Botvinnik vs. Euwe 1934-35 Hastings Christmas Tournament

I’m not entirely clear on what Botvinnik’s mantra was, but for Euwe it was trying to get his opponent (or waiting for it) to overextend.  He actually uses that word to described Botvinnik as overextending as White in their 1934 Leningrad game (which was a draw).

I’m coming to the conclusion that the greatest player of all time was perhaps Emanuel Lasker, at least if you judge him among his contemporaries.  In some regards I could say the same thing of Karpov since Kasparov was not his contemporary, but was rather much younger than him – people forget these sort of details, but Karpov dominated his genre even more than Kasparov did his.  Really, Karpov up 5-0 against Kasparov should have put that baby to rest in 1984 when he had the chance.  Kasparov is 12 yrs younger than Karpov!   Incidentally, Karpov is 8 yrs younger than the late Fischer.  Kasparov has a higher winning percentage but Karpov has been playing for 54 years!  The only reason people have overlooked this is because Kortchnoi has been playing for 70 years!  Gee-Zus!

Anyway, Lasker was the sin qua non of getting his opponents to lose by overextending, while he knew how to more safely extend his position than his opponents (and so probably got the benefit of having his opponents “believe” his moves more often as well).

First, I like how Black completely equalizes against this e4 English opening.

16.f4  I think White is already going wrong here as even f3 would be better, but I really like 16.Rfd1!? with the idea later of possibly playing Bxh6 gxh6, Qh6 and Rd1-d3-g3

17. Nxd5?! This can’t be right.

18. f5? Even 18.Bf2 with idea of 19.Bh4 looks better than this

18…Bd6! Winning a pawn.

Now watch what Euwe does next with that …Nf6.  He’s one of the best grinders that I’ve ever witnessed; even Botvinnik and Alekhine were no match when it came to try to survive against Euwe’s grinding ways, from a pawn deficit.

One last yet important note:  The highest winning percentage on Chess.com of the biggies is Capablanca at 74%, then Alekhine at 73.2%, Fischer at 72.2%, Lasker at 71.4%, Kasparov at 69.9%.  By comparison, Karpov is at 64.9%, and Kortchnoi at 62.4%.

In Kasparov’s defense, he would say that his opponent’s were the toughest, and also Kasparov is known for offering draws in advantageous positions in order to clinch a match or tournament, as he did with Karpov on more than one occasion, for example – in contrast to Carlsen.  Incidentally, both Kramnik, Carlsen’s, and Anand’s winning percentage are only at 61.5%!  Aronian’s is at 61.2%.


One thought on “Overextending

  1. It is an interesting game, very fine play by Euwe.
    I think my style while playing with stronger opponents got quite close.
    I published my Monday’s game.

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