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Mikhail Botvinnik
Number of games in database: 1,181
Years covered: 1924 to 1983

Overall record: +564 -138 =463 (68.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 16 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (89) 
    E40 E48 E24 E45 E23
 King's Indian (64) 
    E67 E69 E60 E72 E62
 English (55) 
    A16 A13 A15 A14 A10
 Queen's Gambit Declined (43) 
    D37 D35 D31 D30 D38
 English, 1 c4 e5 (37) 
    A22 A28 A26 A25 A23
 Slav (34) 
    D10 D13 D14 D18 D11
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (87) 
    C18 C15 C19 C07 C01
 Sicilian (55) 
    B63 B62 B58 B27 B20
 Ruy Lopez (47) 
    C98 C90 C92 C82 C68
 French Winawer (46) 
    C18 C15 C19 C17
 Nimzo Indian (45) 
    E34 E33 E21 E53 E41
 Caro-Kann (40) 
    B18 B12 B10 B11 B15
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 Chekhover, 1935 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Fischer, 1962 1/2-1/2
   Denker vs Botvinnik, 1945 0-1
   Keres vs Botvinnik, 1941 0-1
   Alekhine vs Botvinnik, 1936 1/2-1/2
   Botvinnik vs Keres, 1966 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 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?]
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   USSR Championship (1931)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   Groningen (1946)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   Moscow (1947)
   Alekhine Memorial (1956)
   Moscow (1936)
   Palma de Mallorca (1967)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   USSR Championship (1955)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Botvinnik! by amadeus
   Match Botvinnik! by chessgain
   Bot_vin_nik Blinked at Fredthebear by fredthebear
   Das Schachgenie Botwinnik (Suetin) by Chessdreamer
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by dcruggeroli
   Mikhail Botvinnik's Best Games by KingG
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Patszer
   Botvinnik's Best by Koolcat
   BOTVINNIK"S BEST GAMES VOL 1: 1925-1941 by Malacha
   book: Botvinnik: One Hundred Selected Games by Baby Hawk
   Selected Games (Botvinnik) by Qindarka
   Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-1970 by uglybird
   Botvinnik: One Hundred Selected Games by Trabischu
   botvinnik best games by brager

   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 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 1,181  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. V Miliutin vs Botvinnik 0-1231924Ch Leningrad juniorsD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
2. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 0-1411924Training GameE90 King's Indian
3. Botvinnik vs I Kalinin 1-0291924Leningrad 2/3th catC55 Two Knights Defense
4. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1171924Soviet UnionA80 Dutch
5. Botvinnik vs N Begunov 1-0321924Leningrad 2/3th catD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. S Kaminer vs Botvinnik 1-0281924Training GameD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Botvinnik vs A Zilberman 1-0481924Leningrad jrD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. Botvinnik vs N Timofeev 1-0231924LeningradD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
9. G Abramovic vs Botvinnik 0-1321924Leningrad jrE61 King's Indian
10. Botvinnik vs I Folga 1-0371924LeningradA48 King's Indian
11. V Zbandutto vs Botvinnik ½-½431924Leningrad 2nd catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
12. G Andreev vs Botvinnik 0-1461924LeningradE60 King's Indian Defense
13. Botvinnik vs A Makhlin 1-0281924Leningrad 2/3th catC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
14. A Veigert vs Botvinnik 0-1551925LeningradC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
15. A Perfiliev vs Botvinnik 0-1361925Leningrad 1st catC56 Two Knights
16. Botvinnik vs B Rivlin 1-0211925Leningrad mD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
17. K Nadporoshky vs Botvinnik 0-1361925LeningradC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
18. J Dobropistsev vs Botvinnik 0-1351925Leningrad 1st catC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
19. V B Yuryev vs Botvinnik 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD02 Queen's Pawn Game
20. G Jagdfeld vs Botvinnik 0-1351925LeningradD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
21. Botvinnik vs J Zverev 1-0381925Leningrad 1st catD92 Grunfeld, 5.Bf4
22. A Vaits vs Botvinnik 0-1311925Leningrad 1st catD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. Botvinnik vs S Kaminer 1-0391925LeningradD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
24. Botvinnik vs M Schebarschin 1-0321925Leningrad 1st catA50 Queen's Pawn Game
25. B Rivlin vs Botvinnik 0-1331925RussiaE00 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 48; games 1-25 of 1,181  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 22 OF 63 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-01-06  sitzkrieg: Censored! Botvinnik’s Secret Games
by Jan Timman, Hardinge Simpole, 199 pages, £16.95.

