- David Bronstein
David Bronstein Full name David Ionovich Bronstein Country Soviet Union Born February 19, 1924
Bila Tserkva, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
Died December 5, 2006(aged 82)
Title Grandmaster Peak rating 2595 (May 1974)
David Ionovich Bronstein (Дави́д Ио́нович Бронште́йн; February 19, 1924 – December 5, 2006) was a Soviet chess grandmaster, who narrowly missed becoming World Chess Champion in 1951. Bronstein was described by his peers as a creative genius and master of tactics. He was also a renowned chess writer.
David Bronstein was born in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, to a Jewish mother and father. Growing up, he learned chess at age six from his grandfather. As a youth in Kiev, he was trained by the renowned International Master Alexander Konstantinopolsky. He finished second in the Kiev Championship when he was only 15, and achieved the Soviet Master title at age 16 for his second-place result in the 1940 Ukrainian Chess Championship, behind Isaac Boleslavsky, with whom he became close friends both on and off the chessboard. He would later go on to marry Boleslavsky's daughter, Tatiana, in 1984.
After completing high school, his plans to study mathematics at Kiev University were interrupted by the spread of World War II throughout eastern Europe in the early 1940s. Shortly after the war's conclusion, he began attending Leningrad Polytechnical Institute where he studied for approximately one year.
Judged unfit for military service, Bronstein spent the war performing various jobs; this included doing some reconstruction of war-damaged buildings and other clerical/labor type jobs. Also during the war, his father, Johonon, was unfairly imprisoned for several years in the Gulag and was detained without substantial evidence for committing any crimes, it was later revealed.
The rumor that Bronstein was related to the disgraced former Soviet Communist leader Leon Trotsky (whose real family name was Bronstein), was treated as unconfirmed, but doubtful, by Bronstein in his book The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1995). This belief could have explained the imprisonment of Bronstein's father.
With the tide turning towards an eventual Soviet war victory over the Nazi invaders, Bronstein was able to once again play some competitive chess, and he defeated Soviet champion Mikhail Botvinnik at the 1944 USSR Championship. Bronstein raised his skill dramatically to place third in the 1945 USSR Championship, and he won both his games played on board ten, helping the Soviet team to victory in the famous 1945 USSR vs. USA Radio Chess Match. He then competed successfully in several team matches, and gradually proved he belonged in the Soviet chess elite.
World Title Challenger (1948–51)
Bronstein's first major international tournament success occurred at the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal of 1948, which he won. He earned his Grandmaster title in 1950, when FIDE, the World Chess Federation, formalized the process. His Interzonal win qualified him for the Candidates' Tournament of 1950 in Budapest. Bronstein became the eventual winner over Boleslavsky in a (Moscow) 1950 playoff, after the two tied in Budapest. The period 1945–50 saw a meteoric rise in Bronstein's development, as he reached the World Chess Championship challenge match, in 1951.
Bronstein is widely considered to be one of the greatest post-war players not to have won the World Championship (an accolade he shares with the likes of Paul Keres and Viktor Korchnoi). He came agonizingly close to his goal when he drew the 1951 challenge match for the title of World Champion by a score of 12–12 with Mikhail Botvinnik, the reigning champion.
In a match where the lead swung back and forth several times, the two titans tested each other in a wide variety of opening formations, and every game (except the 24th) was full-blooded and played hard to a clear finish. Bronstein often avoided lines he had favored in earlier events, and frequently adopted Botvinnik's own preferred variations. This strategy seemed to catch Botvinnik by surprise; the champion had not played competitively for three years since winning the title in 1948. The quality of play was very high by both players, although Botvinnik would later complain of his own weak play. He only grudgingly acknowledged Bronstein's huge talent. Bronstein led by one point with two games to go, but lost the 23rd game and drew the final (24th) game. Under FIDE rules, the title remained with the holder, and Bronstein was never to come so close again. He later wrote that it was likely better that he didn't win the world title, since his free-spirited, artistic personality would have been at odds with Soviet bureaucracy.
Botvinnik wrote that Bronstein's failure was caused by a tendency to underestimate endgame technique, and a lack of ability in simple positions. But this seems unfair, given Botvinnik's enormous advantage in experience when dealing with adjourned positions, which largely decided the 1951 match, since Botvinnik won four virtually level endgames after the adjournments. Bronstein proved, both before and after that match, that he was a very skilled endgame player, and could handle any chess position as well as practically anyone else.
