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David Bronstein vs Paul Keres
Amsterdam Candidates (1956), Amsterdam NED, rd 19, Apr-14
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Chigorin Defense Panov System (C99)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-04-03  Resignation Trap: Bronstein sealed the very committal move 41. Rc6, but he left himself only 30 minutes to make it to the time control at move 56.

46. Qxa4? lets Black out of his entanglement.

49...Rb6! is a sure winner in White's time pressure. After 50. Qxc5 Rcxc6 and 51...Rxd6 wins.

52...Rbxc6 is just a variation on the same theme.

Bronstein lost on time in a hopeless situation.

May-03-05  checkpat: What s wrong with 42 Rxa4

30mns for 15 moves is hardly zeitnot
even in 1956!!!

42 Rd2 is such a mysterious move that
I d bet that the game was arranged.
Even 42 Rb2 would be less weird

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: The confused and ragged character of the play is easy to understand. The Kremlin, forced to choose between a Jewish Ukranian semi-dissident and an Estonian collaborator, ordered both men to lose. In his memoir _Soelicism's Apprentice_ Bronstein eloquently described his fury at making a horrible move, only to have Keres respond with an even worse one.

Anyone interested in closing his eyes to the Simple Truth and studying this game for its chess content might want to look at the discussion of it in Kotov and Keres' The Middle Game in Chess.

May-03-05  Chris00nj: <keypusher: In his memoir _Soelicism's Apprentice_ Bronstein eloquently described his fury at making a horrible move, only to have Keres respond with an even worse one. > Bronstein's book is the Sorceror's Apprentice and I don't recall that anticdote (though I'm not saying it's absolutely not there).
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: It's a joke, which I ruined by mispelling "solecism." The frequent prattle about arranged or fixed games on this site makes me cranky.
May-03-05  Chris00nj: It's impossible to say whether some games were fixed or not, no matter how much they are discussed, but there is some credibility to the different theories. I seriously won't put it past the Soviets.

Bronstein has some interesting anticdotes and funny stories by him and concerning him.

Fischer lost to Spassky in Argentina. After the game he went to his room and started crying. Bronstein dropped in and said, ‘Why are you crying? Don’t cry. Just because of one game? I was made to lose a world championship match to Botvinnik, and yet I didn’t cry.”

Then this article is an interesting read.

May-03-05  ughaibu: Bronstein cried after losing to Geller at Zurich 1953, according to Taimanov.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: In defense of the paranoid: <... [Ch. Ml. Boleslav, 1942] In the preliminary group, I wasn't doing too well. My last game was adjourned where I was a pawn down and had a chance for a draw at best. But, to move into the finals, I needed a whole point. I arrived to the game quite dejected. But, a mirracle happened: My opponent, Mr. Hladik, started to play fast and in a simple position made an error, second, third; then he surrendered. I got realy pumped up, and in the final round I allowed my oponents only one draw. Only later did I found out that there was no miracle at all. Championship organizers wanted me in the finals and Hladik, who was out of running for anything, sacrificed himself. I felt that the fraud was less than auspicious start to my chess career. Later I found out that arranged results are no much less common in chess than they are, say, in professional boxing. ...> Ludek Pachman, 1974.

So it all depends on the integrity of professional boxing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <gypsy>, I don't doubt that games got fixed. There is an old story from the Kostitch Memorial tournament from the early 70s where an American (I don't know who; this story is complete hearsay and I do not vouch for it) complained that his rival was having games thrown to him. He was told -- it's a fitting memorial. Kostitch was never above buying or selling a game! Nor do I mind a strong player who has "been around" like you giving reasons why one might wonder about a particular game. I certainly don't mind when someone like Taylor Kingston undertakes a careful and serious investigation into pressures put on Keres in the 1948 Match Tournament, even though my own belief is that Botvinnik won that tournament simply because he was far and away the best in the world at the time.

What I do mind, very much, is kbitzers of my own strength (i.e. not very great) seeing moves they don't understand in a game involving Keres or Bronstein or Botvinnik or Karpov and leaping to the conclusion that the game was "fixed."

Quite a lot of the stories that seem to be clustering around Bronstein, including those canvassed in Soltis' article about the 1953 candidates tournament linked above, as well as the stories about the 1951 match, strike me as utterly implausible. There is nothing wrong with a little skepticism. Just make sure you spread it around.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <There is nothing wrong with a little skepticism. Just make sure you spread it around.> Well said!

<Quite a lot of the stories that seem to be clustering around Bronstein,...> Actually, quite a lot of the stories are clustered around Botvinnik. He had an allergic reaction to any player that challenged his supreme position in Soviet Chess (Levenfish, Bohatirchuk, Bronstein,...) and thus many other players gave him wide bearth (Flohr, Boleslavskij, Keres,...).

