Botvinnik-Vidmar: Catalan From the Past

Botvinnik-Vidmar: Catalan From the Past‎

NM GreenLaser
8 | Opening Theory

The Anand-Topalov World Championship Match has seen the use of the Catalan Opening. The following game and notes will show its use by the then future World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, World Champion Alexander Alekhine, and the great Paul Keres. Botvinnik (1911-1995) was at the height of his powers when he met Milan Vidmar Sr. (1885-1962) in 1946. Vidmar was already a great player for forty years, but would quit competing after this event.

The Open Catalan with 4...dxc4 has been used in the Anand-Topalov match. That is the variation Vidmar used against Botvinnik. Instead of developing a bishop with 5.Bg2, which is now more popular, Botvinnik brought out the queen with 5.Qa4+ to recover the pawn. Vidmar played a simplifying line to trade queens. Botvinnik and the famous guests in the notes show how to keep the initiative in queenless middle games.

I have used notes mainly from Botvinnik and added explanations and what I believe are improvements. There are also complete games and fragments of games.

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