Sarah's Chess Journal
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The History and The Culture of Chess
June 16, 2004
Tolush was Boris Spassky's mentor, infusing him with the same love of combinational chess that Romanovky inspired in himself.
Here Tolush mates Botvinnik while employing the 19th century Center Game (eventually, Botvinnik finished 1st, Tolush 7th):
[Event "13th Soviet Championship"]
Tolush was never quite good enough to ever become World Champion. This he accepted. But he had a burning desire to reach a difficult, yet attainable goal - that of Soviet Champion. He was in the running through most of the Soviet Championships in which he played, but it the 24th Soviet Championship of 1957 where his goal was in the palm of his hand.
In this tournament he and Bronstein were tied 13-7 going into the last day. Bronstein was to play Ratmir Kholomov, a pre-war prodigy, while Tolush was to play Mikhail Tal, a rising star.
Tolush was the favorite and was being congratulated by his supporters even before his last game. Tolush was optimistic, yet quite aware the championship wasn't his yet. This was his last realistic chance to achieve his dream and he didn't want to jinx it.
Bronstein drew with Kholomov.
[Event "24th Soviet championship"]
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7
"With olympian calmness Alexander Kazimirovich [Tolush] stopped the clocks and congratulated me on the championship title," Tal wrote. Keres and Bronstein were among the first to add their congratulations to Tal, who had become not only national champion but the 19th Soviet grandmaster. Only after an hour of animated interviews with reporters did Tal notice Tolush, who had fallen to fifth place, slowly walking to the exit, deep in thought."
adapted from "Soviet Chess 1917-1991" by Andy Soltis
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