he said, was also warmly acclaimed in the Netherlands. He concluded by expressing
his heartfelt thanks, also on behalf of all the other Dutch people present, for the hospitality and
friendliness they had experienced throughout their stay.
The last speaker was Botvinnik, who was greeted with uncontrollable applause. The new champion
started by thanking everyone for the numerous congratulatory messages and beautiful presents he had
received. He pointed out that the present conditions for Russian chessplayers are so much better
because of the support from the state, to which he, too, owed a large part of his success. He
mentioned some old masters like Weinstein and Rabinovich, who had helped him take his first steps
on the path of chess. “But a man cannot grow if he is not surrounded by good friends, and of those I
have many,” continued the speaker. “Ragozin, with whom I have been training since 1927, Flohr and
many others, and not forgetting my wife. From Euwe, Fine and Reshevsky I have also learned much.”
He then related how Minister Molotov had taken an interest in this tournament, and that he had given
significant support in organizing it. And lastly we will report that he regarded Reshevsky’s play as
highly original and Euwe’s loss of form sheer coincidence. Botvinnik concluded by thanking the
Dutch organizers on behalf of the participants.
We would be greatly amiss if we did not retrieve from omission the charming performance of a group
of very young chessplayers. In beautiful order they marched into the hall and arrayed themselves in
front of the world champion, after which their leader climbed the rostrum. His head barely cleared
the lectern, but he made his little speech without being in the least intimidated. “We will try to
develop our skills by replaying the games of our great masters, and we will love our fatherland as
much as the game of chess.”
This evening, too, was concluded with a performance of Russia’s greatest artists, whom we enjoyed
as much as their predecessors.
In hindsight, it proved a good idea to devote a separate evening to the festive banquet instead of
having the official closing ceremony and the banquet on the same night: if this had happened, the
proceedings would have lasted well into the small hours.
Numerous officials had been invited. We saw our ambassador, Dr. Visser, with his spouse, as well
as many other envoys. The USA was represented by the embassy secretary, as the ambassador himself
was on vacation. In addition, there were several generals and high civilian functionaries, and of
course several chess masters. I saw, for example, master Dus-Chotimirsky, whose name will
probably only ring a bell with us older chessplayers.
The number of guests was so great that it was impossible to have them all sit together in one room. An
exception had been made only for the grandmasters and some official persons. The rest were left to
provide themselves with food and drink at the various buffets.
Here, too, many a toast was proposed and many friendly words were spoken, and when everyone
present was physically and mentally sated, we repaired to the garden – it was a beautiful evening – to
conclude the night’s proceedings with an enjoyable dance.
And this was the end of a chess feast that had kept the entire world in its spell for three months.
The Former and the Present World Champion
by Dr. J. Hannak
Dr. Max Euwe
The complete name is Dr. Machgielis Euwe, born May 20, 1901 in Watergraafsmeer, now
Amsterdam, studied at Amsterdam University and, after getting his PhD, became a teacher. Got
married on August 5, 1925 and has three children now. He learned to play chess when he was four or
five years old. The Staunton tournament he regards as his best tournament result, his 26th game in the
fight for the world championship in Zandvoort on December 3rd as his best game; as his worst one
that against Mühring at Hilversum 1947. The greatest chessplayer in his eyes was Capablanca. Would
like for Boleslavsky, Najdorf and Stahlberg to have participated in the world championship
tournament. If we summarize the views of the five players, we see that most of them mention
Boleslavsky and Najdorf, while Stahlberg gets two votes and Bronstein one.
Euwe used to play tennis and swim and box. He is interested in philosophy, economics, mathematics
and art. Unfortunately he has no time to practice any of these. His favorite writer is Stefan Zweig. In
music, his preference is for symphonies.
Dr. Euwe was the great disappointment of the tournament. And yet, what does it signify? What
difference does it make to his fame? Is it not part of his essential character that the person is always
subordinated to the cause? Taking a look at a list of his achievements, many people who did not
already know will observe how rarely Dr. Euwe finished in first place in big tournaments. Does he
not himself list his performance at the Groningen-Staunton tournament of 1946 as his most important
tournament result, although he got – only – a second place there? Had he not finished marginally
behind the winners Botvinnik and Capablanca in Nottingham 12 years ago? Did he not come second
in Bern 1932, Zurich 1934 and Zandvoort 1936, and wasn’t it his fate to be always second, not first?
