< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 3 OF 4 ·
|May-11-09|| ||keypusher: <boomie> <Spassky and Bronstein directly refused to sign.>|
Bronstein I'll give you, but Spassky was living in France by then, so it would have been the height of absurdity for him to have signed the letter. Korchnoi even called him a "one-legged defector."
<H said he would write his own letter of condemnation and sign that. The gummint didn't let him do that. >
Botvinnik was a genius, I tell you!
Seriously, though, I've often heard that he told them he wouldn't sign a collective letter, but this is the first time I've heard that he said he would write his own letter. What is your source?
|May-11-09|| ||walker: <acirce>: <If Bronstein didn't want to win the title, he shouldn't have played for it, of course. Then he should have given way for those who actually took the competition seriously.>|
It was 1951. Have you heard about Stalin?
|May-11-09|| ||keypusher: <walker: <acirce>: <If Bronstein didn't want to win the title, he shouldn't have played for it, of course. Then he should have given way for those who actually took the competition seriously.>|
It was 1951. Have you heard about Stalin?>
Bronstein had to come from behind to catch Boleslavsky (his future father in law) in the candidates tournament and then win a playoff match with him. If Bronstein didn't want to play Botvinnik, all he had to do was throw a game. Botvinnik would have been thrilled to play a match with Boleslavsky, whom he owned.
Stalin didn't care about chess anyway.
|May-11-09|| ||nimh: At library, I once accidentaly stumbled upon a game between Stalin and N. Jezhov, later the head of NKVD, a repressive organ in SU.|
Which led me to do some research:
<A game attributed to Stalin (C.N.s 3533 & 4133)
Page 368 of the Dictionnaire des Echecs by François Le Lionnais and Ernst Maget (Paris, 1967) had an entry for Stalin with the following illustrative win over ‘le chef de la Guépéou’, who was named as ‘Yejov’:
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nbd7 6 Be2 a6 7 O-O e6 8 f4 b5 9 a3 Bb7 10 Bf3 Qb6 11 Be3 Qc7 12 Qe2 Be7 13 g4 Nc5 14 Qg2 O-O 15 Rad1 Rfe8 16 g5 Nfd7 17 Rd2 e5 18 Nf5 Ne6 19 Nxe7+ Rxe7 20 f5 Nd4 21 f6 Ree8 22 Bh5 g6
23 Bxg6 hxg6 24 Qh3 Ne6 25 Qh6 Qd8 26 Rf3 Nxf6 27 gxf6 Rc8 28 Rdf2 Qxf6 29 Rxf6 Rc7 30 Nd5 Bxd5 31 exd5 Nf8 32 Bg5 Nh7 33 Rxd6 e4 34 Be3 Rce7 35 Bd4 f6 36 Bxf6 Nxf6 37 Rdxf6 Resigns.
The Dictionnaire marked the occasion as ‘Moscou?, 1926?’ and used the conditional tense to indicate doubts about the game’s authenticity (‘la partie suivante qui aurait été gagnée par Staline’). A source was mentioned: Freude am Schach by Gerhard Henschel (Gütersloh, 1959).
Although the year 1926 has now stuck to the game, it seems to be based on a misreading of Henschel’s book (pages 86-90). True enough, ‘1926’ is the only date to appear on those pages, but its context had nothing to do with when the game (‘Stalin – Jechow’) allegedly took place. Indeed, Henschel’s own claim was that it was much older, for the first sentence of his item affirmed that Stalin had played it ‘kurz nach seiner Flucht aus der sibirischen Verbannung’ ('shortly after his escape from Siberian exile', page 86), whereas two pages later Henschel’s book (published, it will be recalled, in 1959) stated that the game had been played about 50 years previously (‘Wenn wir bedenken, dass die Partie schon vor rund 50 Jahren gespielt wurde ...’ – 'If we consider that the game was played around 50 years ago ...').
As regards the genesis of the game, Henschel stated on page 86:
‘Die hier aufgezeichnete Partie ist uns nur durch einen Zufall bekannt geworden. Ein alter Mitarbeiter Lenins, dessen Name leider nicht bekannt ist, hat sie aus der Erinnerung aufgeschrieben.’ ('The game recorded here came to our attention only by chance. An old associate of Lenin, whose name is unfortunately not known, noted it down from memory.').
