Alexey Pavlovich Sokolsky (5 November 1908-27 December 1969) was a Ukrainian-Belarusian chess player of International Master strength in over-the board chess, a noted correspondence chess player, and an opening theoretician.
In 1935, he took second in the Russian FSSR. He was twice Ukrainian Champion (1947 and 1948), and was Belarus Sub-Champion in 1958. He also played in the 13th Soviet Championship in 1944, finishing with 7.5/16 (tie for 8th-10th place); the 17th Championship in 1949, finishing with 8.5/19 (12th place); and the 21st Championship in 1954, finishing last with 5/19.
He was the first Soviet Correspondence Chess Champion (1948–51).
The name of Sokolsky is known now mostly due to his opening research and development of the chess opening 1.b4 which became known as Sokolsky Opening. It is also known as the Polish Opening, or the Orangutan Opening, the name Savielly Tartakower gave it in 1924.
Sokolsky Memorial master-norm tournaments have been held regularly in Minsk since 1970.
Sokolsky wrote over a dozen books. The most famous of these are The Modern Openings in Theory and Practice (1962) and Debyut 1b2-b4 (1963), a book about his eponymous opening.
SOURCES: Wikipedia (Biography); Modern Chess Miniatures by Leonard Barden & Wolfgang Heidenfeld 1960 p 132 - annotations by WH; MCO-15 col 11-12 pp 738-9 for all game references after 1960.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES for Sokolsky Opening theory and practice: http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kibitz86.pdf
PS: There is a picture of Sokolsky in the Wikipedia article but I couldn't insert it, so I put in a picture of an Orangutan (the original name of 1.b4 courtesy of GM Tartakower), not to be confused with IM Sokolsky of course!