Remembering Vladimir Antoshin

Remembering Vladimir Antoshin


Vladimir Sergeyevich Antoshin (Владимир Сергеевич Антошин; 14 May 1929 in Moscow – 13 May 1994) was a Soviet chess Grandmaster, a theoretician and a national champion of correspondence chess.

He is one of four Grandmasters who were born on this day in Chess History. The others are:

  1. Vladimir Alatortsev, of the Soviet Union who was born in 1909; became a Grandmaster Emeritus in 1983 and passed away on January 13th, 1987.
  2. Leif Erlend Johannessen of Norway was born in 1980 and became a GM in 2002.
  3. Frode Urkedal, also of Norway was born in 1993 and became a GM in 2016

Vladimir Antoshin was a high achiever as a young man, principally as part of the USSR's highly successful Student Olympiad team of 1954–1956. The team won the silver medal at the first-ever Student Olympiad in Oslo 1954 and then took gold medals at Lyons 1955 and at Uppsala 1956. His best performance probably occurred at Lyons, as the strength of the competition was far greater than at Oslo. Playing below world-class grandmasters Mark Taimanov and Boris Spassky, but above Alexey Suetin, his endeavors also earned him an individual gold medal for best score on board three. In all, he accumulated three gold and one silver medal, for a total score of 16/19.

A major reason for his limited progress as a player was his continued amateur status. He became a tournament organiser and trainer to the USSR Olympiad team, maintained a second career as a technical designer. As a further distraction, he chose to play correspondence chess throughout the 1950s, although this notably culminated in him winning the USSR Correspondence Championship in 1960.

Antoshin is the eponym of two opening lines, one occurring in the Philidor Defence and the other in the Dutch Defence.

In Antoshin's Variation of Philidor's Defense, Black chooses to exchange central pawns and head for simple, rapid development of the kingside. After ...0-0 and ...Re8, Black's cramped dark-square bishop is often reactivated by playing it to g7 via f8.

The Antoshin-Hort Variation was first studied by Vlastimil Hort in 1960, when he was just 16; it was then further developed by Antoshin and consequently carries the names of both players. Black's idea is to omit the 'normal' ...e6 move and prepare a central break with ...e5 instead. The line may also be used with 'colours reversed' as a variant of Bird's Opening where White is a move up.

Making a limited number of international tournament appearances, he was successful at Ulan Bator (1965) and Zinnowitz (1966). The latter was probably his finest moment, scoring +8−1=6, to take first place among reasonably strong opposition, including Victor Ciocaltea and Wolfgang Uhlmann. The following are some of his wins against famous players: