Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 03 Jul '12 11:10
    Why was he disliked personally so much?
  2. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    03 Jul '12 16:18
    The USSR Absolute Championship of 1941 was brought about by the results of the 12th USSR Championship in 1940. Bondarevsky and Lillienthal tied for first and Botvinnik finished tied for 5th and 6th place. Botvinnik's eye was on the title (with Alekhine) and he started a campaign against Bondarevsky and Lillienthal. He started calling and writing Soviet Authorities telling them that neither Bodarevsky nor Lillienthal had a chance to beat Alekhine. You can imagine how Bondarevsky and lillienthal felt about Botvinnik. Botvinnik's idea went as follows---lets do 1940 all over again and instead of Bondarevsky and Lillienthat having a play-off---let the first six finishers have a playoff. We'll call it the "The USSR Absolute Championship of 1941". Well it came to pass and Botvinnik won the 1941 absolute championship but was it fair---did Botvinnik really care if it was fair?
    Botvinnik was full of little tricks like this throughout his career.


    http://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/most-hated-chess-players-in-history
  3. 06 Jul '12 23:56
    Originally posted by dsmichel
    Why was he disliked personally so much?
    How did you learn how to ask such a leading question?

    While he had many rivals and perhaps more than a few enemies, I know
    of no evidence that Mikhail Botvinnik was nearly universally disliked.
    Among Soviet GMs in general, Botvinnik seems to have been much respected
    though not particularly loved. As I recall, Svetozar Gligoric once wrote that
    he was impressed to see Botvinnik, who presumably then was world champion,
    scrupulously keeping score for some other Soviet GMs who were playing cards.
    Evidently, Botvinnik did not regard that task as beneath him, and other Soviet
    GMs did not shun his company. Botvinnik was far from being a pariah.

    Some Western chess writers seem to regard Botvinnik with disdain, however,
    because they object to what they think they know of his political views (Botvinnik
    was a Marxist, but not a slavish follower of the Communist Party) or they hold
    him responsible for helping to deprive Paul Keres or David Bronstein of fair
    opportunities to compete for the world championship. The controversies
    involving Botvinnik, Keres, and Bronstein are too involved for me to describe
    here in this post.
  4. 07 Jul '12 00:58
    If the authorites did lean on Keres and Bronstein not to do well it
    was without Botvinnik's knowledge.
    Infact it appears the authorites would have to go great lengths to make sure
    Botvinnik did not know.

    Keres was told he not must be responsible for Botvinnik not winning
    the 1948 World title tournament.

    Later when Botvinnik found out about this and was livid.

    Bronsein writes about his 1951 matech.

    "I have been asked many, many times if I was obliged to lose the 23rd game
    and if there was a conspiracy against me to stop me from taking Botvinnik’s title.

    "A lot of nonsense has been written about this.
    The only thing that I am prepared to say about all this controversy is that I was
    subjected to strong psychological pressure from various origins and it was entirely
    up to me to yield to that pressure or not. Let’s leave it at that."

    In that 23rd game Botvinnik sealed a weak and losing move.
    Salo Flohr, Botvinnik's second. Said Botvinnik was nearly in tears thinking he
    had lost the title. (hardly the action of man knowing his opponent would be
    throwing a game.)

    Also if Botvinnik was in on the scam he could have told the Bureau that
    he wanted to change his sealed move. I'm sure this could have been arranged.

    Further evidence from Moscow 1935.

    Botvinnik himself states:

    Nikolai Krylenko told Botvinnik he could arrange it so that in the coming last
    round Botvinnik's opponent, Rabinovich, would lose thus making sure Botvinnik
    was the sole winner.

    Botvinik replied saying if he suspected Rabinovich was playing weakly
    he (Botvinnik) would hang a piece and resign.

