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Isaac Boleslavsky
Number of games in database: 817
Years covered: 1938 to 1971
Overall record: +317 -91 =408 (63.8%)*
   * 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:
 Ruy Lopez (140) 
    C97 C99 C89 C83 C77
 Sicilian (88) 
    B32 B56 B85 B84 B76
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (67) 
    C97 C99 C89 C92 C91
 French Defense (39) 
    C11 C15 C16 C19 C18
 Nimzo Indian (31) 
    E58 E53 E46 E39 E54
 Caro-Kann (28) 
    B10 B11 B17 B15 B18
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (115) 
    B65 B63 B58 B59 B88
 King's Indian (92) 
    E67 E64 E87 E81 E94
 Sicilian Richter-Rauser (35) 
    B65 B63 B62 B60 B67
 Grunfeld (33) 
    D94 D85 D97 D81 D75
 French Defense (27) 
    C07 C11 C19 C09 C15
 English (20) 
    A15 A16 A10 A17 A19
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Boleslavsky vs Lisitsin, 1956 1-0
   Alatortsev vs Boleslavsky, 1950 0-1
   Boleslavsky vs Dzindzichashvili, 1967 1-0
   Boleslavsky vs Kotov, 1953 1-0
   Boleslavsky vs Fine, 1945 1-0
   Boleslavsky vs Kasparian, 1947 1-0
   Boleslavsky vs Bronstein, 1950 1-0
   Boleslavsky vs Smyslov, 1950 1-0
   Tal vs Boleslavsky, 1958 0-1
   Boleslavsky vs B Goldenov, 1947 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Budapest Candidates (1950)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1947)
   Moscow (1947)
   Saltsjöbaden Interzonal (1948)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   USSR Championship (1940)
   USSR Championship (1949)
   Groningen (1946)
   USSR Championship (1950)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Zurich Candidates (1953)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Isaac Boleslavsky - Selected Games by Benzol
   King's Indian pioneers by keywiz84
   WCC Index [Budapest 1950] by nescio2

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Isaac Boleslavsky
Search Google for Isaac Boleslavsky

(born Jun-09-1919, died Feb-15-1977, 57 years old) Russia
[what is this?]
Isaac Efremovich Boleslavsky was born in Zolotonsha. He learned to play chess at the age of nine, but it was not until after World War Two that he first made a name for himself with second place in two consecutive Soviet championships. He continued his rise to the top in 1950, when he became the first player ever to go through a Candidates' tournament undefeated, tying David Bronstein for first place. To determine who would challenge Mikhail Botvinnik for the World Championship, Boleslavsky and Bronstein then contested a twelve-game playoff match; this was tied too. Finally Bronstein won the second tie-break game and gained the right to play Botvinnik.

After this near-miss, Boleslavsky played in another Candidates' tournament in 1953, and then devoted his chess ability more toward coaching and serving as a "second" to his fellow Soviet players. He left behind several contributions to theory for both the King's Indian Defense and Sicilian Defense openings.

Boleslavsky died in Minsk at age 57 after a fall on an icy sidewalk. He broke his hip and could not overcome an infection acquired during his hospitalization.

