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Ilyin-Genevsky, Alexander

Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941) was the Russian master who had to learn the game twice.  He was gassed, then shell-shocked in World War I, which took away his memory.  Irving Chernev wrote that a bullet entered Ilyin-Genevsky’s brain, which caused the memory loss.  He had previously been champion of Geneva where he added the city's name to his own .  He had to learn the game all over again, starting from how each piece moved.  He was a member of an underground Bolshevik organization in high school, which led to his expulsion.  Forbidden to re-enter any Russian school, he went to Geneva where he performed party work for Lenin.  During the October Revolution and Russian Civil War he was the head of the Moscow Reservists.  Alexander held the post of Chief Government Commissar for General Military Education.  He actively encouraged and organized chess activities as part of the campaign to promote education and culture in the Red Army.  His older brother was Fyodor Raskolnikov who was involved in a naval uprising at Kronstadt.  Alexander started and edited a chess column in the Red Army magazine K Novai Armii.  He organized the first USSR chess championship in 1920.  He later became the editor of Shakhmatny Listok.  He was Leningrad chess champion in 1925, 1926, and 1929.  He won the first Trade Unions Championship of the USSR in 1927.  In 1941, while trying to escape from Leningrad on a barge with dozens of other passengers, the Germans bombed the barge. Alexander was the only one killed.

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