Vladimir Makogonov. Some Games and Photographs.

Vladimir Makogonov. Some Games and Photographs.

Feb 17, 2019, 8:38 AM |

Happy weekend everyone!

A short while ago my friend @Zeitnot17 posted the start of what promises to be a wonderful series here

The name of Vladimir Makogonov came up there, which was sufficient for me to go back into his games and quickly - it has been a busy weekend - put this post together. 

In that article you will find Makogonov being ranked at number 5 in the World at one time. Here is the relevant information, from chessmetrics for July 1945.

Of course, my views are already on the record - these ratings should not be regarded as 100% faultless, but, nonetheless, they are the best statistical and objective comparisons that we have regarding how players were performing, relative to their peers, at any given time.

Naturally, with the times during and shortly after the two World Wars , there are factors to pencil in, but it is clear that Makogonov was absolutely elite class - even just taking his results amongst the Soviet group that dominates the numbers. His results really were that good!

As you will know, the biographies and career details, etc, are not really my thing. If you want to look in to the details on that side of things, there is enough about on the internet, and i will provide a few links.

At which point I must extend my huge thanks and incalculable personal gratitude to my friend @RoaringPawn for doing work that I can not do, researching Russian language material. I will pass on the links that he sent me - from which a number of the photographs - including one absolute gem - were found to include here. My friend, you are a gem. THANK YOU!




And, in particular - go look at it - google tranlate will work fine, and there is unique material there


O.K. Lets get started.

If you look at my last post - on Boris Verlinsky you will find the tables from the 1929 USSR Championship. Makogonov played in that event, along with his brother Mikhail. I spent a long time looking - I knew it existed - for the group photo of the event. @RoaringPawn has finally found it for me. I suspect it may be the only one with the two brothers still in existence.

See  http://www.sultanov.azeriland.com/books/chess/pages/page_04.html   for the key.

A game between the two brothers found in this book. ( Scanned from my own library.)

Makogonov have played in the USSR Championship final before that, however. In 1927. This event is mentioned in my Article on Romanovsky. Magogonov did pretty well!

There is a sketch of him from the event - I have used it for the header photo.

Game 1 in the above book is from that event, and against someone who I have posted on previously.

Makogonov has a couple of opening lines named after him. One - the defence to the Queen's gambit, was first played by Tartakower. It might be interesting to see Makogonov's place in it's development, against a high class opponent. As with all my notes in this article, i am mindful of something that Botvinnik wrote:-

'Makogonov always prefers continuations in which book knowledge is of little help and positional sense is everything!' That 'positional sense' is the very essence of his play, and so the games are annotated from that perspective - trying to understand how he judged the position.

It is clear to me that Makogonov made a study of Rubinstein. The following game - whilst not 'perfect', is a good illustration of that.

A photograph from the event, against Chekover, who is listed on the board card as from leningrad. I always thought he was from Moskow!!

 From memory - and I stand corrected if necessary!! - Makogonov's score against Botvinnik was +1+2-1. i.e 50%. the loss is the game quoted in the notes to the game above. This is the win. To outplay Botvinnik in a complex positional struggle was no mean achievement, and it is a fascinating game.

The best known picture of Makogonov, but, although it appears in the 'Black Book', I have been unable to source it.

In the same tournament, Makogonov also beat another future World Champion - indeed, he was to work with him in his effort to win the title.

In 1942 Makogonov played a match with Salomon Flohr. It appears that Flohr abandoned the match with the score 7 1/2 - 4 1/2 in Makogonov's favour, but I haven't been able to find any real details in English language sources. A stunning, World Title class result.

An early try out of the Makogonov system in the King's Indian was against the young Mark Taimanov. It is a remarkable game!!

Another game along similar lines, with a beautiful final position.

The USSR team against the USA from 1945.

And finally, 'My Favorite game of Vladimir Makogonov'. Rashid Nezhmetdinov is one of those players who was forgotten for a long time, until a book about him was published. He was a wonderful player!!

We have a photo taken early on in this game.

The game is , despite a small inaccuracy on Black's part, a true positional masterpiece, in my view. The depth of Makogonov's play is wonderful to see.