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Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush
Number of games in database: 401
Years covered: 1931 to 1965
Overall record: +144 -143 =113 (50.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1 exhibition game, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (32) 
    B43 B32 B65 B88 B40
 Nimzo Indian (25) 
    E30 E59 E32 E48 E22
 King's Indian (14) 
    E80 E90 E76 E93 E71
 Ruy Lopez (14) 
    C86 C97 C65 C91 C75
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (10) 
    C86 C97 C91 C98 C85
 Queen's Pawn Game (9) 
    A45 E00 A40 D02 A46
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (32) 
    C61 C64 C99 C63 C90
 Nimzo Indian (26) 
    E53 E59 E42 E32 E41
 Sicilian (23) 
    B97 B84 B60 B68 B99
 King's Indian (20) 
    E80 E95 E87 E85 E63
 Modern Benoni (11) 
    A70 A76 A68 A64 A61
 Grunfeld (11) 
    D74 D95 D85 D87 D88
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   V A Vasiliev vs Tolush, 1945 0-1
   Smyslov vs Tolush, 1939 0-1
   Lilienthal vs Tolush, 1947 1/2-1/2
   Tolush vs Kotov, 1945 1-0
   Tolush vs Botvinnik, 1944 1-0
   P Dubinin vs Tolush, 1947 0-1
   Tolush vs Averbakh, 1948 1-0
   Tolush vs Alatortsev, 1948 1-0
   Tolush vs V Mikenas, 1950 1-0
   Korchnoi vs Tolush, 1958 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1950)
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1948)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Hastings 1953/54 (1953)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   Leningrad/Moscow training (1939)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   USSR Championship (1958)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Forward, Kazimirich! Games by Alexander Tolush by Resignation Trap
   Hastings 1953/54 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush
Search Google for Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush

(born May-01-1910, died Mar-03-1969, 58 years old) Russia
[what is this?]

Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush was born on the 1st of May 1910 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Awarded the IM title at its inception in 1950, the GM title in 1953 and the IMC title in 1965, he was Leningrad Champion in 1937 (jointly), 1938, 1946 and 1947 (jointly). An outstanding master of attack and combinations, he paid less attention to positional play and defence and this affected his results. His best result in the USSR Championship was 2nd= in 1950, whilst his best result internationally was 1st place at Bucharest 1953 (1) ahead of Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Vasily Smyslov, Isaac Boleslavsky and Boris Spassky (who was his pupil at that time).

He passed away in Leningrad in 1969 and did not live to see Spassky become World Champion.


Wikipedia article: Alexander Tolush

Last updated: 2016-08-27 03:32:01

 page 1 of 17; games 1-25 of 401  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Tolush vs A Kubbel  0-140 1931 Ch URS (1/2 final)C28 Vienna Game
2. N Grigoriev vs Tolush  0-135 1931 Ch URS (1/2 final)B00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
3. Tolush vs Capablanca 1-035 1935 Clock simul, 10bC26 Vienna
4. Tolush vs Chekhover  0-139 1936 Trade UnionsB70 Sicilian, Dragon Variation
5. Konstantinopolsky vs Tolush 1-023 1936 MoscowA47 Queen's Indian
6. Tolush vs E Zagorjansky  1-041 1936 Trade Unions ChampionshipC02 French, Advance
7. Tolush vs Sokolsky 0-136 1936 USSRE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
8. I Mazel vs Tolush  ½-½13 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC44 King's Pawn Game
9. Sokolsky vs Tolush ½-½27 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalD29 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
10. Tolush vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  1-029 1938 URS-ch sfA04 Reti Opening
11. Tolush vs Kasparian  ½-½63 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC49 Four Knights
12. V A Vasiliev vs Tolush  1-058 1938 Trade UnionsC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
13. Lisitsin vs Tolush  0-163 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalD02 Queen's Pawn Game
14. A Poliak vs Tolush  ½-½18 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC48 Four Knights
15. M David vs Tolush  0-164 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalA03 Bird's Opening
16. V A Vasiliev vs Tolush  ½-½64 1938 Trade UnionsC03 French, Tarrasch
17. Tolush vs Botvinnik 0-135 1938 1/2 finalC02 French, Advance
18. Tolush vs S Gotthilf  1-042 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC45 Scotch Game
19. Abramian vs Tolush 1-040 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC24 Bishop's Opening
20. Tolush vs M Kamishov 1-051 1938 Trade UnionsC27 Vienna Game
21. Kotov vs Tolush 1-026 1938 Leningrad-chD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
22. P Romanovsky vs Tolush  ½-½33 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
23. Ragozin vs Tolush ½-½33 1938 Leningrad (Russia)C79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
24. Tolush vs Chekhover  ½-½45 1938 URS-ch sfE00 Queen's Pawn Game
25. I Rabinovich vs Tolush  1-018 1938 11th USSR Championship SemifinalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
 page 1 of 17; games 1-25 of 401  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Tolush wins | Tolush loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: I have read many historians who disagree - quite a few give the Panther as the all-around best. And the T-34 model which receives so many votes is the T-34/85, which was not produced until after Kursk.

