The Radio Match Great Britain – URSS (1946)
The first game played by radio between Great Britain and
URRS took place
between June, 19 and June, 20 1946. It was the first event
organized by the
“Anglo – Russian” chess club and was recognized by both
According to the
newspaper, this match was also the opportunity to
the friendship between the two countries. The rooms, where
were played, were decorated with the flags of the two
countries, and many
Britain officials visited the place during the games.
M. Silkin, minister
of government, welcomed the players with a magnificent
speech that the English players will remember for ever.
development of chess in his country, he said that the
Members of the Parliament
used to play much more than in the past. He concluded by
MM. Bevin and Molotov could solve their different points of
view on a chessboard!
The players of the two
teams, listed from board 1 to board 12:
Miss E. Tranmer
Mrs R.M. Bruce
the second correspondence world champion, wrote an article
about this match, that was published in “Le Monde des
Echecs” in 1946. It is a very
interesting document that was probably not published (as far
as I know) outside URSS.
The defeat of the English
By V. RAGOZINE
that the “American Tragedy” can be avoided, wrote the
players in the letter they send to their soviet colleagues
when proposing a radio
match after the tournament played between USSR and USA. The
soviet team had
defeated the American with the astonishing score of 15 ½ to
4 ½. The chess world
was surprised. For many persons, this result was a shock,
and the American players
were not at all prepared to such a score. Obviously they had
underestimated their opponents.
The British players
did not make the same error. They had a good knowledge of
strength of the soviet team and they had well prepared all
the games. They had the
opportunity to carefully study the style and the opening
repertoire of each member
of the soviet team: the english and the american chess
magazines were full of games
played by the soviets and opening study analyzed by the
leading soviet masters
during the months preceding the match. All the games of the
tournament USRR – USA had been published in these magazines,
with deep annotations and analysis.
much more difficult for the players of the USSR to prepare
of this match. Some of the English players, such as
Alexander or Clyne,
did not take part to the major tournaments during the last
six years and
we could not study their games to be well prepared for the
English players were well prepared. The English master,
has played the Indian defense against Boleslavsky, a master
of this defense.
Golombek played a line where the queens are exchanged very
early in the game,
getting then a very quiet game. This tactic was successful,
and Golombek could
secure the draws in the two games.
team had two ladies players. This match was the first
tournament for the two soviet ladies. Belova and Rudenko
very good results, winning their four games. In the two
Valentine Belova, USSR lady champion, could prove her
technique against her opponent Miss. Tranmer. Ludmila
Rudenko won her
two games against Mrs. Bruss by a direct attack on the King
during the middlegame
Her second game was the shortest and the most spectacular
game of the match.
men, the best results were obtained by the grand masters
Alexander Kotov and Igor Bondarevski. They have won their
The grand masters Paul Keres, Salomon Flohr and André
have secured 1 ½ points out of the two games.
surprise has been the defeat of the USSR champion Botvinnik
the second game. Mikhail Botvinnik is a player having a
large variety of style.
He is as strong in calm positional games as in very tactical
and complicated positions.
players think that the win with Black is more valuable that
with the white pieces. Botvinnik has won more games with
with White in his tournaments. When playing Black, Botvinnk
plays complicate opening where it is very difficult to give
a correct assessment
of the position. But of course, Black has also to play very
carefully in such openings.
In the second game played against Alexander, Botvinnik
played a French defense
and get a position where both players had good chances for
sizing the attack.
He played a wrong move and was forced to play in defense.
Botvinnik does not
very often make mistakes, but in this particular case, the
lack of training during
more than a whole year could be felt. Botvinnik did not take
part to any
tournament since the 14th USSR championship
played in May 1945.
the first radio match between the URSS and the USA, the
in this second match took twice more time than an usual
The game Flohr – Firehearst lasted 22 hours over two days!
As long as
the radio technique will not permit the games to be played
in eight hours,
this type of games will be very tiring for the players.
English team be able to avoid the “American Tragedy”?
the percentage is not as disastrous as the American one, but
the defeat could not be avoided.
of soviet chess has won a prestigious victory in the radio
match URSS – Great Britain.
Miss E. Tranmer
Mrs R.M. Bruce
magazine published a photo of the soviet team who played in
game against the USA, and some of these members, amongst
played also in the match against Great-Britain.
Quiz : Are you able to
recognize all these champions ?
The two games played by
Alexander and Botvinnik have also been
published in Le Monde des Echecs (pages 261 – 262 &
C.H.O.D. Alexander – M. Botvinnik [C18]
F. Molnar "Le Monde des Echecs" (1946)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
preferred move of Botvinnik in the French, his first choice
4.e5 c5 5.a3
¥xc3+ 6.bxc3 ¤e7 7.£g4
Alexander is not intimidated and uses an aggressive move
¤bc6 8.¥d3 £a5 9.£d2 c4 10.¥e2 £a4
Pogrebysski - Botvinnik en 1939.
