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Mikhail Botvinnik
Number of games in database: 1,183
Years covered: 1924 to 1983
Overall record: +568 -138 =464 (68.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      13 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 (65) 
    E67 E69 E62 E60 E72
 English (52) 
    A16 A15 A13 A14 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 (86) 
    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
   Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1941 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Keres, 1966 1-0
   Denker vs Botvinnik, 1945 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   A Yurgis vs Botvinnik, 1931 0-1
   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?]
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   Groningen (1946)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   Moscow (1947)
   Alekhine Memorial (1956)
   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
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   GOOD STILL TODAY by Imohthep
   1d410's favorite games by 1d410
   botvinnik best games by brager
   Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970 by uglybird
   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 1,183  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½43 1924 Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer  0-141 1924 Training GameE90 King's Indian
3. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-037 1924 LeningradA48 King's Indian
4. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-028 1924 Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-028 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
6. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-146 1924 LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
7. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-117 1924 Soviet UnionA80 Dutch
8. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-029 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
9. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-123 1924 juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
10. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-048 1924 Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-032 1924 Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-132 1924 Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
13. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-023 1924 LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
14. A Perfiliev vs Botvinnik 0-136 1925 Leningrad 1st catC56 Two Knights
15. G Jagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-135 1925 Leningradd catD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
16. Capablanca vs Botvinnik 0-132 1925 Simul, 30bD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. B Yuriev vs Botvinnik 1-038 1925 Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
18. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-133 1925 RussiaE00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. J Dobropistsev vs Botvinnik 0-135 1925 Leningrad 1st catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
20. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 1-039 1925 Leningradd catD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
21. A Vait vs Botvinnik 0-131 1925 Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
22. Botvinnik vs N Liutov 1-034 1925 RussiaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
23. Botvinnik vs J Zverev 1-038 1925 Leningrad 1st catD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
24. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-143 1925 Leningrad ttC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
25. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-132 1925 Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,183  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
  TheFocus: <You have to accustom yourself to practical study at home, you have to devote time to studies, to the history of chess, the development of chess, of chess culture> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <I ... have two vocations: chess and engineering. If I played chess only, I believe that my success would not have been significantly greater. I can play chess well only when I have fully convalesced from chess and when the 'hunger for chess' once more awakens within me> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is peculiar but a fact nonetheless, that the gamblers in chess have enthusiastic followers> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Every great master will find it useful to have his own theory on the openings, which only he himself knows, a theory which is closely linked with plans for the middle game> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Memorization of variations could be even worse than playing in a tournament without looking in the books at all> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It must be clearly understood that Soviet players do not seek simple systems in the opening, but try to formulate opening systems in which everything is complicated, distinctive, or new> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <When my opponent's clock is going I discuss general considerations in an internal dialogue with myself. When my own clock is going I analyze concrete variations> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
May-17-15  tallike: Anyone knows where the above photo of Botvinnik was taken?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Botvinnik almost makes you feel that difficulty attracts him and stimulates him to the full unfolding of his powers. Most players feel uncomfortable in difficult positions, but Botvinnik seems to enjoy them> - Max Euwe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Where dangers threaten from every side and the smallest slackening of attention might be fatal; in a position which requires a nerve of steel and intense concentration - Botvinnik is in his element> - Max Euwe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess, like any creative activity, can exist only through the combined efforts of those who have creative talent, and those who have the ability to organize their creative work> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <In opposite colored Bishop endings when both sides have weak pawns one should not try for a big material advantage> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: Hey ughaibu I read your quote in reference to the games of Botvinnik. I realise it was some time ago, but I was curious who that quote was from?
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess is no whit inferior to the violin, and we have a large number of professional violinists> - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <James Demery> himself, if I'm thinking of the right quote.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: For his funeral Botvinnik had ordered:

"No chess players. I want to leave quietly."

Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: U were right Keypusher. It was ughaibu that said that on an earlier page. He really does not like Botvinnik's games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ughhaibu> is also a leading fan of Fischer.
Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: Lol yes thats true, ughaibu loves Fischer. U can tell by all the positive things he's posted about Fischer over the years.
Jul-07-15  thegoodanarchist: Botvinnik was not only a fine chess player, but also a great annotator
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Jun-04-13
Premium Chessgames Member keypusher: Here, incidentally, is the list of people who won world title matches aged 50 or above. Steinitz

Regrettably, this is not true. Botvinnik was 49 when he closed out the 1961 match in May. He turned 50 in August. The list of people who won world title matches aged 49 or above would be the same, but that just doesn't have the same resonance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  NeverAgain: Mikhail Botvinnik (kibitz #692) <Jun-20-07 acirce: <euripides><brankat> Thanks, I didn't know 'rodina' was gender-neutral, it's odd then that it is not translated that way.

Still suppose there must be a difference between 'otechestvo' and 'rodina' in terms of psychological connotation and use, but I don't fully understand what.>

<Jun-20-07 brankat: <acirce> "Rodina" corresponds to "it", "otyechestvo" (fatherland) to "he".

It is hard to translate "rodina" literally into Eninglish. "Roditi" is "to give birth", "rodina", "a land of one's birth". It expresses more than just patriotism in ideological sense, it implies an unbreakable tie with one's soil/roots. More so than "fatherland".

Also "rodina" is used more commonly than "fatherland".>

Actually, "Родина" (usually capitalized) is feminine gender and "отечество" is neutral. The former corresponds to "motherland" and the latter to "homeland", with corresponding differences in usage ("Rodina" is a much more emotionally loaded term).

A classic example of this is the June 1941 mobilization poster "Rodina-mat' zovyot!" (Motherland calls):

a kind of Soviet counterpart of the US "I want YOU for U.S. Army" poster from the WWI days that featured Uncle Sam.

brankat got the rest of his post right, though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < offramp: <TheFocus: <Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic> - Botvinnik, Mikhail.> A work of art can be copyrighted, so if a game of chess can't be copyrighted it is not a work of art.

The reason you can't copyright a chess game is that it is created by two people working in opposition to each other. A work of art <can> be copyrighted by two people because they are cooperating.>

Glad that's settled. Can chess problems be copyrighted?

<NeverAgain> Thank you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: " Can chess problems be copyrighted?"

No. But woe betide anyone who tries to pass another's composition off as one of his own or tampers with it. (rotating the board, moving the entire problem one file to the left or right or up and down a rank.)

This is a charge laid at the feet of one Francis Percival Wenman.

Francis Percival Wenman

Edward Winter tries to come in from the angle that because Wenman never said the problems were his he might not be to blame.

However he agrees there is no hiding the fact some of the problems were constructed by the methods stated above.

Edward Winter link.

That picture on Winter's page of the 1920 British Chess Championship was taken not far from my house.

I located the exact spot and had some fun with it.

Nov-13-15  Olavi: My name is Wenman, Francis P.
Some of my problems were composed by me.
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