It has often been alleged that Bronstein was forced by the Soviet authorities to throw the match to allow Botvinnik to win. Similarly, in the 1953 Candidates' Tournament at Neuhausen and Zürich, it has been speculated that there was pressure on the top non-Russian Soviets, Keres and Bronstein, to allow Vasily Smyslov to win. Even in the wake of glasnost, however, Bronstein never fully confirmed these rumors in his public statements or writings, admitting only to 'strong psychological pressure' being applied. In his final book, however, published in 2007 after his death, Bronstein wrote that Smyslov was favoured for Zurich 1953 by the Soviet Chess Federation, and that other Soviet representatives were pressured to make this happen.
Career after 1951
Bronstein challenged throughout in Switzerland, and finished tied for second through fourth places, together with Keres and Samuel Reshevsky. This result qualified him directly for the 1955 Gothenburg Interzonal, which he won with an unbeaten score. From there it was on to another near miss in the 1956 Candidates' tournament in Amsterdam, where he wound up in a large tie for third through seventh places, behind winner Smyslov and runner-up Keres.
Bronstein had to qualify for the 1958 Interzonal, and did so by placing third at the USSR Championship, Riga 1958. At the 1958 Interzonal in Portorož, Bronstein, who had been picked as pre-event favorite by Bobby Fischer, missed moving on to the 1959 Candidates' by half a point, dropping a last-round game to the much weaker Filipino Rodolfo Tan Cardoso, when the power failed during the game, and he was unable to regain concentration. Bronstein missed qualification at the Soviet Zonal stage for the 1962 cycle. Then at the Amsterdam 1964 Interzonal, Bronstein scored very well, but only three Soviets could advance, by a FIDE rule, and he finished behind countrymen Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, and Boris Spassky, who finished as the joint winners, along with Larsen. His last Interzonal took place at the age of 49 when he finished 6th at Petropolis 1973.
Bronstein took many first prizes in tournaments, among the most notable being the Soviet Chess Championships of 1948 (jointly with Alexander Kotov) and 1949 (jointly with Smyslov). He also tied for second place at the Soviet Championships of 1957 and 1964–65. He tied first with Mark Taimanov at the World Students' Championship in 1952 at Liverpool. Bronstein was also a six times winner of the Moscow Championships, and represented the USSR at the Olympiads of 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1958, winning board prizes at each of them, and losing just one of his 49 games in those events. Along the way he won four Olympiad team gold medals. In the 1954 team match against the USA (held in New York), Bronstein scored an almost unheard-of sweep at this level of play, winning all four of his games on second board.
Further major tournament victories were achieved at Hastings 1953–54, 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.
Legacy and later years
David Bronstein also wrote many chess books and articles, and had a regular chess column in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia for many years. He was perhaps most highly regarded for his famous authorship of Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 (English translation 1979). This book was an enormous seller in the USSR, going through many reprints. More recently, he coauthored the autobiographical The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1995), with his friend Tom Fuerstenberg. Both have become landmarks in chess publishing history; Bronstein seeks to amplify the ideas behind the players' moves, rather than burdening the reader with pages of analysis of moves that never made it onto the scoresheet. Bronstein's romantic vision of chess was shown with his very successful adoption of the rarely seen King's Gambit in top-level competition. His pioneering theoretical and practical work (along with fellow Ukrainians Boleslavsky and Efim Geller) in transforming the King's Indian Defence should be remembered, and is evidenced in his key contribution to the 1999 book, Bronstein on the King's Indian. Bronstein played an exceptionally wide variety of openings during his long career, on a scale comparable with anyone else who ever reached the top level.
Two more variations are named after him. 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.
Bronstein refused to sign a group letter denouncing the 1976 defection of Viktor Korchnoi, and he paid a personal price for this independence, as his state-paid Master's stipend was suspended, and he was also barred from major tournaments for more than a year.
Bronstein was a chess visionary. He was an early advocate of speeding up competitive chess, and introduced 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. He challenged computer programs at every opportunity, usually achieving good results.
In later years, Bronstein continued to stay active in tournament play, often in Western Europe after the breakup of the USSR. He maintained a very good standard (jointly winning the Hastings Swiss of 1994–95 at the age of 70), wrote several important chess books, and inspired young and old alike with endless simultaneous displays, a warm, gracious attitude, and glorious tales of his own, rich chess heritage. Bronstein died on December 5, 2006 in Minsk, Belarus of complications from high blood pressure.
