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Grigory Levenfish
Number of games in database: 388
Years covered: 1910 to 1954
Overall record: +128 -123 =137 (50.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (23) 
    E53 E34 E21 E38 E32
 Ruy Lopez (22) 
    C77 C88 C79 C83 C91
 Orthodox Defense (20) 
    D52 D63 D55 D50 D68
 Sicilian (17) 
    B84 B73 B29 B72 B83
 Grunfeld (15) 
    D85 D94 D81 D98 D84
 Caro-Kann (14) 
    B10 B16 B13 B17 B15
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (29) 
    C77 C83 C90 C75 C99
 Nimzo Indian (15) 
    E22 E21 E48 E47 E59
 Slav (14) 
    D10 D15 D14 D11 D19
 French Defense (13) 
    C14 C19 C18 C12 C02
 Sicilian (13) 
    B24 B40 B23 B21 B64
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (12) 
    C90 C99 C88 C86 C85
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   J Rabinovich vs Levenfish, 1927 0-1
   Alatortsev vs Levenfish, 1937 0-1
   Lasker vs Levenfish, 1925 0-1
   Levenfish vs Alekhine, 1913 1-0
   Levenfish vs Riumin, 1936 1/2-1/2
   Levenfish vs M Yudovich Sr., 1933 1-0
   Botvinnik vs Levenfish, 1937 0-1
   Levenfish vs S Gotthilf, 1924 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Levenfish, 1953 0-1
   Levenfish vs Botvinnik, 1937 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1933)
   USSR Championship (1923)
   USSR Championship 1934/35 (1934)
   Botvinnik - Levenfish (1937)
   USSR Championship (1924)
   Leningrad/Moscow training (1939)
   Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912)
   USSR Championship (1925)
   Moscow (1935)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1948)
   Karlsbad (1911)
   Moscow (1925)
   USSR Championship (1949)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Botvinnik-Levenfish Match 1937 by suenteus po 147
   USSR Championship 1933 by Phony Benoni

   Rubinstein vs Levenfish, 1912

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Grigory Levenfish
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(born Mar-09-1889, died Feb-09-1961, 71 years old) Russia

[what is this?]
Grigory Yakovlevich Levenfish was born in Piotrkˇw Trybunalski,* Poland. Awarded the GM title in 1950, he was Leningrad champion in 1922, 1924, and 1925 (jointly). He also won the USSR Championship (1934/35) (jointly with Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich) and 1937. Following this he drew a match with Mikhail Botvinnik (+5 -5 =3), Botvinnik - Levenfish (1937), but this was to be the last major success of his chess career. Before the war he won a match against Vladimir Alatortsev in 1940 (+5 -2 =7). His play was marked by elegant combinations, unexpected tactical blows and deep endgame analyses and unlike Alexander Alekhine, Efim Bogoljubov, Aron Nimzowitsch and Akiba Rubinstein he was one of the few pre-revolutionary masters who didn't end up abroad. He successfully passed on his knowledge to the first generation of young Soviet players, authoring Modern Openings, Izbrannye Partii I Vospominanya and Rook Endings (toegther with Vasily Smyslov). He passed away in Moscow in 1961.(**)

*Wikipedia article: Piotrk%C3%B3w Trybunalski

(**) Crosstables of the aforementioned tournaments available at [rusbase-1], [rusbase-2], [rusbase-3], [rusbase-4], [rusbase-5], [rusbase-6], [rusbase-7]

Wikipedia article: Grigory Levenfish

 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 388  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Znosko-Borovsky vs Levenfish 0-134 1910 St PetersburgC14 French, Classical
2. Levenfish vs P M List 1-030 1910 Vienna (Austria)C83 Ruy Lopez, Open
3. Alekhine vs Levenfish  ½-½45 1911 KarlsbadC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
4. Levenfish vs Vidmar 0-175 1911 KarlsbadC50 Giuoco Piano
5. Levenfish vs C Jaffe  0-129 1911 KarlsbadD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Duras vs Levenfish  0-164 1911 KarlsbadC77 Ruy Lopez
7. Levenfish vs Schlechter 0-159 1911 KarlsbadC71 Ruy Lopez
8. Levenfish vs Salwe  ½-½52 1911 KarlsbadC88 Ruy Lopez
9. Levenfish vs B Kostic  1-038 1911 KarlsbadD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
10. Nimzowitsch vs Levenfish 1-037 1911 KarlsbadC02 French, Advance
11. Levenfish vs Teichmann ½-½47 1911 KarlsbadD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
12. Levenfish vs Rotlewi  0-138 1911 KarlsbadD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
13. Burn vs Levenfish 0-123 1911 KarlsbadB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
14. Dus Chotimirsky vs Levenfish  0-160 1911 KarlsbadD04 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Levenfish vs E Cohn  ½-½43 1911 KarlsbadB73 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
16. Spielmann vs Levenfish 1-021 1911 KarlsbadC29 Vienna Gambit
17. A Rabinovich vs Levenfish  ½-½43 1911 KarlsbadC66 Ruy Lopez
18. Levenfish vs Tartakower ½-½74 1911 KarlsbadC60 Ruy Lopez
19. Levenfish vs J Perlis  0-162 1911 KarlsbadD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
20. Rubinstein vs Levenfish 1-029 1911 KarlsbadC14 French, Classical
21. Levenfish vs P F Johner  ½-½74 1911 KarlsbadC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
22. Levenfish vs Fahrni 1-060 1911 KarlsbadC14 French, Classical
23. Marshall vs Levenfish 1-059 1911 KarlsbadC66 Ruy Lopez
24. O Chajes vs Levenfish  1-045 1911 KarlsbadC14 French, Classical
25. Levenfish vs Leonhardt  1-035 1911 KarlsbadC77 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 16; games 1-25 of 388  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Levenfish wins | Levenfish loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: <brankat>Unlike Alekhine and Bogoljubov in the '20s, Levenfish opted to stay in the USSR, which may have been a mistake.

