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USSR Championship 1923
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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The 2nd USSR Championship was held in Petrograd on July 6-24, 1923, and was not the 2nd USSR Championship. It wasn't the 1st either. Though the the initial treaties forming the Soviet Union had been signed at the end of 1922, these thirteen players were vying for the title <Champion of the RSFSR>:

Fedor Parfenovich Bohatirchuk Fyodor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky Nikolay Dmitrievich Grigoriev Alexander Ilyin-Zhenevsky Arvid Kubbel Sergey Fedorovich Lebedev Grigory Levenfish Vladimir Nenarokov Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky Konstantin Alekseyevich Vygodchikov Yakov S Vilner Nikolay Zubarev.

However, I am not going to get technical about it. Everyone these days calls it the 2nd USSR Championship, and I'm not about to rewrite history.

Two of the favorites met in round one, with Levenfish outduelling Romanovsky. However, the latter went on a tear with 10 points in his remaining 11 games, and in the end nobody could keep up.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 1 Romanovsky * 0 = 1 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 1 10.0 2 Levenfish 1 * 0 = 1 1 1 1 1 = = = 1 9.0 3 Nenarokov = 1 * 0 0 0 = 1 1 1 = 1 1 7.5 4 Bohatirchuk 0 = 1 * = 0 1 0 = 1 1 1 1 7.5 5 Dus Chotimirsky 0 0 1 = * = 1 = 1 0 1 1 1 7.5 6 Kubbel 0 0 1 1 = * 0 1 0 1 1 0 = 6.0 7 Ilyin-Zhenevsky = 0 = 0 0 1 * 1 = 0 = = 1 5.5 8 Rabinovich 0 0 0 1 = 0 0 * 1 1 1 1 0 5.5 9 Grigoriev 0 0 0 = 0 1 = 0 * 1 = 1 = 5.0 10 Zubarev 0 = 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 * 1 = 0 4.0 11 Vigodchikov 0 = = 0 0 0 = 0 = 0 * 1 = 3.5 12 Vilner 0 = 0 0 0 1 = 0 0 = 0 * 1 3.5 13 Lebedev 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 1 = 1 = 0 * 3.5

This finish from Romanovsky-Kubbel in round 6 (the entire game is not available) proved crucial to Romanovsky's victory:


click for larger view

Black played 42...h2??, which lost to 43.Ba6+! Ka8 44.Bb5! Kb7 45.Bc6+! Kxc6 46.a8Q+ Kxb6 47.Qb8+,and the pawn on h2 comes off. Instead, Black could win with 42...c2! (threatening to promote with check should White try the above line) 43.Kd2 c1Q+ 44.Kxc1 h2, and once again the threat to promote with check wins.

As in several of the early USSR Championships, many of the games from this tournament are missing. The following reconstruction of round-by-round pairings has been prepared from this incomplete evidence. Though it accounts for most of the known information, it should not be considered definitive without firsthand confirmation. Games which are included in the collection are indicated by an asterisk <*>.

Round 1: Vigodchikov-Bye; Romanovsky 0 Levenfish*; Bohatirchuk 1 Lebedev*; Grigoriev 0 Dus Chotimirsky*; Kubbel 1 Rabinovich*: Zubarev 0 Nenarokov*: Vilner 1/2 Illyn-Zhenevsky

Round 2: Bye-Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Nenarokov 1 Vilner; Rabinovich 1 Zubarev*; Dus Chotimirsky 1/2 Kubbel*; Lebedev 1/2 Grigoriev; Levenfish 1/2 Bohatirchuk*; Vigodchikov 0 Romanovsky*

Round 3: Romanovsky-Bye; Bohatirchuk 1 Vigodchikov*: Grigoriev 0 Levenfish; Kubbel 1/2 Lebedev; Zubarev 1 Dus Chotimirsky*; Vilner 0 Rabinovich; 18 Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 Nenarokov

Round 4: Bye-Nenarokov; Rabinovich 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Dus Chotimirsky 1 Vilner; Lebedev 1 Zubarev; Levenfish 1 Kubbel; Vigodchikov 1/2 Grigoriev; Romanovsky 1 Bohatirchuk*

Round 5: Bohatirchuk-Bye; Grigoriev 0 Romanovsky*; Kubbel 1 Vigodchikov*; Zubarev 1/2 Levenfish; Vilner 1 Lebedev; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 Dus Chotimirsky; Nenarokov 1 Rabinovich*

Round 6: Bye-Rabinovich; Dus Chotimirsky 1 Nenarokov; Lebedev 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Levenfish 1/2 Vilner; Vigodchikov 0 Zubarev*; Romanovsky 1 Kubbel; Bohatirchuk 1/2 Grigoriev

Round 7: Grigoriev-Bye; Kubbel 1 Bohatirchuk*; Zubarev 0 Romanovsky; Vilner 0 Vigodchikov; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 Levenfish; Nenarokov 1 Lebedev*; Rabinovich 1/2 Dus Chotimirsky

Round 8: Bye-Dus Chotimirsky; Lebedev 1 Rabinovich; Levenfish 0 Nenarokov*; Vigodchikov 1/2 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Romanovsky 1 Vilner*; Bohatirchuk 1 Zubarev; Grigoriev 1 Kubbel

Round 9: Kubbel-Bye; Zubarev 0 Grigoriev; Vilner 0 Bohatirchuk; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 Romanovsky; Nenarokov 1/2 Vigodchikov; Rabinovich 0 Levenfish*; Dus Chotimirsky 1 Lebedev

