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Mikhail Botvinnik
Number of games in database: 1,184
Years covered: 1924 to 1983
Overall record: +568 -138 =466 (68.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      12 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (89) 
    E40 E48 E24 E45 E23
 King's Indian (67) 
    E67 E69 E62 E60 E72
 English (51) 
    A16 A15 A14 A13 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (41) 
    D37 D31 D30 D35 D38
 English, 1 c4 e5 (37) 
    A22 A28 A26 A25 A20
 Slav (32) 
    D10 D13 D19 D14 D11
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (88) 
    C18 C19 C15 C05 C01
 Sicilian (61) 
    B63 B62 B72 B58 B27
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C98 C90 C92 C68 C82
 French Winawer (46) 
    C18 C19 C15 C17
 Nimzo Indian (45) 
    E34 E21 E33 E38 E22
 Caro-Kann (40) 
    B12 B18 B19 B10 B15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Portisch, 1968 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Chekhover, 1935 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1936 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Keres, 1966 1-0
   Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1941 0-1
   Denker vs Botvinnik, 1945 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948 1-0
   A Yurgis vs Botvinnik, 1931 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948)
   Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Return Match (1957)
   Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Rematch (1958)
   Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1960)
   Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Return Match (1961)
   Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1963)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   Moscow (1947)
   Groningen (1946)
   Alekhine Memorial (1956)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   Hastings 1961/62 (1961)
   Moscow (1936)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   USSR Championship (1940)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Botvinnik! by amadeus
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by KingG
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   GOOD STILL TODAY by Imohthep
   1d410's favorite games by 1d410
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970 by uglybird
   botvinnik best games by brager
   BOTVINNIK'S BEST GAMES: VOL 2,1943-1956 by Malacha
   Botvinnik's best games by HOTDOG
   Botvinnik "100 Selected Games" by uglybird
   Match Smyslov! by amadeus
   1d410's favorite games2 by 1d410
   Botvinnik vs the World Champions Decisive Games by visayanbraindoctor

   Robatsch vs Botvinnik, 1962

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Mikhail Botvinnik
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(born Aug-17-1911, died May-05-1995, 83 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik was born in Kuokkala, near Viipuri (Today, Vyborg) in what was then Finland. He was raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He learned the game early and progressed rapidly, winning the 1st of his 6 USSR Championships in 1931; the other 5 victories were in 1933, 1939, 1944, 1945 and 1952. He also won the Leningrad tournament of 1934, the Absolute Soviet Championship in 1941, and the Sverdlovsk super tournament of 1943. Other significant achievements include equal first with Salomon Flohr in Moscow 1935, 2nd at Moscow 1936 behind Jose Raul Capablanca, equal first with Capablanca at Nottingham 1936, 3rd at AVRO 1938, and first at Groningen 1946 before playing for the World Championship in 1948. He also won the Tchigorin Memorial tournament of 1947 and came equal first with David Bronstein in the Alekhine Memorial of 1956.(1)

With the death of Alexander Alekhine in 1946, the FIDE saw its chance to take control of the World Championship and invited six players to take part in a tournament to determine the championship. With Reuben Fine declining the invitation to play, Botvinnik won it ahead of Vassily Smyslov, Paul Keres, Samuel Reshevsky, and Dr Max Euwe in the quintuple round robin FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948). He retained the crown in 1951 against David Bronstein when he tied the match, by winning and drawing his last two games. He again retained it in 1954 against Vasily Smyslov by again drawing the match, however Smyslov turned the tables in 1957 by wresting the crown from Botvinnik. At the time, a defeated champion was entitled to a return match the following year and so in 1958, Botvinnik defeated Smyslov in a return match. Likewise, after losing to Mikhail Tal in 1960, Botvinnik defeated him in a return match in 1961. He lost the title for the last time to Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian in 1963. FIDE had eliminated the return match and so Botvinnik chose to retire from world championship play.

Generally regarded as the Patriarch of the Soviet Chess School, his style was based on rigorous opening preparation, deep calculation, and accurate endgame technique. Students of his school include Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and many more.

Live footages of Botvinnik from 1933-1963 starting at the following link: Mikhail Botvinnik.

Special edition of This Week in Chess devoted to Botvinnik and his career, assembled by Mark Crowther soon after Botvinnik's death in 1995:

Wikipedia article: Mikhail Botvinnik

(1) Crosstables of competitions mentioned in this paragraph are successively linked at [rusbase-1], [rusbase-2], [rusbase-3], [rusbase-4], [rusbase-5], [rusbase-6], [rusbase-7], [rusbase-8],, [rusbase-9], [rusbase-10],,, [rusbase-11], and [rusbase-12]

 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,184  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-032 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-132 1924 Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
3. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-023 1924 LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
4. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½43 1924 Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
5. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-037 1924 LeningradA48 King's Indian
6. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer  0-141 1924 Training GameE90 King's Indian
7. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-028 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
8. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-028 1924 Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-146 1924 LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
10. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-117 1924 Soviet UnionA80 Dutch
11. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-029 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
12. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-123 1924 juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
13. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-048 1924 Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-132 1925 Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. A Veigert vs Botvinnik  0-155 1925 Leningradd catC88 Ruy Lopez
16. Botvinnik vs M Schebarschin 1-032 1925 Leningrad 1st catA50 Queen's Pawn Game
17. N Liutov vs Botvinnik 0-128 1925 Leningrad ttC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
18. N Proskurin vs Botvinnik  0-136 1925 Leningrad 1st catC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. K Nadporoshky vs Botvinnik 0-136 1925 Leningradd catC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
20. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin  1-033 1925 Leningrad 1st catD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
21. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin 1-021 1925 Leningrad mD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
22. A Perfiliev vs Botvinnik 0-136 1925 Leningrad 1st catC56 Two Knights
23. G Jagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-135 1925 Leningradd catD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
24. Capablanca vs Botvinnik 0-132 1925 LeningradD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. B Yuriev vs Botvinnik 1-038 1925 Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,184  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Botvinnik wins | Botvinnik loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

