Understanding before Moving 153: Chess history in a nutshell (35)

by ChessBase
11/26/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 153rd episode of his ChessBase show "Understanding before moving" Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and takes a look at the play 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 (1)

In this episode we are going to talk about Mikhail Botvinnik (1911 - 1995). After Max Euwe defeated Alexander Alekhine in their 1935 World Championship match, he became the new World Champion. However, he lost the title to Alekhine in the 1937 revenge match, and Alekhine remained world champion until his death in 1946.

Alekhine's death left the title vacant and by default it fell to the man who had beaten Alekhine in 1935. But Euwe was a gentleman and did not want to be crowned in this way, so he proposed that FIDE, the World Chess Federation, which had been founded in 1924, should decide how the next World Champion would be crowned.

FIDE decided to organise an international tournament in which the six strongest players in the world would compete for the vacant title. This event took place in 1948, with the first half played in The Hague and the second half in Moscow. Reshevsky, Botvinnik, Keres, Smyslov, Euwe and Fine were invited to play, but Fine declined the invitation, a decision for which he later gave various reasons, e.g. that he had not received compensation from the American Federation, that he felt uncomfortable playing in Moscow or that he did not want to neglect his studies.

The five participants played five games against each other and after 20 rounds Botvinnik won with 14.0/20, three points ahead of Smyslov, to become the sixth World Champion. Botvinnik's victory also marked the beginning of Soviet domination of the chess world.

Botvinnik's play is characterised by a fine sense of position, accompanied by an almost perfect technical handling of the endgame. We see an example of this in his game against Konstantinopolsky - see the diagram below.

We can see that White will soon have an endgame with a good knight against the bad bishop. However, winning such an endgame still requires a lot of patience and technique. Can you see what White's winning plan might be?

Master Class Vol.7: Garry Kasparov

On this DVD a team of experts gets to the bottom of Kasparov's play. In over 8 hours of video running time the authors Rogozenko, Marin, Reeh and Müller cast light on four important aspects of Kasparov's play: opening, strategy, tactics and endgame.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


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