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Igor Bondarevsky

Full name Igor Zakharovich Bondarevsky
Country Soviet Union
Born May 12, 1913
Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia
Title Grandmaster (1950)
International Arbiter (1954)
ICCF Grandmaster (1961)
Peak ranking 2430 (July 1972)

Igor Zakharovich Bondarevsky (Игорь Захарович Бондаревский) (May 12, 1913, Rostov-on-the-Don, Russia - June 14, 1979, Pyatigorsk) was a Soviet Russian chess Grandmaster in both over-the-board and correspondence chess, an International Arbiter, trainer, and chess author. Bondarevsky shared the 1940 Soviet title, and later coached World Champion Boris Spassky.

Early years

Igor Bondarevsky played in the 5th Russian Championship, Gorky 1935, scoring 4/9 for a tied 6-7th place; the winner was Alexander Tolush. The next year, he won an All-Union first category tournament in Leningrad, with 11.5/14, unbeaten, by two points. This result earned him an invitation to the Soviet championship to be played the next year. At Moscow 1937, his first international event, Bondarevsky struggled with just 2.5/7, for a tied 7-8th place; the winner was Reuben Fine; however, he recovered with a solid performance in his first Soviet Chess Championship (URS-ch10, Tbilisi 1937), with 9.5/19 and a shared 10-12th place; the winner was Grigory Levenfish. Bondarevsky qualified from the URS-ch11 semifinal 1938 with 10.5/17, for a shared 3rd-4th place; the winner was Mikhail Botvinnik. Another disappointing performance followed at the very strong international Leningrad-Moscow event in 1939 with only 5/17 for 17th place; the winner was Salo Flohr.

Joins the Soviet Elite, Soviet Champion

Bondarevsky joined the Soviet élite by placing sixth at the 11th USSR Championship, Leningrad 1939, with 10/17, a performance sufficient to automatically qualify him for the 12th final. He reached his career peak the following year by sharing first place with Andor Lilienthal at the 12th USSR championship, Moscow 1940, ahead of Paul Keres, Isaac Boleslavsky and Botvinnik. He was then invited to play in the 1941 "Absolute USSR Championship", staged in Leningrad and Moscow, a competition between the top six finishers of the 12th final. This was one of the strongest tournaments ever held up to then, with six of the world's top fifteen players. Botvinnik won the event, with the runner-up being Keres, after which came Boleslavsky, Vasily Smyslov, Lilienthal and Bondarevsky in last place.

Bondarevsky played in the 1948 Interzonal at Saltsjöbaden, sharing sixth-ninth place, and qualifying for the Candidates Tournament at Budapest 1950, but he was unable to play because of illness. Thereafter he played only a few tournaments, a notable result being his second place behind Svetozar Gligorić at the Hastings Congress 1960/61.

He was among the 27 players named International Grandmaster in 1950 by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) on its inaugural list. He was awarded the International Arbiter title in 1954, and the International Grandmaster of Correspondence Chess (GMC) title in 1961. He was an economist by profession.

Coaches the World Champion

Bondarevsky coached Boris Spassky during his ascent to the World Chess Championship, beginning in the early 1960s, culminating with Spassky's win over Tigran Petrosian in the 1969 title match.

His wife, Valentina Kozlovskaya, is also a strong player.