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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ilya Rabinovich

    Ilya Rabinovich (11 May 1891, Saint Petersburg – 23 April 1942, Perm) was a Russian master who was the first Soviet player to compete outside the USSR when in 1925 he played in a tournament in Baden-Baden, Germany. Rabinovich was very active in tournament play and had many successes.

1911 - tied for first with Platz in Saint Petersburg.
1912 - tied for 4th-5th in Vilna .
1914 - played in Mannheim and tied for 2nd-3rd in the interrupted Hauptturnier A

After the declaration of war against Russia, eleven Russian players (Alekhine, Bogoljubow, Bogatyrchuk, Flamberg, Koppelman, Maliutin, Rabinovich, Romanovsky, Saburov, Selesniev, Weinstein) from the Mannheim tournament were interned by Germany. In September 1914 four of them (Alekhine, Bogatyrchuk, Saburov, and Koppelman) were freed and allowed, through Switzerland, to return home. The Russian internees played eight tournaments, the first in Baden-Baden (1914) and all the others in Triberg im Schwarzwald (1914–1917).

Rabinovich was 3rd in Baden-Baden (Alexander Flamberg won), took 2nd at Triberg 1914/15, took 2nd at Triberg 1915, took 3rd at Triberg 1915, tied for 2nd-3rd at Triberg 1915, took 2nd at Triberg 1915/16 (all tournaments were won by Efim Bogoljubow).

In 1916 Rabinovich won in the Triberg tournament and tied for first with Selezniev at Triberg 1917.

After World War I, Rabinovich returned to St Petersburg and in 1920 won the Petrograd chess championship. In 1920 he took fourth in Moscow, the first Soviet Union championship.

1922 - finished second, behind Levenfish, in the Petrograd championship.
1923 - tied for 7th-8th in Leningrad (2nd Soviet Championship).
1923 - first in Novgorod.
1924 - finished 2nd behind Levenfish in the Leningrad championship and he finished 5th in Moscow (3nd Soviet Championship).
1925 - 7th place at Baden-Baden - tied for 1st-4th in the Leningrad championship - 3rd in Leningrad (4th Soviet Championship) - 16th in Moscow
1926 - first Leningrad - tied for 2nd-3rd in Leningrad

In 1927 Rabinovich wrote the first original book in the Russian language devoted to the endgame (The Endgame).  Updated in 1938, this classic work featured more than four hundred endings and over three hundred exercises for self-study. Today the book (published by Mongoose Press) can be found in English. When it was first published it was hailed as excellent by both Capablanca and Alekhine. Capablanca, writing in his book, Lectures, said he had done some joint analysis of endgame positions with Rabinovich and while spending the summer in Sestroretsk he used to visit him and they would check Rabinovich's analyses and on rare occasions Capa was pleased to find some errors.

1928 - won the Leningrad championship.
1933 - tied for 3rd-5th in Leningrad (8th Soviet Championship).
In 1934/35 Rabinovich shared first place with Grigory Levenfish in Leningrad (9th Soviet Championship).
At Moscow 1935 he tied for 11-14th.
In 1937 he tied for 10-12th in Tbilisi (10th Soviet Championship).
1938 - tied for 3rd-4th in Leningrad
1939 - tied for 7-8th in Leningrad–Moscow - tied for 11-12th in Leningrad (11th Soviet Championship) and 7th in the Leningrad championship
1940 - won the Leningrad championship.

Chessmetrics estimates his highest rating to have been 2620 in 1935. In June 1941 he played in interrupted semifinal of the USSR Chess Championship in Roston-on-Don. Rabinovich was taken ill during the siege of Leningrad. He was evacuated but died of malnutrition in a hospital in Perm.

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