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Alexander Tolush
Number of games in database: 466
Years covered: 1931 to 1965

Overall record: +173 -163 =128 (51.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 2 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (32) 
    B43 B32 B65 B80 B88
 Nimzo Indian (28) 
    E30 E59 E32 E22 E53
 King's Indian (21) 
    E80 E93 E81 E70 E90
 Ruy Lopez (19) 
    C86 C91 C65 C97 C92
 Ruy Lopez, Closed (14) 
    C86 C91 C97 C92 C98
 Queen's Pawn Game (11) 
    A45 E00 A40 D02 A46
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (40) 
    C64 C61 C63 C99 C90
 Sicilian (33) 
    B97 B84 B76 B90 B99
 Nimzo Indian (31) 
    E53 E59 E42 E32 E26
 King's Indian (20) 
    E80 E67 E87 E63 E85
 Sicilian Najdorf (14) 
    B97 B90 B99 B94 B98
 Modern Benoni (11) 
    A70 A76 A62 A68 A64
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Tolush vs Kotov, 1945 1-0
   V A Vasiliev vs Tolush, 1945 0-1
   Lilienthal vs Tolush, 1947 1/2-1/2
   Smyslov vs Tolush, 1939 0-1
   Tolush vs Alatortsev, 1948 1-0
   P Dubinin vs Tolush, 1947 0-1
   Korchnoi vs Tolush, 1958 0-1
   Tolush vs Botvinnik, 1944 1-0
   Tolush vs V Mikenas, 1950 1-0
   Tolush vs L Aronson, 1957 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USSR Championship (1950)
   USSR Championship (1947)
   USSR Championship (1948)
   USSR Championship (1952)
   USSR Championship (1957)
   Hastings 1953/54 (1953)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   Rubinstein Memorial 2nd (1964)
   USSR Championship (1945)
   USSR Championship (1956)
   USSR Championship (1939)
   Leningrad/Moscow training (1939)
   USSR Championship (1958)
   EUR-chT (Men) 2nd (1961)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Forward, Kazimirich! Games by Alexander Tolush by Resignation Trap
   Hastings 1953/54 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Alexander Tolush
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(born May-01-1910, died Mar-03-1969, 58 years old) Russia
[what is this?]

Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush was born on the 1st of May 1910 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Awarded the IM title at its inception in 1950, the GM title in 1953 and the IMC title in 1965, he was Leningrad Champion in 1937 (jointly), 1938, 1946 and 1947 (jointly). An outstanding master of attack and combinations, he paid less attention to positional play and defence and this affected his results. His best result in the USSR Championship was 2nd= in 1950, whilst his best result internationally was 1st place at Bucharest 1953 (1) ahead of Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Vasily Smyslov, Isaac Boleslavsky and Boris Spassky (who was his pupil at that time).

He passed away in Leningrad in 1969 and did not live to see Spassky become World Champion.


Wikipedia article: Alexander Tolush

Last updated: 2016-08-27 03:32:01

 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 473  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. N Grigoriev vs Tolush 0-1351931URS-ch sfB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
2. Tolush vs L Kubbel  0-1401931URS-ch sfC28 Vienna Game
3. P Romanovsky vs Tolush  0-1381934Ch Finacial-Bank workersC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
4. Tolush vs P Izmailov  1-0391935RSFSR Ch sf-BD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Tolush vs Capablanca 1-0351935Clock simul, 10bC26 Vienna
6. Tolush vs Sokolsky 0-1361936USSRE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
7. Konstantinopolsky vs Tolush 1-0231936Trade Unions ChampionshipA47 Queen's Indian
8. Tolush vs E Zagorjansky  1-0411936Trade Unions ChampionshipC02 French, Advance
9. Tolush vs Chekhover  0-1391936Trade Unions ChampionshipB70 Sicilian, Dragon Variation
10. Tolush vs N Pavlov-Pianov  1-0201937Ch Trade Unions (1/2 Final)D00 Queen's Pawn Game
11. V A Vasiliev vs Tolush  1-0581938Trade UnionsC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
12. V A Vasiliev vs Tolush  ½-½641938Trade UnionsC03 French, Tarrasch
13. Ragozin vs Tolush ½-½331938Trade UnionsC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
14. Tolush vs M Kamyshov 1-0511938Trade UnionsC27 Vienna Game
15. Chekhover vs Tolush  1-0911938Trade UnionsC67 Ruy Lopez
16. Kotov vs Tolush 1-0261938Trade UnionsD74 Neo-Grunfeld, Nxd5, 7.O-O
17. Lilienthal vs Tolush  ½-½491938Trade UnionsA50 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Tolush vs D Rovner  ½-½401938Trade UnionsD02 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Panov vs Tolush 0-1721938Trade UnionsC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
20. Tolush vs P N Troitsky  0-1401938Trade UnionsA13 English
21. Tolush vs Veresov  1-035193811th USSR Championship SemifinalD49 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
22. I Rabinovich vs Tolush  1-018193811th USSR Championship SemifinalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
23. Tolush vs S Gotthilf  1-042193811th USSR Championship SemifinalC45 Scotch Game
24. Lisitsin vs Tolush  0-163193811th USSR Championship SemifinalD02 Queen's Pawn Game
25. Tolush vs Ilyin-Zhenevsky  1-029193811th USSR Championship SemifinalA13 English
 page 1 of 19; games 1-25 of 473  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Tolush wins | Tolush loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Breunor: But the T-34 was THE weapon of Soviet victory>

