Today we've got as our quest Yuri Konstantinovich Begunov, academician of the International Slav, Petersburg and Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Russian Union of writers, doctor of philological sciences of Bulgaria and Russia. And besides he is a chess master candidate. Yuri Konstantinovich is confiding his reminiscences of the past epoch. Studying chess and working with great people for many years he has much to tell a generation of chessplayers.
- And what did You tell, did anything threaten common people?
Why, the life of common people who didn't put before them complex problems was not hopeless at all. Dinner of four-five dishes, for example, in a dining hall on the Nevsky Avenue cost one rouble. It was at a typist wage of 300 roubles! There were four-five kinds of caviar in a food-store, and red (soft) caviar cost as butter! There were 60 sorts of sausage without speaking of an abundance of fish. Authorities took care of people and at place of their work or through housing offices vatniki and wadded trousers, shoes, tarpaulin and rubber boots were distributed, or coupons given to get them at the shops. In 1950 I graduated from the 155-th private school for boys, and B.Spassky did the 167-th school. It was in the Smol'ninsky district. My school-leaving certificate was not too good, I had four 'fours' and one 'three', thereby in Russian. Nevertheless, it didn't prevent me, after having passed examinations at 'fives' (excellently), from entering the LGU (Leningrad State University), historical faculty. At that moment I had second category at chess and track and field athletics. At the University I became captain of the faculty team, and I was given the forth chessboard, V.Korchnoi played on the first. During education studies I played for the team of my faculty and University at city competitions. In 1955 I succeeded in winning at a half-final of the University championship and fulfilling norm of the first category. Fortune joined Korchnoi and me at the University and we played of order 100 training games. He was reticent and evading-people man. But he was much easier and more pleasant to talk of chess topics, felt himself more 'unchained' in that case. We often exchanged views on different problems. At those times he was not an anti-Soviet man, rather just the way about he was a hot partisan of the Soviet power. He one day told me: "Yura, I'm a lazy person, I work little at chess"... In 1954 he went away from the University, direction of the Sports society "Science" afterwards "Burevestnik" paid him 3000 roubles. He had been a strong chessplayer already and there was no doubts that successful chess carrier was waiting for him. In 1955, on order of higher education minister Kaftanov, Victor was given University graduation diploma. By the way, I had correspondence with Victor L'vovich when he fell into disfavour. Then he wrote that he was afraid of coming back for fear of his life, and he invited me to be his quest. When I was abroad not far from his house, I rang up and had a talk with his wife Petra, but a meeting with Victor L'vovich didn't take place... But to say the truth, after arrived of Korchnoi into St. Petersburg in 1997 and his metaphoric answer to my question I understood that we had no jointing on the intellectual plane. As for B.Spassky I met him also during our studies at the University. He sprang up to a height of 185 cm. and I was still captain of the track and field athletics team. I remember, Boris within the frame of preparation of University chess selection team conducted simultaneous game sessions. And when Boris Vassilievich lived already in Paris, he invited me to be his guest, and I lived at his home during a month. It turned out that in spite of our long acquaintance from childhood and at the University we digressed over some lines. However, it didn't hinder us to pass time usefully and remain good friends. In those times sportsmen were taken care of in attention and consideration. Training preparations were arranged where experienced chessplayers took up studies. Thereby it didn't refer to the elite. An individual work diagram was made up for everyone, results were summed up, mistakes found out.
- Please tell us about Your work with academician D.S.Likhachev.
In 1950 I met D.S.Likhachev for the first time. In 1955 I graduated with honours from historical faculty of the University and entered a graduate work at the Institute of Russian literature A. of S. USSR, "ancient Russian literature", in 1958 I finished the studentship and defended a candidate thesis on the subject (theme) "Memorable Source of Russian literature of the XIII-th century". (A book was published in 1965). Since that time I wrote of order 500 scientific papers and 20 books. I had good relations with D.S.Likhachev, but afterwards I found out grand mistakes in the field of history of the Russian literature...
- What do You think, one must be born a good chessplayer or he may become? May chess hinder a man "to reveal himself" in real life?
- One must determine the aim. What do You want to see yourself in life? If a man doesn't want to stick at a level of hack-work, he must seek the better chance and employment of his inclinations and capabilities, and not be led by one's wishes alone! Chess may help a man, indeed, and be in the way depending upon criteria how a man estimates himself. I think chess played me very much to understand better my true destination in life. And still more, there are many specialities inside chess. One may prove to be a trainer, and organizer of tournaments, a chess official as well. In my view, chess itself doesn't develop a man, of perhaps to a certain level. That is, chess may be used as a model in another field of knowledge... I began playing chess again in 1975 and became a master candidate in the final of DSO "Spartak" with master candidates and masters participating therein.
- Yu.K., what's Your attitude towards religion? Are You a believer?
- I've real twice a book "Divine Chess" by Yu.P.Ryzhkov and found it interesting enough... As for a matter of Faith, it is purely personal...
- Yuri Konstantinovich, what are You working at now? How does Your day pass?
- In 2000 I made an agreement with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to write down the History of Russ' in five volumes, beginning from 5508 years since the creation of the world up to the time of Prince Igor Rurikovich. The first volume in two parts (1300 pages) has been issued into the print. I'm working now over the second volume.
- Well, thank You, Yuri Konstantinovich, for an interesting conversation and wish success in Your work, to be health, please!
LIST of the best books written by Yu.K.Begunov
1. "Alexander Nevsky. Life and deeds of the saint and faithful great prince". M.,2003
2. "Legends of Rostov the Great, written down by Alexander Artynov". Compilation, foreword, commentaries by Yu.K.Begunov. Bui Tur, 2000
3. "Legends of the Great Novgorod". Written A.Artynov. Compilation, foreword, commentaries by Yu.K.Begunov. St.-Petersburg, 2004, 877pp.
4. "Legends of Novgorod the Great, IX-XIV".
5. "Memorable Source of the Russian Literature of the XIII century. Slovo of perishing Russian Land". M-L., 1965. Editor-in-chief D.S.Likhachev.
6. "Russian History against "new chronology", "Anti-Fomenko". M., 2001, 215p.
7. "Mystery (secret) of lawlessness in historical destinies of Russia". St. - Petersburg, 2002, 784p.
8. "Kos'ma Presvyter in Slavonic Literatures". Sofia, 1973.