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I've undertaken what to me has become a fascinating exercise, and I'm wondering what others think.
Chess Stars has published Botvinnik's complete games (in a series edited by Khalifman). I play through 3-4 games per day. I've played through about 200. Wins, losses, draws, exhibition matches, tournament matches. Whatever's up next gets played.
It's fascinating because you see the short GM-type draws, boneheaded moves, brilliant moves, vast opening diversity, and what I've found perhaps most fascinating, development--that is, Botvinnik's development as a chess player. Although he was very, very good from a young age himself, he did develop! I confess, though, that I cheated a little bit. I skipped the first 125 games or so, mostly juvenilia, and jumped to his first appearances in major Soviet/Leningrad championships. But I'm working my way through in order now.
My process is basically to play through the game once pretty quickly. I copy out the moves from the book on my computer program, rather than downloading the games on one of the myriad sites out there that has them. After I play through a game once, I go back and look more carefully at annotations and variations. One aspect I like about the Chess Stars series is that they give suggested (or not suggested, as the case may be!) lines from previous annotators, many from Botvinnik himself. I always include the lines annotated by Botvinnik, and generally I include the lines annotated by other past figures (Alekhine, Euwe, Ragozin, Smyslov, etc.) I pick and choose which annotations look interesting to me from the series editors.
It's an interesting, somewhat long-term-ish look at a single (very great) player's chess history. I find it fascinating. It doesn't consume a huge amount of time. I probably do 3-4 games in a matter of an hour or less, depending on game-length/interest.
And the point of this exercise is ...?
To play through one of the all-time greats' games?
Classic 2 Bishop Sacrifice!
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