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Botvinnik - Smyslov 1954 - 1957 - 1958

287 pages, paperback, New in Chess, 1. edition 2009.

Incl. 7% Tax, excl. Shipping Cost

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. One year later 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 Moiseevich's nephew Igor Botvinnik, also features Botvinnik's legendary secret Notebooks, wich contain, 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.


My first chessboard encounter with Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik came at the final of the 12th USSR Championship in 1940. This was followed by various tournament games, the most important of which were at the match-tournaments of 1941 and 1 948. But of course, our rivalry reached its zenith in our series of matches in the years 1954-58. In those days, the chess world had a well-organised system, under which World Championship matches were played every three years. I should point out that, whilst we had differing views on certain aspects of chess, we both looked on the game not merely as a sporting competition, but also as an art, and tried at the board to create finished works of art.

This book, containing the annotated games of all three matches, breaks new historical ground: until now, no book on the 1957 match has ever been published, at least not in Russian. Now the reader has the games of all three matches between one set of covers, and can get a full impression of the nature of our rivalry.

Despite the nervous tension that accompanies any match for the World Champi­onship, these matches gave the chess world many moments of great creative achievement. Of course, these were accompanied by some serious mistakes, but these only serve to underline the extreme pressure of such matches. I remain convinced that these three matches played a significant role in the history of chess.

I believe that this book will be of interest both to lovers of chess history, and to those who are seeking to improve their own play.

Vasily Smyslov,

ex World Champion

Moscow, January 2003

Language English
Author Botvinnik, Michail
Botwinnik, Igor
Publisher New in Chess
Edition 1.
Medium Book
Weight 600 g
Width 17 cm
Height 23.4 cm
Pages 287
ISBN-13 9789056912710
Year of Publication 2009
Binding paperback

007 Foreword by Vasily Smyslov

008 Botvinnik-Smyslov - The Three Matches

010 A note on the English edition


013GAME 1 16 and 17 March

018GAME 2 18 March

021GAME 3 20 March

024GAME 4 23 and 24 March

028GAME 5 25 March

032GAME 6 27 March

034GAME 7 30 and 31 March

038GAME 8 1 and 2 April

041GAME 9 3 April

043GAME 10 6 April

046GAME 11 8 April

049GAME 12 10 April 052GAME 13 13 April

055GAME 14 15 April

057GAME 15 17 April

060GAME 16 20 and 21 April

064GAME 17 22 April

066GAME 18 24 and 25 April

071GAME 19 29 April

074GAME 20 4 and 5 May

079GAME 21 6 May

082GAME 22 8 and 9 May

085GAME 23 11 May

088GAME 24 12 May


092 Plan of preparation

093 Botvinnik's 1957 Notebook

116GAME 1 5 March

119GAME 2 7 and 8 March

123GAME 3 9 March

125GAME 4 12 March

128GAME 5 14 and 15 March

131GAME 6 16 March

132GAME 7 19 March

133GAME 8 23 March

135GAME 9 26 March

138GAME 10 28 and 29 March

141GAME 11 30 March

142GAME 12 2 April

145GAME 13 4 April

147GAME 14 6 and 7 April

150GAME 15 9 and 10 April

153GAME 16 11 and 12 April

156GAME 17 13 and 14 April

160GAME 18 18 and 19 April

165GAME 19 20 April

165GAME 20 23 April

167GAME 21 25 April

168GAME 22 27 April


170 Botvinnik's 1958 Notebook

190GAME 1 4 and 5 March

193GAME 2 6 and 7 March

197GAME 3 11 and 12 March

200GAME 4 13 and 14 March

206GAME 5 18 March

209GAME 6 20 and 21 March

213GAME 7 22 March

215GAME 8 25 March

218GAME 9 27 March

221GAME 10 29 and 30 March

224GAME 11 1 April

227GAME 12 3 and 4 April

233GAME 13 5 April

236GAME 14 8 and 9 April

240GAME 15 10 and 11 April

244GAME 16 15 April

247GAME 17 17 and 18 April

251GAME 18 19 and 20 April

257GAME 19 22 April

260GAME 20 29 and 30 April

265GAME 21 1 May

267GAME 22 3 May

270GAME 23 8 May

275 Conclusions from the return match

Hans Ree, New In Chess: "At the time I was enthralled by these matches, and it is good to see that they are now brought together in one fine volume."

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."

Bernard Cafferty, British Chess Magazine:

"What a wave of nostalgia swept over the reviewer as he looked through this excellent work (..) providing a fascinating insight into the Patriarch's thinking."

Botvinnik - Smyslov 1954 - 1957 - 1958