< "Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic." >

- Botvinnik

He's been mentioning "chess is the art..." a lot now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

< "Everything is in a state of flux, and this includes the world of chess." >


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: More genius-level insight from a foremost exponent of Botvinnik bashing:

Mikhail Botvinnik

<ughaibu....I have been a player who was described as good yet after first playing through a Botvinnik "masterpiece" I applied for a national health grant in order to have the incipient memories excised. Botvinnik has well and away the ugliest style of any world champion, even Steinitz has a pipe-and-slippers charm by comparison. If one need suffer the agonies of dredging through his turgid practicality in search of chess strength I suggest any alternative ambition would be preferable.>

Maybe the dear boy should break out his pipe and slippers whilst travelling in time to the 1850s, when real men played King's Gambits instead of stodgy openings such as the French and Sicilian, which were less highly regarded then.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Travis Bickle: <perfidious> Dumbass.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Trav-baby> Y'all talkin' 'bout your boy <ugh-haibu>?
Premium Chessgames Member
  paavoh: @parisattack: <It is also the reason I think Botvinnik is one of the best players to learn from since most of us here down in the chessic trenches are neither brilliant nor fantastic by nature.

Botvinnik picked his targets and plan very early in the game and just stuck it out to the end.>

+1. A very good advice IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Mikhail Botvinnik: <Thus we see that there are two factors hindering a championship match between the holder of the title and his strongest rival: 1. the rival cannot always obtain the funds for such a match, and 2. the champion as a rule is not interested in playing a match with his strongest opponent.>

Source: 'CHESS', March 1947, pages 168-169

Retrieved from Edward Winter's <Interregnum>, 2003-2004,

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Polugaevsky's book "Grandmaster Preparation"

has a short introduction "On How This Book Found its Author" in which I learned two facts I didn't know:

1) Geller was a former basketball player.
2) Botvinnik apparently felt that all GM's had a duty to write a book on chess.

<... even so Botvinnik's retort quite overwhelmed me [Polugaevsky]:

"Why don't you admit it -- you're a lazy bones! You should be ashamed of yourself! It's the duty of every grandmaster to write books," declared Mikhail Moiseevich, very severely bringing the conversation to a close." >

I wonder, given the number of GM's out there today, if Mikhail Moiseevich would still feel the same way?

Also, note the use of Botvinnik's father's name, Moise (Moses). Handy to know if one ever needed to telephone him in Moscow: (What's in a name?)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: 'Avin' a wee-wee made my doo-dah sting. So I had to pop down the old Mikhail for a checkup!
Apr-23-14  ughaibu: Good one!
Apr-30-14  1d410: The busting out of bizarre but effective lines at the young players' Gashimov memorial tournament reminds me of how Botvinnik excelled at whipping out a variety of interesting openings rather than relying on the depth of knowledge of a few pets. Hopefully (for me) we are witnessing a return of those days. They were more exciting and what has always inspired me in chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: OMG!! I've just been on youtube watching a totally excellent old detective serial called <The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo>.

It's a totally superb show. Brilliantly done.

But I VERY nearly crashed my autogyro when the opening credits came up. One of them almost punched me in the face;

<Peaches....Amy Botwinick.>

It was at that moment that the old gyrocopter titled into an irreversible spin!

May-28-14  Petrosianic: I vaguely remember the show, but I thought of it as a TV knockoff of Smokey and the Bandit. I think it was a Glen A. Larsony production with Claude Akins and a lot of country fried humor. I seem to remember hearing it referred to as "Sheriff Lobotomy". No wonder Botvinnik's daughter changed her name for it.
May-29-14  HeMateMe: Sherriff Lobo rings a bell here, too. 1970s?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <HeMateMe: Sherriff Lobo rings a bell here, too. 1970s?>

Wasn't it Sheriff Ljobo?

May-29-14  diceman: <offramp: OMG!! I've just been on youtube watching a totally excellent old detective serial called>

Charlie Chan?

May-29-14  diceman: <offramp: <HeMateMe: Sherriff Lobo rings a bell here, too. 1970s?>

Wasn't it Sheriff Ljobo?>

Sheriff Ljubojevic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: < diceman: <offramp: <HeMateMe: Sherriff Lobo rings a bell here, too. 1970s?>

Wasn't it Sheriff Ljobo?>

Sheriff Ljubojevic.>

That's going down as my POST OF THE YEAR!

Aug-05-14  James Demery: Does anyone know the reason MB and Kasparov`s friendship ended?
Aug-06-14  HeMateMe: Botvinnik died.
Aug-06-14  Olavi: One reason were differences of opinion about the communist system (or that which was so called). Another, the role of rapid chess events, MB considered that they killed chess. Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, the role of FIDE.
Aug-10-14  James Demery: HeMateMe: Botvinnik died. LOL! That would kind of bring an end of things. I think though they fell out before he died. Thanks Olavi. I wondered if it was Botvinnik`s belief in the Communist system.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Note for <James Demery>: Do not expect any sort of response at <AJ>'s page; for he has not posted anywhere in some time. The final paragraph of his page would appear to explain why--as much as he will say, anyway.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. 5x World Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik.
Aug-28-14  James Demery: Yes perfidious AJ had a disagreement with the Administrators of He believes they are anti semitic which is ironic in that several players here are Jewish and the first posting guideline here disallows racist comments. All the Jewish players here , including World Champions, are treated with respect and admiration for their chess abilities. l`ve never seen a post allowed here that was anti Jewish.
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