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Mikhail Umansky

Full name Mikhail Markovich Umansky
Country Russia
Born January 21, 1952
Stavropol, USSR
Title ICCF Grandmaster
ICCF World Champion 1989-98

Mikhail Markovich Umansky (Russian: Михаил Уманский; January 21, 1952 - December 17, 2010) was a Russian chess grandmaster of correspondence chess, who was the 13th ICCF World Champion in correspondence chess between 1989 and 1998. He was also USSR Correspondence Champion in 1978.

Chess biography

Umansky was born in Stavropol, then USSR. He is considered by some to be the greatest correspondence chess player of all time, since he convincingly won a "champion of champions" tournament, the ICCF 50 Years World Champion Jubilee, a special invitational correspondence tournament involving all living former ICCF World Champions. He scored 7/8 (+6 −0 =2), two points ahead of Gert Jan Timmerman, Fritz Baumbach and Victor Palciauskas. One of his victims was Hans Berliner, who said after his defeat: "It is amazing that Umansky took only 55!! days to play this wonderful game. I still do not know where I went wrong in that game."

Umansky died on December 17, 2010 in Augsburg, Germany.

In 2011, the Russian Correspondence Chess Association organized in his honor the chess tournament Umansky Memorial, won by the Italian CCGM Eros Riccio.

Notable games

Mikhail Umansky vs. Hans Berliner, 50th World Champions Jubilee Tournament (2002)
[Notes by GM Umansky]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 0-0 5. Nc3 d6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. 0-0 e5 8. d5 Ne7 9. e4

9.c5 Nd7 10.cxd6 cxd6 11.a4 Nc5 12.Nd2 b6 13.b4 Nb7 14.Qb3+/=

9... Nd7 10. Ne1 b6 11. Nd3 Nc5 12. f4 exf4 13. Bxf4 h6

13...Nxd3 14.Qxd3 h6 15.h4 Re8 16.Rae1 Bg4 17.e5

14. Nf2!

14.h4 Bg4! 15.Qd2 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 Qd7 17.Rae1 Rae8=

14... g5 15. Be3 f5

15...Ba6 16.Bd4 Ng6 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Ng4 Bc8 19.Qd4+ f6 20.Ne3 Ne5 21.Qd2 Kh7 22.Nb5 a5 23.Nd4

16. Bd4 Bxd4 17. Qxd4 f4 18. b4 f3! 19. Bxf3

19.bxc5 bxc5 20.Qd1 fxg2 21.Kxg2 Ng6 22.Qh5 Kh7 23.Nd3 Ba6 24.Nb5 Qe7=

19... Rxf3 20. bxc5 bxc5 21. Qd1

21.Qd2?! Ng6 22.Nd3 Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Qe7

21... Qf8

21...Rxc3 22.Qh5 Rxc4 (22...Bd7 23.Nd1 Rxc4 24.Qxh6 Nf5 25.Qg6+ Kh8 26.Ne3 Qe8 27.Qf6+ Ng7 28.Nxc4+ −) 23.Nd1 (23.Nd3!?) Bf5 (23...Rxe4 24.Nc3 Bf5 25.Nxe4 Bxe4 26.Qf7+ Kh8 27.Qf6+ Kh7 28. Rae1+ −; 23...Bg4 24.Qf7+ Kh8 25.Ne3 Be2 26.Nxc4 Qe8 27.Qf6+ + −; 23...Nf5 24.Qg6+ [24.exf5? Qf6=] Kh8 25.exf5 Qf8 26.f6 Bd7 27.Ne3 Rd4 28.Nf5 Bxf5 29.Rxf5 Re8 30.f7+ −) 24.exf5 Qf8 25.Ne3 Re4 26.Ng4 Rxg4 27.Qxg4 Nxd5 28.f6 Nxf6 29.Qf3+ −
a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 22.e5!

22. e5!

