Een onbekende Rus kwam in naar Nederland. Na een jaar werd hij Nederlands kampioen, weer een jaar later meester en in grootmeester. Enkele jaren later kon Genna Sosonko zich meten met de sterksten ter wereld. Genna Sosonko in Foto: nationaal archief.

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To seize the title Bronstein needed only one point from the last two games — in case of tie Botvinnik would remain champion. But in the crucial 23rd game Bronstein, who was playing with black, lost his nerve and lost a drawn endgame.

In the 24th and last game Bronstein had White but after 22 moves he found himself in a position with a pawn down and no compensation and agreed to a draw. The match ended in a tie and Botvinnik defended his title. Later Bronstein came up with endless explanations why he did not win the match. It was all very simple. Before the second session, during my morning walk, I happened to bump into my wife, Olga, whom I had divorced for all practical purposes. One thing led to another, we started to quarrel, and continued for nearly an hour.

Yet, at the same time, my seconds were demanding that I play to win. So I went to the resumption of that ill-fated game feeling mentally drained. The answer is very simple. In those days, that title meant that you had to become part of the official world of chess bureaucracy and take on all sorts of responsibilities, which was incompatible with my personality.

The Russion original of the book was published in The missed chance to become World Champion became an obsession for Bronstein who is described by Sosonko as an egotistical person who in endless monologues knew only one topic: himself. It was always about him, himself, and his chess. His place in chess was the meaning and substance of his entire life. Bronstein was born on February 19, in the small village of Bila Tserkva in Ukraine, at that time part of the Soviet Union. Due to his weak eyesight Bronstein was declared unfit for military service and did not have to fight in World War II but he had to flee from the German army, was homeless, and again and again suffered from cold and hunger.

In the Candidates Tournament he shared first place with his friend and training partner, Isaak Boleslavsky, whose daughter, Tatiana, Bronstein later married. In the tie-break after the Candidates Bronstein defeated Boleslavsky, probably after an agreement between the two. This gave Bronstein the right to play against Botvinnik for the World Championship. Vainshtein also had the idea to write a book about the Candidates Tournament in Zurich, in which Bronstein finished second behind Smyslov.

However, Bronstein only contributed analyses, Vainshtein wrote "the entire narrative part". See The Rise and Fall, p. After Zurich he achieved a number of successes in more or less important tournaments and occasionally played brilliant games but he was no longer part of the very top.

Bronstein died on December 5, , in Minsk, at the age of He was a genius, what a genius! A genius is somebody ahead of his time, and Bronstein was far ahead of his time. If Botvinnik said that Bronstein was very strong when the opening was making a transition into the middlegame then that was a very weak statement.

In reality, at that point in the game, Bronstein demonstrated many ideas that were complete revelations. He understood the game better than anyone from through Had there been no Bronstein, there would have been no Tal. But according to Sosonko Bronstein had a grim view about his chess career and his achievements: In the old days, he would find enemies in the sports committee, then in the Soviet Chess Federation, then in the government. After the Soviet Union collapsed, he complained that he had been deprived, cheated out of his fair share, forgotten, and betrayed.

Bronstein listed his complaints in his last books, articles, and interviews. Everything that he wrote and said at the time could have been published under the same title: Grievances.

Instead, he draws a picture of an egomanic, who failed to become world champion and therefore liked to cast himself in the role of chess improviser and as a player for whom beauty was more important than competitive success. Still, the question arises why it is necessary to extensively describe and detail the character failings of someone who is first of all remembered as a chessplayer and chess thinker.

What was the point of all that philosophizing and those attempted explanations Who was all that for? I should have left the departed alone in their graves and should have allowed the living to keep their illusions. Moreover, it is hard to see Bronstein who was protected by the powerful and influential Boris Vainshtein as a victim of the political situation in the Soviet Union.

However, the time and the circumstances in which Bronstein lived certainly contributed to make Bronstein a bitter man who could not see and cherish his many achievement and successes. Williams has included a lot of novelties and interesting attacking variations that should wet the lips of any attacking player, looking for an interesting way of meeting Andrew Martin shows the basic ideas of this fascinating opening.


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Genna Sosonko



Shattered illusions: "The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein"


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