Photo courtesy of Eric Schiller.  
David Bronstein
Number of games in database: 2,179
Years covered: 1938 to 1997
Last FIDE rating: 2432
Highest rating achieved in database: 2590
Overall record: +822 -306 =1005 (62.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      46 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (210) 
    B40 B31 B20 B50 B90
 Ruy Lopez (131) 
    C77 C97 C78 C91 C92
 Nimzo Indian (74) 
    E41 E21 E55 E59 E32
 French Defense (66) 
    C07 C18 C15 C05 C00
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (57) 
    C97 C91 C92 C99 C98
 King's Indian (54) 
    E90 E67 E80 E71 E60
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (122) 
    C07 C16 C15 C09 C08
 King's Indian (96) 
    E67 E80 E60 E92 E69
 Ruy Lopez (86) 
    C76 C63 C69 C92 C99
 Sicilian (85) 
    B92 B32 B80 B51 B90
 Caro-Kann (83) 
    B10 B16 B14 B15 B13
 Queen's Pawn Game (54) 
    A45 A40 D02 A46 E10
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Bronstein vs Ljubojevic, 1973 1-0
   Bronstein vs Geller, 1961 1-0
   Bronstein vs Keres, 1955 1-0
   Bronstein vs M20, 1963 1-0
   Kaplan vs Bronstein, 1975 0-1
   N Bakulin vs Bronstein, 1965 0-1
   Efimov vs Bronstein, 1941 0-1
   Pachman vs Bronstein, 1946 0-1
   Bronstein vs Korchnoi, 1962 1-0
   V Mikenas vs Bronstein, 1965 0-1

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   Botvinnik-Bronstein World Championship Match (1951)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1948)
   Saltsj÷baden Interzonal (1948)
   USSR Championship (1949)
   Budapest Candidates (1950)
   Gothenburg Interzonal (1955)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Mar del Plata (1960)
   USSR Championship (1963)
   Amsterdam Interzonal (1964)
   USSR Championship 1964/65 (1964)
   USSR Championship (1971)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Bronstein! by amadeus
   200 open games by David Bronstein (part 1) by tak gambit
   Bronstein's Run by suenteus po 147
   200 Open Games by David Bronstein (part 2) by tak gambit
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Bronstein's Odyssey by Everett
   Bronstein's Picturesque Games by Brown
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1940-1959 (Part 1) by Anatoly21
   Bronstein Sorcerer's Apprentice 40 Combinations by hms123
   Bronstein vs Computers. by lostemperor
   Sorcerer's Apprentice Bronstein by tak gambit
   King's Indian pioneers by keywiz84
   David Bronstein's Best Games by KingG
   WCC Index [Zurich 1953] by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for David Bronstein
Search Google for David Bronstein

(born Feb-19-1924, died Dec-05-2006) Ukraine
[what is this?]
David Ionovich Bronstein, born February 19, 1924 in Belaya Tserkov, was one of the strongest and most imaginative players to emerge from the Soviet Union. Moscow champion five times (1946-47, 1953, 1957 and 1968), he shared first place in 1961 with Leonid Alexandrovich Shamkovich . Bronstein twice shared the USSR Championship, in 1948 [rusbase-1] with Alexander Kotov and in 1949 [rusbase-2] along with Vasily Smyslov.

Bronstein won the Budapest Candidates (1950) after a playoff with Isaac Boleslavsky to earn a match for the World Championship against Mikhail Botvinnik. After twenty-two games, he led the match and needed just one point from the last two games to win the title. Alas, it was not to be as Botvinnik won the twenty-third game and held the draw in the final game to tie the match and retain his crown.

GM Bronstein made many contributions to theory in openings such as the Ruy Lopez, King's Indian, and Caro-Kann (e. g. the Bronstein-Larsen variation 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6 gxf6).

He died of complications from high blood pressure.

