AVRO 1938, Round 12: Euwe puts a stop to Botvinnik's momentum

by Klaus Besenthal
6/14/2020 – After his brilliant win over Capablanca, Mikhail Botvinnik certainly hoped to win the AVRO tournament in the Netherlands, but just one round later the 27-year-old turned in an inexplicably weak performance against Max Euwe (the other ex-world champion in the tournament, left in the picture) and lost a short game. With all the other games of round twelve drawn, Paul Keres remains at the top of the standings table a half point ahead of Reuben Fine, while Botvinnik, with two rounds left to play, is a full point behind the leader.

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AVRO 1938 - Round 12

In his black game against Doctor Euwe, Botvinnik made a serious mistake during the opening phase, after which he lost the game miserably:


Mikhail Botvinnik

Immediately after his masterpiece against Capablanca Mikhail Botvinnik suffered a severe setback against Max Euwe

Reuben Fine's performance in the second half of the tournament has been considerably worse than his performance in the first half. After his defeat against Max Euwe, the American preferred to stabilize his play against Salo Flohr with a quick draw:


Reuben Fine

Reuben Fine could still win the tournament despite his current run of bad form

Paul Keres defended his lead in the standings with a draw against world champion Alekhine, but this game could have ended differently — first Alekhine, and later Keres, could have obtained the win. So the draw was unsatisfactory, albeit not unfair:


Paul Keres

Paul Keres is leading the event with two rounds to go

Capablanca and Reshevsky also drew, but this game was no longer relevant to the fight for tournament victory:


Results of round 12

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

Standings after round 12





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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