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Mikhail Botvinnik
Number of games in database: 1,182
Years covered: 1924 to 1983

Overall record: +567 -138 =463 (68.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 14 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (89) 
    E40 E48 E24 E45 E23
 King's Indian (64) 
    E67 E69 E60 E72 E62
 English (55) 
    A16 A13 A15 A14 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (43) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D38
 English, 1 c4 e5 (37) 
    A22 A28 A25 A26 A23
 Slav (34) 
    D10 D13 D14 D18 D11
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (87) 
    C18 C19 C15 C07 C05
 Sicilian (55) 
    B63 B62 B58 B27 B74
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C98 C90 C92 C68 C82
 French Winawer (46) 
    C18 C15 C19 C17
 Nimzo Indian (45) 
    E34 E33 E21 E44 E41
 Caro-Kann (40) 
    B18 B12 B10 B11 B15
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1938 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Portisch, 1968 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1936 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Chekhover, 1935 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   Denker vs Botvinnik, 1945 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Keres, 1966 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Fischer, 1962 1/2-1/2
   Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951 1-0

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?]
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Championship (1931)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   Groningen (1946)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   Moscow (1947)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   Alekhine Memorial (1956)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   Budapest (1952)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   USSR Championship (1955)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Botvinnik! by chessgain
   Match Botvinnik! by amadeus
   Das Schachgenie Botwinnik (Suetin) by Chessdreamer
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by KingG
   Bot_vin_nik Blinked at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   1d410's favorite games by 1d410
   Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970 by uglybird
   Selected Games (Botvinnik) by Qindarka
   GOOD STILL TODAY Compiled by Imohthep by fredthebear
   botvinnik best games by brager
   GOOD STILL TODAY by Imohthep
   BOTVINNIK'S BEST GAMES: VOL 2,1943-1956 by Malacha
   Botvinnik's best games by HOTDOG

   Robatsch vs Botvinnik, 1962

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Mikhail Botvinnik
Search Google for Mikhail Botvinnik

(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 1,180  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-1461924LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
2. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-0281924Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
3. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-1231924Ch Leningrad juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
4. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-0291924Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
5. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1171924Soviet UnionA80 Dutch
6. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-0321924Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-0481924Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 0-1411924Training GameE90 King's Indian
9. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-0231924LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
10. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1321924Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
11. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-0371924LeningradA48 King's Indian
12. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-0281924Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
13. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½431924Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
14. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin  1-0331925Leningrad 1st catD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
15. Botvinnik vs N Liutov 1-0341925RussiaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
16. N Proskurin vs Botvinnik  0-1361925Leningrad 1st catC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
17. N Liutov vs Botvinnik 0-1281925Leningrad ttC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
18. A Veigert vs Botvinnik  0-1551925Leningradd catC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. A Perfiliev vs Botvinnik 0-1361925Leningrad 1st catC56 Two Knights
20. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin 1-0211925Leningrad mD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
21. K Nadporoshky vs Botvinnik 0-1361925Leningradd catC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. J Dobropistsev vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningrad 1st catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
23. V B Yuryev vs Botvinnik 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
24. G Jagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningradd catD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
25. Botvinnik vs J Zverev 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,180  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Botvinnik wins | Botvinnik loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 48 OF 61 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-17-11  swissfed: Kramnik on Mikhail Botvinnik

<You could say that the establishment of Soviet and Russian chess began with him. He was the first person to set up a whole system of preparation and our first World Champion, if you don¡¦t count Alekhine, who nevertheless emigrated. Botvinnik was behind the long run of success for Soviet chess. In 1987 I got into his school and spent time with him over the next 2 or 3 years. I got a great deal from that in all regards. I was 12 years old, and at such an age it¡¦s very important to spend time with a legend. He gave me a lot of useful professional advice, but it was also simply very pleasant to hear about his encounters with chess ¡§dinosaurs¡¨, who seemed like people from the Stone Age. He made a very big impression on me. Although he left us quite soon I¡¦ll always consider him one of my first real teachers.>

Aug-17-11  kramputz: Botvinnk admired Stalin, probably for political reasons. He saved the freedom of Keres for his own selfishness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Troller: <100 year centenary> for this legend ***>

I hate to cavil frivolously and inconsequentially, but the phrase "100 year centenary" is pleonastically redundant.

