Isaac Lipnitsky

Isaac Lipnitsky

Isaac (Isaak) Oskarovich Lipnitsky (Lipnitski) (Kiev, January 1923 – Kiev, December 1959) was a Ukrainian-Soviet chess player of close to Grandmaster strength. He was a two-time Ukrainian champion (1949, 1956), and was among Ukraine's top half-dozen players from 1948 to 1956. He was a chess theoretician and professional teacher.

Early life

Isaac Lipnitsky was a childhood companion and chess rival of David Bronstein in Kiev. In Bronstein's acclaimed 1995 book, co-authored with Tom Furstenberg, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", Bronstein and Lipnitsky are pictured together in a group photo from the Kiev Junior Chess Club in 1939, and Bronstein includes an early drawn game of high calibre from 1938 against Lipnitsky in his collection.

Lipnitsky qualified for his first Ukrainian Championship in 1939 at Dnepropetrovsk at age 16, and he made a very creditable 7th place, with 8/15 (+5 =6 -4), half a point ahead of Bronstein, who was also making his debut at age 15. The Second World War then suspended most chess competition in the USSR for the next half-dozen years. Lipnitsky served in the Soviet Red Army, fought in the Battle of Stalingrad, and was decorated four times.

Lipnitsky's first result of note after the war in high-level competition was a tie for 5th-8th places in the 1948 Ukrainian Championship at Kiev with 11/18, only half a point behind winner Anatoly Bannik, another childhood rival from the Kiev Junior Chess Club. In a tournament at Kharkov 1948, Lipnitsky scored 7.5/15, to place 11th.

Ukrainian Champion, Soviet runner-up

Lipnitsky won the Ukrainian Championship in 1949 at Kiev, with a very strong 15.5/19 (+14 =3 -2). This earned him the Master title. Efim Geller was second; Geller later became a world-class Grandmaster.

Lipnitsky had by far the best result of his career at Moscow in 1950 at the URS-ch18, where he scored a superb 11/17 (+8 =6 -3), to tie for 2nd-4th places, along with Lev Aronin and Alexander Tolush, only half a point behind champion Paul Keres. This was good for a 2729 performance on the site. Chessmetrics ranks him at #12 in the world on its December 1950 rating list, at 2700.

In the 1950 Ukrainian Championship at Kiev, Lipnitsky scored 12/17 to place a strong second. In the 1952 Ukrainian Championship at Kiev, Lipnitsky finished in a tied 5th-6th place with 8.5/15.Then in the 1953 Ukrainian Championship at Kiev, he ended up in a tied 3rd-4th place, with 8.5/13.

Lipnitsky did not do anywhere near as well in the next two Soviet Championships, however. In URS-ch19, Moscow 1951, Lipnitsky scored just 6.5/17 (+4 =5 -8), for a tied 15th-16th place, and a 2588 performance. At URS-ch20, Moscow 1952, Lipnitsky made only 7/19 (+3 =8 -8), for 17th place, and a 2567 performance.

Lipnitsky scored a very good 7/10 in the 1954 USSR Team Championship at Riga. He won the Ukrainian Championship again in 1956 at Kiev with 15/19, this time a point ahead of Bannik, who was second.

Legacy and style

Lipnitsky never got the chance to compete internationally in an individual tournament, missing out on the chance to earn international chess titles. Very few Soviet players got the chance to compete internationally during those years, and invitations were controlled by the Soviet Chess Federation. In the Ukraine of his peak years, the region had more than 30 million people, and chess was very popular, with many strong players. By the chess standards of the 21st century, with Ukraine now an independent nation since 1991, Lipnitsky was certainly of International Master standard, and likely Grandmaster level. Lipnitsky achieved victories over most of the top Soviet players of his era during his peak years from 1948-56, including Paul Keres, Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian, Alexander Kotov, Yuri Averbakh, Igor Bondarevsky, Mark Taimanov, Efim Geller, Semyon Furman, Lev Aronin, Alexei Suetin, Ilya Kan, and Evgeny Vasiukov, among others. He had a wide opening repertoire with both colours, and his style was positional in nature, with tactics not dominating, but flowing from the situation.

Lipnitsky died at age 36 in Kiev in 1959. There is a selection of 47 of his games at has 101 of his games, while the site has the largest collection with 138 of his games. Many of these games are duplicated between sites. Most of his Ukrainian Championship games are currently missing from these database collections.

Notable chess games

* [, Isaak Lipnitsky vs Tigran Petrosian, USSR Championship, Moscow 1950, Bogo-Indian Defence (E11), 1-0] It's a very tough maneuvering endgame win over a future World Champion.
* [, Isaak Lipnitsky vs Vasily Smyslov, USSR Championship, Moscow 1950, Queen's Gambit Declined, Slav Defence, Exchange Variation (D13), 1-0] Smyslov, another future World Champion, is a master of the endgame, but here Lipnitsky proves just a bit too tough with a patient strategical victory.
* [, Alexander Kotov vs Isaak Lipnitsky, USSR Championship, Moscow 1951, Nimzo-Indian Defence, Classical Variation (E35), 0-1] Some very clever tactics feature in this Kingside attack.
* [, Alexei Suetin vs Isaak Lipnitsky, USSR Championship, Moscow 1952, Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defence (C79), 0-1] Black whips up a dandy attack after White's Queen goes pawnhunting.
* [, Isaak Lipnitsky vs Ilya Kan, USSR Championship, Moscow 1952, Sicilian Defence, Kan/Paulsen Variation (B43), 1-0] Kan's special variation takes a beating.
* [, Isaak Lipnitsky vs Evgeniy Vasiukov, USSR Team Championship, Voroshilovgrad 1955, King's Indian Defence, Fianchetto Variation (E60), 1-0] Black's slightly offbeat opening strategy gets slowly squeezed.


External links

*chessgames player|id=45138

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