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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Vladimir Antoshin (Bonus material...the KGB and chess)

     Vladimir Antoshin (May 14, 1929 - May 13, 1994) was a Soviet GM, theoretician and a national correspondence champion. 
     He was part of the USSR's successful Student Olympiad teams of 1954–1956. The team won the silver medal at the first Student Olympiad in Oslo 1954 and then took gold medals at Lyons 1955 and at Uppsala 1956. In all three Olympiads his score was an impressive 16-3. He was awarded the IM title in 1963 and the GM title the following year. 
     Antoshin had only a limited number of international tournament appearances; he was successful at Ulan Bator (1965) and Zinnowitz (1966), but aside from Zinnowitz where he scored +8 -1 =6 his results were never outstanding. His tournament appearances became less frequent in the 1970s. He did, however, share 3rd place at Sarajevo in 1970 and 2nd at Frunze in 1979. 
     A major reason for his limited appearance was his amateur status; he was a technical designer and according to Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov, he also had links to the KGB. 
     The KGB has been involved in Russian chess as far back as 1936 when Botvinnik tied for first with Capablanca at Nottingham. It was the first time a Soviet player had such a success outside of the country and in gratitude for his opportunity to play, Botvinnik sent a telegram to Stalin thanking him and the nation. The telegram was actually written by KGB agent Nikolai Krylenko who ordered Botvinnik to sign it. Kingpin magazine has a good article on the subject of the KGB and chess HERE

     In 1945, Boris Vainstein (1907–1993), a Colonel in the KGB of the People’s Ministry for Internal Affairs (NKVD) also served as the President of the Soviet Chess Federation. In 1945, he objected to a world championship match between Botvinnik and Alekhine, declaring Alekhine a traitor. And, after World War II when the Soviet Union acquired Estonia, the KGB wanted Paul Keres shot for treason after 
     All throughout the 1950s a KGB officer accompanied Soviet players everywhere. In Washington, DC during the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviet embassy had a cultural attache by the name of Lev Zaitsev who was a Master and who who later identified as a KGB agent. 
     In 1968, a KGB agent named Yuri Linev gained Ludek Pachman’s trust after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia and after Pachman made secret radio broadcasts against the Soviets information supplied by Linev resulted in Pachman's arrest, torture and imprisonment. 
     In the 1970s, KGB Colonel Viktor D. Baturinsky headed up Karpov’s delegation from 1974 to 1984. In an article appearing in the July 31, 1978 issue of Sports Illustrated Baturinsky was describes as "a squat, cigar-smoking ex-KGB prosecutor who was known in the Stalin era as the Black Judge and who is now the vice-president—and real power—of the Russian chess federation."
     In 1971, Boris Spassky gave a lecture and a simul and got into trouble with the KGB when he mentioned that his grandfather was a priest and if he had not become a chess player, he would have been a priest, too. Spassky also complained about his salary and said one of his favorite authors was Solzhenitsyn. 
     During his 1972 world championship match against Fischer the KGB accused the CIA of bugging Spassky’s chair with the result that the chairs had to be x-rayed. Not to be outdone, Fischer complained that the KGB posted men in the hall who were trying to hypnotize him. After defeating Spassky, Fischer expressed fears the the KGB would assassinate him and that's one of the reasons Fischer went under cover after the match. 
     In the 1970s, Soviet players left the country in droves and the KGB did everything it could to prevent them from winning tournaments and at the same time tried to discredit them. 
     During the 1978 world championship in the Philippines for the Karpov-Korchnoi match, Korchnoi claimed he was hypnotized by KGB agents. After he defected in 1979, Lev Alburt asserted that some Soviet GMs were “used as KGB infiltrators.”
     In 1980, Igor Ivanov was part of a Russian team that played in a Cuban event. On return when the plane made a refueling stop in Nefoundland, Ivanov ran from the plane with KGB agents in hot pursuit. Fortunately he made it. 
     In 1982, Boris Gulko was beaten and arrested by the KGB for demonstrating at the Moscow Interzonal. In 1983, when Kasparov first went abroad to play in tournaments, he was accompanied by a KGB agent named Viktor Litvinov who was later reprimanded for talking to Korchnoi. 
     In 2006, Vesselin Topalov was reprimanded by FIDE for linking Vladimir Kramnik to the KGB and in 2008, Gata Kamsky's father wrote an article about the KGB's involvement in chess. 
     Writing in The KGB Plays Chess, Boris Gulko called out Yuri Averbakh, Viktor Baturinsky, Florencio Campomanes, Eduard Gufeld, Nikolai Krogius, Alexander Nikitin, Tigran Petrosian, Lev Polugaevsky, Alexander Roshal and Rafael Vaganian for being used by the KGB. 
     Fedor Bohatirchuk, in his autobiography My Life Path to Vlasov and Manifesto of Prague claimed that Alexander Kotov was a KGB agent. 
     The FBI spent years investigating Fischer and his mother's Communist activities. As a result, when Fischer went to Moscow in 1958 the FBI believed his mother had sent him there to be indoctrinated and they feared the Russians might recruit him. To do what was not clear. As it turned out, the whole investigation was a waste of time and money. 
     Now, let's get back to Antoshin! He became a tournament organizer and trainer to the USSR Olympiad team and during the 1950s he concentrated on correspondence chess winning the USSR Correspondence Championship in 1960. In the Soviet Championship, he had moderate results, participating in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1967 and 1970. His highest placing was a share of sixth in 1967. 
     His opponent in the following game, Efim Korchmar (May 9, 1914 - February 3, 1978, 63 years old) of the Ukraine, actually managed to administer a crushing defeat to himself. 

