[Event "Holland"] [Site "Holland"] [Date "1938.11.15"] [Round "7"] [White "Botvinnik, Mikhail"] [Black "Alekhine, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D41"] [Annotator "Martin"] [PlyCount "101"] [EventDate "1938.11.06"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "14"] [EventCountry "NED"] [Source "ChessBase"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bc4 cxd4 8. exd4 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 b6 $6 {We have reached the diagram position. Black's last move is not exact as it allows White to take advantage of the loose knight on c6 and create pressure along the c-file. Therefore Option D is considered positionally correct.} 11. Nxd5 $1 {This fixes Black's pawn structure and stops any Nxc3 threats which could possibly change the pawn structure in Black's favours as well as closing the c-file.} ({Option A -} 11. Qe2 {A sensible move but it does allow Black to equalise with} Bb7 12. Nxd5 { (too late!)} (12. Bd3 Ncb4 13. Bb1 Ba6 14. Qe4 Nf6 15. Qh4 Bd3 {exchanging off White's dangerous bishop.}) 12... exd5 13. Bd3 Re8 14. Ne5 g6 {when White now has to tend to the d-pawn with} ({but not} 14... Nxd4 15. Qh5 {when White is winning due to the hits on f7 & h7.}) 15. Be3 Bb4 16. Nxc6 Bxc6 17. Rec1 Qd7 { Pieces are likely to be exchanged down c-file.}) ({Option B -} 11. Ne4 { Even though the idea of avoiding exchanges and bringing an extra piece to the kingside party is good it is not clear where the knight is heading to next. After} Bb7 12. Bd3 (12. Ne5 Rc8 13. a3) 12... Rc8 13. a3 Na5 14. Ne5 f5 15. Ng3 Bd6 {Black's pieces are becoming very active.}) ({Option C -} 11. Bxd5 { Positionally incorrect conceding any advantage going. The knights are not stronger and Black's light squared bishop will find good squares} exd5 12. Bf4 Bg4 ({Not the only square} 12... Bf5 {is possible but the text looks the easiest route to equality.}) 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Nxd4 15. Qd1 Bc5 16. Be3 { White will regain the d-pawn with about equal chances.}) ({Option E -} 11. Ne5 {This is the weakest move and a bit careless. After} Nxc3 $1 (11... Nxe5 12. dxe5 (12. Bxd5 {is stronger maintaining the balance.} exd5 13. dxe5 Be6 14. Nb5 Qd7 15. Nd4 {Think many players would prefer to be White here due to the well placed knight but after} Rac8 16. Qd3 Rc7 17. f4 $6 {looks natural and consistent but if f5 is not played this move just weakens White.} Bc5 18. Be3 Bxd4 19. Bxd4 Rfc8 {Black's c-file pressure is at least as strong as White's kingside attack.}) 12... Nxc3 13. bxc3 Qc7 {is also good for Black.}) 12. bxc3 (12. Nxc6 Nxd1 13. Nxd8 Nxb2 14. Bxb2 Rxd8 15. d5 {other moves allow Bb7 when Black is probably winning.} Bc5 16. Rac1 exd5 17. Bxd5 Rxd5 18. Rxc5 Be6 { when Black is a safe pawn up but White may be able to hold the opposite coloured bishop endgame.}) 12... Nxe5 13. Rxe5 Qc7 14. Qe2 Bb7 {White has the hanging pawns and Black's pieces are active. Black is better.}) 11... exd5 12. Bb5 {This is the key follow-up move to exploit Black's 10th move.} Bd7 (12... Bb7 {may be slightly stronger but after} 13. Bf4 Rc8 14. Ne5 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Bf6 16. Qd2 {White is still better.}) 13. Qa4 {increasing the pressure on c6 and encouraging Black to retreat the knight.} Nb8 (13... Rc8 {may look more sensible but after} 14. Bf4 {with the threat of Rac1 when White is well on top. }) 14. Bf4 Bxb5 15. Qxb5 a6 16. Qa4 {Keeping the knight on b8 in its cage.} Bd6 {In order to relieve some pressure.} (16... Nd7 17. Rac1 Nf6 18. Bc7 Qe8 {when} 19. Qxe8 Rfxe8 20. Bxb6 {nets a pawn.}) 17. Bxd6 Qxd6 18. Rac1 Ra7 19. Qc2 { With the better placed pieces White has all the winning chances. Botvinnik gradually increases the pressure.} Re7 20. Rxe7 Qxe7 21. Qc7 Qxc7 22. Rxc7 { Due to the strength of the rook on c7 White now has almost a winning position. Even against a strong World Champion Botvinnik never releases his vice like grip on the position.} f6 23. Kf1 {A sensible move to centralise the king.} ( 23. Rb7 $2 {looks tempting but after} Rc8 $1 24. Kf1 b5 {Black has taken control of the c-file which now gives him chances.}) 23... Rf7 24. Rc8+ Rf8 25. Rc3 $1 {White's rook which is dominating the c-file needs to be kept on the board.} (25. Rxf8+ $2 Kxf8 {and all White's advantage has been relinquished.}) 25... g5 26. Ne1 h5 27. h4 $1 {This is a clever move as either Black has to weaken his pawn structure or concede the e5 square to White's knight.} Nd7 ( 27... gxh4 28. Nf3 {and White's knight will soon enter Black's position, probably on f5.}) (27... Kf7 {allows White to carry out his alternative plan with} 28. hxg5 fxg5 29. Nf3 Kf6 30. Ne5 {when White's rook and knight are totally dominant.}) 28. Rc7 Rf7 29. Nf3 $1 {forcing Black's next move.} g4 30. Ne1 {eyeing up the f4 square which Black tries to prevent the knight from reaching.} f5 31. Nd3 f4 {to prevent Nf4.} 32. f3 gxf3 33. gxf3 {White's position is now winning due to the many weaknesses in Black's camp. The remaining moves are only given for completeness.} a5 34. a4 Kf8 35. Rc6 Ke7 36. Kf2 Rf5 37. b3 Kd8 38. Ke2 Nb8 39. Rg6 Kc7 40. Ne5 Na6 41. Rg7+ Kc8 42. Nc6 Rf6 43. Ne7+ Kb8 44. Nxd5 Rd6 45. Rg5 Nb4 46. Nxb4 axb4 47. Rxh5 Rc6 48. Rb5 Kc7 49. Rxb4 Rh6 50. Rb5 Rxh4 51. Kd3 {and being 2 pawns down Black resigned.} 1-0