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Botvinnik-Ragozin Match 1940
Compiled by suenteus po 147

The 1940 USSR Chess Championship had been conducted with the idea that the winner would be the Soviet Union's top choice for a financed world championship match with Alexander Alekhine. Although Mikhail Botvinnik had participated with the expectation of winning the event (and he had led the field in the first half of the tournament) he had finished in fifth place, leaving a play off match between the co-winners, Igor Bondarevsky and Andre Lilienthal, to determine who would face Alekhine. Botvinnik was unsatisfied with this result, however, and wrote to a powerful party official to intervene and turn the playoff match into a six player quadruple round robin "absolute championship" to be played in 1941. The six players would be the top six finishers of the 1940 championship, allowing Botvinnik a second chance at the world championship challenger's seat. Because he felt he had lost previously to the atmosphere of the playing conditions (noise, smoke, crowds, etc.) Botvinnik devised a training match of ten games with his second and longtime training partner Viacheslav Ragozin to be played in Leningrad before the "absolute championship" to better prepare him for the conditions he would face. In addition to making the room smokey and crowded, Botvinnik spent days (sometimes even sleeping overnight) in the playing hall with constant noise to acclimate himself while he played. He must have been pleased with the eventual results as he not only crushed his second with five wins and no losses, but went on to win the "absolute championship" as well.

The final standings and crosstable:

1st Botvinnik 1 1 1 1 1 7/10

2nd Ragozin 0 0 0 0 0 2/10

Game 1
Botvinnik vs Ragozin, 1940
(D19) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 2
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940
(E34) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3
Botvinnik vs Ragozin, 1940 
(D94) Grunfeld, 32 moves, 1-0

Game 4
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940
(E33) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 5
Botvinnik vs Ragozin, 1940
(A28) English, 32 moves, 1-0

Game 6
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940
(C05) French, Tarrasch, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 7
Botvinnik vs Ragozin, 1940
(C77) Ruy Lopez, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 8
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940
(D83) Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit, 41 moves, 0-1

Game 9
Botvinnik vs Ragozin, 1940 
(A90) Dutch, 57 moves, 1-0

Game 10
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940 
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,, 40 moves, 0-1

10 games

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