Sokolsky Memorial

Dmitry Lybin



Sokolsky Memorial


 The correspondence chess federations of Belarus and Ukraine are glad to inform you that the Sokolsky Memorial in two postal groups of the 7th and 4th categories as the first joint event of our federation started on June 20, 2004.  The supplementary 10-board friendly match between Belarus and Ukraine started November 2003. All these events are devoted to a memory of Alexey Pavlovich Sokolsky (1908 – 1969), the well-known chess master (since 1938), twice champion of Ukraine (1947/48, over-the-board), and runner-up of the 1st Soviet correspondence chess championship (1948/51).


          The name of Sokolsky is known now mostly due to his opening research and developments, and one can read more about him elsewhere (see [1] and references therein). Sokolsky was a recognized trainer; he taught chess since 1936, was a permanent second of his close friend I. Boleslavsky since 1945 (including FIDE Candidates tournaments 1950, 1953), head coach of the Belarus national team, and an arbiter.


          He was an author of a dozen books, some of which have been translated into European languages, but we would like to mention his accomplishments [2] in addition to citations of [1]. Being interested in various chess features, he was a composer of problems and endgames studies. Finally, he was a Godfather of Belarus postal chess, he headed the Belarus postal chess commission to organise the 1st correspondence chess championship of Belarus in 1964/65.


          Sokolsky memorial master-norm tournaments were held regularly in Minsk since 1970 (16 events until 1989, see [3]). Winners included FIDE GMs A. Lutikov (1972), V. Savon (1976, 1977), masters (future GMs) V. Kupreichik (1971, 1979), V. Chekhov (1981), V. Malaniuk (1985), R. Dautov (1989), as well as junior candidate masters G. Kasparov (1978) and B. Gelfand (1983), et al. A number of the Sokolsky opening thematic tournaments were played by correspondence.


          A series of correspondence games of Sokolsky, which were played in the six Soviet Championships and several international competitions, are available elsewhere [4, 5]. We would like to offer his over-the-board game versus future ICCF GM and FIDE IM.


Nimzo-Indian Defense (E51)

Oleg Moiseev – Alexey Sokolsky

Moscow, 1951


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 d5 5.a3 Be7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.Bd3 b6 8.0-0 Bb7 9.Qe2

The following moves plan the standard e3-e4 and the play against it. Solid is 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qc2 with a further Nf3-e5, which is a more efficient plan in this relatively rare line.

9...Ne4 10.Nd2 f5 11.f3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 c5 13.Bb2 Nc6 14.e4?

The vigorous play of Sokolsky prove that this is a decisive mistake. He should play 14.cxd5 with relatively balanced game.

14...dxe4 15.fxe4 cxd4 16.exf5 Bf6!

This bold intermediate move suggests a lot of geometrical problems for White at the both main and other (g1-a7) diagonals, as well as at the d-file (squares d3 and d4).

17.Ne4 dxc3 18.Nxc3 Nd4 19.Qe3 exf5 20.Rad1 Nf3+! 21.Kh1 Nh4 22.Qe6+

It is impossible to defend the g2-point (22.Be4 Qe8!). 

22...Kh8 23.Be4 fxe4!

Starting the final sacrificial attack, however, 23.Rd2 or 23.Rf2
was poor for White as well because of 23...Rfe8.

24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.h3

Everything is hopeless due to the permanent threat Bxg2+ (and Bxc3 at this moment).

25...e3 26.Rxf6 Rxf6 27.Qe7 Bxg2+ 28.Kh2 Rf8

28...Nf3+ was strong as well. The same move would force a checkmate after 29.Nd5.

29.Ne2 Ng6 30.Qxe3 Rf2 31.Kg1 Rf1+! 32.Kh2 Ba8 33.Bd4 Rh1+ 34.Kg3 Rf3+ 35.Qxf3 Bxf3 36.Kxf3 Rxh3+ 37.Ng3 Nh4+ 0-1 White resigned.

This game is quite typical for Sokolsky's style.