Premium Chessgames Member
  polarmis: Just to add that <swissfed>'s Kramnik quote on Botvinnik can be found here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Karpova> Across the years, I've gotten the impression that Botvinnik did not especially care for Spassky, whose approach to preparation was, of course, rather different than that of Mikhail Moiseevich.

<Peligroso Patzer: <Troller: <100 year centenary> for this legend ***> I hate to cavil frivolously and inconsequentially, but the phrase "100 year centenary" is pleonastically redundant.>

How 'bout another I've heard till I'm weary unto death of it?

ATM machine.

Yeah, just love them-those automatic teller machine machines, don't you know.

Aug-17-11  ughaibu: Are ATM machines the ones that require PIN numbers?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <ughaibu>--Yes, but be careful. I've heard you can catch the HIV virus from those things.
Aug-17-11  JoergWalter: <perfidious, ughaibu, Gregor> ok guys by now I understand the "Pleonasmus". Kindly, help me with <shach matov's> line up of words: <one of the all-time greatest>. What's the technical term for this? (bs is not a techninal term I guess)
Aug-17-11  ughaibu: I guess ECT therapy would only be effective prophalactically.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: 100th birth Anniversary of Mikhail Botvinnik

Aug-19-11  swissfed: I singled out for me a group of chess players from whom I wanted to borrow the best qualities: the psychological stability from Karpov, the meticulous positional technique from Petrosian, <the logic from Botvinnik,> the intuition from Alekhine, the ability of taking a risk from Tal. � Garry Kasparov
Aug-20-11  DrMAL: "After I emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1977, a judgmental letter against me was signed by 31 Soviet grandmasters, and Botvinnik was the only one who did not do that." -Viktor Korchnoi
Premium Chessgames Member
  polarmis: Not sure if Korchnoi said that to anyone (seems unlikely) but he's recorded on video a few days ago saying only 4 grandmasters didn't sign - Gulko, Spassky, Bronstein and Botvinnik. (plus e.g. Karpov didn't sign that particular letter)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <polarmis: Not sure if Korchnoi said that to anyone (seems unlikely) but he's recorded on video a few days ago saying only 4 grandmasters didn't sign - Gulko, Spassky, Bronstein and Botvinnik. (plus e.g. Karpov didn't sign that particular letter)....>

This was mentioned in an interview given by Korchnoi published in Chess Life and Review, circa 1977.

While I don't know where Gulko stood in the eyes of Soviet chess bureaucrats at the time, Spassky was, as usual, at odds with the machine and already living abroad, Bronstein (another renegade) was not then being allowed to play outside Soviet bloc countries and what were the authorities going to do to Botvinnik?

I found Fischer's comments on Botvinnik, as attributed to him by Portisch in the above page, most impressive; if he could acknowledge that his own approach, for all his greatness, was not perfect, we ordinary mortals may yet learn a thing or three!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: Doctor Mal,

Thank you for the insight.

Of course, Botvinnik "admired" Stalin. If you did NOT then say hello to the Gulag or the after life.

Botvinnik ran the Moscow Central Chess Club.

Botvinnik played the French Defense.

Before I die , I will visit The Moscow Central Chess Club.

And I will bow before the portrait of


Spasibo, Maestro.

Premium Chessgames Member
  polarmis: Botvinnik didn't only play blitz "once in a train in 1929" :)

Aug-22-11  DrMAL: <polarmis: Not sure> Then ask for a reference.

The other "troller" earned an IGNORE.

Premium Chessgames Member
  polarmis: Yep, Russian source here, though given Korchnoi definitely did say something more accurate at about the same time I'd be slightly doubtful about it:
Aug-22-11  DrMAL: The Russian source substantiates mine. Yay Botvinnik!
Premium Chessgames Member
  polarmis: Well it would, given that's the source for the ChessVibes report :)
Aug-22-11  DrMAL: Shhh don't tell anybody! LOL
Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: Marking the centenary of a cerebral champ
By David R. Sands,The Washington Times

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: Thanks Al,

Great stuff as usual

Premium Chessgames Member
  Albertan: Your welcome Kingfu.I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I am going to be bi.

It is not what you are thinking.

I will go to Alberta in the summer times.

I will go to Arizona in the winters.

Let's play golf! Let's play Chess. I am not very good at either.

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