After 22.Nb5 Ng6 23.Nxc7 Rb8 Black would get sufficient counterplay for the pawn. 24.Ne6 Bxe6 25.dxe6 Ne5 26.Qd5 Qe7 27.Rad1 Re8 28.Qxd6 Qxd6 29.Rxd6 Ra3 30.Rd5 Rxe6 31.Rxc5 Rxa2 ~/=

22... Ng6

Once again the N cannot be taken. 22...Rxc3 23.Ne4 Qg7 24.Nxc3 Bh3 25.Rf2 Qxe5 26.Nb5!?+ −

23. e6 Ne5 24. Nce4

24.Nfe4 Ba6 25.Nb5 Qf5 <=>

24... Ba6 25. Nd2 Bxc4 26. Nxc4 Nxc4 27. Ng4 Rxf1+

27...Ne5 28.Nxe5 Rxf1+ 29.Qxf1 Qxf1+ 30.Rxf1 dxe5 31.Rf7 Rc8 32.Rxc7

28. Qxf1 Qxf1+ 29. Rxf1 Kg7 30. Nf6 Ne5

30...Kf8?? 31.Nh5+ + −

31. h4!

31.e7 Kf7 32.e8=Q+ Rxe8 33.Nxe8+ Kxe8 34.h4!?

31... Rc8 32. h5 c4 33. Kg2 a5 34. a4 g4

  • 34...Ra8 35.Nd7 Nxd7 36.Rf7+ Kg8 37.Rxd7 Rc8 38.Kf3 c3 39.Ke3 c2 40.Kd2 c6 41.Kxc2 cxd5+ 42.Kd3 Kf8 43.Kd4 Rc4+ 44.Kxd5 Rxa4 45.Rh7 Ra3 46.Rxh6 Rd3+ 47.Ke4 Rxg3 48.Rh7 Rh3 49.h6 a4 50.Rf7+ Ke8 51.h7+ −
  • 34...c3 35.e7 Kf7 (35...c2 36.e8=Q Rxe8 37.Nxe8+ + −) 36.e8=Q+ Rxe8 37.Nxe8+ Kxe8 38.Rc1+ −
  • 34...c6 35.Ne4 cxd5 36.Nxd6 Rb8 37.e7+ −
  • 34...Kf8 35.Ng4+ Ke8 36.Nxh6 Rb8 37.Nf5 Rb2+ 38.Kg1 g4 39.h6 Nf3+ 40.Rxf3 gxf3 41.h7+ −
  • 34...Rb8 35.e7 Kf7 36.Nd7+ + −

35. e7 Kf7 36. e8=Q+ Rxe8 37. Nxe8 Kxe8 38. Kf2 Ke7

38...c6 39.Ke3 Ke7 (39...cxd5 40.Kd4 +/−) 40.Ke4 +/−

39. Ke3 c6 40. Ke4! Nf3

40...Kd7 41.Rc1 Kc7 42.dxc6 Kxc6 43.Kd4+ −; 40...c5 41.Kf5+ −

41. Rc1 c5

41...cxd5+ 42.Kxd5 Ne5 43.Rb1+ −

42. Kf5 Ne5

42...Kf7 43.Kxg4 Nd4 44.Rxc4 (44.Kh3!? Kf6 45.g4 Ke5 46.g5+ −) Kf6 45.Kf4 Ne2+ 46.Kf3 Nd4+ 47.Ke4 Kg5 48.Rc1 Ne2 49.Re1 Nxg3+ 50.Kf3 Nf5 51.Rb1 Kxh5 52.Rb5+ −

43. Rc2 Kf7 44. Rb2 Nd3 45. Rb7+ Kf8

45...Ke8 46.Ke6 Kd8 47.Kxd6 Kc8 48.Rb5+ −

46. Kf6 Ke8

46...Kg8 47.Rg7+ Kf8 48.Rxg4+ −

47. Ke6 Kf8 48. Rf7+ Kg8

48...Ke8 49.Rg7 Kf8 50.Rxg4+ −

49. Rf1 1-0