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Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky
Number of games in database: 207
Years covered: 1914 to 1939

Overall record: +82 -78 =47 (51.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (39) 
    C90 C77 C84 C68 C73
 French Defense (22) 
    C11 C15 C01 C08 C00
 Sicilian (20) 
    B50 B23 B83 B73 B84
 Caro-Kann (17) 
    B10 B17 B12 B18 B11
 French (10) 
    C11 C00 C12
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (10) 
    C90 C84
With the Black pieces:
 Dutch Defense (10) 
    A96 A97 A98 A84 A99
 Queen's Gambit Declined (9) 
    D31 D30
 English (8) 
    A15 A13 A14
 Sicilian (8) 
    B58 B24 B45 B30 B88
 Queen's Pawn Game (7) 
    D02 A40 A46 D04
 Orthodox Defense (6) 
    D52 D53 D51 D67
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Capablanca vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1925 0-1
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs P Romanovsky, 1929 1-0
   Rauzer vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1937 0-1
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Sergeiev, 1924 1-0
   A Budo vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1931 0-1
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Alekhine, 1920 1/2-1/2
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs N Sorokin, 1931 1-0
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Botvinnik, 1938 1/2-1/2
   Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Y Model, 1932 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Leningrad Championship (1932)
   USSR Championship (1927)
   Moscow (1925)
   USSR Championship (1931)
   USSR Championship (1924)
   USSR Championship 1934/35 (1934)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Leningrad Championship 1932 by Phony Benoni

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky
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(born Nov-28-1894, died Sep-03-1941, 46 years old) Russia

[what is this?]
Alexander Fyodorovich Ilyin-Zhenevsky (Genevsky) was born in St Petersburg and was one of the founding fathers of Soviet Chess. While still a schoolboy he was expelled from school in 1912 for pro-Bolshevik political activity and had to complete his studies abroad in Geneva. He eventually became a chess champion of Geneva (1914). Suffering from shell-shock after the First World War he had to learn how to play chess for the second time. He organised the first Soviet Championship, won by Alexander Alekhine in 1920 and later was instrumental in arranging the 1933 match between Mikhail Botvinnik and Salomon Flohr. As well as organisational and editorial work his over the board achievements included winning the Leningrad Championships of 1925 (jointly), 1926 and 1929 and defeating Jose Raul Capablanca in their game at the great Moscow 1925 International Tournament. He was also awarded the Master title in 1925.

Some sources say that he was the only one that died in a Nazi air raid on a barge on Lake Ladoga on the 3rd of September, 1941, during the siege of Leningrad. Other sources say that he was arrested by the Soviet secret police during the purges and died in prison in 1941.

Wikipedia article: Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky

 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 207  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. A A Chepurnov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  0-122 1914 MatchB12 Caro-Kann Defense
2. Borkhov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  0-150 1915 St Petersburg, RussiaC50 Giuoco Piano
3. L Borkhov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  0-124 1917 Petrograd Chess Assembly TtB15 Caro-Kann
4. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs P Romanovsky 0-141 1919 MoscowC67 Ruy Lopez
5. N Grigoriev vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1-035 1919 MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
6. Tsukerman vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1-032 1920 Moscow ChampionshipC62 Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense
7. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Kubbel  0-145 1920 USSR ChampionshipC60 Ruy Lopez
8. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Rabinovich 0-129 1920 USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
9. N Pavlov-Pianov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  ½-½46 1920 USSR ChampionshipD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Alekhine ½-½40 1920 USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
11. D Daniuszewski vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0-149 1920 USSR ChampionshipD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. N I Grekov vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0-128 1920 Moscow, RussiaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
13. P Romanovsky vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1-035 1921 PetrogradC41 Philidor Defense
14. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs I Rabinovich  0-153 1921 PetrogradC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
15. A Rabinovich vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0-120 1922 URSC41 Philidor Defense
16. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs S A Pokrovsky  1-029 1922 Libau ChC77 Ruy Lopez
17. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs P Romanovsky  1-049 1922 Moscow - Petrograd MatchC77 Ruy Lopez
18. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs N Zubarev  1-025 1922 Moscow TtB01 Scandinavian
19. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs N Zubarev  1-035 1923 Moscow TtC12 French, McCutcheon
20. F Bohatirchuk vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1-029 1923 USSR ChampionshipA52 Budapest Gambit
21. S Von Freymann vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  0-135 1924 USSR ChampionshipB19 Caro-Kann, Classical
22. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs V Sozin  ½-½45 1924 USSR ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
23. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs A Sergeiev 1-020 1924 USSR ChampionshipC15 French, Winawer
24. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Fedoseev  1-033 1924 1st Category TtC77 Ruy Lopez
25. Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Levenfish  0-139 1924 Ch LeningradB17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation
 page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 207  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Ilyin-Zhenevsky wins | Ilyin-Zhenevsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-12-04  Tigran Petrosian: This guy died on a barge in 1941 during the siege of Leningrad.
Apr-12-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: Was he Cheka/KGB?
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Is he the Ilyin-Zhenevsky named in (for example) and who wrote "The Bolsheviks in Power"? I'm interested in Soviet history, so would be nice to know.

