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April 2019

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MIKHAIL SHERESHEVSKY

Person of day - 21.04.2019

MIKHAIL SHERESHEVSKY

Mikhail Izralyevich Shereshevsky was born on 21stApril 1950 in Minsk. When he was only 16, Mikhail qualified for the adult USSR championship from Belarus. Shereshevsky did not earn major plaudits in this prestigious competition that was being played according to a Swiss system as an experiment, but the talented young man was noticed- soon the he was mentored by Isaac Boleslavsky, a famous grandmaster and theoretician. 

With this mentor’s help, the young chess player fulfilled the criteria for master. In the delayed, decisive match against Sergei Yuferov at the Sokolsky Memorial in 1971, Shereshevsky nearly despaired of finding a way to victory, but, during a nocturnal analysis, Boleslavsky thought up of a plan to utilise the hidden strength of two bishops- Mikhail finished the match with a decisive victory and received an upgrade in status. 

Mikhail Shereshevsky won multiple team prizes at championships of Belarus, the Soviet Armed Forces and Spartakiads with the Belorussian team. In the 1980s, the renowned master concentrated on his job of training the Republic’s junior team. Multiple young chess players passed through his hands and in 1988, Shereshevsky was awarded the title of recognised trainer of Belarus for the successes of his pupils. Mikhail Shereshevsky’s most famous students are grandmasters Alexey Alexandrov, Elena Zaiats and Ilaha Kadimova. 

Based on invaluable materials on endgames that he analysed thoroughly during his lessons with his pupils, Mikhail Shereshevsky wrote two famous books: Mastering the Endgameand Endgame Strategy, which have become classics in the 21stcentury. World champion Magnus Carlsen rated Shereshevsky’s works highly thirty years after they were published. 

Elena Zaiats: “In Minsk, I began to train with Mikhail Shereshevsky. And I was lucky once again. Mikhail Izralyevich was a brilliant coach. It was no accident that his book that was originally titled Methods of Training High-Level Chess Playersby the author and later renamed to The Soviet Chess Conveyerwas translated into multiple languages and sold thousands of copies around the world. Mikhail Shereshevsky had a lot to tell. When I began to train with him, he wrote Contours of Endgameand asked me, a 14-year-old scamp, to check the manuscript for errors, be they grammatical, orthographic or about displaying the diagrams of pieces correctly…naturally, there were no mistakes- 2 or 3 commas at most- but I studied the manuscript very closely since I was given a responsible task. My understanding of the endgame improved enormously”. 

In 1990, Shereshevsky moved to Bulgaria. The Belorussian chess player was successful at several tournaments, won a Swiss tournament in Spain, became a grandmaster, played well at the secondary tournament in Elenite in 1994 before immersing himself fully in business and leaving chess for several years. 

Mikhail Shereshevsky returned to chess a few years ago. The master began to publish video lessons on the Internet and train several promising juniors, including Arseniy Nesterov from Russia. The experienced coach was invited to lead the chess department of Sirius School for Russia’s leading young sportsmen in Sochi. Recently the RCF library published Mikhail Shereshevsky’s new book: My Methods. From Novice to Grandmaster. Its foreword was written by RCF President Andrey Filatov.  

 “I met Mikhail Shereshevsky in Minsk almost 30 years ago, when I enrolled in the chess faculty of the Institute of Physical Culture in Belarus’ capital. Mikhail Izralyevich, a strong chess player who won multiple prizes at championships of Belarus and the Soviet Armed Forces as well as a member of the Republic’s national team, was a highly respected coach. His greatest students, Alexey Alexandrov, Elena Zaiats and Ilaha Kadimova were winners and prize-winners of European and world championships. In total, Shereshevsky trained seven grandmasters- a rare accomplishment in those years!" (A. Filatov).

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