But do you really care about ease of repair and manufacturing volume when you have a Tiger tank shooting at you???

The Panther was SUPPOSED to be the best tank, having taken a lot of design feature from the T-34; it was indeed a tribute to the T-34. Unfortunately for the Germans, they had problems with their treads - they were supposed to be replaced but with war shortages, they never got the parts of the original design. The treads they used were for a lighter tank, a bad combination, forced by shortages. They also had very bad problems with their transmission - again, not the fault of the disigners, the fault of war shortages that kept them from being 'made to spec'.

Therefore, the Panther never became the tank in use that it could have - over long distance, it broke down. Canny German generals commanders would often use them more like quasi-mobile anti-tank guns. When they worked, they were real good. So, yes, ease of repair (or more importantly, tendency to break down) DID matter when your 'mobile' tank was stuck and you are a sitting duck for an anti-tank gun!

The T-34 is THE tank for military historians. We tend to look at issues other than direct battlefield capabilites, including cost to repair, maintenance, ease of production and use, how hard training is, etc. All around, speed, ease of use, power, etc., the T-34 is very hard to match. Also, please recognize that the T-34 came out earlier than the Panther; yes, the 85 model was later, but the earlier models were indeed the basis for the Panther, and captured T-34 were studied. The T-34 was involved in the battles up through Stalingrad. The Panther was rushed into service for Kursk, which is why it didn't get the full time to use its best design.

It is hard to compare a Tiger, a heavy tank, with a medium tank like the Panther or the T-34. I think the Panther was better. They had effectively the same engine, and the Panther had better and frontal armor and a similar turret weapon. It was a lot faster and had a better range. The Tiger had much stronger side and back armor (making it hard to kill) but operationally was a difficult tank, using ups globs of fuel.

So, how is the Panther viewed? I think the world views that the had the Panther design been made as it was supposed to, and not been forced into use too early with the appropriate parts, it may have been the best tank ever made. Thegoodanarchist, you may be referring to these analyses, as engineers marvel at the Panther's capabilities if it had come to full potential.

But the T-34 was THE weapon of Soviet victory, an amazing weapon - in my opinion, the single greatest weapon of the war.

Anyway, we should probably get back to Tolush :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Americans say that two things won the war: Air power and radar. In Russia, it was probably the massive output of the T-34, and General Winter.
Apr-25-10  thegoodanarchist: Germany made only about 7,000 Panthers during WWII while the Soviet Union made about ten times that many tanks, mostly T-34s.

So your argument seems to be that over 50,000 T-34s are better than <7000 Panthers.

But my point was one-on-one, the Panther was better on the steppes of Russia than the T-34.

After all, the whole discussion was about why I give Tolush a pass for being a raging alcoholic with a brutal manner.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: the Panther was better under ideal conditions: 1) adequate fighting terrain, 2) ability to provide maintenance and resupply of parts, 3) ability to mass in numbers, and not be surrounded/outnumbered by the smaller T-34, 4) proper usage (Manstein) as a mobile weapon, and not used piecemeal, in defensive situations (Hitler).

