Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Chess (шахматы) was introduced in Russia in the 9th Century by the Caspian-Volga trade route, which connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea during the Middle Ages. Chess probably originated in India before the 6th century, although some historians dispute this. Eventually, in the 20th century, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) was established. The winner of the 1948 FIDE tournament, Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, (Михаи́л Моисе́евич Ботви́нник) initiated a Soviet supremacy in the game throughout the world. Until the Soviet Union ceased to exist, there was only one chess champion who was not a soviet – American Bobby Fischer. Bobby Fisher defeated Boris Vasilievich Spassky (Бори́с Васи́льевич Спа́сский) in the “match of the century” for the championship. The match, which took place in Iceland in 1972, held strong political importance and military strategy due to the tensions of the Cold War. Even then, Bobby Fischer was of (probably) Hungarian descent, and his mother had former ties with Communists from her time residing in Moscow.
 (left, Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, USSR)
The movie Pawn Sacrifice (2014) is an excellent movie to watch if you are interested in chess and the Cold War. Also, they do speak Russian in the movie, which is a wonderful opportunity to listen to the Russian language!

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