    The game was drawn. He tied for first place.
  5. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    07 Jul '12 17:34
    Botvinnik was a dick. He said that Karpov had no future in chess. His assessment of Kramnik: "He's fat, he drinks, and he smokes." He called Bronstein "Stinkstein." He had no compunction to use Tal's illness against him, or rearrange matches because of "hot moscow weather." He also probably left the toilet seat up, double-dipped his chips in the dip bowel, and farted whilst standing on the Metro. He credited Fischer's blowing of a won position against him to a "defect of character," even though he had the Supreme Soviet of chess analyzing the adjourned position while he rested up. All that being said, every character defect he ever had pales to the fact that he contributed to all of us by teachingthe that the way to get better is to deeply, impartially, and throughly study your games.
  6. 07 Jul '12 18:28 / 1 edit
    After SSSR and Yugoslavia had split in 1948, one could read many articles in Yugoslavian chess magazines, in which editors and journalists (who didn´t like Russian influence even before 1948 when Tito said no to Stalin) were mocking amongst other things Botvinnik's title after "Absolute Championship..." - ChessPraxis wrote about this.

    Botvinnik was allowed to use night lamp during tournaments in Hastings.

    Regarding Bronstein and Keres, I am not ready to let Botvinnik off the hook so easily.

    I think that Bronstein´s statement - that greenpawn mentioned - was given before he moved abroad. Western sources and his words from his will show howvere that he was forced to lose the match aginbts Botvinnik.
    Also there are indications, that Geller, Keres and Bronstein were, how to say, handiccaped because thew were not Russians.

    The only brigth spot in Botvinnik´s non-chess relations with ohter players is Kortchnoi´s statement, that after he (Kortchnoi) defected to the West medio 1970´s, Botvinnik was amongst Soviet GMs who did not sign a petition against Korchnoi.

    I could read on internet - but I can´t find the article now - about the only chess game between Botvinnik and Fischer.

    Fischer wrote that Botvinnik was very nervous, sighing and moaning: "He was sweating much and I was afraid he could die on me during the game" - if I remember well Fischer´s words.
    "But when I made a final mistake and lost chances to win, he livened and regained hilarious mood."

    Botvinnik, on the other hand, wrote some demeaning account about the game: he was commenting Fischer´s skill in endgame in style: "Capablanca would have never made such mistake... etc."

    I remember that someone had commented Botvinnik´s words like this::.
    "Capablanca would never used help of bunch of assistants like Botvinnik did, when the game was abandoned" (!!! my exclamation marks).

    The point is that SSSR were indebted to Botvinnik because of his work in the field of electronics (his work is still top classiffied), and he had used it indeed. Therefore he was a "dark character" of Soviet (and world) chess".

    I'll try to find Bronstein´s statement on the title match 1950 (not that one from Wikipedia).
  7. 07 Jul '12 20:21
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    Botvinnik was a dick. He said that Karpov had no future in chess. ...
    He had no compunction to use Tal's illness against him ...
    And beginning a post by name-calling reinforces an illusion of objectivity?
    Mikhail Botvinnik's negative assessment of Anatoly Karpov's potential shows
    an error in Botvinnik's judgment, not necessarily a defect in his character.

    A friend of mine (who's graded about 200 ECF) and I have discussed the
    1961 match between Tal and Botvinnik. He believed that Tal, his favourite player,
    was overconfident in agreeing to play the match, and he did not believe that
    Botvinnik had acted improperly toward Tal.

    In 1972 Botvinnik said that he thought that women are weaker chess players
    than men on account of a 'biological' reason: women are designed by nature
    for 'procreation', though he acknowledged that women would disagree with him.
    In 1972, however, Botvinnik presumably never expected a Chinese player, for
    instance, to become the women's world champion, and I have seen a photo
    of him meeting, apparently cordially, with Xie Jun. So since 1972 Botvinnik
    might have found some reasons to revise his view of women chess players.

    I am not claiming that Bovinnik was a flawless human being (who is?).
    The original poster's question insinuated, however, that almost everyone in
    chess disliked Botvinnik for good reasons, and that's simply not true.
  8. 07 Jul '12 20:29
    Originally posted by vandervelde
    After SSSR and Yugoslavia had split in 1948, one could read many articles in Yugoslavian chess magazines, in which editors and journalists (who didn´t like Russian influence even before 1948 when Tito said no to Stalin) were mocking amongst other things Botvinnik's title after "Absolute Championship..." - ChessPraxis wrote about this.

    Botvinnik was al ...[text shortened]... find Bronstein´s statement on the title match 1950 (not that one from Wikipedia).
    With regard to the controversies around Botvinnik, Bronstein, and Keres,
    I am open to any new evidence. If you intend to cite any evidence, I would
    ask that you take care to mention the source and the context completely.

