Tactics from Botvinnik’s Best Games

Tactics from Botvinnik’s Best Games

Botvinnik's Best Games

Mikhail Botvinnik would have been 105 last week. Essentially a part-time chess player (he was an engineer and computer scientist) he won the title left vacant by Alekhine’s death in a 5 man match tournament.

His incredible tenacity was shown when he defended his title.

First, he drew 12-12 against Bronstein, after being a point down with 2 games to go.

He drew his next match too, against Smyslov, but lost to the same player 3 years later. He had the right of automatic rematch, however, and won his title back in 1958.

In 1960, he took on the young genius Mikhail Tal and was beaten by a 4 point margin. Nevertheless, the hard-working Botvinnik prepared superbly and beat Tal in their rematch. He lost the title for the final time in 1963, vs Petrosian, with no rematch allowed.

In later years, he formed the Botvinnik school of chess which counted Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik and Shirov among its students.

As the positions below show, Botvinnik’s best games were often produced against former World Champions, perhaps a sign of how he raised his game for the big occasion. See how many of his winning ideas you can find!

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Botvinnik's Best Games Botvinnik vs CapablancaWhite to play

Mikhail Botvinnik is a pawn down against the legendary Jose Capablanca and his Bishop is terrible. However, he does have a passed d-pawn.

How did Botvinnik continue?

8/p3q1kp/1p2Pnp1/3pQ3/2pP4/1nP3N1/1B4PP/6K1 w – – 0 30






Botvinnik's Best Games Botvinnik vs ChekhoverWhite to play

One of Botvinnik’s best games, he has White against Chekhover and has already sacrificed a Knight on g5, trying to chase away the f6 defender. Black is happy to give the material back so how should White continue?

1q1r2k1/rb1nbpp1/pp2pn2/4N1P1/2PP4/3B4/PB2Q1PP/R4RK1 w – – 0 24






Botvinnik's Best Games Botvinnik vs EuweWhite to play

Botvinnik (White) takes on another former World Champion, Max Euwe, here. Black has a Bishop on the long diagonal and those central pawns are about to roll down the board.

What did Botvinnik play?

4k2r/1b5p/1q2pp2/1p2N3/3p4/3Q4/PP3PPP/2R3K1 w k – 0 22

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