Main
Date: 05 Dec 2007 04:10:07
From: parrthenon@cs.com
Subject: USSR first entered Chess Olympiad in 1952

SAIDY INTERVIEWS BRONSTEIN

From Chess Life, December 2007 (page 27)

BRONSTEIN: In 1981, I was invited to Iceland to lecture. [Soviet
Federation president] Krogius asked me if I had helped Korchnoi during
the 1974 match [vs. Karpov]. I said "Yes." One day before leaving for
Iceland my passport was revoked.

SAIDY: The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
-- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
voted him off the team? So democratic!

BRONSTEIN: No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
Botvinnik second, after Keres. [Was it to signify that Keres was
forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown > -- AS] I was placed
fourth. Botvinnik protested, and declined to take part. Why didn't he
protest that I was placed fourth?




 
Date: 08 Dec 2007 14:50:23
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: USSR first entered Chess Olympiad in 1952
On Dec 7, 4:22 am, "Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (Wlod)"
<sennaj...@gmail.com > wrote:
> On Dec 5, 4:10 am, "parrthe...@cs.com" <parrthe...@cs.com> wrote:
>
> > SAIDY INTERVIEWS BRONSTEIN
>
> > From Chess Life, December 2007 (page 27)
>
> > [...]
> > SAIDY: The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
> > -- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
> > voted him off the team? So democratic!
>
> > BRONSTEIN: No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
> > Botvinnik second, after Keres. [Was it to signify that Keres was
> > forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown> -- AS]
>
> I don't think so. Botvinnik was not active in those years.

I would hardly characterize Botvinnik as "not active" during that
time. True, he did not play much for a while after Hague-Moscow 1948,
but in 1951 he played in the USSR Championship (10-7, 5th place), and
the World Championship match with Bronstein. In 1952 he played in the
oczy Memorial in Budapest (11-6, =3rd-4th), and the Soviet
Championship (13 1/2-5 1/2, =1st w/ Taimanov); he later won a playoff match
+2 -1 =3. So while he was not as active as some players, he certainly
was not entirely inactive.


 
Date: 08 Dec 2007 07:22:46
From: Taylor Kingston
Subject: Re: USSR first entered Chess Olympiad in 1952
On Dec 5, 7:10 am, "parrthe...@cs.com" <parrthe...@cs.com > wrote:
>
> SAIDY INTERVIEWS BRONSTEIN
>
> From Chess Life, December 2007 (page 27)
>
> SAIDY: The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
> -- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
> voted him off the team? So democratic!
>
> BRONSTEIN: No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
> Botvinnik second, after Keres. [Was it to signify that Keres was
> forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown> -- AS]

That seems rather a stretch. The plain fact was that Keres'
tournament record over 1950-52 was phenomenal, almost inarguably the
best in the world at that time. After 4th place in the Budapest
Candidates Tournament (behind Bronstein, Boleslavsky, and Smyslov, but
ahead of Najdorf, Kotov, Stahlberg, Lilienthal, Szabo and Flohr), he
won:

-- The 1950 Soviet Championship 11 1/2-5 1/2 (+8 -2 =7) ahead of Lipnitsky,
Tolush, Aronin, Smyslov, Konstantinopolsky, Alatortsev, Boleslavsky,
Geller, Flohr, Mikenas, Bondarevsky, Petrosian, Averbakh, Suetin, et
al),

-- The Przepiorka Memorial at Sczawno Zdroj 14 1/2-4 1/2 (+11 -1 =7) over
Szabo, Barcza, Taimanov, Bondarevsky, Foltys, Geller, Averbakh et
al,

-- The 1951 Soviet Championship 12-6 (+9 -2 =6) ahead of Geller,
Petrosian, Smyslov, *_Botvinnik_*, Averbakh, Bronstein, Taimanov,
Aronin, Flohr, et al,

-- Budapest 1952 12 1/2-4 1/2 (+10 -2 =5) ahead of Geller, *_Botvinnik_*,
Smyslov, Stahlberg, Szabo, Petrosian, et al.

It was around this time that Euwe called Keres "de facto World
Champion" (or words to that effect). So with Keres winning such major
tournaments, ahead of everyone *_including_* Botvinnik, it was not
entirely surprising that he would be put at board 1 for the USSR team.
Unfortunately, his great form did not carry forward into the Olympiad,
to Botvinnik's delight (as he made clear in his autobiography
"Achieving the Aim").




