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Old September 15th 11, 04:12 PM posted to,,,,soc.culture.russian
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Default Soviet School of Chess, looking for the complete games

The Soviet School of Chess
by Alexander Kotov and Mikhail M Yudovich Sr.
Introduction by Sam Sloan
“The Soviet School of Chess” is one of the most important books ever
written on chess. It starts with the pre-Soviet Era with the beginning
of the 19th century and recounts not only the histories of their
greatest players up to the modern times but also the history of their
ideas. A biography is provided for each of the greatest players plus
examples from their games and their contributions to chess knowledge
and opening theory.
All of this huge storehouse of information is crammed into a small
space in this book.
I have been planning for the last two years since June 2009 to publish
a revised version of The Soviet School of Chess including the complete
scores to all of the games cited. This is because the authors often
only provide the part of the game they deem to be significant, such as
a position from the middle game or the end game or occasionally from
the opening. With nearly two hundred games cited in the book and
incomplete scores provided for most of them, this has been a difficult
After working on this project and then postponing it for two years, I
finally I decided to put all other work aside and get it done.
Most of the games are to be found in the standard databases,
especially when both of the players are famous. I was able to collect
most of those games by creating a “Game Collection” using This utility enables the user not only to pick out the
games but also to put them in the order he wants them. Here, I wanted
to put the games in the order they appear in the Soviet School of
Chess, which starts with games by Chigorin and then progresses through
games by lesser known players and ends with games by (very weak)
female players.
There are questions involving the spelling of the names of some of the
players. For example, on page 185 of the book there is a game by a
player named Porrek. I was able to establish that this is the same
person as a player named Porreca in the databases.
This book cites seven games played by Chigorin and Tarrasch against
each other. However, these two players played at least 35 games
against each other, so I had to be careful to make sure that the game
I was including in the collection was the same game that was cited in
the book.
Since in most cases only part of each game is provided in the book, I
had to use the position search features of and ChessBase
to find the complete moves of the game in which that position was
The authors sometimes describe what happened in a game without
identifying the players or giving any of the moves. For example, on
page 45 it says that Alekhine introduced the “Kecskemet Variation”,
but does not provide the name of the player he played it against.
After my search of the databases, I found that the game was Znosko-
Borovsky vs Alekhine, 1933.
There are also a few mistakes in the book. On page 34, it cites a game
“Tarrasch vs. Chigorin, Nuremberg 1906”. That game was actually played
between Marshall and Chigorin in Ostende in 1906.
After searching as thoroughly as I could, there were still 14 games
that could not be found in any database. Five of those games involved
very weak women players. One game was found for me by chess researcher
Louis Blair. Several more games had the complete game score in the
book, so I merely typed them in by hand.
That left two games where a search of all available databases failed
to reveal a complete game score. Both of them involved a spectacular
combination which undoubtedly is why they are preserved in this book.
Here they a
Bondarevsky vs. Ufimtsev.
Here Black blundered with the natural-looking 1. .... Bg2, intending
to follow it with Bxe4 and Black wins easily.
However, instead White played 2. Rh8+ Kf7 3. Be8+ Nxe8 4. Kg5 and now
Rf8# mate cannot be prevented.

