Person of day - 5 MARCH 2021
Evgeni Vasiukov was born and lives in Moscow. He learned to play chess only at the age of 15. During the War, the eight-year-old child was evacuated to Tula, which he remembers to this day. In 1943, his father died in battle at Kursk.
After starting late, he progressed rapidly and became a Soviet master of sport in 1954 and in 1961, an international grandmaster. Vasiukov recorded his first major victory in 1955 when he became the champion of Moscow after showing himself to be a fantastic tactician. He would go on to win five more of the capital’s championship and he represented Moscow in several domestic competitions.
Vasiukov was always noted for quick thought and a reputation of a specialist in speed chess has remained with him since the 1950s- he continues to play blitz chess spectacularly to this day. He won the Moscow blitz championship six times for “Vecherka” prizes and split first place twice. In 1958, when 15-year-old Robert Fischer came to Moscow for a short time, only Vasiukov and Tigran Petrosian- who was invited to the Central Chess Club at short notice- managed to defend the honour of the capital.
Four years later, Vasiukov once again tripped Fischer up. This happened at the candidates’ tournament on Curacao. An original analyst and theoretician, Vasiukov conceived of a new idea in the Ufimtsev Defence and he introduced it to Korchnoi. He implemented it while playing black against Fischer and won an important, decisive victory.
Vasiukov shared his ideas freely while he was trainer of the Soviet students’ team, the Hungarian Olympic team and a trainer-consultant for Karpov, Korchnoi, Tal, Geller and other exceptional chess players.
Vasiukov won over 50 competitions and played in 11 Soviet championships. His greatest result was victory in Manila in 1974- he finished ahead of Petrosian, Larsen, Portisch and Gligoric…on his count are gold medals at tournaments in Reykjavik, Athens, Varna, Berlin and other cities.
After reaching 60, his calendar became no less intense. In 1955, he won the seniors’ world championship and he won multiple team veterans’ competitions, including world and European championships with the Russian team. A man of exceptional energy and love for chess, Evgeni Andreyevich has headed RCF’s veterans’ commission since 2003. Thanks to his efforts, the commission holds tens of competitions annually, in which hundreds of chess players participate. In addition, Evgeni Vasiukov has developed a system to organise handicap-tournaments, which are very popular with amateurs and professionals.
Vasiukov is not only a grandmaster and administrator, but a talented promoter of chess: he is the author of several books and multiple articles, he is the lead contributor to chess columns in major newspapers and he commentates at competitions of the very highest level, including matches for the world championship.
Evgeni Vasiukov died in Moscow on May 10, 2018.
“Evgeni Andreyevich has done so much for veterans’ chess in Russia, that we should all bow down before him.” (E. Sveshnikov)