Round 10: Bye-Lebedev; Levenfish 1 Dus Chotimirsky*; Vigodchikov 0 Rabinovich; Romanovsky 1/2 Nenarokov*; Bohatirchuk 1 Ilyin-Zhenevsky*; Grigoriev 1 Vilner*; Kubbel 1 Zubarev

Round 11: Zubarev-Bye; Vilner 1 Kubbel; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 1/2 Grigoriev; Nenarokov 0 Bohatirchuk; Rabinovich 0 Romanovsky*: Dus Chotimirsky 1 Vigodchikov; Lebedev 0 Levenfish

Round 12: Bye-Levenfish; Vigodchikov 1/2 Lebedev; Romanovsky 1 Dus Chotimirsky*; Bohatirchuk 0 Rabinovich; Grigoriev 0 Nenarokov; Kubbel 0 Ilyin-Zhenevsky; Zubarev 1/2 Vilner

Round 13: Vilner-Bye; Ilyin-Zhenevsky 0 Zubarev; Nenarokov 0 Kubbel*; Rabinovich 1 Grigoriev; Dus Chotimirsky 1/2 Bohatirchuk; 77 Lebedev 0 Romanovsky*; Levenfish 1/2 Vigodchikov

Resignation Trap uncovered this group picture: http://www.chesspro.ru/pict/rc23-0..... Here are the IDs: <Sitting (from left to right)>: Vigodchikov, Nenarokov, Zubarev, Bogatyrchuk, Ilyin-Zhenevsky, Romanovsky, Vilner, Levenfish, Ilya Rabinovich, S. Weinstein. <Standing in the 1st row>: Igor Lebedev, Krylov, N. Grigoriev, Shesterikov, Verlinsky, Arvid Kubbel, Sorokin, Travin, Iglitsky, Burmistrov. <Standing in the 2nd row>: Lastovets, Dus Chotimirsky, Komarov, Sergeev, Sozin, Lerner, Kutuzov, Segal. Most of the players not from the champioship came from the concurrent Hauptturnier, won by Sergeev (5/6) ahead of Verlinsky (4.5), Sozin (4), Komarov (2.5), Sorokin (2.5), Travin (1.5), Shesterikov (1).

Round 1, Game #1
P Romanovsky vs Levenfish, 1923 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 43 moves, 0-1

Round 1, Game #2
F Bohatirchuk vs S F Lebedev, 1923
(A55) Old Indian, Main line, 38 moves, 1-0

Round 1, Game #3
N Grigoriev vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1923 
(B43) Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3, 49 moves, 0-1

Round 1, Game #4
A Kubbel vs I Rabinovich, 1923
(C29) Vienna Gambit, 53 moves, 1-0

Round 1, Game #5
N Zubarev vs Nenarokov, 1923 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 31 moves, 0-1

Round 2, Game #8
I Rabinovich vs N Zubarev, 1923
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 67 moves, 1-0

Round 2, Game #9
Dus Chotimirsky vs A Kubbel, 1923
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #11
Levenfish vs F Bohatirchuk, 1923
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 55 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #12
K Vygodchikov vs P Romanovsky, 1923
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 78 moves, 0-1

Round 3, Game #13
F Bohatirchuk vs K Vygodchikov, 1923 
(C49) Four Knights, 47 moves, 1-0

Round 3, Game #16
N Zubarev vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1923 
(B43) Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3, 24 moves, 1-0

Round 4, Game #24
P Romanovsky vs F Bohatirchuk, 1923 
(C64) Ruy Lopez, Classical, 26 moves, 1-0

Round 5, Game #25
N Grigoriev vs P Romanovsky, 1923
(C64) Ruy Lopez, Classical, 53 moves, 0-1

Round 5, Game #26
A Kubbel vs K Vygodchikov, 1923 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 21 moves, 1-0

Round 6, Game #30
Nenarokov vs I Rabinovich, 1923
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 44 moves, 1-0

Round 6, Game #34
K Vygodchikov vs N Zubarev, 1923
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 33 moves, 0-1

Round 7, Game #37
A Kubbel vs F Bohatirchuk, 1923 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 50 moves, 1-0

Round 7, Game #41
Nenarokov vs S F Lebedev, 1923
(C41) Philidor Defense, 52 moves, 1-0

Round 8, Game #44
Levenfish vs Nenarokov, 1923
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 45 moves, 0-1

Round 8, Game #46 [Best game prize]
P Romanovsky vs Y Vilner, 1923 
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 29 moves, 1-0

Round 9, Game #53
I Rabinovich vs Levenfish, 1923 
(C59) Two Knights, 23 moves, 0-1

Round 10, Game #55
Levenfish vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1923 
(B41) Sicilian, Kan, 26 moves, 1-0

Round 10, Game #57
P Romanovsky vs Nenarokov, 1923
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 10, Game #58
F Bohatirchuk vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky, 1923 
(A52) Budapest Gambit, 29 moves, 1-0

Round 10, Game #59
N Grigoriev vs Y Vilner, 1923
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 38 moves, 1-0

Round 11, Game #64
I Rabinovich vs P Romanovsky, 1923
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 46 moves, 0-1

Round 12, Game #68
P Romanovsky vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1923 
(B80) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 31 moves, 1-0

Round 13, Game #74
Nenarokov vs A Kubbel, 1923
(A81) Dutch, 45 moves, 0-1

Round 13, Game #77
S F Lebedev vs P Romanovsky, 1923
(C45) Scotch Game, 50 moves, 0-1

29 games

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