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  A great, short game of chess!   

A great little game of chess.  
 [ Replay,  ...  but with the  wrong  move order. NOT my site!!!   
     Note:  since I posted this, they updated this game. They no longer have the game as starting with 1.e4. ]   

A fantastic, short game of chess.  

This game is also a trap ... that numbers many strong players among its victims!  


This is primarily a text page - with just a few diagrams. You will probably need - and will want to use - a regular chess board. 

Click  HERE    to see an in-depth and complete explanation of all the symbols that I use when annotating a chess game.   

  GM M. Botvinnik (2635) - GM R. Spielmann (2605)  
 The Second  {Great}  International Chess Tournament 
  Moscow, U.S.S.R; {Russia} (Round # 1), 15,02,1935.  

 [A.J. Goldsby I] 

Here is a game that has been printed in chess books and magazines an almost countless number of times.  

I found this 'Gamelet' in several books that cover chess traps, probably the best example would be Trap # 157
of Irving Chernev's famous book, "Winning Chess Traps." (My "Tartan/McKay" edition of this book dates from "The Fischer Era," and already had been re-printed seven times. And this was OVER thirty years ago!!)  

Black gets a little too adventurous with his Queen ... its an old story for chess players. (But we never tire of
it!) But it would be too easy, and just plain wrong to say that this is all there was to this encounter!!  

   Stand by, as I bring you ... 
 {I have also very carefully and precisely documented and catalogued all the commonly 
   made mistakes about this game.}  


The ratings here are relatively accurate and are those given to these players for  January 01, 1935  
by the respected ratings statistician,  Jeff Sonas.  (I would have added 100-150 rating points to 
each player to closely approximate the ratings of players in the period after the year 2000.)  

 1.c4,  {See the diagram - just below.}    
The game starts off an English, a perfectly acceptable opening - that was also a specialty of Botvinnik's. He, (and others of his generation); pioneered this opening ... to an extent that is not completely understood by the younger players of today.  

Many books give this game as having started of 1.P-K4 (e4) as the first move, and this is simply completely incorrect. (Many opening books do this simply because they do not want to confuse the average player.)  



 bot-spi_mos1935_pos1.gif, 47 KB


Contrary to what is given in many books and databases, the game began with the move, 1.c2-c4.  


     [  Also good is:   1.e4{Diag?}  which is the move order that we are normally accustomed 
         to seeing a Caro-Kann Defense begin with.  (I.e., 1.e4, c6; 2.d4, d5; etc.)  ]  


 1...c6!?;  2.e4!? d5;  ('!')   
Black is not easily deterred from making his all-important break in the center.  

 3.exd5 cxd5;  4.d4!,   
Play has transposed into a normal Caro-Kann Opening.  

This line today is known as:  "The Panov-Botvinnik Attack,"  versus the Caro-Kann ... 
one of the better ways {for White} to meet this particular opening.  

     [ Interesting is:  4.cxd5!?, {D?}  with a playable position for both parties from here. ]   


 4...Nf6!;  5.Nc3 Nc6!?;   {See the diagram - just below.}   
A slightly unusual - but not bad - way of meeting White's method for handling this opening. 
(Black tries to avoid closing in his QB with the pawn move of .e7-e6.)  



bot-spi_mos1935_pos2.gif, 47 KB



Blacks' method of development here also emphasizes piece play over other  <positional>  factors.  

Black could also play ...dxc4; in this position, with play similar/transposing to a Queen's Gambit Accepted.   
(See the game: V. Ragozin - Vitaly Chekover; {# 7.} Round One / Moscow, RUS; 1935.)   

     [ The most common line today begins with the move:  5...e6{Diagram?}    
        [ See MCO-14, page # 183; beginning with column # 37.]  


       Black has also played:   5...g6!?{Diagram?}   with massive complications.   
       {See any good opening book.}  

        See also the game:  Bogatyrchuk - Levenfish; (# 125)  from the same tournament. ]  


 6.Bg5!, "/\"  {See the diagram - just below.}   
The sharpest and most energetic response by White, but one that had been called into question by 
 several analysts of that period.   (Mistake # 2 - as concerns this particular game.)   



bot-spi_mos1935_pos3.gif, 47 KB



"A difficult move to meet, Black's safest reply here is 6...P-K3."  - Irving Chernev.  

