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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Leo Tolstoy was a chess lover

Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (left) playing chess with the
son of his friend and publisher Vladimir Chertkov who took
this picture in Yasnaya Polyana in 1907.

Hello everybody!

What do you know about Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich, 1928-1910 - Great Russian novelist and chess fanatic? That he wrote War and Peace? You can read all about him at this Wikipedia page.

But let us tell you Tolstoy was a chess lover too. Aylmer Maude writes in the Times Weekly edition dated May 3, 1907: "When Tolstoy was a young officer in the Caucases, he was promised the St. George's Cross for bravery but absorbed in a game of chess he failed to go on duty the night before the awards were to be distributed. It unluckily happened that the commander of the division visited the guns which should have been in Tolstoy's charge and not finding him at his post, placed him under arrest. The next day when the Crosses were distributed, Tolstoy was a prisoner and missed the coveted honour."

He played countless games with Ursov during the Siege of Sevastopol, 1854-1855.

Here is an interesting game between Maude and Tolstoy: You can run it in pgnplayer also. You will see Tolstoy played extremely aggressive chess, as was popular during those times. Very nice King's Gambit.

PGN: 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 g5 4. Bc4 g4 5. Ne5 Qh4+ 6. Kf1 d57. Bxd5 f3 8. gxf3 Qh3+ 9. Ke1 g3 10. d4 g2 11. Rg1 Qh4+12. Ke2 Nh6 13. Rxg2 c6 14. Bxh6 cxd5 15. Bxf8 Kxf8 16. Qe1Qe7 17. Nc3 f6 18. Nxd5 Qd6 19. Qg3 1-0

You can see more Leo Tolstoy chess games here.

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  • At June 17, 2010 at 12:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    hey alexandra,
    now that's a fantastic post. feel i should read more of tolstoy now, and of course, play chess with equal concentration. thanks for making my day. ha ha!


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