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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Championship Tournament

Mikhail Botvinnik15/17(+13 -0 =4)[games]
Isaac Boleslavsky12/17(+9 -2 =6)[games]
David Bronstein10/17(+7 -4 =6)[games]
Alexander Kotov9.5/17(+6 -4 =7)[games]
Igor Bondarevsky9.5/17(+5 -3 =9)[games]
Alexander Konstantinopolsky9.5/17(+5 -3 =9)[games]
Andre Lilienthal9/17(+6 -5 =6)[games]
Viacheslav Ragozin9/17(+7 -6 =4)[games]
Iosif Rudakovsky9/17(+7 -6 =4)[games]
Vitaly Chekhover8.5/17(+4 -4 =9)[games]
Vasily Smyslov8.5/17(+6 -6 =5)[games]
Vladimir Alatortsev7.5/17(+3 -5 =9)[games]
Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush7.5/17(+7 -9 =1)[games]
Alexander Koblents7/17(+3 -6 =8)[games]
Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky6.5/17(+4 -8 =5)[games]
Boris Yakovlevich Ratner6/17(+3 -8 =6)[games]
Ilia Abramovich Kan5/17(+3 -10 =4)[games]
Grigory Abramovich Goldberg4/17(+2 -11 =4)[games]
Salomon Flohr1/3(+1 -2 =0)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Championship (1945)

The 14th Soviet Chess Championship was held in Moscow from June 1st to July 1st, 1945. Nineteen of the Soviet Union's strongest masters qualified or were invited to participate in the round robin event. Twelve players qualified from semifinal tournaments played earlier in 1945: Alexander Konstantinopolsky, Alexander Kotov, Iosif Rudakovsky, and Vitaly Chekhover qualified from Baku; David Bronstein, Ilia Kan, Vladimir Alatortsev, and Peter Romanovsky qualified from Moscow; and Isaac Boleslavsky, Alexander Tolush, Grigory Goldberg, and Mark Taimanov qualified from Leningrad. Taimanov was unable to participate and was not replaced. The eight remaining seats went to the following players: defending Soviet champion Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Igor Bondarevsky, Salomon Flohr, Alexander Koblents, Andor Lilienthal, Viacheslav Ragozin, and Boris Ratner. Flohr fell ill after the third round and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. His record of participation and his games played were expunged from the final score, but his games are included here for completeness and historical rigidity. The championship was won by Botvinnik, his fifth of sixth eventual Soviet crowns, and his second consecutive title. It was also Botvinnik's greatest ever USSR championship performance: he obliterated the field, winning 13 of his 17 games and finishing undefeated, three points ahead of clear second Boleslavsky. It was a result that significantly bolstered Botvinnik's bid for a world championship match against Alekhine, and cemented his place as one of the best players in the world as well as the greatest Soviet player of his time.

The final standings and crosstable:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts 1 Botvinnik * 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 15 2 Boleslavsky 0 * 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12 3 Bronstein * 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 10 =4 Kotov 0 1 * 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 9 =4 Bondarevsky 0 0 1 0 * 1 1 1 1 9 =4 Konstantinopolsky 0 * 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 9 =7 Lilienthal 0 1 1 * 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 9 =7 Ragozin 1 1 0 0 0 * 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 9 =7 Rudakovsky 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 * 0 1 0 0 1 1 9 =10 Chekhover 0 0 1 * 1 0 1 1 0 8 =10 Smyslov 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 * 1 1 1 1 1 8 =12 Alatortsev 0 0 1 0 * 1 0 0 1 7 =12 Tolush 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 * 1 1 0 1 7 14 Koblents 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 * 0 0 7 15 Romanovsky 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 * 1 1 6 16 Ratner 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 * 1 1 6 17 Kan 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 * 1 5 18 Goldberg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 * 4 Flohr 0 - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - 1 - 1

This collection would not have been possible without the efforts of <Phony Benoni>.

