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Ilya Rabinovich

Ilya (Elias) Leontievich Rabinovich (Rabinowitsch, Rabinovitch, Rabinovitz, Rabinowicz, Rabinovici) (Russian: Илья Рабинович; 11 May 1891, Saint Petersburg – 23 April 1942, Perm) was a Russian / Soviet chess master, among the best Russian and Soviet players for three decades, from 1910 to 1940. His best result was a shared first place in the 9th Soviet Championship of 1934-35. He was also a chess writer.


In 1911 Ilya Rabinovich tied for first place with Platz in Saint Petersburg. In 1912 he tied for 4th-5th in Vilnius (Hauptturnier; Karel Hromádka won).

Interned in GermanyEdit

In July/August 1914 he played in Mannheim, Germany (19th DSB Congress), and tied for 2nd-3rd in interrupted Hauptturnier A (B. Hallegua won).[1] After the declaration of war for World War I against Russia, eleven 'Russian' players (Alexander Alekhine, Efim Bogoljubow, Fedor Bogatyrchuk, Alexander Flamberg, N. Koppelman, Boris Maljutin, Rabinovich, Peter Romanovsky, Peter Petrovich Saburov, Alexey Selezniev, and Samuil Weinstein) from the Mannheim tournament were interned by Germany. In September 1914, four of them (Alekhine, Bogatyrchuk, Saburov, and Koppelman) were freed and allowed, through Switzerland, to return home. The Russian internees played eight tournaments, the first in Baden-Baden (1914) and all the others in Triberg im Schwarzwald (1914–1917). Rabinovich was 3rd in Baden-Baden (Alexander Flamberg won), took 2nd at Triberg 1914/15, took 2nd at Triberg 1915, took 3rd at Triberg 1915, tied for 2nd-3rd at Triberg 1915, took 2nd at Triberg 1915/16 (all tournaments were won by Efim Bogoljubow). In 1916 Rabinovich won the Triberg chess tournament, and he tied for first with Selezniev at Triberg 1917.[2]

Returns to RussiaEdit

After World War I, Rabinovich returned to St Petersburg (Petrograd, Leningrad). In 1920 he won the Petrograd chess championship. In 1920 he took fourth in Moscow (Russian Chess "Olympiad", first Soviet Union championship). The event was won by Alexander Alekhine. In 1922 he took second, behind Levenfish, in the Petrograd championship. In 1923 he tied for 7th-8th at Leningrad (2nd USSR Ch., Peter Romanovsky won). In 1923 he won at Novgorod. In 1924 he took 2nd, behind Grigory Levenfish, in the Leningrad championship. In 1924 he took 5th in Moscow (3rd USSR Ch., Efim Bogoljubow won).

In 1925 Ilya Rabinovich became the first Soviet player to compete outside the USSR. He played at Baden-Baden, Germany and took 7th place. The event was won by Alekhine. In 1925 he tied for 1st-4th in the Leningrad championship. In 1925 he took 3rd at Leningrad (4th USSR Ch., Bogoljubow won). In 1925 he took 16th in Moscow (1st International Tournament; Bogoljubow won). In 1926, he won at Leningrad. In 1926 he tied for 2nd-3rd at Leningrad (Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky won).[3]


In 1927 Rabinovich wrote the first original book in the Russian language devoted to the endgame (titles The Endgame in Russian and The Russian Endgame Handbook in English).

Soviet championEdit

In 1927 he tied for 10-12th in Moscow (5th URS-ch). The event was won by Fedor Bohatirchuk and Peter Romanovsky. In 1928, he won the Leningrad championship. In 1933 he tied for 3rd-5th in Leningrad (8th USSR Championship; Mikhail Botvinnik won). In 1934/35 Rabinovich shared first place with Grigory Levenfish in Leningrad (9th USSR Championship). At Moscow 1935, the second International Tournament, he tied for 11-14th. The event was won by Botvinnik and Salo Flohr.

In 1937 he tied for 10-12th in Tbilisi (10th USSR Championship; Levenfish won). In 1938, he tied for 3rd-4th in Leningrad (11th USSR Championships semi-final). In January 1939 he tied for 7-8th in Leningrad–Moscow (International Tournament; Flohr won). In 1939 he tied for 11-12th in Leningrad (11th USSR Championship; Botvinnik won). In 1939 he took 7th in the Leningrad championship (Georgy Lisitsin won). In 1940 he won the Leningrad championship. In June 1941 he played in interrupted semifinal of the USSR Chess Championship in Rostov-on-Don.[4]

Caught in siege of Leningrad, diesEdit

Rabinovich was taken ill during the siege of Leningrad. He was evacuated, but died of malnutrition in a hospital in Perm.


  1. ^ Schach Nachrichten
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Name Index to Jeremy Gaige's Chess Tournament Crosstables, An Electronic Edition, Anders Thulin, Malmö, 2004-09-01
  3. ^ Russian Chess Base at
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 21, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit