Inspired by Kotov-Botvinnik

Inspired by Kotov-Botvinnik

Apr 8, 2016, 10:20 PM |

Kotov-Botvinnik, USSR Championships 1955 0-1

In one of the most instructive opposite coloured Bishop endings, Botvinnik played the inspired 59. ... g5!!

His idea is to ensure the White h-pawn can't be defended by his Bishop.

Black's Bishop will then be the master of the a2-g8 where it will not only guarding his b-pawn but preventing the White's pawn advances.

This concept inspired me in my own game on the White side of a Grunfeld.

Playing White in a Grunfeld, I achieved little out of the opening.

My opponent initiated exchange of Queens, which I did not deter from as his was more active.

However, in exchanging Rooks, he allowed his pieces to become passive. This was my priority in the following position.

"Your daughter's tied up in a Brooklyn basement " - Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G 

My number one priority here is to tie up my opponent and not let him become free.

23. Be4 prevents Black from playing Bb7

23. ... f5. White should not play 24. ef Nxf6 after which Black's Knight gains critical squares

24. Bc6 b5 26. Bc7 preventing Nb6 

What Ending Should White Aim For?

Critical moment in the game for White, where I spent most of my calculation time. I have improved my pieces to the maximum and restricted my opponent's activity.

By force, I looked at 34. Bxf8 after which Bxb7 is forced since 34. ... Kxf8 35. Nd6 wins the trapped light squared Bishop.

So 34. Bxf8 Bxb7 35.Bxb7 Kxf8 36. Bxa6.

White has won a pawn in an opposite coloured Bishop ending. I had to assess that this is won for White as he can create a second weakness.

Master of the Universe

My entire calculation was based on this move 40. Be2!

The Bishop not only blockades the e-pawn, but controls the Black pawns on the Kingside by cutting g4 and h5.

The idea is borrowed from this famous ending by Botvinnik against Kotov where he used the Bishop to control a key diagaonal.

Principle of Two Weaknesses

Here I exploit the principle of two weaknesses. Black is tied to the threat of the a-pawn advancing.

I can use the undefended e-pawn to gain time to switch my King to the f5 and penetrate to g6.

Black's King must guard against the advance of White e-pawn.

I am happy to exchange off e-pawns, provided i can gain the h-pawn. 

White must be careful to exchange off his h-pawn for Black's g-pawn. White must not exchange off his g-pawn for Black's g-pawn, else he will be left with the wrong coloured Bishop pawn.

Game Annotations and Analysis