Chess Roll

Russians and Their Contribution In The World of Chess

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Russian names, chess boards are visible anywhere you go in Russia. Either in public parks or pavement, is the daily venue for chess enthusiasts to gather and test each other’s tactics against each other. In the earliest days of the soviet’s regime, the Game of Chess was analogous to wise leadership. Although Russia’s global recognition in soccer is low, one cannot say it is similar in Chess. Russia and the Soviet Union have dominated Chess tournaments and have won numerous championships, and it is not surprising since they would constantly outperform expectations in every performance. 

Why are Russian Names Always on Top of Chess?

The main reason why Russians are good at chess is that the Soviets subsidized the game. According to Gamesver, Chess became a national pastime for the Russian people it is why it is the most popular board game in the country. Everywhere you go, and anywhere you look, there will always be mini-tournaments in the streets along with the popular Russian names. Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for FIFA World Cup-2018, Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich said that he always had deep connections with Chess ever since he was small and many of his compatriots as well.

The Soviet Union dominated the Game of Chess for decades until, in the 1970s, Bobby Fischer came along to break that up. At that time, the USA and Soviet Union entered the cold-war confrontation. Chess played a vital role in politics as well. In 1985, Gary Kasparov became the youngest ever world chess champion at 22 years old and led the country’s economy to a boom.

Russian Names That Made Their Country Proud

Mikhail Botvinnik

Russian Names That Made Their Country Proud

Born in Kuokkala, Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire (now Repino, Russia), Botvinnik was unquestionably one of the most famous Russian names and a top chess player ever. Botvinnik was a Soviet and a Russian grandmaster (1948- 1963) and held a record as the world chess champion for almost 15 years with two few breaks in 1957 and 1960. Botvinnik hailed as the strongest player of all time was also known as the father of Soviet Chess Schools. His students include World Champions Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, and Vladimir Kramnik (as well as many other Grandmasters).

At the early age of 14, after learning the basic moves of Chess, he then defeated the reigning world champion, José Raúl Capablanca, which they played simultaneously against his opponents. Botvinnik is a rational and a methodical player than the usual strongly intuitive. He authored books, and his scientific approach in playing the game influenced the next generation of soviet chess players including the famous Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov.

Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov

Russian Names That Made Their country Proud

Karpov learned to play chess and started as a child prodigy at the age of four, and at the early age of nine, he was rated as a first-category player. He won the junior championship in 1969 in Stockholm, and a few years later, he became the world’s youngest champion at the age of nineteen. Series of fortunate wins by Karpov 1971-74 made him a challenger to Bobby Fischer of the USA. For the 1975 World Chess Championship and Karpov became the champion since Fischer refused to play due to certain conditions set by Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE).

In 1984-85, Karpov battled his title against his countryman Garry Kasparov and defended it. In the early series of their matches, Karpov gained a lead and eventually won. The match consisted of 48 games, but in 1985, Karpov lost his title to Kasparov after 24 rounds of play.

Gary Kasparov

Russian Names That Made Their country Proud

In 1963, Kasparov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union. He became a champion at under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. At 22, Gary Kasparov became the youngest world champion in 1985 and came to international fame. He successfully defended his title five consecutive times, including the ones against his legendary game with Anatoly Karpov. In 1990, Kasparov broke Fischer’s record, and his peak rating was unscathed until 2013. Also, he was famous for playing against the IBM super-computer Deep Blue in 1996-97, which led to bringing the game Chess and Artificial Intelligence into the mainstream together. Since then,

Vladimir Kramnik

Russian Names That Made Their country Proud

Kramnik is a Russian international chess grandmaster and was born in Tuapse, Russia. In November 2000, he defeated his countryman, Garry Kasparov in a world championship in a professional Chess Association. The match was held in London, Kramnik winning two games, drawing 13 and losing none. He was raised by an artistic father, and his mother was a music teacher. At a young age, Kramnik learned to pick up the game chess through his father and was always been fascinated by it.

His chess passion led him to take instructions to harness his skill from a local pioneer, a Soviet Union Organization. At the age of 7, he became a champion of Tuapse, and a few years later, he also becomes a “candidate” master at age 11. He got the attention of more soviet chess schools and the headmaster Mikhail Botvinnik, a former world champion. Kramnik’s successes opened this opportunity in winning the World Under 18 Championship in 1991, and Kasparov was the man who gave Kramnik’s breakthrough. 

Kasparov leads the team and shocked everyone for letting the young 16-year-old Kramnik play in The Men’s Olympiad. Although there are people in doubt of Kramnik playing for the olympiad, he justified himself by scoring an impressive eight wins and one draw out of nine games. So, the Russian went home a victor once again as the young Kramnik won a gold medal and was awarded on his 17th birthday.  

Final Word

Every chess players’ legacy is a pillar of the chess world. These popular Russian names and their contributions influence more people each day and it made them legends. Their unforgettable impression of people, how they managed to win in every game, and how their personalities reflect on every match are what made them influentials in their chosen skill rather than just winning. Chess is the game of life and these people can touch lives to bring out the best in them. 

The openings, tactics, and winning strategies are just the labor of their hardworking minds and sacrifices but labeled them as the greatest world champions in the history of chess. 

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