Original collection: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1945, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 2 of 7; games 26-50 of 156  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
26. Chekhover vs Tolush  0-1811945USSR ChampionshipE87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox
27. Koblents vs Lilienthal 0-1271945USSR ChampionshipC45 Scotch Game
28. Koblents vs Chekhover  ½-½371945USSR ChampionshipE32 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
29. Kan vs Tolush  1-0411945USSR ChampionshipE70 King's Indian
30. Konstantinopolsky vs Bronstein  ½-½411945USSR ChampionshipC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
31. Bondarevsky vs Alatortsev  ½-½271945USSR ChampionshipD03 Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation)
32. Alatortsev vs I Rudakovsky  ½-½571945USSR ChampionshipA53 Old Indian
33. Alatortsev vs P Romanovsky  0-1331945USSR ChampionshipE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
34. Alatortsev vs Lilienthal  1-0781945USSR ChampionshipE33 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
35. Tolush vs Alatortsev  0-1391945USSR ChampionshipC49 Four Knights
36. Botvinnik vs Boleslavsky 1-0461945USSR ChampionshipC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
37. B Ratner vs Botvinnik 0-1381945USSR ChampionshipD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
38. Tolush vs Botvinnik 0-1411945USSR ChampionshipC19 French, Winawer, Advance
39. Koblents vs Kan  ½-½411945USSR ChampionshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
40. Bondarevsky vs I Rudakovsky  ½-½671945USSR ChampionshipD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
41. P Romanovsky vs Bondarevsky  0-1401945USSR ChampionshipC74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
42. Botvinnik vs Koblents 1-0261945USSR ChampionshipD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
43. Bronstein vs B Ratner 1-0291945USSR ChampionshipB10 Caro-Kann
44. Kan vs G Goldberg  1-0411945USSR ChampionshipA47 Queen's Indian
45. Boleslavsky vs Bronstein ½-½321945USSR ChampionshipC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
46. Bronstein vs Kan 1-0361945USSR ChampionshipC34 King's Gambit Accepted
47. Lilienthal vs P Romanovsky  ½-½671945USSR ChampionshipE46 Nimzo-Indian
48. Koblents vs G Goldberg  0-1491945USSR ChampionshipE17 Queen's Indian
49. Bronstein vs Lilienthal ½-½191945USSR ChampionshipC78 Ruy Lopez
50. Chekhover vs Bronstein ½-½411945USSR ChampionshipA15 English
 page 2 of 7; games 26-50 of 156  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: "This Championship was something of a landmark for Soviet players. In gaining my fifth successive victory in difficult events, on this occasion I made the staggering score of 16 points out of 18 ( including my win over Flohr, who retired from the tournament ). My success made such an impression that Soviet masters wrote to Stalin, suggesting that a world championship match be organized between Alekhine and Botvinnik." - Mikhail Botvinnik.
Feb-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Thanks chess biographers, and <phony benoni> for putting in the work to make these games available.

1945--Makes you wonder how people had time to think about chess, with chunks of Russia and half of Europe burned to the ground.

Feb-01-13  waustad: This must be one of the most impressive wins ever over such a collection of players, +14 without a loss. At face value this is astounding, though I have to wonder if there may have been a little of: <My success made such an impression that Soviet masters wrote to Stalin, suggesting that a world championship match be organized between Alekhine and Botvinnik.> Would the powers that be have encouraged some players to improve the score? I don't know, but the way things were at that time it is possible. How could we ever know and could we believe anybody's later comments if they exist. I guess this is the essential problem for historians.
Feb-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here's an idea for improving discourse around here: no unsourced accusations against Botvinnik. No more "golly, I wonder..." every time he wins a match or a tournament.
Feb-01-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <keypusher> I second that motion.
Feb-01-13  fisayo123: <Keypusher> Its interesting people say that. I read even Grischuk (in an interview) saying someone told him something along those lines.
Feb-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <fisayo123: <Keypusher> Its interesting people say that. I read even Grischuk (in an interview) saying someone told him something along those lines.>

Yes, that's exactly the kind of crap I have in mind. An unidentified person said an unidentified thing to someone who was born 40 years after this tournament took place. What is that worth? Zero.

Feb-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: According to some of the ignorant nay-sayers, without the help of the bureaucrats, Botvinnik would have just been another no-talent hack.

