Rossolimo’s Brilliancy Prizes

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  • Rossolimo’s Brilliancy Prizes

    Nicolas Rossolimo was the Ukrainian-French-American grandmaster, born in 1910, died in 1975. He was many-times chess champion of Paris, played in the Olympiads for France and the United States. The grandmaster drove a taxicab for 17 years in order to supplement the meager income of his Chess Studio in Greenwich Village.

    Wikipedia says “Rossolimo wrote two books: Les Echecs au coin du feu, a collection of his studies and endgames with a preface by Savielly Tartakower, published in Paris in 1947; and Rossolimo's Brilliancy Prizes, self-published in New York in 1970.”

    The Cleveland Library and the Royal Library of the Netherlands have the first book but not the second.

    It probably does not exist. Sam Sloan has said this of it:

    “I often visited Rossolimo's Chess Studio on Thompson Street in the 1970s. At that time he was in correspondence with the USCF trying to get them to publish a book about (his) brilliancy prizes. However, he wanted them to write the book.

    What Rossolimo had in 1970 were photocopies of magazine articles from various chess magazines which contained the games and commentaries for the 12 brilliancy prizes that he had won. I looked through them politely. He also showed me the letters he had written to the USCF in New Windsor, New York asking them to publish this in a book.

    I did not say anything but I realized that just re-copying these old magazine articles by other authors would not make an acceptable book. Rossolimo would have had to write something too.

    Were he alive today and with the technology I have available now it would have been an easy task for me to take this material and make it into a nice book. The games were good and he had a great story to tell. Nobody here seems to realize that he had two stories to tell. He was a grandmaster twice. He became a grandmaster under his original Russian name that started with the letter V. Then after he made it to France he started calling himself Rossolimo and became a grandmaster under that name too.

    Madame Rossolimo told me all about this but, after she died all her papers disappeared.”

    He had a fascinating life. (I would take that story about being a grandmaster twice with a grain of salt). There are two 15-minute videos which give his life and death, his tournaments, his best games, which reference the Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian, tell of the running of the chess studio, Rossolimo - Livingstone, New York 1961, and the chess studio wars.

    Surely he deserves a biography and a best games collection.

    One to play over: N. Rossolimo vs I. Romanenko, Bad Gadstein 1948