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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Championship Tournament

Nikolay Pavlov-Pianov6.5/15(+5 -7 =3)[games]
Alexander Alekhine6/8(+4 -0 =4)[games]
Arvid Kubbel5.5/8(+5 -2 =1)[games]
Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky5.5/7(+5 -1 =1)[games]
Abram Isaakovich Rabinovich2.5/5(+2 -2 =1)[games]
Grigory Levenfish2/4(+1 -1 =2)[games]
Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky2/5(+1 -2 =2)[games]
Nikolay Dmitrievich Grigoriev2/3(+2 -1 =0)[games]
Benjamin Markovich Blumenfeld1/1(+1 -0 =0)[games]
Dawid Daniuszewski1/3(+0 -1 =2)[games]
Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich1/3(+1 -2 =0)[games]
Nikolay Tselikov1/4(+1 -3 =0)[games]
Nikolay Zubarev0.5/3(+0 -2 =1)[games]
August Mundt0.5/2(+0 -1 =1)[games]
Ivan Golubev0/1(+0 -1 =0)[games]
Dmitry Nikolaevich Pavlov0/2(+0 -2 =0)[games]

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Championship (1920)

The 1st USSR Championship was held in Moscow from October 4 - October 22, 1920, and was not the 1st USSR Championship. Instead, it was advertised as the All-Russian Olympiad, though nobody really knew what was going on. In the wake of World War I everything was confusion in what would later become the Soviet Union, and it was not even known with certainty which players were alive or dead, let alone could play. So a kind of casting call was sent out, empty slots filled with local Moscow players, and the following field resulted:

Alexander Alekhine Benjamin Markovich Blumenfeld Dawid Daniuszewski Ivan Golubev Nikolay Dmitrievich Grigoriev Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky Arvid Kubbel Grigory Levenfish August Mundt Dmitry Nikolaevich Pavlov Nikolay Pavlov-Pianov Abram Isaakovich Rabinovich Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky Nikolay Tselikov Nikolay Zubarev.

Living conditions were not good at the time in the country, and the tournament was no bed of roses either. Levenfish later wrote: "I arrived from Petrograd on the day before the first round and was billeted in an unheated room of a military training hostel. For our meals we were temporarily included amongst the military trainees. The hunger and destruction caused by the intervention and the civil war could be felt at every step, and the food was more than modest."

Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky, who organized the tournament, recalled that seven of the players signed a petition threatening to go on strike if the food was not improved and a cigarette ration included. Alekhine did not sign the protest, but said he would act in solidarity with the strikers ... "as he did not think it right to play against hungry opponents." (It is not known whether he extended his solidarity to sharing his food.)

The tournament started as a three-way race, with Abram Rabinovich having a half-point lead over Alekhine and Romanovsky after eight rounds. However, he faded badly with only 2 points in the last seven games and ended tied for fifth, while Alekhine finished with 6/7 to win the title a point ahead of Romanovsky.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts 1 Alekhine * = = 1 1 1 1 = = = = 1 1 1 1 1 12 2 Romanovsky = * 1 0 = 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 11 3 Levenfish = 0 * 0 1 = 1 = 1 = 1 1 = 1 = 1 10 4 Rabinovich,I 0 1 1 * 0 0 0 = = 1 1 1 1 = 1 1 9 5 Grigoriev 0 = 0 1 * 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 8 6 Rabinovich,A 0 0 = 1 0 * 1 = 1 = 0 1 0 1 1 1 8 7 Kubbel 0 0 0 1 0 0 * = 1 = = 1 1 1 1 1 8 8 Blumenfeld = 1 = = 1 = = * 0 = 0 1 0 1 = = 8 9 Ilyin-Zhenevsky = 0 0 = 1 0 0 1 * 1 0 = 1 0 = 1 7 10 Daniuszewski = 0 = 0 1 = = = 0 * = = 0 1 = 1 7 11 Zubarev = 0 0 0 1 1 = 1 1 = * 0 0 0 1 0 6 12 Pavlov Pianov 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 = = 1 * 1 = 1 1 6 13 Tselikov 0 0 = 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 * 0 0 1 5 14 Mundt 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 = 1 * = 0 4 15 Pavlov 0 0 = 0 0 0 0 = = = 0 0 1 = * = 4 16 Golubev 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 1 0 0 1 = * 3