His final book was nearly complete when he died; it was published in 2007: Secret Notes, by David Bronstein and Sergei Voronkov, Zürich 2007, Edition Olms, ISBN 9783283004644. In the introduction to the book, Garry Kasparov, a fervent admirer of Bronstein's chess contributions, offers his opinion that Bronstein, based on his play, should have won the 1951 match against Botvinnik.
Notable chess games
- Sergei Belavenets vs David Bronstein, USSR Championship semifinal, Rostov-on-Don 1941, King's Indian Defence, Fianchetto Variation (E67), 0–1 The 17-year-old Bronstein meets the Chairman of the USSR Classification Committee, who had just awarded him the title of Master; the youth shows that it was the right decision!
- Ludek Pachman vs David Bronstein, tt Prague 1946, King's Indian Defence, Fianchetto Variation (E67), 0–1 A stunning original tactical onslaught which attracted worldwide acclaim.
- David Bronstein vs Isaac Boleslavsky, Candidates' Playoff Match, Moscow 1950, game 1, Grunfeld Defence (D89), 1–0 Bronstein offers a far-seeing exchange sacrifice, which ties Black up, leading to a beautiful strategical win.
- Mikhail Botvinnik vs David Bronstein, World Championship Match, Moscow 1951, Nimzo–Indian Defence, Rubinstein Variation (E47), 0–1 Although Bronstein had a slight minus record against Botvinnik, he beat Botvinnik several times with the Black pieces. Here's one of his wins from their 1951 World Championship match.
- David Bronstein vs Mikhail Botvinnik, World Championship Match, Moscow 1951, game 22, Dutch Defence, Stonewall Variation (A91), 1–0 A very deep combination exploits Black's back-rank weakness, giving Bronstein a one-game lead with two to play.
- Samuel Reshevsky vs David Bronstein, Zurich Candidates' 1953, King's Indian, Fianchetto Variation (E68), 0–1 Beforehand, Bronstein was ordered by Soviet chess authorities to win this crucial game, in order to stop Reshevsky's chances of winning the tournament. He gives it everything he has, and triumphs over stout defense. This game was chosen by grandmaster Ulf Andersson as his favourite game by another player and he analyses it in the book Learn from the Grandmasters.
- David Bronstein vs Paul Keres, Goteborg Interzonal 1955, Nimzo–Indian Defence, Rubinstein Variation (E41), 1–0 A dramatic game between two attacking geniuses.
- Itzak Aloni vs David Bronstein, Moscow Olympiad 1956, King's Indian Defence, Saemisch Variation (E85), 0–1 This virtuoso game sees Bronstein sacrifice three pawns to open queenside lines into Aloni's King position.
- David Bronstein vs M-20(Computer), Moscu Mathematics Institute 1963, King's Gambit: Accepted, Schallop Defense (C34), 1–0 The oldest known Grandmaster vs Computer match.
- Stefan Brzozka vs David Bronstein, USSR 1963, Dutch Defence, Leningrad Variation (A88), 0–1 A surprising and deep positional breakthrough. The most interesting part of the game starts with White's 42nd move, trying to sacrifice an exchange in order to achieve a seemingly sterile blocked position.
- Lev Polugaevsky vs David Bronstein, USSR 1971, English Opening, Symmetrical Variation (A34), 0–1 Bronstein offers an original, problematic pawn sacrifice, which Polugaevsky accepts, leaving him tied up for the rest of the game; Bronstein converts his positional advantage with deep tactics.
- David Bronstein vs Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Petropolis Interzonal 1973, Alekhine's Defence, Four Pawns' Attack (B03), 1–0 A long-range rook sacrifice eventually brings home the point in scintillating style to win the First Brilliancy Prize.
- David Bronstein vs Viktor Kupreichik, USSR Championship semifinal, Minsk 1983, King's Indian Defence (E90), 1–0 Kupreichik goes toe-to-toe with Bronstein in the King's Indian, and the old master shows the young one a trick or two!
- David Bronstein vs Ivan Sokolov, Pancevo 1987, Grunfeld Defence, Russian Variation (D98), 1–0 Another young master experiences Bronstein's aging but potent chess powers.–
- Stuart Conquest vs David Bronstein, London 1989, CaroKann Defence (B10), 0–1 A dazzling tactical display leaves White helpless in only 26 moves.
