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🏆 USSR Championship (1940)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
The 12th Soviet Chess Championship was played in the capital city of Moscow from September 5 to October 3, 1940. Twenty of the Soviet Union's strongest masters competed in the round robin event, six of whom qualified from the semi-final tournament in Kiev earlier in the year: Eduard Gerstenfeld, Mark Stolberg, Igor Bondarevsky, Iosif Rudakovsky, Alexander Konstantinopolsky and Peter Dubinin. The remaining invitations went to the elite of Soviet chess (new and old), including Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslo ... [more]

Player: Mikhail Botvinnik

 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bondarevsky vs Botvinnik 1-0381940USSR ChampionshipE29 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
2. Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky 1-0491940USSR ChampionshipE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
3. Smyslov vs Botvinnik ½-½481940USSR ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd
4. Botvinnik vs Levenfish 1-0271940USSR ChampionshipA28 English
5. P Dubinin vs Botvinnik  ½-½411940USSR ChampionshipD97 Grunfeld, Russian
6. Botvinnik vs V Petrov 1-0371940USSR ChampionshipC05 French, Tarrasch
7. M Stolberg vs Botvinnik 0-1411940USSR ChampionshipE48 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5
8. Botvinnik vs Ragozin ½-½631940USSR ChampionshipE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
9. Panov vs Botvinnik 0-1411940USSR ChampionshipB40 Sicilian
10. Botvinnik vs Veresov  1-0621940USSR ChampionshipC48 Four Knights
11. V Makogonov vs Botvinnik 1-0441940USSR ChampionshipA93 Dutch, Stonewall, Botvinnik Variation
12. Botvinnik vs Keres  ½-½291940USSR ChampionshipE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
13. Kotov vs Botvinnik  ½-½361940USSR ChampionshipE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
14. Botvinnik vs Konstantinopolsky 1-0721940USSR ChampionshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
15. V Mikenas vs Botvinnik 1-0731940USSR ChampionshipE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
16. Botvinnik vs E Gerstenfeld  ½-½651940USSR ChampionshipA34 English, Symmetrical
17. Lilienthal vs Botvinnik 1-0431940USSR ChampionshipE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
18. Lisitsin vs Botvinnik  ½-½301940USSR ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
19. Botvinnik vs I Rudakovsky  1-0561940USSR ChampionshipB83 Sicilian
 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Botvinnik wins | Botvinnik loses  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-28-12  Blunderdome: Only three draws in nineteen games for Kotov.
Dec-29-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Due to the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states, as well as the partitioning of Poland with Germany, Keres, Petrov, Mikenas and Gerstenfeld were now considered Soviet "citizens", and thus were eligible to compete.
Jan-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: There appears to be something wrong with the table at the top.Bondarevsky is credited with 1/2 point more than Lilienthal although it is well known that they both tied for first place on 13.5 points each.This appears to be due by showing a win over Konstantinopolsky by Bondarevsky when the historical record clearly indicates that this game was drawn.Methinks that the game shown in the database was from another event.It does of course also miscalculates Konstantinopolsk`s final score.
Jan-02-13  Kangaroo: Here is the game that should have been included!

<Bondarevsky vs Konstantinopolsky, 1940>

to replace

<Bondarevsky vs Konstantinopolsky, 1940> which might have been played in the semi-final or other tournament!

Jan-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Nosnibor>: I think I see what happened. The database has two Bondarevsky - Konstatninopolsky games in the database which claim to be from the 1940 Championship.

Bondarevsky vs Konstantinopolsky, 1940 (1-0), which was added to the original collection, was actually from the Semi-Final in Kiev. Bondarevsky vs Konstantinopolsky, 1940 (1/2-1/2) is the correct game.

I'll institute repairs immediately. Thanks for spotting that.

May-12-13  wordfunph: "My favorite game was my win against Botvinnik in the Soviet Championship of 1940. It was stronger than any grandmaster tournament, the 20 strongest chess players were in it, including Botvinnik, Smyslov and Keres. I was undefeated in first place. I've won lots of tournaments, but this was the best."

- Andre Lilienthal

Source: Curse of Kirsan by Sarah Hurst

Jan-26-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

<Peter Romanovsky> tells the gripping story of Vasily Smyslov in this tournament:

<"Smyslov began the tournament brilliantly and after fourteen rounds, five rounds before the end, having won five games in succession, he headed the table with 10 1/2 points without the loss of a game. Bondarevsky, playing very well, had 10 points, while Lilienthal and Botvinnik had 9 1/2 each. It seemed that first place and <<<the title of grandmaster was almost assured>>> to Smyslov, however in the fifteenth round he suffered his one and only loss in the tournament at the hands of Makogonov. In the four remaining rounds he conceded three draws, and with 13 points finished behind Bondarevsky and Lilienthal, who each had 13 1/2. Keres, Botvinnik, and Boleslavsky were below Symslov. by this success Smyslov showed himself to be of grandmaster strength.">

-P.A. Romanovsky, "Vassily Vassilievitch Smyslov."

Published in
Vasily Smyslov, "My Best Games of Chess (1935-1957)" P.H. Clarke ed., transl. (Routledge and Kegan Paul 1958), pp. xi-xxvii (First published as "Izbrannie partii" in Russian in 1952)

#####################

When <Smyslov> again managed 3d place in the USSR Absolute Championship (1941), on the strength of both 3d place efforts he was indeed awarded the title of Soviet Grandmaster.

Of further interest, <Makogonov>, the only player to defeat <Smyslov> in this event, later went on to serve as his second in his World Chess championship matches against <Botvinnik> in 1954 and 1957.

<Smyslov> acknowledges the assistance of <Makogonov>:

<"During the match against Botvinnik, Makogonov was one of my coaches <<<And the fact that I became world champion is due in large part to his work.>>> He expounded his ideas clearly and persuasively. I remember his excellent analysis, which he summed up with the help of diagrams. This method is best to fix in memory the most important opening positions.">

(translation by Google. I adjusted some of the punctuation, diction and phrasing for clearer English idiom and sense)

-http://sultanov.azeriland.com/chess...

Jan-26-14  AsosLight: Staggering roster.
Nov-30-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Yes the roster is mighty impressive. It probably was the strongest Soviet Championship held until at this point in time, with two future World Champions and an Almost World Champion, and a host of very strong veterans and rising stars.

Take a look at the openings in this tournament. Sicilians (including the Scheveningen and the Dragon), KIDs, Grunfelds, QIDs, Catalans, Nimzo-Indians, English. This tournament's openings looks indistinguishable from one played yesterday.

I have found out that kibitzers usually associate the term 'modern' with these openings. In fact, these openings were already played by 1930s masters. Post WW2, it's their frequency and the attention given to them that has changed, increased. The only opening pawn structure I don't see pre WW2 is the Hedgehog.

At this point in time, Botvinnik was still not clearly superior to Keres. The younger Keres had placed ahead of him in AVRO 1938, and again placed ahead of him in this tournament. So did a rising youthful Smyslov. Lilienthal and Bondarevsky won. Botvinnik was the unofficial face of Soviet Chess. The authorities probably were not exactly ecstatic over the results. The 1941 Soviet tournament was most probably held in order to allow Botvinnik the chance to rectify the 'wrong' results in this one.

From these perspectives, this tournament is an important one in chess history.

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