Boris Spassky: "My meeting with Bohatirchuk was a gift of fate"

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  • #16
    Re: Boris Spassky: "My meeting with Bohatirchuk was a gift of fate"

    I remember hearing a very different story years ago. That Spassky was accompanied on his trip to Canada by two men whose job was to watch him. He knew of Bohatirchuk and wanted to meet him and found someone who could arrange it. While at a banquet in Ottawa he went to the back of the room, purportedly to the washroom, where someone helped him slip out a back door and took him to meet F.B. When he returned there was no problem as his minders knew that to report his absence could have worse repercussions for themselves than for him. Can't remember who told me this but my best guess would be Lawrence Day.


    • #17
      Re: Boris Spassky: "My meeting with Bohatirchuk was a gift of fate"

      Boris Spassky: "My meeting with Bohatirchuk was a gift of fate"

      November 27, 2017

      There is a long article today on Fedor Bohatyrchuk at by Andre Schulz. There are photos of the man and finally, of his gravestone.

      I give the first few paragraphs:

      The man who was Dr. Zhivago: Fedor Bohatyrchuk

      by André Schulz

      Even chess players hardly remember Fedor Bohatirchuk although the Ukrainian-Canadian doctor and chess master led a life worth remembering. He lived in turbulent times, and he was a strong chess player with a life-time score of 3½-½ against Mikhail Botvinnik. He also inspired Boris Pasternak to the character of "Doctor Zhivago". Today, Bohatyrchuk would celebrate his 125th birthday.

      Fedor Parfenovich Bohatirchuk was born November 27, 1892, 125 years ago. But most sources give November 14, 1892, as Bohatirchuk's date of birth. This discrepancy is probably caused by the differences between the Julian and the Gregorian calendar. After the Russian Revolution the more precise Gregorian calendar was used in the Soviet Union but before the revolution the Julian calendar which lags 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar was better known in Russia. This difference is also the reason why the so called "October Revolution" (which according to the Julian calendar broke out on October 25, 1917) took place in November (November 7, 1917) if one follows the Gregorian calendar.

      Bohatirchuk was born in Kiev, which today is in Ukraine but back then was part of the Russian Empire. There have been different ways to transcribe Bohatirchuk's name from Cyrillic but in this article we follow the writing used in the ChessBase Mega database and the name on his grave.

      Bohatirchuk learnt to play chess when he was 15 years old. At the beginning of his chess career Bohatirchuk visited a couple of tournaments with Mikhail Chigorin who was Bohatirchuk's chess teacher for a short time before he died in 1908. 1910 Bohatirchuk won the City Championship of Kiev for the first time, ahead of Efim Bogoljubow. In 1914 José Raúl Capablanca visited Kiev and won an exhibition match against the young master.

      Bohatirchuk was one the Russian players who played at the Congress of the German Chess Federation in Mannheim 1914 when World War I broke out and the Russian players were interned by the Germans. However, Bohatirchuk was soon released and sent to Switzerland with Alexander Alekhine, Peter Saburov and N. Koppelmann. From Switzerland the Russians made their way to Genoa where they waited about a month for a ship that would bring them back to Russia. While waiting, they played a lot of chess and Bohatirchuk later said that this month in which he played more than a 100 games against Alekhine had been better for his chess than all other matches and tournaments.

      Between 1923 and 1934 Bohatirchuk played in six USSR Championships (1923, 1924, 1927, 1931, 1933, 1934) and in 1927 he won the tournament together with Romanovsky, ahead of players such as Botvinnik and Dus-Chotimirsky. In 1925 he took part in the first great international chess tournament played in the Soviet Union, Moscow 1925, and finished 11th of 21 participants. Bogoljubow won ahead of Lasker and Capablanca.

      In 1926, Bohatirchuk wrote the first chess book in Ukrainian, titled "Shahy". He also was an active member of the Chess Federation of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

      See the rest of the rest of the article at:


      • #18
        Re: Boris Spassky: "My meeting with Bohatirchuk was a gift of fate"

        Good introductory article on GM Bohatirchuk. Spells out who he was. What a life!