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)
   Saltsjöbaden 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 Bila Tserkva, 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 B Ratner 1-035 1939 Soviet UnionB20 Sicilian
4. Bronstein vs V Gaiwevsky  1-048 1939 DniepropetrovskC66 Ruy Lopez
5. Y Lembersky vs Bronstein 0-137 1939 Kiev-tm USSR/YUGC25 Vienna
6. Bronstein vs Y Kaem 1-028 1939 DniepropetrovskC71 Ruy Lopez
7. L Kanevsky vs Bronstein  0-134 1939 Soviet UnionC46 Three Knights
8. Bronstein vs L Morgulis 1-034 1940 Kiev-tm USSR/YUGC25 Vienna
9. Bronstein vs Gorenstein ½-½15 1940 KievC29 Vienna Gambit
10. Bronstein vs S Zhukhovitsky 1-032 1940 Kiev jrC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
11. Bronstein vs R Piatnitsky 1-015 1940 Kiev jrC41 Philidor Defense
12. Bronstein vs E Kuzminykh  0-141 1941 Rostov on Don (Russia)C79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
13. Bronstein vs V Mikenas 1-025 1941 URSC40 King's Knight Opening
14. Efimov vs Bronstein 0-112 1941 Kiev URSC34 King's Gambit Accepted
15. S Belavenets vs Bronstein 0-124 1941 URSA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
16. V Mikenas vs Bronstein 1-064 1944 USSR ChampionshipE46 Nimzo-Indian
17. Bronstein vs V Makogonov ½-½43 1944 USSR ChampionshipC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
18. Bronstein vs B Goldenov 1-024 1944 KievC12 French, McCutcheon
19. Bronstein vs Ragozin  1-041 1944 USSR ChampionshipB72 Sicilian, Dragon
20. Kotov vs Bronstein 1-031 1944 USSR ChampionshipE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
21. Bronstein vs Flohr  ½-½53 1944 KievB10 Caro-Kann
22. Tolush vs Bronstein 0-140 1944 USSR ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
23. Bronstein vs Flohr 0-135 1944 USSR ChampionshipC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
24. Bronstein vs Botvinnik 1-064 1944 USSR ChampionshipC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
25. Sokolsky vs Bronstein 1-029 1944 USSR ChampionshipB10 Caro-Kann
 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 34 OF 39 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-21-11  MaxxLange: ya gotta admit, he has a point....Jesus Christ did not seem to be a real big fan of Capitalism, according to the Big Book where he talks about giving away all your stuff to the poor and so on
Jan-21-11  bronkenstein: You are free to find creative aspects in even , lessay , washing the dishes ,)

And i would surely be the last one to argue against that .

Jan-23-11  bronkenstein: MaxxLange: ya gotta admit, he has a point....Jesus Christ did not seem to be a real big fan of Capitalism, according to the Big Book where he talks about giving away all your stuff to the poor and so onxxLange

That little book, The Bible (which , btw , translates virtually as THE Book ) was used quite cleverly and quite often by kings and presidents to make ppl kill each other or pay taxes ( ofc they would use even some chess manual if they only could incorporate it in their hypnopropaganda somehow ).

Speaking of religious themes , Carlsen is about to break 2500 pages on his page ... JEEZ !

We `re not working hard enough obviously -.- ... off to check Tal and Tartakover , bye.

Jan-30-11  Everett: IMHO the saddest thing about Bronstein's career is that he gave no indication of moving past his relations with Botvinnik. His various writings exposes a very conflicted person.

Both were outstanding chess-players, who's styles differed in various ways; most markedly in the emphasis of play vs. analysis. They both were capable in these areas, yet Botvinnik's strength seemed to be opening plans and endgame analysis. He was a thinker, a studier, a researcher and a player. Bronstein, however, was mostly a player, and only seemed to enjoy those other rolls in passing and/or when absolutely necessary.

