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Forgotten Players (#2)

(09/17/2002) A page devoted to those players who have been completely forgotten by chess history ... or deserve to be better known than they are today. 

There seem to be literally dozens of chess players who have been mostly ignored or forgotten by chess history. Some of these seem VERY unfair to me. This page will be a testament and an honor to those players. And if you know of a player who might have gotten a bum rap by chess history, let me know about it.  (Send me an e-mail.) 

Stay tuned as I bring you more players of the past who have been ignored or completely forgotten by chess history. 


I once was one of the strongest players in all of Russia. (I won the Championship of the USSR more than once.) I was not on anyone's rating list in 1967, but if there was ... I could have very well been # 1 player ... in the world!!! 

I won the FIRST International tournament I ever played in. (Bucharest, ROM; 1961.)
(Capablanca also managed this trick as well.) 

In 1966, I finished second, (behind Smyslov); at Mar del Plata. 
In 1967 I had a VERY good year. I won the XXXIV Soviet Championships at Tbilisi. (13-7. Ahead of Geller, Gipslis, Korchnoi, Taimanov, Lein, Krogius, Bronstein, Polugaeyavsky, Kholmov, Savon, Smyslov, etc.) I did very well in one team championship, scoring 8-2, (six wins, four draws); against the likes of Petrosian, Smyslov, Spassky, Botvinnik, (!) etc. I also won the Jubilee tournament of Moscow in 1967 ahead of virtually all the strongest players in the world.

I had bad luck in the Interzonals, and often just missed qualifying. 

About 5 of my games are considered some of the most beautiful attacks ever played. Players like Tal, Spassky, Petrosian, etc; have all confessed to studying my games. 

My life and my games are the subject of over a DOZEN books in Russia, many of these are still in print, (and VERY popular!!);  ...  even today.    WHO AM I?    (Leonid Stein.)  

(I'll bet you were not able to answer this one ... without cheating and using a bunch of books!) 

I have gotten around 250 e-mails about this one ... so far, nobody has guessed correctly! Surprising, as research would show only one answer.   (Nov. 2003)     
  {Someone posted this in an AOL  <chess>  "chat-room,"  ... with my e-mail address!}   


GM Leonid Z. Stein:  A player that the average  {chess-playing}  young person today knows absolutely nothing about. And this is a shame, as he was a great player and an incredible attacker. 

Stein: (1934-1973)  A Ukrainian player, and Soviet Champion. (1963, 1965, & 1966-67) 

A factory worker who only later became a professional chess player. (GM title in 1962.) 

He was twice denied a shot at becoming a Candidate ... due to a rule limiting the number of Soviet players that were to be involved in such a contest. (The natural fall-out from Fischer's failure to qualify at Curacao ... and his subsequent accusations of cheating and collusion amongst Soviet and Eastern-bloc players. While there might have been some truth to these claims by Fischer, one very sad result was that many of the players affected - like Stein - missed a chance to qualify.) 

Probably the best book on this player was the one published in Russia by Gufeld and Lazerev. 

When he was at the height of his powers, he collapsed and died. {Presumably a heart attack?} 


<< Leonid Stein's brilliant chess career was cut tragically short by his untimely death in 1973. >> 
     GM Raymond D. Keene  

He goes on to note that he won three out of four USSR Championships in the period 1963-1966. He also won two of the strongest tournaments of that era. (Moscow, 1967; and the Alekhine Memorial Tournament in 1971.)  He was continually a high-scorer in many Soviet Team tournaments. 


Click  here  to see a game by Grand-Master Leonid Stein.  (A good job of annotation.)  

The new book by Kasparov has about 18-20 Stein games in it. (Stein fans should be happy.) 

Coming soon?   ...  The answer to the above question - plus at least a brief bio.

  Sunday,  July 06th, 2003.  

I never cease to be astounded by the ignorance of some players today. About two days ago I was part of a discussion group on one chess server. One of the players there is a fairly young GM ... who might be close to  (or in)  the 'Top 100' Players in the world. (By rating.) 

I threw one name out, and the young GM responded, "A weak player, he would be lucky to be an IM in the chess world of today." (This is from memory, but it is an exact quote, as best as I can recall.) 

So here we go: 

"I am a player of long past. Most don't even know who I am, or much about me. Yet at one time, I was EASILY in the "TOP TEN" in the world."  (More like the top 5 to 7. For 15 years!! This is straight from the 'Oxford Companion To Chess.' And Anne Sunnucks calls him -  ... "one of the strongest players of that period.")  "When I tied for second place with Baron von Kolisch in Paris, Lowenthal felt I  ...  < had dropped down out of heaven - from the clouds. >  (Came from nowhere.)  About 5 years later, I would tie for first (with Steinitz) in what one historian called, 'THE strongest tournament of that era!' Most modern players only know me from one system that I created in the French." 

  "WHO AM I?" 

   If you give up ... then click  here  

fp02_pic_rat-kholmov.jpg, 29 KB

 GM Ratmir D. Kholmov   - born May 13, 1925. Deceased: February 18th, 2006.  

One of the more interesting characters of chess, he has played many fine and beautiful games. He had wins against virtually all of the World Champions of his period. He was not really well known in the west, he was never allowed to travel (much) outside of the {old/former} Soviet Union. To show how little is known about this player, I do not think there is even one good book on him, (at least not in English). 

I will - at a later date - try to do more research on this player. Hopefully, I can dig up a little more meaningful information on this player, and maybe present a few of his best games.  (Wednesday; March 22, 2006.) 

  [The CB story.]   [Search the 'net for this player.]   [The Mecca file on this player.]   [The TWIC report.]  

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

  Copyright () A.J. Goldsby, 1985 - 2012.  
  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2013.  All rights reserved.  


  Page last updated on:  Monday, May 27, 2013

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