Wikipedia article: David Bronstein

 page 1 of 88; games 1-25 of 2,179  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. E Poliak vs Bronstein 0-136 1938 KievD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. Bronstein vs I Zaslavsky 1-025 1938 KievC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
3. Bronstein vs V Gaiwevsky  1-048 1939 DniepropetrovskC66 Ruy Lopez
4. Bronstein vs Y Kaem 1-028 1939 DniepropetrovskC71 Ruy Lopez
5. Y Lembersky vs Bronstein 0-137 1939 Kiev-tm USSR/YUGC25 Vienna
6. L Kanevsky vs Bronstein  0-134 1939 Soviet UnionC46 Three Knights
7. Bronstein vs B Ratner 1-035 1939 Soviet UnionB20 Sicilian
8. Bronstein vs L Morgulis 1-034 1940 Kiev-tm USSR/YUGC25 Vienna
9. Bronstein vs S Zhukhovitsky 1-032 1940 Kiev jrC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
10. Bronstein vs R Piatnitsky 1-015 1940 Kiev jrC41 Philidor Defense
11. Bronstein vs Gorenstein ½-½15 1940 KievC29 Vienna Gambit
12. S Belavenets vs Bronstein 0-124 1941 URSA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
13. Bronstein vs E Kuzminykh  0-141 1941 Rostov on Don (Russia)C79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
14. Efimov vs Bronstein 0-112 1941 Kiev URSC34 King's Gambit Accepted
15. Bronstein vs V Mikenas 1-025 1941 URSC40 King's Knight Opening
16. Veresov vs Bronstein 1-0105 1944 USSR ChampionshipD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
17. Ravinsky vs Bronstein ½-½41 1944 USSR ChampionshipC76 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, Fianchetto Variation
18. Bronstein vs B Goldenov 1-024 1944 KievC12 French, McCutcheon
19. Bronstein vs Boleslavsky  ½-½34 1944 USSR ChampionshipB56 Sicilian
20. V Mikenas vs Bronstein 1-064 1944 USSR ChampionshipE46 Nimzo-Indian
21. Bronstein vs V Makogonov ½-½43 1944 USSR ChampionshipC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. Bronstein vs Ragozin  1-041 1944 USSR ChampionshipB72 Sicilian, Dragon
23. Kotov vs Bronstein 1-031 1944 USSR ChampionshipE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
24. Tolush vs Bronstein 0-140 1944 USSR ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
25. Bronstein vs Flohr 0-135 1944 USSR ChampionshipC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 88; games 1-25 of 2,179  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Bronstein wins | Bronstein loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 39 OF 39 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-20-14  RedShield: <Presumably a chess book can have artistic value aside from its prose style>

Yes, it could have nice pictures and good paper.

<do any books qualify in your view?>


<What do you mean?>

Chess books don't really teach you that much about how to play chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <RedShield: I draw a distinction between artistic and instructional value. My impression is that Bronstein's <Zurich 1953> and <The Sorcerer's Apprentice> are commended mostly for their prose style. Problem is, if I want prose style or philosophical ruminations, I won't read a chess book.>

Perhaps what you are looking for in a chess book is different than what many others are looking for - it is a very subjective topic.

<Chess books don't really teach you that much about how to play chess.>

All chess books?!?

Feb-20-14  RedShield: I diagnose the problem as being that high-minded section of chess players who can't accept that chess is just a nice board game. They feel a need for artistic pretensions to go alongside the game's intellectual ones. It's such people who speak of chess <literature>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RedShield> Do you think a chess game can have artistic value? How about a chess problem?

I'm not trying to play Socrates; I have my own opinion, but I'm not sure I have thought it through.

Feb-20-14  chesssalamander: <Sally Simpson> Yes, I find Bannerjee fascinating. I wish it were possible to learn more about him, but I suspect the man will forever be shrouded in the mists of time.

<RedShield> I have read only a few chess books, but I LOVED Tal's "Life and Games" and Fischer's M60MG. I found them both instructive, and artistic. They are both highly praised, so I suppose if you find them disappointing, you must have much higher standards than mine.

Back in 2006, shortly after Bronstein passed away, I was playing in a tournament, and I asked the director, a friend of mine, about Bronstein. Only, I had only read about him, and I pronounced it incorrectly. My friend shook his head and pretended not to know who or what I was talking about. Finally, I switched my pronunciation, and he said, "Oh, David Bronstein!", and proceeded to give me a brief, but informative lecture on Bronstein's chess, the WC Match in '51, and Ukrainian/Russian/Soviet politics.