<keypusher> As I stated, sure my cut-off was arbitrary. Interesting that my hunch seems to have some truth to it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I read one account of Bronstein who had a game as White. He sat there for an hour before making his first move. When asked about it, Bronstein replied, "I was just thinking about all of the possibilities!" His opponent was mind jobbed and lost the game! I bet that Bronstein scared the crap out of the Soviet Politboro. How do you control something you absolutely do NOT understand? Spasibo, Grandmaster Bronstein and Happy Birthday where ever you are. You will ALWAYS be a Champion for Chess, for Russia and for me.
Feb-19-11  apollokonrad: Bronstein will always be one of my favourite chess players, for his boundless imagination and creativity, will to fight, depth of ideas (that sometimes even chess engines cannot comprehend), and most of all, for his principles at a time when politics was having its heyday in the defunct Soviet Union. He was not only a chess player, he was a wonderful personality. I read a lot about him, I have most of his books - and as point of fact, I downloaded all these kibitzes, all 34 pages of it, and pasted everything on MS Word. Thanks for the inputs, gentlemen, I shall learn more about Bronstein because of this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  talisman: happy birthday David.
Feb-19-11  Penguincw: R.I.P. <David Bronstein>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: his quotes, in memory of Devik..

"The essence of chess is thinking about what chess is."

"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move."

"Chess is imagination."

"There is not a single true chessplayer in the world whose heart does not beat faster at the mere sound of such long beloved and familiar words as 'gambit games'."

"It is my style to take my opponent and myself onto unknown grounds. A game of chess is not an examination of knowledge; it is a battle of nerves."

"To play a game of chess is really just one way of carrying on an argument."

"But whatever the transient fashion in openings, the Spanish Game itself is always in fashion. Because of all the ways known in chess theory of crossing the equator, this one is the best."

"When you play the Ruy Lopez, it's like milking a cow."

"The King’s Indian is a greater risk for black than the King’s Gambit for white."

"It is a well-known fact that during a practical game, players do not check variations entirely but just trust each other."

"There were good moves and there were bad moves, but the most essential was missing - the player who put all the good moves into one plan." (on the 23rd game of his 1951 World Championship match)

"Backing up for a running jump, the initiative has passed to Black."

"Having made a mistake or inexact move, you should not think 'everything is lost', and be vexed, but quickly orientate yourself, and in the new situation, look for a new plan."

"I had the pleasure of introducing Boris Spassky to the great American player (Fischer). They became friends instantly and have remained so until this day."

"How does Tal win? It is very simple: he places his pieces in the center and he sacrifices them somewhere."

"If one side were to play concretely, however, while the other side contented himself with following the rules, the winner would not be difficult to predict..."

"Chess miracles, as opposed to the other sort, still happen on occasion, thanks to the players' fantasies and the game's endless possibilities."

"Three small mistakes equate to one losing mistake, so limit yourself to two small mistakes."

"Beauty is the most important aspect of chess. We are passing our knowledge and our understanding of beauty to the next generations, and thus life goes on forever."

"Botvinnik cheated by excluding Boleslavsky and Najdorf from the 1948 World Championship. Boleslavsky was more deserving than Smyslov, but Botvinnik decided the one Soviet Jew was enough --- him."

"The quality of a game lays in how much originality, fighting spirit, beauty the player brings --- not technique."

"It has long been known that if the game of chess could talk, it would say: 'Love me with black! Anyone will love me with white.'"

"Chess should be fun."

"Sometimes it makes sense to sacrifice material to lure enemy king into the open." (on Bronstein-Euwe Candidates' Tournament game in 1953 Neuhausen/Zurich)

"The chess army consists of eight pawns and seven pieces. Yes, seven pieces as the king has its own code of conduct."

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: continuation..

"Probably, if I were to play more safely, I would make more points in every tournament but then, where is the joy in that?"

"I believe that my greatest quality in the chess world is that I never play routine games."

"We should never forget that we are all one big family of chess amateurs!"

"The bitterness of defeat will always be forgotten at the joyous moment of victory."

"Not all old moves are by any means old."

"That's the way I play. I create and work like a painter producing a picture." (on his long think to decide on his first move)

"The shortest way to a day of rest for the chess pieces is a sharp combination!"

"In every combination, there is a piece which works harder than the others. The only problem is how to find this piece and put it to work!"

"Since both Tal and I suffer from the habit of losing in the first round, neither of us was against starting the tournament with a half-point. A half-point from which we would build success." (on their drawn game in 1964 Amsterdam Interzonal Tournament)

"Today rapid chess is played for the most part by the very same people who are good at conventional chess. I hold to the bold idea that entirely different people will be good at quickplay: a new generation who won't even understand why chess should be played slowly."

"Every grandmaster has his style, his virtues, his shortcomings."

"The closer a player is to time trouble, the less he thinks about strategy and the more about tactics."

"The best move seen at first glance should not be analyzed extensively; it simply must be a good move."

