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A CHESS STRATEGY

THE B R E A K

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p B O T V IN N IK AND
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The Break - Learn From Schlechter, Botvinnik and Kramnik

By Roman Jiganchine
CopyR ight Inform ation

The right of Roman Jiganchine to be identified as the author of this work has been
asserted in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights
reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape,
photocopying, recording or otherwise), without prior permission from the author.

Jiganchine, Roman. The Break - Learn From Schlechter, Botvinnik and Kramnik.
Electronic Edition.

For questions, comments, or more information on this book, contact: Roman Jiganchine
at roman.jiganchine@outlook.com.
Copyright 2015 by Roman Jiganchine.
Introduction
A break is generally an unexpected or sacrificial pawn move that can serve multiple
purposes, including, but not limited to:

Opening up files or diagonals


Directly attacking opponent's king
Gaining space
Freeing up a square (e.g. as an outpost for a knight)
Undermining opponent's pawn structure/chain
Creating a passed pawn

Inspiration for this book came from reading Vladimir Kramnik's collection of games,
which featured a special section on the pawn breakthroughs. Later, while studying the
games of Mikhail Botvinnik, I spotted his great ability to play with the pawns. And even
later, I came across several games by Carl Schlechter, who also played several
instructive games that involved destructive pawn sacrifices. In the book, the chapters
are presented starting with Schlechter and ending with Kramnik, to reflect the
development of chess thought with respect to pawn breakthroughs.
Contents

Schlechter
o Attacking the King
o Endgame Breakthroughs
Botvinnik
o Isolated Queen's Pawn
o Undermining the Center
o Opening a Diagonal
o Opening up the 'c' File
o Creating a Passed Pawn
o Exchange Slav Structures
o Endgames With Bishops of Opposite Colour
o Other Examples
Kramnik
o King's Indian Structures
o Queen's Gambit Declined
o Queen's Gambit Accepted
o Sicilian Sveshnikov Structures
o Recent Examples
Other players
o Opening
o Middle game
o Endgame
Practical Value for a Tournament Player
Sacrificial pawn breaks are very common in chess and happen in a wide variety of
positions, from sharp opening theoretical positions - to seemingly calm endgames. The
challenge in writing this book was not in finding examples, but rather in constraining
myself from continuing to add more and more illustrative games. That means that once
you study this topic, you should be able to frequently use the acquired skills in many of
your tournament games!

The book is filled with dozens of training questions so that before seeing the move
played by the grandmaster - the reader can practice their skill and come up with an
answer on their own. To see the solution to a position - just go to the next page in your
e-reader.
Schlechter
Many great chess players have over time used the technique of a breakthrough in their
games, but one player that stood out for me in particular was Carl Schlechter. He was
mostly famous for having tied the match against World Champion Emanuel Lasker. Little
is known of Schlechter to most chess players, perhaps because he did not have an
opening variation named after him like Marshall (Schlechter system in the Slav is not
very fashionable) or because he did not write many books like Nimzowitsch. However
he had a very clear positional style and a book about him by Verkhovsky was what got
me into studying Schlechter's games.
Attacking the King

Schlechter, Carl - Blackbume, Joseph Henry


London 1899.06.09, C66

L i
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White is ahead in development, but he must play energetically because if Black is
allowed to castle, he might be able to survive. 16. f5!?

First, White forces the last Black's active piece to retreat.

( Less convincing is 16. Radi?! 0 - 0 and Black may be able to consolidate. )

16.... Nf8 17. e5!!

The goal of the second pawn push is to open files, as well as to free up the
'e4' square for the knight. As it turns out, this concept was first introduced by
Schlechter, many years before it was played in the famous Lasker-
Capabl anca, 1914 game.

17.... fxe5

( 17. ... dxe5 18. Ne4 gxf5 19. Nxf6+! ( 19. Qh5+Ng6 20. Rxf5 0 -0 2 1 . Rafl
Qe6 22. Bh6 Rf7 23. Ng5 +/- is given by Verkhovsky in his book about
Schlechter, but actually gives Black some compensation after 23. ... fxg5 24.
Rxf7 Nf4 ~ ) 19. ... Kf7 20. Qh5+ Kxf6 21. Qg5+ Kf7 22. Rxf5+ + -)
18. f6 Bd8 19. Ne4

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All of Black's pieces are placed on the last rank, so the end is near.

19.... Kd7

( 19. ... Qc7 20. f7+ Kd7 21. Qg4+ Ke7 22. Bg5# )

20. Radi d5 21. c4 +-

The rest of the game is rather straightforward, as White finishes up the disjoint black
forces.

21.... Bb6 22. Bxb6 axb6 23. cxd5 c5 24. Qh6 Kc7 25. d6+ Kb8 26. d7 Nxd7 27. Qg7
Rd8 28. Qe7 Ka7

29.RO

( Black resigned in view of huge material losses that are coming: 29. Rf3 b5
30. Ra3+ Kb6 31. Rxa8 Qxa8 32. Rxd7 Rxd7 33. Qxc5+ Ka5 34. Qa3+ Kb6
35. Qxa8 + -)

1-0
Schlechter, Carl - Gunsberg, Isidor
Monte Carlo 1901, D31

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. e4 dxe4 6. Nxe4 Be7 7. Bd3 Nf6 8. 0 - 0


Nxe4 9. Bxe4 Nd7 10. Qe2 Nf6 11. Bc2 0 - 0 12. Bd2 Re8 13. Radi g6 14. Bc3 Bf8
15. Ne5 Bg7 16. f4 Nd7 17. Rf3 Nf8 18. Rg3 Qe7 19. a3 a5 20. Q el Qc7 21. h4 f6
22. Nd3 Re7 23. h5 Bd7 24. hxg6 hxg6 25. Qf2 Be8 26. Rh3 b6 27. Qh4 Rf7

X^f! IPm&m
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White gained initiative out of the opening, and Black has been forced to weaken his
position.

28. d5! ?

The break that highlights the awkward placement of Black pieces along the
a2-g8 diagonal.

( 28. c5!? with the idea of Bb3, and also Nd3-f2-e4-d6 was quite strong. )

28.... exd5 29. cxd5 cxd5 30. Nf2 Rd8 31. Ng4 Rd6 32. Bb3 Bc6 33. Rdd3 Qd8
34. f5!

Here the pawn sacrifice serves to prevent f6-f5, which would free up both
Black's queen and bishop on g7.

34.... g5 35. Qh5 Be8 36. Ne3 Rfd7

White to move
Solution:

37. Nxd5!! Rxd5

( White's bishops become unleashed and deliver mate if Black accepts the queen
sacrifice. 37. ... Bxh5 38. Nxf6+ Kh8 39. Rxh5+ Bh6 40. Rxh6+

40. ... Kg7 ( 40. ... Nh7 41. Nxd7+ Rf6 42. Bxf6+ with mate ) 41. Ne8+ Kxh6 42. Rh3#
)
38. Rxd5 Bf7

(38. ... Rxd5 39. Bxd5+ Qxd5 40. Qxe8 Qxf5 was a better try for Black. )

39. Rxd7 Qxd7


40. Rd3! Bxb3 41. Rxd7 +- Nxd7 42. Qe8+ Nf8 43. Qc6 Nh7 44. a4 1-0
Schlechter, Carl - Suechting, Hugo
Vienna 1908, C87

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0 - 0 Be7 6. R el d6 7. c3 0 - 0 8. h3 Bd7


9. d4 b5 10. Bb3 Qc8 11. Nbd2 Rb8 12. Nfl a5 13. Ng3 Ne8 14. Be3 Bf6 15. dxe5
Bxe5 16. Nxe5 Nxe5 17. f4 Nc4 18. Bel a4 19. Bc2 Qa6 20. Rbl Qb6+ 21. Kh2 Qc5
22. Qd3 g6 23. b3 axb3 24. axb3 Nb6 25. Be3 Qc6 26. Bd4 Ng7 27. Qd2 f6

m 1!
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The pawn structure, in which the dark squares around the black king are potentially
weak, already suggests that at some point e4-e5 might explode Black's position. In
addition, White has the advantage of two bishops, which is another reason to look for
pawn breaks.

28. Ral Rbe8 29. R fl Bc8 30. Bd3 Re7 31. Ra5 b4 32. cxb4 Be6 33. Bb5 Qb7 34.
Qc3 f5 35. Bc6 Qc8
36. e5

Here, of course, Black's position is already lost, but the motive is the familiar
one: open up more diagonals and activate White's bishops.

36.... Qd8

(36. ... dxe5 37. Bc5 wins material for W hite.)

37. exd6 Qxd6 38. Be5 Qd8 39. Bf6 +- Rxf6 40. Qxf6 Qd6 41. Rdl Qxdl 42. Qxe7
Bxb3 43. Qxc7 Qd4 44. Qb8+ 1-0
Schlechter, Carl - Showalter, Jackson Whipps
Vienna 1898, C02

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Bd3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Nf3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. 0 - 0 Qb6 8. dxc5


Bxc5 9. b4 Be7 10. R el a6 11. Qc2 h6 12. Qe2 Qc7 13. Nbd2 Na7 14. Bb2 Nb6 15.
Racl Na4 16. Bal b5 17. Nd4 Bd7 18. Qg4 g5

Question: how can White can rid of the backward pawn on c3?
Answer: by sacrificing it and initiating a typical pawn breakthrough.

19. c4!?

The break that gets rid of the weakness on c3, but also activates White's
pieces and aims to exploit the position of Black's king and queen.

19.... bxc4 20. Bxc4 dxc4 21. Nxc4 Rc8

(21. ... Qb8 was probably more resilient.)

22. Nd6+ Bxd6 23. Rxc7 Bxc7 24. Qdl Nb6


25. Nf5 Nd5

( 25. ... exf5 26. e6 + -)

26. Nd6+ Bxd6? 27. exd6

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Suddenly White threatens both Qxd5, and Bxh8. There is no good way to save material
for Black.

27. ... 0 - 0 28. Qd4 f6 29. Qxa7 +- Rf7 30. Qxa6 Nxb4 31. Qb7 Nd3 32. Rbl Nf4
33. Bxf6 Rc2 34. Qe4 Re2 35. Rb8+ Rf8 36. Rxf8+ Kxf8 37. Qbl e5 38. h3 e4 39.
Qb8+ Kf7 40. Qd8 Bc6 41. Qe7+ Kg6 42. Qg7+ Kh5 43. Bxg5 1-0
Olland, Adolf Georg - Schlechter, Carl
Karlsbad 1907, C91

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0 - 0 Be7 6. R el b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a4 Bg4


9. c3 0 - 0 10. d4 Qd7 11. Bg5 Bxf3 12. gxf3 Qh3 13. Be3

Question: how does Black bring more pieces to put pressure on h2?
Answer: by opening a diagonal for the bishop to attack it.

13.... d5

A fairly typical break in Ruy Lopez structures for Black!

14. Nd2 Bd6 15. N fl Ne7 16. Ng3 Ng6 17. Khl dxe4 18. Rgl exf3 19. Qxf3 Nh4 20.
Qe2 exd4

Finally the diagonal opened up.

21. Bxd4 Ng4 22. Nfl Nf3 23. Rxg4 Qxg4 24. Ne3 Qh3 25. Ng4 Nxh2 26. Nf6+ gxf6
0-1
Schlechter, Carl - Janowski, Dawid Markelowicz
Ostend 1905, D55

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 Be7 6. Nf3 0 - 0 7. Bd3 b6 8. cxd5


exd5 9. 0 - 0 c5 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. dxe5 Nd7 12. Bf4 Bb7 13. Qf3 Re8 14. Qh3 Nf8
15. Radi Ng6 16. Bg3 Bf8 17. f4 a6 18. Bc2 b5

White to move
Solution:

19. e6

(19. Nxd5!? was also strong.)

19.... fxe6 20. f5

This opens up the light squared diagonals against the black king.

20.... exf5 21. Qxf5 Qe7 22. Nxd5 Bxd5 23. Qxd5+

23.... Qe6?
( Better was 23. ... Kh8 +=)

24. Be4! Rac8

( 24. ... Qxd5 25. Bxd5+ Kh8 26. Bxa8 + -)

25. Qxe6+ Rxe6 26. Bd5 +-

White has a decisive material advantage.

26.... Re8 27. Bxe6+ Rxe6 28. Rd8 c4 29. Bd6 Rxd6 30. Rfxf8+ Nxf8 31. Rxd6 Ng6
32. Rxa6 Ne5 33. Rb6 Nd3 34. Rxb5 1-0
Schlechter, Carl - Tarrasch, Siegbert
Monte Carlo 1903.02.14 , A55

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. e4 e5 5. Nf3 Be7 6. Bd3 0 - 0 7. 0 - 0 c6 8. h3 Qc7


9. Be3 Re8 10. Nh4 Nf8 11. Nf5 Bxf5 12. exf5 Rad8 13. d5 a6 14. Rcl N8d7 15. g4
Nc5 16. Bbl a5 17. Khl Nfd7 18. g5 f6 19. h4 Bf8 20. Rgl Be7 21. Qh5 Nf8

22. Rg3

( Both players overlooked 22. Bxc5! dxc5 23. d6! after this elegant fork - all
three captures are losing, due to the pressure that White was already exerting.
23. ... Rxd6 ( 23. ... Bxd6 24. gxf6 + -) ( 23. ... Qxd6 24. Ne4 Qd4 25. gxf6 +-
) 24. Qxe8 + -)

22.... Ra8 23. Bxc5 dxc5


White to move
Solution:

24. d6!

A move later - Schlechter finds the right idea.

