You may want to read about the 1970 USSR vs rest of world match to have some
insights into the former Soviet Union (USSR) chess domination
Some interesting Soviet chess rough statistics :-
1922 1,000 registered chessplayers
1924 The Russian state took over control of chess with the formation of the
All-Union Chess Section of the Supreme Council for Physical Culture
1929 150,000 players
1934 500,000 players
1966 3,540,000 players
1970 USSR vs Rest of World match
1990's over 5 million
More accurate indicator is FIDE rated player statistics, e.g.
With Chess being a high national game status , the importance of training
methods, funding, government backing, etc, become higher priority.
I think the "secret" is chess being of national game status. The rest
follow. Training methods became more formal, and led to the creation of
specialist chess schools.
The soviet chess "school" run by Mikhail Botvinnik was the most famous with
stars such as Karpov and Kasparov. I guess that each player of the school
was being continually assessed for their particular strengths and
weaknesses. I guess it was run like a correspondence style coaching
programme but with meeting up face to face on occasion. If anyone has any
more depth to how the Mikhail Botvinnik school worked, I would be interested
to know. Perhaps there should be a book called "Mikhail Botvinnik Chess
School training methods" to let the secrets out :-)
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Secret Soviet traininhg methods, I agree are a joke. I can just see a
political reliable standing behind the little kid with a gun or
truncheon to dispose of the child that doesn't meet expectations.
Kinda like the study this and play that or die school of chess. Out of
a country of 300,000,000 the USSR could only come up with 50 or so
International players. I think the Netherlands or Great Britian or
Iceland is more successful at creating world class players per capita.