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Road to the Championship - Mikhail Botvinnik
Compiled by suenteus po 147
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This is the road taken by Botvinnik during his title run. Botvinnik's road was neither short nor easy in spite of the 39 games collected below. This is due to the fact that Botvinnik began his journey for the world championship back in the 1930s before there was an official cycle for determining a challenger for the world champion. In order to provide the Soviet Union with enough assurances for funding a proposed match with the world champion, Botvinnik had to become the best possible player he could. This meant winning the Soviet Championship in 1931 and in 1933. He also won important international events to show that he could defeat non-Soviets for the crown. Results such as his shared first with Capablanca over Max Euwe and Alexander Alekhine at Nottingham 1936, shared first with Salomon Flohr at Moscow 1935, and clear second behind Capablanca at Moscow 1936 all went a long way to establishing Botvinnik as not only the best in the Soviet Union, but the best in the world. The Soviet Championship of 1940 became the final proving ground for the selected challenger, but Botvinnik finished fifth. A six man playoff in 1941, organized for the challenger spot, dubbed the "absolute championship," saw Botvinnik finally emerge as winner. However, World War II provided another setback and Botvinnik would have to wait until 1946 for his chance. In the meantime, winning Sverdlovsk in 1943, and the Soviet championships in 1944 and 1945 kept Botvinnik at the top of his form and firmly established him as the best player to back for a title shot. Unfortunately, Alekhine died in 1946, and so Botvinnik, along with Soviet backing, began working with FIDE to found and maintain an official cycle for determining a challenger for the world championship. Botvinnik's participation in the Groningen tournament of 1946, where he finished clear first a half point ahead of ex-world champion Max Euwe, kept the Dutchman from reclaiming the crown as well as insuring his spot in the proposed world championship tournament to be organized the following year. Delays pushed the tournament back to 1948, and Botvinnik, in fury at the newest setback, withdrew from the 1947 Soviet Championship (which gave Paul Keres a chance to earn his spot in the 1948 WC--since his participation had been withheld from Groningen 1946--as the clear winner of that championship), but regained his composure to participate in the Chigorin Memorial held in Moscow at the end of 1947. His clear first and dominance over the international field kept him prepared and focused for the final confrontation. Botvinnik was one of the six best players in the world invited to the world championship tournament held in The Hague, the Netherlands, and Moscow in the Soviet Union. He faced two of his fellow countrymen, Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres, as well as Euwe and Samuel Reshevsky from the United States (Reuben Fine had declined his invitation). At the final, Botvinnik finished clear first with +8, dropping only two games, and beating second place Smyslov by three whole points to become the sixth world chess champion. Thanks go to <Fischer of Men> for the collection idea and format.

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #1
Botvinnik vs Szabo, 1946 
(D41) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 31 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #2
E R Lundin vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(E18) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3, 52 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #3
Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1946 
(D98) Grunfeld, Russian, 50 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #4
H Steiner vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(A90) Dutch, 28 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #5
Botvinnik vs Vidmar, 1946 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #6
Botvinnik vs Denker, 1946 
(C83) Ruy Lopez, Open, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #7
Boleslavsky vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(C92) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 33 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #8
Botvinnik vs O'Kelly, 1946 
(E44) Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation, 5.Ne2, 36 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #9
O Bernstein vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(B73) Sicilian, Dragon, Classical, 43 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #10
Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1946 
(D27) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 51 moves, 1/2-1/2

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #11
Stoltz vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 37 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #12
Botvinnik vs Flohr, 1946 
(D42) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #13
Tartakower vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(C01) French, Exchange, 54 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #14
Botvinnik vs Kotov, 1946 
(E24) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 24 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #15
Yanofsky vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd, 53 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #16
Botvinnik vs C Kottnauer, 1946 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 55 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #17
M Christoffel vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(C17) French, Winawer, Advance, 42 moves, 0-1

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #18
Botvinnik vs Guimard, 1946 
(C10) French, 57 moves, 1-0

Groningen Candidates Tournament Game #19
Najdorf vs Botvinnik, 1946 
(E34) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation, 40 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #1
Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948 
(D46) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 32 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #2
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(D96) Grunfeld, Russian Variation, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #3
Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 
(E40) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, 32 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #4
Keres vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(A13) English, 58 moves, 0-1

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #5
Euwe vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #6
Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1948 
(D98) Grunfeld, Russian, 79 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #7
Reshevsky vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(A91) Dutch Defense, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #8
Botvinnik vs Keres, 1948 
(E28) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation, 23 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #9
Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948  
(D49) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran, 36 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #10
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(B60) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 41 moves, 0-1

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #11
Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 
(E29) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 42 moves, 0-1

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #12
Keres vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 72 moves, 0-1

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #13
Euwe vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #14
Botvinnik vs Smyslov, 1948 
(D76) Neo-Grunfeld, 6.cd Nxd5, 7.O-O Nb6, 80 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #15
Reshevsky vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(C18) French, Winawer, 47 moves, 0-1

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #16
Botvinnik vs Keres, 1948 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #17
Botvinnik vs Euwe, 1948 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 14 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #18
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(D22) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 17 moves, 1/2-1/2

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #19
Botvinnik vs Reshevsky, 1948 
(C49) Four Knights, 41 moves, 1-0

The Hague/Moscow World Championship Game #20
Keres vs Botvinnik, 1948 
(C15) French, Winawer, 39 moves, 1-0

39 games

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