Master Zheliandinov
17.03.2015 21:22

Master Zheliandinov

     My coach had a serious  anniversary – 80 years. Apparently I want not only congratulate Viktor Savelich, but also tell a bit about him. In remote 60-70s Zheliandinov made people scared on strongest tournaments of that time. Let only mention his victories on Armies Championship (1966) in Prague; shared with Hort, ahead of Geller and others.


The cross table of another Armies Championship in Gavana, 1967. Thanks

Or his victory in Belarus in 1970, where he was ahead of Boleslavsky, Kupreichik, Kapengut. But you can learn about player much better by his games than by cross-table.

Tal,Mikhail - Zheliandinov,Viktor [C92]

Kharkov, 1967

The following game was acknowledged the best one among all played on Soviet Championship in 1967. This USSR Championship was help by new on that time Swiss system. The win in such competition was very prestigious, taking into account the following names who were in the list: Polugaevsky, Taimanov, Kholmov, Vasiukov and others. So please enjoy the encounter of 31 year old ex-champion of the world Mikhail Tal and 32-year old master of sport Viktor Zheliandinov. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d6 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 Nd7 11.d4 Bf6 12.a4 Nb6 

Viktor Savelevich chooses far not the mainstream continuation. He never was opening master and always tend to get playable position. 13.axb5  The main line to fight for the advantage in this variation was demonstrated the year after by Robert Fischer. That’s why I believe this game forced him to pay attention at this line and study it in home laboratory. The results of this analysis he tested against editor-in-chief of Chess Informant Alexander Matanovich. So to say demonstrated the novelty by his own. 13.b4! Nac4 14.a5 Nd7 15.Bb3 exd4 16.cxd4 c5


17.Bf4! cxb4 18.Nbd2 d5 19.exd5 Nxa5 20.Bd6 (computer believes that more precise is 20.Rc1!? with annoying threat Bc7) 20...Nxb3 21.Qxb3



21...Re8? (the better is 21...Bb7 22.Bxf8 Nxf8 and bishop on d5 can compensate everything) 22.Bc7 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 Qxc7 24.Re8+ Nf8 25.Qxb4 Be7 26.Rxe7 Qd8 27.Ne5 you may just look at the diagram to estimate the position 1–0 Fischer,R-Matanovic,A/Vinkovci 1968]




14.Nbd2 Petrosian  and Suetin recommended  14.d5!, but Mikhail Tal didn’t enjoy much positions with fixed center. 14...c5 15.dxc5 dxc5 16.Nh2 Qc7 17.Ndf3 Be7 18.Ng4 Rd8 19.Qe2 f6


20.Ne3 Capturing pawn of course is mistaken. 20.Qxb5? Ba6 21.Qxa5 Bb7 20...c4! 21.Nd5?! Opening the ways for your pieces to opponent’s king for cost of a pawn. Dashingly but exactly like young Tal used to play. There was nothing he liked better than attacking. But in this game diamond cut diamond. Apparently Tigran Petrosian recommended more solid 21.Nf5 Bf8= 21...Nxd5 22.exd5 Bb7 23.Nh4 Bf8

24.Qh5 g6 25.Nxg6! Stopping on the half way did not correspond to Tal’s rules. 25...hxg6 26.Bxg6

26...Nb3! The right reaction. More greedy 26...Bxd5? would end in crushing defeat. 27.Re3! Nb3 28.Rxa8 Rxa8 29.Rg3 Bg7 30.Bh6 27.Bf5! Strong and precise intermediate move. The capture on a8 would allow black to place rook on a more useful square d8. 27.Rxa8? Bxa8 28.Bf5 Bxd5 27...Bxd5 [27...Rxa1?? 28.Be6+ Kg7 29.Qh6#] 28.Rxa8 Rxa8


29.Rd1! The bishop has no nice square for retreat. 29...Qf7! Excellent defensive maneuver. On the first sight there is loss of tempo, but it’s very important to divert  white bishop from f5 to he unlucky square g6. 30.Bg6 Qg7 31.Rxd5 Nxc1


32.Be4! Again precisely! 32...Qh6 providing his king with squares for retreat on h file. 33.Qg4+ Bg7 34.Rxb5 Rd8 35.Bd5+ Kh8 36.Bxc4


36...Nd3! Setting coordination between the pieces and creating the threat of Qc1. 37.g3! Defending against queen’s exchange after the checks on c1 and f4. With queens the black king keeps feeling himself insecure. 37...Qc1+ 38.Kg2 Ne1+ 39.Kh2 Qg5 40.Qe4 Qd2 41.Qh4+ Agreed for draw. The excellent fight of worthy rivals! Having got his kind of position, young Tal didn’t manage to confuse Zheliandinov. Despite the draw result the Eighth World Champion published this game in his collection of selected games “Into the fire of attack”.

     In many books one may find description of blissful attacks led by Zheliandinov. He always had good feeling of dynamics and nice calculation. He prefers classical openings, played Ruy Lopes successfully for both colors. He can serve with both hands (1.e4 and 1.d4) and tries to find his own line, surprising his opponents with fresh approach to the opening. He sits at the board crossing his legs turning half aside. He writes down moves without diverting from the board, so the text is scrawled unrecognizably.

   Later Viktor focused on trainer work and helped many young players. First of all I must mention Ivanchuk, who Savelich trained not only when he way a school boy, but also was his second on tournaments like Linares. By the way Vassily Mykhailovich and Viktor Savelich were born with 1 day and 39 years difference. Zheliandinov worked in army team helping Anatoly Karpov on his match against Kasparov in 1985.

   He worked a lot with Marta Litynska and many other Lviv grandmasters. When being a schoolboy I started training in group of Viktor Savelich, together with me future grandmasters Vitaly Golod and Mikhail Kozakov attended lessons. There were plenty of training camps led by him with polish grandmasters Mateusz Bartel and Arkadiusz Leniart. On his trainings Zheliandinov paid main attention to analysis of games. I recall how Vitalik Golod, being the Champion of Ukraine already, thoroughly made notes in his book about conclusions and corrections in his games. And also friendly fun in analysis, when everybody claimed he is not worse. Although it meant “my position is better, let him try to equalize”. 


We, as coaches colleagues in youth championship (Montenegro 2005).

Viktor sincerely loves children and any time is ready to help with advice or analyze recent game. His famous “Come on, show me something fresh” was heard by many starting from Efim Geller to young Alexander Ipatov. Kind, punctual, never raising voice to his student, he always made training pleasant and funny. We wish our Savelich to play chess until one hundred year old, interesting analysis and thankful students!

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