17 November 2007

Soviet Players, Reality Check

As documented on Soviet Players on Chessgames.com, I determined that nine out of 359 players are missing from my two initial sources of biographical data. Their names are: Chersakov, A.; Kliavin, P.; Kozlov, Vadim; Mikliaev, I.; Mund, A.; Pavlov Pianov, Nikolay; Selezniev, V.; Shamis, Alexey; and Skotorenko, N.

How did these names end up on my list? Three players are mentioned in an appendix to Kotov & Yudovich titled 'Soviet Masters': Chersakov,A. (Leningrad); Kliavin,P. (Riga); and Skotorenko,N. (Kemerovo). Double checking Gaige, I confirm that all are missing. There is, however an entry for 'Skotorenko, Vasily Grigorievich, b.1927 at Kremenchug', which might be the same as 'Skotorenko,N. (Kemerovo)'. Confirmation is needed.

The other six players are listed in my PGN file of Soviet Championships. I received this file in 2001 from another fan of historical chess games. The file is well prepared except for two thousand duplicate games. These need to be eliminated to make the file even more useful.

Two of the names on my list played in the early Soviet Championships: Mund, A. (URS-ch01 1920), and Pavlov Pianov, Nikolay (URS-ch01 1920, URS-ch05 1927, and URS-ch06 qf2 1929). Cafferty & Taimanov (C&T) list Mund and Pavlov-Pyanov for the 1920 and 1927 events, with no additional info. They don't list Pavlov-Pyanov in 1929, where the semifinal and final events are mentioned without the quarterfinal ('qf') events.

The other four players all played in URS-ch35 1967. Why so many from one event? C&T explain

Karkov in the Ukraine was the venue for the 1967 event proper, which was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was decided that a return to mass activity was called for and the experiment of a Swiss system for 130 players over 13 rounds was tried.

A quick calculation gives

65 games per round * 13 rounds = 845 games

but the PGN file has only 152 games. These games mention only 72 players, so there is a real problem with my data here. Since URS-ch34 (in 1966) and URS-ch36 (1968) had only 21 and 20 players respectively, it makes no sense to have 72 (or 130) players from a single year. Furthermore, C&T continue

One reason to let in so many players was that 1967 had seen rare international tournaments in Leningrad and Moscow (a star-studded event, won by Stein) as well as other events internally and the Sousse Interzonal, so many of the big names would be taking a rest.

C&T list the final places and scores for the four players as: 41-57 places 7.0 points I.Miklyaev; 71-88 6.0 A.Shamis, V.Kozlov; and 89-101 5.5 V.Seleznev. Looking at the other players listed by C&T, 17 finished with 8.5 points or better, while 26 finished 8.0 or better. I should exclude players that finished lower in the cross table.

That gives me three actions for subsequent steps:

  • Locate one or more source that include Chersakov, Kliavin, Skotorenko, Mund, and Pavlov-Pyanov.
  • Remove the duplicate games from the file of the Soviet Championships.
  • Exclude certain players from URS-ch35 (1967).

It's always useful to do periodic reality checks when working with data from disparate sources.

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