Very few of the games are available. For some reason, we are missing about half of Alekhine's games but have all the games of Niklolay Pavlov Pianov. Perhaps his Italian cousin Giuoco Pianov quietly saved them.

Here is a conjectural list of pairings, intended to help follow the course of the tournament. While it fits all the known facts, it should not be considered definitive without first hand confirmation.

Round 1 (Monday, 10/4/1920): Grigoriev 0 Alekhine*; Pavlov 0 A. Rabinovich; Pavlov Pianov 1 Tselikov*; llyn-Zhenevsky 0 Kubbel*; Golubev 1/2 Blumenfeld; Romanovsky 1 Levenfish*; I. Rabinovich, 1 Zubarev; Daniuszewski 1 Mundt

Round 2 (Tuesday, October 5): Alekhine 1 Mundt; Zubarev 1/2 Daniuszewski; Levenfish 0 I. Rabinovich; Blumenfeld 1 Romanovsky; Kubbel 1 Golubev; Tselikov 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; A. Rabinovich 1 Pavlov Pianov*; Grigoriev 1 Pavlov

Round 3 (Thursday, October 7): Pavlov 0 Alekhine; Pavlov Pianov 0 Grigoriev*; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 A. Rabinovich*; Golubev 0 Tselikov; Romanovsky 1 Kubbel; I. Rabinovich 1/2 Blumenfeld; Daniuszewski 1/2 Levenfish; Mundt 1 Zubarev

Round 4 (Friday, October 8): Alekhine 1/2 Zubarev; Levenfish 1 Mundt; Blumenfeld 1/2 Daniuszewski; Kubbel 1 I. Rabinovich*; Tselikov 0 Romanovsky*; A. Rabinovich 1 Golubev; Grigoriev 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Pavlov 0 Pavlov Pianov*

Round 5 (Sunday, October 10): Pavlov Pianov 0 Alekhine*; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 Pavlov; Golubev 0 Grigoriev; Romanovsky 1 A. Rabinovich*; I. Rabinovich 1 Tselikov; Daniuszewski 1/2 Kubbel; Mundt 0 Blumenfeld; Zubarev 0 Levenfish

Round 6 (Monday, October 11): Alekhine 1/2 Levenfish*; Blumenfeld 0 Zubarev; 43 Kubbel 1 Mundt; Tselikov 1 Daniuszewski; A. Rabinovich 1 I. Rabinovich; Grigoriev 1/2 Romanovsky; Pavlov 1/2 Golubev; Pavlov Pianov 1/2 Ilyin-Zhenevsky*

Round 7 (Tuesday, October 12): Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 Alekhine*; Golubev 0 Pavlov Pianov*; Romanovsky 1 Pavlov; I. Rabinovich 0 Grigoriev; Daniuszewski 1/2 A. Rabinovich; Mundt 1 Tselikov; Zubarev 1/2 Kubbel; Levenfish 1/2 Blumenfeld

Round 8 (Thursday, October 14): Alekhine 1/2 Blumenfeld; Kubbel 0 Levenfish; Tselikov 1 Zubarev; A. Rabinovich 1 Mundt; Grigoriev 0 Daniuszewski; Pavlov 0 I. Rabinovich; Pavlov Pianov 1 Romanovsky; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1 Golubev

Round 9 (Friday, October 15): Golubev 0 Alekhine; Romanovsky 1 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; I. Rabinovich 1 Pavlov Pianov*; Daniuszewski 1/2 Pavlov; Mundt 0 Grigoriev; Zubarev 1 A. Rabinovich; Levenfish 1/2 Tselikov; Blumenfeld 1/2 Kubbel

