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Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky

Alexander Fyodorovich Ilyin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ильи́н-Жене́вский; November 28, 1894 - September 3, 1941), known with the party name Zhenevsky, "the Genevan" because he joined the Bolshevik group of Russian émigrés while exiled in that city, was a Soviet chess master and organizer, one of founders of the Soviet chess school, an Old-Guard Bolshevik cadre, a writer, a military organizer, a historian and a diplomat. He was born in Saint Petersburg and was the younger brother of Red Navy leader Fedor Raskolnikov.

Ilyin-Zhenevsky promoted chess as an educational vehicle for developing tactical and strategical comprehension during military training, and, within the Soviet Union, he was the main person responsible for the spreading of the idea of chess as a way to teach the basics of scientific and rational thought. The first Soviet Championship in 1920 and the 1933 match Mikhail Botvinnik - Salo Flohr were organized by him. He was three times chess champion of the Leningrad City Chess Championship, in 1925 (jointly), 1926, and 1929. In 1925, he won a game against José Raúl Capablanca, thus becoming one of only a handful of players to have ever achieved an even score (+1 =0 −1) against the Cuban grandmaster.

A variation of the Dutch Defence, characterized by the moves 1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8, is named after him.

Being personally associated with many oppositionists since Civil War times, he suffered persecution in the Joseph Stalin era. According to Botvinnik and official sources he died in a Nazi air raid on Lake Ladoga on a ship during the siege of Leningrad, but it is believed by some that he fell victim to the Great Purge along with the majority of the Old Guard of revolutionists.

Political works