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Stalin vs Jeschow
? (1926)
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Scheveningen Variation (B84)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-13-14  Gottschalk: Jeschow sounds a lot like Yezhov.
Can anyone confirm if this is the executor of Stalin, even he end up being a victim?
May-13-14  Granny O Doul: This is the game that accompanies Stalin's entry in Golombek's 1977 chess encyclopedia. Yes, the name appears as "Yezhov" there, and Golombek identifies him as head of the... (whatever KGB predecessor it was), but calls the game "almost certainly an invention".
May-13-14  Strelets: I can tell you as someone who studies Soviet history that this game is very likely a fake. Briukhanov and Shoshkov, in «Opravdaniiu Ne Podlezhit: Ezhov i Ezhovshchina 1936g.-1938g.» (Saint Petersburg: OOO«Petrovskii Fond», 1998), p.26, have him as director of the instructors' division of the Party committee of Semipalatinsk oblast' for most of 1926. An obscure apparatchik in the Kazakh SSR would be a most unusual chess partner for the soon-to-be vozhd'.
Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: I think I'd let him win.
May-13-14  Rookiepawn: NKVD, and formerly GPU.

Yagoda, Yezhov, Beria; all repellent people. Stalin needed people like that.

The game was probably played by other players.

May-13-14  Strelets: <Rookiepawn> Genrikh Iagoda and Nikolai Ezhov both went to death professing their unbroken loyalty to Stalin, the man who destroyed them. I've never heard of him as a chess player, but Simon Sebag Montefiore's "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar" says that he was an excellent pool player (p. 343).
May-13-14  Strelets: P. 507, excuse me.
May-13-14  Rookiepawn: <Strelets> I've studied Stalin's political role and life, though not through Mr. Montefiore's works. It is true both Yagoda and Yezhov were loyal to the man who destroyed them, moreover: Yagoda was Yezhov's mentor, and still tortured and killed by his former protegé. In turn Yezhov was killed by Beria. A crazy merry-go-round of twisted relationships.

Thanks for the data, I find it most surprising: pool? You mean like snooker, billiard and the like? Where and when a full-time revolutionnary is supposed to find the moment to practise pool? A chessboard is easy to carry around, but a pool table presents some logistical issues.

In fact Stalin never played a major role in the Russian Revolution, "writing a bunch of articles none read" (L.D. Bronstein - Trotsky) so probably while conspiring behind curtains to kill all the old guard members, he had a pool table there.

I don't question someone can be intellectually limited as Stalin was, and at the same time good at chess (I guess Janowsky was an example, Fischer was no great brain apart from chess either); but seeing what a poor war strategist he was (Zukhov had to rip the war leadership from Stalin's useless hands) I have a hard time believing he could carry out any decent chess attack.

May-13-14  Strelets: <Rookiepawn> He would have probably played a form of pool called Russian pyramid. It's played on a snooker table but with wider and heavier balls. Also unlike snooker, there are only two colors of ball: fifteen numbered white balls and a red cue ball. They play it in the television movie "The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed," and, judging from the photo, so did Karpov:
May-13-14  Rookiepawn: Hey, amazing pic for my collection of curiosities. I take note of the movie too. Thx!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Stalin liquidated Yezhov here, same as in real life, ultimately rendering him a nonperson.
Mar-10-20  MordimerChess: Most of interesting information about Stalin and chess can be found on Russian wiki.

If someone doesn't read Russian - google translate does quite good job with this article. There is also some information there that the variation of Sicilian Defense was analyzed and popularized in 1930, so it's nearly impossible that two amateurs played such quality opening 4 years before. And also suddenly Jezhov started to play bad moves and let Stalin win the game.

But anyway, it's pretty nice attacking idea against Sicilian Defense so it's still worth to check it. I just created video commentary about this game:

Enjoy short story and game analysis!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: If someone played on for eight moves queen down against me, I would probably wanted them shot too.
Jun-23-20  Chesgambit: 0-0?? Nfd7!

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Mar-10-20 video link to this fake game
from Video Kibitz by fredthebear

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