While we were discussing the idea of the book, now over some good food, I remembered that I had
always liked to analyze players’ styles and preferences as Botvinnik did in his preparations. When his
secret notebooks were published, I was fascinated with how he managed to extract precise characteristics
based on concrete examples. As a matter of fact, Botvinnik also called these analyses “characteristics”.
Here is an example of what he thought about Tal’s play prior to the match in 1960 (my translation from
Russian from the book “Botvinnik – Tal, Return Match”): “The general tendency – to obtain positional
advantage by lively play rather than long maneuvering”.
Has Botvinnik’s way of analysis become a lost art? Now I had a chance to do it myself. By the time
dessert came, we had agreed on the concept. Some days later, I realized with horror the enormity of the
task that I had taken upon for myself. It took me a year and a half to complete the analytical work.
The main difficulty was that sometimes, the initial impression of a “characteristic” based on a game was
not exactly what I thought it was, as the deeper analysis unearthed details that changed the picture. In
such cases, I had to discard those examples and either look for others, or to conclude that the
“characteristic” was not clear enough to form part of the player’s profile.
Most of the players in this book turned 20 in 2020. I intended to analyze their styles while they were still
juniors and therefore, the latest games I consulted were from
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