May 29, 2011
After the Civil War, Moscow chess players gathered together at a private apartment at Gogolevsky Bulvar 23. In very poor conditions, without electricity and heating, they held the tournament with the strongest players – the Masters’ Tournament 1919-20, which is considered to be the first Moscow Championship of the Soviet period. That tournament was won by Alexander Alekhine who played hors concours; the second was Grekov who was announced the first Moscow Champion. At the beginning of the 1930s, a new generation of young chess players came to replace the prerevolution players: Sergey Ryumin, Sergey Belavenetz, Mikhail Yudovich, Vasily Panov, Ilya Kan and Alexander Kotov. Since 1925, Masters Tournaments have been held; the first winners of these were Nikolai Zubarev, Ilya Rabinovich, Nikolai Ryumin and Vasily Panov. In 1932, there were more than 150,000 chess clubs and sections, and in 1934, there were an estimated 450,000.
After World War II in the 1950s-70s, the leading players of Soviet chess were:
Yuri Averkbakh, Mikhail Botvinnik, David Bronstein, Vasily Smyslov, Salo Flohr, Tigran Petrosian, etc., and then came Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, etc.
A traditional match between Moscow-Leningrad or Moscow-St. Petersburg (Petrograd) has occasionally been organised since 1911. The teams (sometime 9, 11 or 40 players each) met 20 times between 1911 and 1987. Since 1922 all the matches have been held in the double round robin system, except 1941 when the match was played over telephone lines. In the period of 1911-87, the Leningrad team won nine matches in 1911, 1922, 1927, 1930, 1937, 1941, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1967, 1985 and 1987. Eight times the Moscow team won: 1912, 1926, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1968, 1984 and1986. Three matches were drawn.
After a break of nearly 15 years the match was reorganised in 2003; Moscow emerged easily with a score of 43½-36½ and in 2005, when Moscow again emerged with 43-37. The last match was played in 2006, the team of St. Petersburg won by 46-34.
Very famous chess players took part in various periods: Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Peter Svidler, Alexander Khalifman, etc.
Moscow was also the venue of prestigious events like the finals of the World Chess Championship in 1896, and then from 1948 (the second part) to 1969, 1984, 1985 and 2001, the Women’s Championship Final 1949, the Olympiads in 1956 and 1994, the Moscow International Tournament in 1925, 1935 and 1936, the Alekhine Memorial Tournament in 1956, 1971, 1975 and 1992, the Chigorin Memorial in 1947, the Botvinnik Memorial in 2001, Russia vs. Rest of the World in 2002, the Petrosian Memorial in 1999 and 2004 and the Moscow Central Chess Club championships from 1971 until 1987, the Interzonal in 1964 and 1982, the Training Tournament in 1981, the PCA Rapid in 1994, the FIDE GP Rapid in 2002, the Aeroflot Open, the Tal Memorial, the Moscow Open and many Soviet championships.
Some of the winners of international tournaments in Moscow were: 1899 Mikhail Chigorin, 1901 Mikhail Chigorin, 1908 Alexander Alekhine, 1916 Alexander Alekhine, 1918 Alexander Alekhine, 1925 Efim Bogoljubow, 1935 Mikhail Botvinnik, 1936 Jose Raul Capablanca, 1937 Reuben Fine, 1939 (shared with Leningrad) Salo Flohr, 1947 Mikahil Botvinnik, 1948 (WCh) Mikhail Botvinnik, 1950 (WWCh) Lyudmila Rudenko, 1956 Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov, 1960 Ratmir Kholmov and Vasily Smyslov, 1964 (Interzonal) Boris Spassky, 1966 Tigran Petrosian, 1967 Leonid Stein, 1967 Lev Polugaevsky, 1968 Vladimir Bagirov, 1971 Anatoly Karpov and Leonid Stein, 1975 Efim Geller, 1981 Anatoly Karpov, 1982 Mikhail Tal and Rafael Vaganian, 1982 (Interzonal) Garry Kasparov, 1985 Oleg Romanishin, 1986 Vereslav Eingorn and Kontantin Lerner, 1987 Mikhail Gurevich, 1988 Kaidanov, 1989 Dreev, 1990 Jonathan Speelman, Mikhail Gurevich, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Alexander Khalifman and Evgeny Breev, 1992 Vishwanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand, 1999 Boris Ivkov, 2002 Garry Kasparov, 2005 Amonatov (Open) 2006 Alexander Lastin (Open), 2007 Evgeny Najer (Open), 2008 Artyom Timofeev (Open), 2009 Alexander Onischuk (Open), 2010 Kontantin Chernyshov, 2011 Boris Grachev (RR) and Vladimir Belous (Open).