Wednesday Workout: A Blast From The Past

We published the first in an occasional series of reprints of important Soviet-era essays and articles in the April issue of Chess Life. It is a translation by Douglas Griffin of GM Vladimir Simagin’s “Ataka pri raznotsvetnykh slonakh,” or “Attack with Opposite-Colored Bishops,” which appeared in Shakhmaty v SSSR (5:1962). Because this article was written some 60 years ago, the author did not have the luxury of checking his work with our metal friends. We point out a few important corrections in endnotes, which you may ignore if you are so inclined.

Vladimir Simagin (1919-1968) was an important theorist and trainer, working with GM Vasily Smyslov during his world championship years, GM Alexander Kotov, and a young IM Mark Dvoretsky, who cites him in many of his books, and this article specifically in Positional Play. A mainstay of the Moscow chess scene, and three times city champion, he was also a leading journalist, as evidenced by his work on the Bulletin of the Central Chess Club and in articles like the one in our April issue.

Simagin was seen by his peers to be among the most creative and well-respected players of his day. GM David Bronstein wrote of Simagin’s “enviable number of the most varied tactical and strategic ideas,” while Dvoretsky described him as a “true artist with original ideas and profound thoughts... I recommend that you study his selected games. For some time it was a standard reference work for me.”

We hope that you will read this article, which is available to all US Chess members in digital format, and in print for those who have chosen the print add-on. As a bit of a appetizer, we have pulled out six tactics from Simagin’s career for this week’s Wednesday Workout. You should be looking for moves that deliver mate or win material, but there are also puzzles where you’ll need to find the right move to stay equal or not get mated. Keep your eyes open!

If you are inspired to learn more about Simagin’s career, check out Aidan Woodger’s Vladimir Simagin (The Chess Player, 2000), which is largely a translation of Simagin’s best games collection, and GM Mihail Marin’s newly published Learning chess with Vladimir Simagin: A Quest for beauty (Pawn Books, 2022).




Download our printable worksheet or solve along with our interactive Lichess study, embedded below.


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