The April 2011 issueo of "CHESS" magazine has an excellent article by Leonard Barden about the 1947 Britain-USSR match held in London.

Levenfish was one of the USSR reserves, and during the match he was re-united with Paul M List, who had last played Levenfish way back in 1912 in the All-Russian championship, before emigrating to England in the late 1930's after residing in Germany since the 1920's.

List had represented Britain in a 1946 radio between Britain and the USSR, but was deemed ineligible for the 1947 match. Levenfish warmly greeted his old friend, but this was noted by the security man who always travelled with any USSR representatives playing abroad. As a result, Levenfish was never again allowed to travel to the West for tournaments.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I hear that after Fischer swept the 1963-64 U.S. Championship, the Soviets pooh-poohed the achievement, saying that Fischer had merely beaten 'leven fish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Groan...
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Hey, bad puns are what this site is all about.
Mar-09-12  brankat: One of the original 27 Grandmasters of 1950.

Happy Birthday GM Levenfish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: < FSR: I hear that after Fischer swept the 1963-64 U.S. Championship, the Soviets pooh-poohed the achievement, saying that Fischer had merely beaten 'leven fish. >


Aug-22-12  Karpova: He won the Spring Tournament in St. Petersburg 1909:

1. Levenfish 12.0
2. Platz 10.0
3. P. A. Romanovsky 9.0
4-5. Helbach 8.5
4-5. Heukhusen 8.5
6. Kamkin 8.0
7-8. K. Rausch von Taubenburg 7.0
7-8. A. Chepurnov 7.0

From page 372 of the 1909 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: According to Russian Wiki he was born on the 7th (19th) of March.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: What kind of fish was Levenfish? A barracuda or a pampered goldfish?
Premium Chessgames Member
  nimh: Levenfish is a Russian transliteration of the German word 'L÷wenfisch' (a lionfish).

An '÷' in German texts is transliterated as an 'e' in the cyrillic script.

Nov-01-13  Karpova: Double round-robin Leningrad Championship tournament 1924:

1. L÷wenfisch 8.5
2. Rabinowicz 7.5
3. Romanowski 4.5
4. Jl. Zenewski 4.0
5. A. Kubbel 3.0
6. Gotthilf 2.5

Levenfish remained undefeated with +7 -0 =3, winning all his mini-matches.

They say that it just ended, so it was concluded at the end of April.

From page 141 of the April-May 1924 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'

Mar-09-14  gars: <Phony Benoni> and <botvinnik64>: may rotate the players as much as it wants, but March 9th SHOULD BE Bobby Fischer's Day forever, along with November 9th (Tal), November 19th (Capablanca) and Morphy's birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. GM Grigory Levenfish.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <gars> Why restrict the honor to so few players? Why not April 13 for Garry Kasprov Day? May 23 for Anatoly Karpov Day? December 24 for Emanuel Lasker Day? June 22 for Milan Vidmar Day?

Picking another player for March 9 is no slight against Fischer, but a chance to give a lesser-known but still great player some recognition. Why should Levenfish suffer because Fischer happened to be born on his birthday?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: Are there any famous players born on Feb. 29th?
Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: On Feb 29, 1812, Hermann Hirschbach was born in Berlin. He is famous for the Hirschbach variation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Romanovsky later remembered: 'Attempts to associate chess mastery with pedagogical mastery are a great delusion. Only one person combines high pedagogy with great mastery - Levenfish.'>

From <Russian Silhouettes> by Sosonko.

Jan-15-15  Poisonpawns: Was his Jewish heritage the reason he was treated so harshly by the Soviet Chess establishment or other reasons? I read he was the only Soviet master without a stipend,and that he was not allowed to travel abroad, although he was the Russian champion.
Jan-15-15  beatgiant: <Poisonpawns>
Botvinnik was of Jewish heritage and got plenty of support. I think the more likely explanation is the authorities did not trust Levenfish's political position. They might have expected that if allowed to travel abroad, he would not return.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <beatgiant> Botvinnik, as is well known, epitomised Soviet Man--his Jewish heritage was simply an accident of birth, as he played the role of establishmentarian to a tee.
Jan-15-15  beatgiant: I think the more important accident of birth was Levenfish being born too many years before the revolution, making it harder to present himself as a New Soviet Man.
Jan-16-15  Petrosianic: Yeah, when you're nearly as old as Lenin or Stalin, how can you hope to be taken seriously as a Soviet Man?
Jan-16-15  beatgiant: <Petrosianic>
<how can you hope to be taken seriously> Probably by having supported the revolution before it succeeded.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Another great player whose birthday is today.


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