review British Chess Magazine july

The melodramatic title and cover are designed to get potential readers excited by this book containing a selection of Botvinnik’s training games. It contains 97 such games, from 1936 to 1970, some of which have been annotated by the author; others are merely bare game scores. Very few of the games appear on published computer databases but the provenance of the games is not mentioned. Timman’s notes and the rarity value of the game perhaps give the book some value but are badly let down by poor layout and unattractive presentation. The diagrams are tiny and there is a vast amount of white space in the book. The blurb on the back is strangely worded and contains an extraordinarily irrelevant attack on political correctness. Overall the book is very poor value for money. JS. ----------

should be based on the same manuscript, and in the link above you can read that Russel owns the copyright and such. Maybe this instead of legal repurcussions?

Jul-01-06  sitzkrieg: What do u guys think of the fact that Averbach only released the scores of these games in the year of Botvinnik's death? It were secret preparation games, that gave a training advantage to botvinnik. Quite "cowardly" to only tell about them after his death.
Jul-01-06  ughaibu: Botvinnik may well have had a contract drawn up to that effect.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <sitzkrieg: What do u guys think of the fact that Averbach only released the scores of these games in the year of Botvinnik's death? It were secret preparation games, that gave a training advantage to botvinnik. Quite "cowardly" to only tell about them after his death.>

They were all fixed!!

Jul-01-06  sitzkrieg: Lol. That would explain Averbakh winning some:)
Jul-02-06  WMD: <should be based on the same manuscript, and in the link above you can read that Russel owns the copyright and such. Maybe this instead of legal repurcussions?>

Publish and be damned. And that's what the BCM review does. Blimey!

Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: GMs do not make their preparations/novelties/intended tactics and strategies public. The fact that Botvinnik's games were made public only after his death is perhaps somewhat extreme, but not really surprising.

After all there have been a large number of his "public" games, played over a period of 50 years, fully available for everyone to study. In the end, as <Offramp> says, they were all fixed anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <The blurb on the back is strangely worded and contains an extraordinarily irrelevant attack on political correctness.> That seems to be missing from the free version, or perhaps I am so far gone in depravity I failed to notice it.
Jul-18-06  A.Alekhine: Is Botvinnik "100 Selected Games" worth purchasing?
Jul-18-06  AdrianP: <A.Alekhine> It's a must-have - although the edition I have is in descriptive notation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: "Is Botvinnik "100 Selected Games" worth purchasing?"

Great games and solid annotations. The book stops right before the 1948 WC tournament which is where volume II starts.

Jul-21-06  agnarlarusson: On Wikipedia it says he died in 1995, not 1997... I know it´s the least big deal ever, but well, which is it?
Jul-21-06  Dick Brain: i believe he died in '95 of cancer
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Dick Brain> Good to see you back.


Jul-21-06  wharfrat: <A. Alekhine> "100 Selected Games" is indispensable. Many of the games (with the same or similar notes) are also in Botvinnik's 3 volume set, sold in English with a "Best Games" title.
Jul-21-06  whiskeyrebel: "100 selected games" is a book to savor for seasoned players. It's important to know that Botvinnik's tone is often a bit gruff compared to most other chess authors. He often scolds his opponents for their inaccuracies although he criticizes his own poor moves too. I enjoy his style..this book seems very "real". I've got to say though, even the supposedly cold Alekhine seems amiable and joyous in his writings compared to Mr. B though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: There is an art to chess writing. Not everyone can write about their games like Keres or Tal. I think of the modern players Nunn does a great job.
Jul-22-06  whiskeyrebel: Oral presentation of games is a sort of art form too. Impromptu skittles room playbacks with commentary from strong players can be inspirational. I can picture Botvinnik holding court in the analysis room. I bet his students and most within earshot cherish those memories.
Aug-13-06  Marmot PFL: "Botvinnik was a staunce Communist, a child of the Stalin regime...At the end of his life his favorite theory was that capitalism is a spontaneous marketwhere ther are no laws, and the advantages of socialism will be fully disclosed when we learn to plan skillfully, with the help of powerful computers! He sincerely believed that computers would help to save the planned economy." Kasparov, My Great Predecessors, Vol II.

