Understanding before Moving 154: Chess history in a nutshell (36)

by ChessBase
12/3/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 154th episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and continues to take a look at the legacy of Mikhail Botvinnik. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Mikhail Botvinnik (2)

In the last episode we saw Mikhail Botvinnik, who became World Champion in 1948 after Alexander Alekhine had died as reigning champion in 1946, in action, and saw his excellent endgame skills. However, Botvinnik was a versatile player who excelled in all aspects of chess.

Of course, you would expect the best player in the world to be a universal player, but this was especially true of Botvinnik. His systematic approach to chess has inspired many to approach the game in the same way. It is known that the Dutch top player Jan Timman was an admirer of Botvinnik's play.

Botvinnik realised the importance of opening preparation and concentrated on it. His later pupil, Garry Kasparov, turned opening theory into a real weapon. But when we look at the amount of opening theory that today's masters have to know, we cannot help but conclude that it has gone completely overboard.

Capablanca's call to change the initial position has led to "Fischer Random Chess" (also known as Chess960 because of the number of possible opening positions in this variant of chess. In Chess960 the starting position of the pieces is randomly determined, making it unnecessary to memorise long opening variations, which helps the most talented chess players who usually rise to the top.

But let's return to Botvinnik. As mentioned above, he mastered most aspects of the game.  The position shown in the diagram is from a game he won with White against Paul Keres, no mean feat! After a successful opening, White has gained the initiative and now we await the climax of this perfectly played game. With what formidable combination did Botvinnik crown his work?

Master Class Vol.10: Mikhail Botvinnik

Our experts show, using the games of Botvinnik, how to employ specific openings successfully, which model strategies are present in specific structures, how to find tactical solutions and rules for how to bring endings to a successful conclusion

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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