chessgames.com
Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

🏆
TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Championship Tournament

Mikhail Botvinnik12.5/17(+8 -0 =9)[games]
Alexander Kotov11.5/17(+9 -3 =5)[games]
Sergey Belavenets11/17(+6 -1 =10)[games]
Vladimir Makogonov10.5/17(+5 -1 =11)[games]
Vitaly Chekhover10.5/17(+7 -3 =7)[games]
Igor Bondarevsky10/17(+6 -3 =8)[games]
Georgy Lisitsin9/17(+4 -3 =10)[games]
Grigory Levenfish8.5/17(+6 -6 =5)[games]
Peter Dubinin8.5/17(+3 -3 =11)[games]
Viacheslav Ragozin8.5/17(+6 -6 =5)[games]
Vasily Panov8/17(+3 -4 =10)[games]
Ilya Rabinovich8/17(+4 -5 =8)[games]
Mikhail Yudovich Sr.7.5/17(+3 -5 =9)[games]
Ilia Kan7.5/17(+4 -6 =7)[games]
Alexander Tolush6.5/17(+4 -8 =5)[games]
Iosif Pogrebissky6.5/17(+5 -9 =3)[games]
Alexander Chistiakov5/17(+2 -9 =6)[games]
Peter Romanovsky3.5/14(+1 -8 =5)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Championship (1939)
The 11th USSR Championship was held in Leningrad from April 16 to May 15, 1939, with the following players:

Sergey Vsevolodovich Belavenets, Igor Bondarevsky, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vitaly Chekhover, Alexander Chistiakov, Peter Vasilievich Dubinin, Ilia Abramovich Kan, Alexander Kotov, Grigory Levenfish, Georgy Lisitsin, Vladimir Andreevich Makogonov, Vasily Panov, Iosif Pogrebissky, Ilya Leontievich Rabinovich, Viacheslav Ragozin, Peter Arsenievich Romanovsky, Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush, Mikhail M Yudovich Sr.

Botvinnik was the clear favorite despite a six-year absence from the Championship, but it wasn't that easy. Alexander Kotov, who was not on anybody's radar screen prior to the tournament, got off to a great start by winning his first four games. He couldn't keep up that pace, but it was round 12 before Botvinnik could finally get in front of him.

With three rounds to go Botvinnik had a point lead, but then played two draws while Kotov won twice (including a 111-move game) to catch up. As it happened, the leaders met in the final round, and even Botvinnik was pumped. Here's how he described the atmosphere of the last round in his One Hundred Selected Games:

"The finish was exceptionally interesting. Before the last round Kotov and I had the same number of points; we met in this round, and he played White. Need I say that very many people wished to watch this game? The two halls of the House of Physical Culture were filled before it began. For those who were "unfortunate" the organizers set up a demonstation board on the embankment of the River Moika. The spectators were "accommodated" on the opposite side of the River also, and all traffic came to standstill."

In other words, if the game were broadcast on Live Chess today, the site would crash.

Botvinnik's attitude, at least the one he expressed later, is also enlightening: "... for by my position in the tournament I had to play to win this game."

Remember, he and Kotov were tied! If you can't take the suspense any longer, look at Kotov vs Botvinnik, 1939 or the crosstable below.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Botvinnik * 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 12.5 2 Kotov 0 * ½ 1 0 ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 11.5 3 Belavenets ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ + 11.0 4 Makogonov ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 10.5 5 Chekhover ½ 1 0 0 * 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 10.5 6 Bondarevsky ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 + 10.0 7 Lisitsin ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 * 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 9.0 8 Levenfish ½ 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 * ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 8.5 9 Dubinin 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 8.5 10 Ragozin ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 0 ½ * 1 0 0 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 8.5 11 Panov 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 8.0 12 Rabinovich 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ * ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 8.0 13 Yudovich ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ * ½ 0 0 0 ½ 7.5 14 Kan 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ * 1 1 ½ 1 7.5 15 Tolush 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 0 * 1 0 1 6.5 16 Pogrebissky 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 0 * 1 1 6.5 17 Chistiakov 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 * 0 5.0 18 Romanovsky ½ ½ - 0 0 - ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 * 3.5

Three games are not included. Romanovsky withdrew after round 15, defaulting his games in round 16 (Bondarevsky) and round 17 (Belavenets). In addition, the score of Levenfish 1 Romanovsky from round 8 is not available. Romanovsky also defaulted adjourned games from round 14 (Panov) and round 15 (Rabinovich), but those games are included.

