Aleksandr Kuindzhi

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JustinHorton
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Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:09 am

I was looking at Douglas Griffin's indispensible Twitter account yesterday and came across a mention of Aleksandr Kuindzhi, who came third in the World Junior Championship. (His photo is also on the Wikipedia page for the World Junior.)

I didn't know that name, though all the others (Hort, Gheorghiu, Parma etc) are very familiar. He has 46 games on Chessgames (this is the loss to Scotland's Derek Thomson) but nothing for the 1960s after the World Junior. The comments do tell us that Tim Krabb'e was trying to trace him (see 48) twenty years ago in connection with Kuindzhi's 1970 refutation of Mitrofanov's 1967 study.

Doug observes that he can't be found on the Russian-language Wikipedia pages but does also say:
His name crops up in Soviet publications, mainly as an annotator. He played in the Moscow Championship final a couple of times in the '70s, so he was at least resident there for a while. He also played in a number of USSR Armed Forces Team championships over quite a wide period
and he suggests
it could be that he was a career army officer (like, e.g. Dorfman or Tukmakov)..
Still, we know both of those two as strong grandmasters, and I was (and am) intrigued that a player of that standard, in the Soviet Union at that time, should apparently drop out of sight as far as over the board chess is concerned, and be so obscure to us now. So I wondered - is anything more known about Kuindzhi? Did he stop playing in the decade after the World Junior?
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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:07 pm

Saw a claim in DG's comments that he resurfaced at the 2009 World Seniors championship.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:30 pm

Yes, which made me wonder also about the gap between his Seventies games, and then.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Craig Pritchett
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Craig Pritchett » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:41 pm

Kuindzhi is sometimes spelled Kuyindzhi so check both on databases. He's played quite a few world senior and euro senior championships, certainly including 2016. I played against him in the 2011 world seniors where he had a 2400+ rating - a draw, he played a highly risky Schliemann Defence (or is it attack?) against my Ruy Lopez.

He always was and remains highly gifted tactically and sometimes self-destructs … I've seen him going way too crazy on White side of fairly dubious King's Gambit type openings. When on song, he's very good indeed … and he might well have won that 1961 world junior championship if he hadn't dropped that full point against Scotland's Derek Thomson (who played that game well).

While we're at it, what about Michael Janata (Czechoslovakia), second at the world junior in 1963? I got the surprise of my life when I was paired to play him in some (quite strong) London weekend open in the early 1980s, as I knew how strong he had been but hadn't been aware that he'd played at all since the early 1960s. I thought that's an unlucky pairing for a mid-round Swiss pairing for both of us when we both needed to win (we drew).

He told me he studied one or two African languages and lived I can't remember where in Africa for some time in the 1960s. He said he had just been posted to London as a journalist when we played our game, with Rude Pravo (I think it was) and I certainly saw him spectating at the USSR v Rest of The World match (Docklands 1984), a year or two after our game.

What happened to him? I'm sure his old Czech chess comrades know. He was of the Hort, Kavalek, Jansa generation and very highly regarded then too.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:25 pm

According to chessgames.com (not totally reliable I know) Janata is still with us at the age of 75.
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Ian Rogers
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Ian Rogers » Tue May 21, 2019 8:58 am

Michael Janata died in the late 1980s. He returned to Czechoslovakia with an unidentified illness and died three months later.
He was a polyglot, specialising in Arabic, who traveled widely.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue May 21, 2019 1:02 pm

Ah, thanks. Maybe the page referred to above needs updating.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by JustinHorton » Tue May 21, 2019 6:03 pm

Kavalek wrote about Janata in the Washington Post in 2001 (you may need to click on browse now). Although he uses the past tense, there seems to me no suggestion he knew his old sparring-partner had died.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Craig Pritchett
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Re: Aleksandr Kuindzhi

Post by Craig Pritchett » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:39 am

Intrigued, I contacted a German friend, whose origin is Czech and who knew Janata when they were both youngsters in Prague. He says that mutual friends told him that Michael Janata died of cancer and confirmed that he had studied Arabic and Swahili. A sad loss.

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