Round 10 (Sunday, October 17): Alekhine 1 Kubbel*; Tselikov 1 Blumenfeld; A. Rabinovich 1/2 Levenfish*; Grigoriev 0 Zubarev; Pavlov 1/2 Mundt; Pavlov Pianov 1/2 Daniuszewski*; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 I. Rabinovich; Golubev 0 Romanovsky

Round 11 (Monday, October 18): Romanovsky 1/2 Alekhine; I. Rabinovich 1 Golubev; Daniuszewski 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky*; Mundt 1/2 Pavlov Pianov*; Zubarev 1 Pavlov; Levenfish 1 Grigoriev; Blumenfeld 1/2 A. Rabinovich; Kubbel 1 Tselikov*

Round 12 (Tuesday, October 19): Alekhine 1 Tselikov; A. Rabinovich 1 Kubbel; Grigoriev 0 Blumenfeld; Pavlov 1/2 Levenfish; Pavlov Pianov 1 Zubarev*; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 Mundt; Golubev 0 Daniuszewski; Romanovsky 0 I. Rabinovich

Round 13 (Thursday, October 21): I. Rabinovich 0 Alekhine*; Daniuszewski 0 Romanovsky; Mundt 0 Golubev; Zubarev 1 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Levenfish 1 Pavlov Pianov*; Blumenfeld 1/2 Pavlov; Kubbel 0 Grigoriev*; Tselikov 1 A. Rabinovich*

Round 14 (Friday, October 22): Alekhine 1 A. Rabinovich; Grigoriev 1 Tselikov; Pavlov 0 Kubbel*; Pavlov Pianov 0 Blumenfeld*; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 Levenfish; Golubev 1 Zubarev; Romanovsky 1 Mundt*; I. Rabinovich 1 Daniuszewski

Round 15 (Sunday, October 24): Daniuszewski 1/2 Alekhine*; Mundt 1/2 I. Rabinovich; 115 Zubarev 0 Romanovsky*; Levenfish 1 Golubev; Blumenfeld 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Kubbel 1 Pavlov Pianov*; Tselikov 0 Pavlov; A. Rabinovich 0 Grigoriev

Sources:

The Soviet Championships, by Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov, pp. 12-13.
Alexander Alekhine (Chess Stars series), vol. 1, 1902-1922, edited by Alexander Khalifman.

Original collection: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1920, by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 37  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. N Pavlov-Pianov vs N Tselikov  1-0451920USSR ChampionshipC48 Four Knights
2. N Grigoriev vs Alekhine 0-1251920USSR ChampionshipC60 Ruy Lopez
3. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Kubbel  0-1451920USSR ChampionshipC60 Ruy Lopez
4. P Romanovsky vs Levenfish 1-0421920USSR ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
5. A Rabinovich vs N Pavlov-Pianov 1-0491920USSR ChampionshipC18 French, Winawer
6. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Rabinovich 0-1291920USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
7. N Pavlov-Pianov vs N Grigoriev  0-1741920USSR ChampionshipA47 Queen's Indian
8. D N Pavlov vs N Pavlov-Pianov  0-1501920USSR ChampionshipB40 Sicilian
9. A Kubbel vs I Rabinovich  1-0621920USSR ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
10. N Tselikov vs P Romanovsky  0-1321920USSR ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
11. P Romanovsky vs A Rabinovich  1-0291920USSR ChampionshipC56 Two Knights
12. N Pavlov-Pianov vs Alekhine 0-1271920USSR ChampionshipC01 French, Exchange
13. N Pavlov-Pianov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  ½-½461920USSR ChampionshipD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Alekhine vs Levenfish ½-½351920USSR ChampionshipD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
15. N Zubarev vs A Kubbel  ½-½451920USSR ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
16. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Alekhine ½-½401920USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
17. I Golubev vs N Pavlov-Pianov  0-1311920USSR ChampionshipC46 Three Knights
18. N Pavlov-Pianov vs P Romanovsky  1-0601920USSR ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. I Rabinovich vs N Pavlov-Pianov  1-0551920USSR ChampionshipB16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
20. A Rabinovich vs Levenfish  ½-½291920USSR ChampionshipB01 Scandinavian
21. Alekhine vs A Kubbel 1-0201920USSR ChampionshipC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. N Pavlov-Pianov vs D Daniuszewski  ½-½231920USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
23. P Romanovsky vs Alekhine ½-½91920USSR ChampionshipC48 Four Knights
24. A Mundt vs N Pavlov-Pianov  ½-½741920USSR ChampionshipC46 Three Knights
25. A Kubbel vs N Tselikov  1-0451920USSR ChampionshipC48 Four Knights
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 37  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-08-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: "Perhaps his Italian cousin Giuoco Pianov quietly saved them."

