Over on my World Championship blog, I posted about Averbakh on the World Championship, an overview of World Championship events covered by GM Yuri Averbakh's book 'Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes: A Personal Memoir'. Even more important to the historical importance of the book are the many chess personalities who figure into the accounts and stories.
A number of personalities mentioned in the book's eight-page 'Index of names' receive more attention than others, including some who are completely unfamiliar to me. I decided to learn more about those people and started by making a list of the most-mentioned names. Many of them are immediately familiar to most amateur chess historians because they were world class players:-
Alekhine, Averbakh, Botvinnik, Bronstein, Capablanca, Fischer, Flohr, Geller, Gligoric, Karpov, Kasparov, Keres, Korchnoi, Lasker, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Reshevsky, Smyslov, Spassky, Taimanov, Tal
Others are familiar because they were FIDE presidents...
Campomanes, Euwe, Olafsson
...or figures of historical importance in general world history:-
This leaves a large number of names who can be considered as important figures in Soviet chess history.
- Petrosian, Rona
Some of the names here are immediately familiar to most chess players, e.g. Benko and Huebner; others are perhaps less familiar, e.g. Boleslavsky and Bondarevsky; while others are likely to be completely unfamiliar, e.g. Bebchuk and Ivonin. Why were these people important to Averbakh's story and what role did they play in the history of Soviet chess? I'll look at some of these personalities in future posts.
Later: Many of the less familiar names (' likely to be completely unfamiliar') were Soviet era chess administrators, aka bureaucrats, aka politicians. I split these out for separate treatment.