Tarrasch suffered a very similar fate, and he tried to compensate for the misfortune of living in the
shadow of Lasker with an often unbearable pride. Capablanca was very much put out by the man who
knocked him off his throne. But Dr. Euwe made all those who took away first place from him his
friends. He knew there were more important things in life than getting mixed up in pointless or
divisive disputes. He rather saw it as is life’s work to bring everyone together again and induce them
to give full vent to their creativity in new tournaments. Everything in the service of chess and the
chess movement. The two years during which he carried the scepter will live on in chess history as
two years in which fairness reigned. Neither before, nor after was there a world champion who was
prepared to stake his hard-won title in fights with the very strongest players. For Euwe the important
thing was always the cause and nothing but the cause. Not the fact that he was world champion for
two years, but that he used this position to make the little Netherlands into the chess fortress of the
Occident became Euwe’s great significance in and for chess history.
Winning or losing, personal success or adversity, have always been secondary for him. The chess
movement, for him, is the primary consideration. As an individual he totally subordinated himself to
it. If he had not gone to South America last year, he would probably have retained his chess form, and
it would not have suffered any ill effects. It was not his personal prestige that prompted him to
undertake this adventurous journey. His main aim was to harness the riches of that continent to benefit
the general interest in chess. He himself suffered the consequences, got beaten and had not yet
recovered from that blow. But so far it has yielded incalculable value for the chess world as a whole.
He has realized the establishment of the world championship tournament and spent the time he needed
for his chess preparation on settling conflicts and reconciling differences of opinion. What Tietz once
meant for the Carlsbad tournament, Euwe now means for the greater chess world. It cannot be denied
– however many games he will still win or lose – he will never lose his reputation among the world’s
masters as the man who has put the unification of the chess community under the emblem of friendship
and brotherhood. In success or failure, Dr. Euwe will remain the moral exemplar, the soul of the
international chess organization.
Below are his results.*
1919 Amsterdam (Silver Queen Trophy), 6th, 5½-4½
1919 Haarlem, 1st, 4-1
1919 Hastings (reserve) 4th, 7-4
1919 Amsterdam (VAS) 6th, 2-4
1919 Dutch championship, The Hague, 2nd, 4½-2½
1920 Bromley (group 2), =1st-2nd
1920 Amsterdam (Silver Queen Trophy, April), =5th-6th, 3½-3½
1920 Amsterdam (May), 4th, 3½-2½
1920 Gothenburg (b-group), =2nd-3rd, 10-5
1920 Amsterdam (September), 1st, 2-1
1920 Scheveningen (September), 1st, 5½-1½
1920 Scheveningen (December, 2nd, 2-1
1921 Broadstairs shared 1st and 2nd with 3½-1½
1921 Amsterdam Student Games, 2nd, 1½-1½
1921 Vienna 2nd place with 7½-3½
1921 Netherlands championship 1st place with 5½-1½
1921 Budapest, 6th place with 5½-5½
1921 The Hague, 9th place with 2-7
1922 Pistyan 9th place with 8½-9½
1922 London 11th place with 5½-9½
1922 Scheveningen, 1st, 6-0
1923 Amsterdam, 1st, 2½-½
1923 Mährisch-Ostrau shared 5th and 6th place with 7-6
1923 Scheveningen (SSS Cup), 1st, 6-0
1923 Scheveningen (Dutchmen vs. foreigners) 4½-5½
1923/24 Hastings 1st place with 7½-1½
1924 Weston super Mare 1st place with 7½-1½
1924 Paris Olympiad final, 4th to 6th place with 4-4
1924 Dutch championship, Amsterdam, 1st, 7-2
1925 Wiesbaden 1st place with 4½-1½
1925 Amsterdam (VAS), 2nd, 2-1
