Bora Kostić (Vršac, 1887 – Belgrade, 1963)
The first Serbian chess grandmaster, chess bohemian and romantic, globetrotter and polyglot, who was described by the famous Capablanca as ”an uncut chess diamond”. Day after day, year after year, his life was chess and travel. He played in 70 tournaments in the most successful period and was among the top ten chess players in the world. At the 1st Chess Olympiad in London in 1927, he played on the first board for our team. When he won a game he was in good spirits. He lit a cigarette, even though he was a non-smoker; he spoke and the audience listened to him unblinkingly. He was a guest at the courts of kings and maharajas, a lecturer in Argentina and Mexico. He taught the great Caruso to play chess; attended Lenin’s funeral in Moscow. He was received by Kemal Ataturk, played chess with Trotsky, but also with the chief of the Bataka tribe in Sumatra. He played a famous game in which the chessboard was on the equator, and the opponents were sitting in the northern and southern hemispheres! He was in Lhasa in Tibet when white people were a rarity there. He refused to respond to the mobilization of the Austro-Hungarian army in 1914 ”because he is a Serb”. He was arrested during the Second World War, due to his refusal to play in tournaments because Serbia was under occupation. His contribution to chess and the Serbs is written in golden letters. Chess and chess - players of Serbia followed in his footsteps, and in his native Vršac he received a monu ment and a street from grateful fellow citizens.
Кад добије партију добре је воље. Запали цигарету, иако је непушач; говори а публика га нетремице слуша. Био је гост на дворовима краљева и махараџа, предавач у Аргентини и Мексику. Шаху је учио великог Каруза; био је у Москви за време Лењинове сахране. Примио га је Кемал Ататурк, играо је шах са Троцким, али и са поглавицом племена Батака на Суматри. Одиграо је чувену партију у којој је шаховска табла била на полутару, а противници су седели на северној и јужној полулопти! У Ласи на Тибету је био када су бели људи тамо били реткост. Одбио је да се одазове мобилизацији у Аусто-Угарску војску 1914. „јер је Србин”. За време Другог светског рата ухапшен је, јер је одбио да игра на турнирима због тога што је Србија под окупацијом.
Златним словима исписан је његов допринос шаху и српству. Његовим трагом кренули су шах и шахисти Србије, а у родном Вршцу добио је, од захвалних суграђана, споменик и улицу.
Petar Trifunović, PhD (Dubrovnik, 1910 – Belgrade, 1980)
Chess grandmaster and Doctor of Laws, he became familiar with chess late, only at the age of 16. Nevertheless, it did not get in his way of becoming the champion of Yugoslavia five times, a member of the Olympic team seven times, successful in important tournaments: Prague (1946), Lima (1950), Belgrade (1954), Natania (1961), Noordwijk (1965) ... He was close to participating in the Tournament of Candidates for the World Championship in 1950. He played differently from his long-time close friend Bora Kostić – he was a long-distance player, with small steps and positional play, looking for small advantages, without major risks and obligations, without rushing to checkmate. He was a well-known chess pedagogue and coach, President of the Chess Federation of Serbia, captain of the Yugoslav national team at the 1960 Olympiad in Leipzig. Along with Bora Kostić and Svetozar Gligorić, he laid the foundations of our decadeslong chess success.
Био је на домаку учешћа на Турниру кандидата за првака света 1950. године. Играо је другачије од свог дугогодишњег блиског пријатеља Боре Костића – на дуге стазе, ситним везом, позиционом игром, тражећи мале предности, без већих ризика и обавеза, не журећи да дâ мат. Био је познати шаховски педагог и тренер, председник Шаховског савеза Србије, капитен репрезентације Југославије на Олимпијади у Лајпцигу 1960. године.
Уз Бору Костића и Светозара Глигорића поставио је темеље нашег вишедеценијског шаховског успеха.