And well no, strictly the KGB didn't exist until after the death of Stalin, but I know what you mean Bill.

May-04-04  barrister: Fortunately, Capablanca was able to even his score with this guy at the least.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <acire> I think it is the same person. "Ilyin-Zhenevsky" is not his real name. He adopted a "nom de plume" to protect himself. This because his brother was Fyodor Raskolnikov who was involved in the uprising at Kronstadt. It makes sense that he wrote a book about the revolutionary activities.
May-10-05  pazzed paun: being on a barge during an airraid is not a good idea! <see the movie "Enemy AT the Gates" to see what a German Stuka can do to people on a open river barge.
May-10-05  Zymurgy: I saw Enemy at the Gates. When I read his bio I thought of that scene in Lenigrad.
May-10-05  WTHarvey: Here are some diagrams of crucial positions in Alexander's games:
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here is an interesting article about Old Bolshevik and chess master Ilyin-Zhenevsky from the e3 e5 site:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Iljin-Zenevskij (1894-1941) -- an official of Soviet State and Party, publicist; brother of F.F. Raskolnikov; ... a victim of repressions during the cult of personality era; poshumously rehabilitated.> from F.F. Raskolnikov, "An October Closeup."
Nov-28-07  BIDMONFA: Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky


Nov-28-07  Alphastar: Rauzer vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1937

Is a very nice game of todays Player of the day.

Jan-13-08  pawnofdoom: I guess it's pretty interesting that this guy got to learn to play chess twice in his life. And both times, he learned it really well and became a great player.
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: An outstanding personality. A talented player, too.
Jul-18-08  myschkin: <The Russian master who had to learn the game twice> He was gassed, then shell-shocked in World War I, which took awy his memory. He had previously been champion of Geneva where he added the city's name to his own. He had to learn the game all over again, starting from how each piece moved. He was a member of an underground Bolshevik organization in high school, which led to his expusion. Forbidden to re-enter any Russian school, he went to Geneva where he performed party work for Lenin. During the October Revolution and Russian Civil War he was the head of the Moscow Reservists. He organized the first USSR chess championship in 1920. He won the first Trade Unions Championship of the USSR in 1927. In 1941, while trying to escape from Leningrad on a barge with dozens of other passengers, the Germans bombed the barge. Alexander was the only one killed.
Premium Chessgames Member
Feb-10-10  Petrosianic: <He had previously been champion of Geneva where he added the city's name to his own.>

Yes, according to The Fireside Book of Chess, his name was Alexander Ilyin, but he added "Genevsky" to his name after winning the championship of Geneva. I don't know how you explain that kind of thing to your parents. (And you thought wearing a Starfleet uniform on jury duty was bad).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: The winner of today’s GotD against Capablanca (Capablanca vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1925), also had a win over Botvinnik (when the latter was 19 or 20 years old, which may account for the fact that this win over a future world champion is not currently included in Ilyin-Zhenevsky’s notable games): Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Botvinnik, 1931, as well as this near-win: Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Botvinnik, 1938.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: There are more games of his that were uploaded some time ago. Hopefully they will appear soon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Great to see the games are now loaded up.
Oct-06-13  Karpova: Leningrad City Championship, 1926:

1. A. Iljin-Schenewski 7.5
2-3. M. Botwinick 7.0
2-3. J. Rabinowitsch 7.0
4. Rochlin 5.0

From page 264 of the August-September 1926 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

(i. e. Ilyin-Zhenevsky, Botvinnik, I. L. Rabinovich and Rokhlin)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Would be nice to ref the different sources for how he died, at least one for each side.

Hartson, in his book <The Kings of Chess (1985)>, p125, explains name (and more) as follows:

<Alexander Fyodorovich Ilyin-Zhenevsky (1894-1941). The hyphenated name, incidentally, was pure affectation; he added the second barrel after winning the chess championship of Geneva (Zhenevsky = of Geneva) in 1914. Educated in Switzerland, ~ returned to Mother Russia after the revolution. A supporter of Lenin's ideals, ~ became Chief Commissar at the hq of the General Reservists Organisation in Moscow.


Ilyin-Zhenevsky fought on two fronts. He encouraged chess among the military, stressing its avlue as a means of learning discipline, strategy, persistence and proper caution. [...] To sell the idea of chess among the masses, his tactics were more blatant. It was not just something to be tolerated under Communism, but could be presented as a valuable weapon in the vanguard of the development of the new national character.>

Hartson links the emergence of modern Soviet chess to I-Z and Krylenko both, in this fashion:

<In the great battle to establish chess in post-revolutionary Soviet culture, Ilyin-Zhenevsky and Krylenko were to be the Marx and Lenin; the pragmatic thinker allied to a fanatical man of action.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Alexander Ilyin-Znenevsky.
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