Wikipedia article: Isaac Boleslavsky

 page 1 of 33; games 1-25 of 817  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Polyak vs Boleslavsky 0-123 1938 Ukraine ChC07 French, Tarrasch
2. Belakovsky vs Boleslavsky  0-131 1938 Ukraine ChA84 Dutch
3. Boleslavsky vs E Korchmar 1-040 1938 Ukraine ChC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
4. Boleslavsky vs A Budo  1-029 1939 Tournament of candidates and mastersE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
5. Boleslavsky vs Batyev 1-051 1939 Tournament of candidates and mastersB10 Caro-Kann
6. Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky 1-049 1940 USSR ChampionshipE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
7. V Petrov vs Boleslavsky  0-152 1940 USSR ChampionshipA45 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Boleslavsky vs Panov  1-054 1940 USSR ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
9. E Gerstenfeld vs Boleslavsky  1-057 1940 USSR ChampionshipC07 French, Tarrasch
10. Boleslavsky vs Smyslov ½-½55 1940 USSR ChampionshipB10 Caro-Kann
11. Boleslavsky vs V Mikenas  ½-½49 1940 USSR ChampionshipB05 Alekhine's Defense, Modern
12. Boleslavsky vs P Dubinin 0-144 1940 USSR ChampionshipB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
13. Rudakovsky vs Boleslavsky  0-152 1940 Ukraine ChC09 French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line
14. Keres vs Boleslavsky  ½-½41 1940 USSR ChampionshipC15 French, Winawer
15. Levenfish vs Boleslavsky 0-177 1940 USSR ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
16. Bondarevsky vs Boleslavsky  ½-½34 1940 USSR ChampionshipC09 French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line
17. Boleslavsky vs Lisitsin ½-½28 1940 USSR ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
18. Boleslavsky vs Lilienthal  ½-½42 1940 USSR ChampionshipC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
19. Boleslavsky vs A Khavin 1-027 1940 Ukraine ChB10 Caro-Kann
20. Veresov vs Boleslavsky  ½-½41 1940 USSR ChampionshipE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
21. Boleslavsky vs Kotov 1-033 1940 USSR ChampionshipB85 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical
22. Konstantinopolsky vs Boleslavsky  ½-½26 1940 USSR ChampionshipD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
23. Boleslavsky vs M Stolberg  1-032 1940 USSR ChampionshipC11 French
24. Boleslavsky vs Polyak 1-034 1940 Exhibition TournamentB10 Caro-Kann
25. Ragozin vs Boleslavsky  0-153 1940 USSR ChampionshipA02 Bird's Opening
 page 1 of 33; games 1-25 of 817  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Boleslavsky wins | Boleslavsky loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-22-11  ewan14: Was '' Boly '' not Petrosian's second when Petrosian won the World Championship in 1963 ?
Aug-22-11  ewan14: Sorry , I heard a different variation of the Nadjorf story ,

the final answer '' to play chess ''

Nov-24-11  BUNA: <ewan14: Was '' Boly '' not Petrosian's second when Petrosian won the World Championship in 1963 ?>

Boleslavsky was first of all Smyslovs second in Amsterdam 1956, when Smyslov won the candidates. (BTW Boleslavsky's friend Bronstein was there too, if I am not mistaken.)

In 1959 Petrosian asked Boleslavsky for help and a relationship was established, that lasted for 10 years. Until Petrosian lost his title.

Jun-09-12  brankat: R.I.P. GM Boleslavsky.
Aug-22-12  Everett: Hello all, does anyone know what were the years Boleslavsky served as Petrosian's main second/trainer?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Today I noticed that Boleslavsky's name his isn't included on the drop-down player list in the advanced search section.>

I was going to post the same thing. I won't name names of who should come off the drop down list, but there's a lot of contenders.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The drop-down menu is a feature I rarely use, if ever, but I agree: Boleslavsky rates a spot as a prominent player.
Jan-18-13  IndigoViolet: <Translation: ‘One of these games [played during the simultaneous exhibitions in Dnepropetrovsk] Capablanca lost to a young first-grade player I. Boleslavsky, a future grandmaster.’

As recorded on pages 193-194 of The Unknown Capablanca by David Hooper and Dale Brandreth (London, 1975), Capablanca gave 30-board displays in Dnepropetrovsk on 22 and 23 June 1936.>

Apr-29-13  ozmikey: An interesting passage from Bronstein's book ("Sorcerer's Apprentice"):

<"During the Budapest Candidates' Tournament Boleslavsky and I had discussed the chances of the next challenger and my friend [Boleslavsky], who had lost seven games to Botvinnik without winning a single one, was of the opinion that a fight against Botvinnik was hopeless..."

"Isaak Boleslavsky was leading in the Candidates' Tournament <but after a talk he had with Boris Vainstein he decided to slow down to allow me to tie for first place with him>. Vainstein would try to arrange a tournament with Botvinnik, Boleslavsky and myself for the World Championship.">

It is, if nothing else, true that Boleslavsky cruised to the end of the Candidates' event with draws (Game Collection: WCC Index (Budapest 1950)).

But is there any reference to such an "arrangement" anywhere else? Bronstein was not above telling the odd tall story now and then (especially if it reflected badly on Botvinnik, whom he absolutely loathed).

Jun-09-13  brankat: <Bronstein was not above telling the odd tall story now and then (especially if it reflected badly on Botvinnik, whom he absolutely loathed).>

Very true.

