Being the 6th World Chess Champion, he was the experimental chess player who played with ‘Iron Logic’ to take advantage of the weakness of the opponent. Having authored a number of books, he displayed himself as a confident chess player who loved to play safely with strong endgame and perfect calculations. Considered as a strong player who could play overextended matches he didn’t find it embarrassing to learn from younger renowned players and experiment with the techniques. Let’s know more about this person who proves to be a person with remarkable abilities.
Born to Russian Jewish dentist parents in Kuokkala village in Grand Duchy of Finland of Russian Empire modern day’s Repino in Russia on 11th of August 1911 Mikhail Botvinnik studied in a Soviet school.
Mikhail and his 3 years older brother, Issak or Issy and their ailing mother who died in 1952 of brain haemorrhage lived a very poor life after his father left them for a second marriage in 1920.
Reading newspapers from the age of 9 he was captivated by the fundamentals of Communism which he followed for the rest of his life.
At the age of 12, he developed a liking for chess after he took some lessons from his brother’s friend on a homemade chess set and went on to win the school championship in 1924.
Soviet Union found its first World Chess Champion in Botvinnik after he won with a score of 14-20 at the World Chess Championship tournament held in 1948.
Still working as an electrical engineer he studied Doctorate in Electrical Engineering for 3 year after his win in 1948.
It was in 1948 the FIDE supervised and declared the rules of the chess game for the first time after the death of Alexander Alekhine in 1946. The rules were as follows:
- In the year following the defeat of the current world champion, he would have the privilege of a rematch in the next year
- The championship title match was to be played every 3 years
- The champion was to keep his title in case the match ended in a draw.
‘Botvinnik Rule’ was the name given to the rematch rule as it was put to good use by Botvinnik in the coming years.
In the 8 th rank chess match of all-time, Botvinnik ended in a draw with 12-12 score against challenger David Bronstein in 1951.
In 1954, Vasily Smyslov challenged Botvinnik and the match was drawn with a 12-12 score. Vasily again challenged Botvinnik to win the match in 1957 but Botvinnik regained his title in 1958 after claiming rematch and defeating Vasily.
In 1960 Botvinnik lost to Mikhail Tal in a match that ranked 6 th in the top 10 chess matches of all times. After the rematch in 1961 Tal was defeated with a 13-8 score by Botvinnik to maintain the title.
Tigren Petrosian an American in 1963 defeated Botvinnik who couldn’t demand a rematch as the rules of FIDE had changed and then the title could be won only after competing with other challengers in the world championship.
Botvinnik kept on playing chess matches until he retired from the chess world championship in 1970 but did not compete in World Championship matches after 1963.
Started teaching in the mid of 1940 at the Leningrad Pioneer Palace.
Also known as ‘ The Patriarch of The Soviet Chess School’, Botvinnik trained many chess players in his Soviet school who went on to win the world chess championships. Anatoly Karpov, Gary Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik and many others learnt his pattern to establish a Soviet dominance over the chess matches in the world from 1948 – 2000.
In 1960 started working on development of chess playing Computer with the help of software developers and named it as Pioneer in 1976.
Being hard core communist, the non- acceptance of the computer program developed by Botvinnik in 1984 for Russian economy revival by the Russian Government, didn’t stop him from funding and working on it till his death.
Notable World Chess Championship
- World Chess Championship 1948
- World Chess Championship match with David Bronstein 1951
- World Chess Championship match with Vasily Smyslov in 1954
- World Chess Championship match with Vasily Smyslov in 1957
- World Chess Championship rematch with Vasily Smyslov in 1958
- World Chess Championship match with Mikhail Tal in 1960
- World Chess Championship rematch with Mikhail Tal in 1961
- World Chess Championship match with Tigren Petrosian in 1963
- 1935 Vitaly Chekhover vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1936 Milan Vidmar vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1938 Jose Raul Capablanca vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1938 Alexander Alekhine vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1941 Isaac Boleslavsky vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1945 Arnold Denker vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1951 David Bronstein vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1962 Rober James Fischer vs Botvinnik 1/2-1/2
- 1966 Paul Kerr’s vs Botvinnik 0-1
- 1968 Lajos Portisch vs Botvinnik 0-1
- USSR Championship 1931
- Leningrad championship 1932
- Moscow 1935
- USSR Championship 1939
- USSR Championship 1940
- USSR Absolute Championship 1941
- USSR Championship 1944
- USSR Championship 1945
- Groningen 1946
- Moscow 1947
- USSR Championship 1952
- Budapest 1952USSR Championship 1955
- Alekhine Memorial 1956
- Palma de Mallorca 1967
- Botvinnik : One Hundred Selected Games 1951
- Botvinnik’s Best Games 1947 – 1970
- Achieving the Aim 1981
- Encyclopedia of Chess Openings
- French Defence
- Botvinnik on the Endgame
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