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Mikhail Botvinnik’s Winning Method

Mikhail Botvinnik’s Winning Method

Mikhail Botvinnik was the World Champion for about 13 long years. Improve your chess learning with Mikhail Botvinnik’s winning method.

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the following things:

1. How to dominate your opponent
2. How to restrict your opponent’s counter-plans
3. Improving your position gradually
4. The most common mistake that almost any chess player makes
5. And much more.

You can watch the video below:

Stolberg – Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik's Winning Method

A fixed central position lends a special character to the play on both sides. The struggle may be concentrated in the center, towards which, in such cases, both players will direct their pieces.

Let us now consider how both players conduct the play in positions with fixed centers. The attacking side stations his pieces in and around the center and occupies the central field to the greatest possible extent.

Superiority in the center gradually forces the opponent to yield and retire, and this in turn is the source of fresh positional and even material disadvantages. The defending side seeks to drive the enemy pieces away from the central field or to exchange them off.

In both cases, he lessens the opponent’s pressure. After he has beaten back the enemy’s direct attack he can even begin to think of a counterattack. In this position, White wants to entrench his pieces on e5 and c5, and Black seeks to do likewise on his e4 and c4. (As Nimzovitch puts it on the outposts.)

1…Bf5. The exchange of bishops makes it easier for Black to obtain control of the e4 and c4-squares.

2. Qc2 Be4 3. b5. This move gives Black the opportunity of obtaining a firm hold of the vital c4-square.

Mikhail Botvinnik's Winning Method

3…Bxd3 4. Qxd3 Na5 5. Ng3 Nc4 6. Bc1 Rac8

Mikhail Botvinnik's Winning Method

7. Ra2 Bf8 8. a4 Bb4 -/+ Black takes the opportunity of reducing the number of white pieces defending the e4-square. Black is clearly better. You can watch the full analysis here.


Kotov – Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik's Winning Method

It’s another example of Botvinnik’s method of play in positions with a fixed center. The diagram is taken from his game with Kotov in the 1941 U.S.S.R. Championship. Evaluating the position, White has the better position.

The black king has forfeited its chance of castling and his pieces on the king’s wing are not yet developed. It is all the more instructive to see how skillfully Botvinnik utilizes such advantages as are to be found in his own position.

By means of a methodical centralization of his pieces, he succeeds in over-hauling his opponent’s advantage in development, and eventually gaining the initiative for himself. Already he has occupied the c4 outpost. And the other outpost, e4, is also firmly under his control.

1. Qd3 Qc8. The queen is bound for e6, from where it can control both the important central squares of e4 and c4. 2. Rac1 Qe6 3. Bg2 h5 4. Ne2 b5 5. Nf4. White decides to refrain from capturing on c4 for fear of the dangerous pawn mass on the queen’s wing after 5. Rxc4, dxc4. But, nevertheless, this would have been the best course, since now the grip of the black pieces on the c4- and e4-squares render any active play on White’s part impossible.

Mikhail Botvinnik's Winning Method

5…Qe7 Black is better here and it’s not easy for White to know how to continue. Let’s see the full analysis here.


If you want to implement the style of play used by a former world champion like Mikhail Botvinnik’s winning method, I highly recommend you my course “Play like Fischer”. Bobby Fischer is an American chess hero.  Let’s be honest, you and no one else will never play exactly like Fischer. However, we selected the techniques used by Fischer and, even if you only use 10% of them, YOU will definitely improve your game!

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