1925 Scheveningen (SSS cup), 1st, 8-1
1926 Amsterdam (February), 3rd, 1-2
1926 Weston super Mare 1st place with 8-1
1926 Dutch championship, Utrecht, 1st, 10-1
1927 Utrecht, 1st, 2½-½
1927 London Olympiad, 10½-4½
1928 The Hague, 1st, 12-3
1928 Bad Kissingen shared 3rd and 4th place with 6½-4½
1929 Dutch championship, Amsterdam, 1st, 8½-½
1929 Carlsbad, =5th-7th, 12-9
1930 Amsterdam 2nd place with 3-2
1930/31 Hastings 1st place with 7-2
1931 Amsterdam, =1st-2nd, 2½-½
1931 Rotterdam, =1st-2nd
1931/32 Hastings 3rd place with 5-4
1932 Bern shared 2nd and 3rd place with 11½-3½
1932 Amsterdam, 1st
1932 The Hague, 1st, 4½-½
1933 Amsterdam (January), 1st
1933 Amsterdam (March), 1st
1933 Dutch Championship, The Hague/Leiden, 1st, 8-1
1934 Leningrad 6th place with 5½-5½
1934 Zurich shared 2nd and 3rd place with 12-3
1934/35 Hastings shared 1st to 3rd place (Thomas, Flohr) with 6½-
1935 Amsterdam, 1st, 2½-½
1936 Leiden, 1st, 2½-½
1936 Zandvoort 2nd place with 7½-3½
1936 Nottingham 3rd to 5th place with 9½-4½
1936 Amsterdam 1st place with 5-2
1936 Leiden, 1st, 2-1
1937 German four-player tournament 1st place with 4-2
1937 Stockholm Olympiad, 9½-3½
1938 Noordwijk 4th place with 5-4
1938 Dutch championship, Amsterdam, 1st, 9-2
1938 AVRO Holland 4th to 6th place with 7-7
1938/39 Hastings 2nd place with 6½-2½
1939 Soest, 1st, 2½-½
1939 KNSB sextangular, =1st-3rd, 3½-½
1939 VARA sextangular, =1st-2nd, 3½-½
1939 Bournemouth 1st place with 9-2
1940 Beverwijk, 1st, 3-0
1940 Delft, 2nd, 2-1
1940 Budapest 1st place with 4½-½
1940 Baarn, =2nd-3rd, 1½-1½
1940 Amsterdam (VVGA 8-player), 1st, 6½-½
1940 Rotterdam, 1st, 7-2
1940 Amsterdam (ENPS sextangular), =1st-2nd, 4-5
1941 Beverwijk, 3rd, 1½-1½
1941 Baarn, 1st, 6-1
1941 Amsterdam, 1st, 3-0
1942 Beverwijk, 1st, 4½-½
1942 Amersfoort, 1st, 2½-½
1942 Rotterdam, 1st, 7½-1½
1945/46 Hastings 3rd to 5th place with 7-4
1946 London 1st place with 9½-1½
1946 Zaandam 1st place with 9½-1½
1946 Maastricht 1st place with 7½-1½
1946 Groningen Staunton 2nd place with 14-5
1946 Leiden, 1st, 6½-½
1946 Amsterdam, 1st, 2½-½
1947 Mar del Plata shared 5th and 6th place 10½-6½
1947 Buenos Aires, 4th, 4½-5½
1947 Hilversum shared 4th and 5th place with 3½-3½
1920 vs. Meyer 5-0-1 (W-L-D)
1920 vs. Marchand 5-5-0
1920 vs. Réti 1-3-0
1920 vs. Van Hartingsvelt 6-4-1
1920 vs. Dr. Oskam 5-1-1
1921 vs. Dr. Olland 5-1-1
1921 vs. Maróczy 2-2-6
1924 vs. Colle 5-3-0
1924 vs. Davidson 5-1-3
1926 vs. Colle 2-0
1926 vs. Davidson 3-0-2
1926/27 vs. Alekhine 2-3-5
1927 vs. Davidson 2-0-0
1928 vs. Colle 5-0-1
1928/29 vs. Bogoljubow 2-3-5 and 1-2-7
1929 vs. Engels 2-0-0
1931 vs. Capablanca 0-2-8
1931 vs. Landau 3-1-2
1931 vs. Noteboom 3-0-3
1932 vs. Spielmann 2-0-2
1932 vs. Flohr 2-2-4 and 1-1-6
1934 vs. Van den Bosch 6-0-0
1934 vs. Landau 4-1-1
1934 vs. Landau 2-0-0
1935 vs. Spielmann 4-6
1935 World championship match against Alekhine 9-8-13
1937 vs. Winter 2-0-0
1937 vs. Flohr 1-0-1
Return match against Alekhine 4-10-11 and from the remaining
1938 vs. Winter 1-0-1
1939 vs. O’Kelly 1-0-1
1939 vs. Alexander 1-0-1
1939 vs. Petrovs 1-0-1
1939 vs. Landau 5-0-5
1939 vs. Keres 5-6-3
1940 vs. Kramer 3-1-3
1941 vs. Kramer 6-0-2
1942 vs. Bogoljubow 5-2-3
1942 vs. V.d. Hoek 6-0-4
1946 vs. Devos 1-0-1
1947 vs. Grob 5-0-1
The full name of the master is Mikhail Moisevich Botvinnik. He was born in St. Petersburg on August
17, 1911, studied at the Leningrad Polytechnic and opted for the profession of electrical engineer. His
marriage in 1935 gave him one child. He learned to play chess at the early age of 12. If one asks him,
his best tournament was the Moscow six-player tournament of 1941, and his best game that against
Capablanca in the AVRO tournament of 1938 in the Netherlands.
