14 October 2007

The Soviet School

With this post I'm starting a new series on the somewhat neglected topic of the Soviet school of chess, with an emphasis on the players. My objective will be to identify and explore resources, whether Web or whatnot, that I haven't explored sufficiently and perhaps to add some info that is not already on the Web.

The title 'Soviet School' is misleading. I don't want to exclude pre-1917 or post-Soviet events and players, but I can't think of a better name. The title 'Russian School' is worse, for obvious reasons.

Eventually I'll pick a fixed day to give this little project some priority, Like Video Friday and World Championship Wednesday. Maybe it will be when I post on the weekend.

My resources at hand are skimpy:-

  • 'The Soviet School of Chess' by Kotov and Yudovich
  • 'The Soviet Championships' by Cafferty and Taimanov
  • 'Chess Personalia' by Gaige
  • 'The Oxford Companion to Chess' by Hooper and Whyld
  • PGN file of Soviet Championships (no.1 to 58)

I'll add to those as I identify opportunities. Since I don't want to clutter the sidebar with too many links, I'll keep track of them in this post:-


Later: A few more titles at hand:-

  • 'The Younger School of Soviet Chess' by Soltis
  • 'Soviet Chess' by Grekov
  • 'Soviet Chess' by Richards


2009-09: Titles acquired since I started this series on Soviet chess:-

  • 'Soviet Chess 1917-1991' by Soltis
  • 'Soviet Chess' by Wade

All biographical material is useful, although certain biographies are more useful than others. Books that are mainly a collection of annotated games tend to be less useful; when they have an introduction summarizing the career of the player, they become more useful. Here's a list of titles that I've found useful:-

  • '100 Selected Games' by Botvinnik
  • 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' by Bronstein and Fuerstenberg (esp. '50 Games with Comments')
  • 'Women in Chess' by Graham
  • 'My Great Predecessor' series by Kasparov
  • 'The Complete Games of Paul Keres' by Keres
  • 'Life and Games of Mikhail Tal' by Tal
  • Multiple titles by Karpov and by Korchnoi
  • See also Fizkultura i Sport Black Books and Black Books Revisited

Titles on different World Championships, including candidate events and other qualifiers, are more useful when they discuss the careers of the players.

[To be continued?]

1 comment:

SBD said...

Hello, enjoy your chess material.

I haven't read Hoffmann's The King's Gambit yet, and was surprised to read this excerpt from it (from Hoffmann's blog):

When Rossolimo finally paused in his monologue about literature to look at the board, he immediately saw that he had a losing position: because of his formal, Soviet-style chess schooling....

This makes little sense to me if Botvinnik is the founder of the Soviet school, and since Rossolimo left the Ukraine in 1927, it doesn't seem likely he would have been exposed to any formal Soviet style schooling, especially given his aristocratic background.

Other exceprts I've read from Hoffmann seem to indicate he either know only about as much about chess as the average club player, and/or is trying so hard to dumb down the material that any real message gets lost in the babble...