[Event "URS - Ch Leningrad"] [Site "?"] [Date "1938.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Botvinnik, Mikhail"] [Black "Chekhover, Vitaly"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E21"] [Annotator "Martin"] [PlyCount "81"] [EventDate "2012.04.20"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 O-O 5. Bg5 d6 6. e3 Qe7 7. Be2 e5 8. Qc2 Re8 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 h6 11. Bh4 c5 12. Rae1 Bg4 13. Bxf6 Qxf6 14. Qe4 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Nc6 {The test diagram position has been reached. Black is exerting maximum pressure on White's centre and White has to decide whether to exchange, close or maintain the tension in the centre. Option A is considered correct with} 16. dxc5 $1 {as it keeps the d-file open for the rooks and ensures the bishop remains active. It also prevents Black obtaining active play.} ({ Option B} 16. dxe5 {This is similar to Option A except Black does not have to recapture with a pawn. Indeed after} Nxe5 $1 17. Qxb7 (17. Be2 b6 18. f4 { allows} Ng4 $19) 17... Rab8 18. Qd5 (18. Qxa7 $2 Nxf3+ 19. gxf3 Qxf3 {Black is now threatening Re6. e.g.} 20. Rb1 Qg4+ 21. Kh1 Rxb1 22. Rxb1 Qe4+ $19) 18... Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Qxc3 {Black's activity fully compensates the backward d-pawn.}) ({Option C} 16. Qc2 $6 {After this move, White's centre collapses.} exd4 17. cxd4 cxd4 18. Qa4 dxe3 19. fxe3 Qe5 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Qxc6 Rac8 {when White's pawn weaknesses provide Black with the better game.}) ({Option D} 16. Qg4 { This should lead to an approximately equal game after.} exd4 17. cxd4 cxd4 18. Bxc6 bxc6 19. exd4 Rab8 20. Rxe8+ Rxe8 $11) ({Option E} 16. Qb1 {This is a nice idea to attack the b7 pawn and is the second strongest move but the pressure on White's centre is equally as important and Black should hold the balance.} exd4 {This is the true test.} (16... Rab8 {is less forcing but playable. White can play similarly to the actual game with} 17. dxc5 dxc5 18. Rd1 {etc}) 17. cxd4 (17. Qxb7 Ne5 18. cxd4 (18. Qxa8 Rxa8 19. Bxa8 dxc3 { and the Queen, knight and advanced pawn is worth a lot more than White's 2 rooks and bishop. Black should be winning.}) 18... Nxf3+ 19. Qxf3 Qxf3 20. gxf3 cxd4 21. exd4 Rec8 22. Rc1 Rab8 {looks about equal with Black's activity outweighing the pawn deficit.}) 17... Rab8 18. dxc5 dxc5 19. Rd1 Ne5 20. Bd5 { White might be slightly better but Black has active play and is not being pushed back as in the game.}) ({Option F} 16. d5 {This move closes the centre and reduces Black's pressure on it. However, it also places the pawns on the same coloured squares as the White bishop which weakens its influence so positionally this is not the best move. One sample line may go} Na5 17. Qd3 g6 18. Rb1 Qg5 19. e4 f5 20. g3 Re7 $15 {Black has all the attacking options and can look forward to the better chances.}) 16... dxc5 {Botvinnik had a few games with this structure. He accepts the isolated doubled pawns in order to control d5 whilst denying his opponent the use of d4. Having seen his exampIes, Peter Anderson states he has used this theme in blitz games to good effect and looks forward to doing it some day in a serious game!} 17. Rd1 Rad8 18. Rd5 { One of the main points of White's 16th move!} b6 ({If} 18... Rxd5 {which is the move Black wants to play, then} 19. cxd5 Ne7 20. Qa4 {when White has a massive pawn on d5 not to mention the double hit on e8 and a7. White is much better.}) 19. Rfd1 Na5 ({Again if} 19... Rxd5 20. cxd5 Na5 21. d6 {when White has excellent winning chances due to the strength of the d-pawn and the long range bishop over Black's knight.}) 20. h3 $6 {Engines don't like this much - it is seemingly not a very accurate follow up.} (20. Rd7 {looks more consistent e.g.} g6 21. h4 (21. Rxa7 {is also possible.}) 21... h5 22. Rxa7 Rxd1+ 23. Bxd1 Rd8 24. Ra8 Rxa8 25. Qxa8+ Kg7 26. Qe4 {White is better due to the more active pieces.}) 20... Rxd5 21. Rxd5 Qe7 $2 (21... g6 $1 {is much stronger to prevent White's next move. e.g.} 22. Bg4 h5) 22. Bg4 Qb7 23. Bf5 { White's pieces look totally dominant and the future World Champion is now close to winning.} Qb8 $2 ({If} 23... g6 $2 {then} 24. Bxg6 $1 $18) 24. Rd7 Rd8 25. Qxe5 Nxc4 26. Qxb8 Rxb8 27. Be4 $1 {It would seem the worst is over for Black but Botvinnik probably foresaw this endgame and expertly demonstrates that these endgames are so difficult to hold. The bishop is re-routing itself to d5 to force Black to defend.} (27. Rxa7 {looks tempting but} Nd6 28. Bd3 c4 29. Be2 Nb5 30. Ra6 Rc8 31. Rxb6 Nxc3 {gives Black a dangerous c-pawn and unnecessary counterplay.}) 27... Na3 28. Bd5 Rf8 29. e4 ({Not} 29. Rxa7 $6 Nb5 {when Black has some drawing chances.}) 29... a5 30. c4 {The rook on the 7th is commanding the board (as often the case with rooks on the 7th). White's last move also threatens Rb7 hence Black's response.} b5 31. cxb5 Nxb5 32. e5 ( 32. f3 {may be a little stronger to solidify White's dominance and bring the king up the board.}) 32... a4 33. f4 Nd4 34. Kf2 g5 {Black is frantically looking for some counterplay but Botvinnik is having none of it.} 35. g3 gxf4 36. gxf4 Ne6 {What else?} 37. Ke3 c4 ({If Black tries to activate his rook with } 37... Rb8 {then} 38. f5 Nd8 39. e6 {is winning.}) 38. f5 Nc5 39. Rc7 Nd3 40. e6 {There are many good moves here but the move played by Botvinnik looks the cleanest.} fxe6 41. fxe6 {Black resigns rather than face any further torment.} 1-0