Unfortunately, those ideal conditions didn't exist for the German army, except up till 1941. I guess the Panther was ideal for Germany, in what they expected, and the T-34 was ideal for Russia, in what they foresaw.

Apr-25-10  thegoodanarchist: <Breunor: But the T-34 was THE weapon of Soviet victory>

This is a bit too hagiographic. Red Army infantry mobility was limited to how fast they could walk (when not entrained) until the allied Lend Lease program really got going.

The US put them on wheels for the first time in history with the White half track and other trucks supplied in great quantities.

This had a huge positive impact on Soviet offensive capability in 1944/45, allowing greater penetrations into "enemy" territory, longer duration to offensives, and even operations during the Rasputista.

Apr-25-10  thegoodanarchist: <HeMateMe>

I am not sure if you are trying to dispute my original post, wax on about weapons of WWII, or what.

But I see nothing in the posts of you or <Breunor> that refutes my original contention, that being a Soviet tanker was like being a fish in a barrel.

The key to surviving was, there were many many fish in a vast barrel.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: I do agree that being ANYWHERE on the Eastern front in WWII was very dangerous, and I don't doubt it affected Tolush. I'm not sure I'm willing to say it was 'worse' than being in the infantry, but both required tremendous courage.

But I'm not saying 50,000 T-34's are better than 7,000 Panthers. I'm saying 7,000 T-34 are better than 7,000 Panthers.

We can look tank vs. tank or on a cost equivalent basis.

Tank for tank, for the Panthers actually produced (especially early ones) 7,000 produced tanks, ignoring combat damage, probably had about 3,500 operational at a time; while 7,000 T-34's probably would have about 5,000 operational. So that is the T-34's advantage. I do agree 'tank for tank' is a legitimate way to compare them, but so is dollar for dollar. On that basis, the T-34 has a greater superiority.

A good example of cost issues is the B-2 Spirit bomber - it is the technically most advanced bomber in the world, but it is so ridiculously expensive it is hard to say it is a 'great' plane and indeed is usually considered a horrible failure since they ended up costing $750 MM/operational bomber.

Here is a list of 'greatest' tanks from the History channel:

For the Germans, the PV IV and the Tiger made the list, the Panther didn't, and the T-34 was first. Of course,t hese lsits are subjective, as I said, I think the Panther may have been better than the Tiger.

I do agree, however, in my opinion, if I have a working, operational machine, I thought the Panther was the best tank of the war. (They are great in the old Avalon Hill game, PanzerBlitz!)

All the best.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: Mikhail Botvinnik was mated by Alexander Tolush in the 1944 Soviet Championship in Moscow, "You're mated, Mikhail Moiseyevich!" the winner proclaimed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Breunor> The dove of peace, yet you are pretty booked up on your war machines. :)
May-01-11  talisman: happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyke: <wordfunph: Mikhail Botvinnik was mated by Alexander Tolush in the 1944 Soviet Championship in Moscow, "You're mated, Mikhail Moiseyevich!" the winner proclaimed.>

Needless to say that the patriarch had not been happy about that "incident".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyke: To add a little bit more to my previous statement:

<<"Forward, Kazimirych!">

When talking about the sources of Spassky's brilliant style of play, one immediately recalls his previous trainer of many years (1952-1960), the Leningrad frandmaster Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush, who was a famous master of attack and an uncommonly cheerful, witty man. After a win he would inform his friends: <'Dracula has been caught.'> When his opponent dragged out a hopeless resistance, he would complain: <'The cannon-fodder is resisting.'> When the latter resigned, Tolush would proclaim: <'Amen to the pies'.> And during a blitz game and when analysing he would encourage himself with the war-cry: <'Forward, Kazimirych!'>

This became the motto of more than one generation of players; it was also liked by Paul Keres, with whom Tolush worked in the late 40s and 50s. With Spassky himself, a liking for dashing attacks, for an unfettered, lively and liberal 'Tolush-like' style of play was retained practically to the end of his chess career. <...>

