Mikhail Botvinnik

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Mikhail Botvinnik [1]

Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, (Михаил Ботвинник , August 17, 1911 – May 5, 1995)
was a Russian chess Grandmaster, three-time World Chess Champion from 1948 to 1957, 1958 to 1960, and 1961 to 1963, and a Doctor of Technical Sciences.

Computer Chess

Botvinnik’s interest in Computer Chess started in the 50s, favouring chess algorithms based on Shannon's selective type B strategy, as discussed along with Max Euwe 1958 in Dutch Television [2]. Botvinnik served as a consultant to Soviet computer chess developers who developed the ITEP Chess Program at Moscow's Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) which won a correspondence chess match against the Kotok-McCarthy-Program led by John McCarthy in 1967. Later he advised the team that created the chess program Kaissa at Moscow’s Institute of Control Sciences [3] [4] [5] .

However, Botvinnik had his own ideas to model a Chess Master's Mind. After publishing and discussing his early ideas on attack maps and trajectories at Moscow Central Chess Club [6] in 1966, with the skeptical Georgy Adelson-Velsky and others attending, he found Vladimir Butenko as supporter and collaborator. Butenko first implemented the 15x15 vector attacks board representation on a M-20 computer, determining trajectories. After Botvinnik introduced the concept of Zones in 1970, Butenko refused further cooperation and began to write his own program, dubbed Eureka [7].


In the 70s and 80s, leading a team around Boris Stilman, Alexander Yudin, Alexander Reznitskiy, Michael Tsfasman and Mikhail Chudakov, Botvinnik worked on his own project Pioneer. The research and work on Pioneer took place at the State Committee for Science and Technology, Moscow, USSR, the National Research Institute for Electrical Engineering, Moscow, USSR and the USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR. Short time visits with Stilman and Yudin took place in 1978 at University of Mannheim, Germany, and the University of Dortmund, Germany, as well at Control Data Corp., USA. Based on this research, Boris Stilman coined the term Linguistic Geometry [8], a new type of game theory. Botvinnik published Pioneer's abilities on selected positions, but it never played a public complete game of chess.

CC Sapiens

In the 90s, Botvinnik already in his 80s, he worked on the new project CC Sapiens, in collaboration with Vasily Vladimirov, Evgeniĭ Dmitrievich Cherevik and Vitaly Vygodsky [9]. For his publication Three Positions [10] , Botvinnik was criticized by Hans Berliner [11] [12] [13] [14] [15], and his old chess rival David Bronstein [16].


3-3.Botvinnik.McGill University Lecture.Montreal.1977.102645344.NEWBORN.lg.jpg

Botvinnik's Lecture at McGill University 1977 - any questions? Monty Newborn left [17]

Beal Thompson Newborn Botvinnik WCCC New York 1983.jpg

Don Beal, Ken Thompson, Monty Newborn, and Mikhail Botvinnik, WCCC 1983

3-1 and 3-3.Reshevsky Fine Botvinnik.WCCC 4.New York.1983.102645351.NEWBORN.jpg

Samuel Reshevsky, Reuben Fine and Mikhail Botvinnik, WCCC 1983

See also


Computer Chess


1968 ...

1970 ...

1980 ...

1990 ...


Forum Posts

1993 ...

Re: Botvinnik article by Peter Gillgasch, rgcc, October 23, 1996
Re: Botvinnik article by Marc-François Baudot, rgcc, November 07, 1996 » Advances in Computer Chess 7

2000 ...

External Links

Энциклопедия шахмат - Ботвинник В.Линдер, И.Линдер, The Encyclopedia of Chess - Botvinnik B. Linder, J. Linder
По стопам ПИОНЕРа, In the footsteps of Pioneer


  1. Image at Schiphol, October 29, 1962, by Harry Pot / Anefo, Mikhail Botvinnik from Wikipedia
  2. Wageningen Caltex (1958) from chessgames.com
  3. International Grandmaster and World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik in Moscow, 1980, Gift of Monroe Newborn, "Botvinnik served as a consultant to Soviet computer chess developers who developed an early program at ITEP which won a correspondence chess match against a Stanford University chess program led by John McCarthy in 1967. Later he advised the team that created the chess program Kaissa at Moscow’s Institute for Control Science"
  4. Michael Brudno (2000). Competitions, Controversies, and Computer Chess, pdf
  5. Kaissa & Botvinik by Shay Bushinsky, rgcc, October 16, 1997
  6. The last day of the “Botvinnik Memorial” by Anna Burtasova, ChessBase News, September 07, 2011
  7. Лингвистическая Геометрия Бориса Штильмана, Linguistic Geometry Boris Stilman by Alexander Timofeev (Google Translate) По стопам ПИОНЕРа, In the footsteps of Pioneer
  8. The Home Page of Linguistic Geometry by Boris Stilman
  9. Mikhail Botvinnik, Evgeniĭ Dmitrievich Cherevik, Vasily Vladimirov, Vitaly Vygodsky (1994). Solving Shannon's Problem: Ways and Means. Advances in Computer Chess 7
  10. Mikhail Botvinnik (1993). Three Positions. ICCA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2
  11. Hans Berliner (1993). Playing Computer Chess in the Human Style. ICCA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3
  12. Kasparov missed Beautiful win; Botvinnik's Program muffs analysis by Hans Berliner, rec.games.chess, July 9, 1993
  13. Berliner paper about Botvinnik by Shane Hudson, rgc, September 10, 1994
  14. Botvinnik article by Jonathan Schaeffer, rgcc, October 23, 1996
  15. Hans Berliner against Mikhail Botvinnik by Alexander Timofeev
  16. David Bronstein (1993). Mimicking Human Oversight. ICCA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 3
  17. Photos by Monroe Newborn from The Computer History Museum
  18. ICGA Reference Database (pdf)
  19. Paul Rushton, Tony Marsland (1973). Current Chess Programs: A Summary of their Potential and Limitations. INFOR Journal of the Canadian Information Processing Society Vol. 11, No. 1, pdf
  20. Computers, Chess and Long-range Planning by Botvinnik by John L. Jerz
  21. "The Tale of a Small Tree" by M.M.Botvinnik [fragment] by José Antônio Fabiano Mendes, CCC, March 09, 2000

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