But as quoted by my platoon sergeant, "Life goes on". He has done his part, and now it's our turn. So don't let yourself get affected in any negative way. Continue to focus on your studies and chess training.
All ready? Let's get on to the main topic:
There is a quote on Wikipedia about Mikhail Botvinnik that piques my interest: "Botvinnik saw himself as a "universal player" (all-rounder), in contrast to an all-out attacker like Mikhail Tal or a defender like Tigran Petrosian."
So we have already seen a superb, all-rounded performance in his game against Capablanca. Now let's take a look at an even more extreme example: A fireworks display of sacrifice against Portisch in the Monte Carlo 1968 tournament. In this game, Botvinnik pretends to fall for a trap, only to spring back with a nasty surprise for his opponent. Move aside, Mikhail Tal.
|Did someone call me?|
So how does Botvinnik do it the Tal way? Sit back and enjoy the game:
Mikhail Botvinnik vs Lajos Portisch
Monte Carlo 1968
1. c4 e5
2. Nc3 Nf6
3. g3 d5
4. cxd5 Nxd5
5. Bg2 Be6
6. Nf3 Nc6
7. O-O Nb6
7... Bc5 is met by 8. e3 threatening to push d4.
8. d3 Be7
9. a3 a5
To prevent 10. b4.
10. Be3 O-O
11. Na4 Nxa4
12. Qxa4 (D)
|Position after 12. Qxa4|
Development with threat: The c6 knight is attacked by the Queen and also indirectly by the g2 bishop.
Simple middlegame ideas like placing your rooks on semi-open files prove to be very useful. Here, Botvinnik wants to double his rooks on the c-file so as to increase the pressure against c6.
14. Rc2 Bf8
Possibly part of a plan to push e4.
15. Rac1 Nb8
Openly inviting White to capture the pawn. A alternative variation is 15... Qd7 16. Qb5 Rab8 17. Bc5 Bxc5 18. Qxc5 (D)
|Position after 18. Qxc5|
White now threatens advancing b4 followed by b5 kicking the knight, before breaking through on the Queenside. Play may continue: 18... Rbd8 19. b4 axb4 20. axb4 Qd6 21. b5 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 Nd4! Where Black uses a nice tactic to prevent loss of material.
Returning to the position after 15... Nb8:
16. Rxc7 Bc6
It seems that White has fallen for a trap here. But in a calculative mind, there is always more than meets the eye...
17. R1xc6! bxc6
|Position after 17... bxc6|
Portisch must have received a rude shock upon seeing this move!
After 18... Kxf7 19. Qc4+ Kg6 (19... Ke7 20. Nxe5 and Black's king is also fully exposed., while after 19... Qd5? 20. Ng5+ White wins the Queen.) 20. Qe4+ Kf7 21. Ng5+ Ke7 22. Qxe5+ White has an unstoppable attack.
19. Rb7 Qc8
20. Qc4+ Kh8 (D)
|Position after 20... Kh8|
It seems Black has halted White's plans for now... or has he?
What the __!! Is this Mikhail Tal is disguise? Not one, but two pieces being sacrificed!
21. Qf7 threatening 22. Bxh6 was also a strong alternative.
22. Ng6+ Kh7
23. Be4 Bd6
Black crumbles under the relentless attack.
25. Bxg6+ Kg7
26. Bxh6+ (D)
|Position after 26... Bxh6|
After 26... Kxh6 27. Qh4+ Kg7 28. Qh7+ Kf6 29. Ng4+ Ke6 (29... Kg5 30. Qh5#) 30. Qxb7 White's material advantage is overwhelming.
Breathtaking performance by Botvinnik, don't you agree? Not only does he have great positional skills, this game shows that he can also play chess the Tal way: Sacrifice and attack! Now we know how he managed to stay as the World Champion for so long, for doing things the Tal way is certainly one tall order (whoops)!