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Today in Chess History: Nov 16

  • #1

    Nov 16, 1850: Aaron Alexandre died in London, England.

    Nov 16, 1926: Alexey Suetin was born in Kirovograd, Ukraina.

    Nov 16, 1932: Herman Mattison died in Riga, Latvia.

    Nov 16, 1975: Karel Opocensky died in Prague, Czech Republ.

  • #2

    Aaron (Albert) Alexandre (Hebrew: אהרון אלכסנדר‎, around 1765/68, Hohenfeld, Franconia – 16 November 1850, London, England) was a Jewish German–French–English chess player and writer.

    Aaron Alexandre, a Bavarian trained as a rabbi, arrived in France in 1793. Encouraged by the French Republic's policy of religious toleration, he became a French citizen. At first, he worked as a German teacher and as mechanical inventor. Eventually, chess became his primary occupation. He tried to make a complete survey of the chess openings, publishing his findings as the Encyclopédie des échecs (Encyclopedia of Chess, Paris, 1837).

    He continued with a survey of endgame analyses and a compilation of nearly two thousand chess problems, which he published in 1846 as Collection des plus beaux Problèmes d'Echecs, Paris, and simultaneously in English and German translations: Beauties of Chess, London, and Praktische Sammlung bester Schachspiel-Probleme, Leipzig.

    Both books were accepted as standard reference collections, demonstrating Alexandre’s great technical knowledge. In chess as in his other activities, "he preferred erudition to performance". In 1838, he won a match against Howard Staunton in London.


  • #3

    Alexey (Aleksei) Stepanovich Suetin (Russian: Алексей Суэтин; November 16, 1926 in Kirovohrad – September 10, 2001 in Moscow) was a Russian International Grandmaster of chess and an author.

    A resident of Moscow and a mechanical engineer by profession, he became an International Master in 1961 and a Grandmaster in 1965. His philosophy was always that "mastery is not enough; you must dare, take risks". It was an axiom that fashioned him into a tough and fiercely competitive player and appeared to bring him his fair share of success.

    His first major success came in 1955, when as a member of the Soviet team at the World Student Team Championships, he scored 80% and took individual and team gold medals.

    As an active tournament player in the 1960s and 1970s, he achieved many fine results, including sharing or winning outright first place at Sarajevo 1965, Copenhagen 1965, Titovo Uzice 1966, Hastings 1967/68, Havana 1969, Albena 1970, Kecskemet 1972, Brno 1975 (the inaugural Czech Open Championship - the title of Champion going to Vlastimil Hort on tie-break), Lublin 1976, and Dubna 1979. Third place finishes at Debrecen 1961 and Berlin (Lasker Memorial) 1968 were also noteworthy.

    Suetin participated in seven USSR Championships from 1958 to 1966, his best finishes being 4th-6th in 1963 (behind Stein, Spassky and Kholmov) and 4th-6th in 1965 (behind Stein, Polugaevsky and Taimanov).

    Until 1971, he served as a second and trainer to Tigran Petrosian for many of his most important matches, including his world championship victory in 1963. He was for many years Moscow's senior coach, overseeing the development of promising new talents, including Vassily Ivanchuk and Andrei Sokolov. Though less distinguished than before, his playing career stretched into the 1990s and beyond. He won the Hastings Challengers event of 1990/91, but was like Efim Geller, a chain-smoker, and found it difficult to adjust to the 1990 FIDE directive that banned smoking in tournament halls.

    A renowned commentator on the game, he was from 1965 the correspondent for Pravda and his voice was often heard on Moscow radio and TV during the 1970s and 1980s.

    As a veteran player, he won the World Senior Championship in 1996.

    He authored many chess books; principally those concerned with the middlegame or opening. These include: Modern Chess Opening Theory, Three Steps To Chess Mastery (a treatise which combines his earlier works, The Chess Player's Laboratory and The Path To Mastery), Plan Like A Grandmaster, A Contemporary Approach To The Middle-game, French Defence, The Complete Grunfeld and The Complete Spanish. His last book, Chess through the prism of time, was published in Moscow in 1998.

    Alexey Suetin was married to Woman Grandmaster Kira Zvorykina and together they had a son Aleksandr, born 1951. They lived in Belarus for some years and frequently competed in the national championship. Suetin was a six-time winner of the event and he and Zvorykina held the Men's and Women's titles concurrently in 1960.