- David Bronstein vs Walter Browne, Reykjavik 1990, Sicilian Defence, Najdorf Variation (B99), 1–0 In a very deep theoretical variation, Bronstein comes up with some new ideas, and even Najdorf guru Browne, a six-time U.S. champion, can't find his way.
Sample gameBronstein vs. Korchnoi, 1962
During the 1962 Moscow v. Leningrad Match Bronstein played the top board for the Moscow team. With the white pieces he defeated Viktor Korchnoi in a game that ended with a tactic he would later describe as "one of the best combinations in my life, if not the best."
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Bc2 0-0 11.Qe2 f5 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.Nbd2 Bf5 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Bxe4 dxe4 16.Qxe4 Qd7 17.Bf4 Rae8 18.Qc2 Bh4 19.Bg3 Bxg3 20.hxg3 Ne5 21.Nxe5 Rxe5 22.Rfe1 Rd5 23.Rad1 c5 24.a4 Rd8 25.Rxd5 Qxd5 26.axb5 axb5 27.Qe2 b4 28.cxb4 cxb4 29.Qg4 b3 30.Kh2 Qf7 31.Qg5 Rd7 32.f3 h6 33.Qe3 Rd8 34.g4 Kh8 35.Qb6 Rd2 36.Qb8+ Kh7 37.Re8 Qxf3 38.Rh8+ Kg6 39.Rxh6+ (see diagram) Bronstein: "Kortchnoi remained unruffled. He wrote down my move on his scoresheet and began carefully studying the position. I think it seemed incredible to him that White could sacrifice his last rook (I myself could not believe my eyes!). And only when he had convinced himself, did he stop the clocks. These are the variations: A) 39... Kf7 40.Qc7+ Kg8 41.Qc8+ Kf7 42.Qe6+ Kf8 43.Rh8 mate; B) 39... Kg5 40.Qe5+ Kxg4 41.Rg6+ Kh4 42.Qg5 mate; C) 39... gxh6 40.Qg8+ Kf6 41.Qf8+; D) 39... Kxh6 40.Qh8+ Kg6 41.Qh5+ Kf6 42.g5+!" 1–0
- Game clock – for Bronstein delay
- Barden, Leonard. (1980), Play better CHESS with Leonard Barden, Octopus Books Limited, p. 49, ISBN 0-7064-0967-1
- Brace, Edward R. (1977), An Illustrated Dictionary of Chess, Hamlyn Publishing Group, pp. 66–67, ISBN 1-55521-394-4
- Hooper, David and Whyld, Kenneth (1984), The Oxford Companion to Chess, Oxford University Press
- Whyld, Kenneth (1986), (Guinness) Chess; The Records
- Kazic (1974), International Championship Chess
- Sunnucks (1970), The Encyclopaedia of Chess
- David Bronstein (1973), Two Hundred Open Games, McMillan
- David Bronstein (1956), Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953, English Translation Dover (1979)
- David Bronstein and Tom Fuerstenberg (1995), The Sorcerer's Apprentice, New In Chess (2nd edition 2009)
- Chernev, Irving (1995), Twelve Great Chess Players and Their Best Games, New York: Dover, pp. 29–42, ISBN 0486286746
- David Bronstein player profile at ChessGames.com
- Obituary by Leonard Barden at Guardian Unlimited
- Obituary by Frederic Friedel at Chessbase
- Download all games of David Bronstein
Achievements Preceded by
Youngest chess grandmaster ever
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David Bronstein — David Ionovich Bronstein Nom de naissance Дави´д Ио´нович Бронште´йн Naissance 19 février 1924 Bila Tserkva, RSS d Ukraine, URSS Décès 5 décembre 2006 (à 82 ans) Minsk, Biélorussie … Wikipédia en Français
David Bronstein — David Ionowitsch Bronstein (russisch Давид Ионович Бронштейн; wiss. Transliteration David Ionovič Bronštejn * 19. Februar 1924 in Bila Zerkwa, Ukrainische SSR; † 5. Dezember 2006 in Minsk, Weißrussland) war ein sowjetischer Schachgroßmeister.… … Deutsch Wikipedia
David Bronstein — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda David Bronstein Nacimiento 19 de febrero de 1924 … Wikipedia Español
David Bronstein — David Ionovich Bronstein (nacido el 19 de febrero de 1924) en Belaya Tserkov, cerca de Kiev, Ucrania. Es un famoso Gran Maestro de ajedrez y escritor. Fue descrito como un genio creativo y un maestro táctico. Su obra demuestra que el ajedrez debe … Enciclopedia Universal
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