Svetozar Gligorić (Belgrade, 1923 – Belgrade, 2012)
Our best chess player and one of the best in chess history. He saw chess for the first time at the age of 8 and played the last tournament at the age of 79. He won 65 tournaments, won 12 Olympic medals and six medals at the European team championships. He was the champion of Yugoslavia 11 times and he led the national team of Yugoslavia and Serbia for almost 30 years. He is the winner of the AVNOJ award, the Order of Nemanja and the Order of Vuk Karadzić. The best high school students in Belgrade, including Gligorić, were invited to celebrate the 14th birthday of the heir to the throne Peter II Karadjordjević in 1937. Gligorić spent his childhood and youth in difficult conditions because as a child he lost his father, and at the age of 17 he lost his mother, but since then, with white or black pieces, whoever he played against – he would win. Gligorić is also known for his successful journalistic career. He spoke several languages. He was a regular correspondent for Chess Review and Chess Life magazines and the author of numerous books on chess. In the last decade of his life, he returned to his love from his youth – music. He learned to play the piano, and after seven years he published his compositions. He was buried at the New Cemetery in Belgrade in the Alley of the Greats. He did not actually leave – as long as chess and chess players live, he will live with them.
У последњој деценији свог живота, вратио се својој љубави из младости – музици. Учи да свира на клавиру, и после седам година објављује своје композиције. Сахрањен је на Новом гробљу у Београду у Алеји великана. Није отишао – док је шаха и шахиста, живеће са њима.
Milan Matulović (Belgrade, 1935 – Belgrade, 2013)
A national master since 1955, an international master since 1961 and a grandmaster since 1965, he learned the secrets of the ancient game at the age of 13, and began to achieve more notable results at the age of 16. He won two team silver Olympic medals in Tel Aviv in 1964 and Lugano in 1968, two bronze medals, in Siegen in 1970 and in Skopje in 1972. He had the best single result at the Olympiad in Tel Aviv, together with Smyslov. He won 60 points from 78 games at five Chess Olympiads, so he is the most successful Yugoslav Olympian of all time. He was the champion of Yugoslavia in 1965 and 1967, and he also participated in 6 zonal and two interzonal tournaments for the World Championship. He won silver medals at the European Team Championships in Oberhausen in 1961, Hamburg in 1965 and Batu in 1973. He played for the world - selection against the USSR at the Match of the Century in Belgrade in 1970. He tri umphed in 32 international tournaments, and achieved a grandmaster result 25 times. He defeated the greats of his time: Fischer, Tal, Karpov, Smyslov, Spassky, Korchnoi, Bronstein, Timman, Reshevsky, Larsen, Portisch, Polugaevsky...
Milunka Lazarević (Šantrovac, near Jagodina, 1932 – Belgrade, 2018)
One of the best women world chess players of her time, a grandmaster, interna tional chess arbiter, and journalist. From 1953–1982 she was the champion of Yugoslavia 11 times. She won a silver medal at the Olympiad in Split in 1963. She continuously participated in the competition system for the world championship for 25 years. She is the only Yugoslav women chess player to have played twice in matches of candidates for the world championship. At the Candidate Tournament in Sukhumi in 1964, the American Gisela Gresser offered her a draw before the game, which would place her in the title match. Driven by the attitude that chess is a chivalrous game, not a trade – she refused the offer and lost the game. With - this unique gesture in the history of the ancient game, she gained a huge reputa tion in the chess world. At that time, she was third on the world ranking list, and for years the best chess player in the world outside the USSR. She was the first Yugoslav female chess player, and the second female player in the world to be recognized as a grandmaster. As President of FIDE Women’s Chess Commission from 1970 until 1978 she was the initiator or organizer of numerous competitions, and she also introduced a number of revolutionary novelties: she united the men’s and women’s Olympiad: proposed the introduction of the title of female grandmaster, which was accepted; initiated the Women’s Youth World Championship and the Women’s European Champions Cup; she introduced matches instead of candidate tournaments for women… As a journalist, she wrote for many domestic and foreign magazines. She conducted interviews with all the chess greats of her time, but also with numerous personalities from the world of culture: Lorin Maazel, Maya Plisetskaya, Natalya Besmertnaya, David Ojsztrah, Igor Markevitch, Otomar Krejcha, Aram Khachaturian, Peter Ustinov. She was awarded the Sretenje Order of the third degree, and she was also an honorary member of FIDE. She was buried in the Alley of Deserving Citizens at the New Cemetery in Belgrade.
Expert collaboration: Aleksandar Matanović, Grandmaster, Miroslav Nešić, sports journalist, Borivoje Žarić, international chess arbiter, Prof. Dragoslav Đukanović and Serbian Chess Federation.
Artistic realization of the issue: Boban Savić, MA, academic painter.