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Thursday, August 14, 2014

An Instructive Game: Botvinnik vs. Euwe Leningrad 1934

     The following game was presented in Euwe’s book, Strategy and Tactics in Chess, and is instructive because it contains a mixture of both strategy and tactics. I have for the most part followed Euwe’s excellent notes but have had to condensed them because in most cases his explanations were quite lengthy and detailed.
     In 1934, the Soviet Union was still a largely unknown factor in world chess circles. Botvinnik was making a reputation for himself, mostly due to his repeated wins in the USSR Championship and his drawn match against Flohr in 1933. 
     An international tournament was arranged in Leningrad from August 17-September 1, 1934 with outsiders Max Euwe and Hans Kmoch invited. Both Euwe and Kmoch started well, and were tied for first place with Botvinnik and Romanovsky after six rounds but then Euwe, fresh from an excellent showing at Zurich (1934), was unable to win another game for the rest of the tournament, while Kmoch, after one more win, lost his last four in a row. Botvinnik took the lead in round 10 with a victory then held onto it by drawing Riumin in the last round.

1 Botvinnik * = = 1 = = 1 1 1 0 = 1 7.5
2 Riumin = * = 1 = 1 0 = = 1 = 1 7.0
3 Romanovsky = = * 0 = = 1 1 = 1 = 1 7.0
4 Rabinovich 0 0 1 * = 1 = = 1 = 1 = 6.5
5 Kan = = = = * 0 1 = = 1 = = 6.0
6 Euwe = 0 = 0 1 * = = = = = 1 5.5
7 Kmoch 0 1 0 = 0 = * 1 0 1 1 0 5.0
8 Yudovich 0 = 0 = = = 0 * 1 = = 1 5.0
9 Alatortsev 0 = = 0 = = 1 0 * = 1 0 4.5
10 Lisitsin 1 0 0 = 0 = 0 = = * = 1 4.5
11 Levenfish = = = 0 = = 0 = 0 = * = 4.0
12 Chekhover 0 0 0 = = 0 1 0 1 0 = * 3.5

This game can be divided into seven parts:

Moves 9-11 White drives the enemy N away from e4
Moves 14-18 White prevents Black from playing …c5
Moves 17-18 Black retains the two B’s
Moves 18-20 Black positions his pieces to attack without playing …c5
Moves 21-24 Black enforces …c5 Moves
27-31 White advances his f-Pawn Moves
38-49 Black renders White’s K-side P-majority ineffective

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