R.I.P. Mr. Boleslavsky.

Jun-10-13  KlingonBorgTatar: A friend of mine once told me that if you want to win as black, study Boleslavsky. There is also an excellent book by Suetin in Russian. Btw, just to follow up on <Parisattack>'s and <TheFocus>'s chat above, any news on the Breyer Book advertised in the Boleslavsky book by Adams? I have been waiting to sink my teeth into it since I read the ad decades ago. Thanks in advance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <KlingonBorgTatar...Btw, just to follow up on <Parisattack>'s and <TheFocus>'s chat above, any news on the Breyer Book advertised in the Boleslavsky book by Adams? I have been waiting to sink my teeth into it since I read the ad decades ago. Thanks in advance.>

Last I heard was perhaps five years ago when via an intermediary I sent Adams a copy of a manuscript of Breyer's games that was done by Al Buschke and a fellow named Streeter. But <TheFocus> may know more as he is more in the loop these days than am I.

Jun-10-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Thank you very much <ParisAttack> for the update.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I am sorry I could not be of more assistance, encouraging. I would also love to see such a book!

I will ask <TheFocus> when next I see him Carnac, he knows all, sees all. :)

Jun-10-13  TheFocus: I am going to e-mail one of Adams's publishers today and see if he knows anything about it.

<parisattack> Do you still have a copy of that manuscript? Maybe you should think about doing a book on Breyer!

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Aloha <TheFocus> - Yes, but it is 'just' games they had collected. I think about 300 or so.

Al (Buschke, Streeter was also an 'Al' I think) told me the story when I purchased it in the 70s...alas, washed away by too many Asahis at Akasaka. :)

I have the other two foreign language books on Breyer - neither much good IMHO. You and Adams would make a Dynamic Duo!

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: 'William' Streeter - dang those Asahis!
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: From Wikipedia - perhaps same Streeter -

<In 1946, W.F. Streeter examined the results of 5,598 games played in 45 international chess tournaments between 1851 and 1932.[2] Streeter found that overall White scored 53.4% (W: 38.12; D: 30.56; L: 31.31).[3] White scored 52.55% in 1851–78 (W:45.52; D: 14.07; L: 40.41), 52.77% in 1881–1914 (W: 36.89; D: 31.76; L: 31.35), and 55.47% in 1919–32 (W: 36.98; D: 36.98; L: 26.04).[2] Streeter concluded, "It thus appears that it is becoming increasingly difficult to win with Black, but somewhat easier to draw."[2][4]>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <parisattack> Streeter's work sounds a lot like this one:
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Phony Benoni> Yes, tho I am happy I have the original edition instead of Sam's new Ishi edition.

I liked the old Ishi Go game books but not too impressed with all the new Ishi/Sloan chess books. But its nice to see many of them reprinted, reaching new audiences!

Jun-11-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Thank you very much<TheFocus>, and thanks again< Parisattack>. Perhaps together with Jimmy Adams you gentlemen can make this "monumental" work on Julius Breyer come to life . Your book will surely be an historical landmark. Thanks again and more power to you gentlemen!!
Jun-09-14  CountryGirl: I hadn't realised how close Boleslavsky came to a world championship match: equal first in the Candidates then tying a play-off match. All the fuss over Bronstein tying Botvinnik, and being 'co-world champion' in someone's words, and actually, Boleslavsky was pretty much just as good as either of those two! And finally, dying from a broken hip after a fall.
This bloke sure had some lousy luck!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  diagonal: Boleslavsky was the first player ever to go through a Candidates' tournament undefeated!

According to chessmetrics, historical ELO by Jeff Sonas, Boleslavsky was shortly no. 3 of the World, after his performance at Budapest (Candidates) in 1950, and for more than a decade a top-ten player; today a prominet <forgotten player>, it seems he often has not gotten his rightful place in chess history, as from the soviet (post) war era - in no particular order, among others may be most prominently - Nezhmetdinov, Illivitsky, Kholmov, and Iivo Nei (still living):
(hommage by A.J. Goldsby, also known as constructive and sometimes controversial contributor to pages)

Jun-09-14 Great picture!
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <perfidious: The drop-down menu is a feature I rarely use, if ever, but I agree: Boleslavsky rates a spot as a prominent player.>

I agree - perhaps if we threaten to go on strike

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