¦g8 9.£xh7 £a5?
will be the first? White wants to make the decision on the
whereas Black launches an attack on the Queen side. But the
as efficient as
due to the double threat
¤bc6 11.f4 ¥d7 12.£d3 dxc3 13.¤xc3 a6 14.¦b1 ¦c8 15.¥d2
16.£h3 b5 17.¥d3 ¤c4
and Black has the better game Lilienthal - Löwenfisch,
strong move. The defensive move
would lead to a similar game as in the preceding line.
should be tried.
be a complete resignation .
¤f8 14.£d3 ¤f5 15.¤xd4 ¤xd4 16.£xd4 £xc2 17.¥b5+
followed by the castle and White has an overwhelming
aggressive move. White attack can now hardly be refuted.
exchange sacrifice is mandatory. Black tries to escape from
struggle by dominating the center, but all tries will be
and Black position is completely blocked
and the Queen side castling is no more possible. Moreover
would be bad, in view of
15.£h5 and the
sacrifice of the
f7 pawn cannot be
avoided and Black is seeking for more space.
15...£xe5+ 16.¢d1 b6 17.¥d3
and Black game would be completely paralyzed.
king is in safety and the passed pawns become now very
¤e3+ 19.¢c1 £e4
threat of mate allows Black to win a pawn,
while White is continuing his development.
21.¦e1 ¤e5 22.£f4 ¤f3 23.¦e2 £h3
23...e5 24.¦xg2 exf4 25.g7 ¥e6 26.¦g6 ¥g8 27.¦f6
25.£f7 dxe3 26.g7
The little pawn is growing....
£g1+ 28.¢b2 £g3 29.¥g6 ¤d4
position is hopeless, and the rest
of the game is merely a question of technique.
30.g8£ ¦xg8 31.£xg8+ ¢c7 32.£h7 ¢d6
33.¥d3 e4 34.£h6+ ¢c7 35.¦xe3 £e5 36.¢a2
To unpin the King.
The Knight and the pawn are pinned.
d4+ 39.¦eb3 b6 40.£d2
To prevent the push
threats to win the Rook.
40...d3 41.¥g4 1-0
Black has no other choice than to resign.
Botvinnik,M – C.H.O.D. Alexander,C [E49]
I. Shernetsky " Le Monde des Echecs"
1.d4 ¤f6 2.c4
e6 3.¤c3 ¥b4 4.e3
This move has been first played by the grand-master
“young” grand-masters have adopted it, especially the young
such as Botvinnik, Reshevsky, Fine, Flohr et Lilienthal. For
a long period,
the best line against the aggressive “Nimzowitsch Defense”
c5 5.dxc5 ¤c6 6.¤f3
6.¥g5 £d6 7.e3 ¤e4 8.¥f4
has been the favorite line of play.
The great Akiba preferred
5.¤ge2 0-0 6.a3 ¥xc3+ 7.¤xc3
avoiding the doubled pawns, but the modern grand-masters
that the pawn complex
can be accepted, once Black
why Black tends to adopt the pawn formation
seems to create more problems to White.
5...¥xc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5
Probably better was
avoiding the possibility to have an isolated pawn at
But the missing Knight at
f6 makes White attack on
the King side much more efficient.
8.¥d3 0-0 9.¤e2 b6
Preparing the development of the Bishop on
a6 and not on
to exchange it against the very active white Bishop.
10.0-0 ¥a6 11.¥xa6 ¤xa6 12.a4
£d7 13.¥a3 ¦fe8 14.£d3
In order to provoke the pawn push
to release the tension on the Queen side where the four
black pawns are blocked by the three white pawns, and then
attack on the King side by playing
This move is probably the cause of Back problems.
We would have preferred
maintaining the tension
cold have played
15.£c2 ¤b8 16.¦ae1 ¤c6 17.¤g3
¤a5 18.f3 ¤b3 19.e4! £xa4
Played as in the well known game Botvinnik - Capablanca,
Black has won the
a4 pawn and White has to
that his initiative on the King side is worth the sacrifice.
games are almost identical, the sole difference
is that White has played his Bishop on
b2 and not on
wins a valuable tempo by playing
20...¤c5! 21.£f2? ¤d3
etc, or even
20...a5 21.e5 b5!
Ignoring the attack on the King side,
Black tries to use his pawn majority on the Queen side.
winning back the piece.
22...¦e6 23.exf6 ¦xd6 24.fxg7
b4 25.¦e5 £d7
26.f4 ¦e8 27.£e2 ¦de6 28.f5 ¦xe5 29.dxe5 £a7+
Black has no time to play
To give the
d4 square to the black
but it is too late to bring back this piece to defend the
31.f6 ¤d4 32.£e3
32...¦a8 33.£xc3 a4 34.£xd4!
This pseudo sacrifice could have been played at the previous
34...£xd4 35.¤f5 h5
Mandatory in view if the threats
36.¤xd4 ¦e8 37.¤f5 d4
37...¦xe5 38.¤h6+ ¢h7 39.g8£+
38...fxe6 39.¤h6+ ¢h7 40.f7
wins the game.
to the quiz :
First rank, sited from
left to right :
A. Kotov, V. Smyslov, M. Botvinnik, V. Ragozine et S. Flohr.
Second rank :
A. Lilienthal, I. Boleslavsky, V. Makaganov, I. Bondarevsky
et D. Bronstein.