When I was in college (Jimmy Carter era), many US universities were teaching the same thing. Trouble was no such computer existed then, and its unlikely the Soviet system would ever have produced one. They would have had to purchase them from capatalist countries. But such arguments made no impact on the dogmatic marxists of the political science depts.

The Kasparov section on Botvinnik is one of the more interesting chapters, as they were teacher and student as well as friends for many years, a friendship which ended in Botvinnik's final years.

Aug-19-06  Chopin: <plang> <There is an art to chess writing. Not everyone can write about their games like Keres or Tal. I think of the modern players Nunn does a great job.>

Yasser Seirawan isn't a bad author.

Aug-28-06  Resignation Trap: There seems to be some incorrect information on Botvinnik's participation at a tournament in Stockholm in 1962.

This was not the Interzonal (the Interzonal was a qualification tournament to see who would challenge Botvinnik in 1963). It was a 10-player round-robin with Salomon Flohr, Botvinnik and eight Swedish players.

Botvinnik's games:

Round 1: Flohr-Botvinnik (not in our database):

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5
5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 c6 10.Nf3 Bf5 11.e3 Nd7 12.Be2 0-0 13.0-0 Qe7 14.b4 Rfc8 15.Rfc1 Nf6 16.Qb2 Ne4 17.Nd2 Nxd2 18.Qxd2 Rc7 1/2-1/2

Round 2: K Skold vs Botvinnik, 1962

Round 3: Botvinnik vs Z Nilsson, 1962

Round 4: B E Horberg vs Botvinnik, 1962

Round 5: Botvinnik vs O Olson, 1962 - only Black was actually Ake Olsson

Round 6: Ulf Andersson vs Botvinnik, 1962 - only White was actually Bengt Andersson

Round 7: Botvinnik vs E R Lundin, 1962

Round 8: Sven Buskenstrom vs Botvinnik, 1962 (not in our database):

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6
5.h3 c5 6.Be3 cxd4 7.Nxd4 0-0 8.Qd2 d5
9.e5 Ne4 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Bf4 Qb6 12.0-0-0 Be6
13.Nxe6 Qxe6 14.Qd5 Qf5 15.Be3 Nc6 16.Bb5 Rfd8
17.Qc5 Qxe5 18.Qxe5 Bxe5 19.c3 a6 20.Bc4 Kg7
21.Bb6 Rxd1+ 22.Rxd1 Bd6 23.Bd5 f5 24.Bxc6 bxc6
25.c4 Kf7 26.c5 Bf4+ 27.Kc2 Ke6 28.Ba5 Be5
29.Bc3 Bc7 30.b4 Rd8 31.Rb1 Rd3 32.a4 Kd5
33.b5 cxb5 34.axb5 axb5 35.Rxb5 Kc4 36.Rb4+ Kxc5
37.Rb7 Bd6 38.Ra7 Bd6 39.Ra8 Bc5 40.Be1 Rd7
41.Rc8+ Kb5 42.Rh8 Ra7 43.Rb8+ Kc4 0-1

Round 9: Botvinnik vs B Soderborg, 1962

I hope this clarifies things. Botvinnik won with 8.5/9.

Aug-28-06  Resignation Trap: Here's the crosstable to Stockholm, 1962: .
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Lots of fine games by Botvinnik in this tournament -- I really like the way he played in the 1960s. I think there may be some problems in the Buskenstrom score, <Resignation Trap>.
Aug-30-06  slomarko: lot of fine games but he play weak opponents
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: No doubt, but it's the mismatches where some of the greats really let their hair down, so to speak: J B Bednarski vs Petrosian, 1968.
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