Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

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Colin Patterson
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Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Colin Patterson » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:31 pm

I’m seeking some clarification regarding the background of this tournament, held May-June, to commemorate the anniversary of the Great October Revolution.

Then considered one of the strongest of all time, it concluded:
Stein 11/17, Smyslov, Bobotsov, Gipslis, Tal 10, Portisch, Bronstein, Spassky 9.5, Geller, Najdorf, Petrosian, Keres 8.5, Gheorghiu 8, Gligoric 7.5, Bilek, Filip, Pachman, Uhlmann 6 (18).

Now, according to some brief commentary in CHESS, the line-up was intended to have been even stronger, but Korchnoi played Leningrad, Larsen and Olafsson declined their invitations, Fischer and Reshevsky did not have their conditions met (no play on Fridays or Saturdays) and Botvinnik had (scientific work) commitments.

This had all sounded quite plausible until I read the Chess Life report, which is completely at odds, claiming that the tournament was not truly ‘international’, but rather ‘international communist’. In other words, no westerners were welcome (- coming from Polish origins, Najdorf was somehow considered acceptable). Chess Life support this observation by reporting the experience of Pal Benko, who tried to get an invitation but was told he was ‘persona non grata’.

I’m not seeing much in BCM. If anyone has the Benko autobiography, maybe he has more to say in there. Comments anyone?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:39 pm

Colin Patterson wrote: Stein 11/17, Smyslov, Bobotsov, Gipslis, Tal 10, Portisch, Bronstein, Spassky 9.5, Geller, Najdorf, Petrosian, Keres 8.5, Gheorghiu 8, Gligoric 7.5, Bilek, Filip, Pachman, Uhlmann 6 (18).

no westerners were welcome
For 1967, were any Western players outside of Fischer, Larsen, Reshevsky, Olafsson and Najdorf strong enough to compete in that field, or at the very least as good as Bobotsov, Gipslis, Gheorghiu, Bilek, Filip or Pachmann ?
(Excellent results for Bobotsov and Gipslis)

Fast forward three years to the Soviet Union v Rest of the World match.

The ROW team was

Larsen Denmark
Fischer United States
Portisch Hungary
Hort Czechoslovakia
Gligorić Yugoslavia
Reshevsky United States
Ólafsson Iceland
Uhlmann East Germany
Matulović Yugoslavia
Najdorf Argentina
Ivkov Yugoslavia

Colin Patterson
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Colin Patterson » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:49 pm

Thanks Roger,

I may have explained that badly - I wasn't asking if other westerners could have been invited; rather pointing out that Chess Life have the view that NO westerner was invited or welcome, which is a contradiction of the CHESS report.

Perhaps you are convinced that the CHESS report must be correct. I think I agree.

Colin Patterson
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Colin Patterson » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:03 pm

Yes, great result for Gipslis and Bobotsov ... terrible for former world champion Petrosian, and worrying for a player of Uhlmann's class to share last place.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:13 pm

Other joint last placers were Filip (a one time Candidate) and Pachman (not far off becoming one)

It was a strong event despite the absentees.

Given the above comments, it was Leningrad the same year rather than this that Stahlberg arrived for - then almost immediately dropped dead?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:37 pm

Colin Patterson wrote: Perhaps you are convinced that the CHESS report must be correct. I think I agree.
Perhaps a mixture of the leading Western players finding excuses and their potential replacements not being strong enough. You cannot really see Fischer with his views on "cheating Commies" being particularly enthusiastic about celebrating the Russian Revolution.

The absolute values at the chessmetrics site appear normalised so the top player is always around 2800, but for what it's worth, here's the top 100 list for July 1967

http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/Sing ... 0000010100

Most of the names are from the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia or the Warsaw Pact countries.

Other Americans who might have been in line for invitations would have been Larry Evans, Benko, Byrne and Lombardy. There's a handful of players that I think are from Argentina or Brazil, Western European players would have been headed by Donner, Pfleger, Darga and Lothar Schmid.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:01 pm

Colin Patterson wrote:Yes, great result for Gipslis and Bobotsov ... terrible for former world champion Petrosian, and worrying for a player of Uhlmann's class to share last place.
Petrosian wasn't a former world champion, he was the reigning one. Which makes his 50% score even less impressive.

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John Clarke
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by John Clarke » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:12 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Other Americans who might have been in line for invitations would have been Larry Evans, Benko, Byrne and Lombardy. There's a handful of players that I think are from Argentina or Brazil, Western European players would have been headed by Donner, Pfleger, Darga and Lothar Schmid.
Benko was originally from Hungary, therefore a defector from the glorious Communist paradise. No way he'd have been asked. I think Lombardy was virtually inactive by that time - certainly out of hard practice. And most of those other names, to my mind, with the possible exception of future candidate Byrne, were a step or two down from the level of opposition they'd have encountered in Moscow.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:15 pm

Darga was good enough to be one of the reserves for the RoW in their 1970 match with the USSR, mind (though he didn't play)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

John Moore
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by John Moore » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:31 am

Colin Patterson wrote:I’m seeking some clarification regarding the background of this tournament, held May-June, to commemorate the anniversary of the Great October Revolution.

Then considered one of the strongest of all time, it concluded:
Stein 11/17, Smyslov, Bobotsov, Gipslis, Tal 10, Portisch, Bronstein, Spassky 9.5, Geller, Najdorf, Petrosian, Keres 8.5, Gheorghiu 8, Gligoric 7.5, Bilek, Filip, Pachman, Uhlmann 6 (18).

Now, according to some brief commentary in CHESS, the line-up was intended to have been even stronger, but Korchnoi played Leningrad, Larsen and Olafsson declined their invitations, Fischer and Reshevsky did not have their conditions met (no play on Fridays or Saturdays) and Botvinnik had (scientific work) commitments.

This had all sounded quite plausible until I read the Chess Life report, which is completely at odds, claiming that the tournament was not truly ‘international’, but rather ‘international communist’. In other words, no westerners were welcome (- coming from Polish origins, Najdorf was somehow considered acceptable). Chess Life support this observation by reporting the experience of Pal Benko, who tried to get an invitation but was told he was ‘persona non grata’.

I’m not seeing much in BCM. If anyone has the Benko autobiography, maybe he has more to say in there. Comments anyone?
Nothing in the Benko biography so far as I can see on a quick skim. By the way, this is an excellent book and well worth buying.

Colin Patterson
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Re: Moscow 50th Jubilee International 1967

Post by Colin Patterson » Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:56 pm

Thanks for looking John.

I've heard several good reports of the Benko book, so it's definitely on my wish list.

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