AVRO 1938, Round 11: Botvinnik's masterpiece

by Klaus Besenthal
6/13/2020 – The victory of Mikhail Botvinnik (photo) over José Raúl Capablanca in the eleventh round of the AVRO tournament will be enjoyed by many generations of chess players to come. At the outset of the game, the 27-year-old single-mindedly implemented a crystal-clear strategy against the former world champion, based on a central advance; then, he launched the final attack on the king with two brilliant piece sacrifices. In the shadow of this brilliant game, the most important development was almost ignored: Paul Keres secured the sole lead after Reuben Fine conceded yet another defeat.

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AVRO 1938 - Round 11

Botvinnik's double piece sacrifice just before the final attack was of rare beauty. Not only did White give up material but he also managed to escape the endless checks of the black queen before securing the win. It is up for discussion what was more difficult to calculate — the sacrifices or the king's escape.

 

With this win, Botvinnik reached second place in the standings table, which he is currently sharing with Reuben Fine.

José Raúl Capablanca

Ex-world champion Capablanca is having a hard time at the AVRO tournament

Reuben Fine, who started the tournament so confidently, is not doing well at all: the American suffered his third defeat of the event, against former world champion Max Euwe. In an extremely sharp opening variation, Fine found himself in trouble after allowing his opponent's bishop onto the strong f5-square:

 

Reuben Fine

Reuben Fine has fallen behind a bit, but can still hope for tournament victory

In his game against Samuel Reshevsky, Paul Keres signed a draw to secure the sole lead in the standings. The young Estonian scored the half point after surviving a worse position:

 

Paul Keres

Three rounds before the end of the tournament, Paul Keres is in a good position to win

And what about the reigning world champion? Alexander Alekhine saw his opponent Salo Flohr missing a strong move, and then made the conversion to a win look easy:

 

Alexander Alekhine

Alexander Alekhine is not too far behind, but it will be difficult to finish ahead of the three strong players that are above him in the standings table with only three rounds to play

Results of round 11

S. Reshevsky ½-½ P. Keres
R. Fine 0-1 M. Euwe
M. Botvinnik 1-0 J.R. Capablanca
A. Alekhine 1-0 S. Flohr

Standings after round 11

 

Games

 

Links



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.

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