08 February 2009

Nikolai Krylenko

Another batch of Soviet era chess photos from bulkcover appeared on eBay this week. Among them was this historically significant photo.

The item -- Press Photo, Chess Tournament Berlin 1927, Russian Team -- was described as 'Press photo done much later in 1960s- or 70s. Soviet VCSPS team at chess tournament in Berlin, Germany in 1927 at meeting with N.Krylenko. Sized about 23.9 x 16.4 cm. Retouched for the publishing in press.' It sold for US $57.00.

For more about Krylenko, seated in the middle of the first row, see Wikipedia's entry on Nikolai Krylenko. I discovered that VCSPS stands for 'All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions', but was unable to find anything about the Berlin 1927 event.


Later: With the help of the black book on Viacheslav Ragozin (see Fizkultura i Sport Black Books), I determined that the player seated in the first row on the right is Ragozin. On p.4 of the black book there is a 1939 photo where Ragozin's head is positioned exactly the same way as in the photo above; it's uncanny. The second event in the 'Tournament and Match' table at the end of the book is Berlin 1927, where Ragozin finished 1st (+8-0=1).

The black books should also help me identify one or two other players in the Krylenko photo. I'll leave that discussion for a new post.


Even Later: More on the Berlin 1927 event:-

In 1926 the Soviet chess organization joined the Worker's Chess International, which had been founded in Hamburg three years earlier. Worker's chess clubs had grown up in the early years of the [20th] century in several European countries, most notably in Germany, Austria, [etc.] The first attempts to establish international ties had been made by the German clubs just after the end of the First World War. The Soviet authorities had received a letter from the German union in the summer of 1920 but were not in a position to take any action. At the height of its activity the Chess International numbered 20,000 members, excluding the U.S.S.R. During the twenties it organized a number of events, the most important of which was an international tournament in Berlin in April 1927, when the first prize was won by Ilyin-Zhenevsky. • D.J. Richards, 'Soviet Chess', p.32

The result 'first prize was won by Ilyin-Zhenevsky' doesn't square with my previous comment that 'Ragozin finished 1st'. Tiebreaker needed; best of three?

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