Legends of chess

Dedicated to outstanding chess players and trainers

Liudmila Sergeevna Belavenets (1940-2021).

The daughter of Master Sergey Belavenets, one of the most talented chess players of his generation, she was born a year before the war started. Ludmila Sergeyevna's father died at the front in 1942. She had no memory of her father, but she carried his image throughout her life. It was largely under the influence of this image that Liudmila Belavenets chose her profession.

At the age of 15 Belavenets reached the first category and made it to the Moscow Women's Championship. Only four years later she made her debut in the USSR Women's Championship. Her debut was quite successful, and the biggest success in these competitions Liudmila Belavenets achieved in 1975: she became the USSR champion in Frunze.

She won several Moscow championships and participated in an inter-zonal tournament, but her most notable sporting achievements were in the correspondence chess: already in 1965, she took part in the first women's individual world championship, and in 1990 she became the world champion in correspondence chess.  As part of the USSR team Belavenets also won the World Olympics three times in the correspondence chess.

(Diagram from the correspondence game Johelsson - Belavenets, Chess Olympiad 1979. Solution: 25...R8xe6! 26.dxe6 Qf3!! 0-1)

However, it was not only sporting achievements that brought Liudmila Sergeevna Belavenets a truly nationwide fame. Almost half a century ago, in 1973, she started working with young chess players at the "Young Pioneers Stadium" in Moscow. She was invited to work by the famous coach Vladimir Nikolayevich Yurkov. Very soon Liudmila Belavenets herself became one of the best children's trainers in our country. And one of the most famous ones, too, after she started working as a host on the TV show "Chess School" in 1974. Hundreds of thousands of chess enthusiasts are among her extramural pupils. The most famous among those who have studied with her personally are Alexey Vyzhmanavin, Andrey Sokolov, Alexander Morozevich and Grigory Oparin.

Liudmila Sergeevna was remarkable in her ability to find an approach to each pupil. A natural born teacher, a talented and wise person, she has brought up many generations of young chess players. Among her pupils are many world, Russian and European champions, masters and grandmasters, chess professionals, coaches and journalists. Then there are even more chess enthusiasts who have remembered her lessons for life.

In April 2021 Liudmila Belavenets was one of the first women to be awarded the Golden Badge of Honour of the Russian Chess Federation. Until the last days of her life Liudmila Sergeevna worked as a teacher in the Petrosian Club in Moscow, and took part in the work of the Grandmaster Centre of the Russian Chess Federation in Kostroma.

Liudmila Sergeyevna Belavenets passed away on November 7, 2021 after a serious illness.

(from an article by Vladimir Barsky, published on ruchess.ru with the kind permission of the author and the Russian Chess Federation)