Play Like A World Champion: Botvinnik, Smyslov And Tal

Play Like A World Champion: Botvinnik, Smyslov And Tal

Can you find the moves that decided World Championship matches in the 1950s and 60s?

In 1948 Mikhail Botvinnik won a match tournament to become the 6th World Champion. He lost and won back the title against both Vasily Smyslov and Mikhail Tal. All three of these amazing players were forces in the chess world for many years, even after their time on top.

  • Play Like the great David Bronstein!
  • Find the moves that took down Mikhail Botvinnik and those that won back the title against Smyslov and Tal.
Botvinnik vs Bronstein 1951

Botvinnik vs Bronstein 1951

Mikhail Botvinnik's first title defense came against David Bronstein, one of the most creative players of all time. Bronstein led the best of 24 match with just two games remaining, but Botvinnik won game 23 and drew 24 to tie the match and retain his title. One of the most exciting games was Bronstein's win as Black in game 11.
1 Challenge
Botvinnik vs Smyslov 1954

Botvinnik vs Smyslov 1954

In 1953 Vasily Smyslov won the famous Zurich candidates tournament to earn a match with Botvinnik. Botvinnik started with 3.5/4, but Smyslov roared back and even took a lead before Botvinnik again held on and tied the match 12-12 to keep his title. One highlight was the tense ninth game, won by Smyslov to pull within one point.
1 Challenge
Smyslov vs Botvinnik 1957

Smyslov vs Botvinnik 1957

After only tying Botvinnik on his first attempt, Smyslov won another candidates cycle to earn a rematch. In 1957 he defeated Botvinnik decisively 12.5-9.5 to become champion. A key game was Smyslov's win in round six to tie the match. He never trailed afterward.
1 Challenge
Botvinnik vs Smyslov 1958

Botvinnik vs Smyslov 1958

After losing his title to Smyslov, Botvinnik had a right to a rematch the following year. After studying his defeat, Botvinnik was prepared and won the first three games en route to a 12.5-10.5 victory.
5 Challenges
Tal vs Botvinnik 1960

Tal vs Botvinnik 1960

In 1960 Mikhail Tal took the chess world by storm! His sacrificial style was a sharp contrast to Botvinnik's scientific approach to the game. Tal's attacking play was too much for Botvinnik. Tal won the first game, shown here, and never looked back, winning 12.5-8.5.
1 Challenge
Botvinnik vs Tal 1961

Botvinnik vs Tal 1961

After his loss to Tal, Botvinnik again played a rematch the next year and once again he regained his title! Tal was in ill health and Botvinnik was more prepared to handle his sacrifices the second time around, leading to a comfortable 13-8 victory. The most dominant game was Botvinnik's win in game seven, played almost in his opponent's style.
1 Challenge

Lessons

Play Like A World Champion: Botvinnik, Smyslov And Tal

Master Games
6 Lessons
No Videos
10 Challenges
Released May 27, 2020
532 Students