Botvinnik is of the opinion that Boleslavsky and Najdorf had also deserved, on the strength of their
careers, to participate in the tournament for the world championship, and he also believes – like all
the other masters, incidentally, who participated in the tournament – that the fight for the world title
should not be fought in a tournament but in a match. To stay in good physical shape Botvinnik does
gymnastics, and his mental interests are philosophy, economics and art. In the area of music,
symphonies are his favorites.
The statistical survey of his results shows such a series of successes that one would be inclined to
declare Botvinnik world champion for this reason alone. Such an unbroken series with such
outstanding results would even be beyond Lasker and Alekhine to produce. As against this, on the
other hand, it might be said that those victories alone do not say anything definite about the true place
of the master in chess history. One can score victories because one’s opponents are weak and one can
score victories because one is so convincingly strong oneself.
Botvinnik’s predecessor, Dr. Euwe, has relatively few victories in tournaments and matches to his
name, but was a worthy world champion nevertheless, because he earned his title in a time when
chess experienced a heyday – a time when the chess world still had an Alekhine, a Capablanca, a
Lasker and a Nimzovitch, a Tartakower and a Vidmar, while the stars of Flohr, Fine, Reshevsky and
Botvinnik himself were already starting to shine. Now the old generation has been swept away and
the new one has come of age: a generation that has been robbed of its enchantment. The horrible
devastation of the war has not spared the spiritual situation of chess. Our noble art of chess, which
can only thrive as a product and a gift of peace between the nations, likewise bleeds from many
wounds. As long as the horizon remains obscured by so many dark clouds as it is now, there is no
hope of a true and lasting renaissance of the art of chess.
Seen in this light, it is not yet completely clear whether Botvinnik’s tremendous series of victories
will continue when the world will have found peace again and, with renewed energy, will throw
itself into the joys of life, of which chess is not the least example. Mastership in chess requires strong
nerves and a well-balanced soul. Who can pride himself on having these in unlimited supply even in
the present conditions of life?
The big question, therefore, is this: is the Botvinnik era merely a product of this recent war, or is it
already the start of a new chapter, of a human race that has started on the road to reconciliation? As
far as we personally are concerned, we do not merely regard Botvinnik as the relatively strongest
player of the present time who has delved into the core of the spiritual relations of humankind, but as
more. We regard him, in an absolute sense, as a great master whose works will leave an indelible
In his excellent but, alas, too quickly forgotten book Die Kunst der Verteidigung (The Art of
Defense), Hans Kmoch has described the development of chess strategy, in which either the idea of
the attack or that of the defense dominated, in chronological order. After the “Sturm und Drang”
(storm and stress) period of Anderssen and Morphy the defense took over for a period of 50 years.
Steinitz and Lasker tried to lure their opponents into launching an attack and with deliberate
provocation entered into cramped and seemingly unfavorable positions. Tarrasch and Capablanca, on
the other hand, built up crystal-clear and solid positions with a view to depriving their opponents of
all desire to attack. But the stronger their opponents became, the greater grew the danger of the “draw
death,” which was often talked about in Capablanca’s time. Then came the school of neo-
romanticism, a school of thought that, on the one hand, based itself on the doctrine of the past, but on
the other embraced sharply contrasting ideas that breathed new life into the element of the attack.
Nimzovitch and Réti were the deep theoreticians, while Alekhine put their discoveries into practice.
Other than in the glorious times of Anderssen, chess players no longer launched an immediate assault
on the enemy king, which would in any case have failed miserably in view of the improved technique
and current opening theory, but aimed their plan of attack on certain points, on microscopically small
future possibilities, initially far away from the enemy king. Every pawn move is an organic weakness,
even though the move itself will improve the position. The fight is about the force fields. It is no
longer a battle on a broad front, but one in sectors whose vital significance for the whole must be
weighed by the genius of the master before any action is launched.
The modern strategy with maneuver warfare at some points and trench warfare at others, quick to
adapt, coolly calculated risks on the one hand, the tenacity of waiting on the other, brilliant ideas at
micro-level and patient building-up at macro-level, interweaving attack and defense – these have also
become the basic principle of modern chess. Alekhine breathed new life into this with the fiery
power of his temperament. Botvinnik enriched it with the thoroughness of five-year plans.
