David Bronstein[ edit ]

David Ionovich Bronstein (born February 19, 1924) is renowned as a leading chess grandmaster and writer. He was born in Belaya Tserkov near Kiev, Ukraine. Described as a creative genius and master of tactics by pundits and plaudits the world over, Bronstein provides ample evidence that chess should be regarded as part science, part art.

His first international tournament success occurred at the Saltsjobaden Interzonal of 1948, in which he qualified for the Candidates Tournament of 1950 in Budapest, becoming the eventual winner over Isaac Boleslavsky in a (Moscow) play-off. This period saw a meteoric rise in Bronstein´s development as he prepared for the first official world title challenge match, in 1951.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest players not to have won the world championship (an accolade he shares with the likes of Paul Keres, Victor Korchnoi and Bent Larsen) he went agonisingly close to his goal when he drew the challenge match for the title of world champion by a score of 12-12 with Mikhail Botvinnik, the reigning champion. Under FIDE rules, the title remained with the holder and Bronstein was never to come so close again. Like many other instances, there is credible theory that Bronstein was forced to throw the match by the Soviet oligarchy, to allow the Russian Botvinnik to win. Similarly, in the 1953 candidates tournament in Zurich, there is further speculation that there was pressure on the non-Russian Soviets, Keres and Bronstein to allow Vassily Smyslov to win.

He has taken many first prizes in tournaments, among the most notable being the USSR Championships of 1948 (jointly with Alexander Kotov) and 1949 (jointly with Vasily Smyslov). He is also a six times winner of the Moscow Championships and represented Russia at the Olympiads of 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1958, winning board prizes at each of them.

David Bronstein has also written a number of chess books and articles. He is perhaps most highly regarded for his authorship of Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 (English translation 1979) and co-authorship of The Sorcerer´s Apprentice (1995), both of which have become landmarks in chess publishing history and in which 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. His theoretical work in transforming the King´s Indian Defence from a dubious (pre-World War II) to reliable (post-World War II) defence should not go unnoticed and is evidenced in his contribution to the 1999 book, Bronstein on the King´s Indian.

In latter years, Bronstein has continued to play chess at a good level and has inspired young and old alike with endless simultaneous displays, a warm, gracious attitude and glorious tales of his own, rich chess heritage.

Although Bronstein has a negative record against Botvinnik, he beat Botvinnik several times with black pieces. Here´s one of his wins in Moscow in 1951 (moves given in Algebraic chess notation):

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O
5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 b6 7.O-O Bb7 8.Na4 cxd4
9.a3 Be7 10.exd4 Qc7 11.b4 Ng4 12.g3 f5
13.Nc3 a6 14.Re1 Nc6 15.Bf1 Nd8 16.Bf4 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Qxd6 18.Bg2 Nf7 19.c5 Qc7 20.Rc1 Rae8 21.Na4 b5 22.Nc3 f4 23.d5 fxg3 24.fxg3 exd5 25.Qd4 Nf6 26.Nh4 Re5 27.Rxe5 Qxe5 28.Qxe5 Nxe5 29.Nf5 Nc4 30.Rd1 Kh8 31.Re1 Nxa3 32.Nd6 Bc6
33.Ra1 Nc2 34.Rxa6 d4 35.Ncxb5 Bxg2 36.Kxg2 Ng4 37.Nf5 d3 38.Rd6 Rxf5 39.Rxd7 Nce3+ 0-1

  • The Oxford Companion to Chess (Hooper and Whyld) - 1984
  • (Guinness) Chess; The Records (Whyld) - 1986
  • International Championship Chess (Kazic) - 1974
  • The Encyclopaedia of Chess (Sunnucks) - 1970

Further reading
  • Twelve Great Chess Players and Their Best Games by Irving Chernev; Dover; August 1995. ISBN 0486286746

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article No 513 / last change on 2005-06-28, 03:57pm

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