Speed Demon: Alexey Vyzhmanavin
198 pages, paperback, New in Chess, 1. edition 2023
Almost as fascinating as chess is the community of chess players. In every major city in the world, you are guaranteed to meet interesting people when you walk into a local chess club or chess cafe. This book pays tribute to one of those characters who gave colour to the chess world, the Russian grandmaster Alexey Vyzhmanavin.
The best chance to bump into Vyzhmanavin in the 1980s and early 1990s was in Sokolniki park in Moscow, playing blitz. You could meet him at the 1992 Chess Olympiad as a member of the winning Russian team. Or in the finals of the PCA rapid events of the 1990s, frequently outplaying his illustrious opponents with his fluent and enterprising style. In Moscow in 1994, he reached the semi-final, narrowly losing out to Vladimir Kramnik, having already beaten Alexei Shirov and Viktor Korchnoi. Commentating at a PCA event, Maurice Ashley described Vyzhmanavin in predatory terms: ‘He’s a dangerous one, looking like a cat, ready to pounce.
For this book, grandmaster Dmitry Kryakvin has talked to dozens of people, enabling him to give a complete picture of Vyzhmanavin’s life. The result is a mix of fascinating chess, wonderful anecdotes, and some heartbreaking episodes. The stories are complemented by the memories of Vyzmanavin’s ex-wife Lyudmila. They revive his successes but also reveal the dark side of this forgotten chess genius who battled with depression and the ‘green serpent’, a Russian euphemism for alcoholism. He died in January 2000 at the age of forty, in circumstances that remain unclear. The stories and games in this book are his legacy.
Dmitry Kryakvin is an International Grandmaster from Russia and an experienced chess trainer and author. For New In Chess he wrote Attacking with g2-g4: The Modern Way to Get the Upper Hand in Chess.
006 Explanation of symbols
007 Foreword by Viorel Bologan
011 Chapter 1) The Self-Taught Guy From Moscow
032 Chapter 2) The Seven-Time Armed Forces Champion
048 Chapter 3) Goodbye, Army!
071 Chapter 4) 1988. The Wedding Flowers
076 Chapter 5) Among the Ranks of Grandmasters
100 Chapter 6) 1989. The Year of Happiness and Sadness
103 Exotic Cruises and the Hardships of the Soviet Qualifying System
121 Chapter 7) 1990. Life Is Beautiful and Wonderful!
124 1991. English Lessons
127 Olympic and European Champion!
140 Chapter 8) 1992. An Olympic Champion Now Lives in Our Home!
143 In the Elite Tournaments
158 Chapter 9) 1993. Fight for the Flat
162 Three Rounds Against Vladimir Kramnik
173 1994. The Blackout and the Dollar Rain
175 1995. The Flat in Moscow
178 1996--99. The Last Call
182 To the Genius of Chess
189 Appendix) Tournament Results
195 Index of names