24.... Qxd6 25. Ne4 Qd8 26. Rdl 1-0


Endgame Breakthroughs

Schlechter, Carl - Martinolich, Giovanni Jr


Vienna 1907, D61

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Nf3 0 - 0 7. Qc2 a6 8. cxd5


exd5 9. Bd3 Re8 10. 0 - 0 Nf8 11. h3 Be6 12. Radi Rc8 13. a3 Nh5 14. Bxe7 Qxe7
15. R fel Qf6 16. Be2 Qg6 17. Qxg6 hxg6 18. Ne5 Nf6 19. Bf3 c6 20. b4 N6d7 21.
Nd3 Nb6 22. Nc5 Rc7 23. a4 Bc8 24. Be2 Ne6 25. a5 Na8 26. N3a4 Rce7 27. Nb6
Nxb6 28. axb6 Nxc5 29. dxc5 f6 30. Rd4 Kf7 31. Redl f5 32. g4 Rh8 33. Kg2 Kf6
34. Kg3 Ree8 35. Bf3 Re7 36. Bg2 Ree8 37. Rhl Re7 38. Rd3 Rhe8 39. Rd4 Rh8
40. R el Rhe8 41. Ral Re5 42. g5+ Kf7 43. h4 R5e7 44. Rhl Rh8 45. Bf3 Ree8 46.
Kf4 Bd7 47. Kg3 Bc8 48. Rh2 Rh7 49. Rdl Re7 50. Rdhl Bd7

White to move
Solution:

51. h5 gxh5 52. Bxh5+ g6 53. Bxg6+!

This is the point behind h4-h5.

53.... Kxg6 54. Rxh7 Rxh7 55. Rxh7 Kxh7 56. Kf4 Kg6 57. Ke5

Ip
p ^if!Isi A 8
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The white king penetrates into Black's camp and White wins.

57.... f4 58. Kd6 fxe3 59. fxe3 1-0


Schlechter, Carl - Duras, Oldrich
DSB-15.Kongress 1906, D46

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. e4 dxe4 8. Nxe4


Nxe4 9. Bxe4 Qa5+ 10. Bd2 Qh5 11. h3 f5 12. Bd3 0 - 0 13. Qc2 e5 14. c5 Bc7 15.
0 - 0 - 0 e4 16. Bc4+ Kh8 17. Ng5 Nf6 18. Qb3 Nd5 19. Bxd5 cxd5 20. Qxd5 Qg6 21.
h4 h6 22. Rdel Qc6 23. Qxc6 bxc6 24. Nh3 Be6 25. Bf4 Bd8 26. Bd6 Re8 27. Nf4
Bxa2 28. g4 fxg4 29. Rhgl Bf7 30. Be5 Bxh4 31. Rxg4 Bg5 32. Rxe4 Bg6 33. R el
Bf5 34. Rxg5 hxg5 35. Nh5 Re7 36. Rgl g4 37. Ng3 Bd7 38. Ne2 Rf7 39. Nf4 Re8
40. Kd2 Kg8 41. Ke3 g5 42. Nd3 Rf3+ 43. Ke2 Be6 44. Nb4 Rc8

White to move
Solution:

45. d5 cxd5

(45. ... Bxd5 46. Nxd5 cxd5 47. Rxg4 gives White good drawing chances.)

46. Nc2 Bd7 47. c6 Bxc6 48. Nd4

By sacrificing both pawns White activated his pieces.

48.... Rh3 49. Rxg4 Rh5 50. Bf6 Bd7 51. Rxg5+ Rxg5 52. Bxg5 Kf7 53. Kd3 Kg6 54.
Be3
White established a blockade and Black was unable to break through.

54.... a6 55. Bd2 Bf5+ 56. Ke2 Rb8 57. Bc3 Re8+ 58. Kd2 Kg5 59. Nb3 Bd7 60. Bd4
Kf4 61. Be 3+ 1/2-1/2
Schlechter, Carl - Perlis, Julius
Karlsbad 1911.08.22, D ll

White to move
Solution: 41. e5! Rd2+

(41. ... fxe5 42. Ke6 +- and the black pawn serves as a shield for the white
king.)

( 41. ... Rxe5+ 42. Kc6 Ke8 43. d7+ Ke7 44. Ra8 + -)

42. Ke6 Kc8 43. d7+ Kb8 44. Ra6 Kc7

m m HI 11!
wm a 11mIf
WSk H (1
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H
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B IP
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Ilf Hi H
45. Rd6

( Black resigned in view of 45. Rd6 Rxd6+ 46. exd6+ Kd8 47. b5 h3 48. b6 h2 49. b7
hl=Q 50. b8=Q# )
1-0
Schlechter, Carl - Brody
Vienna 1898

Aw Ip @
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IK 11
Despite being down a pawn, it is actually White who has a slight initiative here. 1. h6!

With this move - White gains the 'f6' square for his knight.

1.... gxh6 2. Nd7 Bd5 3. Nf6+ Kf8 4. Nxh7+ Kg8 5. Nf6+ Kf8 6. Nd7+ Kg8

A ip 11
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7. Nb6
With his pieces being so much more active, White continues to play for a win

7.... Rc6 8. Nxd5 exd5 9. Rd7 Re6?!

( After 9. ... Rc4+ 10. Kb3 Rc5 = White would have not been able to make
progress.)

10. Rxd5 Rxe3 11. Rxf5 Kg7 12. Rxb5 Re4+ 13. c4 Rxf4 14. Rd5

Sill 11
SI m
111 H KR
ifii lin
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ip
The rook endgame is objectively a draw, but White's pawn is a bit further advanced and
is better supported by the king. Black misplayed the endgame, and eventually even lost.

14.... Kg6 15. Kb5 Rfl

( 15. ... Kf6! 16. c5 Ke6 17. Rd6+ Ke7 18. Rxh6 Kd7 19. Rh7+ Kc8 20. Kb6
Rc4 = )

16. c5 Kf7 17. Kc6 Ke8 18. Kb6 Rbl+ 19. Kc7 R el 20. c6 +- Re7+ 21. Kd6 Ra7 22.
c7 Ra6+ 23. Ke5 Ra8 24. Ke6 h5 25. Rd6 h4 26. Rb6 1-0
Botvinnik
Mikhail Botvinnik is often considered the first modern chess player, and this is true in
the sense that he developed many plans in typical pawn structures, and those
middlegame ideas remain relevant up to the present day for many opening variations.
These include, but are not limited to the lines with Isolated Queen Pawn, Winaver
French, and the Botvinnik System in the Semi-Slav Defense. Examples below illustrate
how he utilized pawn breaks in middlegame positions resulting from these openings, as
well as in the several endgames with bishops of opposite colour, which he had a great
strategic sense for.
Isolated Queen Pawn Positions

Botvinnik, Mikhail - Petrosian, Tigran V


World Championship 25th 1963.04.15 , D27

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. 0 - 0 a6 7. a4 Nc6 8. Qe2 cxd4


9. Rdl Be7 10. exd4 0 - 0 11. Nc3 Nb4 12. Bg5 Bd7

White to move
Solution:

13. d5!

White wins a pawn almost by force here and retains some advantage.

13.... exd5 14. Nxd5 Nbxd5 15. Bxd5 Nxd5 16. Rxd5 Bxg5 17. Nxg5

17.... h6

( 17. ... Qc7 18. Q d3!+-)

18. Qd2 hxg5 19. Rxd7 Qf6 20. Rxb7 += Rad8 21. Qa5 Rd6 22. Qb4 Rfd8 23. Rfl
Rd4 24. Qb3 Rd3 25. Qc2 Rd2 26. Qc7 Qf4 27. Qxf4 gxf4 28. h4 Rc8 29. Rb4 f3 30.
gxf3 Rcc2 31. b3 Rb2 32. Kg2 Rd3 33. Rb8+ Kh7 34. Rb7 f6 35. R el Rdxb3 36.
Rxb3 Rxb3 37. Re6 Rb4 38. Rxa6 Rxh4 39. Kg3 g5 40. Kg2 Kg6 41. Ra8 Rf4 42. a5
Ra4 43. a6 Kf5 1/2-1/2
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Tolush, Alexander V
Moscow-Leningrad m 1965 , E42

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Ne2 d5 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Nxc3 cxd4 8. exd4


dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nc6 10. Be3 0 - 0 11. 0 - 0 b6 12. Qd3 Bb7 13. Radi Ne7 14. Bg5 Ng6
15. f4 Ii6

White to move
Solution:

16. f5!

In this typical IQP position, White plays for pressure along the f file.

16.... exf5 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. Rxf5 Nf4

( 18. ... Qc6 19. Bd5 Qd7 was more resilient.)

19. Rxf6 Nxd3

20. Rxf7!
Botvinnik continues to play for the strength of the c4 bishop.

20.... Nxb2

(20. ... Rxf7 21. Rxd3 +=)

21. Rxf8+ Kxf8 22. Rfl+ Ke8 23. Be6 Rd8 24. d5 +=

g#H 111
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White's initiative persisted into the endgame, which he managed to win.

24. ... Bc8 25. Rf7 Bxe6 26. dxe6 Rd6 27. Rxg7 Rxe6 28. Rxa7 Nd3 29. h3 Nf4 30.
Ra4 Ne2+ 31. Nxe2 Rxe2 32. Ra7 Kf8 33. Rb7 Re6 34. Kf2 Rf6+ 35. Kg3 Rg6+ 36.
KE3 Kg8 37. g3 Rc6 38. Kg4 Kh8 39. Kf5 Rc5+ 40. Kg6 Rc6+ 41. Kh5 Kg8 1-0
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Menchik, Vera
Hastings 3435 1934.12.31, D37

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Bf4 dxc4 6. e3 Nd5 7. Bxc4 Nxf4 8. exf4
Bd6 9. g3 0 - 0 10. 0 - 0 Nf6 11. Qe2 b6 12. Rfdl Bb7 13. Racl

13. ... Qe7 14. a3 Rfd8 15. Ne5 c5 16. Nb5 cxd4 17. Nxd4 Bxe5 18. Qxe5 Qd6 19.
Bb3 Qxe5 20. fxe5 Ne8 21. f4 a6 22. KT2 Kf8
White to move
Solution:

23. f5

This break capitalizes on the strength of the b3 bishop.

23.... Bd5

( Also good for White is 23. ... exf5 24. e6! f6 25. Nxf5 Rxdl 26. e7# )

24. fxe6 Bxb3 25. e7+

( 25. e7+ Kxe7 26. Nc6+ Kf8 27. Rxd8 + -)


Undermining the Center

Pogrebissky, Iosif - Botvinnik, Mikhail


URS-chll 1939, C19

s ml HI i
4

J ,- -

HPAH A HI II
Hi% i iliP
iHIi a % i
m
a iH i m B B
MB SP
ma ^flPAMB
/s s .

B Mlft
Black to move
H
UH
S Jt
5
i / ' v X x .1i

AfU IS I!
m
*m A
*

1:
B Afil m B: A
A in A II H IH
fj H Hi _

A m ^11 B
Solution: 18.... g5! 19. Ndl
n m 4 Y s s s i- .ls

( After 19. fxg5 fxe5 the white center crumbles.)

19.... g4

Black is gaining space on the kingside and creating grounds for future attack
against the white king.

( 19. ... gxf4 20. Qxf4 would have freed up white's dark squared bishop.)

20. exf6 Rdf8 21. Ba3 Rxf6 22. Bb4 Nxb4 23. cxb4 Qb6 24. c3 Qc7 25. Nb2 Rhf8
26. Bdl Ne7 27. g3
Pressure against f4 forces White to advance the 'g' pawn and will allow Black to open
more files on the kingside. Pawn structure on the queenside however is such that White
will never even come close to opening up a file there.

27.... Rh8 28. Bc2 h4 29. Kg2 Nf5

The knight retreated to put pressure on f4 but now it comes back to exert
pressure against the new target - the g3 pawn.

30. Bxf5 Rxf5 31. Qe2 Rfh5 32. Rhl

32.... e5! 33. dxe5 Bf5

This move reveals the purpose of the breakthrough - the bishop suddenly gets
activated with decisive effect, while the white knight is completely strangled
by the black pawns.

34. Ragl hxg3 35. Kfl Rxh2 36. Rxh2 Rxh2


Black crashed through on the kingside and after Qh7 on the next move 3 black pieces
and 2 pawns will destroy the white king.

0-1
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Moisieev, Oleg L
URS-chl9 1951, E45

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Ne2 Ba6 6. a3 Be7 7. Nf4 0 - 0 8. b4 d5 9.


b5 Bb7 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Bb2 c5 12. Be2 c4 13. 0 - 0 a6 14. a4 Bb4 15. Qc2 Qd7 16.
Rfbl Re8 17. Ba3 Bxa3 18. Rxa3 Qd6 19. Ra2 a5 20. Q cl Nbd7 21. Qa3 Qxa3 22.
Rxa3 Nf8 23. h4 Rad8 24. Bf3 Ne6 25. Nh5 Nxh5 26. Bxh5 g6 27. Bf3 f5 28. Ra2
Kg7 29. Kfl h6 30. g3 Kf6 31. Kg2 Rh8 32. Rhl Rhe8 33. Rd2 Re7 34. Re2 Ree8
35. Kfl Rh8 36. Kel Rhe8 37. Kd2 Re7 38. R eel Ree8 39. Ne2 Rh8 40. g4 Rhg8 41.
Regl fxg4 42. Bxg4 Rdf8 43. Bxe6 Kxe6 44. Nf4+ Kd6 45. Rh2 Rf6 46. Rhg2 Be8
47. Rxg6 Rgxg6 48. Rxg6 Rxg6 49. Nxg6 Bf5 50. Ne5 Bbl 51. Ke3 Ba2

White to move
Solution:

52. e4!

The best way to convert the material and positional advantage.

52.... dxe4

( 52. ... Bb3 53. exd5 Bxa4 54. Nxc4+ Kc7 55. d6+ Kd8 56. Nxb6 Bxb5 57.
f4 + -)

53. Nxc4+ Bxc4

(53. ... Kc7 54. d5 + -)

54. Kxc4 h5 55. d5 Ke5


56. d6 Kxd6 57. Kd4 1-0
Medina Garcia, Antonio Angel - Botvinnik, Mikhail
Hoogovens 1969.01, B25

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. f4 f5 7. Nf3 Nf6 8. 0 - 0 0 - 0 9.


Khl Kh8 10. Be3 Be6 11. Qd2 Qd7 12. Bgl Rae8 13. Rael b6 14. b3 Bg8 15. Nh4
Ng4 16. Nd5 e6 17. Ne3 Nxe3 18. Bxe3 d5 19. e5 d4 20. Bf2

Black to move
Solution:

20.... g5! 21. Nf3

( 21. fxg5 Nxe5 would have given Black a strong center. )

21.... g4 22. Ngl Rc8 23. Ne2 Rfd8

With the extra space - Black's position is easier to play and he eventually won.