"If your library is crammed with weighty tournament bulletins and if millions of chess combinations are preserved in these yellowing volumes, then, willingly or unwillingly, your heart too cannot remain indifferent to them; you too are afflicted with an unquenchable thirst for exploration and chess adventures." (in his book 200 Open Games)

"At first you see the position clearly, within three moves it becomes somewhat like in a fog. And within five moves you only see the contours of the position."

"In a winning position it is easy to play pretty moves."

"When evaluating a chess position, the first thing we shall look at is the position of the Kings."

"I was wondering what to play." (when asked why he spent 50 minutes on his very first move!)

"In time trouble everybody grabs pawns."

"Computers teach man not to fear difficult positions."

"Burn all the books! Chess shouldn't be a science."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: David Bronstein, my chess hero. thanks for the quotes, <wordfunph>
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Wonderful compilation <Wordfunph> Thanks for taking the time, sharing.
Feb-19-11  laskereshevsky: One of my chess-hero.....

I meet him several years ago, in my younghood, but at the time i didnt yet understand how much big he was.....

what a pitty that I was able only to ask him an autograph with only few words added.....

Feb-19-11  laskereshevsky: BTW,

i saw in the same day Botvinnik, Smislov, Bronstein, Miles and Anand...and other 20/30 GMs/IMs....

Changing same words with a lot of them...(!)

JEEEEE! what an emotional day in my life.

Feb-19-11  Everett: For those fans of mythology, perhaps having read "Trickster Makes this World" by Lewis Hyde, it is easy to see Bronstein as a trickster figure. He pushed the boundaries of what is possible, intentionally made things difficult on the board (and perhaps in life) to test and sharpen his imagination. There are more competitive and rigorous practitioners of chess, but few can match his playfulness.

Some of his wins are legendary, as well as his losses. Please check out the meager collection I put together on his draws and losses. I feel there are some very interesting positions which Bronstein would not begrudge us to study!

Game Collection: Bronstein's Remarkable Draws and Losses

I hope to add some more to it. Please feel free to point me in the direction more imaginative gems that show Bronstein coming up short, especially draws.

Feb-19-11  Penguincw: Thanks for the quotes <wordfunph>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: Hi all

I am tempted to order "The Sorcerer's apprentic" from Amazon:

Do you think it is a good book?!
Also apparently there is a deal if you get it with:

"Questions of Modern Chess Theory: A Soviet Classic (Chess Classics) [Paperback]"

Which seems to have good reviews. Do any of you have this book as well?!

Mar-06-11  theagenbiteofinwit: Hey <kingscrusher>. It's an excellent book. 222 games, and the most touching, emotional introduction to a chess book I've every seen. Bronstein is probably my favorite old player. Not too dry like Botvinnik, not too crazy like Tal...just right.

I love it.

BTW. Someone emailed me one of your videos. I was showing some guys at the club the Nimzowitsch gambit and they thought I was the only person on Earth who played such a thing.

Then one of the guys who apparently follows your videos religiously saw you talking about it.

It is my favorite answer to the French.

Mar-06-11  ewan14: '' The Sorcerer's ( ? ) Apprentice ''

I think it is a wonderful book , he was such a creative , artistic player

and I enjoy the background he gives about some of the games

On a more serious note the documents relating to his father's treatment by Stalin etc are really horrifying !

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: My bronstein video annotation playlist - many thanks to Jessicafischerqueen:

Mar-08-11  bronkenstein: 'The judge Opochensky gave the start sign , and 4 D-pawns , 2 C-pawns and one E pawn moved forward ' (from the very beginning of his 'The Zurich Grandmasters Tournament ').

Lovely opening of a lovely book :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Botvinnik-Bronstein 1951>

Live film footage of the World Championship Match:

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Looked recently at the Zurich book again, and in particular the race for first between the 20th and 26th rounds.

In the 20th Round, Bronstein won a fine game over Szabo. It was to be his last win while first place was still in doubt. Keres and Reshevsky also won, while Smyslov played a short draw with Boleslavsky. With 20 rounds down and ten to go, Smylov led with 12 1/2, Reshevsky had 12, Bronstein had 11 1/2 and Keres had 10 1/2. All still had a bye.

In rounds 21 and 22 Bronstein faced the tail-enders, Euwe and Stahlberg. It was a chance to move up, but he only got two draws. Against Stahlberg, in fact, he avoided defeat only by a miracle.

Also in Round 21, Keres crushed Boleslavsky and Reshevsky drew with Stahlberg -- Bronstein chastised the American in the tournament book for his lack of dynamism with Black. Nevertheless, it was good enough to put Reshevsky in a tie for first. Smyslov suffered his only loss of the tournament, to Kotov.

