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Mikhail Botvinnik

Number of games in database: 1,191
Years covered: 1924 to 1983
Overall record: +568 -140 =465 (68.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 18 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (90) 
    E40 E23 E24 E45 E48
 King's Indian (64) 
    E67 E69 E60 E62 E72
 English (52) 
    A16 A15 A13 A14 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (44) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D38
 English, 1 c4 e5 (38) 
    A22 A28 A25 A26 A23
 Slav (34) 
    D10 D13 D14 D18 D11
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (87) 
    C18 C19 C15 C07 C01
 Sicilian (55) 
    B63 B62 B58 B27 B32
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C98 C90 C92 C68 C82
 French Winawer (46) 
    C18 C15 C19 C17
 Nimzo Indian (45) 
    E34 E33 E21 E53 E41
 Caro-Kann (40) 
    B18 B12 B15 B10 B11
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 V Chekhover, 1935 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Bronstein, 1951 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Fischer, 1962 1/2-1/2
   Keres vs Botvinnik, 1941 0-1
   Alekhine vs Botvinnik, 1936 1/2-1/2
   Denker vs Botvinnik, 1945 0-1

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 Match (1957)
   Smyslov - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1958)
   Botvinnik - Tal World Championship Match (1960)
   Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Rematch (1961)
   Botvinnik - Petrosian World Championship Match (1963)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Leningrad Championship 1930/31 (1930)
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   Groningen (1946)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   Moscow (1947)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   Hastings 1961/62 (1961)
   Alekhine Memorial (1956)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   USSR Championship (1940)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Botvinnik! by chessgain
   Match Botvinnik! by amadeus
   Bot_vin_nik Blinked at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Das Schachgenie Botwinnik (Suetin) by Chessdreamer
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by Okavango
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by dcruggeroli
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by KingG
   Botvinnik's Best by Koolcat
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Okavango
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by hanwubai
   book: Botvinnik: One Hundred Selected Games by PassedPawnDuo
   Botvinnik: One Hundred Selected Games by smarticecream
   GOOD STILL TODAY by Imohthep

   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 Vasily Smyslov 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 (kibitz #1197).

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]

Last updated: 2020-11-22 08:25:51

 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,191  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-0291924Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
2. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-0321924Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-0231924LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
4. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-0371924LeningradA48 King's Indian
5. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-1461924LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
6. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-1231924Ch Leningrad juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
7. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-0281924Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1321924Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
9. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-0281924Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
10. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-0481924Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 0-1411924Training GameE90 King's Indian
12. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1171924URSA80 Dutch
13. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½431924Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
14. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin 1-0211925Leningrad mD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin 1-0331925Leningrad 1st catD67 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Bd3 line
16. G Yagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningrad (1b and 2a category)D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
17. V Yuriev vs Botvinnik 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Botvinnik vs M Schebarschin 1-0321925Leningrad 1st catA50 Queen's Pawn Game
19. J Dobropistsev vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningrad 1st catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
20. N Proskurin vs Botvinnik 0-1361925Leningrad 1st catC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21. Botvinnik vs J Zverev 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
22. A Perfiliev vs Botvinnik 0-1361925Leningrad 1st catC56 Two Knights
23. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-1321925Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 1-0391925Leningrad (1b and 2a category)D44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25. A Vaits vs Botvinnik 0-1311925Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,191  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 11 OF 65 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-07-05  fred lennox: From what i read, Botvinnik is the best writer among the WC along with Alekhine and Karpov. Botvinnik really knew how to communicate to the club player. He is clear, subtle, exact while giving the right emphasis. Like his playing everything is to the point.
Nov-08-05  suenteus po 147: <Resignation Trap> I'm curious, did Botvinnik keep notebooks on all his best playing contemporaries? You have been diligently filling in Botvinnik's notes on all the Bronstein games leading up to the 1951 world championship, but I wonder if there are more notes. For instance, what did Botvinnik think of Boleslavsky's games, or Smyslov's? Do you know if he kept other notebooks like the "red notebook" on Bronstein?
Nov-09-05  Resignation Trap: <suenteus po 147> It would make sense for Botvinnik to keep notebooks on all of his contemporaries, as he was undoubtedly the best-prepared player of his day. However, as far as I know, only the Bronstein notebook has seen the light of day.
Nov-09-05  suenteus po 147: <Resignation Trap> Thanks for the update. I bet someone somwhere has those unpublished notebooks and they're just waiting to make a big score on ebay with them....
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <suenteus po 147: <Resignation Trap> I'm curious, did Botvinnik keep notebooks on all his best playing contemporaries? You have been diligently filling in Botvinnik's notes on all the Bronstein games leading up to the 1951 world championship, but I wonder if there are more notes.> And those notes have been fascinating. Thanks very much!
Nov-14-05  notyetagm: Does anyone know the game in which Botvinnik won as Black by sacrificing his queen on g2 to create an absolute pin of the White queen to the White king on the a8-h1 diagonal and then captured a White rook on d2 that was no longer defended because of this pin? The combination looks like 1 ... ♕xg2+!! 2 ♕xg2 ♖xd2 3 ♕xc6 bxc6 and Black has won an exchange and a pawn.