24. Rcl Bh6 25. Qdl Bf7 26. a3 Be8 27. b4 Bf8 28. b5 Ne7 29. a4 a6 30. c4 dxc3 31.
Nxc3 axb5 32. axb5 Nd5 33. Nxd5 exd5 34. Rbl Ra8 35. d4 c4 36. Qe2 Bf7 37. B el
Ra4 38. Bc3 Be6 39. Rfcl Rda8 40. Rc2 Be7 41. Kgl Kg8 42. Qd2 h5 43. Bfl Kf7
44. Be2 Kg6 45. Rcb2 Ra3 46. Bb4 Bxb4 47. Qxb4 Kf7 48. Rcl R8a4 49. Q el Ra5
50. Rcbl Qe7 51. Kf2 h4 52. Q cl Ra8 53. Rc2 Rh8 54. Rc3 hxg3+ 55. hxg3 Ra2 56.
Rb2 Rh2+ 0-1
Opening up the V File

Botvinnik, Mikhail - Ragozin, Viacheslav


Leningrad m 1940 , D94

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 g6 5. Nf3 Bg7 6. Bd3 0 - 0 7. 0 - 0 Bg4 8. h3 Bxf3


9. Qxf3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 Nbd7 11. Rdl e5 12. d5 c5 13. d6 Rb8 14. e4 Ne8 15. Be3 a6
16. a4 Rc8 17. Rd2 h6 18. Radi Nef6 19. Nd5 Nxd5 20. Bxd5 Rb8 21. Qe2 Kh7 22.
Rc2 Qf6 23. Ba2 Rbc8

White to move
Solution:

24. b4! cxb4 25. Rc7

Invading on the 7th rank is well worth a pawn

25.... Rxc7 26. dxc7 Nb6

27. Bxb6! Qxb6 28. Qc4 Rc8 29. Rd7


29.... Qc6 30. Qxc6 bxc6 31. Rxf7

After the exchange of Black's queen and knight - the 'c' pawn is unstoppable.

31.... c5 32. Be6 1-0


Botvinnik, Mikhail - Vidmar, Milan Sr
Staunton Memorial 1946.08.17, E01

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Qa4+ Qd7 6. Qxc4 Qc6 7. Nbd2 Qxc4 8.


Nxc4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nfxd2 Nc6 11. e3 Nb4 12. Ke2 Bd7 13. Bg2 Bc6 14. f3
Nd7 15. a3 Nd5 16. e4 N5b6 17. Na5 Bb5+ 18. Ke3 0 - 0 - 0 19. Rhcl Nb8 20. b3 Bd7
21. Bfl Nc6 22. Nxc6 Bxc6 23. a4 Be8 24. a5 Na8 25. a6 b6 26. b4 Kb8 27. Rc3 c6
28. Racl f6 29. Nbl Bd7 30. Na3 Nc7

White to move
Solution:

31. b5!

White has maximized his pressure on the queenside, and starts decisive play
on the 'c' file.

31.... Nxb5

( 31. ... e5!? 32. dxe5 c5 33. exf6 gxf6 +/- would have stopped the invasion at
the cost of a pawn. )

32. Bxb5 cxb5 33. Rc7 Rc8 34. Rb7+ Ka8


35. Rxd7! Rxcl 36. Nxb5 Rhc8 37. Rxg7 h6 38. Rxa7+ Kb8 39. Rb7+ Ka8 40. Ra7+
Kb8 41. Rb7+ Ka8 42. g4

X lU B 11!
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mm

a IS pm

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The black king is cornered, and both of his rooks are tied up to covering up 'c7'.

42. ... e5 43. d5 R lc5 44. Ra7+ Kb8 45. Rb7+ Ka8 46. Rxb6 Rb8 47. Rxb8+ Kxb8
48. a7+ Kb7 49. Nd6+ Kxa7 50. Ne8 +-

HH^II 11
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H a B A sn
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111 18 11 11!
Black freed up his pieces, but has lost too many pawns in the process.

50.... Kb6 51. Nxf6 Rc3+ 52. Kf2 Rc7 53. h4 Rf7 54. Nh5 Kc7 55. g5 hxg5 56. hxg5
Rh7 57. Nf6 Rh2+ 58. Kg3 Rhl 59. Kg2 Rh8 60. g6 1-0
Opening a Diagonal

Ratner, Boris - Botvinnik, Mikhail


URS-chl4 1945, D87

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. Bc4 Bg7 8. Ne2


0 - 0 9. 0 - 0 Nd7 10. a4 Qc7 11. Ba2 b6 12. Be3 Ba6 13. R el Rad8 14. Qb3 e5 15.
d5 c4 16. Qa3 f5 17. Bg5 Bf6 18. Bh6 Rf7 19. exf5 gxf5 20. a5 b5 21. Radi Nc5 22.
Ng3 Be7 23. Q cl f4 24. Nh5 Qd6 25. Bg7 Rxg7 26. Nxg7 Kxg7 27. Bbl Bc8 28. Qc2
Rh8 29. Qe2 Bf6 30. Qh5 Bd7 31. Bc2

Black to move
Solution:

31.... e4

This is the best way to activate Black's pieces.

32. Bxe4 Qe5 33. Qf3

( 33. Qxe5 Bxe5 34. Rcl Re8 -+ )

33.... Re8 34. Bd3 Q xel+ 35. Rxel Rxel+ 36. Bfl Ne4

37. Qxf4 Nxc3 38. Qg3+ Kf7 0-1


Botvinnik, Mikhail - Smyslov, Vassily
World Championship 20th 1954.04.10 , D18

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. 0 - 0 Nbd7


9. Nh4 0 - 0 10. f3 Bg6 11. e4 e5 12. Nxg6 hxg6 13. Be3 Qe7 14. Qe2 exd4 15. Bxd4
Bc5 16. Bxc5 Qxc5+ 17. Khl g5 18. g3 Rad8 19. Ba2 Rfe8 20. Radi Nf8 21. Rxd8
Rxd8 22. e5 Nd5 23. Nxd5 cxd5 24. Qd2 Ne6 25. f4 gxf4 26. gxf4 Qc6 27. f5 Nc5
28. Qg5 Rd7 29. Rgl f6 30. exf6 Ne4

White to move
Solution:

31. f7+!!

This move plays on the strength of the light squared bishop, while also
opening up the d8-h4 diagonal for the White queen

31.... Rxf7

( 31. ... Kxf7 32. Qxg7+ Ke8 33. Qh8+ Ke7 34. Rg7+ Kd6 35. Rg6+ wins the
queen. )

32. Qd8+ Kh7 33. Bxd5


White delivered quite a remarkable triple fork!

33.... N2+ 34. Kg2 Qf6 35. Qxf6 Rxf6 36. Kxf2 Rxf5+ 37. Bf3 +-

37.... Rf4 38. Rg4 1-0


Denker, Arnold Sheldon - Botvinnik, Mikhail
USA-URS radio m 1945 , D44

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9.


Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. Be2 Qb6 13. 0 - 0 0 - 0 - 0 14. a4 b4 15.
Ne4 c5 16. Qbl Qc7 17. Ng3 cxd4 18. Bxc4 Qc6 19. f3

HI 1! IB I
HA Jp %II i 11
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illil m a
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S S /'

Black to move
m 4
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Solution:

19.... d3!

The pawn is sacrificed for opening up b8-gl diagonal, which is crucial for
Black's attack.

20. Q cl

( 20. Qxd3 Bc5+ 21. Khl Rxh2+ -+ )

20.... Bc5+ 21. Khl

( If 21. Be3 then Black continues to insist on sacrificing the'd' pawn: 21. ... d2! 22.
Qxd2 Ne5 23. Qf2
23. ... Ng4! 24. fxg4 Bxe3 25. Qxe3 Qxg2# )

21.... Qd6 22. Qf4

22.... Rxh2+! 23. Kxh2 Rh8+ 24. Qh4 Rxh4+ 25. Bxh4 Qf4 0-1
Hyin Zhenevsky, Alexander - Botvinnik, Mikhail
URS-ch05 1927, COO

1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. g3 dxe4 4. Bg2 Bd7 5. Nh3 Bc6 6. 0 - 0 Nd7 7. Nxe4 Ngf6 8. d3


Be7 9. Nf4 0 - 0 10. Bd2 e5 11. Nxf6+ Nxf6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Ng2 Qd7 14. Ne3
Nd5 15. Nc4 f6 16. Be3 Rae8 17. a3 a6 18. Kg2 Bd6 19. f3 f5 20. Bgl Rf6 21. Qe2
h5 22. Khl h4 23. gxh4 Nf4 24. Qd2 Rh6 25. Be3 Rxh4 26. Bxf4 Rxf4 27. Rael Qf7
28. Qg2 Qh5 29. Re3 Re6 30. Rgl Qh6 31. b4 Rh4 32. Qe2 Qf4 33. Qg2 Rg6 34.
Q2

Black to move
Solution:

34.... e4!

This activates the bishop on d6, which is too much for White too handle
because Black is already putting pressure on e3 and h2.

35. Nxd6

( 35. dxe4? Rxh2+ 36. Qxh2 Qxh2# )

35.... Rxh2+ 36. Qxh2 Rh6

Black wins the queen with decisive effect.

37. Re2

( 37. Qxh6 Qxh6+ 38. Kg2 Qxe3 -+ )

37.... Qxf3+

( 37. ... Rxh2+ 38. Rxh2 Qxf3+ 39. Rhg2 cxd6 was even slightly better than
the game.)

38. Reg2 Rxh2+ 39. Kxh2 Qh5+ 40. Kg3 cxd6 41. dxe4 Qg4+ 42. Kf2 Qf4+ 43. Ke2
Qxe4+ 44. Kd2 Qd4+ 45. Ke2 Kf7 46. Rg6 Qc3 47. Kdl d5 48. R6g3 Qd4+ 49. Ke2
Qe4+ 50. Kd2 Qf4+ 51. Ke2 Qh6 52. Rlg2 g6 53. a4 f4 54. Rc3 g5 55. b5 Qh5+ 56.
Kd2 cxb5 57. axb5 axb5 58. Rc7+ Kf6 59. Rc6+ Kf5 60. Rc5 Qf7 61. Rxb5 g4 62. c4
f3 63. Rgl f2 64. R fl g3 65. Rxd5+ Kg4 66. Rd4+ Kh3 0-1
Creating a Passed Pawn

Rivlin - Botvinnik, Mikhail


1925

1II IAf
im lH
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Billma 8 iifll

AIP Afifsi?H
f t

m sff
w m

111 I
^TTTTyz
----

White's last move had been a2-a4; in response Botvinnik used the manoeuvre that had
been known to him from the game Capablanca-Bogolyubov, which was played in the
same opening (Ruy Lopez) 1.... c4!

With this move Black both creates a passed pawn, and a great outpost for his
knight, which will support that pawn.

2. bxc4

( 2. Bc2 cxb3 3. Bxb3 Rxe4! 4. Rxe4 f5+ -+ )

2.... bxa4 3. Bc2 Nc5 4. KE3 Rb8


The black knight exerts strong pressure against the white pieces, so Rivlin tries to
desperately complicate the situation, but that only makes it more difficult for him to deal
with the passed 'a' pawn.

5. e5?! fxe5 6. fxe5 Rxe5 7. Rxe5 dxe5 8. Rxe5 a3 9. Re3 a2 10. Ra3 Rb2 11. Ba4

11.... Nb3! 12. Bxb3 Rxb3+ -+ 0-1


Botvinnik, Mikhail - Bronstein, David I
World Championship 19th 1951.04.03 , A91

1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nc3 0 - 0 6. d5 Bb4 7. Bd2 e5 8. e3 d6 9.


Nge2 a6 10. Qc2 Qe8 11. f3 b5 12. Qb3 Bc5 13. cxb5 Bd7 14. Na4 Ba7

White to move
Solution:

15. b6 Bxa4?

( Better was 15. ... cxb6 16. Nxb6 Bxb6 17. Qxb6 + /-)

16. b7! Bxb3 17. bxa8=Q Bb6 18. axb3 Qb5 19. Nc3

White has a decisive material advantage, but eventually only drew.

19. ... Qxb3 20. Rxa6 Nxa6 21. Qxa6 Nxd5 22. Qa4 Qxa4 23. Nxa4 Bxe3 24. Bfl
Ra8 25. b3 Bxd2+ 26. Kxd2 Kf8 27. Bd3 g6 28. Rcl Rb8 29. Nc3 Nb4 30. Be2 Ra8
31. Na4 c6 32. Rc4 Rb8 33. Bdl Ke7 34. Nb2 d5 35. Rh4 h5 36. g4 hxg4 37. fxg4 f4
38. g5 Rf8 39. Rh7+ Kd6 40. Rg7 e4 41. Rxg6+ Ke5 1/2-1/2
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Kottnauer, Cenek
Staunton Memorial 1946.09.03 , D35

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Nc3 Bd6 6. Bg5 c6 7. Qc2 0 - 0 8. e3


Re8 9. Bd3 h6 10. Bh4 Be6 11. Ne5 c5 12. 0 - 0 cxd4 13. exd4 Nc6 14. Nxc6 bxc6
15. Bg3 Bxg3 16. hxg3 Ng4 17. Qd2 Rb8 18. b3 Qf6 19. Qf4 Qxf4 20. gxf4 Rb4 21.
Rfdl Kf8 22. Bfl Nf6 23. Racl Bd7 24. f3 Nh5 25. Ne2 a5 26. g4 Nf6 27. Nc3 h5 28.
g5 Ng8 29. Na4 Ne7 30. Nc5 Bc8 31. a3 Rb8 32. Bd3 Nf5 33. Bxf5 Bxf5 34. KT2 h4
35. Rhl h3 36. Reel f6 37. g6 Rxel 38. Rxel Rc8 39. Kg3 Bxg6 40. Kxh3 Bf5+ 41.
Kg3 Rb8 42. Re2 Kf7 43. Kf2 Bc8 44. Kel Ra8 45. Kd2 Ra7 46. R el Re7 47. Rbl
Ra7

All jj 11
% ^fp 11 ii
i illP m H
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fJa AH
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HI B w 111
White to move
Solution:

48. a4!