     [ Also perfectly acceptable is the move  Nf3,  in this position.  
       [See MCO-14, page # 181, columns # 34-35, and all notes.]  


       This is a variation that I personally have used many times.  

       For example:   6.Nf3 Bg47.cxd5! Nxd58.Qb3!! Bxf3!?9.gxf3 Ndb4!?;     
       10.d5!? Nd411.Bb5+!? Nxb512.Nxb5 Nxd5?13.Qxd5!,   "+/-"  {D?}    

       Black Resigns, 1-0.  (After the capture on d5, Black will regain the Queen 
       with a Knight fork on the c7-square, remaining a piece ahead.)    

       A.J. Goldsby I - David Jacobs; The Southern Open, Round # 01 /      
       Altamonte Springs, FL;  07,2000. ]   


 6...Qb6?!;  (hmmm)  {See the diagram ... just below here.}   
This is ... NOT at all the horrible move some authors have made it out to be!!!  {Mistake # 03.} 
It is DEFINITELY NOT the losing move!  

Some - very current - books give this move an exclam ... but I do not think that they are correct.  
(Suetin only gives: "6...Qd8-b6!?")  

In the book of the tournament, they give this move a whole question mark ('?') here. Mikhail Botvinnik - annotating this game in a Soviet magazine - referred to this move as ... "the fatal error."  This is also very wrong - completely incorrect.  

My take on this move is that it brings out the Queen too early ... and allows Black's center to crumble.  
When you {also} consider the fact that Black has several playable and clearly superior alternatives, then I think that "dubious" is the correct evaluation of this move. (Fritz 8.0 also notices a fairly sizeable down-turn in its scores of the position after this move.)  

Another point - that is regularly overlooked  as concerns this game - is that this move of ...Q/d8-b6; was 'book' at the time of this game. And that it was highly recommended by several Czech masters in a very prominent article, in a leading chess magazine ... of that particular period!  



bot-spi_mos1935_pos4.gif, 47 KB



This is a good place for a diagram.  

     [ Much more solid ... and preferable was the following continuation:   

        (>/=)  6...e6!?7.Nf3 Be7;  "~"  {Diagram?}      
        (and) Black's position is very good.   
        [ See MCO-14, page # 181; column # 33, and all notes. ]   

        The opening books tend to grant White a VERY significant edge in these variations ... 
        however, the overall results in the database do NOT back this up! (In fact, Black won 
        ALL!! the {decisive} games that I could find in the database - that fit the following 
        important criteria:   
        # 1.)  Played in the last 30 years.  
        # 2.)  A minimum FIDE rating for both players of at least 2400.)   

        IM Darius Zagorskis (2515) - GM Daniel Fridman; (2520)  
        ICT / VL 9798 playoff / Ruhrgebiet, GER;  1998.     
        {Black won this game.};   


       The best line - according to modern theory - might be:    

       >/=  6...Qa5!7.Bxf6!?{Diagram?}    
       This is interesting here.   

           ( MCO gives 7.Bd2!?,  here.     
             [ See page # 181, column # 32, and all notes.] )     

       7...exf6!8.cxd5 Bb4!9.Qd2 Bxc310.bxc3 Qxd511.Nf3!{Diagram?}     
        This is probably the best here.   

           ( Or White could play:  (</=)  11.Ne2!? 0-0;  12.Nf4 Qd6;       
              13.Be2 Bf5; "~"  (Probably "=")  {Diagram?}        
               Ornstein - GM L. Shamkovich;  ICT/Masters/Gausdal/1984. )      

        This is OK, I guess; but ...    

    *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***  

           ( Maybe a little better was: 11...0-0;  "="  {Diagram?}      
             with a seemingly solid position for the second player here.  

             P. van der Sterren - J. Nikolac; Eerbeek, NED; 1978.      

             [ See MCO-14, page # 181; column # 35, and note # (e.). ] )     

    *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***    

        12.Be2 0-013.0-0,    
        According to an {older} analysis by GM Issac Boleslavsky, ...   
        "White's chances are clearly preferable in this position."    
        (Hiarcs likes Black in this position, Fritz 8.0 awards White only a few   
         one-hundredths of a point of any advantage here.)   

        The overall results from the database is a mixed bad for this line. 
        (No one side has a clear edge in the overall results - from the current position.)   

