Person of day   -  30 APRIL 2021

ANATOLY BYKHOVSKY

ANATOLY BYKHOVSKY

Anatoly Bykhovsky was born on 30th April 1934 in Izhevsk. Three years later, the family moved to Moscow before being evacuated to Perm after the start of the War, where his father worked as a director of the country’s largest artillery factory. In 1944, his family returned to the capital and a short while later, Anatoly began to study chess at the local Pioneers’ Palace on Stopani Street. His trainers were E. A. Penchko and A. A. Yaroshevky, and his classmates were Alexander Nikitin, Evgeny Vasiukov, Eduard Chaplinsky and others. In his school years, Bykhovsky played for Moscow at multiple competitions. In 1956, he graduated from the Bauman Institute and began to work in a classified research institute connected to the space industry. Later on, he studied psychology at Moscow State University. 

In 1963, he became a master of sports and won the Moscow championship. He played at the 33rd Soviet championship in 1965. In the mid-1960s, the Soviet Sports Committee noticed that very few of the leading Soviet chess players were under 30 and in 1967, the title of trainer of the Soviet junior team was set up. Anatoly Bykhovsky was offered to lead it, which he would do for 25 years, all the way until the collapse of the Soviet Union. To prepare the country’s strongest juniors, Anatoly Bykhovsky thought up for several competitions, which proved their effectiveness and turned out to be very popular. Amongst these were the Soviet championship for young masters, a Scheveningen match between the strongest masters and grandmasters, a match-tournament between three national teams, the White Rook competition and the Pioneers’ Palace tournament. During individual European and world championships, he helped Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vasily Ivanchuk and many others. 

In 1975, he became an honored coach of the USSR. For his achievements in chess, he was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honour in 1981. He became an international master in 1981 and an international arbiter in 1993. In the 1990s, he trained Alexander Grischuk and Boris Grachev. From 2003 onwards, he has headed the Trainers’ Council of the Russian Chess Federation because he is the most experienced, respected and effective mentor in the country. He continues to play in veterans’ tournaments regularly and he works as an arbiter in various competitions. 

Boris Spassky, the 10th world champion: “Anatoly Bykovsky has three qualities that I value: he is smart, honest and amicable. This, by the way, is a rarity. I associate the best memories of my life in Anatoly.”

Garry Kasparov, the 13th world champion: “A whole epoch of the development of Soviet junior chess is connected with Anatoly Bykhovsky’s name: almost a quarter of a century, starting in the late 1960s…the successes of the Soviet chess school formed out of the everyday work of specialists like Bykhovsky.” 

Alexander Grischuk, grandmaster: “We have trained together for 10 years…I can say that Anatoly taught me to play chess without any exaggeration. He taught me to play in the centre, to develop and activate pieces, to play powerful openings like 1.e4 e5 or 1.d4 d5. All in all, he bestowed a decent style on me devoid of any excesses: in my view, that is exactly what a 10 year-old player needs, and that was exactly what Bykhovsky gave me.”

Boris Gelfand, grandmaster: “Bykhovsky has carried his love for chess for his whole life. Nowadays, I am very happy to see him as arbiter at large tournaments. There are those who see an opportunity to demonstrate their power when they are arbiters, but Anatoly always follows common sense and uses his position to maximise the players’ comfort and to watch interesting matches from nearby.”