This move is not a break in itself, but ensures that when White plays b3-b4, he
will have a safely protected passed 'a' pawn.

48.... Ke7 49. Rhl Kd6 50. Rh8 Bf5 51. Re8 Kc7 52. Kc3 Kb6 53. b4 axb4+

( It was a bit more resilient to try and prevent White king from coming to 'b4',
but Black's position was difficult anyway: 53. ... Bg6!? 54. bxa5+ Kxa5 55.
Rc8 Bh5 56. Rxc6 BxG + /-)

54. Kxb4
54.... Rf7? 55. Ra8 1-0
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Larsen, Bent
Leiden 1970, E81

1. c4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. e4 Nf6 5. f3 0 - 0 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 c6 8. Bd3 b5 9.


Nge2 Nbd7 10. 0 - 0 Rb8 11. cxb5 axb5 12. b4 Nb6 13. a4 bxa4 14. Nxa4 Nxa4 15.
Rxa4 Bd7 16. Ra5 Qb6 17. Rbl Rfc8 18. Nc3 Qd8 19. Qa2 Be6 20. Qa3 d5 21. e5
Nd7 22. Na4 Bf5 23. Bxf5 gxf5 24. Ra6 Rc7 25. Rcl Qc8 26. Ra5 e6 27. Bd2 Bf8
28. f4 Kh8 29. Nc5 Nxc5 30. dxc5 Qd8 31. Qd3 Qd7 32. Real Rcb7 33. Ra8 Qc8 34.
Rxb8 Qxb8 35. Qa3 Kg8 36. Qa4 Qc7 37. Ra3 h6 38. Qa8 Rb8 39. Qa5 Qc8 40.
Qa6 Be7 41. Qxc8+ Rxc8 42. Kf2 Kf8 43. KE3 h5 44. Ke2 Kg7 45. B el Kg6 46. Ra7
Bd8 47. Bc3 h4 48. Kd3 h3 49. gxh3 Bh4 50. Ke2 Bd8 51. Kf3 Bh4 52. Kg2 Rd8 53.
KE3 Rc8 54. Ke2 Bd8 55. B el f6 56. Kf3 fxe5 57. fxe5 Rc7 58. Ra8 Bg5 59. Rg8+
Kh5 60. h4 Bh6 61. Rh8 Kg6 62. h5+ Kg7 63. Ra8 Bg5 64. Ra6 Rc8

*; .1 %if!m m
wm 11 *
i i
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White to move
A . ip
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B
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w s 1 Y sssi-.ls

u 1H rsi B
Solution:

65. b5!

A well timed break converts White's space advantage into a win

65.... cxb5 66. Rxe6 Bel

(66. ... Rxc5 67. Rg6++-)

67. Bb4 d4 68. Rg6+ Kh7 69. Rd6

H P
i H A 1 1 8

m I N

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S I i f l i m A
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1
9
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B m 0 0 s H

White has three passed pawns and Black is unable to hold them.
69.... Bb2 70. Rd7+ Kg8 71. e6 Bc3 72. e7 Re8

i B # 11
B
H 11 B
H i fpB im i B A
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111 A 1111
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f

73. Rd8! Kf7 74. Rxe8 Kxe8 75. c6!

( 75. c6 Bxb4 76. c7 Kd7 77. e8=Q+ Kxe8 78. c8=Q+ + -)

1-0
Exchange Slav Structures

The Exchange variation of the Slav Defence results in a symmetric structure with
positional manoeuvring by both sides. However Botvinnik's games illustrate how the
game can sharpen up and he used pawn breaks to surprise the opponent and change the
course of the game in his favour. For more examples from this structure, you can read
my book Exchange Slav - Strategy and Tactics.

Cintron, Rafael - Botvinnik, Mikhail


Munich ol (Men) qual-A 1958 , D13

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 Nc6 6. e3 Nh5 7. Bg3 Nxg3 8. hxg3
g6 9. Nc3 Bg7 10. Be2 e6 11. 0 - 0 0 - 0 12. Rcl Bd7 13. Na4 b6 14. b3 Re8 15. Nc3
Bf8 16. Nbl Qb8 17. Qd2 Qb7 18. Bb5 Rec8 19. Bxc6 Bxc6 20. Ne5 Bb5 21. Rxc8
Rxc8 22. Rcl f6 23. Rxc8 Qxc8 24. Qc3 Qb7 25. Nd3 g5 26. a4 Be8 27. Nd2 Bd6 28.
Nf3 Kf8 29. Nb2 Ke7 30. Nd3 Kd8 31. Nb2 Qc7 32. Qxc7+ Kxc7 33. Kfl b5 34. N el
Ba3 35. Ned3

w B 1!
m SIi A
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HA 111 B w%
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w1 1
Black to move
Solution:

35.... e5! 36. Ndl

( Of course, the pawn is immune: 36. dxe5 fxe5 37. Nxe5?? Bxb2 -+ )

36.... bxa4 37. bxa4 e4

With the help of the break - Black has gained even more space.

38. N3b2 Bh5 39. Kel Bb4+ 40. Kfl Kb6

illlill HI
Si A ifH!i.P HIA
1
1 1

B illl
aH Hi ! Ill
11111
8

s AH
1

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111 8

Hi jg|
White is nearly in Zugzwang, and resigned after making his next move.
41. f3

( 41. f3 exC 42. N2 feg2+ 43. Kxg2 Be2 -+ )

0-1
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Denker, Arnold
USA-URS radio m 1945.09.03 , D13

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bf4 Qa5?!

This is an aggressive sideline that Botvinnik refutes convincingly.

7. e3 Ne4 8. Qb3 e6 9. Bd3 Bb4 10. Rcl Nxc3 11. bxc3 Ba3 12. Rbl b6

13. e4
Botvinnik spots the lack of harmony in Black's position and opens up the game
to his advantage.

13.... dxe4 14. Bb5

An unexpected manoeuvre as Botvinnik aims to trap the black queen.

14.... Bd7 15. Nd2 a6

( 15. ... 0 - 0 16. Be3! ( 16. Nc4? Nxd4! -/+ ) 16. ... Rac8 17. Nc4 Nxd4 18.
Bxd4 Qxb5 19. Nxa3 +/- And White remains up a piece. )

16. Bxc6 Bxc6 17. Nc4 Qf5

18. Bd6! e3 19. Nxe3 Qxbl+ 20. Qxbl Bxd6 21. Qxb6
With an extra queen, the win is quite easy.

21. ... Kd7 22. Qb3 Rab8 23. Qc2 Rb5 24. 0 - 0 Rh5 25. h3 Rb8 26. c4 g6 27. Ng4
Rf5 28. Ne5+ Bxe5 29. dxe5 Rxe5 30. Qd2+ 1-0
Letelier Martner, Rene - Botvinnik, Mikhail
Tel Aviv ol (Men) qual-A 1964 , D13

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bf4 e6 7. e3 Nh5 8. Bg5 Qb6
9. a3 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Nxg3 12. hxg3 Bg7 13. Rcl Kf8 14. b4 g4 15. Ngl a5 16.
Na4 Qd8 17. b5 Ne7 18. Bd3 e5 19. dxe5 Bxe5 20. Ne2 Qd6 21. Kfl h5 22. Qb3 b6
23. Rdl Bb7 24. Nf4 Rh6 25. Kgl Rc8 26. Be2

Black to move
Solution:

26.... d4!

This break undermines support of the f4 knight and opens up the b7 bishop.

27. exd4 Bxf4 28. gxf4 Qxf4 29. Qe3?! Qxe3 30. fxe3 Rc2

lli %
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With White's pieces completely disorganized, the endgame is hopeless for him.

31. B fl Nf5 32. R el Ng3 33. Rh2 Nxfl 34. Kxfl Rf6+

( White resigned in view of 34. ... Rf6+ 35. Kgl g3 36. Rxh5 Rxg2+ 37. Khl
Re2+ -+ )
0-1
Endgames With Bishops of Opposite Colour

Kotov, Alexander - Botvinnik, Mikhail


URS-ch22 1955.02.19, D45

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bb4 7. 0 - 0 0 - 0 8. Bd2


Bd6 9. b3 Qe7 10. Qc2 e5 11. cxd5 cxd5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nd4 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Qe5
15. f4 Qe7 16. Racl Rd8 17. Rc2 Bc5 18. Na4 Bxd4 19. Qxd4 Bf5 20. Bb4 Qd7 21.
Rc3 Ne4 22. Reel b6 23. Rfdl f6 24. Nc3 Nxc3 25. Rxc3 Be4 26. Qd2 Qg4 27. h3
Qg6 28. Q2 h5 29. Kh2 a5 30. Ba3 b5 31. Bc5 b4 32. Reel Rdc8 33. Bd4 Bc2 34.
Rd2 Be4 35. Rddl Qf5 36. Qe2 Qg6 37. Qf2 a4 38. Rxc8+ Rxc8 39. bxa4 Qe8 40.
Rd2 Qxa4 41. Qh4 Rc2 42. Rxc2 Qxc2 43. Qg3 Qxa2 44. Bxf6 Qxg2+ 45. Qxg2
Bxg2 46. Bd4 Be4 47. Kg3 Kf7 48. h4 g6 49. Kf2 Ke6 50. Ke2 Kf5 51. Kd2 Kg4 52.
Bf6 Kg3 53. Be7 Kh3 54. Bf6 Kg4 55. Be7 Bf5 56. Bf6 Kf3 57. Be7 b3 58. Kc3 Be6
59. Bc5

Black to move
Solution:

59.... g5!!

This must have come to Kotov as shock.

60. fxg5

( 60. hxg5 loses very quickly: 60. ... h4 61. f5 Bxf5 62. Kxb3 h3 63. Bd6
Kxe3 -+ )

60.... d4+!

The 'b' pawn must be saved. Material balance does not matter much as Black
gets two distant passers, 'b' and 'h' pawns. White gets two passers too, but the
bishop on 'e6' is acting according to the principle of one diagonal! It stops
both White pawns and defends his own 'b3' pawn, along the a2-g8 diagonal. If
White's pawn was on a4 instead of d4, he would not lose.

61. exd4 Kg3

This is why Black played 'g6-g5' - now the 'h4' pawn cannot be protected by
the bishop from e7.

62. Ba3 Kxh4 63. Kd3 Kxg5 64. Ke4


iH % JJ 11
illn IP lifi
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64.... h4

With two passed pawns - Black wins easily.

65. Kf3 Bd5+

Black resigned since after 66. Kf2 Kf4 the black king marches to c2. Modern
computer engines have a hard time correctly understanding the position and
finding Botvinnik's moves. A lot of his play is very conceptual and requires
calculation deeper than 10 moves ahead, but can be described verbally by a
human. Botvinnik aimed for having 2 distant passed pawns that his opponent's
bishop could not block from the same diagonal. At the same time he was not
concerned about giving opponent passed pawns - as long as his own bishop
could stay on the same diagonal while guarding them

0-1
Unzicker, Wolfgang - Botvinnik, Mikhail
Varna ol (Men) qual-A 1962 , B08

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 0 - 0 6. Bf4 Nc6 7. d5 e5 8. dxe6


Bxe6 9. 0 - 0 Re8 10. R el h6 11. h3 g5 12. Be3 d5 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Nxd5 Qxd5 15.
c3 Qxdl 16. Rexdl Rad8 17. Bb5 Bd5 18. Nd4 Bxd4 19. Bxd4 a6 20. Bxc6 Bxc6 21.
R el f5 22. f3 Bb5 23. b4 b6 24. Rxe8+ Rxe8 25. a4 Bc4 26. a5 Re6 27. axb6 cxb6
28. Kf2 Kf7 29. R el Rxel 30. Kxel a5 31. bxa5 bxa5 32. g3 a4 33. Kd2 a3 34. Kc2
h5 35. h4

Black to move
1w10 IP
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/r77s 111Aa
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Solution:
9 1! illl
35.... f4!

This ensures that Black gets a passed pawn on the kingside as well.

36. Be5 Ke6 37. Bc7 gxh4 38. Bxf4 h3! 39. g4 h4 40. Bh2 Be2

( White resigned due to the following variation: 40. ... Be2 41. Kb3 Bxf3 42. Kxa3
Bxg4 43. Kb3 Kd5 44. Kc2 Ke4 45. Kd2 Kf3
mm
wm 8 8
i! B B
B H B B
H HI im
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46. Kel Kg2 -+ )

0-1
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Larsen, Bent
It 1967, A14

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. 0 - 0 0 - 0 6. b3 c5 7. Bb2 Nc6 8. e3 b6 9.


Nc3 Bb7 10. d3 Rc8 11. Rcl Rc7 12. Qe2 Rd7 13. Rfdl Re8 14. cxd5 Nxd5 15. Nxd5
Rxd5 16. d4 Qa8 17. dxc5 Rxdl+ 18. Rxdl Bxc5 19. Ng5 h6 20. Ne4 Bf8 21. Rd7 f5
22. Nd6 Bxd6 23. Rxd6 Nd4 24. Rxd4 Bxg2 25. Rd7 Bh3 26. f3 Rd8 27. Rxg7+ Kf8
28. Rh7 Qd5 29. Kf2 Qdl 30. Rh8+ Kf7 31. Rxd8 Qxd8 32. Qc2 Qd5 33. Qc7+ Ke8
34. Qb8+ Kd7 35. Qxa7+ Kc8 36. Qa6+ Kc7 37. Qc4+ Qxc4 38. bxc4 Kc6 39. Bd4
h5 40. a4 Kc7 41. c5 bxc5 42. Bxc5 Kc6 43. Bb4 Kb6

White to move
Solution:

44. g4!

White plays for creating a passed pawn on the kingside.