This is what gives the new champion contour and depth. He has a world-view that also informs his
chess. The present writer has to admit that he personally does not share this world-view, but correct
or incorrect, it is Botvinnik’s ideal philosophy of life, which he serves loyally and devotedly, also in
chess. This raises him above the level of a master who knows the ins and outs of chess technique, it
elevates him high above the “mere chess master”; it makes him a person of exceedingly great
significance. He may lack the divine spark of an Alekhine, but instead he has what an Alekhine never
possessed, viz., a loyalty to something greater than chess, the firmness of a conviction. This
conviction also expresses itself in his ideas about chess; it is the central point of his aspirations in the
area of chess. After Alekhine, we again have as champion a human being with moral principles. We
hail the new world champion Mikhail Botvinnik!!
List of results so far:
1924 Leningrad school championship, 1st, 5-1
1924 Leningrad (non-category tournament), 1st, 11½-1½
1924 Leningrad (2nd and 3rd category tournament), 1st, 8½-2½
1925 Leningrad (1st and 2nd category tournament), 1st, 10-1
1925 Leningrad (1st category tournament), 3rd, 8½-3½
1926 Leningrad (semi-final, 5th Soviet championship), 1st, 11½-½
1926 Leningrad championship, shared 2nd and 3rd place with 7-2
1926 North-West Russian region semi-final, =2nd-3rd, 9-2
1926 North-West Russian region championship, 3rd place with 6½-3½
1927 Leningrad 2nd place with 7½-2½
1927 Fifth Soviet championship tournament shared 5th and 6th place with 12½-7½
1928/29 Leningrad 1st place with 11½-2½
1929 Odessa, quarter-final 6th Soviet championship, 1st place with 7-1
1929 Odessa, semi-final 6th Soviet championship, shared 3rd and 4th place with 2½-2½
1929 Leningrad 1st place with 6½-1½
1930/31 Leningrad championship, 1st prize with 14-3
1931 Moscow, semi-final 7th Soviet championship, 2nd, 6½-2½
1931 Moscow, 7th Soviet championship, 1st place, 13½-3½
1932 Leningrad championship, 1st prize with 10-1
1932/33 Leningrad 1st place with 7-3
1933 Leningrad shared 1st and 2nd place with 10-3
1933 8th Soviet Championship tournament 1st prize with 14-5
1934 Leningrad, 1st, 7½-2½
1934/35 Hastings shared 5th and 6th place with 5-4
1935 Moscow shared 1st and 2nd place with 13-6
1936 Moscow 2nd place with 12-6
1936 Nottingham shared 1st and 2nd place with 10-4
1938 Leningrad, semi-final 11th Soviet championship, 1st place with 14-3
1938 AVRO tournament, the Netherlands 3rd place with 7½-6½
1939 Leningrad, 11th Soviet championship, 1st place with 12½-4½
1940 Moscow, 12th Soviet championship, shared 5th and 6th place with 11½-7½
1941 Moscow, “Absolute” Soviet championship, 1st place with 13½-3½
1943 Sverdlovsk 1st place with 10½-3½
1943/44 Moscow city championship, 1st prize with 13½-2½
1944 Moscow, 13th Soviet championship, 1st place with 12½-3½
1945 Moscow, 14th Soviet championship, 1st place with 15-2
1946 Groningen, Staunton memorial, 1st place with 14½-4½
1947 Moscow, Chigorin memorial, 1st place with 11-4
1948 World championship The Hague-Moscow 1st place with 14-6 (Since 1941 always 1st
1925 vs. Lyutov 3-1-1
1925 vs. Rivlin 3-0-0
1926 vs. Yordansky 0-1-1
1926 vs. Stoltz 1-0-1
1927 vs. Grigoriev 1-0-1
1927 vs. Panchenko 1-0-1
1929 vs. Nikolayev 1-0-1
1929 vs. Kan 1-1-0 and 2-0-0
1933 vs. Flohr 2-2-8
1934 vs. Belavenets 0-0-2
1937 vs. Levenfish 5-5-3
1940 vs. Ragozin 5-0-7
1945 vs. Denker 2-0-0
1946 vs. Alexander 1-1-0
1946 vs. Reshevsky 1-0-1
*G. van Harten: This description is not entirely correct. It is not the winners of the zonal tournaments
who, together with the five from the world championship tournament, will play in the candidates
tournament. These winners are entered into an Interzonal tournament (like the one held in Sweden this
year), which may constitute adequate correction. The five highest placed players in this tournament
are then entitled to play in the candidates tournament.
* The career records in the original edition were were incomplete with some errors. We have added
to and corrected them, based on Max Euwe: The Biography by Alexander Münninghoff (New In
Chess, 2001), and Botvinnik’s Best Games, vols. 1 and 2, by Mikhail Botvinnik (Moravian Chess,
2000) – Taylor Kingston