Mikhail Botvinnik, the sixth world champion, is widely regarded as the "most instructive chess player ever" (you heard it here first).
And indeed, in a number of his games, he exerted his plans with rigorous discipline and very often crushed his opponents with the iron logic. Not without reason did Paul Keres, his greatest competitor, once compared young Botvinnik with the bulldozer who swept everything on his path.
Botvinnik's impact on chess was enormous. He was the first to introduce the meticulous and rigorous opening preparation, he discovered a number of inovative ideas (like playing with the isolated pawn - see his game against Vidmar below). Also, let's not forget that a number of top players went through the famous Botvinnik school of chess, the most notable being the 13th World Champion, Garry Kasparov.
Botvinnik was trully a great champion.
1. Botvinnik - Capablanca, AVRO 1938
Botvinnik's probably most famous game. Who doesn't know the remarkable Ba3!! and Nh5!! combo?
2. Botvinnik - Alekhine, AVRO, 1938
Another victory from the AVRO tournament in which the new generation overthrew the old one. This time against another great champion, Alekhine himself.
3. Botvinnik - Vidmar, Nottingham, 1936
Notable game in which Botvinnik demonstrated method of play with the isolani which has become one of the standard plans.
4. Botvinnik - Tal, World Championship, 1961
In 1961, Botvinnik solved the riddle of the magician from Riga. This is his best creative achievement from that match.
5. Botvinnik - Portisch, Monte Carlo, 1968
One from the older days - a fantastic game including a double rook sacrifice.
6. Smyslov - Botvinnik, World Championship, 1954
A lesson with the title "How to crush the Closed Sicilian".
7. Botvinnik - Keres, Soviet Team Championship, 1966
A game between old rivals demonstrating the best aspects of Botvinnik's play - strong strategical play and tactical execution resulting from the superior position.
8. Taimanov - Botvinnik, Moscow, 1963
This game demonstrates Botvinnik's resourcefullness in inferior positions and how quickly he is able to seize the initative.
9. Botvinnik - Robatsch, Amsterdam, 1966
Final two games display Botvinnik's masterful handling of the famous Karlsbad structure. Kasparov once wrote handling of the Carlsbad's structure determines the quality of a player. Judge for yourselves.
10. Botvinnik - Larsen, Noteboom Memorial, 1965
Ra1 and Qb1??I mean, seriousy Botvinnik?