Sports Outside the Beltway

Chess Grandmaster David Bronstein dead at 82

MOSCOW – David Bronstein, a chess grandmaster who nearly became world champion, has died at age 82, the World Chess Federation announced.

Bronstein died Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, the federation said. It did not give the cause of death, but the Russian Chess Federation said he died of a stroke.


Bronstein, born in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, was champion of the U.S.S.R. in 1948 and 1949. He challenged reigning champion Mikhail Botvinnik in 1951, but drew the match 12-12 — despite leading with two games left to play — leaving the title in Botvinnik’s hands.

“He played hundreds of sparkling games which will always be remembered by chess players. Bronstein was and remains a hero for hundreds of thousands of chess fans, who grew up on his ingenious books and games,” the Russian Chess Federation said.

It quoted Bronstein as saying once that chess has an almost spiritual aspect: “Beauty is the most important aspect of chess. … We are passing our knowledge and our understanding of beauty to the next generations, and thus life goes on forever.”

Bronstein’s book ‘Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953‘ is a classic in chess literature. It has been my favorite chess book since my first discovering it some 20 years ago. Bronstein’s straightforward strategic commentary(Easy for players of all strengths to follow. I’m Expert level myself with a rating in the 2100′s) without endless pages of possible moves, makes it a book nearly impossible to put down for any lover of the game of chess. The Grandmaster’s play on the board was more creative than his few efforts at writing. Here is just one example.

I’ve spent endless hours with Bronstein’s book. His book is so amazing, you almost feel as if you know this chess genius. Dear Wife was the one who pointed out GM Bronstein’s death to me. It was in today’s Palm Beach Post and to be honest it shook me a bit and I think many chess fans are feeling the same now. David Bronstein may be dead, but his brilliance will live on. RIP.

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