Feb-20-14  RedShield: <Do you think a chess game can have artistic value? How about a chess problem?>

Yes, but I prefer to term that as <aesthetic value> (see to distinguish it from the artistic or literary value that I was talking about.

Feb-20-14  RedShield: <Fischer's M60MG.>

<Maybe My 60 Memorable Games is the best chess book ever written - but I think it's definitely the best-written chess book ever. [...]

What I find striking is that when I think about My Sixty Memorable Games, I don't actually think about chess or games - I mostly think about Fischer's language. But when I think of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, I cannot recall a single anecdote or memoir from the book - all I remember are great chess moves.>

I accept that <MSMG> reads very nicely, but if it's really the best written chess book, it reflects what I'm saying. Annotations never give an authentic flavour of what its like to emotionally experience playing a game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: <Annotations never give an authentic flavour of what its like to emotionally experience playing a game.>

If I ever find a book which does that, I'll buy it immediately. But there's one thing an annotator can do to give some indication of the tension: write down the time of each move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <RedShield> Thanks for the pointer to the BBC article. Really interesting.


The topic, which I am sure won't surprise many of you: <Brain scans show a complex string of numbers and letters in mathematical formulae can evoke the same sense of beauty as artistic masterpieces and music from the greatest composers.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Redshield,

"Annotations never give an authentic flavour of what its like to emotionally experience playing a game."

That is a very good point and it would indeed be hard and require skill to put into honest words all the emotions one goes through when playing a game.

This quote by Hugh Alexander comes close.

"If you play Botvinnik, it is even alarming to see him write his move down. Slightly short-sighted, he stoops over his score sheet and devotes his entire attention to recording the move in the most beautifully clear script; one feels that an explosion would not distract him and that examined through a microscope not an irregularity would appear. When he wrote down 1.c2-c4 against me, I felt like resigning."

Chess books are written for players who have played the game and have OTB experience. (well that is the assumption.)


In my very first tournament game played all those years ago in 1972 I won in 8 moves from an opening trap I read in a book. So I picked up a win from book though at that time I had never actually played a real game of chess.

But you are correct, annotations never usually capture the moment. But they do serve a purpose in helping a player understand the game and improve.

Playing and playing as often as you can is the best way to learn the game but I know too many very strong players who say and indeed name chess books that helped them become better players for me to entirely agree with you.

Feb-21-14  SChesshevsky: <Chess books don't really teach you that much about how to play chess.>

That may be true but when written by a Master they can give clues on how top players think which can really help play.

When I was around 13, I was so crazy about chess thanks to the 72WC I went to as many big tournaments as I could and I always carried Fischer's MSMG's with me.

I ended up meeting many very good players and I happened to meet a Master and asked how can I play like you?

He asked me for Fischer's MSMG and opened it up and looked on the page and showed me a paragraph that showed a variation that ended saying something like "... with a winning bind." Then he turned the page and showed me another that said something like "... with advantage."

Then the Master said, if you go through the book and can figure out what Fischer means by those types of descriptions you'll be pretty happy with your game.

Best chess advice I ever received.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: HI SChesshevsky:

These casual meetings with stronger players and their sometimes off the cuff advice are invaluable.

I was lucky to be in a chess environment that had many such players when I first started out.

Their advice and remarks was as I said, invaluable and like you some of the best advice I ever had.

I ploughed through M60MG's when I was far too weak to get it. Most of it went 'whoosh' right over my head.

Only years later when I got stronger and more experienced did I finally grasp and get a reasonable idea what was going on.

Feb-22-14  Everett: <RedShield> I don't agree with you.

Humans have been able to take knowledge found in books and apply it to real life situations - even heated combat situations - ever since literature was created. The knowledge must be put into practice of course, and for some there may be five steps (or more) between reading and execution in a peak moment, but the power of any material (equations, chess patterns, prose structure, socialist ideals, religion) written in a book has been demonstrated over millennia.

Feb-22-14  RedShield: I don't say chess book knowledge is of no value, just of limited value.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Wyatt Gwyon: Just ordered Bronstein's "200 Open Games." Looking forward to it.
Feb-22-14  Everett: <keypusher> that article is interesting. It does remind me of Ken Wilber's triptych of values; Good, Truth and Beauty.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi.