        H. Ruwette,H - J. von GelderenCorr. / NED BV-95-15, 1996.     
        (White won a very convincing game  ...   
          but perhaps Black play could be improved somewhere.);      


       Another respected reference work gives the continuation:   
       6...Be6!?7.a3! Qd7!8.b4!? dxc49.Bxf6 gxf6!?10.d5 0-0-0    
       11.Bxc4 Ne512.Bb5 Qc7  
       The end of the column.   

       13.Nge2, "+/="   {Diagram?}      
        White has a slight edge.   

       GM Zigurds Lanka (2500) - GM Utut Adianto (2495)   
       ICT / Master's Open / Adelaide, AUS; 1990.  {1-0 in 47 wild moves.}   

       [ See MCO-14; page # 181; column # 31, & also note # (d.). ] ]   


(After a detour into opening theory, we return to the actual game at hand.)   
 7.cxd5!,  "/\"    
This move represented both a TN ... and a significant improvement over previous play.   

       [ Worse was:  </=  7.c5? Qxb2!; "/+"  {Diagram?}    
         {When Black is clearly better.}   

          Spielmann-RejfirMaribor, 1934.   

          NOTE - who is White and who is Black in this game. 

          Apparently after getting beaten in this line, Spielmann analyzed it in depth ...  
          and decided to use it himself! ]    


 7...Qxb2?;  {See the diagram - - - just below.}   
This is a really bad move, and is harshly condemned by modern chess opening theory.   
(Chernev also awards it a question mark.)  



bot-spi_mos1935_pos5.gif, 47 KB



Mistake # 04:  Most people tend to overlook that this is the losing move for Black - NOT 6...Qb6. 
(Most good computer programs tend to note a  VERY  large and dramatic shift in their 'scores' 
 for this position.)  

"Pawn-grabbing with the Queen, at the expense of development, is always perilous." - I. Chernev 


     [  MUCH  better was the following continuation for Black:   
         >/=  7...Nxd4;  ('!')  {Diagram?}     
         which is a huge improvement over the way that the Botvinnik-Spielmann game was played.   

         Now theory gives three main paths for White - according to Suetin.   
         (Nf3, Be3, and Nge2.)   

         I continue with the move that Deep Junior picks ... after more than 45 minutes of machine time.   
         8.Be3! e5[]9.dxe6 Bc510.exf7+ Ke7!11.Bc4 Rd812.Nf3!? Bg413.Bxd4 Rxd4;    
         14.Qe2+ Kf815.Bb3!, "+/="  {Diagram?}     
         White has a solid edge in this position. (Additionally, Bxd4 on move 12 - for White - might   
         represent a fairly significant improvement in this line.)   

         If now  15...Rf4;  then simply  16.0-0-0,  will yield White a very substantial advantage.   

         Now Suetin gives the following continuation from this position:   
         15...a7-a5!?16.0-0, a5-a417.Bb3-d1!,  "+/="   etc.     

         Rothgen - GelenczeiCorrespondence Game, 1967.    
         (Line # 2, Page # 101 of the GM Alexei Suetin book on the Caro-Kann Defense.);    


         I had a postal game - about 10 or 15 years ago - that went something like:   
         (</=)  7...Nxd5?!8.Nxd5 Qa5+9.Nc3 Qxg510.Nf3 Qf5!?;  
         11.d5! Ne512.Bb5+ Bd713.Bxd7+ Nxd714.0-0,  "+/="  ('')  {Diag?}    
         and I had a very significant edge here as White ... I don't think my opponent   
         lasted beyond move 40. ]    


White's next move may merit TWO exclamation points  ...  for various factors that are explained below.     
 8.Rc1!,  (Very nice.)     
"It is only in this quiet move that White finds the refutation of his opponent's conception in this  
 game." - GM Mikhail Botvinnik.  {Writing for a USSR chess magazine ... of that period.}   

This move was a shock. His tricky adversary had not counted on this move, that apparently Botvinnik 
discovered ... WHILE AT THE CHESS-BOARD!!   
 (The fact that this was all a ... prepared variation {by Black}, and that Botvinnik had refuted this at the     
   board constitutes  Mistake # 05;  as concerns this famous game.)     

