19 April 2009

D.J. Richards, 'Soviet Chess'

Starting with the first post in this series, The Soviet School, I've relied on 'Soviet Chess' by D.J. Richards in several posts without giving particulars. It's time to rectify that: 'Soviet Chess : Chess and Communism in the U.S.S.R.' by David John Richards, published in 1965 by Clarendon Press (Oxford). There are copies available via Bookfinder.com under Author is Richards, Title is Soviet Chess.

The first two chapters are the most useful, because they cover Soviet chess through the end of WWII, a period when its development was largely off the radar of Western chess publications. The Soviet federation joined FIDE in 1946, Botvinnik became World Champion in 1948, and the unrelenting progress of Soviet chess was on everyone's radar thereafter. The sections of the first two chapters, showing what Richards considered to be the major milestones, are:-

I. The Early Years of Soviet Chess, 1917-30
01 - Chess During the Revolution and Civil War
02 - The 1920 Olympiad
03 - Apolitical Chess, 1920-24, and Opposition to it
04 - The Establishment of Marxist Control and the Creation of a Mass Movement
05 - Soviet Championships of the Early Twenties
06 - The 1925 Moscow International Tournament
07 - Chess and Psychology
08 - International Chess Movements of the Twenties
09 - The Capablanca - Alekhine Match
10 - Soviet Championships of the Late Twenties
11 - Chess and Industrialization
12 - The Role of Chess in Soviet Society in the Twenties
13 - Why Chess Became so Popular in the U.S.S.R.

II. Consolidation and New Achievements, 1930-45
01 - The Organization of Soviet Chess in the Thirties
02 - Championships of the Early Thirties
03 - Botvinnik's First International Successes
04 - International Workers's Chess in the Thirties
05 - Chess among Women and Juniors
06 - Botvinnik's Victories of 1936: 'The classical land of chess'
07 - The Soviet Style of Chess
08 - A.V.R.O. 1938 and Hopes for a World Championship Match
09 - The Last Pre-War Years
10 - The War Years, 1941-5

I'm going to use those chapters to develop a timeline of Soviet chess development, similar to the timelines I used in The Botvinnik - Keres Rivalry, The World Championship Interregnum, and USSR vs. USA/GBR 1945-55. Timelines are useful tools for understanding the chronology of a historical subject and for exploring it in more depth.

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