Henschel’s book is replete with errors of all kinds (Fischer is misspelt ‘Fisher’ throughout) and needs to be handled with great circumspection. Was it really the first place where the alleged Stalin game appeared in print?
So, a hoax?
Stalin, who, not having any interest in chess, hides himself behind curtains of the playing hall.
<Capablanca and Stalin (C.N. 4950)
In C.N. 4950 Francis E.W. Ogle (Medwood, NJ, USA) referred to reports that Capablanca complained to Stalin that Russian players were cheating in a 1930s tournament in Russia, and in that same item we commented that the Cuban’s widow, Olga Capablanca Clark, had mentioned the subject to us a number of times. For example, on 26 July 1989 she wrote to us:
‘It is little known, I believe, that Stalin came to see Capablanca play, hiding behind a drapery. This happened in Moscow in 1936. Capa had mentioned it to me en passant, so I am a bit hazy about the details, such as who had accompanied Stalin – seems to me it was Krylenko. However, the gist of this encounter remains quite clear in my mind.
Capa said to Stalin: “Your Soviet players are cheating, losing the games on purpose to my rival, Botvinnik, in order to increase his points on the score.”
According to Capa, Stalin took it good-naturedly. He smiled and promised to take care of the situation.
From then on the cheating had stopped and Capablanca had won the tournament all by himself. This was an important conquest, proving to the world that Capablanca returned to his own great form.
As he told it to me Capa added: “I had promised you to be again the best chessplayer in the world. So I have done it for you.”’
Olga and José Raúl Capablanca
What do Russian sources (chess and non-chess) say about whether Stalin was indeed present at Moscow, 1936 (and/or Moscow, 1935)?>
|May-11-09|| ||keypusher: <nimh> Thanks for your post, very interesting. In the cg.com database, the first appearance of the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nbd7 was in 1950.|
So count me as a "no" vote for the authenticity of the Yezhov v. Stalin game.
Re Stalin watching from behind the curtain, this particular trope seems to show up quite a bit in literature about the USSR in the 1930s, which of course doesn't mean it never happened. But Capablanca's complaint doesn't seem to jibe very well with the course of the tournament.
In the first half of the tournament Botvinnik played five Soviet opponents, scoring 2 wins (one of which won the best game prize) and three draws. Apart from Botvinnik himself, Capa also played five Soviets in the first half, scoring 3 wins and two draws. Riumin was kind enough to present the Cuban with a free queen in round three.
Capablanca vs Riumin, 1936
Botvinnik got a superior position against Capablanca in Round 7 but blundered and lost.
Botvinnik vs Capablanca, 1936
Hmmm, maybe that was the day Stalin was behind the curtain...
In rounds 8 and 9 Botvinnik played draws against Soviet opponents. If the Soviets were going to throw points Botvinnik's way, that would have been a good time to do it.
At the halfway point (after 9 rounds) Capablanca was a 1.5 points ahead of Botvinnik.
Capablanca did a lot to assure himself first place by drawing with Botvinnik in Round 16. Still, going into the last round, Capa was still only a half point in front. But Capablanca won a legendary ending from Eliskases, while "Old Bolshevik" Levenfish held Botvinnik to a draw...
Capablanca vs Eliskases, 1936
Levenfish vs Botvinnik, 1936
Many thanks to <suenteus po 147> for Game Collection: Moscow 1936. I have the Soviet tournament book, and someday I may know enough Russian to read it.
|May-11-09|| ||Gypsy: Jezhov (Yezhov) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola...|
|May-11-09|| ||keypusher: <gypsy> Thanks. Here is another "appearance" of Stalin behind a curtain, this time at the trial of Yezhov's predecessor Yagoda:|
<Yagoda was found guilty of treason and conspiracy against the Soviet government at the Trial of the Twenty One in March 1938. Solzhenitsyn describes Yagoda as trusting in deliverance from Stalin even during the show trial itself:
Just as though Stalin had been sitting right there in the hall, Yagoda confidently and insistently begged him directly for mercy: "I appeal to you! For you I built two great canals!" And a witness reports that at just that moment a match flared in the shadows behind a window on the second floor of the hall, apparently behind a muslin curtain, and, while it lasted, the outline of a pipe could be seen.
