R A D I O     M A T C H     R E V I E W E D


 The games of the U.S.A.- U.S.S.R Radio Match are re-
published with annotations b y the American players.
The second part of this series will appear next month.


                   by Arnold S. Denker





17 Kt-Kt3?         . . . .

The fatal mistake. 17 P-KKt3 would still have held the game together, although White would have had to weather a very strong King-side attack.

          17  . . . .             PxP
          18 BxP             . . . .

 White cannot allow Black’s pawns to continue their menacing march. But now Botvinnik has the opportunity to carry out a powerful attack.

          18 . . . .              Q-B3!

  Naturally not 18….QxB?; 19 R-B1 winning the queen.

          19 P-B3             P-Q6!

  Threatening to win a piece with 20…QB4-ch. The opening of the diagonal QB4-KKt8 is disastrous  for white.

          20 Q-B1           . . . .

 I was under no illusions about what was coming. If 20 B-K3, B-B4 wins.

          20 . . . .                 B-B4ch!
          21 K-R1
Or 21 B-K3, P-Q7!; 22 QxP, Kt-K4 winning a piece.

  21 . . . .  Q-Q3!              

 22      Q-B4         . . . .
 If  22 B-B4  (or 22 B-KR6, P-Q7! and wins), RxPch!; 23 KxR, R-R1ch; 24 Kt-R5, RxKtch; 25 K-Kt3, P-K4!!; 26 B-K3, QxP; 27 K-B2, R-R7 with an irresistible attack.

 No better is 22 P-B4, RxPch!; 23 KxR,R-R1ch; 24 Kt-R5, RxKtch; 25 K-Kt3, RxBch, etc. 

But the text is likewise inadequate. The stage is set for black.  

        22  . . . .                RxPch! 

 I had been suffering for several moves in anticipation of this stroke. It was almost a relief to see it played!


      23  KxR              R-R1ch
      24 Q-R4              Rx Qch
      25 BxR               Q- B5

The icing on the cake. Black wins one of the bishops. At this point I radioed my resignation with the following message: “ Congratulations. Beautifully played.”



Mikhail Botvinnik              Arnold S. Denker


United States Champion Arnold S. Denker as doubly unfortunate in his games with Mikhail Botvinnik. The Soviet grandmaster not only put his encyclopaedic knowledge of the openings to good use: he was in suberb form, winning both games by a series of smashing irresistible blows. Many a qualified judge felt that no opponent could hold Botvinnik at the height of his powers.



   A. S. Denker              M. Botvinnik
       White                         Black 

          1 P-Q4                    P-Q4
          2 P-QB4                 P-K3
          3 Kt-QB3               P-QB
          4 Kt-B3                  Kt-B3
          5 B-Kt5                   . . . .

This  move , obvious as it may seem, posed a problem for me. I knew that after 5 B-Kt5, Botvinnik would have an opportunity to play a pet variation with which he is thoroughly familiar, having devoted a considerable amount of study to it. 5 P-K3 was a simple and excellent alternative for White; but I felt that evading 5 B-kt5 would not be in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. Hence I accepted Botvinnik’s challenge.

         5. . . .                        PxP
         6 P-K4                      . . . .

6 P-K3, PKt4 gives Black excellent prospects of retaining the gambit pawn. The text, on the other hand, attacks the QBP and at the same time threatens P-K5.

         6 . . . .                      P-Kt4

He disregards the coming P-K5-all part of his plan.

       7 P- K5                P-KR3
8 B-R4                P-Kt4
 9 KtxKKtp           . . . .

  Seemingly very powerful. However, Botvinnik   is fully prepared for it.

       9. . . .                 PxKt
      10 BxKtp          QKt-Q2

     11 PxKt                   . . . .

The first step to perdition. There is no hurry about this move, since the Knight is pinned and lost in any event.

In the  1944 Soviet Championship, both Lillenthal and Mikenas played 11 P-KKt3! Against Bovinnik, obtaining an excellent game. The point is that the fianchetto of White’s KB gives him a very long diagonal, in view of the earlier weakening of black’s position by ….P-QKt4.

I had looked at both of these games rather superficially and got the impression that Botvinnik’s play was far from best. Hence I felt that he must have found some improvements and so decided to take the game into channels where we would both be on our own.

    11 . . . .                       B-QKt2

 Now it is too late for white to fianchetto his KB.

   12 B-K2

A developing move, to be sue, but he Bishop is much more modestly posted here than at Kt2.

    12 . . . .                   Q-Kt3

Preparing for queen-side castling, keeping the QP under observation and also lending additional strength to the eventual thrust of the QBP. White’s extra pawn is purely academic.

