Understanding before Moving 155: Chess history in a nutshell (37)

by ChessBase
12/10/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books on chess training and strategy. In the 155th 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 (3)

In the previous two episodes we talked about Mikhail Botvinnik, who became World Champion in 1948 after winning the World Championship Tournament in The Hague/Moscow - a tournament organised in part because Max Euwe, World Champion from 1935 to 1937, felt it was unfair to declare himself World Champion after Alexander Alekhine, who had defeated Euwe in their World Championship match in 1937, had died as reigning champion in 1946.

In 1951 Botvinnik played a World Championship match against David Bronstein and had great difficulty in defending his title. The match ended in a 12-12 draw and, according to the rules, Botvinnik remained the reigning champion.

Three years later, in 1954, he played Vassily Smyslov and this match also ended in a 12-12 draw, again allowing Botvinnik to retain his title. However, three years later, in 1957, he lost his title when he lost his second World Championship match to Smyslov, who had again managed to qualify as a challenger.

But in their rematch the following year, in 1958, Botvinnik defeated Smyslov and regained his title. Two years later the pattern was repeated: In 1960 Botvinnik lost his World Championship match against Mihail Tal, but then won the rematch in 1961 to become World Champion again.

It wasn't until 1963 that Botvinnik lost his title for a third time, this time to Tigran Petrosian. In the meantime FIDE had changed the rules and abolished the rematch. As Botvinnik played relatively little, concentrating on his work as an electrical engineer and later as a computer scientist, his chess career took a back seat. He did, however, set up a chess school which trained many strong players, including Garry Kasparov.

We conclude our discussion of Botvinnik with six short games. Your task is to find out how Botvinnik managed to secure victory. In the diagram position below, Black can take advantage of his huge advantage in development. Can you see how?

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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