Yagoda was executed by shooting shortly after the trial.>
|May-11-09|| ||Boomie: <keypusher: <boomie> <Spassky and Bronstein directly refused to sign.>
Bronstein I'll give you, but Spassky was living in France by then, so it would have been the height of absurdity for him to have signed the letter. Korchnoi even called him a "one-legged defector." |
<H said he would write his own letter of condemnation and sign that. The gummint didn't let him do that. >
Botvinnik was a genius, I tell you!
Seriously, though, I've often heard that he told them he wouldn't sign a collective letter, but this is the first time I've heard that he said he would write his own letter. What is your source?>
I found this in Wikipoopia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botvin... in the Political Contorversy section.
The reference to Spassky signing is there, too. It's from a Saidy column in the USCF mag which, alas, is only for members.
|May-11-09|| ||keypusher: <Boomie> Thanks! The source for the story about Botvinnik offering to write his own contra-Korchnoi letter was Kharitonov, and I have to admit it is pretty convincing. I am going to post a link to the story on Botvinnik's page, as it is well worth reading.|
|May-11-09|| ||Boomie: <keypusher: <Boomie> Thanks! The source for the story about Botvinnik offering to write his own contra-Korchnoi letter was Kharitonov, and I have to admit it is pretty convincing. I am going to post a link to the story on Botvinnik's page, as it is well worth reading.>|
Thanks for the link to that article. It gives a glimpse into the character of a very complex personality.
|May-19-09|| ||Brown: <acirce> Live your life and make your own decisions. |
Bronstein did what he thought proper: convince the world that Botvinnik is not invincible.
What you find important amongst the chess elite is not necessarily what they value.
|May-20-09|| ||acirce: <What you find important amongst the chess elite is not necessarily what they value.>|
Of course not. I was just saying that if Bronstein really didn't want to win the title he should out of basic respect have stepped back in favour of someone who did. I certainly have the right to this opinion - seems like common sense. Of course I don't believe him in the first place when he says he didn't want to win it. If he didn't and yet came so close he must have been by far the strongest player around. Presumably that is what he wanted us to believe.
|May-20-09|| ||Brown: <acirce> Human beings are never so cut and dry, and it is obvious to anyone paying attention that Bronstein was conflicted about competitive chess throughout his career.|
If Bronstein's goal was to knock Botvinnik off his high horse, and he knew he was the only one who could do it, why should he step aside?
You have the right to be wrong, absolutely. Or, to put it more clearly, to the degree that you feel Bronstein should have followed your logic, you should follow my logic and not criticize him in this regard.
...seems like common sense.
|Jul-09-09|| ||drnooo: Actually it seems virtually everyone here is missing at least one point when they get caught up in the endless wrangle of did he or didn't he. Bronstein was at the very least Botvinniks equal. If he could play that many games in a tension fraught match (Jew he was, that is indisputable). He himself once said, I just wanted to show he was not a God. Well, he did. Anyone who leaves Bronstein out of the soviet best, at least not alongside Botvinnik, and by default then, Smyslov, are missing the point. I always include Keres there as well, perhaps even placing him above the other three: it is pretty well proved that he was lucky to get off with his head after the war. One more chess player among the 40 million Stalin killed (at least and likely much greater) would not have bother Josef in the least. Instead we always have the usual, Botvinnik and Smyslov as the best in the east in the early to mid 50s. Not so. Bronstein and Keres were at least their equals, and on a level playing field probably better.|
|Dec-04-09|| ||Bent75: Do you have a comment, Bent75? Post it here! -Thanks!
First I have to find out the corellations between Kibitzing and the
very interesting chessgames!
when using Kibitzing, I need to Jump directly to page #3: As I understand;
the most important is the chessgames, and not what happen during the period of Stalin, including the chessplayers!!One of the best chessplayers I know is
David Bronstein, and I was expecting to
get good and interesting GAMES!?; Not
the half covered negative writing of a
person who make the world of Chess inspiring!!!
Re:Boomie: "Botvinnik was a genius, I tell you"!YES!; Me and my wife met him
1996 in Hasting;We had interesting conversation!
|Apr-15-10|| ||Marmot PFL: <Botvinnik was a genius, I tell you"!YES!; Me and my wife met him 1996 in Hasting;We had interesting conversation!>|
I bet it was kind of one sided.
|Apr-15-10|| ||kamalakanta: acirce, I feel you are sincere, but nevertheless cruel towards Bronstein.|
Let us apply your logic to other players: Fischer, for example. If he intended to abandon the game, then he should not have played in the World Championship title at all! He should have left others, who really wanted to gain the title AND defend it, play on!....
