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Botvinnik – Smyslov

Three World Chess Championship Matches: 1954, 1957, 1958
by Mikhail Botvinnik

Botvinnik – Smyslov
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Our Price: € 28,95

Publisher: New In Chess, 2009
Edition: Paperback medium
ISBN: 978-90-5691-271-0
Pages: 288
Language: English


A unique look behind the scenes of World Championship Chess.

The writings of Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik (1911 – 1995) are legendary. ‘The Patriarch’ took professionalism in chess to a new level and set new standards for preparation.


In this book, Botvinnik writes the story of the three clashes with his compatriot Vasily Smyslov, matches full of tension between two virtually equal opponents.

Botvinnik successfully defended his title by drawing the first match in 1954, but the younger Smyslov won in 1957. Botvinnik bounced back with incredible resilience to win the third match, and regained ‘his’ world title.

Mikhail Botvinnik, one of the greatest chess players of all time, analyses almost all the games in this book, which also features annotations by Smyslov and other top grandmasters. The comments of the great Champion reveal his match strategy and his view on the strategic choices of his opponent. He spares neither himself nor Smyslov.


This book, edited and compiled by Mikhail Moisevich’s nephew Igor Botvinnik, also features Botvinnik’s legendary secret Notebooks, containing, in great detail, his opening preparation for the matches.


Botvinnik – Smyslov is a fascinating account and an important historical document on the pinnacle of chess of the mid-20th century. With a preface by Vasily Smyslov.

Arne Moll, ChessVibes:
"Botvinnik's comments to the games are still just great. His famously clear, logical approach of the game is highly instructive (..) What I found even more interesting are the psychological comments Botvinnik makes. But the real treat of the book are the two notebooks (1957 and 1958) in which Botvinnik wrote down his opening ideas for these matches."

Lubos Kavalek, The Washington Post:
"It is not only a great historical document, presenting 69 deeply annotated games between two giants, but it also reveals the secret notes Botvinnik made in preparation for the matches played in 1957 and 1958."

Marshtower Chess Reviews:
"Given Botvinnik's scientific approach to chess and life, it comes as a surprise when his very human side is displayed (..) he is amazingly honest about his faults and failings."

John Donaldson, ChessToday:
"A complete record of one of the greatest rivalries in chess history (..) The Patriarch's explanations of strategical ideas are crystal clear and his psychological observations are to the point. His notes (..) can be brutal as he spares neither Smyslov nor himself from criticism when they make mistakes."

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