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The Soviet Chess School.Part 2.

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The Soviet Chess School did not appear out of nothing. Chess had been playing in Russia for centuries and during the 19th century the seeds of what later became an immense machinery began to appear. The concept of “Russian Chess School” appeared in that century too. We must bear into our minds that America had its Morphy, and in Europe names like Steinitz, Tarrasch Staunton, Lasker and many others began to appear too. Soviet Chess historians/players mention , at least, the following names: Alexander Petrov (1794- 1867), Sergei Urusov (1827-1897), Emanuel Schiffers (1850-1904), Karl Jaenisch (1813-1843) and, above all,the considered “Father of the Russian Chess” Mijail Chigorin (1850-1808). You will recognise the names in different “modern” openings.    The first Chess magazine in Russian was “Shakhmatny Listok” (1859). Chigorin developed as a chessplayer when Steinitz’s theories were being developed by Tarrasch, and he disagreed with many of the postulates, developing a new approach to Chess,  livelier, more dynamic. His concepts are still valid today and were the basis for the new approach of the Soviet Chess School,always focusing everything on dynamics.

This was the first attempt at reaction against the static views advocated by Tarrasch.Chigorin understood that tactical operations should not be a goal in themselves but rather a part of the positional phase of the fight over the board, and he also criticised the idea that “natural moves” were the best. He insisted upon concrete analysis as the main guideline even from the very opening (consider for instance his 1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 against the French). A curiosity  is that he preferred Knights to Bishops (the eternal discussion…)  and advocated the defence which bears his name: the Chigorin Defence against the QP : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6  . But the reader will probably remember him for the famous Chigorin System against the Ruy Lopez /Spanish.

Unfortunately for him, in 1888 he lost to Steinitz with the World Championship at stake (in a period when the holder of the title had the right to choose the opponent whenever he pleased,  imposing also the conditions of play.  This ended up once FIDE took over the whole process after the death of Alekhine.)

(In 1899 the First Official Russian Championship was held inaugurating a glorious tradition.)

So,the names which could be considered as milestones in this story would be those of Chigorin, Alekhine (1892-1946) and Botvinnik, the first Soviet Chess World Champion (Alekhine was Russian, but he had the French nationality. Born in an aristocratic family who lost everything with the Soviet Revolution and with a stormy personal life I am not going to judge. He defended the title twice against Bogoljubow -beating him convincingly-, lost to Euwe and regained the title from the Dutch  in a revenge match.  (There is a lot of information and misinformation about him during the pre-WW2 and WW2 periods. ) He died in 1946 when talks with Botvinnik for a match had been started. In 1948 a Tournament Match -under the auspices of  FIDE  was held and Botvinnik emerged as the new World Champion of Chess.)

(I hope that in the Internet era and if the reader is interested s/he can obtain information galore about all this. In Chess one should do his/her own work. And please remember this blog shows a personal opinion / view: the things as I lived/am living them and how they have influenced or affected me. Everything  is relative.)

The Games

W.: Steinitz  (0)

B.: Chigorin (1)

(Game played by cable between 1891 and 1892 as part of a two-game match)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. ed5: Na5 6. Bb5 c6 7. dc6: bc6: 8. Be2 h6  9. Nh3 Bc5    10. d3 0-0 11. Nc3 Nd5  12. Na4 Bd6  13. Ng1 f5  14. c3 Bd7 15. d4 e4 16. c4 Ne7!   17.  Nc3  Be6   18. b3?! Bb4  19. Bb2 f4  20. Qc2 Qd4:  21. Kf1 f3!  22. gf3: ef3!  23. Bf3:  Bf5     24. Ne4 Be4:!  25. Qe2 Bf3:! 26. Qe6 Kh7 27. Bd4: Bh1  28. Qh3 Nf5 29. Be5  Rae8 30. Bf4 Nd4   31.  Qd3! Be4 32. Qd4: Be4  33. f3 Ref8  34. Qa7: c5  35. Qc7 Nc6!  36. a3 Rf3:! 37. Nf3: Rf3:   38. Kg1 Bd2!  .White resigns.

W.: Riumin  (1)

B.: Capablanca  (0)

Moscow 1935

( Nikolai N. Riumin , 1908-1942,  was one of the pioneers. During his short life he played yn four Soviet Championships and and won the Moscow champioship three times. I have always been attracted by these players and I recommend the reader to find and study their games.)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bc3: 6. Qc3: Ne4 7. Qc2 c5 8. dc5: Nc6 9.e3 Qa5  10. Bd2 Qc5: 11. b4 Qe7  12. Bc1 a5  13. b5 Ne5  14. Bb2 Ng4 15. Nh3 Qh4 16. g3 Qh6  17. Qe2 Ngf6 18. Nf4 0-0  19. Bg2 dc4: 20. Qc4 Nd6  21. Qd3 Rd8  22. Rd1 Nfe8  23. 0-0 a4  24. Ne2 Bd7   25. Nc3 Ra5 26. Qd4 Qg5  27. Qb4 b6  28. Rd2 Bb5:  29. Rfd1  h6  and Black resigned.

W.: Botvinnik  (1)

B.: Kubbel       (0)

Leningrad 1930

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. g3 0-0 6. Bg2 e5 7. Nge2 Bg4     8. f3 Be6 9. d5 Bd7  10. Be3 b6 11. Qd2  Na6 12. Bg5! Qc8   13. g4 Nb4    14. h4 a5  15. a4 Na6 16. b3 Nc5 17. Rab1 h5!  18. Bf6: Bf6:  19.  gh5: Qd8 20. Kd1 Bh4:  21. Kc2 Qg5  22. Qg5: Bg5: 23. Bh3! Kg7   24.  Bd7: Nd7: 25. Nb5 Rac8 26. hg6: fg6: 27. Rbg1 Be3  28. Rg3 R8f7    29.  Kd3 Bf2 30. Rgh3 Kf8 31. Rhf1 Bc5 32. f4 ef4:  33. Nf4: g5          34.  Rhg3 Nh7 35. Ne6 Kg6  36. Rf7: Kf7:  37. Nbc7:   Kf6  38. Nb5 Bb4   39.  Nbd4 Re8  40. Rh3  Black resigned (Marks by Botvinnik)   



Written by QChess

March 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

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