This is a bit too hagiographic. Red Army infantry mobility was limited to how fast they could walk (when not entrained) until the allied Lend Lease program really got going.

The US put them on wheels for the first time in history with the White half track and other trucks supplied in great quantities.

This had a huge positive impact on Soviet offensive capability in 1944/45, allowing greater penetrations into "enemy" territory, longer duration to offensives, and even operations during the Rasputista.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <HeMateMe>

I am not sure if you are trying to dispute my original post, wax on about weapons of WWII, or what.

But I see nothing in the posts of you or <Breunor> that refutes my original contention, that being a Soviet tanker was like being a fish in a barrel.

The key to surviving was, there were many many fish in a vast barrel.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: I do agree that being ANYWHERE on the Eastern front in WWII was very dangerous, and I don't doubt it affected Tolush. I'm not sure I'm willing to say it was 'worse' than being in the infantry, but both required tremendous courage.

But I'm not saying 50,000 T-34's are better than 7,000 Panthers. I'm saying 7,000 T-34 are better than 7,000 Panthers.

We can look tank vs. tank or on a cost equivalent basis.

Tank for tank, for the Panthers actually produced (especially early ones) 7,000 produced tanks, ignoring combat damage, probably had about 3,500 operational at a time; while 7,000 T-34's probably would have about 5,000 operational. So that is the T-34's advantage. I do agree 'tank for tank' is a legitimate way to compare them, but so is dollar for dollar. On that basis, the T-34 has a greater superiority.

A good example of cost issues is the B-2 Spirit bomber - it is the technically most advanced bomber in the world, but it is so ridiculously expensive it is hard to say it is a 'great' plane and indeed is usually considered a horrible failure since they ended up costing $750 MM/operational bomber.

Here is a list of 'greatest' tanks from the History channel:

For the Germans, the PV IV and the Tiger made the list, the Panther didn't, and the T-34 was first. Of course,t hese lsits are subjective, as I said, I think the Panther may have been better than the Tiger.

I do agree, however, in my opinion, if I have a working, operational machine, I thought the Panther was the best tank of the war. (They are great in the old Avalon Hill game, PanzerBlitz!)

All the best.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: Mikhail Botvinnik was mated by Alexander Tolush in the 1944 Soviet Championship in Moscow, "You're mated, Mikhail Moiseyevich!" the winner proclaimed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <Breunor> The dove of peace, yet you are pretty booked up on your war machines. :)
May-01-11  talisman: happy birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyke: <wordfunph: Mikhail Botvinnik was mated by Alexander Tolush in the 1944 Soviet Championship in Moscow, "You're mated, Mikhail Moiseyevich!" the winner proclaimed.>

Needless to say that the patriarch had not been happy about that "incident".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pyke: To add a little bit more to my previous statement:

<<"Forward, Kazimirych!">

When talking about the sources of Spassky's brilliant style of play, one immediately recalls his previous trainer of many years (1952-1960), the Leningrad frandmaster Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush, who was a famous master of attack and an uncommonly cheerful, witty man. After a win he would inform his friends: <'Dracula has been caught.'> When his opponent dragged out a hopeless resistance, he would complain: <'The cannon-fodder is resisting.'> When the latter resigned, Tolush would proclaim: <'Amen to the pies'.> And during a blitz game and when analysing he would encourage himself with the war-cry: <'Forward, Kazimirych!'>

This became the motto of more than one generation of players; it was also liked by Paul Keres, with whom Tolush worked in the late 40s and 50s. With Spassky himself, a liking for dashing attacks, for an unfettered, lively and liberal 'Tolush-like' style of play was retained practically to the end of his chess career. <...>

However, Tolush's manners did not provoke a positice reaction from everyone. For example, Botvinnik did not like him. And this was why: in the 13th USSR Championship (1944) Tolush mated Botvinnik on f7 with the disrespectful words: 'It's ma-ate, Mikhal Moiseich'. From that time 'Tolush' sounded almost like a swear word to the ears of #Mikhal Mouseich'>

