Krylenko Nikolai Vasilyevich (1885 – 1938)
Russian Commissar for War in the first Bolshevik Government and later a Commissar for Justice in the USSR. Krylenko may have done more than anyone else to popularize chess.
As Chairman of the chess section of the All-Union Council for Physical Recreation, he was largely responsible for persuading the Soviet Government to sponsor chess and he also organized the great Moscow tournaments of 1925, 1935 and 1936.
Such powerful support, from one of the most feared and reviled men in Europe, ensured mass interest and directly led to the future strength of Soviet chess. Although only a first category player, Krylenko edited the magazine
Although only a first category player, Krylenko edited the magazine 64 from 1924 onwards. Krylenko was involved with Stalin’s purges of the 1930’s but he was also under fire from his enemies. He was removed from his post on the 19
Krylenko was involved with Stalin’s purges of the 1930’s but he was also under fire from his enemies. He was removed from his post on the 19th January 1938 and then arrested late at night on the 31st January 1938. After three days in an NKVD prison, he “confessed” that he had been a wrecker since 1930. On 3rd April he made an additional “confession” explaining that he had been an enemy of Lenin’s even before the 1917 revolution. At his last questioning on 28th June 1938 he “confessed” that he had recruited 30 Commissariat of Justice employees to his anti-Soviet organization. Krylenko was tried by the Military Collegium of the Soviet Supreme Court on 29th July 1938. The trial lasted for 20 minutes, which was just long enough for Krylenko to retract his “confessions”. He was found guilty and immediately shot.
He was rehabilitated only after Stalin’s death in 1955. Krylenko was the author of International Chess Tournament Moscow (1935)