 
Date: 07 Dec 2007 01:22:38
From: Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (Wlod)
Subject: Re: USSR first entered Chess Olympiad in 1952
On Dec 5, 4:10 am, "parrthe...@cs.com" <parrthe...@cs.com > wrote:
> SAIDY INTERVIEWS BRONSTEIN
>
> From Chess Life, December 2007 (page 27)
>
> [...]
> SAIDY: The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
> -- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
> voted him off the team? So democratic!
>
> BRONSTEIN: No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
> Botvinnik second, after Keres. [Was it to signify that Keres was
> forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown> -- AS]

I don't think so. Botvinnik was not active in those years.

> I was placed fourth. Botvinnik protested, and declined
> to take part. Why didn't he protest that I was placed fourth?

Botvinnik was busy enough protesting his own
case :-)

It is strange that Bronstein didn't play a higher board
but not too strange. Despite his brilliant successes
in those years there was perhaps a tendency to lean
toward more solid and experienced players like
Keres and Smyslov, it was perhaps considered less
risky. Also, the honoring the elders had to play a role
too--Bronstein was a relative youngster at the time.
Possibly the fact that he was not able to finish off
Botvinnik was an argument against Bronstein; the others
(and Bronstein too??) didn't feel that Bronstein will
do well under the pressure.

All together, in conclusion, I think that they were
guided by a mixture of sport and respect considerations,
plus -- they felt rebelious against Botvinnik :-)

I feel strongly that even if possibly they had any negative
feelings about Botvinnik-Keres situation of 1948,
they didn't try to exact revenge on Botvinnik for that
earlier tournament. (What did Bronstein know about
1948 B-K in 1952?).

Best regards,

Wlod



 
Date: 07 Dec 2007 00:59:36
From: Wlodzimierz Holsztynski (Wlod)
Subject: Re: USSR first entered Chess Olympiad in 1952
On Dec 5, 4:10 am, "parrthe...@cs.com" <parrthe...@cs.com > wrote:
> SAIDY INTERVIEWS BRONSTEIN
>
> From Chess Life, December 2007 (page 27)
>
> BRONSTEIN: In 1981, I was invited to Iceland to lecture. [Soviet
> Federation president] Krogius asked me if I had helped Korchnoi during
> the 1974 match [vs. Karpov]. I said "Yes." One day before leaving for
> Iceland my passport was revoked.
>
> SAIDY: The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
> -- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
> voted him off the team? So democratic!
>
> BRONSTEIN: No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
> Botvinnik second, after Keres. [Was it to signify that Keres was
> forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown> -- AS] I was placed
> fourth. Botvinnik protested, and declined to take part. Why didn't he
> protest that I was placed fourth?

Interesting! Thank you, Larry.

Soviet "Fizkultura i Sport" published year- (or double- or triple-
year)
books, in particular "Shachmaty for 1951-52 yy", in 1953, 244 pages
(their other year books had more pages per year). Pages 33-39,
almost 7 pages, are devoted to the chapter "Tenth Olimpiad". The
Soviet chess books were written well. However there is not a single
word about the team selection process, and they never mention
name "Botvinnik" in this chapter. The individual results of the
winning
Soviet team were following;

1st brd -- Keres, 6.5 (/12)
2nd brd -- Smyslov, 10.5 (/13), g
3rd brd -- Bronstein, 8 (/10), g
4th brd -- Geller, 10.5 (/14), s
1st res -- Boleslavsky 7 (/8), g
2nd res -- Kotov 2 (/3), captain

g = gold (the best result on the given board)
s = silver (the 2nd best result on the given board)

Keres, who played sensationally well
gor Estonia, before WWII didn't impress much
this time.

Soviets drew 3 matches and won 5 in the finals;
the only team which didn't lose a single match.
The US team lost only one match (to Sweden)
and won two matches, drawing 5 matches!

Let me add that this was the very first chess olimpiad
in which Soviets participated. Thus it was for them
a very special event. At the same time Botvinnik was
the world chess champion. The year book does not
care to explain what happened anyway!

I am glad that Larry brought back this event. It shows
how one should avoid simplistic statements
about life in Soviet Union and in the so-called
Eastern block. It also shows that Botvinnik was not
as powerful politically as it is commonly assumed.
I think that until Karpov's time there was a pretty strict
separation of chess and chess administrative power.
You were either one or the other--either a chess star
or a chess activist, not both. Even the chess coaches
were separated from the clan of chess activist
and formed still a third kind of a position (this time
somewhat overlapping with the chess stars). The
only minor exception was the influense of Petrosian
over the 64 magazine. basicly the chess players were
not chess politicians (before Karpov).

Best regards,

Wlod