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Mikhail Botvinnik
Number of games in database: 1,180
Years covered: 1924 to 1983

Overall record: +565 -138 =463 (68.3%)*
   * 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 E62 E72
 English (55) 
    A16 A15 A13 A14 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (43) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D38
 English, 1 c4 e5 (37) 
    A22 A28 A25 A26 A20
 Slav (34) 
    D10 D13 D14 D18 D11
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (87) 
    C18 C15 C19 C07 C01
 Sicilian (55) 
    B63 B62 B58 B27 B72
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C98 C90 C92 C68 C82
 French Winawer (46) 
    C18 C15 C19 C17
 Nimzo Indian (45) 
    E34 E21 E33 E44 E26
 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 Bronstein, 1951 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Fischer, 1962 1/2-1/2
   Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948 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?]
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   Groningen (1946)
   Moscow (1947)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   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
   Bot_vin_nik Blinked at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by KingG
   1d410's favorite games by 1d410
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970 by uglybird
   GOOD STILL TODAY Compiled by Imohthep by fredthebear
   Selected Games (Botvinnik) by Qindarka
   GOOD STILL TODAY by Imohthep
   botvinnik best games by brager
   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. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-0321924Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-0481924Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 0-1411924Training GameE90 King's Indian
4. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-0231924LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
5. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1321924Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
6. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-0281924Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-0371924LeningradA48 King's Indian
8. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½431924Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
9. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-1461924LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
10. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-0281924Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
11. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-1231924Ch Leningrad juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
12. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-0291924Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
13. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1171924Soviet UnionA80 Dutch
14. J Dobropistsev vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningrad 1st catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
15. V B Yuryev vs Botvinnik 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
16. G Jagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningradd catD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
17. Botvinnik vs J Zverev 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
18. A Vaits vs Botvinnik 0-1311925Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 1-0391925Leningradd catD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
20. Botvinnik vs M Schebarschin 1-0321925Leningrad 1st catA50 Queen's Pawn Game
21. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-1331925RussiaE00 Queen's Pawn Game
22. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-1321925Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-1431925Leningrad ttC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
24. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin  1-0331925Leningrad 1st catD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
25. Botvinnik vs N Liutov 1-0341925RussiaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
 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 61 OF 61 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-18-15  Petrosianic: <BUNA>: <I'd doubt that Petrosian initiated the letter.>

So would I. Korchnoi's defection was an enormously big thing. Comparable to Solzhenitsyn, or even worse. Korchnoi was a household name in a country that was so big on chess. There's no way that the official response to his defection came from some magazine editor.

Dec-19-15  Howard: Still remember Korchnoi's making the cover of "Chess Life and Review" in September, 1976! It also made Page 2 of our local paper when that happened.

No small thing !

Mar-09-16  socratos: he is better when playing english opening. but the best game is against capablanca match.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <..he is better when playing English opening...>

Botvinnik was better when playing any opening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < Everett: <Very interesting -- Karpov played some famous games with 3.Nd2 before the match, and I would have thought he was really strong against the IQP. Evidently Bronstein saw deeper.> It is easy, and prudent, to not completely trust Bronstein in some areas, but regarding chess itself he seemed pretty spot on most of the time.>

LOL, yes, I agree! Bronstein in "chess itself" seemed pretty spot on <most> of the time.

Seems to be a common theme amongst those folk contending for the Chess World Championship, IMO.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Sting



Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <"Slightly shortsighted, [Botvinnik] stoops over his score sheet and devotes his entire attention to recording the move in the most beautifully clear script; one feels that an explosion would not distract him and that examined through a microscope not an irregularity would appear. When he wrote down 1.c2-c4 against me, I felt like resigning. " --- C.H.O'D. Alexander >

A great quote of the day. But it had to be <1... c7-c5> that occurred on the board; those two never opened with 1.c4 but played the Sicilian twice.

Dec-22-16  Nerwal: <But it had to be <1... c7-c5> that occurred on the board; those two never opened with 1.c4 but played the Sicilian twice.>

C H Alexander vs Botvinnik, 1936 (with the quote in descriptive notation)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I don't know if this has been posted before, but it's some glorious old footage - with a heavy Soviet CCP slant (e.g. May Day parades with tanks, etc.).