Compiled by User: Phony Benoni, completing a collection by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 150  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs M Yudovich Sr.  ½-½241939USSR ChampionshipE72 King's Indian
2. I Kan vs Kotov  0-1541939USSR ChampionshipE07 Catalan, Closed
3. I Pogrebissky vs Levenfish 1-0291939USSR ChampionshipC90 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. Lisitsin vs Chekhover  ½-½281939USSR ChampionshipA15 English
5. A Chistiakov vs V Makogonov ½-½771939USSR ChampionshipB10 Caro-Kann
6. S Belavenets vs I Rabinovich  ½-½411939USSR ChampionshipC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
7. Ragozin vs P Romanovsky  1-0571939USSR ChampionshipE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
8. Bondarevsky vs Panov  1-0271939USSR ChampionshipD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. P Dubinin vs Tolush  ½-½421939USSR ChampionshipD96 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
10. Tolush vs Botvinnik 0-1371939USSR ChampionshipD83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit
11. Kotov vs Lisitsin  1-0331939USSR ChampionshipE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
12. Panov vs Levenfish  ½-½621939USSR ChampionshipD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
13. Chekhover vs A Chistiakov  ½-½261939USSR ChampionshipC00 French Defense
14. V Makogonov vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½281939USSR ChampionshipD81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation
15. Bondarevsky vs S Belavenets  ½-½511939USSR ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
16. I Rabinovich vs Ragozin  1-01191939USSR ChampionshipB80 Sicilian, Scheveningen
17. M Yudovich Sr. vs I Kan  ½-½281939USSR ChampionshipB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
18. P Romanovsky vs P Dubinin  ½-½341939USSR ChampionshipA15 English
19. Botvinnik vs P Romanovsky  ½-½411939USSR ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. A Chistiakov vs Kotov 0-1501939USSR ChampionshipC71 Ruy Lopez
21. Levenfish vs V Makogonov 0-1421939USSR ChampionshipA14 English
22. I Pogrebissky vs Chekhover  0-1591939USSR ChampionshipB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
23. P Dubinin vs I Rabinovich  1-0431939USSR ChampionshipC71 Ruy Lopez
24. I Kan vs Tolush  1-0281939USSR ChampionshipD95 Grunfeld
25. Ragozin vs Bondarevsky  0-1431939USSR ChampionshipC11 French
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 150  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-29-22  Z truth 000000001: Two semi-finals were run, in May-June 1938, in Kiev and Leningrad.

A supplemental qualifier was held in Moscow in Sept for some masters who couldn't make the sf's.

<Botvinnik: “The selection system was the basis for the formation of the XI championship. In May-June 1938 semi-finals were held in Leningrad and Kiev; all masters of the USSR and candidates for masters were invited to them. The winners of the semi-finals were supposed to make up the final of the championship, with the exception of personally invited grandmasters Levenfish and Botvinnik. Unfortunately, a number of strong masters (Alatortsev, Goglidze, Kan, Ragozin and Ryumin) could not play in the semi-finals, and therefore the All-Union Chess Section organized a special qualifying tournament for them in September in Moscow. Only four masters took part in it (Goglidze could not) ; the winners were Kan and Ragozin, thus winning the right to participate in the final.

...

The final was supposed to be played in November. However, an international tournament in Amsterdam was scheduled for the same month, in which the author of these lines was supposed to play. In view of this, the All-Union Chess Section postponed the championship to January 1939. Alas, the championship did not start even in January!.. This time, the training tournament of Soviet masters with the participation of foreign grandmasters Keres, Reshevsky and Flor prevented. This prompted the USSR championship to be finally postponed to April 15.

It turns out that at first Kiev was chosen as the venue. But Botvinnik, who had been seriously ill throughout January, writes in his book “To Achieve the Goal” that he convinced the new chairman of the Committee of Physical Education, V. Snegov, “to hold the USSR championship not in Kiev, but in Leningrad (I continued to be under the supervision of doctors).”

>

https://chesspro.ru/_events/2007/vo...

Jan-29-22  Z truth 000000001: The bio should probably mention Botvinnik's tournament book:

https://www.worldcat.org/title/odin...

<Одиннадцатое всесоюзное шахматное первенство (1939)>

<Eleventh All-Union Chess Championship (1939)>

Jan-29-22  RookFile: Everybody has their own point of view. Fischer would label guys like Flohr and Keres as Russians ("You're all Russians to me!") but Botvinnik labels them as "foreigners" because they are not Soviets.
Jan-29-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Botvinnik was, of course, the paragon of Soviet Man.
Jan-31-22  Z truth 000000001: Another historical fact missing from the above - is that 11e USSR ch, which they called the "All-Union" ch, was essentially the first not organized by Krylenko, who of course got caught up in the <Great Terror> of the 30's:

<Nikolai Vasilievich Krylenko - permanent chairman (from 1924 to 1938) of the All-Union chess and checkers section under the Supreme Council of Physical Culture of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. Since 1936, he was People's Commissar of Justice of the USSR (and before that for many years the People's Commissar of Justice of the RSFSR), he was involved in unjustified repressions, from which he himself eventually suffered (he was shot in 1938).>

https://ok.ru/group53875099959535/t...

We can circle back later to discuss Botvinnik's role.

Oct-01-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  LRLeighton: @RookFile, Botvinnik labeled Keres and Flohr as foreigners because they -were- foreigners. It had nothing whatsoever to do with their politics. Keres was from Estonia. The tournament was held in 1939 and the USSR did not occupy Estonia until 1940. Flohr was a refugee from Czechoslovakia fleeing the Nazi occupation. At the time of the tournament, Flohr would have been living in either the Netherlands or possibly Great Britain at that point.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.


NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific tournament only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of Chessgames.com, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC