Botvinnik, Mikhail Moiseyevich

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Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, 1911–95, Soviet chess grandmaster, b. near St. Petersburg. He learned chess at the age of 12 and within a decade became the Soviet champion, a title he won seven times. Botvinnik, who began an era of Soviet and Russian chess domination, was the game's comeback kid, becoming world champion in 1948, losing the title in 1957, regaining it a year later, losing it again in 1960, reclaiming it in 1961, and losing it for the last time to Tigran Petrosian in 1963. Master of an extremely rational game, Botvinnik excelled at preparation, carefully studying his opponents' psychology, strengths, and weaknesses, and devised complicated and effective opening and endgame maneuvers. A world-class teacher, he created what has been called the scientific method in chess learning; his pupils included such masters as Karpov and Kasparov. Among his many books on chess that have been translated into English are One Hundred Selected Games (1951), Botvinnik's Best Games, 1947–1970 (1972), Achieving the Aim (1981), and Computers in Chess (1984).