Two Belarusian participants of the Memorial knew Sokolsky 
personally and remember him well. Yury Nikolaevich Muyvid was a 
member of the special youth group for training under Sokolsky since 
1958 when Yury was a student. Some members 
of a group have become later well known chess players (GM Kira Zvorykina, 
IM Albert Kapengut, etc.). Yury Nikolaevich
took part in the first CC championship of Belarus, which had been organized
 by Sokolsky in 1962/63 (semifinals) and 
1964/65 (final), and finished 2nd-3rd! He met his former chess teacher for the last time in 
1969, few months before Sokolsky’s death. Yury Nikolaevich worked as chess coach in 
Brest and Minsk for many years. Being retired formally, he continues his 
activity as the chess trainer of the Minsk palace for youth. Here is a nice fragment of his 
game in the 1st Belarusian CC championship final 1964/1965:


White (Yury Muyvid): Kf1, Qd2, Rg1, Rh1, Bb1, Ne2, Ne3, pp a2, b3, d5, e4, f3, h4 (13)
Black (Gennady Tsentsiper - the 4th place in the tournament): 
Kg7, Qb6, Rc8, Rf8, Bh3, Nc5, Nf4, pp a6, b5, d6, e5, f7, g6 (13)
1.Rh3! Nh3 2.Nf5 Kf6 3.Qg5!! Ng5 4.hg5 elegant checkmate! (There were no computers!)
Vladimir Alexandrovich Shchekoldin played vs. Sokolsky in the Belarus over-the-board 
championship final in 1960 (a draw!). He attended Sokolsky's chess lectures in the Minsk city
club during 60th, the first publication of his chess game was in Sokolsky’s article 
"Youth attacks!" (Minsk, 1961).
Enjoy this combination:
White (Vladimir Shchekoldin): Kg1, Qb3, Rd1, Re1, Bc4, Ng5, pp a4, b2, f2, g2, h3 (11)
Black (Vitaly Geronin): Kg8, Qf6, Rb8, Rf8, Ne7, Bf5, pawns a5, b7, f7, g7, h7 (11)
1.Nf7! Rf7 (1…b5 was a bit better) 2.Qb7!! Re8 3.Re7 and Black resigned!
Dr. Shchekoldin was a researcher of the Institute for Cybernetics of the State 
Academy of Sciences in Minsk. He is retired now, and works as an organizer of weekend children 
chess tournaments in Minsk palace for youth.




1. T.Harding, How Sokolsky played the Sokolsky (2003) -

2. A. Sokolsky, Pawns in Movement (Moscow, 1962), in Russian.

3. L. Bondar, E. Mochalov (eds.), Sokolsky Memorials (Polymia, Minsk, 1989), in Russian.

4. T. Harding (ed.), MegaCorr CD (ChessMail Ltd., Dublin, 1999).

5. S. Grodzensky, T. Harding, Red Letters (ChessMail Ltd., Dublin, 2003).


Best wishes,

ICCF GM, FIDE IM Dmitry Lybin (BLR), ICCF delegate of Belarus

ICCF SM Fedir Savchur (UKR), ICCF delegate of Ukraine, TD Sokolsky-B

ICCF IM Dr. Andrei Yeremenko (UKR), Sokolsky Memorial executive

                        Vladislav Dubko (BLR), TD Sokolsky-A Memorial



The cross-table and other tournament information will be updated at the web site


Group A: Category/Average rating = VII/2403

IM norm = 8/14    SM norm = 9/14        GM norm = 11/14

Start 20.6.2004     Finish 1.12.2006,

 but TD will not call the tournament as long as titles are undecided

                  TD: Dubko, Vyacheslav Ch. (BLR)



Group B: Category/Average rating = IV/2326

IM norm = 9.5/14      SM norm = 10.5/14      LG norm =7/14

Start 20.6.2004  Finish 1.12.2006,
but TD will not call the tournament as long as titles are undecided

TD: Savchur Fedir F. (UKR)





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