Mikhail Botvinnik Best Games

The patriarch

Mikhail Botvinnik, the sixth world champion, is widely regarded as the “most instructive chess player ever” (you heard it here first).

And indeed, in a number of his games, he exerted his plans with rigorous discipline and very often crushed his opponents with the iron logic. Not without reason did Paul Keres, his greatest competitor, once compared young Botvinnik with the bulldozer who swept everything on his path.

Botvinnik’s impact on chess was enormous. He was the first to introduce the meticulous and rigorous opening preparation, he discovered a number of inovative ideas (like playing with the isolated pawn – see his game against Vidmar below). Also, let’s not forget that a number of top players went through the famous Botvinnik school of chess, the most notable being the 13th World Champion, Garry Kasparov.

Botvinnik was trully a great champion.

 Botvinnik – Capablanca, AVRO 1938

Botvinnik’s probably most famous game. Who doesn’t know the remarkable Ba3!! and Nh5!! combo?

Botvinnik – Alekhine, AVRO, 1938

Another victory from the AVRO tournament in which the new generation overthrew the old one. This time against another great champion, Alekhine himself.

Botvinnik – Vidmar, Nottingham, 1936

Notable game in which Botvinnik demonstrated method of play with the isolani which has become one of the standard plans.

Botvinnik – Tal, World Championship, 1961

In 1961, Botvinnik solved the riddle of the magician from Riga. This is his best creative achievement from that match.

Botvinnik – Portisch, Monte Carlo, 1968

One from the older days – a fantastic game including a double rook sacrifice.

Smyslov – Botvinnik, World Championship, 1954

A lesson with the title “How to crush the Closed Sicilian”.

Botvinnik – Keres, Soviet Team Championship, 1966

A game between old rivals demonstrating the best aspects of Botvinnik’s play – strong strategical play and tactical execution resulting from the superior position.

Taimanov – Botvinnik, Moscow, 1963

This game demonstrates Botvinnik’s resourcefullness in inferior positions and how quickly he is able to seize the initative.

Botvinnik – Robatsch, Amsterdam, 1966

Final two games display Botvinnik’s masterful handling of the famous Karlsbad structure. Kasparov once wrote handling of the Carlsbad’s structure determines the quality of a player. Judge for yourselves.

Botvinnik – Larsen, Noteboom Memorial, 1965

Ra1 and Qb1??I mean, seriousy Botvinnik?

Sven Tica Interview

Sven Tica is one of the youngest Croatian International Masters. Together with Plenča Jadranko and Leon Livaić, he is a member of the ‘holy trinity’ of the Croatian Youth. These three players are well in the 2400s ratings and it will be interesting to see who will be the first to reach the infamous Grandmaster title.

We caught Sven for a chat after his triumphant return from the Croatian Team Juinor Championship, where he scored the fantastic 10.5/11 on the first board. We asked him about his first steps, about his career and about his plans for the future.

Hope you will enjoy it!

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Candidates Tournament 2018 – Round 14

In the end, there can be only one

Aaaaaand, just like that the Candidates Tournament 2018 is over. 14 gruelling rounds have passed in a blink of an eye. The players have presented some marvellous, fighting chess, the games were fascinating and interesting, but unfortunately, in the end, there can be only one winner.

In the previous round report, we have speculated about the numerous possibilities and calculating who has the best tiebreaks. In the end, the reality was much simpler – the fabulous Fab ended a tournament in spectacular fashion – outplaying his opponent with the Black pieces, declining a draw offer at the moment when a draw would have been sufficient for the first place and winning the crucial game in the end.

Despite the serious setback in round 12, Caruana displayed strong nerves and ended the tournament on a high note. With the two wins in last two rounds, he got the first place quite deservingly; throughout the tournament, he did display the best chess overall.

Round report and game analysis follow.

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Candidates Tournament 2018 – Rounds 12 and 13

Drama at its peak as Caruana loses and wins to take the lead

Dramatic final round is not something new for the modern Candidates tournament. In 2013, Carlsen lost with White pieces to Svidler and then won the first place only due to Kramnik’s loss to Ivanchuk. In 2016, Karjakin won against Caruana in the decisive game of the last round with the help of a rook sacrifice. This time, everything remains open, as after rounds 12 and 13, Caruana leads with half a point ahead of Karjakin and Mamedyarov.

In the last round, Karjakin is White against Ding Liren, while Caruana and Mamedyarov are Black against Grischuk and Kramnik, respectively. Multiple scenarios are possible:

  • If Caruana wins with Black against Grischuk he wins the tournament, no matter what Shak and Sergey do (this one is kinda obvious)
  • If all three players draw, Caruana wins (I guess this also isn’t quite surprising)
  • If Caruana and Mamedyarov draw and Karjakin wins, Karjakin is the tournament winner due to the better H2H score against Caruana
  • If Caruana draws and Karjakin and Mamedyarov win, Mamedyarov is the tournament winner due to the 3-way H2H score
  • If Caruana and Karjakin draw and Mamedyarov wins, Mamedyarov is once again the winner due to the better Sonnen-Berger score (more wins) than Karjakin

I can’t wait for the last round to start, but first, let us take a look at the games of the 12th and 13th round. Round report and game analysis follow.

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Candidates Tournament 2018 – Rounds 10 and 11

Situation at the top unchanged, Karjakin approaches the leaders

“Nothing new under the sun” would be the best description of the events that happened in rounds 10 and 11 of the Candidates Tournament 2018. Aronian’s nightmare tournament continues with the two losses, plenty of exciting games that ended in draws (including an incredible miss by Mr. Ding in round 11)  the clash of the leaders in round 10 that had zero effect on the standings whatsoever and Sergey Karjakin once again having a strong 2nd half of the tournament.

Rounds 10 and 11 report follows.

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