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Mikhail Beilin
Number of games in database: 39
Years covered: 1945 to 1966
Overall record: +10 -21 =8 (35.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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A07 King's Indian Attack (3 games)
A15 English (2 games)
E60 King's Indian Defense (2 games)
A48 King's Indian (2 games)
B21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4 (2 games)
B32 Sicilian (2 games)

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(born Jun-04-1921, died Apr-15-2010, 88 years old) Russia

[what is this?]
Mikhail Abramovich Beilin was a lawyer, journalist and writer (novelist). International arbiter and chess trainer. Former head of Chess and Checkers Department, Physical Training and Sport, USSR Council of Ministers Committee, 1967-1971.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Keres vs M Beilin  ½-½821945Kalev-Daugava team matchA07 King's Indian Attack
2. M Beilin vs Keres 0-1371945Kalev-Daugava team matchA32 English, Symmetrical Variation
3. Z Solmanis vs M Beilin  ½-½441946Fricis Apsenieks MemorialB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
4. M Zvirbulis vs M Beilin  0-1341947Latvian championshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
5. A Khavin vs M Beilin  1-0351949URS-ch sfC25 Vienna
6. M Beilin vs A Chistiakov  0-1311950Moscow-chA07 King's Indian Attack
7. M Beilin vs I Lipnitsky 0-1241950Spartak CC ChampionshipD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
8. E Zagoryansky vs M Beilin  1-0431951URS-ch sf LvovE60 King's Indian Defense
9. Y Polyak vs M Beilin  1-0301951URS-ch sf LvovC03 French, Tarrasch
10. M Beilin vs V Mikenas  1-0291951URS-ch sf LvovE10 Queen's Pawn Game
11. M Beilin vs V Byvshev  1-0301951URS-ch sf LvovA09 Reti Opening
12. M Beilin vs N Kopaev  0-1501951URS-ch sf LvovB32 Sicilian
13. M Beilin vs A Konstantinopolsky  1-0411951URS-ch sf LvovA47 Queen's Indian
14. Ragozin vs M Beilin  ½-½221951URS-ch sf LvovC77 Ruy Lopez
15. Bronstein vs M Beilin  1-0291953Moscow-chD21 Queen's Gambit Accepted
16. M Beilin vs Antoshin 0-1311953Moscow-chC41 Philidor Defense
17. Flohr vs M Beilin  1-0431955Moscow-chA15 English
18. Vasiukov vs M Beilin  ½-½241955Moscow-chB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
19. M Beilin vs Ragozin  ½-½311955Moscow-chA15 English
20. Simagin vs M Beilin  1-0301955Moscow-chA07 King's Indian Attack
21. E Stoliar vs M Beilin  0-1291955Leningrad, U.S.S.R.B76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
22. M Beilin vs Krogius  0-1431955URS-ch sfE60 King's Indian Defense
23. M Beilin vs Antoshin  1-0351955Moscow-chA57 Benko Gambit
24. M Beilin vs A Chistiakov  0-1411955URS-ch sfA27 English, Three Knights System
25. M Beilin vs A Chistiakov  0-1401955Moscow-chC02 French, Advance
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 39  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Beilin wins | Beilin loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-25-08  myschkin: . . .

in Russian (with photographs):

Premium Chessgames Member
  Natalia Pogonina: My review of GM Yuri Averbakh's and Mikhail Beilin's book "Journey to the Chess Kingdom":
Apr-24-15  zanzibar: Too bad, <myschkin>'s link is stale.

<Pogonina>'s link works OK, but I can't help but make note of a couple of items in her review...

<Many top players consider “Journey to the Chess Kingdom” to be one of the best chess books ever written.>

This strikes me as a little odd, of course I'm not a "top" player, but I do know that most the lists of "best chess books ever written", at least those that I've seen, tend to omit this book. Perhaps it's because an English translation has been so long in the coming?

Furthermore, she writes shortly thereafter:

<The book is primarily intended for children and has thus been written in a light and captivating style. Both kids and adults will feel themselves as heroes of a fairy-tale while flipping the pages of “Journey to the Chess Kingdom”. >

In my experience, most lists of "best chess books ever written" tend to omit books aimed at beginners.

<If you have ever wondered what the secrets of the Russian chess school are, then this is the right place to find an answer. By reading the text carefully, solving the exercises and playing some games you should be able to progress from not knowing how the pieces move to Expert level (roughly FIDE 2000).>

However, if this single volume of a chess book really can deliver on the promise to take a reader from rank amateur to Expert, then I might have to reassess my opinion.

But then, I do wonder why its praises haven't been sung loader and more often...

For those who'd like to read an excerpt and decide for themselves:

New In Chess blurb:


By the way, you can see the original Soviet cover artwork here:

I think it's one of the better examples that I've seen, so good, in fact, that it could have been reused imo.

Apr-24-15  zanzibar: Maybe <Journey to the Chess Kingdom> for readers of Russian has a similar role to <Chess Fundamentals> for English readers (or Spanish for that matter). <Pogonina> isn't the only top-player to sing its praises, here's Gelfand:

[From the first set of interviews]
[SovSport] Where did your acquaintance with chess start?

