30 August 2009

Post-WWII 1940s Soviet Championships

In 1st: Botvinnik, 2nd: ???, I posted a table showing the most succcessful players in the Soviet Championships of the 1930s. What would a similar table for the post-WWII 1940s show? After the war, the Soviet championships were conducted every year, rather than the pre-war rhythm of every two years. The year and number of players in each event was -- 1944: 17 (13th championship); 1945: 18; 1947: 20; 1948: 19; 1949: 20.

The 94 participants in the five events included 45 different players. Players scoring at least 50% in the events where they took part, or who took part in more than three events, are shown in the following table, along with the number of events played, the first and last year of participation, the number of games played, and the total score.

Botvinnik, Mikhail2194419453327.583.3%
Geller, Efim1194919491912.565.8%
Boleslavsky, Isaak4194419497146.565.5%
Smyslov, Vassily4194419497144.062.0%
Keres, Paul3194719495634.561.6%
Furman, Semen Abramovich2194819493722.560.8%
Bronstein, David5194419498952.559.0%
Bondarevsky, Igor3194519485431.558.3%
Kotov, Alexander4194419497040.057.1%
Flohr, Salo4194419497239.554.9%
Konstantinopolsky, Alexander2194519483519.054.3%
Tolush, Alexander4194419487037.553.6%
Rudakovsky, Iosif119451945179.052.9%
Makogonov, Vladimir Andreevich2194419473518.051.4%
Ilivitzki, Georgi119481948189.050.0%
Kholmov, Ratmir2194819493718.550.0%
Chekhover, Vitaly119451945178.550.0%
>3 Events
Lilienthal, Andor5194419498944.049.4%
Ragozin, Viacheslav5194419498940.545.5%
Alatortsev, Vladimir4194419487028.040.0%

Botvinnik again tops the list although he played in only the first two events. Of subsequent championships, Cafferty and Taimanov had this to say about him in their book on 'The Soviet Championships':

1947: Botvinnik was absent as a sign of his displeasure over the lack of good faith by the Soviet authorities in negotiating for a World Championship match-tournament. Alekhine's death in 1946 had left the throne vacant, but Zhdanov's hostile speech in September 1946, stating that Soviet culture was superior to that of the West, muddied the waters. Stalin's right-hand man called for an offensive against the West in cultural matters. Agreement could not be reached with the Soviet authorities, so FIDE had to cancel the event scheduled for 1947. (p.59)

1948: The year of 1948 saw Botvinnik abstain again, as he had recently won the world title in the match-tournament at The Hague and Moscow. In fact he was to take a three-year break, to work on his doctorate. (p.62)

Second on the list is Geller, a newcomer to the championships who first played in 1949. Another newcomer that year was Petrosian, who achieved a 39.5% result.

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