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Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik was born in 1911 in Kuokkala (Today Vyborg) in what was then Finland. He was raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He learned the game early and progressed rapidly, winning the 1st of his 6 USSR Championships in 1931. With the death of Alexander Alekhine in 1946, the FIDE organized the World Championship and invited six players to take part in a tournament to determine the championship. Botvinnik won it ahead of Vassily Smyslov, Paul Keres, Samuel Reshevsky, and Dr Max Euwe in the quintuple round robin FIDE World Championship Tournament 1948. He retained the crown in 1951 against David Bronstein when he tied the match, by winning and drawing his last two games. He again retained it in 1954 against Vasily Smyslov by again drawing the match, however Smyslov turned the tables in 1957 by wresting the crown from Botvinnik. At the time, a defeated champion was entitled to a return match the following year and so in 1958, Botvinnik defeated Smyslov in a return match. Likewise, after losing to Mikhail Tal in 1960, Botvinnik defeated him in a return match in 1961. He lost the title for the last time to Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian in 1963. He retired from competitive play in 1970, aged 59. He occupied himself with the development of computer chess programs and to assist with the training of younger Soviet players, earning him the nickname of “Patriarch of the Soviet Chess School”. Some famous Students of his school include Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov.
Botvinik’s Famous quotes:
“Chess is the art of analysis”.
“You have to accustom yourself to practical study at home, you have to devote time to studies, to the history of chess, the development of chess theory, of chess culture”.
“Every great master will find it useful to have his own theory on the openings, which only he himself knows, a theory which is closely linked with plans for the middle game”.