NAME: Mikhail Botvinnik
BIRTHDATE: August 17, 1911
BIRTHPLACE: Kuokkala, near St. Petersburg, later annexed from Finland by Russia
CREDENTIALS: Include being the only player to be World Chess Champion for three terms -- from 1948 to 1957, from 1958 (after reclaiming the title from Vasily Smyslov) to 1960, and from 1961 (after reclaiming the title from Mikhail Tal) to 1963
MODUS OPERANDI: Known for his straight-forward, non-flashy, computational style of play. (Would clobber any student who tried for quick wins with The Scholar's Mate!) He raised the bar for the amount of pre-game preparation and post-game analysis needed to be a top world player.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: First began playing chess when 12 years old. During his reigns as chess champion, in addition to chess he also devoted much time and energy to earning and using a doctorate in technology, specializing in electrical engineering. In his later life, he worked on developing computer chess and on helping to train other players -- including Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. He emphasized the importance of physical fitness for tournament chess, and -- although he didn't smoke -- he would play practice games with heavy smokers to become accustomed to competing in adverse conditions. He died in 1995.