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The Central Defender

  • GM dbojkov
  • | Mar 16, 2011
  • | 7322 views
  • | 21 comments

Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 10.06.37 AM.pngRatmir Kholmov was born in the small town of Shenkursk on the 13th of May, 1925. Due to his father’s work he travelled a lot from a young age. At the age of 12 he was left alone with his mother, and this was the time when he started playing chess. In 1940 came his first success- he won the Arkhangelsk state adult championship and already showed a master's class in his games.

He started working early, and survived the Second World War, serving as military sailor. Towards the end of the War he caught a severe cold, lost his voice, and was handicapped for a period of time.

He then returned to chess, and for a long period of time was considered one of USSR’s best players.

In his country he was known as the “central defender.” The sobriquet came in recognition of what a tough-nut-to-crack Ratmir was. Indeed, none, no matter how strong a GM, could definitely claim that he would win his game against Kholmov. On the other hand, one could have been sure that Ratmir would not lose in games like this:

 

The peculiarity of his style was due to Kholmov’s poor knowledge of opening theory in his early years. He often had to defend inferior or even lost positions. However, thanks to his excellent calculation abilities and stubbornness he managed to save most of them. He was also known for his fair play, and there are many cases in which he spoiled someone’s excellent tournament at the very end.

His best achievements included a 1st-3rd place tie at the USSR championship in 1963 (with Stein and Spassky), 1-2 tie at the Moscow International Tournament 1961 (with Smyslov), and clear first place in Belgrade 1967.

He remained active until his last days, and  tied for the title in the 2000 World Senior Championship at Rowy, scoring 8/11 with Mark Taimanov, Janis Klovans, and Alexander Chernikov.

One of his last tournaments was the senior event in Dresden, 50 years after he won a tournament there. He passed away on the 18th of February 2006.

Despite his nickname, Kholmov was an extremely creative attacker, and had a positive or equal score against many top GMs and Word Champions.

It is also quite typical that he achieved victories in the following puzzles as Black:

 

 

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    GM dbojkov

    Well, this is a great game indeed! I still remember that knight on c6 Smile

  • 3 years ago

    NM JMB2010

    great article! except where's famous game Kholmov-Bronstein?

  • 4 years ago

    Mozart_1810

    Really impressive!!!  Muy impresionante a real chess hero...Laughing

  • 4 years ago

    blitzmaniac

    the puzzles are weird...tough to crack for me...:(

  • 4 years ago

    PardalsemCasa

    Me too. I think Kholmov became my chess hero. I love to defend lost positions.

  • 4 years ago

    Dekker

    Wow! I especially liked the Rx Rx Re2!! one, what a game!
  • 4 years ago

    PardalsemCasa

    At least once... and playing as black...

  • 4 years ago

    chessproblemo

    He defeated Bobby once.

  • 4 years ago

    olegolive

    Really impressive !

  • 4 years ago

    pattrik

    WOW

  • 4 years ago

    jakemann

    This is a hard one
  • 4 years ago

    PardalsemCasa

    Impressive...

  • 4 years ago

    uitt

    Mercho, i think it would end up being stalemate

  • 4 years ago

    bjazz

    You don't reckon that the last one might be... a tad too much?

  • 4 years ago

    Songofdeath

     merchco

    It is stalemate if the pawn kills the queen.

  • 4 years ago

    htucos

    Merchco:

    If he took the queen on move 47 would be stalemate

  • 4 years ago

    merchco

    iN THE FIRST PUZZLE AM I MISSING SOMETHING ON MOVE 47 FOR WHITE F3X G4 AND BLACK LOOSES HIS QUEEN AND GAME

  • 4 years ago

    mobidi

    He was Lithuanian Champion in 1958 and 1960.Hard sailor style!(wartime sailor).

  • 4 years ago

    colmbuckley

    amazing depth and clarity. several of the moves are easy to find but all of them together.

  • 4 years ago

    ron_23s

    [COMMENT DELETED]
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