    He died aged 74 of a heart attack shortly after returning home from the Russian Senior Championship.


  • #4

    Hermanis Matisons (1894 – 1932), (also known as Herman Mattison), was a Latvian chess player and one of world's most highly regarded chess masters in the early 1930s. He was also a leading endgame composer. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 38.

    In 1924, Matisons won the first Latvian Chess Championship tournament. Later that year he finished ahead of Euwe and Colle to win the first World Amateur Championship, which was organized in conjunction with the Paris Olympic Games. Matisons played first board for Latvia at the 1931 Chess Olympiad in Prague and defeated Rubinstein and Alekhine, who was the World Champion at that time.

    Sixty of Matisons' studies were collected in the 1987 book Mattison's Chess Endgame Studies by T.G. Whitworth.


    25 studies of H.Mattison:


  • #5

    Karel Opočenský (7 February 1892, Most – 16 November 1975, Prague) was a Czech chess master.

    He was four-time Czech Champion (1927, 1928, 1938, and 1944). In 1919, he took 2nd, behind František Schubert, in Prague (Czechoslovak Chess Championship). In 1925, he tied for 3rd-4th in Paris (Alexander Alekhine won). In 1927, he won in Česke Budejovice (CSR-ch). In 1928, he won in Brno (CSR-ch). In 1933, he won at Prague (the 10th Vaclav Kautsky Memorial). In 1935, he took 4th in Bad Nauheim (Efim Bogoljubow won).

    In 1935, he took 4th in Łódź (Savielly Tartakower won). In 1935, he won in Luhačovice. In 1936, he took 2nd, behind Henryk Friedman, in Vienna. In 1937, he took 2 nd, behind Karl Gilg, in Teplice (Teplitz Schönau). In 1938, he won in Nice. In 1938, he tied for 1st with Hermann in Prague (CSR-ch).

    Karel Opočenský played for Czechoslovakia four times in the Chess Olympiads.

    • In 1931, he played at fourth board in 4th Chess Olympiad in Prague (+7 –2 =4).
    • In 1933, he played at fourth board in 5th Chess Olympiad in Folkestone (+10 –0 =3).
    • In 1935, he played at second board in 6th Chess Olympiad in Warsaw (+5 –4 =6).
    • In 1939, he played at first board in 8th Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires (+8 –5 =4).

    He won individual gold and team silver medals at Folkestone 1933 and at Prague 1931, team bronze.

    When World War II broke out, Opočensky, Jan Foltys, and František Zita were playing for the Bohemia & Moravia team in the 8th Chess Olympiad in Argentina. They chose to return home, whilst team-mates Jiří Pelikán and Karel Skalička elected to remain in South America).

    In 1940, Opočensky took 2nd, behind Foltys, in Rakovnik (Bohemia and Moravia-ch). In 1941, he drew a match with Foltys in Prague (+4 –4 =4) and took 7th in Trenčianske Teplice (Foltys won). He also placed 13th in the Munich 1941 chess tournament (Europa Turnier), the event being won by Gösta Stoltz. In 1942, he tied for 4-5th in Prague (Duras Jubileé) behind joint winners, Alekhine and Klaus Junge. In 1943, he took 3rd in Prague (B&M-ch; Zita won). In 1944, he won in Brunn (B&M-ch).

    After the war, he played in several international and local (Czechoslovakia) tournaments. In 1945, he tied for 2nd-3rd, behind Emil Richter, in Prague. In 1946, he took 4th in Ostrava (CSR-ch; Luděk Pachman won). In 1946, he took 4th in London. In 1946, he tied for 1st with Daniel Yanofsky and Pachman, in Arbon. In 1947, he took 4th in Vienna. In 1949, he tied for 3rd-6th in Vienna. In 1949, he tied for 4-5th in Arbon. In 1956, he took 3rd in Poděbrady (CSR-ch, Ladislav Alster won).

    In 1951 and 1954, he was the chief arbiter for the World Chess Championship matches in Moscow, and also in the 10th Olympiad at Helsinki 1952, and in the 2nd Candidates Tournament at Zurich 1953.

    Opočenský is also known as theoretician. There are two opening variations named after him: the Opocensky Variation in the Grünfeld Defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Bd2) and the Opocensky Variation in the Sicilian Defence (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2).

    Awarded the IM title in 1950, he became an International Chess Arbiter in 1951.



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