There’s a wonderful children’s textbook, probably the best in history – “Journey to the Chess Kingdom”. My dad, who really loved the game, began to go through a diagram a day with me.>

But even then, the book didn't immediately win him over (or did it?), as he continues with this:

<One evening I told him that I wanted to study something else. Well, he thought the boy had cooled towards the chessboard and pieces. He told my mum that chess hadn’t interested Boris.>

Ah, but then there's this:

<My dad couldn’t even imagine that I’d gulped down the whole book in one day and therefore wanted something new. Unfortunately my father didn’t live to see my victory. We lost him one and a half years ago…>


Apr-24-15  zanzibar: Back to Beilin, it seems the brief bio above largely comes from NIC:

<One such book is Journey to the Chess Kingdom written by Yuri Averbakh and Michael Beilin.

Yuri Averbakh is the oldest living GM, a legendary former Soviet Champion and candidate for the World Championship. He also wrote the most important endgame manual in the history of chess. <Michael Beilin was a famous lawyer, trainer of the Soviet National team and a prolific chess writer.>

Journey to the Chess Kingdom has been reprinted many times and translated into a number of languages. Though quite surprising, the fact is it hasnever before been translated into English... until now!

It´s hard to say which chess book is the absolute bestseller but clearly there are two favorites - Robert Fischer's "Bobby Fischer - "How to play Chess". and Averbakh/Beilin's "Journey to the Chess Kingdom".>

I also found mention of him in my research on <URS Cup 1970>, where he's mentioned as having a prominent bureaucratic role in Soviet Chess of the era:

<M. Beilin, Head of Chess and Checkers Committee for Physical Culture and Sport at the Council of Ministers.>

<М. Бейлнным, начальником отдела шахмат шашек Комитета по физической культуре и спорту при Совете Министров СССР.>

From <64 No31 (109) Aug 6 1970 p2>

I wonder if Soltis mentions him more in his <Soviet Chess> book?

Anyways, his insider-role probably deserves a little more research and a promotion into his bio.

Apr-25-15  zanzibar: Dear Biographer editor: please add the following:

<Former head of Chess and Checkers Department, Physical Training and Sport, USSR Council of Ministers Committee, 1967-1971>


<Bobby Fischer Goes to War>, David Edmonds and John Eidinow,
Faber and Faber, Sept 2011
xv, p59

<64 - N31 Aug 6, 1970 p2>

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <zanzibar: I wonder if Soltis mentions him more in his <Soviet Chess> book?>

Only marginally, most notably imo are:

"Based on Stockholm, Kotov should have been considered a favorite. <But Mikhail Beilin, a member of the Soviet delegation>, felt Kotov had no aspirations in Switzerland beyond the gold watch he received for the brilliancy prize. The other way Kotov distinguished himself was with his addiction to a daily routine. At the closing ceremony, the most an arbiter could say of Kotov was that "in 28 rounds he ate exactly 28 ham sandwiches"." (page 212)


"The chronic Soviet economic problems also had an impact. In the July 1975 issue of Shakhmaty v SSSR, the director of Moscow's Sports Book store complained that the demand for chess literature continued to rise while the press runs declined. <Journey in the Chess Kingdom>, a splendid introductory book by Yuri Averbakh and Mikhail Beilin, was supposed to be issued in a run of 200,000 copies. But only half that n umber were printed, director S. lnikhov said." (page 335)

Apr-25-15  zanzibar: The book <Bobby Fischer Goes to War> offers one of the more in-depth treatments of the Fischer-Spassky match from Spassky's perspective.

As a pivotal member of the Soviet chess apparatus, Beilin offers several insights about Spassky, in particular:

<[Spassky's] game's entering a trough coincided with turmoil in his relationships. In 1960, he parted from Tolush. Mikhail Beillin [...] remembers, 'Tolush was quite depressed after this episode - he didn't have children of his own and he had spent a lot of time with Boris. He could emphasize with bad boys and he taught Spassky a great deal.'>


<According to Mikhail Beilin, 'Spassky without doubt did things no one else was allowed to do. The higher you reached in chess, master, international master, grandmaster, the more you were allowed to get up to mischief. Others would never have been permitted to go abroad if they acted in the same way as Spassky. He had a very independent character.">

and from p86:

<The chess apparatchik Mikhail Beilin feels generally warm towards Spassky as a person, 'He was nice, sympathetic, and most people felft well disposed towards him. I think people liked him for his human qualities but disliked him if they judged him on the upholding of Party values. [...]>

<Mikhail Beilin says that it was in Spassky's nature to delight in outraging others, even at the risk of offending them.>

And some of his strategy politically, from p152:

<The balance of power had shifted to the chess champion. 'Heads down' became the rule in the Sports Committee. 'Why risk intervention?' muses Beilin. 'Pavlov was no idiot. This was now Demichev's and Spassky's responsibility. OK, so you guys take responsibility">

Of course the reader must refer to the book to get the complete context of this statement.

Finally, from p163:

<It is also true that the champion, in Beilin's warm assessment, 'loved life, loved to relaxx, to talk and spend time with friends, to repose. He wasn't like Korchnoi, for instance, grinding away for eight hours.'>

Jun-04-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Mikhail Beilin.

Say hello to Irving!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: There's a nice extract from the famous "Journey to the Chess Kingdom" here

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