However, Tolush's manners did not provoke a positice reaction from everyone. For example, Botvinnik did not like him. And this was why: in the 13th USSR Championship (1944) Tolush mated Botvinnik on f7 with the disrespectful words: 'It's ma-ate, Mikhal Moiseich'. From that time 'Tolush' sounded almost like a swear word to the ears of #Mikhal Mouseich'>

(Garry Kasparov, OMGP, Vol. III, p.299ff)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: "Forward, Kazimirych!"
Quite sad. I imagine he was repeating the last words of some bloody comrade dying in some hell-hole in the forests of Ruthenia.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush>

Correct pronunciation of his name-

Audio/visual file:

Aug-30-11  Everett: <However, Tolush's manners did not provoke a positice reaction from everyone. For example, Botvinnik did not like him. And this was why: in the 13th USSR Championship (1944) Tolush mated Botvinnik on f7 with the disrespectful words: 'It's ma-ate, Mikhal Moiseich'. From that time 'Tolush' sounded almost like a swear word to the ears of #Mikhal Mouseich'>

Why do you think Tolush said it? My guess is because everyone knew Botvinnik was a pompous, preening, political jackass.

May-01-12  talisman: happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: R.I.P. GM Tolush.
May-02-13  Petrosianic: Are there any dead players in the database that you haven't ripped yet?
May-11-14  Rookiepawn: Given the fact that we can talk about tanks here, I will say that what made the Red Army beat the nazis was the action of a small bunch of men, whose leader was Mr. Leopold Trepper (hats off to this guy: sharp brain + iron balls, rarely seen).

Thanks to Stalin's murders, the Red Army was decimated. It was kept alive thanks to the only thing in which, admitted by Hitler, the Soviets were better at: intelligence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Tolush was an absolutely world-class player who seems to have been underestimated both by his contemporaries and by his chess history.

I get the strong impression that he was a real trash-talker (which is what he was doing when he announced mate to Botvinnik) -- he could be like the Washington Square Park hustlers who talk and smoke through games and play with constant aggression: you're sure that their play is faulty but it's very hard to refute them over-the-board.

In retrospect, Tolush seems like the standard-bearer for the Soviet 'wild man' school of chess -- along with Bronstein, Nezhmetdinov, Byvshev, Lutikov, and, to some extent, Geller, Boleslavsky, and Bondarevsky. In his heyday in the 1940s (when Botvinnikesque principles were dominant), Tolush could be dismissed as either a street player or an anachronism like Rudolph Spielmann.

The rise of Tal, and subsequent developments in chess, show that Tolush was absolutely correct: there is a way to play chess that's razor-sharp, hyper-aggressive, and fundamentally sound. Tal is usually considered to be a bolt from the blue -- but it's easy to surmise that, to a great extent, his play would have been influenced by the style of Tolush and the other wild men.

I always feel a kind of sympathy for young Spassky when I read about the period in which he was trained by Tolush. I picture Tolush as egotistical, sarcastic, and casually brutal. By contrast, Tal's teacher, Koblents, seems like a benevolent father-figure; Spassky's teachers, Tolush and Bondarevsky, were both hard-living, ill-tempered alcoholics. It would be interesting to know what kind of imprint they had on Spassky's psychology.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: "In order to play good chess, you should be poor, hungry, and angry" - Alexander Tolush
Dec-05-15  ljfyffe: <In the World Correspondence Chess Championship IV Final (1962-1965), Tolush scored 5.5 points of a possible 12 to finish 7th
with 3 wins and 5 draws>
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Alexander Tolush.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Alexander Tolush.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Petro: Are there any dead players in the database that you haven't ripped yet?>

I was reading the kibitzing start to finish, read this comment and was scrolling down to kibitz "Don't worry, if he missed any, <Focus> will get them anyway." and when I got to the bottom of the page, speak of the devil. I'm sure all the dead people enjoy being ripped.

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