     [ Apparently Spielmann had looked at all of this - quite extensively - BEFORE the game! 
        He had even prepared the following variation for his esteemed opponent: (</=)   

        8.Na4!? Qb4+9.Bd2 Qxd410.dxc6 Ne4!; "~{Diagram?}    
        and Black has serious play in this position.   
        (E.g., 11.Be3, Qb4+; 12.Ke2, bxc6!;  "=/+"  and Black has threats.) ]    


It does not matter what Black plays in this position - his game is beyond all hope of salvation.   

The tournament book says that:  "Black could have held on longer with ...Nd8."  

      [ Probably better was:   >/=  8...Nd8{Diagram?}      
        for Black in this position.   

        However White would still win with the following continuation:    
        9.Bxf6! exf610.Bb5+! Bd711.Bxd7+ Kxd712.Qg4+!{D?}     
        and the first player has a really powerful attack, ("--->"); that should 
        eventually win  ("+/-")  the game for White. ]    


The rest really needs no commentary at all.  
 9.Na4!,  {See the diagram - just below here.}  



bot-spi_mos1935_pos6.gif, 47 KB



 9...Qxa2!?;  10.Bc4 Bg4!?;  11.Nf3! Bxf3;  12.gxf3,  ("+/-")  
His position is hopeless ... so  ...  BLACK RESIGNS.  

<< If 12...Qa3; then White simply plays 13.Rc3. Then - in order to save his Queen, - Black 
      must play 13...Nc2+; and give up a Knight; after which his game is, of course, hopeless. >>  
      (The book of the tournament.)  


An extraordinary short game ... that is unfortunately often simply relegated to a trap book, and given with almost no proper commentary at all. {There are some good stories behind this game, its just not a simple trap!}  

Additionally, you cannot begin to really understand this game until you seen it with the very extensive notes that are given to it -- in the very exceptional book of this great tournament!!!  



I have seen this game many times print, but the following two sources were the most useful in preparing my annotations of this game:  

 # 1.)  "Winning Chess Traps,"  by the incomparable  Irving Chernev
            Copyright by the author, published by 'Chess Review' (NY) in 1946.  
            (Re-printed in 1951, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1973, and also in May 1974. 
             This book has probably been reprinted many times since then as well.)   
             ISBN: # 0-679-14037-9  


 # 2.)  {The book of the tournament.}  
           "The Second International Chess Tournament / Moscow, 1935."   
            (Dozens of players and analysts contributed to the original book. 
             Some of the notables were: Alortsev, Botvinnik, Levenfish, Belyavnets, Bogatyrchuk, 
             I. Kan, Lillienthal, Lisitisin, Ragozin, Romanovsky, Sozin, V. Chekover, M. Yudovich 
             and even Max Euwe. N. Krylenko and I. Rabonovich were the editors for this really  
             massive project.)  

   *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***   

  The {original} book was published in Moscow shortly after the tourney. (1936 or 1937?)  

  My {current} edition is in English. (Translated by Jimmy Adams and also S. Hurst.)  

  Copyright (c) 1998 - Caissa Editions, a division of Dale A. Brandeth books. 
   (Yorklyn, Delaware; USA.)  ISBN: # 0-939433-52-4  


I also looked at nearly all of the books in my library that cover this particular opening. This includes all the 'alphabet-soup' ones like: SCO, BCO, ECO, MCO, etc.  

I also looked at or consulted a dozen (or more) books and pamphlets on the Caro-Kann Defense. 
Probably one of the best was the book:  

 # 3.)  "The Caro-Kann Defence,"  by  GM Alexei Suetin.  Copyright (c) 1983.   
            Updated and translated in 1988. 
            Printed by 'Sportsverlag' {GER} for Batsford Books. (London, ENG.)   
            ISBN: # 0-7134-5939-5   

(All games - HTML code initially)  Generated with  ChessBase 8.0   

All the diagrams on this page were created with the program, Chess Captor 2.25.  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 2004.  All rights reserved. 


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The way this game is presented here is pretty much the way that I developed it in my ChessBase files.  

I modified it slightly for the sake of appearance. It is as complete as I can make it. 

I started on this project many times ... but never finished it. (I had just started to annotate this game last April or May  ...  and then my whole system had to be replaced. Just another day in the life of a webmaster.) 

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  Page first created in August, 2004.   First posted  on the 'net:  Tuesday; September 03rd, 2004.   This page was last updated on  07/14/12 .