44.... hxg4 45. Kg3 e5

mm
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46. e4! fxe4 47. fxg4

Black resigned as his king and bishop are unable to contain White's distant
passed pawns.
1-0
Positions with bishops of opposite colour were particularly fitting Botvinnik's strategic
mindset, and for more examples of endgames with this material balance - you can study
my book Bishop Endgames: Do Opposites Attract?
Other Examples

Tartakower, Saviely - Botvinnik, Mikhail


Staunton Memorial 1946.08.29, C01

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. c4 Nf6 6. c5 Be7 7. Bd3 b6 8. cxb6 axb6


9. 0 - 0 0 - 0 10. Nc3 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Ne5 Bxd3 14. Qxd3 c6 15. Bg5
Nxg4 16. Nxc6 Nxc6 17. Bxe7 Nxe7 18. hxg4

m I
If

w

m
m 11 A
^in
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B ft
Black to move
Solution:

18.... f5!

This undermines the white kingside and gives Black an advantage.

19. R ael fxg4 20. Re5 Rf3 21. Qb5 Ng6 22. Rxd5 Qf6 23. Rg5 Rf8 24. Ne4 Qf4 25.
Qd5+ Kh8 26. Rh5 Rh3 27. Rxh3 gxh3 28. Ng3 Nh4 29. Qe4 Nf3+ 30. Khl Qxe4 31.
Nxe4 Rf4 32. Rcl h6 33. Rc3 g5 34. d5 g4 35. Re3 Rf5 36. Nc3 Rf6 37. Re6 Kg7 38.
Rxf6 Kxf6 39. d6 Ke6

The trapped position of the white king decided the game.

40. Nd5 Kxd6 41. Nxb6 h5 42. Nc4+ Kd5 43. Ne3+ Ke4 44. a4 Kd3 45. Nd5 Ke2 46.
Nf4+ Kxf2 47. Nxh3+ Kfl 48. Nf4 g3 49. Ng2 KT2 50. a5 h4 51. Nf4 Kfl 52. Ng2 h3
53. Ne3+ K f l 54. Ng4+ Ke2 0-1
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Kan, Hia Abramovich
URS-ch20 1952, A30

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. g3 b6 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. 0 - 0 g6 6. d3 Bg7 7. e4 0 - 0 8. Nc3 Nc6


9. N el Ne8 10. Bg5 Nc7 11. Qd2 Nd4 12. Bh6 e6 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. Nc2 Nxc2 15.
Qxc2 Rb8 16. Radi Qe7 17. d4 cxd4 18. Rxd4 Bc6

White to move
Solution:

19. e5!

While this is not technically a break, this pawn sacrifice gives White a
dominating position.

19. ... Qc5 20. Qd2 Qxe5 21. Bxc6 dxc6 22. R el Qf5 23. g4 Qf3 24. Re3 Qf6 25.
Rd7

White is dominating the 'd' file and Black's pieces are very restricted.

25.... Rfd8 26. Red3 Rxd7 27. Rxd7 Ne8 28. Ne4 Qf3 29. Qd4+ Kg8 30. Ng5 c5 31.
Nxf3 cxd4 32. b3 Rc8 33. Nxd4 Nf6 34. Rxa7 Nxg4 35. Rb7
White's queenside majority will decide the game.

35. ... Rd8 36. Nf3 Rdl+ 37. Kg2 Ral 38. h3 Nf6 39. Ng5 Rxa2 40. KE3 Rb2 41.
Rxb6 h6 42. Ne4 Nd7 43. Rb5 Kf8 44. Ke3 f5 45. Nd2 Ke7 46. c5

l
ln wm B Hi
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n iiM
812 jH Hi illl
H HI HI
tfrT T T sA

mt HI BA

2


46.... Nf6

(46. ... Ne5! gave better defensive chances.)

47. Rb7+ Kd8 48. Nc4 Nd5+ 49. Kd4 Nc7??

( 49. ... Rxf2 50. c6 g5 51. Ke5 + -)


1-0
While in the Cintron-Botvinnik example, a central break is used in a relatively quiet
position - to increase the stronger side's space advantage, in Botvinnik - Schmid - an
unexpected pawn moves serve the purpose of opening up the position so that the better
developed side can take advantage of it.

Botvinnik, Mikhail - Schmid, Lothar


Leipzig ol (Men) fin-A 1960.11.03 , A43

1. d4 c5 2. d5 d6 3. e4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 Nf6 6. Nc3 Na6 7. 0 - 0 Nc7 8. a4 a6 9.


Nd2 Bd7 10. Nc4 b5

White to move
Solution:

11. e5!

This is of course better than passively retreating with the knight.

11.... dxe5

( 11. ... bxc4 12. exf6 Bxf6 13. Bxc4 +=)

12. axb5 axb5 13. Rxa8 Qxa8 14. Nxe5 b4

White to move
Solution:

15. d6!

Once again, Botvinnik does not retreat and instead opens up the game to
utilize the fact that Black has not completed his development yet.

15. ... bxc3 16. dxc7 Qc8 17. Bf4! cxb2 18. Nxd7 Nxd7 19. Bb5 Bd4 20. c3 e5 21.
cxd4 exf4 22. Bxd7+ Qxd7 23. Qe2+ Kf8 24. Qe5 Kg8 25. Rbl f6 26. Qxc5 Kg7 27.
Rxb2 Re8 28. Rbl f3 29. gxf3 Qh3 30. Qc6 1-0
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Bisguier, Arthur Bernard
Hastings 6162 1961, A14

1. g3 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. 0 - 0 Be7 5. c4 0 - 0 6. b3 c6 7. Bb2 b5 8. d3 Nbd7 9.


Nbd2 Bb7 10. Qc2 Rc8 11. e4 Qb6 12. e5 Ne8 13. d4 c5

White to move
Solution:

14. b4!? cxb4 15. c5 Qc7 16. Qd3

White has committed to a long term pawn sacrifice that provides him with extra space
and pressure on the queenside.

16.... Bc6 17. R fel g6 18. a3 bxa3 19. Qxa3 Ra8 20. Bc3 Bd8 21. Nb3 Ng7 22. Ba5
Qb7 23. Bxd8 Rfxd8 24. Na5 Qc7 25. Re2 a6 26. N el Nf5 27. Qc3
27.... b4?!

Black is unable to bear the pressure and tries to free himself up, but that just
leads to further material losses.

( More resilient was 27. ... Nb8 )

28. Qxb4 Rdb8 29. Qc3 Rb5 30. Rea2 f6 31. Nxc6 Qxc6 32. Bfl

m ! 1 1 11
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32. ... fxe5 33. Bxb5 Qxb5 34. dxe5 +- d4 35. Qd3 Qxc5 36. Rxa6 Rxa6 37. Qxa6
Qxe5 38. Nd3 Qf6 39. Qc8+ Nf8 40. Ra8 Nd6 41. Qd8 Qxd8 42. Rxd8 Nb5 43. Ne5
Kg7 44. Nc6 1-0
Botvinnik, Mikhail - Fischer, Robert James
Varna ol (Men) fin-A 1962 , D98

White to move
8 . m
HI B jPf
H i iHH
H i n SI iHI
H m II
111 B ill HH
IK W 1
B IP 111
Solution: 52. h5!

( 52. Rxg6 b4 was likely lost for White as Black would have maintained two
connected passed pawns on the queenside.)

52.... Ra3+ 53. Kg2 gxh5 54. Rg5+ Kd6 55. Rxb5

iU B 8
pi iiif K lUl
A lllf
im llHi
H B
B 11 IB
IK IP P /sTTTTfs'

Hf B W IB
Two rook pawns are not very dangerous in this position, which is a draw according to
latest theoretical endgame tablebases. In practice White rather easily achieved a draw
as well.

55.... h4 56. f4 Kc6 57. Rb8 h3+ 58. Kh2 a5 59. f5


Advancing the 'f pawn is the simplest way to secure draw, because in fact White does
not need that pawn.

59. ... Kc7 60. Rb5 Kd6 61. f6 Ke6 62. Rb6+ Kf7 63. Ra6 Kg6 64. Rc6 a4 65. Ra6
Kf7 66. Rc6 Rd3 67. Ra6 a3 68. Kgl

Neither side is able to achieve progress. A historic game!


Taimanov, Mark E - Botvinnik, Mikhail
URS-chT 1963, E43

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Nf3 b6 6. Bd3 Bb7 7. 0 - 0 0 - 0 8. Na4 Qe7


9. a3 Ba5 10. b3 d5 11. cxd5 exd5 12. Bb2 Nbd7 13. Qe2 Ne4 14. Racl Bc6 15. Nc3
Bxc3 16. Bxc3 a5 17. Bb2 Rfc8 18. Ne5 Bb7 19. Rfdl Ndf6 20. f3 Nd6 21. a4 Rc7
22. Rc2 Nfe8 23. Rdcl f6 24. Ng4

Black to move
Solution:

24.... c4! 25. bxc4 dxc4 26. Be4?!

( An exchange sacrifice 26. Rxc4 Nxc4 27. Bxc4+ was a better chance to
maintain balance.)

( 26. Bxc4+ Rxc4 27. Rxc4 Ba6! -+ was the point of Black's play.)

26.... Nxe4 27. fxe4 Qxe4 28. Rxc4 Rxc4 29. Qxc4+ Bd5 30. Qe2 h5 31. Ne5 fxe5
32. dxe5 h4 33. h3 Qxa4 34. Bd4 Qd7 35. Qh5 b5 36. R fl Nc7 37. Rf4 Bf7 38. Qf3
Bd5 39. Qh5 Qe8 40. Qxh4 Ne6 41. Rf5 Qg6 0-1
Kramnik
I mentioned in the introduction, inspiration for this book came from studying Vladimir
Kramnik's collection of games, which contained a special section on the pawn
breakthroughs. As Magnus Carlsen recently commented, Kramnik's games from the
1990's are something that every chess player should study - including today's Kramnik
himself. I will here show the most typical examples of that sharp aggressive style that
values extra space, and piece mobility at the same time. Kramnik's pawn sacrifices
seem to come out of nowhere, but, in fact, are based on the hidden potential power of
his pieces that gets unleashed when the position opens up.
Kings Indian Structures

Kramnik, Vladimir - Gelfand, Boris


Beograd 1997, E97

White has a space advantage, but his pawn on e6 is weak, so he must act decisively 17.
b5!

This pawn move is essential in this line of the King's Indian Defense, as
White is trying to obtain the d5 square for his knight. Kramnik's games in the
1990's were instrumental in establishing the basic ideas for White in this
variation.

17.... Qe8

( 17. ... cxb5 gives the white knight both the b5 and d5 squares, so it is almost
never an option in this structure.)

18. bxc6 bxc6


19. c5!

The pawn is given up to break Black's pawn structure, and to open up


diagonals for White's two bishops, especially his dark squared one.

19.... Qxe6 20. Ba3 dxc5 21. Na4 Nb6 22. Nxc5 Qf7 23. Q cl Qc4 24. Bdl

Now the light squared bishop also comes to life, and it is clear that despite the game
transforming into an endgame with White down a pawn, his active pieces give him a
superior position. Kramnik pressed on from here for a long time, and only missed a full
point from a completely winning position.

24.... Qxcl 25. Rxcl Rfc8 26. Bb3+ Kh7 27. Ne6
27. ... a5 28. Nxg7 Kxg7 29. Be6 Nbd7 30. Redl Ra7 31. Bb2 Rcc7 32. f3 Kf8 33.
Rd6 Rab7 34. Ba3 c5

^1^ 111
HIXWm n
Jlm i m
1! 11 A M!
m Am in
H H uplif
A ll if
\k 11 ill

B w
S sT T T JsV

The advantage of the two bishops is based, among other factors, on the idea that one of
them can be given up at an appropriate moment.

35. Bxd7 Nxd7 36. Rxg6 Kf7 37. Rxh6 c4 38. g3 fxg3 39. hxg3 c3
40. Rc2 Nf8 41. Bd6 Rbl+ 42. Kf2 Rb2 43. Bxc7 Rxc2+ 44. Ke3 Rxa2 45. Bxe5 c2
46. Rc6

46.... Ra3+ 47. Ke2 Ra2 48. Kd2 Ne6 49. f4 cl=Q+ 50. Kxcl Ra4 51. Kd2 Rxe4 52.
Bc3 Ke7 53. Kd3 Ra4 54. f5
54.... Nd8 55. Ra6 Nf7

White retained one of his bishops and a pair of passed pawns, so he now had great
winning chances if he played the precise move.

56. Ra7+

( 56. Bg7! Ra3+ 57. Ke2 Rxg3 58. f6+ Ke8 59. Ra8+ Kd7 60. Ra7+ Ke6 61.
Re7+ Kf5 62. Rxf7 + -)

56.... Ke8 57. Ra8+ Ke7 58. Ra7+ Ke8 59. Rxa5 Rg4 60. B el Ke7 61. B2 Ng5 62.
Ra6 Kf7 63. Ke2 Ne4 64. Ra5 Rg5 65. KE3 Nxf2 66. Kxf2 Kf6 1/2-1/2
Kramnik, Vladimir - Kasparov, Garry
PCA/Intel-GP 1994, E93

'Vliir
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Again, Kramnik has two bishops in the King's Indian defense and needs to activate
them. 24. c5!?

This opens up the a2-g8 diagonal for the white light squared bishop. Another
purpose of this move is to undermine the d6 pawn, so that White can break
down the black f6-e5-d4 pawn chain. With one pawn move, Kramnik
increases the power of both of his bishops!

24.... Bxd5

This relieves the pressure on the f6 pawn, but allows White to open up the
bl-h7 diagonal, and the white queen begins to eye the black kingside.

( 24. ... Nxc5 25. fxe5 Bxd5 26. exd5 Qe8 27. exd6 +=)

25. exd5 Nf5


( 25. ... Nxc5 26. Qxg6+ + -)

26. fxe5 ! Nxh4 27. exd6

Now White has a dynamic pawn mass in the center that is well worth a piece.

27.... Ne5 28. Rxd4 Nf5


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29. Rxf5! gxf5 30. Qxf5 Kg7 31. Bxh5

Now White has 5 pawns for the rook, but the real reason Kramnik grabbed the
d4 and h5 pawns was not to gain material, but to activate his pieces. He now
created a threat that Kasparov clearly overlooked.

31.... Rh8?

32. Rg4+! Kf8

( 32. ... Nxg4 33. Qg6+ Kf8 34. Qf7# )

33. Qe6! Rb7

(33. ... Rxh5 34. Rg8# )

34. c6
The pawns are rolling up the board, and the counter sacrifice is not sufficient.

