The first Chess Defector

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John McKenna
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 09, 2021 2:20 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 1:35 pm
"What are your grounds for suggesting defection rather than emigrating or some other description?"

I'm only asking the question. Allegedly, he had permission to leave Russia, but decided not to return. As was said earlier, how do you define "defector"?
David Williams wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 2:19 pm
My feeling is that the difference between emigration and defection is bound up with what would happen to you if you went back while the same people were still in charge.
An online etymology dictionary has the following definition -

defection 1540s, "action of failing;" 1550s, "action of deserting a party, leader, etc." from L. defectionem (nom. defectio) "desertion, revolt, failure," noun of action from pp. stem of deficere (see DEFICIENT (Cf. deficient)). Originally used often of faith.

Religion was the big defining thing in the 16th & 17th centuries. People might 'defect' for primarily that reason - as the Pilgrims Fathers did when they quit England for N. America in the year 1607.

Since the Enlightenment politics has replaced religion as the most likely reason for 'defection', by the claiming of political asylum. (The protection, by a sovereign state, of a person who is persecuted in his own country for his political opinions or activity.)

Finding chessplayers who fit the bill for being the "first chess defector" is not going to be simple and straightforward.
Last edited by John McKenna on Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Upham » Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:27 pm

Hooper & Whyld in 1984 have :

"a Czech player who emigrated to England in 1953"

in the second edition (1992) CKs entry has been removed.
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Upham » Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:12 pm

Whereas from Anne Sunnucks we have :

"After the Lucerne tournament he sought political asylum in Switzerland"
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Upham » Tue Feb 09, 2021 4:24 pm

And from Harry Golombek (actually Bill Hartston wrote the entry) :

"He emigrated in 1953 and subsequently took British nationality"
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John McKenna
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:09 pm

Harry & Bill - the souls of discretion...

Anne told it like it was (as per below, via Chessgamesdotcom) -
Article from the Milwaukee Journal dated January 3, 1953 about Kottnauer's "defection" from Czechoslovakia:

"Czech Chess Star Asks for Asylum
Lucerne, Switzerland - Cenek Kottnauer, 42, Czecho-Slovakian chess champion and an employee of the ministry of education in Prague, announced Saturday that he would not return to Czech-Slovakia and would request political asylum in Switzerland. Kottnauer had been participating in a chess tournament.
He said that the political situation in his country had grown "more and more critical" and he wanted "to leave before it is too late". He said that he had been divorced recently and had no children in Czech-Slovakia".
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Upham » Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:25 pm

There was the Plzeň uprising of 1953

which presumably had been brewing for some time.

This was some five months roughly following CK seeking political asylum.

I am reading "Checkmate in Prague" but so far no mention of CK by Ludek Pachman.
Last edited by John Upham on Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John McKenna
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:35 pm

John Upham wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:25 pm
There was the Plzeň uprising of 1953

which presumably had been brewing for some time.

This was some five months roughly following CK seeking political asylum.
Trust the chess master to make a prophylactic move - from a personal point of view - and go while the going's good.

There could be others who voted with their feet before Cenek, but anyone with a higher chess profile?
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by MJMcCready » Tue Feb 09, 2021 7:31 pm

This is rather problematic is the political situation in mother Russia was so unstable. As Cafferty himself points out on pg.12 of The Soviet Championships that Ilyin-Genevsky, who came from a rich family, had been banned from school for supporting the Bolsheviks and had to finish his higher education abroad in Switzerland. Some were exiled under different circumstances, and some remained unaccounted for after the war periods. Does someone qualify as a defector if they have been exiled?

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John Clarke
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Clarke » Tue Feb 09, 2021 10:30 pm

John Upham wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:57 am
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:51 am
Alexander Alekhine?
What are your grounds for suggesting defection rather than emigrating or some other description?
I'd class Alekhine as a defector, seeing he took part in the first USSR Championship* in 1920, thus demonstrating some sort of commitment to the new Soviet state, a commitment that he later reneged on. More for personal reasons of course than any ideological motives.

* I know: it wasn't actually called that at the time, but that's another issue.
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MJMcCready
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by MJMcCready » Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:18 am

He did and what's more he stitched up Levenfish 'During his (Levenfish) game with Romanovsky in the first round, he was walking about when Alekhine came up to him and said "Aha, you have prepared a rook sacrifice to force mate" At that point Romanovsky moved, Levenfish hurried back to the board and made the sacrifice only to see to his horror that the enemy king would find a saving loophole.' Talk about knobbling your nearest rival! Its from The Soviet Championships by Cafferty, pg.13.

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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:19 am

That is a hilarious anecdote - and very naughty.

What criteria were applied to removing entries (and how many?) from the 1992 edition of Hooper & Whyld?

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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by John Upham » Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:12 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:19 am
What criteria were applied to removing entries (and how many?) from the 1992 edition of Hooper & Whyld?
I suspect that David Hooper and Ken Whyld were not to blame. Possibly OUP put a constraint on the number of pages which went from 406 to 483.

The number of player entries in the new edition would have ballooned and presumably they decided certain players were no longer of interest.

They could also argue that the deleted ones had been mentioned in the original edition.

This is all speculation.
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O.G. Urcan
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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by O.G. Urcan » Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:25 am

Regarding Kottnauer and asylum, Leonard Barden contributed an account in Chess Notes item 8160: https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/win ... ml#CN_8160

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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:12 am

O.G. Urcan wrote:
Wed Feb 10, 2021 10:25 am
Regarding Kottnauer and asylum, Leonard Barden contributed an account in Chess Notes item 8160: 
The Winter piece contains a page from the February 1953 issue of "Chess" featuring a report by Leonard Barden on the Lucerne tournament. It comments on Kottnauer being the second well-known East European master to seek political asylum in the West recently, Fuster of Hungary being the other.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The first Chess Defector

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:16 am

That's a name I don't think I know. [EDIT: presumably Füster.]
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