In Round 22, Smyslov bounced back to beat Geller, Reshevsky beat Boleslavsky, and Keres drew a tough battle with Kotov.

In Round 23, Bronstein had a confusing, difficult draw with Boleslavsky. Smyslov had his bye, Keres beat Geller, and Reshevsky damaged his own cause by losing to Kotov from a superior position. So, after 23 rounds, Smyslov and Reshevsky had 13 1/2 (with Smyslov holding the "bye" advantage), and Bronstein and Keres both had 13. Obviously first place was still very much still in play.

But in Round 24, with White against Kotov, Bronstein drew in 17 moves! If he had said the leaders of the Soviet delegation made him do it, I would probably believe it, because frankly drawing in 17 moves at such a critical phase of the tournament is disgraceful. In the tournament book he wrote, "White's try for advantage was made with too cautious, and therefore harmless, means." Smyslov scored his famous win over Keres, and Reshevsky damaged himself further by blowing a clearly won ending against Geller.

In Round 25 came Bronstein's loss to Geller, discussed at length in "Treachery at Zurich." I won't rehash this here except to say that this is where Bronstein's late-life apologia is least convincing. Geller was in next to last place. Bronstein was tied for second; if Smyslov suddenly collapsed (remember, this was supposed to be a real possibility -- it's the whole rationale for the Soviet delegation's fixing efforts Bronstein alleged in 64), wouldn't the troika have wanted another Soviet to finish ahead of Reshevsky? Even if they didn't like Bronstein or Keres, they certainly liked both better than Reshevsky, right? So I cannot think of a reason the troika would want Bronstein to lose this game, and Bronstein doesn't suggest one that makes sense.

In the tournament book, Bronstein wrote of Smyslov-Reshevsky and Geller-Bronstein: <[These games] decided first prize, for all practical purposes. Smyslov displayed all his best qualities, while I played this important game with Geller in a manner far beneath any possible criticism.>

In this round, Keres had the bye, and Smyslov beat Reshevsky.

So, after 25 rounds, Smyslov was definitely in the driver's seat. He had 15 1/2 and had already had his bye. Reshevsky had 14, but had the bye still to go, and Bronstein was on 13 1/2, with the bye still to go. Keres had 13 and was all but out of it. But Bronstein had White against Smyslov (and Reshevsky had White against Keres). So, if Bronstein had won, he would still have been just one point behind, with three games for him and four games for Smyslov. Certainly not an enviable position, but a chance.

But he drew in 21 moves. Meanwhile Reshevsky drew with Keres in 14, and was strongly criticized by Bronstein for taking a draw in a superior position. The only thing you can say with any certainty about Bronstein-Smyslov was that White was playing very determinedly for a draw. So either Bronstein had given up, or he was pressured. Smyslov, in his response to the 64 article, said that Bronstein prearranged the draw with him because he wanted to make sure he finished second and got an automatic seed into the next Candidates tournament. This may be true: Bronstein (despite his "shame" when Reshevsky supposedly cleared his throat when Bronstein played 4.Bxc6 against Smyslov) nevertheless beat the American, his rival for second place, in Round 28 (with 4.Ba4).

In Round 27, Keres and Bronstein met. Keres launched the Four Pawns Attack against the King's Indian, and got a promising game, but they drew in 21 games. Smyslov drew his last four. Bronstein, as noted, beat Reshevsky for the second time in Round 28. Keres beat Gligoric in the same round. In the end, Smyslov finished two points clear of the field, and Bronstein, Keres, and Reshevsky finished in a tie for 2-4. None of them got a seed into the next Candidates tournament, though, AFAIK.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <None of them got a seed into the next Candidates tournament, though, ...>

Well, Keres and Bronstein took the trip to Goetheborg, 1956 Interzonal as a very welcome extra opportunity to play in the West. (According to Brostein, it was Keres who made him wake up and see the light of day on this.)

Apparently, FIDE offered one seeded spot to the next Candidates, to be fought over by Keres, Bronstein, and Reshevsky. Since Keres and Bronstein decided that a tournament in Goetheborg actually sounded kind of nice, they vacated their claims to the one spot to Sammy Rehevsky. But he apparently did not pursue it either.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: As for the progress table of Zurich, 1953. The data that is missing for a real assessment is which games were adjourned, when and in which positions they were adjourned, and when they were finished.
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