Botvinnik - Botvinnik versus Smyslov and Petrosian


A reprint of two iconic Botvinnik books combined in one. 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, and his match with Tigran Petrosian, which marks the end of an era: the mighty Botvinnik lost his world title fifteen years after he conquered the highest crown for the first time.

A unique look behind the scenes of World Championship Chess. 476 pages


  Livraison sous 48 heures via Bpost*

Livraison gratuite à partir de €69 (Belgique, France, Pays-Bas, Luxembourg, Allemagne)

  +32 (0) 2 649 39 97

From 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sundays and public holidays.

  Secure payments

All payment cards accepted.

Foreword by Andrew Soltis

In the Magnus era, why do the matches of Mikhail Botvinnik still matter?
Of course, we can appreciate them as history. They were the most prestigious, the most intensely watched chess events of their time. But it was a time that seems ancient, a time of Cold War crises, Elvis Presley and hula hoops.
It was a time when world championship matches were played under conditions that seem bizarre today. The prize money was the equivalent of a few thousand dollars. The rules, such as adjudication, were antique. The format was the old-school, best of 24 games. With games scheduled every other day and three optional timeouts per player, matches dragged on and on. The third Botvinnik-Smyslov match lasted 66 days, three times as long as the 2023 Ding Liren-Nepomniachtchi match.
Perhaps the greatest difference between today’s matches and those of 60-plus years ago is the contrast between Botvinnik and a modern champion, Magnus Carlsen. In many ways, they are diametric opposites: Botvinnik hated speed chess. Carlsen revels in it. The classical time control should ‘be phased out,’ he said. Botvinnik said the best control is forty moves in two and a half hours. That is the one that was phased out, 40 years ago.
Carlsen plays constantly. He logged nearly 400 clocked games in 2022. Botvinnik felt playing more than 40 games a year was harmful. A master needs to spend as many weeks thinking about chess as he does playing, he said. In some years, Botvinnik played no public chess at all.
He was suspicious, if not contemptuous, of many of the features we take for granted, like Elo ratings, Swiss System pairings and the appearance of dozens of new grandmasters every year. He would be appalled by speed tiebreakers and would find Armageddon a barbaric way to decide who won a tournament. Walking away from the world title without a fight, as Carlsen did in 2023, would have seemed insane to him.

9 789083 347943

Specific References

16 other product