Prokofiev vs Oistrakh: full match report

Many musicians play chess to sharpen their minds and kill hours in trains and planes. Some are rather good at it.

The composer Sergei Prokofiev was good enough to steal a game off an international grandmaster. But he met his match in David Oistrakh.

Read a move-by-move account of their contest here. (The young woman looking on is Elisaveta Gilels, daughter of Emil.)

It’s the Slipped Disc long weekend read.


prokiev vs oistrakh

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  • The young woman in the picture is probably Elizabeth (Елизавета) Gilels who was Emil’s sister (and soon-to-be Leonid Kogan’s wife), not the pianist’s daughter. Emil’s daughter’s name was Elena, born in September 1948 and therefore could not have been in this picture because she was merely four years old at the time of Prokofiev’s death. Judging by David Oistrakh’s appearance, this photo was taken in late 1930s.

  • It was indeed Elizabeth Gilels Kogan, an excelent violinist who left some very fine recordings. But Leonid was the State’s baby and she wont or was forced to stay behind and invisible.

  • Not to take anything away from Prokofiev’s chess talent, but his win against Capablanca (which I think is the game Mr Lebrecht refers to) was in a simul.

    The composer who was the strongest chess player though was undoubtedly Philidor.

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