lol

You are funny, <USSR Championships>.

Dec-08-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <The 1st USSR Championship was held in Moscow from October 4 - October 22, 1920, and was not the 1st USSR Championship. Instead, it was advertised as the All-Russian Olympiad, though nobody really knew what was going on. In the wake of World War I everything was confusion in the Soviet Union>

Nice humor :). What actually happened was - it <was> the All-Russian Olympiad (the Soviet Union was founded on December 30th, 1922), but in the Soviet times it was renamed the 1st USSR championship, to make the tradition slightly longer than it actually was :)

Jun-11-14  Bruce Graham: Players were dragooned to participate. Seven players threatened to strike unless they were fed better. Possibly the strangest tournament in history. Alekhine's last on Soviet soil.
Jun-07-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: From the bio above: <Very few of the games are available. For some reason, we are missing about half of Alekhine's games but have all the games of Niklolay Pavlov Pianov. Perhaps his Italian cousin Giuoco Pianov quietly saved them.>

Is this pun/joke really necessary in a tournament report?

Sep-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <TheFocus> Probably not. The introduction originally appeared on my collection of the tournament, where perhaps a little latitude may be permitted. There is nothing t stop any Editor from changing it here, and I certainly won't complain.
Sep-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Some readers liked the humor, even enough to comment on it.

Perhaps <CG> could have a flag to pick versions of the intro...

<Humor <on|off>>

or maybe

<Humor <less|more>>

.

Dec-12-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Alekhine's last on Soviet soil.>

Not his last event. It's recorded he played a match in 1921 in Moscow.

<whiteshark: According to rusbase there has been a match of 7 games in (March) 1921. Alekhine won it with (+2 =5 -0) >

N Grigoriev vs Alekhine, 1921

Alekhine was still residing in post-revolutionary Russia at this time (after 1917). He well could have been actively playing in numerous local clubs and chess events from post revolutionary 1917 to 1921, but I find records of these (and the WW1 era) quite fragmentary or direly lacking. An area for chess historians to research on.

Dec-12-17  Straclonoor: By the way
<The 1st USSR Championship was held in Moscow from October 4 - October 22, 1920, and was not the 1st USSR Championship.> USSR was formed in 1922. It was first Soviet Russia championship. Later, when regular USSR championships occurs, '1st championship' title was ensigned for regular counting.
Dec-12-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Straclonoor USSR was formed in 1922.>

I am not contradicting you but I take the perspective of <post 1917 revolutionary Russia>, even if you are technically correct that the USSR was officially proclaimed only in 1922.

It was the Soviet authorities that organized this tournament, not the Tsarist pre 1917 one. Consequently I regard the appellation <1st USSR Championship> as being appropriate.

Dec-12-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <USSR was formed in 1922. It was first Soviet Russia championship. Later, when regular USSR championships occurs, '1st championship' title was ensigned for regular counting.>

Probably added to the list after Alekhine was rehabilitated by Kotov and Yudovich.

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