    If I recall correctly, Yuri Averbakh has said that he would not take too literally
    everything that Bronstein has said about his 1951 match against Botvinnik.
    Averbakh seems to suspect that Bronstein was, at least in part, attempting
    to rationalize not winning the world championship.
  9. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    07 Jul '12 22:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    And beginning a post by name-calling reinforces an illusion of objectivity?
    I like to make little jokes with my posts, kind of like how you like to turn the majority of yours into undergraduate papers on feminist criticism.
  10. 07 Jul '12 23:04
    Originally posted by Thabtos
    I like to make little jokes with my posts, kind of like how you like to turn the majority of yours into undergraduate papers on feminist criticism.
    When people get caught making an inappropriate comment, they often attempt
    to excuse it as just a joke. My point was that Thabtos's name-calling against
    Botvinnik contributed nothing meaningful to the discussion; it only strengthened
    the impression that Thabtos lacks objectivity in examining Botvinnik.

    Thabtos's claim about 'the majority of' my posts at RHP is patently false.
  11. 08 Jul '12 07:17
    you sad sad sad human being.
  12. 08 Jul '12 12:41 / 1 edit
    Hi Dutchess

    Thabots jokes and jokes of any kind fit in with any chess discussion as a
    form of mild relief. It was a wee bit of bait cast onto the surface of the lake
    to see if anyone nibbled.

    He's right about Botvinnik and Karpov though, The Bot (as we called him in the 70's)
    did not rate the early Karpov at all.

    Hi vandervelde

    I got Bronstein's statement about the 1951 match from the intro of
    'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' it's title 'A Word to the Reader'

    It ends David Ionovich Bronstein, Lasne, Belguim. 1995.

    So it appears it was not written before he left Russia.

    It is quite an open article by Bronstein he mentions that Botvinnik thought he
    was the greatest player of all time. the 12-12 result proved otherwise.

    There is also a hint of annoyance about this whole affair when he asks why
    do journalists, "who have never played a serious match in their lives" keep
    asking about a game played more than 40 years ago.

    We can only speculate about the:

    "....strong psychological pressure from various origins."

    Bronstein, then married, had fallen in love with a younger woman and
    divorce proceedings were being prepared.

    Bronstein's father who had been released from a Gulag about 6 years before
    the 1951 match was still classed as a 'criminal' which meant he could be
    returned to a Gulag at anytime the authorites wished.

    Botvinnik was a good player and Bronstein was human.
    The is every chance he simply blundered a won endgame.
    We have all done that.
  13. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    08 Jul '12 15:26 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    When people get caught making an inappropriate comment, they often attempt
    to excuse it as just a joke. My point was that Thabtos's name-calling against
    Botvinnik contributed nothing meaningful to the discussion; it only strengthened
    the impression that Thabtos lacks objectivity in examining Botvinnik.

    Thabtos's claim about 'the majority of' my posts at RHP is patently false.
    You did not start to catch on that it was joke when you got to the part about double-dipping chips and leaving the toilet seat up?! 😵
  14. 09 Jul '12 11:44
    Bronstein 12½ Borvinnik 11½

    A New Young World Chess Champion

    From the 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'. It is In the 40 combinations section.

    After each combo Bronstein often adds a small anecdote about his opponent.
    Combo No.9 has Bronstein beating Panov in the 1947 Moscow Championship.
    He adds that Panov came up to him after the 1951 match and said;

    "You spoiled my chess column."

    He had written a piece as titled above fully expecting it to appear in print
    the next day. He had to do a hasty re-write.
  15. 11 Jul '12 01:22
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    You did not start to catch on that it was joke when you got to the part about double-dipping chips and leaving the toilet seat up?! 😵
    I did not take seriously that part of Thatbos's post, and I did not comment on it.
    Unlike in a face-to-face verbal conversation, one's tone of voice is not always
    clearly expressed (though many people seem to assume that they always know
    for certain, and they don't seem to blame themselves when they are wrong)
    in writing on the internet. So I could not be certain of the extent to which Thatbos
    was joking or to which he meant to insult Botvinnik, though I expect that, if he
    were still alive, Botvinnik would not care at all about what Thatbos wrote.

    Many people seem to act as though writing on the internet were exactly like
    having a face-to-face conversation. There are some significant differences,
    however, which have become the subject of research in psychology.