(Garry Kasparov, OMGP, Vol. III, p.299ff)

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: "Forward, Kazimirych!"
Quite sad. I imagine he was repeating the last words of some bloody comrade dying in some hell-hole in the forests of Ruthenia.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: <Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush>

Correct pronunciation of his name-

Audio/visual file:

Aug-30-11  Everett: <However, Tolush's manners did not provoke a positice reaction from everyone. For example, Botvinnik did not like him. And this was why: in the 13th USSR Championship (1944) Tolush mated Botvinnik on f7 with the disrespectful words: 'It's ma-ate, Mikhal Moiseich'. From that time 'Tolush' sounded almost like a swear word to the ears of #Mikhal Mouseich'>

Why do you think Tolush said it? My guess is because everyone knew Botvinnik was a pompous, preening, political jackass.

May-01-12  talisman: happy birthday!
May-01-13  brankat: R.I.P. GM Tolush.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Are there any dead players in the database that you haven't ripped yet?
May-11-14  Rookiepawn: Given the fact that we can talk about tanks here, I will say that what made the Red Army beat the nazis was the action of a small bunch of men, whose leader was Mr. Leopold Trepper (hats off to this guy: sharp brain + iron balls, rarely seen).

Thanks to Stalin's murders, the Red Army was decimated. It was kept alive thanks to the only thing in which, admitted by Hitler, the Soviets were better at: intelligence.

Jul-02-15  zydeco: Tolush was an absolutely world-class player who seems to have been underestimated both by his contemporaries and by his chess history.

I get the strong impression that he was a real trash-talker (which is what he was doing when he announced mate to Botvinnik) -- he could be like the Washington Square Park hustlers who talk and smoke through games and play with constant aggression: you're sure that their play is faulty but it's very hard to refute them over-the-board.

In retrospect, Tolush seems like the standard-bearer for the Soviet 'wild man' school of chess -- along with Bronstein, Nezhmetdinov, Byvshev, Lutikov, and, to some extent, Geller, Boleslavsky, and Bondarevsky. In his heyday in the 1940s (when Botvinnikesque principles were dominant), Tolush could be dismissed as either a street player or an anachronism like Rudolph Spielmann.

The rise of Tal, and subsequent developments in chess, show that Tolush was absolutely correct: there is a way to play chess that's razor-sharp, hyper-aggressive, and fundamentally sound. Tal is usually considered to be a bolt from the blue -- but it's easy to surmise that, to a great extent, his play would have been influenced by the style of Tolush and the other wild men.

I always feel a kind of sympathy for young Spassky when I read about the period in which he was trained by Tolush. I picture Tolush as egotistical, sarcastic, and casually brutal. By contrast, Tal's teacher, Koblents, seems like a benevolent father-figure; Spassky's teachers, Tolush and Bondarevsky, were both hard-living, ill-tempered alcoholics. It would be interesting to know what kind of imprint they had on Spassky's psychology.

Nov-22-15  zydeco: "In order to play good chess, you should be poor, hungry, and angry" - Alexander Tolush
Dec-05-15  ljfyffe: <In the World Correspondence Chess Championship IV Final (1962-1965), Tolush scored 5.5 points of a possible 12 to finish 7th
with 3 wins and 5 draws>
Mar-03-16  TheFocus: Rest in peace, Alexander Tolush.
May-01-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Alexander Tolush.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Petro: Are there any dead players in the database that you haven't ripped yet?>

I was reading the kibitzing start to finish, read this comment and was scrolling down to kibitz "Don't worry, if he missed any, <Focus> will get them anyway." and when I got to the bottom of the page, speak of the devil. I'm sure all the dead people enjoy being ripped.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Lord take me downtown/

I'm just looking for Tolush/

Premium Chessgames Member

"On, Kazimirovich!!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: The site with the picture of Tolush and other Soviet GMs from Bucharest 1953 is defunct, however the picture is also here: .
Sep-24-20  login:

Canada's best 'Kinky' Kev Spagget (still) has it with a tiny bit higher res over at his slippery den (SFW version)

'Attacking player and successful coach'
from journalist Dagobert Kohlmeyer, Jan 2020 on Chessbase includes some more photographs of Tolush around 1953 for reference.

On Twitter (let's see how long this will stay up) is a random 1955 match photograph

The later player's years are covered right on top of an 'old' threat titled 'ФОТО НА ПАМЯТЬ №13' (~ Memorial Images) on the everlasting 'e3 e5' website.

(having no clue of the subject matter, feel free to disagree)

The German Panther vs. the Soviet T-34-85

Was the Russian T-34 Really the Best Tank of WW2?

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