Here is a rudimentary understanding of the mayor, behind the scenes players, as I pieced it together. Please, do take it all with that healthy dose of skepticism:

It is no secret that Botvinnik was a protege of Stalin, Suslov, and Molotov. He was especially a protege of Krylenko, the komisar (minister) of justice and also the tzar over the chess resort. Krylenko was the one who buit up the Soviet chess machine in twenties and thirties. Botvinnik was Krylenko's finest trumph-card and Krylenko was passionate about Botvinnik's well being. Suslov and Molotov did not care nearly as much, but protected Botvinnik's interests for Stalin once the top dog of Soviet empire took liking to Botvinnik.

But Botvinnik also had a terible politburo enemy, the head of Cheka/KGB, Beria. (There is a silly-sounding spite-story about how it all started because of Botvinnik's dacha (=cabin) that Botvinnik got in a politically exclusive region, despite of objections of Beria.) This Beria was a rival of Krylenko and the heir-apparent to Stalin. To make matters worse for Botvinnik, after Krylenko went to gallows in one of Stalin's late 30's purges, Beria gained control also of the chess resort. Unlike Krylenko, he did not run the resort as a hobby by himself, but put a certain Vainstein in charge of it.

There probably was no one that Botvinnik despised more than Veinstein. In fact, when an enormously talented young kid of the same name entered Botvinnik's chess camp years later, Botvinnik immediately insisted on this kid changing the name to that of kid's mother - Kasparov. But, back to the first Vainstein, it was Vainstein (or Beria through Veinstein) that declared Alekhine a traitor and tried to stop the Botvinnik-Alekhine w-ch-match under negotiations. And it was also the same Vainstein that was Bronstein's second, in fact, Bronstein was his protege!

I would not be surprised if we eventually learned that, at Veinstein's orchestration, Boleslavskij slowed down his pace and allowed Bronstein to catch up to him at the 49/51 Candidates and w. ch. cycle. They were and remained close friends (Bronstein later became Boleslavskij's son-in-law) and the question could have been who of the two is tougher, or more ambitious, to cross paths with Botvinnik.

At Veinstein's insistence, Bronstein did not prepare any variations for his match w Botvinnik. Bronstein's task was to improvise and outplay Botvinnik OTB. I can see idiosincratic reasons for Bronstein wanting to do that. But for Veinstein to insist so, I fathom only one reason -- Veinstein was concerned either about Botvinnik's clairvoyance or his intelligence network. Before the match, Botvinnik insisted that Veinstein got removed from Bronstein's team. So, he was removed. The match ended in a draw and I believe that, while Bronstein did not want to lose it, he did not dare to win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: In 1953, Stalin died. He perished over some 7-day period, when medical help was alegedly witheld from him. I read deeply disturbing depictions of Stalin's death and Beria's extreme swings from dominance over his politburo rivals (when it seemed Stalin was beyond return), and solicitous servitude towards Stalin (when it seemed that Stalin was puling through). At the end, Stalin's demise ment also demise of Beria. He went to the gallows after Nikita Chrustev blindsided him and arranged an arrest of Beria during a meeting to which Beria went hurriedly and without body-guards. Chrustev thus saved the lives of self and his co-horts in the politburo, and he also saved world from likely WW3.

With the fall of Beria, Veinstein was out of favor. In fact, he was in potentially grave peril himself. Bronstein went to Zurich, once again, without his second.

All in all, it seems that, as the gods and demi-gods of Greeek mythology tried to surprise and embarass each other through their games with mortals, the Kremlin demi-gods used chessplayers to embaras rivals. Botvinnik's clique won most of the times.

As for the games: I believe -- hope, realy -- that over 99% of them is genuine and not arranged. These guys were extremely good and they genuinely loved to play chess.


A bit side trivia: David Ionovich Bronstein is only the second famous Ukrainian of that last name. The first one became much more famous under the name of -- Leon Trockij.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Given how ruthless Stalin was it's not suprising medical help was denied him. What is suprising is that he wasn't assassinated earlier given the number of enemies he must have made.
May-03-05  Shams: <Gypsy> very, very interesting posts. thank you.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Gypsy>, I can only echo Shams. Fascinating.

I must admit, one reason I always discounted any accusation of chichanery in the 1951 match was that I couldn't understand why the Soviets just didn't stop Bronstein from winning the Candidates tournament. (As Gypsy notes, Boleslavsky, who had a very bad record against Botvinnik, was one point in front of Bronstein with two rounds to go. Bronstein won his last two, while Boleslavsky drew both games. Bronstein won the subsequent playoff.) Now I see I may have judged too quickly.