34.... Rxb2+ 35. Kxb2 Qb6+ 36. Ka3!

36.... Qc5+ 37. Ka4 Qc2+ 38. Kb5 Qb2+ 39. Ka6 Qe2+ 40. Kb7 Rh7+
ill iH
lip lHI
illll
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" IT a
41. d7

A spectacular performance by Kramnik especially given that it was played in


a rapid game, against his main rival. The piece play that won him the game
was well supported by the key pawn breaks that helped to establish central
dominance.

1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Hlescas Cordoba, Miguel
Dos Hermanas 1999.04.11, A84

mm
w JSSsss// set;

m A P H 4 . A

A H A H % lill
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H I m

1 1 m a H I

1 1 m i w

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f U

Even though White has a space advantage, Black's position seems constrained but solid.
However Kramnik is the master of finding weak points in opponent's camp in such
structures. 26. c5!

White uses his space advantage to undermine the opponent's pawn chain in the
center, in particular - the e5 pawn.

26.... dxc5

(26. ... cxd5 27. cxd6 Nb5 28. exd5 Nxd6 29. Rxe5 + -)

27. d6! ? Ne6 28. Nd3 cxb4 29. Nxe5


Suddenly White has a strong far advanced passed pawn

29.... Nc5 30. Rel Na4 31. Nd3 Re8 32. e5

w mm i a
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32.... Bf5 33. Rfl

( 33. exf6! Bxd3 34. d7 Rf8 35. Be4 Bb5 36. Bf5 + -)

33.... Bxd3 34. Rxf6 Nc5

(34. ... Rxe5 35. d7 + -)

35. e6 Rxe6
( 35. ... Nxe6 36. d7 Rd8 37. Rxe6 was another way to give up the piece for
the pawn with also not a very clear endgame. 37. ... Rxd7 )

36. d7 R el+ 37. R fl Rxfl+ 38. Bxfl Nxd7

w U Hi

s
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White now is up a piece for three pawns, but Kramnik very carefully blocks those
pawns and converts his advantage.

39. Bxd3 Ne5 40. Bf5 c5 41. Be4 c4 42. Bxb7 b3 43. Nbl Kg7 44. Bxa6 Nc6 45.
Bxc4 Nxa5

iflil Hi m
f HI n A
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With the black knight trapped on the edge of the board - the end is near.

46. Bd5 Kf6 47. KT2 Ke5 48. Bg8 h5 49. Ke3 b2 50. Nd2 Kf5 51. h3 h4 52. g4+ Kf6
53. Bd5 Ke5 54. Be4 Ke6 55. Kd4 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ulibin, Mikhail
Chalkidiki 1992, E ll

White opens up the game to exploit the power of his two bishops. 36. g5!? hxg5 37.
hxg5 Nxg5 38. Bc6 Rc8 39. Rhl

As compensation for the pawn, White's rooks are also obtaining a lot of
potential - on both sides of the board.

39.... Kg8 40. Raal Nce6 41. Rh4

White is threatening to double on the 'h' file, so Black has to create an escape
square for his king.

41.... f6 42. Rgl


42.... KF7 43. Bd5 Ke8 44. Rh8+ Nf8 45. f4 Ne6 46. Kf3 f5 47. Rg6

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Black's pieces are tied up in too many ways, so White begins to pick up the fruits of his
labour.

47.... Nc5 48. Bxg7 Rf7 49. Bxf8

( 49. Bxf8 RxfS 50. Rxf3+ KxfS 51. Rg8+ Ke7 52. Rxc8 + -)
Queens Gambit Declined Structures

Kramnik, Vladimir - Lputian, Smbat G


EU-chT (Men) 1992 , D37

17. d5!

White's play is based on the power of the bishop+queen battery and the
strength of the rest of his pieces.

17.... Rd8

( 17. ... cxd5 18. Nxd5 Qxc2 19. Nxe7+ Kh8 20. Bxc2 + -)

( 17. ... exd5 18. Nxd5 + -)

( 17. ... Qc8 attempts to cover up e6 but fails due to 18. d6 Bd8 19. d7 + -)

18. Rfel

White does not have to hurry as Black effectively is running out of moves.

18.... Kh8 19. dxe6 Rxdl 20. Rxdl fxe6 21. Ne4 g6 22. Nc5
Black's position has too many weaknesses, and his pieces are too passive to be able to
save the game.

22.... Bxc5 23. Qxc5 Rg8 24. Ba2 Kg7 25. Bxe6 Rf8 26. Nd7 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ehlvest, Jaan
Tal mem 1995 , D44

I. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9.


Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. g3

( 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 c5 13.d5is them ainline.)

II.... Qa5 12. exf6 Ba6 13. Qf3

This move frees up the dl square, so maybe that is why Kramnik chose it over
Bg2.

( 13. Bg2 b4 14. Ne4 c3 )

13.... Rc8

( Another benefit to delaying Bg2 is illustrated by the following line: 13. ...
b4 14. Ne4 c3 15. bxc3 bxc3 16. Bxa6 + /-)

14. Be2 b4 15. Ne4 c5

16. d5!!

This opening of central files exploits the boxed position of the black king on
e8. Kramnik also calculated very well that the tactics work in his favour.

16.... exd5 17. Qf5

( Even better was 17. Rdl dxe4 18. Qxe4+ Kd8 19. Bg4 Rc7 20. 0 - 0 Bb7
21. Qe5 with inevitable Rel and Qe8. )

17.... dxe4 18. 0 - 0 - 0 Rc7 19. Bg4

19.... Bb5

( Not much better was 19. ... Qxa2 20. Rxd7 Qal+ 21. Kd2 Qxb2+ 22. Kel
Qbl+ 23. Rdl and White wins because Qe5 threat is deadly.)

20. Qxe4+ Kd8 21. Bxd7 Bxd7 22. Rhel Bh6

(22. ... Qxa2 23. Qe8# )

23. Qa8+

( Kramnik is not interested in regaining material with 23. Bxh6 and goes
straight for the mate.)

23.... Rc8
24. Rxd7+! Kxd7 25. Qd5+ 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Beliavsky, Alexander G
Dortmund 1995, D53

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Qc2 0 - 0 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. Rdl dxc4 8. e4


Nb6 9. h4 Nfd7 10. Be2 Re8 11. Be3 c6 12. e5 Nf8 13. Ne4 Bd7 14. 0 - 0 f5 15. exf6
gxf6 16. Bh6 Ng6 17. Nc5 Qc7 18. Bxc4 Nxc4 19. Qxc4 Bf8 20. Bxf8 Nxf8 21. Rfel
Re7 22. Qc3 Rae8 23. Ne4 Rf7

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24. d5!

In a classic spirit, the isolated queen pawn advances with a decisive effect.

24.... e5

The only defense against Nxf6 but White wins an exchange anyway

(24. ... exd5 25. Nxf6+ + -)

25. dxc6 Qxc6 26. Nd6 +- Qxc3 27. bxc3 Re6 28. Nxf7 Kxf7 29. Nd2 Ra6 30. Ne4
Bc6 31. Rd6 Nd7 32. Redl Ke7 33. R6d2 Ra3 34. f3 Ba4 35. Rcl Bc6 36. Nd6 Nc5
37. Nc4 Ra4 38. Ne3 Ne6 39. Rcdl Kf7 40. Nf5 Nc5 41. Rd8 Rxa2 42. h5 Ne6 43.
Rh8 Ng5 44. Rc8 Rxg2+ 45. Kfl 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Gelfand, Boris
Novgorod 1997.06.11, D15

Space advantage is on White's side, so he begins with the break that is essential to
utilize the strength of his position 34. e4! Nxc5

( 34. ... dxe4 35. Bxf7 Rxf7 36. Nxe4 Qxb4 37. Nxg5! +- reveals one of
Kramnik's ideas. 37. ... fxg5 ( 37. ... Rxe2 38. Nxf7+ + -) 38. Rxe8+ )

35. bxc5 Qc7 36. e5


36.... Qxa5

( again Black's king's position suddenly becomes a factor if Black wants to


exchange in the center. 36. ... fxe5 37. dxe5 Rxe5? 38. Rxe5 Rxe5 39. Qd4 +-
)

37. e6 Bg8 38. Ra2 Qc3 39. Qe3 Qxe3+ 40. Rxe3

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White achieved what is essentially a position with an extra piece, but later misplayed it
and only drew.

40.... Kg7 41. KT2 Kf8 42. Ke2 Ra8 43. Kd2 Ke8 44. Kc3 Kd8 45. Kb4 Kc7 46. Rc3

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46. ... Ree8 47. Ka5 Ra7 48. Rb2 Rd8 49. Ba4 Re8 50. Re3 Rc8 51. Rb6 Re8 52.
Bb3 Rd8 53. Bdl Raa8 54. Reb3 Ra7 55. Bf3 Kc8 56. Re3 Kc7 57. Rb4 Raa8 58.
Bg2 Kb8

59. Bxd5! Rxd5 60. e7 Bf7 61. e8=Q+ Bxe8 62. Rxe8+ Ka7 63. Re7 Rb8 64. Rf7
Rdd8 65. Rxf6 Re8

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66. Re6?

( 66. Rg6 + -)

66.... Rxe6 67. fxe6 Re8 68. d5


This break only gives a draw.

68. ... cxd5 69. Rb6 Rc8 70. Kb4 a5+ 71. Kb5 a4 72. c6 bxc6+ 73. Rxc6 Kb7 74.
Rb6+ Kc7 75. Rc6+ Kb7 76. Rb6+ 1/2-1/2
When studying the games of Vladimir Kramnik and Mikhail Botvinnik, I find there are
quite a few similarities in their opening selection, strategic methods, and overall styles
of play The approach of studying openings deeply and both in terms of specific
variation, as well as the skill of playing for subtle positional nuances that are prepared
at home was first developed by Botvinnik and today has been taken up to the machine
level by Kramnik with his razor sharp and deep opening preparation. The similarities
are likely not accidental, as Botvinnik was the teacher of Kramnik in the late 1980s, so
there is a personal connection.
Queens Gambit Accepted - Defeating Anand

Around the turn of the Millennium, Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand played
several topical games in the Queen's Gambit Accepted, that involved the isolated pawn
structures, and Kramnik scored a good plus score in those games. The following three
games all involved a d4-d5 push at the appropriate moment.

Kramnik, Vladimir - Anand, Viswanathan


1999, D27

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. 0 - 0 a6 7. Bb3 cxd4 8. exd4


Nc6 9. Nc3 Be7

10. R el

White occupies the open file, which could have a benefit of extra pressure on
the bishop on e7. In subsequent games Kramnik switched to 10. Bg5.

10.... 0 - 0 11. a3 Na5 12. Bc2 b5


White to move
Solution:

13. d5!

White's best chance to get an attack; he must play it quickly, before Black has
a chance to defend the diagonal with Bb7.

13.... Re8

Black defends the bishop in preparation of the opening of the 'e' file.

( 13. ... exd5 14. Bg5 Contains the deadly threat of Qd3, with ideas of Bxf6 or
Rxe7 andN d5.)

14. Bg5 h6 15. Bh4 Nxd5 16. Nxd5 exd5 17. Qd3 g6
18. Qe3! Be6 19. Qxh6 Bxh4

20. Bxg6! Qf6! 21. Bh7+ Kh8 22. Bg6+ Kg8 23. Qh7+ Kf8 24. Nxh4
The bishop on g6 is immune, and White threatens to continue the attack.

24.... Qg7 25. Qxg7+ Kxg7 26. Bd3 +=

White has an extra pawn in the endgame, and he eventually prevailed.

26. ... Nc4 27. b4 Nb2 28. Bfl d4 29. Nf3 Rad8 30. Rebl Nc4 31. Rdl Bg4 32. Rd3
Nb2 33. Rxd4 Bxf3 34. Rxd8 Rxd8 35. gxf3 Rc8 36. Ra2 Na4 37. Rd2 Rc6 38. f4
Nb6 39. Kg2 Nc4 40. Rd3 Nb2 41. Rg3+ Kh8 42. Be2 Rc2 43. Bh5 Rc7 44. f5 Kh7
45. Be2 Kh6 46. h4 Rc2 47. Bf3 Nc4 48. Bd5 Nd6 49. Rd3 Kg7 50. Bf3 Nxf5 51. Bb7
Nxh4+ 52. Kgl Re2 53. Bxa6 Re5 54. Rc3 Nf5 55. Rc5 Rxc5 56. bxc5 Nd4 57. c6
Nxc6 58. Bxb5 Na5 59. Kg2 Kf6 60. KE3 Ke5 61. Ke3 Nb7 62. Bc4 f6 63. a4 Na5 64.
Bf7 Nc6 65. Kd3 Kd6 66. Ke4 Ne7 67. a5 Kc5 68. a6 Nc8 69. Bh5 Kd6 70. Bf3 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ana nil, Viswanathan
2001, D27

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Bxc4 c5 6. 0 - 0 a6 7. Bb3 cxd4 8. exd4


Nc6 9. Nc3 Be7

10. Bg5

This is a more forceful approach compared to Rel that Kramnik played in the
earlier game against Anand in 1999.

10.... 0 - 0 11. Qd2 Na5 12. Bc2 b5 13. Qf4

Threatening Bxf6, and Qe4, with double attack against a8 and h7.

13.... Ra7

( 13. ... Bb7 14. Qh4 g6 15. d5 Bxd5 16. Ne4 Bxe4 17. Bxe4 also allows
White to develop some serious initiative: 17. ... Rc8? 18. Radi + -)

14. Radi Bb7


White to move
Solution:

15. d5!

With the white rook already on dl, this breakthrough is particularly


dangerous.

15.... Bxd5

( 15. ... Nxd5? 16. Bxh7+! Kxh7 17. Rxd5! Bxd5 18. Qh4+ Kg8 19. Bxe7
Qxe7 20. Ng5 +- forces Black to give up his queen to avoid getting mated.)

16. Nxd5 exd5 17. Qh4


17.... h5

( 17. ... h6? 18. Bxh6 gxh6 19. Qxh6 gives White a crushing attack, as he
threatens Ng5, as well as Rdl-d4-g4.)

18. Rfel

Bringing the last piece into the game is essential for developing the initiative.
In an open position, the pawn does not count for much yet.

