Person of day   -  25 SEPTEMBER 2023



He made a name for himself early when he split 4th-5thplaces at the 1968 USSR championship. In 1972 and 1973, he won the RSFSR championships. It was clear that a rising star was present in the USSR. Success came soon after. In 1978, he won the national championship with Tal, performing admirably in all stages of his games. Tseshkovsky played in 9 Soviet championships and in 1986, he became the champion of the USSR once again. 

A chess player noted for his uncompromising combative stance, Tseshkovsky performed successfully in many international competitions. He won, among others, tournaments in Sochi, Bucharest, Leipzig, Costa Brava, Dubna, Yerevan, Minsk, Gael, Banja Luka. He also won the world junior championship, the European championship and the 1986 Olympiad with the Soviet team. 

Tseshkovsky also challenged for the world championship. In 1975, he split 1st-4thplaces at the FIDE zonal tournament and in 1976, he came 4that the inter-zonal tournament in Manila. However, he never managed to go one step higher and become a candidate.

He had an affinity for positioning battles and could read situations with multiple tactical options, but he felt less confident in simple positions and he was worse at defence than attack. Perhaps this was what stopped Tseshkovsky from realising his full potential. 

He continued to perform in tournaments until his final days, including veterans’ tournaments, where he achieved notable success. Tseshkovsky was Russia’s senior champion and a European team champion. On 24thDecember 2011 in Krasnodar, Vitaly Tseshkovsky died at the chess board. He was playing in the Krasnodar Cup for rapid chess: he grew sick during the first round and died without regaining consciousness.  

Tseshkovsky was not only an extremely talented player, but also an experienced trainer. In the 1990s, he helped Kramnik. Later on, he trained Bartłomiej Macieja (Poland) and young grandmasters from Southern Russia. His sudden death was a great loss to Russian chess. Boris Spassky reacted to the death of his colleague and friend:

“You always fought for kings and you were against the imitation of the fight, especially in short draws. Throughout your chess life, you fought and you created… You were and remain a chess player of great artistic devotion in our memory. Your combinatory attacks will remain in the memories of chess fans for centuries. You were a wonderful fighter who departed this world during battle.”