I should add, I still believe the 1948 match tournament, '50 candidates, '51 match, and '53 candidates were on the level -- not necessarily that there was no monkey business, but that the final result was legitimate. But it is evidently a closer question than I realized.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <keypusher: .... I should add, I still believe the 1948 match tournament, '50 candidates, '51 match, and '53 candidates were on the level ...> That definitely is a fair and sane way of going through life. I'll be happy if history settles the question conclusively that way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <keypusher> Here is an interesting piece of the mosaic -- not teribly important, just interesting -- that of chess qualifications of Veinstein.

Enigmatic Veinstein has been presented as both, Bronstein's second and co-author, and an apparatchik in Beria's organization. Thus I thought that perhaps he was one of the many Russian masters that got drafted into intelligence/security services. But I never ran accross any mention of his games or participation in tournaments -- with one exception, I think.

If my reading between the lines is correct, in the last game/section of "200 Open Games" Bronstein actually describes his first encounter with Veinstein and the casual odds-game they played. The year was 1938, place was Kiev semi-final of the national championship, Bronstein was 14, and they were introduced by Bronstein's chess teacher Konstantipolsky, who played in the semi-finals. Veinstein gave Bronstein rook odds. The english-translation of the book gives Veinstein as 'GM Queenabber', which I think is derived from 'GM Ferz', a nickname Bronstein used for Veinstein. There seems to be an inside joke to the nickname, as 'ferza' is the russian term for queen, but, etymologically, it is derived from arabic 'vezir', the term for an advisor of the ruler of the land. Since Mr. Queenabber prevailed in their odds game in a Morphy-like fashion, and since he claimed to always play young gentlemen at odds, he must have been a chessplayer of considerable strengh.

May-17-05  checkpat: This is great reading but I am still waiting for an honest explanation of 42 Rd2 other than zeitnot and Bronstein
artistic temperament...
May-17-05  Poulsen: Why is 42.Rd2 such a mystery? I find it a rather logical continuation of 41.Rc6 offering the exchange. If black takes it, white plans to play dxc6 in order to capture the pawn on d6.

No, the real mystery is 46.Qxa4, which simply gives the position away. I don't have an improvement though, since I'm not a GM.

46.f4 and 46.Nxe5 are worth looking at. Or what about 46.Qb4? Perhaps an improvement should be found in move 45?

May-18-05  checkpat: 42 Rd2 puts a rook on a square where it is less active than before!!!

Certainly the pawn d5 does not require

May-18-05  sneaky pete: <checkpat> 42.Rd2 .. is a prophylactic measure meant to discourage .. Bxc6 43.dxc6 .. (after 43... Nc5 white can choose between capture on d6 or e5). The immediate 41... Bxc6 would have been countered with 42.dxc6 Nc5 43.Nxe5 dxe5 44.Qxc5 .. with a clear white advantage. After your earlier recommandation 42.Rxa4? .. black can however play 42... Bxc6 43.dxc6 Nc5 gaining a tempo by attacking Ra4.

42.Rd2 .. is no doubt the best move here, but there seems to be no forced win. Bronstein's mistakes were maybe moves 46 and 47 and certainly moves 49 (49.Ne3 .. is equal) and 50 (50.Qxc5 Rcxc6 51.Qxb6 Rxb6 52.Nc8 .. still draws).

White might have tried (after 46... Nc5) 47.Rxc7 Qxc7 48.b6 .. with (unclear) chances. Black could have avoided this possibility with the transposition 46... Bxc6 47.dxc6 Nc5 leading to the actual game.

May-23-05  checkpat: <sneaky pete> Thanks! Its much clearer now
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: clue #21: If you read Gypsy's post dd May-10-05 you will search in another direction. But Veinstein isn't it :(
Premium Chessgames Member
  cu8sfan: <whiteshark: clue #21: If you read Gypsy's post dd May-10-05 you will search in another direction. But Veinstein isn't it :(> Very funny. What a coincidence. Anyway, if hunting #21 has brought you here you've come a long way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <cu8sfan: <Very funny. What a coincidence. Anyway, if hunting #21 has brought you here you've come a long way.>> Oh yes, indeed.

I put some descriptions of 'female' into a English/Russian translator a transcript the results. (женская женщина девочки мелкая сука цыпленка девчушки королевы)

Female = Kournikova, but no game of Kournikova was in the game database.

I googled that girl than... My Russian seems a bit rusty... :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  cu8sfan: <Female = Kournikova> Maybe it's a tennis player playing a Russian... B Becker vs Kasparov, 2000. Nope, dead end.
search thread:   
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