18.... Nc6 19. g4!

White is regaining the pawn, and continues to attack using the g pawn.

19.... Qd6 20. gxh5 Qb4

21. h6!

Another pawn move that breaks down Black's pawn structure on the kingside
and creates more outposts for white pieces.

21.... Qxh4 22. Nxh4 Ne4 23. hxg7! Rc8

(23. ... Kxg7? 24. Nf5+ + -)

24. Bxe7 Nxe7 25. Bxe4 dxe4 26. Rxe4 Kxg7 27. Rd6
White is up a pawn and has a dominating position, winning the game from here rather
easlily.

27.... Rc5 28. Rg4+ Kh7 29. Nf3 Ng6 30. Ng5+ Kg7 31. Nxf7 Rxf7 32. Rdxg6+ Kh7
33. R6g5 Rxg5 34. Rxg5 Rc7 35. a3 b4 36. axb4 Rcl+ 37. Kg2 Rbl 38. Ra5 Rxb2
39. Ra4 1-0
Kramnik, Vladimir - Ana nil, Viswanathan
2002, D27

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 e6 3. c4 dxc4 4. e3 c5 5. Bxc4 Nf6 6. 0 - 0 a6 7. Bb3 cxd4 8. exd4


Nc6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. Bg5 0 - 0 11. Qd2 Na5 12. Bc2 b5 13. Radi Nc4 14. Qf4 Ra7 15.
Ne5 Rc7 16. Nxc4 bxc4 17. Bxf6 Bxf6

18. d5

As usual in these lines, the opening of the'd' file is very dangerous for Black's
position

18.... e5

Black tries to keep the center closed, but now White keeps a powerful passed
pawn.

19. Qf3 Rb7 20. Qe4 g6 21. Qxc4 Rxb2 22. Bb3 Bg5 23. d6 Be6 24. Qa4 Bxb3 25.
axb3 Qb6 26. Qg4 Bf4 27. Nd5
The powerful pawn on d7 ties up Black completely, and the game soon ended in White's
favour.

30.... Rb8 31. R fel Qb6 32. h4 h5 33. Rd6 Qc5 34. Qf6 Qf5 35. Qxf5 gxf5 36. Rxa6
Rfd8 37. Rd6 1-0
Sicilian Sveshnikov Structures

The next several examples are taken from the same opening - Sveshnikov Variation of
the Sicilian defence, which Kramnik had great results with in the 1990s.

Lutz, Christopher - Kramnik, Vladimir


Bundesliga 9495 1995 , B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5


9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 0 - 0 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4
Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. 0 - 0

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This position is one of the tabias in this line of the Sveshnikov variation, and Black's
basic choice is whether to prepare f7-f5 with g6, or to play it immediately.

17.... g6 18. Qe2 Bd7 19. Rfal Bh6


20. g3

g2-g3 was unnecessary as it only weakens light squares around the white king,
and will make it easier for Black to open up files and diagonals on the
kings ide.

20.... f5 21. exf5 gxf5 22. b4 e4 23. bxa5 Ne5

24. Rb4 Rxb4 25. cxb4 f4

Now 26. Qxe4 Bf5 27. Qe2 looks dangerous for White after 27... Bg4.
26. Nd4

White has obtained two passed pawns on the quenside, so how can Black now ensure
that the attack against the white king does not get stalled? Black to move
Solution:

26.... e3! 27. fxe3 f3

( 27. ... fxg3 was also possible, but instead Kramnik prefers to use the 'f
pawn as the attacking unit.)

28. Qa2

( 28. Q2 Ng4 =+ )

28.... f2+ 29. Kg2 Qe8

Kramnik intends to invade with a queen on the light squares, via h5 and h3, so
with his next move White tries to cover up the light squares on the kingside.

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30.... Ng4 31. Bf3

( 31. Qd2 Qe4+ 32. Bf3 Rxf3! 33. NxG Ne5 34. Qxf2 Qxd5 also led to a
difficut position for White, where he still had to struggle defending a
weakened king against Black's two bishops.)

31.... Nxe3+ 32. Nxe3 Qxe3 33. Qx2 Bh3+ 34. Kgl Qc3 35. R el

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35.... Bd2

By pawn breaks in the center Black opened up the position for his bishops
and forced White to surrender. The rook guards against Be3 and Qcl, and
therefore can't move. White's two extra pawns on the queenside are
completely useless.
Anand, Viswanathan - Kramnik, Vladimir
Hoogovens 1998.01.26, B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5


9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. Bd3 Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. 0 - 0 0 - 0 14. Qf3!?

With his last move White tries to control the light squares, intending tostrengthen the
grip with c2-c3 and Na3-c2-e3, so Black's response is nearly forced.

14.... f5! 15. exf5 d5

Kramnik chooses the most energetic approach to activating his bishops,


before the a3 knight has a chance to re-enter the game.

( 15. ... Bb7 16. Be4 d5 17. Bxd5 e4 18. f6! Bxf6 19. Qg3+ Kh8 20. Bxb7
Qxb7 21. c3 += was also possible )

16. Qxd5 Bb7 17. Qb3 e4


18. Be2 Qg5! 19. Radi!

( 19. Nc4 e3 ( 19. ... Bd5 20. Qe3 ) 20. Nxe3 Rae8 allows Black to maintain
compensation despite being down three pawn. So great is the power of two
bishops in a position with a lot of open files and diagonals! )

19.... e3 20. f3 Be5 21. Nc4! Bf4

( 21. ... bxc4 22. Qxb7 Qh4 23. f4 Bxf4 24. g3 Bxg3 25. Qg2 + -)

22. Rd4!

The only move.


22.... Bd5!? 23. Rxf4

( 23. Rxd5 Qh4 24. g3 Bxg3 25. hxg3 Qxg3+ 26. Khl Qh3+ 27. Kgl Black
has to take a draw 27. ... Kh8 28. Rd4 Rg8+ 29. Rg4 h5 30. Nxe3 +- ( 30.
Qc3+ Kh7 31. Qf6 hxg4 32. fxg4 ( 32. Qxf7+ Rg7 ) 32. ... Rxg4+ 33. Bxg4
Qxg4+ 34. Kh2 Rg8 ) )

23.... Qxf4 24. Qxe3 Qxf5 25. Bd3 Qf6 26. Nb6 Rad8 27. Nxd5 Rxd5

28. Qe4 Qd4+ 29. Qxd4 Rxd4 30. R el

The storm has settled, and in this roughly equal endgame the players agreed to
a draw.

1/ 2 - 1/2
Polgar, Judit - Kramnik, Vladimir
Hoogovens 1998.01.29, B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5


9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 0 - 0 12. Nc2 Bg5 13. a4 bxa4 14. Rxa4 a5 15. Bc4
Rb8 16. b3 Kh8 17. 0 - 0 g6 18. Khl Bh6 19. Qe2 Bd7 20. Raal f5 21. exf5 gxf5 22.
f4 Bg7 23. Radi Ne7 24. Nce3 Ng6 25. Qh5 Qe8 26. fxe5 Qxe5 27. Be2 f4 28. Nc4
Qxh5 29. Bxh5 Bb5 30. Bxg6 hxg6 31. Rf3 Be5 32. Nxe5 dxe5 33. c4 Bc6 34. R el
Rfe8 35. g3 g5 36. gxf4 exf4 37. Rxe8+ Rxe8

Now correct was 38. K gl.

38. h4?

Black to move
Solution:

38.... a4! 39. bxa4?

( Better was 39. hxg5 )

39.... Re4 40. Kgl

( 40. Rc3 led to an endgame that was winning for Black: 40. ... Rxc4 41. Rxc4
Bxd5+ 42. Kgl Bxc4 43. hxg5 Kg7 44. Kf2 Bd5 -+ )

40.... Rxc4 41. Rd3 g4 -+ 42. a5 g3 43. Rdl f3 44. Ne7 f2+ 45. Kfl Bb5 46. Kg2 Rc2
0-1
Shirov, A. - Kramnik, V.
Linares 2000, B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5


9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. Bd3 Ne7 12. Nxe7 Qxe7 13. 0 - 0 0 - 0 14. c4 f5 15.
Qf3 Re8 16. R fel b4 17. Nc2 f4 18. Be2 Rb8 19. b3 Kh8 20. Qh5

20.... d5!!

In the face of a positional threat of Be2-g4, Kramnik comes up with an


unexpected positional pawn sacrifice, the purpose of which is explained by
Black's next move.

(20. ... Rg8 21. Bg4 + /-)

21. cxd5

(2 1 . exd5 Rb6 would also give Black good play on the kingside, and give
him an additional option of opening up the g7 bishop with e5-e4.)

21.... Rb6 22. Radi!

( Now of course 22. Bg4? is impossible because of 22. ... Rh6 -+ )

22.... a5
23. d6!

The pawn is returned to activate White's own bishop, as well as to take the
sting out of Black's idea of transferring the rook to the kingside with Rh6.

23.... Rxd6 24. Rxd6 Qxd6 25. Rdl Qg6 26. Qxg6 hxg6 27. Bc4 Be6 28. Bxe6 Rxe6
29. Rd5 Rc6

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The endgame is roughly equal and ended as a draw.

30. N el Rcl! 31. Kfl f5 32. f3 Bf6! 33. KT2 1/2-1/2


Leko, P. - Kramnik, V.
Linares 2000, B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5


9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. g3 f5 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Bg2 Be6 14. c3 0 - 0 15. 0 - 0
Rb8 16. Nc2 a5 17. Qe2 N Ne7 18. Radi f5 19. Nce3 Kh8 20. a3 Qd7 21. Nxe7
Qxe7 22. Nd5 Qf7 23. Rd2 e4 24. Rfdl Be5 25. f4 exf3 26. Qxf3 Bxd5 27. Rxd5
Qg7 =+

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28. Rfl f4 29. g4 Rg8 30. h3 h5 31. Qe4 Qf6 32. Bf3 Rg7 33. R2 Qh4 34. Rdd2
Rbg8 35. Rh2 Re7 36. Rde2
Black to move
Solution:

36.... b4!

The opening of files here is essential for activating Black's rooks. This break
also plays on the strength of the e5 bishop, which is clearly superior to its
white counterpart.

37. axb4?

A time-trouble mistake.

37.... axb4 38. Rhg2


38.... bxc3?

(38. ... Ra7! gave Black a strong attack, making it more difficult for White to
defend than in the game.)

39. bxc3 Ra7 40. Ra2!

This is why it was important to keep the 'b' pawns on.

40.... Rag7 41. gxh5! =

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1/ 2 - 1/2
Recent Examples

Korobov, Anton - Kramnik, Vladimir


FIDE World Cup 2013 2013.08.24, E30

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Bg5 c5 5. d5 d6 6. e3 exd5 7. cxd5 Nbd7 8. Bb5 h6


9. Bh4 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Qa5 11. Bxd7+ Nxd7 12. Ne2 0 - 0 13. Be7 Re8 14. Bxd6
Qa6 15. Bf4 Nf6 16. 0 - 0 Bf5 17. R el Rad8 18. d6 Qc6 19. Ng3 Bh7 20. h4 Nd5 21.
Qf3 Nxc3 22. Qxc6 bxc6 23. Ne2 Nxe2+ 24. Rxe2 c4 25. Rcl Bd3 26. Rb2 g5 27.
hxg5 hxg5 28. Bxg5 Rxd6 29. Rb7 Rd5 30. Bf6 Ra5 31. Ral a6 32. g4 Be2 33. g5
Rd5 34. Kg2 Rf5 35. f4 Bd3 36. KT2 Be4 37. Rdl Rd5 38. Rxd5 cxd5 39. Ra7 Bd3
40. Bc3 Re6 41. KE3 Kf8 42. a4 Ke8 43. a5 Rc6 44. Kf2 Bf5 45. Kel

W'in 11
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Bi wk Ipf j||
s m illl
" r > '"

m iiif
H ii-
Black to move
Wm B
i ||||
11
15 illH HI
i s n ifil
Ii Aof
Igl
iH
Hi HI
11
11H llH f l

ill 1 ^1y
If
Solution:

45.... d4! ?

Although this move is speculative, Kramnik sacrifices a pawn to activate his


rook and bishop. Objectively it may be not the best, but for a human player
passive defense is intolerable, so that justifies his decision.

46. exd4 Re6+ 47. Kd2 Bd3 48. d5 Rd6 49. Kcl Bg6 50. Bb4 Rxd5 51. Rxa6 Kd7 52.
Rf6 Rb5 53. Bc3 Rf5 54. Rb6 Rxf4

P 111
.
J

Hi 11 i IliP
181A Hi
mm';-1
B A m 2- B
HI Ilf iHI

y ^li!
B
The active rook is able to eliminate white pawns, achieving a draw now.

55. a6 Rf2 56. a7 Be4 57. Kdl Ra2 58. Rf6 Ke8 1/2-1/2
Alexander Ipatov - Vladimir Kramnik
FIDE World Team Championship 2013.12.02 , A46

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 h6 4. Bh4 d6 5. e3 g5 6. Bg3 Nh5 7. Bd3 Bg7 8. Nbd2 Qe7
9. c3 Nd7 10. Qc2 a6 11. 0 - 0 - 0 b5 12. Nb3 Rb8 13. Kbl 0 - 0 14. Nfd2 f5 15. f3
Nxg3 16. hxg3 c5 17. Na5 Rb6 18. f4 d5 19. b4 c4 20. Be2 Nf6 21. Rdfl Bd7 22. Qdl
g4 23. Kb2 Rf7 24. Q cl Bf8 25. Kc2 Rh7 26. Rh2 Be8 27. Rfhl Nd7 28. Qb2 h5 29.
Kcl

Black to move
Solution:

29.... e5 30. dxe5 Nxe5 31. fxe5 Qxe5

Black has only a pawn for a piece, but White's pieces are badly placed, and
all of his pawns are vulnerable.