I doubt that there is anyone living today that could not learn from Botvinnik's games. An all-around universal player, capable of stellar attacks, defensive masterpieces, strategy, positional nuances, and one of the greatest endgame players in the game.

Nuff said about one of the ten greatest players in the game.

Feb-02-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <TheFocus> and <keypusher>: Another piece of tripe I have seen implied, and even stated outright, is that Botvinnik was only capable of playing when in one of his systems-take him out of those and he was nothing special, or so went this risible theory.

Turned out old Mikhail Moiseevich had a purty durned good career for a 'system player'. Somehow he managed to play at a high level till well into his fifties, despite his 'handicap'.

Feb-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Enough about Botvinnik, folks! You are missing the truly remarkable thing that happened in this tournament... Tolush drew only one game!! :)
Sep-11-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Kirillov-Botvinnik (USSR Championship 1931) after 21....Nb4:


click for larger view

V G Kirillov vs Botvinnik, 1931

Golberg-Botvinnik (USSR Championship 1945) after 17....Nb4:


click for larger view

G Goldberg vs Botvinnik, 1945

Botvinnik-Yuriev (1927 Soviet Metalworkers Championship) after 19....Nb6


click for larger view

Botvinnik vs B Yuriev, 1927

Botvinnik-Kan (1945 USSR Championship) after 20....Nb6:


click for larger view

Botvinnik vs Kan, 1945

(Thanks to <MissScarlett> for pointing out the second pairing.)

Prearrangement? No, I don't think so. Botvinnik prepared opening systems very deeply, and if he found a plan that worked he would repeat it as often as necessary. In the Tal rematch he used analysis from 1947 to win Botvinnik vs Tal, 1961 and in Botvinnik vs Tal, 1961 he said he followed a plan from a game in the early 1950s (not one of his). But I'll bet Bobby Fischer would have been all over this.

Sep-11-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <But I'll bet Bobby Fischer would have been all over this.>

<keypusher> Do you mean in a positive or negative sense?

I can recall seeing a demonstration lecture given by Brazilian IM Herman van Riemsdijk in which he pointed out that Fischer himself used similar middlegame setups that he was familiar with. I'm sorry I can't remember at the moment which of Bobby's games this applied to but I'm sure a lot of players follow this practice.

Sep-15-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Benzol> Oh, negative, certainly. See here. H MacGrillen vs E Formanek, 1973

But I see this erudite poster had given some thought to the issue:

H MacGrillen vs E Formanek, 1973

Dec-19-17  zanzibar: < Shortly after this, WW2 erupted and Kotov worked as an engineer in an armaments factory in Tula. Despite the war, the Soviets held championships in 1940, 44, and 45 and Kotov finished second in all three events. ... >

http://tartajubow.blogspot.com/2014...

I think Tartajubow mistakenly assigns Kotov 2nd place in the USSR-ch (1945), as he place in a tie for 4th.

Mar-07-18  Marmot PFL: <Its interesting people say that. I read even Grischuk (in an interview) saying someone told him something along those lines.>

I heard many stories like that from former Soviet residents. For instance one said Boleslavsky didn't object to losing a game for the "greater good" but rather than lose with his favorite Sicilian played the Spanish instead (which he very seldom played). Stories like this are impossible to check, all the participants having departed this world. Stories about Keres were the most common.

Mar-31-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Marmot PFL: <Its interesting people say that. I read even Grischuk (in an interview) saying someone told him something along those lines.> I heard many stories like that from former Soviet residents. For instance one said Boleslavsky didn't object to losing a game for the "greater good" but rather than lose with his favorite Sicilian played the Spanish instead (which he very seldom played). Stories like this are impossible to check, all the participants having departed this world. >

Actually, we can check that story. Boleslavsky has ten Ruy Lopez games with Black in the database, and the only time he ever lost with it was in Round 1 of this tournament.

Botvinnik played 1.e4 against Boleslavsky five times and won each time: three French Defenses, one Sicilian and one Ruy Lopez.

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

So, odds are pretty good that that particular story is rubbish.

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