Of course Fischer's situation was a little more complex than that...but so was Bronstein's.
We can make very harsh and heartless judgements on anyone.
You must remember Bronstein was a very sensitive person, someone who spent most of World War II near the front lines, someone who saw his generation perish. In his country, most people his age died in the war. Millions upon millions! I can't even imagine how it feels to see most of your own generation disappear! Yet he had to endure this....
Add that to the fact that the Stalin regime sent Bronstein's father unjustly to the Gulag for six years, and broke his health in doing so, and that if he had become World Champion, he would have been representing that same Stalinist regime which he despised, and you start getting a more complete picture of the complexity of the situation Bronstein was in.
He has stated that all he wanted to do was to prove that Botvinnik was not invincible, so yes, he had to play that match to prove it. And he did prove it; Botvinnik did not beat him; the score was even at the end. Point made, even if Botvinnik retained his title......
|Apr-15-10|| ||acirce: <Let us apply your logic to other players: Fischer, for example. If he intended to abandon the game, then he should not have played in the World Championship title at all!>|
That's not my logic.
And I don't see how I am being "cruel" or "harsh" or "heartless" towards Bronstein.
<Add that to the fact that the Stalin regime sent Bronstein's father unjustly to the Gulag for six years>
How do you know it was unjust?
|Apr-15-10|| ||I play the Fred: <How do you know it was unjust?>|
14th December 1955
Concerning the contents of your request which was addressed to the Office of the Prosecutor of the USSR to revise the file of your husband Bronstein I. B., we inform you that it has now been revised and stopped because of the absence of any evidence that a crime had been committed.
Deputy regional office of the prosecutor concerning special cases, advisor to the Justice Dept.
|Apr-16-10|| ||Ulhumbrus: I suspect that it was Bronstein's fate and misfortune to be unable to trust Botvinnik. I suspect that If Bronstein had told Botvinnik the pressure he was under, Botvinnik would have used his influence to get his father's file revised and would have freed both Bronstein and his father and that Bronstein would have won the world championship, although Botvinnik might have won a return match. Because that was the kind of man Botvinnik may have been. He was a convinced communist but may have been as well more upright than Bronstein assumed. I suspect something similar of Karpov: He may be and may have been more upright than Korchnoi and Kasparov have assumed. It may have been not Karpov who oppressed Korchnoi and Kasparov but other officials in the communist party who backed Karpov. It may have been those officials who arranged for Karpov to benefit from other people's analysis, and this conceivably without Karpov's knowledge. Kasparov has suggested in his books on his predecessors that prior to his 1974 match with Spassky Karpov had become already one of the strongest players in the world. Kasparov mentions that Karpov's rating was actually a little higher than Spassky's, although not significantly so. Therefore it is open to question whether any help from the communist party made much difference to Karpov's results during the period when Karpov was at the top, although there was once a rumour that Tal threw a game in one tournament, in order to enable Karpov to win it.|
|Apr-16-10|| ||Marmot PFL: I wonder whether Botvinnik was really all that powerful. Remember that he was WC yet did not play on the 1952 Olympiad team (keres, Smyslov, Bronstein , geller). Was that paying a debt to Keres for 1948, and maybe to Bronstein for '51, or did he simply not want to play unless he could be 1st board? (Keres was Soviet ch. but played poorly on bd 1, 6.5 out of 12).|
|Apr-16-10|| ||whatthefat: <Marmot PFL>
This was actually recently discussed on the Smyslov page:
|Apr-16-10|| ||Marmot PFL: <whatthefat> As WC Petrosian also had some bad tournaments, but always played board 1 with excellent results. So I don't think it was quite fair to Botvinnik to demote hum like that. Tournaments and team events seem to have different psychology. (I noticed that Euwe didn't play for Holland either, wonder what that was about.)|
A similar case was the 1970 USSR v. World match. Fischer had not played much while Larsen had won several tournaments in the last year, so he demanded bd 1. Fischer surprisingly agreed, probably so he wouldn't meet Spassky again before the 1972 match.
|Apr-16-10|| ||acirce: <I play the Fred> Thanks. Of course also "rehabilitations" were very politicized at that time.|
|Apr-16-10|| ||kamalakanta: acirce, it was unjust because he was sent to the Gulag, not for something bad he did, but for complaining against a corrupt local official.|
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