32. N fl Bg7 33. a3

( Defending the pawns was not really possible in the long run: 33. Kd2 Re6 34. Nb7
Bh6 35. Nc5 Bxe3+ 36. Nxe3 Qxe3+ 37. Kdl Re5 -/+

wm f t 11
AH
m illP fHIi
i H iK
llli i i p i jlH?. i
o i iHUUr i in
it / f W; m
r77Y
illl S
wr B w
Black has still more ways to improve his position with Rhe7, Qxg3 and d5-d4. )

33.... Qxc3+ 34. Qxc3 Bxc3 35. Bdl Re6 36. Bc2 Bg6
Both White's rooks and knights are effectively out of the game for many moves to come,
so the current material balance is virtually irrelevant here.

37. Nd2 Rxe3 38. Rdl Bf6 39. Rhhl d4 40. Rdel Rhe7 41. Rxe3 Rxe3

In view of inevitable material losses, White resigned. A true positional


masterpiece by Kramnik!
Svidler, Peter - Kramnik, Vladimir
World Chess Championship Candidates 2014.03.15 , A35

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bg7 7. Bg2 0 - 0 8. 0 - 0


Nxd4 9. Qxd4 d6 10. Qd3 Be6 11. Bd2 Qc8 12. b3 Bh3 13. Racl Bxg2 14. Kxg2
Qc6+ 15. f3 e6 16. Rfdl Rad8 17. Bf4 Rd7 18. Qe3 b6 19. Rd3 Rc8 20. Qd2 Ne8 21.
e4 a6 22. e5 h6 23. h4 Rcd8 24. Rdl b5 25. c5 Qxc5 26. Ne4 Qb6 27. Nxd6 Bf8 28.
h5 Nxd6 29. exd6 g5 30. Be5 Rc8 31. Rcl Rxcl 32. Qxcl Qb7 33. g4 b4 34. Qc4
Bg7 35. Bg3 Qb5 36. B el Qe5 37. Bg3 Qe2+ 38. Bf2 Bf8 39. Qxa6 e5 40. Qc4
Qxa2 41. Qc6

1 11 m B
11 s Wki
m n o Hi if
a H H ma
m m aS
11 a S W/ A ip
m n *
iHl IIP H
Black to move
Solution:

41.... e4 42. fxe4 Qe2 43. Rf3 Rxd6 44. Qe8 f6 45. e5

45.... f5 46. gxf5


Black to move
mi w 11 Kffi.
H

m11 llilm
n llii
77

m QAH!a 'mm

m Hi
J a li n
llH IP t t

iHi M IS
Solution:

46.... Rf6!!

Paradoxically, this is the only move that keeps Black alive!

( After 46. ... Ra6 47. e6! the black rook would be cut off from the kingside
and Black would lose: 47. ... Ra7 48. f6 + -)

47. Kg3

(47. e6 Qe4 = )

47.... Qe4

Now the game ends with a repetition.

48. Bc5 Q el+ 49. Bf2 Qe4 50. Bc5 Q el+ 51. Bf2 1/2-1/2
Other Players - Pawn Breaks in Different
Stages of the Game
We can run into pawn breaks in either every day tournaments, or while studying chess
classics. While it is more common to see them in the middlegame, they can occur at any
stage of a game, as the last few examples show:

The Opening

Ding Liren - Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


Biel 2013.07.25, A35

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. g3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 g6 7. h4 Bg7 8. h5 e6 9.


h6 Bf6 10. Ne4 Be7

White to move
Solution:

11. b4 cxb4 12. Bb2 0 - 0 13. Rcl Bd7 14. Nc5 Rc8 15. 0 - 0 b6 16. Nxd7 Qxd7 17.
e4 Nf6 18. Qe2 Ng4 19. Bh3 Nxh6 20. Qe3 g5 21. Nxg5 f5 22. exf5 Nxf5 23. Qxe6+
Qxe6 24. Nxe6 Bc5 25. Rc4 h5 26. d4 Nfxd4 27. Nxd4 Ne5 28. Bxc8 1-0
The Middle game

Alekhine, Alexander - Schwartz, N.


London sim 1926 , E62

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 0 - 0 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. d5 Na5 8. Qd3 b6


9. Nd4 Nb7 10. Nc6 Qd7 11. 0 - 0 a5 12. b3 Nc5 13. Qc2 Bb7 14. h3 Rae8 15. a3
Bxc6 16. dxc6 Qc8 17. b4 axb4 18. axb4 Na6 19. Ra4 Nb8 20. b5 h6 21. Ra7 e5 22.
Kh2 Kh7 23. f4 Re7 24. fxe5 Rxe5 25. Bf4 Ree8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Bxd5 Qd8 28. h4
Qe7 29. e3 Kh8 30. Kg2 f5 31. R el Kh7

Question: With his last move Kh8-h7 - Black assumed that bl-h7 diagonal is safe for his
king - how can Alekhine prove the opposite?
Answer: by opening the central files and exploiting the fact that Black pieces are either
overstretched defending c7 or tied up on completely passive positions.

32. e4! Be5 33. exf5 gxf5

34. c5! bxc5

(34. ... dxc5? 35. Rxe5 + -)

35. b6!

With the last 4 moves - White's pawns have completely torn apart Black's
position and what appeared to be a solid structure - is crumbling under
pressure.

35.... Rc8 36. Qc3! Rfe8 37. Bxe5 dxe5

38. Qxe5! Qxe5 39. Rxe5 Rxe5 40. Rxc7+ Rxc7 41. bxc7 Re8 42. cxb8=Q Rxb8

43. Be6! +-

The combination is over, and White remains up a piece.

43.... Kg6 44. c7 Rf8 45. c8=Q Rxc8 46. Bxc8 1-0
Kasparov, Garry - Duer, Arne
WchT U26 1981, D55

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg5 0 - 0 6. e3 h6 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. Qd2 c6


9. h4 Nd7 10. g4 Re8 11. 0 - 0 - 0 b5 12. cxb5 cxb5 13. Bxb5 Rb8 14. g5 hxg5 15.
hxg5 Bxg5 16. Nxg5 Qxg5 17. f4 Qf6 18. Qh2 g6

Question: What should White play now?


Answer: Pawn is attacked by 3 pieces on f5, but there is no good way to capture it.

19. f5 Qg7

( 19. ... exf5 20. Nxd5 Qg7 21. Bxd7 Bxd7 22. Ne7+ Rxe7 23. Qxb8+ + -)

( 19. ... gxf5 20. Rdgl+ Kf8 21. Qd6+ Re7 22. Nxd5 exd5 23. Qxf6 Nxf6 24.
Rh8+ Ng8 25. Rgxg8# )

( 19. ... Qxf5 20. Qh8# )

20. fxe6 fxe6 21. Rdgl Rf8 22. Bd3 Rf6

Mi. ii 11
Hi 4 K
Sit I i B * H

Ml B i ifH j|l|k
B a B I
if 8
H ill i i
^ 5 o'A '--:

U A n ,1

SsssrssS

ip H
White has a decisive attack, but one more pawn thrust is needed to bring the 'c3' knight
into the game.

23. e4 e5 24. Nxd5 Rf7 25. Rxg6! 1-0


The Endgame

Granda Zuniga, Julio E - Gin, Anish


FIDE World Cup 2013 2013.08.19, A05

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. c4 c5 4. b3 b6 5. Bb2 Bg7 6. Bg2 Bb7 7. 0 - 0 0 - 0 8. d4 cxd4


9. Qxd4 d6 10. Nc3 Nbd7 11. Qe3 a6 12. h3 Re8 13. Rfdl Rc8 14. Rabl Ba8 15. a4
Rc5 16. Ba3 Rc8 17. N el Bxg2 18. Nxg2 Qc7 19. g4 h6 20. Qf3 Ne5 21. Qf4 Qb7
22. Ne3 Nh7 23. Qe4 Qb8 24. Bb2 Ng5 25. Qg2 Ne6 26. Ned5 Nd7 27. e3 Nec5 28.
Bal Qa8 29. h4 Qc6 30. g5 h5 31. Nf4 Ne5 32. Qxc6 Rxc6 33. Kg2 Kf8 34. Ncd5
Rb8 35. Ne2 Rcc8 36. Bd4 Rb7 37. Nec3 Rcb8 38. f4 Ng4 39. Bxg7+ Kxg7 40. KE3
Re8 41. b4 Nd7 42. a5 bxa5 43. bxa5 Ra7 44. Ne4 Kf8 45. Nb6 Nb8 46. c5 dxc5 47.
Rbcl f5 48. Nxc5 e5 49. Ncd7+ Nxd7 50. Rxd7 Rxd7 51. Nxd7+ Kf7 52. Rc7 Re7
53. fxe5 Ke8 54. Nf6+ Kf7 55. Rxe7+ Kxe7 56. Nd5+ Kd7 57. Kf4 Nf2 58. Nb4 Ke6
59. Kf3 Ng4 60. Nxa6 Nxe5+ 61. Ke2 Nc4 62. Nc5+ Kd6 63. Nd3 Kc6 64. Nf4 Ne5

JJ.. Hi p -

w ill!! Ifff i iHI


H B i fsfi
B ill m V

IB IB H
^1 m
HI
White to move
Solution:

65. e4!

After this move - White breaks through with his king and wins the endgame.

65.... fxe4 66. Ke3 Nc4+ 67. Kxe4 Nxa5 68. Nxg6 Kd6 69. Nf4 Nc4 70. Nxh5

wm JJ 8%
ii llll
1H "A . mm im

US fif&
H * lHm B s' v.\'
ill
^1
m IP
With two extra pawns, White's win is not in question, but it takes a bit of careful play.

70. ... Nd2+ 71. Kf4 Ke6 72. Ng3 Nc4 73. h5 Ne5 74. Ne4 Nd3+ 75. Ke3 Ne5 76.
Ng3 Nc4+ 77. Ke4 Ne5 78. Ne2 Nc4 79. Kf4 Kf7 80. Ng3 Ke6 81. Nf5 Kf7 82. g6+
Kg8 83. h6 1-0
About the Author
Roman Jiganchine has been a chess coach of several Canadian junior players. His
students in the early 2000s won many Canadian championship youth titles in various age
groups. Roman has contributed to "Chess Life", Russian "64" magazine, and for several
years had an endgame column in Canadian chess magazine "En Passant" (later renamed
into "Chess Canada"). He received his early chess education in the Moscow Petrosian
Chess school, which brought to the chess world grandmasters such as Morozevich,
Riazantsev, and the Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk. Roman moved to
Vancouver, Canada in 1998, and represented Canada in the 2000 World Youth Under 18
Championship in Spain.
Symbols and Abbreviations Used in the
Book
Position Evaluation

go- Unclear: It is unclear who (if anyone) has an advantage.


= - Even position: White and Black have more or less equal chances.
+= - White has slightly better chances.
+ /- - White has much better chances.
+ - - White has a clear advantage.
=+ - Black has slightly better chances.
-/+ - Black has much better chances.
i- - Black has a clear advantage.

Move Evaluation

11 - Blunder
? - Mistake
?! - Dubious move
!? - Interesting move
! - Good move
!! - Brilliant move
Table of Contents
CopvRight Information
Introduction
Contents
Practical Value for a Tournament Player
Schlechter
Attacking the King
Schlechter. Carl - Blackburne. Joseph Henry
Schlechter. Carl - Gunsberg. Isidor
Schlechter. Carl - Suechting. Hugo
Schlechter. Carl - Showalter. Jackson Whipps
Qlland- Adolf Georg - Schlechter. Carl
Schlechter. Carl - Janowski. Dawid Markelowicz
Schlechter. Carl - Tarrasch. Siegbert
Endgame Breakthroughs
Schlechter. Carl - Martinolich. Giovanni Jr
Schlechter. Carl - Duras. Oldrich
Schlechter. Carl - Perlis. Julius
Schlechter. Carl - Brody
Botvinnik
Isolated Queen Pawn Positions
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Petrosian. Tigran V
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Tolush. Alexander V
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Menchik. Vera
Undermining the Center
Pogrebissky. Iosif - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Moisieev. Oleg L
Medina Garcia. Antonio Angel - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Opening up the 'c' File
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Ragozin Viacheslav
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Vidmar. Milan Sr
Opening a Diagonal
Ratner. Boris - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Smyslov. Vassily
Denker. Arnold Sheldon - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Ilyin Zhenevsky. Alexander - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Creating a Passed Pawn
Rivlin - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Bronstein. David I
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Kottnauer. Cenek
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Larsen Bent
Exchange Slav Structures
Cintron Rafael - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Denker. Arnold
Letelier Martner. Rene - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Endgames With Bishops of Opposite Colour
Kotov. Alexander - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Unzicker. Wolfgang - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Larsen Bent
Other Examples
Tartakower. Savielv - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Kan Ilia Abramovich
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Schmid. Lothar
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Bisguier. Arthur Bernard
Botvinnik. Mikhail - Fischer. Robert James
Taimanov- Mark E - Botvinnik. Mikhail
Kramnik
King's Indian Structures
Kramnik. Vladimir - Gelfand. Boris
Kramnik. Vladimir - Kasparov. Garry
Kramnik. Vladimir - Illescas Cordoba. Miguel
Kramnik. Vladimir - IJlibin. Mikhail
Queen's Gambit Declined Structures
Kramnik. Vladimir - Lputian Smbat G
Kramnik. Vladimir - Ehlvest. Jaan
Kramnik. Vladimir - Beliavsky Alexander G
Kramnik. Vladimir - Gelfand. Boris
Queen's Gambit Accepted - Defeating Anand
Kramnik. Vladimir - Anand. Viswanathan
Kramnik. Vladimir - Anand. Viswanathan
Kramnik. Vladimir - Anand. Viswanathan
Sicilian Sveshnikov Structures
Lutz. Christopher - Kramnik. Vladimir
Anand. Viswanathan - Kramnik. Vladimir
Pol gar. Judit - Kramnik. Vladimir
Shirov. A. - Kramnik. V
Leko. P. - Kramnik. V
Recent Examples
Korobov. Anton - Kramnik. Vladimir
Alexander Ipatov - Vladimir Kramnik
Svidler. Peter - Kramnik. Vladimir
Ding Liren - Maxi me Vachier-Lagrave
Alekhine. Alexander - Schwartz. N.
Kasparov. Garry - Duer. Arne
Granda Zuniga. Julio E - Giri. Anish
Other Players - Pawn Breaks in Different Stages of the Game
About the Author
Symbols and Abbreviations Used in the Book