Drunknknite was kind enough to follow the link in my last post back to my Feb. 2006 thoughts on The Greatest. He asks:
In your greatest post where is Botvinnik??
For some reason he is overlooked, even though he is the one who propelled technique and the form of scientific analysis we apply to this game to the forefront of theory. He was also 'dominant' from 1946 until 1957 (probably even later than this). In spite of the fact that Bronstein and Smyslov were right on his heels, he still showed his superiority to the great masters of his time.
As great a player as Botvinnik was, I must respectfully disagree with part of this comment. If I were to have included a list of the "Top Ten" chess players of all time, M. Botvinnik would probably have merited a place on it; but in the particular categories of my rather idiosyncratic list I couldn't justify including him. He truly was dominant in the 1948 World Championship Tournament, but then didn't play any public chess for three years, and his record in the World Ch. matches he played in 1951-63 was basically 50-50. If you will refer to his tournament and match record here you'll see that he played fairly sparingly as World Champion, had a number of very good results and a few mediocre ones in strong tournaments, but never had the kind of almost unbeatable of 4-7 years that was noted in my original post for Alekhine, Tal, Fischer et al.
It certainly hurt Botvinnik that four or five of what might have been his dominant years were 1941-45 when the Soviet Union was locked in a death struggle with Germany and international chess life was disrupted. If he had gotten a chance to play in a World Championship match and a few strong international events during those years his reputation as a great player might be even greater.
For these reasons, Botvinnik didn't make any of the lists in my original post but I'm happy to agree with drunknknite that he deserves recognition as one of the all-time greats.