I first saw the position in Reinfeld's 1001 combinations book in the section on pins. Then I saw the actual game somewhere else and recognized the ending instantly. The game was played in 1931, I believe. Thanks.

Nov-14-05  KingG: <notyetagm> Was it this one? Kotov vs Botvinnik, 1939
Nov-14-05  notyetagm: Thanks, <KingG>, that is it! Now to reinforce this pattern in your mind, check out Sokolov's combination 36 ... ♗xg2! 37 ♕xg2 ♖xd2 from Jonkman vs I Sokolov, 2002. It provides a <file> analogy to Botvinnik's <diagonal> example.

I played over that Sokolov game yesterday and knew that I had seen this exact same tactical theme in a Botvinnik game. Thanks again.

Dec-10-05  Saruman: Botvinnik is one of my 5 favorite players.
Dec-10-05  suenteus po 147: <Saruman> Who are the other four?
Dec-10-05  Saruman: Fischer, Capablanca, Tal and Lasker.
Dec-10-05  suenteus po 147: <Saruman> Very interesing. Thank you.
Dec-10-05  Saruman: <suenteus po 147> Botvinnik is number five because of his outstanding endgame skills and general stability.
Dec-10-05  suenteus po 147: <Saruman> I used to hate Botvinnik intensely as both a player and a person, but learning more about him I have softened a great deal. His computer style play is not so much a surrender to the silicon beast, but the workings of a mad scientist, up all night cackling in the lab. I don't know why, but that image of Botvinnik in a white labcoat wearing black goggles and holding a beaker bubbling over with the Botvinnik, Sem-Slav System (D44), makes me smile and think better of Botvinnik than I had. He's still a dubious character on par with Kasparov, but I appreciate Mikhail's play a lot more, and his achievements.
Dec-10-05  Saruman: <I used to hate Botvinnik intensely as both a player and a person> why? (Its my turn to become inquisitive =))
Dec-10-05  suenteus po 147: <Saruman> As a player I used to dislike Botvinnik's "absolute correctness" of play, largely because it reminded me of computer play, which I dislike. I also didn't like Botvinnik's behavior as a person, especially as world champion with the backing of the Soviet School of chess. I came to learn over time, though, that his developments were not the result of computer chess (maybe aspiring to that kind of play) but of his own experimentation, research, and analysis. His style will never be my favorite, but I now have a greater appreciation for his play. As a person, I understand he was just creating the best career for himself he could (in chess at the very least), but his treatment of Bronstein and Tal (let alone others) does make him a likable person to me. There are others who know and have read about Botvinnik more than I have that you should ask if you want more details (and correct details). <Resignation Trap> is a good person to ask off the top of my head.
Dec-12-05  suenteus po 147: Hmmm...that should say "does <not> make him a likable person to me" in the preceding post.
Dec-12-05  KingG: <suenteus po 147> Have you changed your mind about Kasparov yet?
Dec-12-05  suenteus po 147: <KingG> Next week I intend to pour over your Kasparov collection. I won't take it as the final word, but it's my starting point. Any games you want to include there you should over the next seven to ten days :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In the picture of Botvinnik the background carpet on the wall is actually airbrushed in. It was originally Bogatyrchuk and Kortschnoi laughing. They were both erased from history.

The foreground has been airbrushed, too. The picture used to be of Lev Yashin.

Dec-24-05  hitman84: <offramp>unbelievable where did u get that info?
Dec-24-05  aw1988: <offramp> LOL
Dec-24-05  setebos: Actually its communism which ended up in the dustbin of history
Dec-25-05  Dudley: I believe they did that. When Kruschev (sp?) took over in the 50s an attempt was mad to de-Stalinize the whole society. I saw a before and after version of a clip from a well known Soviet film about Lenin, and in a triumphant scene the Stalin character was obscured by someone stepping in front of him. I used to think that only the communists tried to rewrite history, but now I see that we (US) do it also, although not in such a blatant form. At least as far as I know about!
Dec-29-05  BIDMONFA: Mikhail Botvinnik


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