Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Botvinnik's Chivalry

Sometime in 1992, Grandmaster Arsen Yegiazarian and I were playing in the Moscow Dynamo’s club championship. One day, following the end of a round, we decided to drop by the Central House of chess. While walking on the Gogol Boulevard, I noticed a man of considerable size walking rather slowly arm in arm with an old man in spectacles. The old man's face seemed familiar.

“It's Botvinnik!”, I almost shouted. “Exactly!”, my friend confirmed with an equal doze of enthusiasm. We started frantically rummaging through pockets in search of a piece of paper. The only thing that we found was a scoresheet where I copied down the moves of my recently concluded game. It contained only the exact moves and final result. I’ve forgotten to add the names of the players. We hurriedly approached the great champion, greeted him and handed him the scoresheet asking for an autograph. Botvinnik stared at the sheet of paper for a few seconds, slowly turned over the scoresheet and put his signature under the result of "1-0" under "Black's signature". Then he handed me the scoresheet back and said: “Now fill in the names and tell everybody that you beat Botvinnik!”

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