Bondarevsky vs. Ragozin
Here, White, Bondarevsky, won with 42. Re8 fxe3 43. fxe3 Kf6 44.
Nd6 !! Qxc7 45. Rf8+ Kg6 46. Rf6+ Kh5 47. Ne8 Qc2 48. Ng7+ Kg4 49. Rf2
1-0 and White wins because of 40. Kg2 followed by either 51. h2# or
41. Be2# mate.
It is a curious fact that both games were won by Grandmaster
Bondarevsky, one of the strongest players in the world, yet the
original scoresheets have not been found. This is discussed in
Winter's Chess Notes:
Kotov makes a few mistakes. On page 51 he cites Vidmar-Alekhine, San
Remo 1930. On page 83 he cites Vidmar-Alekhine, San Remo 1931.
Although it is possible that the same players played the same opening
in successive years, I have checked carefully and there was only one
game. It was played in 1930.
There are controversies surrounding this book. One concerns the title
“The Soviet School of Chess”. Detractors say that there was no such
thing as the Soviet School of Chess. There was just a lot of strong
players all of whom happened to live in the Soviet Union, where chess
was popular.
It is not true that the book claims that these players became strong
by contemplating the works of The Great Lenin. The book does suggest
however that the players became strong by thinking about Chigorin who,
by the way, died in 1908 and did not live long enough to see the
Soviet Union.
The book says: “The Soviet style of play is characterized by creative
scope, boldness and energy in attack, plus tenacity and
resourcefulness in defense.”
This was before Karpov came along, who specialized in trading down and
squeezing a win out of drawish looking positions.
One disturbing aspect of this book concerns the short life spans of
some of the strongest and most talented players. Kotov only gives
their dates and does not tell what happened to them. This was a
difficult time for the Soviet Union, with World War One, followed by
the Civil War (that is frankly mentioned in the book), followed by the
Great Purges and then World War Two and the Siege of Leningrad where
many chess players died, sometimes of starvation.
Kotov complains starting on page 14 that certain openings are given
non-Soviet names whereas they were first developed by a Russian. For
example, he complains that the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 is
called “The Berlin Defense”. He says that it should have been named
after Jaenisch.
This complaint is not valid. The Berlin Defense is so named because it
was played by World Champion Emanuel Lasker, who lived in Berlin. It
could not be named after Lasker because there are so many other
openings named after Lasker.
In the West, we have the opposite complaint. Whereas the names of
certain openings were well established, the Soviets would find some
Russian player and re-name the opening after him.
An example is the Pirc Defense, 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6, named after
a Yugoslav grandmaster, Vasja Pirc. The Soviets insisted on calling it
the Ufimtsev Defense, even though there is no proof that Ufimtsev ever
played it.
In the book, Kotov characterizes Ufimtsev as the Champion of
Kazakhstan, but only gives the position where he lost to Bondarevsky
When I first visited the Soviet Union in 1977, I found that it was a
running joke there that everything of value in the world had been
invented by a Russian. For example, they knew that the electric light
bulb had actually been invented by Thomas Edison, an American, but the
Soviet authorities had found some Russian who supposedly had done some
important work and they claimed that that man had invented the light
bulb. “Everything was invented by a Russian” was a running joke there,
“Ah, yes, and that too was invented by a Russian”. They knew it was
all propaganda, and yet one Russian lectured to me in all seriousness
that the Benko Gambit, by a Hungarian, should be renamed the Volga
Gambit, after a place in Russia. They picked a place because they
could not find any Russian who they could say had invented it.
Sam Sloan
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Old September 15th 11, 04:40 PM posted to,,,,soc.culture.russian
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Default Soviet School of Chess, looking for the complete games

I got one of the great thrills of my early life came in the 1961
Eastern Open in Washington DC when I beat three Russians in a chess
tournament. I had never beaten a Russian before in my life and here I
suddenly beat three of them, one after the other.
I knew that the Russians were better than we were. I thought that they
could never be beaten and here I beat three of them.
In the book, Kotov complains that we in the West do not give the
Soviets credit for being better than we are. This complaint was not
valid. We knew all along that they were better than we were. We did
not know the reason. Was it because they contemplated the Great Lenin,
or was it because they thought about Chigorin, or was it because they
ate Wheaties, or was it because they neglected their wives and played
chess all the time, or was it because they were just plain smarter
than we were?
Whatever the reason was, we knew that they were better, a lot better,
than we were.
Sam Sloan
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Old September 15th 11, 08:14 PM posted to,,,,soc.culture.russian
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Posts: 14,870
Default Soviet School of Chess, looking for the complete games

There are two games remaining that are cited in "The Soviet School of
Chess" which I cannot find in any database. If anybody can find the
complete scores of these games please let me know. Not only can I not
find such a game by these players but I cannot find a game with these
opening moves by Anybody.
They are Kogan vs Tolush 1937 cited on page 44 and Zubarev vs Riumin
1931 cited on page 50. Here are the partial move provided by the book
for these two games:

[Event "Moscow-Leningrad Match"]
[Date "1937"]
[White "Kogan"]
[Black "Tolush, Alexander"]
[ECO "C78"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. c3 Ba7 7. d4 b5
8. Bb3 Qe7 9. a4 O-O 10. Re1 d6 11. h3 Bd7 12. a5 Kh8 13. Be3 Nh5 *

[Date "1931"]
[White "Zubarev"]
[Black "Riumin"]
[ECO "D51"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. Nf3 c6 6. e4 dxe4 7. Nxe4
h6 8. Bxf6 Nxf6 9. Nc3 b6

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