    13 O-O                    O-O-O

     14 P-QR4               . . . .

If 14 B-B3, Kt-K4 leaving White the cruel choice between losing his QP or parting with the valuable KB.

     14 . . . .                P-Kt5
     15 Kt-K4            P-B4

    By now I realized that my unfortunate eleventh move had made things very easy for Bovinnik .Black has freed his game and  has a  well-nigh perfect position – with the KR file still to be heard from!

     16 Q-Kt1              . . . .

   I had counted on this move to turn the tide,
   but I always remained one tempo short
   of gaining the initiative.

      16 . . . .                 Q-B2 
   The immediate 16….QB3 is not quite
   so good, for example 17 P-B3, PxP;
   18 BxP, Q-B2; 19 P-KKt3 and White
    can defend himself for some time to come.

                                            Game 1 in Viewer                              Game 2 in Viewer

The authoritative notes to the USA-USSR Radio Match games in this series were prepared exclusively for CHESS REVIEW by members of the United States team. 




        M.Botvinnik          A.S. Denker
            White                    Black

             1 P-Q4                  P-Q4
             2 Kt-KB3             Kt-KB3 

  For quite a while I favored the Tarrasch Defense because of its lively, open character. However, it subsequently underwent so much detailed analysis that my interest in it faded.

  Hence in this game I decided on the Slav defense. A solid and substantial line of play: I wanted to forget any preconceived analytical notions and intended to play a game of chess.

3 P-B4                 P-B3
4 PxP                  . . . .

  To avoid the kind of imbalanced pawn position which would arise after Black is permitted to play…PxP. As in his game with Smyslov in the last USSR Championship 
(CHESS REVIEW, June/July, P.11), Botvinnik exchanges immediately, with a view to a symmetrical position in which
White has a minimal advantage by reason of having the first move.

  In such a stabilized position, there is less likelihood that either side can win. In view of my attitude at the beginning of this game – do or die for the good old USA- this was quite a damper on my enthusiasm.

Botvinnik’s  choice of this line of play is a tribute to his understanding of such psychological fine points.

4 . . . .                   PxP
5 Kt-B3           Kt-B3

 This is a kind of Four Knights’ Game transferred to the Queen-side!

6 B-B4              Q-R4

Black’s choice is a hard one: if he plays 6 …. P-K3, he is likely to suffer from his QB’s lack of mobility; but if he plays 6… B-B4, the bishop is often exposed to attack! The text is an attempt to postpone a decision

The pin on the QKt really has no theoretical basis, as White can defend himself against the pin without any trouble. But I was determined to give the game an interesting turn. It often happens that the element of surprise is enough to justify even an untheoretical  move.

7 P-K3                Kt-K5
8 Q-Kt3               P-K3
9 B-Q3               B-Kt5

    Continuing to reinforce the pin: an idea in motion
( remember Newton’s law?) tends to remain in motion.

10 QR-B1            KtxKt

  The alternative was 10…. P-B4, to reinforce the advance Knight at K5. But this would create a bad hole at Black’s K4 and leave him with a  weak KP.

11 PxKt              B-R6

  Black wants to gain time by tempoing on the rook, but the move can easily lead to serious trouble.

12 QR-Kt1     P-QKt3?

  Typical of my impetuous mood. Black’s position is still solid. First 12…O-O, followed possibly by 13… P-QKt3 and subsequent occupation of the QB file, was indicated.

13 P-K4!            PxP??

But here 13….O-O was indicated. Then the onus of capitalizing on the freer development rests on White. After the text, Botvinnik wins in sparkling style.

14 B-QKt5!                 B-Q2
15 Kt-Q2!                       . . . .

 Threatening 16 Kt-B4. What can Black do about it?

15 . . . .            P-QR3

  Not 15… O-O-O; 16 Kt-B4, KtxP; 17 KtxQ, KtxQ; 18 B-R6 mate.
 Or else 15 ….B-K2;  16 Kt-B4, KtxP; 17 BxBch, KxB; 18 R-Q1 etc.

16 BxKt                 BxB
17 Kt-B4                . . . .

  Simultaneously attacking Black’s queen and KB, and therefore forcing Black’s reply.

17….               Q-KB4
18 B-Q6!             . . . .  

Settles the argument. The rest is only a matter of time.

18 . . . .                P-K6
19  KtxKp       QxRch
 20  QxQ              BxB
21 QxKtP         K-Q2
 22 Q-Kt3    QR-QKt1
 23 Q-B2           R-Kt4
24 O-O          R-KR4
25 P-KR3     R-QKt1
26 P-QB4        P-Kt3
27 Kt-Kt4      R-KB4
28 Kt-K5ch      BxKt
29 PxB            RxKP
 30 Q-Q2ch   Resigns

  For 31 R-Q1 will be decisive.