A00 Sokolsky makes a monkey out of his opponent

Alexey Pavlovich Sokolsky (5 November 1908-27 December 1969) was a Ukrainian-Belarusian chess player of International Master strength in over-the board chess, a noted correspondence chess player, and an opening theoretician.

In 1935, he took second in the Russian FSSR. He was twice Ukrainian Champion (1947 and 1948), and was Belarus Sub-Champion in 1958. He also played in the 13th Soviet Championship in 1944, finishing with 7.5/16 (tie for 8th-10th place); the 17th Championship in 1949, finishing with 8.5/19 (12th place); and the 21st Championship in 1954, finishing last with 5/19.

He was the first Soviet Correspondence Chess Champion (1948–51).

The name of Sokolsky is known now mostly due to his opening research and development of the chess opening 1.b4 which became known as Sokolsky Opening. It is also known as the Polish Opening, or the Orangutan Opening, the name Savielly Tartakower gave it in 1924.

Sokolsky Memorial master-norm tournaments have been held regularly in Minsk since 1970.

Sokolsky wrote over a dozen books. The most famous of these are The Modern Openings in Theory and Practice (1962) and Debyut 1b2-b4 (1963), a book about his eponymous opening.

SOURCES: Wikipedia (Biography); Modern Chess Miniatures by Leonard Barden & Wolfgang Heidenfeld 1960 p 132 - annotations by WH; MCO-15 col 11-12 pp 738-9 for all game references after 1960.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES for Sokolsky Opening theory and practice: http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kibitz86.pdf



PS: There is a picture of Sokolsky in the Wikipedia article but I couldn't insert it, so I put in a picture of an Orangutan (the original name of 1.b4 courtesy of GM Tartakower), not to be confused with IM Sokolsky of course!


  • 4 years ago


    when someone goes with this attack, I've just ignored it and gone after the middle ... I think it's tempting to capture the pawn, but in essence, as black, you've been granted the lead in developing your center, so just ignore.

  • 4 years ago


    The note after 1.b4 explains the misguided origin of the incorrect name Polish Defense.

    I'm not surprised you found nothing on Strugatsch, as this game comes from a book published in 1960 with a fairly high percentage of "unknown" players - mostly the losers Tongue Out  I also look up both players when posting a game in order to credit everyone with any title they may have such as FM, IM, GM etc.

    Thanks for the input, I'm glad to see someone is looking at this stuff!

  • 4 years ago


    Great post, Nimzo ... here is additional explanation I found:


    FSR<The17thPawn> 1.b4 is sometimes called the <Polish Opening>. I have never seen an explanation for this. Savielly Tartakower, one of the first prominent players to play it, had accepted Polish citizenship after Poland gained its independence after World War I - although he had been born in Russia, and lived in Paris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saviel.He played it once at New York 1924, calling it the <Orangutan Opening> in honor of Suzy, an orangutan he had met at the Bronx Zoo. (I am not making this up.)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish.

    So perhaps <Polish Opening> alluded to Tartakower. It may also have referred to Sokolsky's later, more persistent, championing of the move. Alexey Sokolsky (1908-69) often played 1.b4 and published the book <Debyut 1b2-b4> in 1963. I have always thought, rightly or wrongly, that<Polish Opening> may refer to Sokolsky's "Polish-sounding" name. In that case, it is a misnomer, since Sokolsky was a was a Soviet citizen of Ukrainian-Belarusian extraction.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexey.

    Also, I tried to find something, anything on Strugatsch, but came up with nothing except more on this game.  :)

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