Botvinnik's Legacy (Part 4)
The biggest part of Botvinnik's chess legacy is his contribution to opening theory. I don't think there is another chess player who could compete with Botvinnik in this department. The Patriarch managed to completely change whole openings! The best illustration is the Dutch Defense. For a long time this opening had a dubious reputation. Then Botvinnik entered it in his opening repertoire and low and behold it became one of the most popular openings! Need a proof? Here are some comments taken from Korchnoi's book of his selected games: "The Dutch and the French were very popular at that time. Due to the influence of the Soviet Patriarch Mikhail Botvinnik of course"; "One time, being a candidate master and even a master I played only the Dutch against 1.d4. Apparently under the influence of Botvinnik."
So what was so special about Botvinnik's treatment of the Dutch? An answer can be found in its attacking potential and strategical simplicity. Black follows the following plan: first he places his pawns on the c6, d5, e6 and f5 squares (this formation resembles a wall and that's how the Dutch Stone Wall system got its name). Then the Black Knight goes to e4, the Queen goes to h5 via the e8 square and then the 'f' and 'g' pawns storm completes this dangerous attacking set-up. Notice how in the following games Botvinnik's strong opponents (masters and grandmasters) could do little against Black's deadly attack.