Botvinnik vs Schmid: understanding Benoni concepts

by ChessBase
10/11/2007 – In 1960 German GM Lothar Schmid, played an opening that is named after him – the Schmid Benoni – against world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. A tense struggle and a battle of conceptions ensued. The game, which our Playchess trainer Dennis Monokroussos discusses, is very useful for understanding key concepts of the Benoni. Nine p.m. ET.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Yes, it's time for ChessBase shows again!

We'll start back up this week, our first post-world championship show, with a look back at the first (real) FIDE world champ, Mikhail Botvinnik. The "Patriarch", as he is sometimes called, cast an immense shadow over 20th century chess, having made an impact as a player (for starters, he was the world champion for 13 of 15 years from 1948 to 1963), as the leader of Soviet chess, as the model of the contemporary professional, as a trainer (among his pupils one can count Karpov and especially Kasparov) and even as a chess programmer.

Former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik

We could all recite his resume and be impressed, but it's better to look at and learn from his chess. Many of his best games are strategic masterpieces, and that's what we'll see this week, in his 1960 victory over (then West) German grandmaster Lother Schmid. Schmid is obviously a fine player in his own right, and in addition to his over the board chess successes he's also noteworthy in at least four other respects. First, he has one of the largest chess libraries in the world. Second, he had the surreal experience of serving as the arbiter for the 1972 world championship match. Third, he has enjoyed great successes as a correspondence player, coming in second in the 2nd world correspondence championship. And fourth, he has a chess opening named after him – the Schmid Benoni – and that's what was played in our game.

German GM (and arbiter) Lothar Schmid

Schmid rattled off his first ten moves against Botvinnik, and it was all perfectly thematic, as we will see. It looked like he was in time for his thematic break on b5, and White too late with his on e5. Botvinnik, of course, had other ideas, and it's both fascinating and instructive to see these two very strong players battle for their conceptions. It's an entertaining game, comparatively low on theory and tactics, but very useful for understanding key Benoni concepts.

Since it has been a while, it bears repeating that the show takes place Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET – see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EDT, which translates to 01:00h GMT, 02:00 Paris/Berlin, 11:00h Sydney (on Friday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, and is an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

He is fairly inactive as a player right now, spending most of his non-philosophy time being a husband and teaching chess. At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S., but quit for about eight years starting in his early 20s. His highest rating was 2434 USCF, but he has now fallen to the low-mid 2300s – "too much blitz, too little tournament chess", he says.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for seven years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register