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Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik was the sixth World Chess Champion. He was one of the most prolific champions of all time, winning the title on three separate occasions. He is known as the father of Soviet Chess and of computer chess. Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik was born in Kuokkala near Vyborg, in what is now the Repino district of St. Petersburg, Russia on August 17, 1911. He was taught chess by a friend when he was twelve years old. He became instantly enamored with the game and began playing whenever he could. In 1924 Botvinnik won his school championship. He then became a member of the Petrograd Chess Assembly where he began playing and was taken under the wing of Soviet Chess masters.

In 1925 then-World Champion Jose Capablanca was touring in Russia. The young Mikhail Botvinnik was among those who played the champion in a simultaneous exhibition in Leningrad. Surprising Capablanca with his brilliant play, the fourteen year old Botvinnik scored his first of many wins against a world champion. The win encouraged the young Botvinnik who began playing in tournaments. In 1927 Botvinnik would win the title of national master. Botvinnik continued to progress under the training of Soviet master Abram Model. In 1931, at the age of twenty, Mikhail Botvinnik would win his first of many Soviet Championships. He would also win the Soviet Championship in 1933, 1939, 1941, 1945, and 1952.

By the mid-1930's Botvinnik had already proven himself among the best players in the world. He tied for 1st place in the Moscow 1935 Tournament, placing ahead of former world champions Emanuel Lasker and Jose Capablanca. He tied for first with Capablanca at Nottingham in 1936. In 1941 Botvinnik won the title of "Absolute Champion of the USSR" finishing ahead of Paul Keres and future world champ Vasiliy Smyslov. During this time, World War II intensified, putting a halt to major international chess tournaments for the next several years. After the war ended Botvinnik would win two major international tournaments and emerge as a legitimate world title contender. The current world champion, Alexander Alekhine died in 1946 while holding the title. This set up the 1948 World Chess Championship Tournament held in The Hague, Moscow. Five players were invited to compete for the title. Botvinnik would win the tournament convincingly, and in the process only lose two out of twenty games with a final score of 14 points. Mikhail Botvinnik became the sixth official World Chess Champion.


Mikhail Botvinnik




August 17, 1911


May 5th, 1985



Peak Rating



Botvinnik was a fighting world champion who defended the title frequently. He would hold the title from 1948 until 1963 with only two brief interruptions where he lost the title but would quickly regain it in a rematch. His first title defense came in 1951 match against David Bronstein. The two played to a 12 to 12 draw and Botvinnik retained his title. In 1954 he once again drew 12 to 12 to retain his title, this time against Vassily Smyslov . In 1957 Smyslov would take his revenge and defeat Botvinnik 12 ½ to 7 ½ becoming the seventh world chess champion. Botvinnik evoked his rematch clause and defeated Smyslov the following year. In 1960, Botvinnik would once again lose his title to the brilliant young talent, Mikhail Tal by a score of 12 ½ to 8 ½. Botvinnik once again took lessons from his defeat and would redeem himself and defeat an ailing Tal the following year in their rematch. Botvinnik would lose the title for good in 1963 vs. Tigran Petrosian. A change in FIDE rules no longer allowed a champion to automatically qualify for a rematch.

Botvinnik was not only a prolific world chess champion but is considered the father of Soviet Chess. He was arguably the games strongest player for a span of 30 years. His long tenure at the top and his mentoring of younger talent helped make the Soviet Union the dominant nation in chess throughout nearly all of the Cold War. With state sponsorship he founded the famous "Botvinnik School" that would find the brightest young talent in the USSR and groom and train them into future world champions. The Botvinik School indeed produced several world champions including: Anatoly Karpov, Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. Botvinnik was one of the first to realize the importance of preparation including physical fitness. He was also one of the first to experiment with computer chess. Botvinnik passed away on May 5th, 1985. His contributions to chess are countless. He was without a doubt one of the greatest world champions that ever lived.

Some Quotes on Botvinnik:
"Chess is the art of analysis."

"Chess is art that expresses the science of logic."

"There is no better place for learning to work independently and to extend your horizon than higher school."

On Botvinnik:
"All told, there is not a single weakness in his armor." – Rueben Fine

"My studies with Botvinnik brought me immense benefit, particularly homework assignments which forced me to refer to chess books and work independently." – Anatoly Karpov

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    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik Volume 3- RUSSIAN EDITION
    Volume 3
    Catalog Code: B0231IS

    Botvinnik's Chess Creativity, Volume 3 This third and final volume contains material relating to the years 1957-1967. Included are articles by Botvinnik in which he analyzes the results of matches for the world title (1958, 1961 and 1963.) The book contains three of his works: An essay ''Albion chess and other'' (1967), the article ''The Art of a chess'' and the work ''Fundamentals of Chess Algorithms.'' Also published is a review by article originator ''Endgame Botvinnik in batches.'' Most of the games are commented on by Botvinnik, a number of games includes comments by known Soviet and foreign players, the rest of the notes are by the originator. The publication covers the most games played by Botvinnik Chess in 40 years of activity, its commentaries, theoretical, analytical and historical works.

    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik Volume 3- RUSSIAN EDITION

    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik Volume 2 - RUSSIAN EDITION
    Volume 2
    Catalog Code: B0230IS

    This (second) volume is dedicated to the chess creativity MM Botvinnik, and includes materials (parts, articles, analyzes, studies) relating to the years 1941-1956.

    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik Volume 2 - RUSSIAN EDITION

    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik - RUSSIAN EDITION
    Volume 1
    Catalog Code: B0229IS

    The publication covers the most games played by World Chess Champion Botvinnik Chess in 40 years of activity, its commentaries, theoretical, analytical and historical works. This the first volume contains 283 annotated games for the years 1924-1940, in chronological order, articles on events of this period, the article ''On the definition of a combination.'' Also published is an introductory article by Mikhail Botvinnik (p. 5-113), that provides a list of the results of Botvinnik in tournaments, matches and team competitions.

    Chess Creativity of Botvinnik - RUSSIAN EDITION


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