Sunday, 16 November 2008


David Ionovich Bronstein,(born Feb-19-1924, died Dec-05-2006) in the Ukraine was one of the strongest and most imaginative players to emerge from the talent-rich post war Soviet Union.
Bronstein, who has died aged 82, was a creative innovator in opening strategy. Though he frequently represented the Soviet Union in international tournaments, in 1976 he clashed with the Moscow chess authorities after refusing to sign an official letter denouncing Viktor Korchnoi, who had defected to Holland, as a traitor. After that, Bronstein did not compete in the west for another 10 years.

He wrote many fine books but he was most highly regarded for his authorship of Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 (English translation 1979). This book was an enormous seller in the USSR, going through many reprints.

Bronstein was also a six times winner of the Moscow Championships, and represented the USSR in 4 Olympiads 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1958, winning board prizes at each of them, and unbelievablly only losing one of his 49 games in those olympiads.
In those 4 olympiads he won four team gold medals.

He made many contributions to theory in openings such as the Ruy Lopez, King's Indian, and Caro-Kann.
In the Caro-Kann Defence, the Bronstein-Larsen Variation goes 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6. In the Scandinavian Defence, the Bronstein Variation goes 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6.

He shared first place in 2 Soviet Chess Championships 1948 ( with Alexander Kotov) and 1949 ( with Smyslov).
He also tied for second place at the Soviet Championships of 1957 and 1964-65.
His major tournament victories outside the USSR were Hastings 1953-4, Belgrade 1954, Gotha 1957, Moscow 1959, Szombathely 1966, East Berlin 1968, Dnepropetrovsk 1970, Sarajevo 1971, Sandomierz 1976, Iwonicz Zdrój 1976, Budapest 1977, and Jūrmala 1978.

While chess computers were still developing, Bronstein was the lead grandmaster in an annual Man v Machine series in The Hague.
I give a Bronstein game against a early computer program.

Although Bronstein sometimes got into time trouble he was an early advocate of speeding up competitive chess, and wanted to introduce a digital chess clock which adds a small time increment for each move made, a variant of which has become very popular in recent years.

In this game Bronstein sacrifice three pawns to open queenside lines into Aloni's King position.

This next game is one of his wins from the drawn 1950 world championship against botvinnik.After this one shot at the tittle he remained one of the worlds best players, but he never again got another chance. Was that chess fate?

In this game he destroys Efim Geller a very strong Grandmaster in 21 moves.
Geller was for years the only grandmaster to regularly beat bobby Fischer.

Finally a game played when many had thought Bronstein had pasted his best.


chesstiger said...

Wasn't it Bronstein who was the unlucky challenger for the world title? If i am not mistaken he finished his world title match 12-12 which was enough for the then current world champion to hold on to his title.

Personally i think Bronstein would have been the best chess teacher in the world if he had focussed, like Dvoretsky, on only teaching chess.

CHESSX said...

Bronstein lived in an age before top players became master/grandmaster level chess teacher.
Now it is an excepted part of chess,players can be top teachers all their life.Not just something players do after a chess career.
I think as i said in the post fate was against Bronstein,i think the Russians thought he was to free thinking.

Rolling Pawns said...

He was an excellent writer too. I read his book "Beautiful and furious world” (subjective notes about contemporary chess) many years ago and it made a huge impression on me. I also read his "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", liked it too. He was one of the most favorite chess players in the former USSR. I remember reading in the newspaper:
"Strong in the hot gambit
And in the half-drawn endgame
So, he wasn't a champion (of the world)
But he always was Bronstein!

Korch said...