Still Botvinnik is featured, as may be other notables:

<A film about chess "Thirteen Champions"> (ru)

(You can use CC and auto-translate to get a rough idea of the narration)

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <zanzibar> Wow! You find so much great stuff. Thank you for sharing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here, by the way, is a better version of Botvinnik's picture:

We can see that the cg photo is reversed. The Getty site says the picture is from Moscow in 1951, but I assume that's incorrect. I would guess the game was played sometime in the 1950s in the West, perhaps at the showroom of a rug merchant. But I can't identify the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: There are some Soviet publications in the foreground, too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <keypusher> an eagle-eye would have noticed the left-most square being white in the <CG> photo, indicating the photo was reversed.

The big pile of magazines are "Chess in the USSR".

(Шахматы в СССР aka Shakhmaty v SSSR)

Not sure what the other periodic is though. Probably could date the game from the periodicals though.

I had a hard time getting a clear view of the high resolution image with all the embedding. Here it is:

The caption locates the date and place - Moscow 1951.

Let me see if I can use the doubled-pawns on the c-file (and maybe the rook on h2) to find the exact game with SCID:

Nope - no luck.

That configuration of White pieces (P/c4,5,f3,g4; R/h2; K/e4) doesn't show up in <MB> or <RUSbase>.

Might be a practice game. It doesn't look as if they were recording the moves, right?


Premium Chessgames Member
  GM Igor Smirnov: Mikhail Botvinnik was the World Champion for about 13 long years, and there are definitely a lot of things that one can learn from him. Learn the "Botvinnik’s winning method" now -
Jun-22-17  Howard: Speaking of Botvinnik, Short has a column about him in the latest issue of NIC (#4). Just came in the mail today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Whats incredible is that Botvinnik lost the title twice and re-attained it twice

What persistence!


Jun-25-17  Howard: Short definitely didn't approve of that, though !
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Regarding Botvinnik's clock simul in London, 1981, basic data is here:

If someone has access to the 1981 <BCM> could they confirm the details and say how many game scores are given?

<> has games vs. Conquest, Jacobs and Byron.

Your next task will be to submit any other games....

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: The gamescores given are not the only ones.

Part 1 in May 1891 gives Jacobs, Conquest and Byron. Part 2 in June gives the following score and final moves of the game with King.

Botvinnik - Lane, Gary

1.Nf3 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Ng5 d5 4.d3 Qd6 5.dxe4 h6 6.Nf3 dxe4 7.Nfd2 Nf6 8.Nc3 Bf5 9.Nb5 Qd7 10.Nc4 Qxd1+ 11.Kxd1 Na6 12.Be3 c6 13.Nd4 e6 14.Be2 0-0-0 15.Kc1 Bc5 16.c3 Rhe8 17.Ne5 Bxd4 18.Bxd4 c5 19.Be3 Nd5 20.Bd2 Nac7 21.Nf7 Rd7 22.Ne5 R7d8 draw.

Botvinnik - King, Daniel
White: Kh1, Qd2, Ra1, Bg2, Ne5, Ps at d4, e3, f2, g3, h2. Black: Kg8, Qe7, Re6, Bf8, Na7, Ps at b5, c6, d5, f7, g6, h7.

41.Qa5 Nc8 42.Qa6 Qe8 43.Qb7 Nd6 44.Qxc6 Qxc6 45.Nxc6 Ne4 46.Bxe4 dxe4 47.Rc1 Re8 48.Kg2 f5 49.Rc2 Bd6 50.Rb2 b4 51.f3 and adjudicated as a draw.

BCM, June 1981, pg. 224.

I don't submit games.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard: Speaking of Botvinnik, Short has a column about him in the latest issue of NIC (#4). Just came in the mail today.>

Anything worth sharing in the article? Apart from disapproval of rematches?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: A couple of my favorite games by the POTD.

Tal vs Botvinnik, 1961

Botvinnik vs H Ree, 1969

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <zanzibar> et al.

Going back to the profile pic (and the getty image I posted some time ago), <stonehenge> posted a link to a documentary on the 1951 Botvinnik Bronstein match on the match page. About a minute in, Botvinnik is shown playing a position similar to that in the photo with the same backdrop against his second and frequent training game opponent, Viacheslav Ragozin.

I assume this scene was staged for the filmakers, because Ragozin blatantly hangs his rook and they stop playing after MB takes it. If Keres had ever lost like this against MB in 1948 we could have spared ourselves a lot of arguments.

Anyway, glad to finally know where/when that photo came from.

Feb-11-18  nocteus: Hi, one thing I like to do is connecting players from different era, based on their style, commitment, etc, (excluding openings). Which contemporary players would you connect to Botvinnik? Or, do you know a player who claimed Botvinnik to be his model? Thx!
Feb-26-18  tgyuid: III; romulus
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