Chess and love: The Selimanov case

Antonio Ventura Gude

Artículo escrito por: Antonio Ventura Gude , publicado: Sunday, August 7th, 2016
Categorias: Gude's Corner

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Chess and love…

Sometimes chess and love are connected. In 1957, North American William Lombardy won the World Junior Championship with an impressive 100% score – 11 out of 11! Following him, the German and Dutch players, Matthias Gerusel and Lex Jongsma respectively were also classified. The representative of the USSR, Vladimir Selimanov, could only manage the fourth position. This was a frustrating result for him and for the soviet chess, whose authorities were only considering his triumphal return with the gold medal. In the previous championship (1955), Boris Spassky had proclaimed world champion in Antwerp.

What was the subsequent career for Selimanov? In precise language – non-existent. Three years later, being 21 years old, he had committed by jumping out of the window.

What reasons could spur the young player to leave this beautiful world?

It seems that during the World Junior Championship took place in Toronto, he fell in love with a Canadian girl. Iit is possible that the implausible attempt to meet her had led him to despair. When you are 20 years old an unattainable love can result in something really distressing and unbearable for the spirit. Also, it has been said that he was suffering from schizophrenia. It will not be easy to dive into this question to reach any sort of conclusive answer, particularly since his mother, Nadezhda Andreevna and his adoptive father, Vassili Smyslov (yeah, the ex-world champion) had died a few years ago and they have discussed a few times (being this understandable) about this tragic event in their lives. Among the names of his parents, and in the same tomb of the Novodevichy graveyard of Moscow, a tombstone graces the memory of Vladimir Selimanov.


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Chess and love: The Selimanov case
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