Botvinnik, Mikhail URS - Kmoch, Hans



1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.c5 Be7 8.Bb5 O-O 9.Nf3 Ne4 10.Bxe7 Nxe7 11.Rc1 Ng6 12.O-O Bd7 13.Bd3 f5 14.b4

Let's take a look at the above position from a modem perspective and see if we can uncover the underlying logic. Euwe was being somewhat unfair in choosing this as an example of the merits of the queenside majority, because White has a whole raft of positional advantages, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the queenside majority. First of all, the backward e6-pawn and the resulting hole on e5 spring to the eye. True, at the moment the e6-pawn is shielded by the knight on e4, but this knight will probably not stay there forever since White will eventually be able to play f3 to force the knight into a retreat or an exchange. Then the e6-pawn will be fully exposed to attack along the half-open e-file. Secondly, Black has a bad bishop on d7 (see Section 30), which is severely restricted by the light-squared central pawn-chain. This bishop has very few prospects of activity. In the long run, it could emerge via e8 to h5, but this would involve moving the knight away from g6, which would allow Ne5 followed by f3. Black's chances of playing ... e5 are virtually zero as this would require control of e5 and reinforcement of d5, and even if Black succeeded, he would be left with an isolated d-pawn. It is true that the queenside majority is a further asset, because it gives White another possibility for active play. In addition to the plan of organizing f3, White also has the idea of simply advancing his pawn to b5, after which Black has to worry about c6 at some point. But the key point is that this advantage is peripheral to the overall assessment of the position. I don't criticize Euwe for his choice of this example, but I think it is misleading to focus on one rather minor aspect of the position and pretend that this is the sole reason why White has an advantage. Let's look at what happened in the game: 14. ... Be8?! 15.g3 15. ... Rc8 16.Re1 Qf6 17.a3 Ne7 18.Ne5 Qh6 19.f3 Nf2 20.Qe2 Nh3+ 21.Kg2 g5?
It's interesting to note that White's queenside pawns are basically still where they were in the previous diagram and that the queenside majority hasn't played any part in the game so far, except as a kind of lurking threat. On the other hand, Black's other positional defects have played a major role in the action. His e4-knight was displaced by f3, and now stands offside and immobile on h3, and White's knight occupies the hole in front of the backward e6-pawn, which is under heavy pressure along the halfopen e-file. 22.Nb5 Black's weakness on the dark squares becomes a significant factor. The knight cannot be allowed to reach d6, so Black has to exchange it, but then the bishop can come to d7 to exert further pressure on the e6-pawn. 22. ... Bxb5 23.Bxb5 Rf6 24.Bd7 Rd8 Now at last the queenside majority comes into its own. Black's forces are totally lacking in coordination and can do nothing to stop a queenside advance. 25.b5 Qh5 26.c6 Rh6 27.Kh1

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