All chess players will disagree as to what is and was is not a good chess book.

You can only really give honest advice on a book (for instance a primer) if you know for sure that the book in question helped you up the ladder.

Flicking though it at a bookstall is perhaps not the best way to judge a book Red but I know exactly where you are coming from.

I sometimes feel like tossing a book straight into the bin after flicking through it. (usually these books that are nothing but computer vomit).

But a book which worked for some may not work for others. In these 'best book' discussion both sides must appreciate that.

You can drop in a book review link. But here again you are only getting another chess player's opinion.

I once joked that one should take ALL chess books reviews with a huge dose of salt. (especially those in the 'Improve Your Chess' range.)

The joke being the reviewer should write the review 40 years after he read it to give a true indication of how that particular book helped him become a good player.

If you think about it, a good player reviewing a book to make him into something he already is, is perhaps not the correct person to be reviewing the book.

So a true chess book review should be by some 1400 player saying he bought the book and will read it.

time passes...

40 years later he finishes his review by telling us if it did him any good.


It was a joke but it may explain why the books by retired GM's tend to be very good and if they mention a book they read 50 years ago then the proof is there that it did help them.

I enjoyed 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' because of the Bronstein bio and the wee snippets of information about chess in Russia which pop up from time to time in the game notes.

It's stuff that perhaps written 20 years earlier may have put the writers in serious trouble with the authorities.

Bronstein displays his games in this book in many different formats. The noted up the games are the best and the games he gives where he recorded the times taken is thought provoking.

200 Open Games.
It would not make my list for the desert island top 10, but I know other lads who think it's brilliant.

All chess players will disagree as to what is and was is not a good chess book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Wyatt Gwyon: Just ordered Bronstein's "200 Open Games." Looking forward to it.>

Fun read; you will enjoy it!

Feb-23-14  Conrad93: Bronstein does a poor job of explaining why he played a certain move, so, yes, in the educational department he is lacking.

Great stories, and images, but poor commentary.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Less well known, but brilliant little books about chess and strategic thinking.

<The Modern Chess Self-Tutor>

<Bronstein on King's Indian>

Feb-23-14  Everett: ?Gypsy>
Any cheap copies of Bronstein on the KID around?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Everett> It seems that one can purchase 'BoKI' used at on-line sellers for about $30 + shipping and so on. That is probably roughly what that book cost me new a few years back, but I can not find my copy right now, so I can not check.

(The cost of a newly printed version of the book seems a bit too steep.)


One of the reasons I find the book quite interesting is as follows: Bronstein's book tend to be pedagogical experiments (thought trips, really) as much as treatises on chess; and practically each of his books is written differently. Many Bronstein's works show, by discourse or example, how one can take seemingly simple, dry position (and, by extension, life- or scientific situation), pause, dive in, and discover endless complexity and riches of possibilities. In turn, BoKI is a methodical example of work in the opposite direction. The most bewildering and complex of openings is laid out for our examination with the utmost simplicity and clarity.

Mar-23-14  Mendrys: I didn't pick up chess until my late teens when I met some new friends who enjoyed playing. At first they routinely crushed me as they had been playing for years. Rummaging thru the closet I found an old chess book of my Dads, "World Championship Chess" published in the 60's. It didn't really give me a better understanding but I did find it enjoyable playing thru the games. Soon after I bought a copy of Fine's book, "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" and borrowed a book by Ludek Pachman, "Modern Chess Strategy". Soon after, with their over aggressive openings and weaknesses in the middle game, my friends stopped being able to beat me.

Now, when I read a chess book it is for the pleasure of the games themselves and the commentary. As far as readability goes Bronstein is my favorite. I find his commentary full of insight and enjoy the way he explains his thought processes as to why he played a particular move.

Apr-03-14  Conrad93: The Sorcerer's Apprentice is more of a biography.

I was misled by thinking it was a heavily annotated game collection.

In reality there is more story-telling than actual chess games.

The copy of Zurich 1953 I saw had no commentary at all. It was mostly notation with occasional snippets about the position, but nothing really deeply analyzed.

Apr-03-14  Conrad93: I guess people praise his prose, not exactly his analysis.

In that regard, he is very good.

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