Friday, April 22, 2011


I've been really into the idea of studying Mikhail Botvinnik lately. Today I happened upon his "One Hundred Selected Games," which is a classic exposition of the Russian School of thought on chess. In fact, Botvinnik is the stereotypical stoic soviet chess master that you probably think of when the words "Russia" and "Chess" come to mind.

First published in English in 1951, his writing is a clear glimpse into the mind of the soviets and how they approached chess and just about everything else. Regarding chess, he unflinchlingly analyzes his own games and gives dominating principles to those who would follow in his footsteps, which might be summarized thus:

"Out-study, out-prepare your opponents beforehand and have the greater will to win."

Botvinnik used to say that if you lose a game, it's because you didn't want to win bad enough.

That's true enough in chess, but the lesson has applications just about everywhere else. Food for thought.


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