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🏆 Botvinnik - Levenfish (1937)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
There is some dispute about how this match between Mikhail Botvinnik and Grigory Levenfish came about. Botvinnik had finished equal first in the very strong international tournament at ... [more]

Player: Mikhail Botvinnik

 page 1 of 1; 13 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Levenfish vs Botvinnik 0-1411937Botvinnik - LevenfishA17 English
2. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 0-1421937Botvinnik - LevenfishD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
3. Levenfish vs Botvinnik 1-0671937Botvinnik - LevenfishE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
4. Botvinnik vs Levenfish  ½-½231937Botvinnik - LevenfishD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
5. Levenfish vs Botvinnik  ½-½341937Botvinnik - LevenfishE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
6. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 1-0491937Botvinnik - LevenfishA06 Reti Opening
7. Levenfish vs Botvinnik 0-1411937Botvinnik - LevenfishE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
8. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 1-0681937Botvinnik - LevenfishD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. Levenfish vs Botvinnik ½-½581937Botvinnik - LevenfishC02 French, Advance
10. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 0-1401937Botvinnik - LevenfishD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
11. Levenfish vs Botvinnik 1-0781937Botvinnik - LevenfishD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
12. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 1-0401937Botvinnik - LevenfishA25 English
13. Levenfish vs Botvinnik 1-0411937Botvinnik - LevenfishD83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Botvinnik wins | Botvinnik loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-26-14  1d410: This isn't bad considering Botvinnik had to spend a lot of time working on his dissertation...
Jul-26-14  1d410: For Botvinnik that is
Jul-26-14  visayanbraindoctor: Levenfish must have been 48 years old during this match. According to the account above, Botvinnik had already finished his dissertation, and I would assume he came to the match well prepared and motivated to reassert his supremacy among the Soviet players. His performances in the Moscow and Nottingham tournaments indicated that he was climbing to his peak. If this young and energetic 26 year old Botvinnik (on his quest for the World Title and just a bit older than present World Champion Carlsen) were active today, I would expect him to give present Challenger and former WC Anand a run for his money in any Candidates tournament.

So I find it surprising that Levenfish battled the upsurging Botvinnik to a standstill. Maybe it's a statistical phenomenon. In some events, a chess player gets into the zone and plays much better than he does in more 'normal' times. Like Kramnik in 2000, when he played almost like a computer and brought down GKK.

History has not been too kind to Levenfish. I believe that at his peak he was a Candidate level master. He began to rise in a time when the Russian Empire in general was rising in chess, and in his youth he had to contend with other strong masters such as Rubinstein, Alekhine, Nimzovich, and their games ended quite badly for him. After WW1, these masters had left Russia, but he had to face a rising new generation of Soviet masters. Nevertheless, he did make it to the top, winning two Soviet championships.

Jun-06-15  ToTheDeath: Your post is nonsense. He was a strong GM. You don't win the USSR championship twice and draw a match with Botvinnik being a candidate master. He also scored a win over Alekhine (23 moves!) and over Lasker among other notables. Furthermore Kramnik's victory over Kasparov should not have been that shocking, he had beaten Garry in great style before and Garry played like a dead fish in the match. Plus he said many times Kramnik would be a likely successor.
Feb-10-16  ZonszeinP: Amazing performance by Levenfish who went on to win the last (!) game and tied the match Botvinnik couldn't demonstrate his superiority in his own country. And this, in spite of being the favourite of the system, and playing against an older (and not well seen by the dictator and his henchmen) player
Feb-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <
Feb-10-16 ZonszeinP: Amazing performance by Levenfish who went on to win the last (!) game and tied the match Botvinnik couldn't demonstrate his superiority in his own country. And this, in spite of being the favourite of the system, and playing against an older (and not well seen by the dictator and his henchmen) player>

Levenfish was an old Bolshevik who joined the party before the Revolution. What gives you the idea that he "wasn't well seen" by Stalin?

The truth is probably Stalin never gave Levenfish a moment's thought. Stalin was a lot less interested in chess than you are.

Feb-10-16  ZonszeinP: My comments are mainly based on Sosonko's series. Don't remember whether it was on Russian Silhouttes or its follow up I enjoy reading your comments, but I believe you're mistaken here. Stalin "cared" about everything!
Feb-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <ZonszeinP....I believe you're mistaken here. Stalin "cared" about everything!>

Such was his paranoia that, given the era during which this match was played, that is not so far-fetched as it may first sound.

Feb-10-16  ZonszeinP: I find the last game of this match, simply brilliant... And cannot help imagining the troll on the Kremlin thinking "No! How dare you!?"
Feb-11-16  ZonszeinP: I lost a terrible game last Sunday
A big blow
At my age, I should stop playing in tournaments and etc. My opponent was about 30 years (or more!) younger than me. I felt like an Indian with an arrow, facing a spaniard with a a gun.. Or a polish on a horse against a German in a tank...
Not a chance...
The worst is, it is when you arrive home, that you realise how stronger were all the moves that you rejected for weaker ones
Feb-04-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: A match with an odd number of games ends in a draw. Were there special rules eg first to six wins but match tied if the score got to five wins each?
Feb-04-20  spingo: It seems that in every match between 1937 and 1960 Botvinnik was inconvenienced by having to swot up on one degree or another,

I imagine him as a kind of Rodney Dangerfield in <Back To School (1986)>, wise-cracking his way through rowdy classes of Biology 101.

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