An unexamined life is not worth living.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Opposite Coloured Bishops – part 10

I am continuing the series of annotated games with endgames with bishops of opposite colours. More examples are here.
(12) Suetin Alexey S (RUS) - Botvinnik Mikhail (RUS)
Ch URS Moscow (Russia), 1952


45...Bxe4 ?! with two bishops and an extra pawn Black is clearly winning; now things become more complicated. After being removed from the USSR Olympic team in 1952 ''for poor results", the WC, Mikhail Botvinnik was anxious to win the 1952 USSR Championship, to prove that "he could still play chess". In the final round he needed a win to catch up with Mark Taimanov; as a result, this endgame becomes the struggle of nerves. [45...Rf3-/+] 46.Bxe4 d5 47.Bd3 Be5 ? ! [47...e5 Botvinnik recommends: 48.Rb6 e4 49.Rxb7+ Kd6 50.Bxa6 Rxc2 -1.22 in positions with rooks + bishops of opposite colours, it is important to have a strong pawn center that would reduce the scope of opponent's pieces, bishop in particular (note a similar idea in Alexander-Smyslov) . Even though the material gets reduced, White's pieces are disorganized. 51.b4 ?! For example: (51.Rb6+ !? seems to be better) 51...e3 52.Kb3 ? ! (52.a5 Rc4 ! 53.Rb6+ Ke7 54.Bxc4 dxc4 55.Rb7+ Kf6 -5.50) 52...e2 !] 48.Rg8 Kd7 49.b4 Bf6 50.Rg1 Diagram


50...Rh2 again, Botvinnik notes that the 'e5' pawn must be pushed as soon as possible [50...e5 !] 51.Kb3 Kd6 52.Rd1 Ke7 53.c4 Rb2+ 54.Ka3 dxc4 55.Bxc4 Rc2 56.Bb3 Bb2+ 57.Ka2 Rf2 58.Bc4 a5 59.bxa5 Bc3+ 60.Kb3 Bxa5 61.Bb5 b6 Diagram


now the position has simplified too much, and most spectators expected a draw to be the result 62.Kc4 Kf6 63.Kd4 Rf4+ 64.Ke3 Ke5 65.Rh1 Re4+ 66.Kd3 Rg4 67.Rh5+ Kd6 68.Rh8 Ke5 69.Rh5+ Kf4 70.Rh3 Rg8 71.Rh4+ Ke5 72.Rh5+ Kd6 73.Rh4 Rg3+ 74.Ke4 [74.Kd4 ! 0.00] 74...Bd2 Diagram


75.Bd3 ? now a small miracle happens. 75...Bg5 ! 76.Rh5 Kc5 Diagram


White has to give up material to avoid mate. Probably inspired by such a finish, Botvinnik went to on to win his 7th national title in the tie-break match against Taimanov. 0-1

Replay game in the viewer:

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