Bulletin No.78 – Combo Corner: Botvinnik


When you think of Botvinnik you immediately think of strategic masterpieces rather than fantastic tactics. However, Botvinnik did play some really nice combinations, it was just that by the time he played them he normally had other ways of winning.  In other words Botvinik’s combinations were normally crowning glories after he had already outplayed his opponent but that does not detract from their beauty nor how impressively he calculated them!

Kill Rather Than Grind

This first combination is an excellent case in point. Botvinnik’s first move is the most telling and required good calculation.  But what is really impressive is that he follows up not by grabbing an exchange and grinding out the win but by saccing the exchange and going for the quick kill.

Just 3 More Moves

White’s position looks very nice having sacced his a-pawn and gained a lead in development.  But this is the sort of position us mere mortals can fail to convert when faced with a choice of promising options, most of which allow Black to hang on.  No problem for Botvinnik who finds three precise moves in a row to end the game.

Headlong Into the Trap

Black has just played his knight from c6 to b8, with the intention of meeting Rxc7 with Bc6 winning the rook on c6. Botvinnik has seen this and a little further too! It took imagination to see the first three moves of this combination and then a lot of calculation after that to check it actually won. Botvinnik was not one for speculation so you can be sure that he will have worked out all the lines.

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