Efim Korchmar - Vladimir Antoshin

Result: 0-1

Site: USSR Chp Semi-Finals, Minsk

Date: 1952


[...] 1.e4 c5 The auto-annotation of this game calls the opening an irregular variation of the French (by transposition). 2.♘f3 ♘f6 3.d3 d5 4.♘bd2 ♘c6 5.g3 I would call this a Closed SIcilian where white prefers a slow build up where the e4-Pawn and the N and B on g2 work together to control the central light squares and make it difficult for black to break in the center. Here it seems less effective because black already has played ...d5. 5...e6 6.♗g2 ♗e7 7.O-O O-O 8.h3 This part of an ineffective plan to advance on the K-side. Moves like Re1, c3 and Qc2 seem more reasonable. White has also tried 8.b3 and 9.Bb2 8...b6 9.♘h2
9.♖e1 ♗b7 10.c3 ♖c8 11.♕c2 ♗a6 12.e5 Vorontsov, D (1683)-Saveljev,I (2010)/St Petersburg 2019 was a better plan.
9...♗a6 10.♖e1 ♕c7 11.f4 g6 12.♘g4 ♖ad8 13.♘xf6+ ♗xf6 14.e5 ♗g7 is equal. Fischer,T-Schmid,H/Wuerttemberg 1993
10.f4 White is embarking on a plan that leaves his K-side too loose. Either 10.Qe2 or 10.Re1 look to be safer, but at the same time they aren't very promising because white's whole setup is too passive. 10...dxe4 11.dxe4 ♕c7 12.g4 White will soon regret this rash move. 12.c3 was better. (12.c3 e5 13.♕e2 ♖ad8 14.f5 was better.) 12...♖ad8 13.g5 ♘e8 14.h4 White's attack looks very menacing, but black has good defensive resources and white's attack soon proves premature. 14...f6 15.g6 There were other moves that don't rate as bad on the engine evaluations, but practically speaking white is committed to violence on the K-side. 15...hxg6 16.h5 gxh5 17.♕xh5 ♘d4 This N is headed right into the guts of white's position where it will cause problems. 18.c3 ♘c2 19.♖b1 ♘e3 20.♗h3 With the nasty threat of Bxe6+ 20...f5 Slamming the door on the B. 21.♖f3 Threatening the N and hopefully adding the R to the attack with a gain of time. 21...♘f6 22.♕g6 Black has a choice of several moves all of about equal worth. 22...♘xe4
22...♘eg4 23.♗xg4 fxg4 24.♘xg4 c4 Opening up a diagonal for his B. 25.♖g3 ♗c5+ 26.♔f1 ♘xg4 27.♖xg4 ♖xf4+ and white's attack has fizzled out leaving him quite lot.
23.♕xe6+ doesn't lead to anything after 23...♖f7 24.♘xe4 ♖d1+ and white is getting slaughtered.
23...♖f6 24.♕h5 ♘xd2 25.♗xd2 ♖xd2 26.♖xe6 ♕xf4 White resigned. A game in which Korchmar managed to administer a crushing defeat to himself.
26...♕xf4 27.♖e2 ♖h6 28.♕xf5 ♕xf5 29.♗xf5 ♖xe2 30.♗e6+ ♖hxe6 31.♖d1 ♖g2+ 32.♔f1 ♖xh2 33.♖d3 ♗h4 34.♖d8+ ♗xd8 35.a3 ♖h1+ 36.♔f2 ♗h4#
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