A World Championship Queen Sacrifice! - Best Of The 50s - Botvinnik Vs. Smyslov, 1954

A World Championship Queen Sacrifice! - Best Of The 50s - Botvinnik Vs. Smyslov, 1954

SamCopeland
NM SamCopeland
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6

One of the greatest chess rivalries is Mikhail Botvinnik vs. Vasily Smyslov. Together, these two players contested three world championship matches, second only to the great rivalry between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. With one match draw and one match win apiece, the results were incredibly balanced with both players showing their strengths.

Despite the balanced results, the format favored Botvinnik as the reigning champion retained draw odds and the right to a rematch. As a result, Smyslov was only able to establish a one-year reign from 1957-58 while Botvinnik was champion for an impressive 13 years.

Smyslov's skill as a player was incredible piece harmony, and his victory in this game perfectly demonstrates his skill.

Top 10 Games of the 1950s

The game opens with the trendy King's Indian Defense. An aggressive ...Qg6?! offers tactical paths to Botvinnik who accepts the gauntlet. He even wins material, but allows Smyslov rich play in return for an exchange. The game culminates in 20...Bb7!! when Smyslov appears to have blundered, but actually the offer is a pretty queen sacrifice. Botvinnik immediately errs in accepting it, and in the ensuing tactical flurry, Smyslov gains three minor pieces for the queen, soon overwhelming Botvinnik's defense.

My annotations are below

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