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Montreal Tournament

Anatoly Karpov12/18(+7 -1 =10)[games]
Mikhail Tal12/18(+6 -0 =12)[games]
Lajos Portisch10.5/18(+4 -1 =13)[games]
Ljubomir Ljubojevic9/18(+4 -4 =10)[games]
Jan Timman8.5/18(+2 -3 =13)[games]
Boris Spassky8.5/18(+4 -5 =9)[games]
Lubomir Kavalek8/18(+4 -6 =8)[games]
Robert Huebner8/18(+2 -4 =12)[games]
Vlastimil Hort8/18(+2 -4 =12)[games]
Bent Larsen5.5/18(+3 -10 =5)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Montreal (1979)

In the spring of 1979, Lubomir Kavalek, along with Czech filmmakers Milos Forman and Ivan Passer, organized a double round robin tournament to be held in Montreal, Quebec from April 10th to May 7th. Dubbed "The Tournament of Stars", the event was attended by ten of the very strongest grandmasters at the time, including the world champion.

The complete list of players was (in order of Elo): Anatoli Karpov (2705), Lajos Portisch (2640), Boris Spassky (2640), Bent Larsen (2625), Jan Timman (2625), Mikhail Tal (2615), Vlastimil Hort (2600), Robert Hübner (2595), Lubomir Kavalek (2590), and Ljubomir Ljubojevic (2590). As a result, the average Elo rating for the tournament was 2622, making "The Tournament of Stars" a Category XV event. It was also one of the strongest tournaments ever organized at that time. The only two top-ten rated players missing were Robert James Fischer (who was reclusive at the time) and Viktor Korchnoi (who was being boycotted to secure Soviet participation). The players stayed at the Meridian Hotel overlooking downtown Montreal, and they played at the Quebec Pavilion.

The prize fund for the event was $110,000 and the chief arbiter was Svetozar Gligoric. Portisch and Ljubojevic started out strong, but were eventually overtaken after the halfway point by the world champion Karpov and the then-current Soviet champion Tal. In the sixteenth round, Karpov fought hard to defeat Tal and gain the lead, but the former world champion held him to a draw. It was only by a brilliant win against Ljubojevic with the black pieces in the penultimate round that Karpov was able to tie Tal in the final round and share first place with him. The final standings and crosstable are as follows:

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Pts 01 Karpov ** ½½ ½½ 11 11 11 1½ ½½ ½½ ½0 12 02 Tal ½½ ** ½1 ½½ ½½ 11 1½ ½1 ½½ 1½ 12 03 Portisch ½½ ½0 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ 1½ 11 10½ 04 Ljubojevic 00 ½½ ½½ ** ½½ ½0 10 ½½ 11 1½ 9 05 Timman 00 ½½ ½½ ½½ ** ½½ ½0 ½½ ½1 1½ 8½ 06 Spassky 00 00 ½½ ½1 ½½ ** 1½ ½1 ½½ 01 8½ 07 Kavalek 0½ 0½ ½½ 01 ½1 0½ ** 01 ½½ 01 8 08 Hübner ½½ ½0 0½ ½½ ½½ ½0 10 ** ½½ 1½ 8 09 Hort ½½ ½½ 0½ 00 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ ** 11 8 10 Larsen ½1 0½ 00 0½ 0½ 10 10 0½ 00 ** 5½

Original collection: Game Collection: Montreal 1979, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Portisch vs Hort 1-0511979MontrealE81 King's Indian, Samisch
2. Larsen vs Ljubojevic 0-1261979MontrealA07 King's Indian Attack
3. Tal vs Spassky 1-0321979MontrealE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
4. Huebner vs Karpov  ½-½171979MontrealE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
5. Kavalek vs Timman  ½-½191979MontrealB64 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
6. Spassky vs Kavalek 1-0581979MontrealA53 Old Indian
7. Ljubojevic vs Portisch  ½-½521979MontrealC00 French Defense
8. Hort vs Tal  ½-½201979MontrealD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
9. Karpov vs Timman 1-0381979MontrealB07 Pirc
10. Huebner vs Larsen 1-0551979MontrealC04 French, Tarrasch, Guimard Main line
11. Larsen vs Karpov ½-½431979MontrealB10 Caro-Kann
12. Portisch vs Huebner 1-0391979MontrealA34 English, Symmetrical
13. Timman vs Spassky  ½-½311979MontrealC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
14. Tal vs Ljubojevic  ½-½311979MontrealB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
15. Kavalek vs Hort  ½-½201979MontrealD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
16. Karpov vs Spassky 1-0411979MontrealD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Hort vs Timman  ½-½541979MontrealA64 Benoni, Fianchetto, 11...Re8
18. Huebner vs Tal  ½-½161979MontrealA62 Benoni, Fianchetto Variation
19. Larsen vs Portisch 0-1391979MontrealA28 English
20. Ljubojevic vs Kavalek  1-0561979MontrealC18 French, Winawer
21. Portisch vs Karpov  ½-½171979MontrealE12 Queen's Indian
22. Kavalek vs Huebner 0-1321979MontrealB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
23. Spassky vs Hort  ½-½121979MontrealE52 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with ...b6
24. Timman vs Ljubojevic ½-½231979MontrealD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25. Tal vs Larsen 1-0221979MontrealB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-03-13  ozmikey: <offramp> Apparently he was closely involved in the organisation of the he may have been a bit distracted early on!

Incidentally, the book of this tournament, by Tal/Chepizhny/Roshal with the games annotated by various other masters, is superb.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<The only two top-ten rated players missing were Bobby Fischer ... and Viktor Korchnoi ...>>

This claim from the description seems to be baseless. Polugaevsky (=5), Mecking (8) and Petrosian (10) were all ranked in the top ten in the January 1979 list, yet they were missing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Mecking was still sick at the time with his myasthenia gravis. I'm sure the organizers <could> have invited both Petrosian & Polugaevsky but then the tournament might have looked like a USSR championship play-off played abroad.
Sep-28-13  Everett: < moronovich: Larsen in a leaque of his own...>

Right, he is the only guy to defeat the WC in this tournament.

Apr-17-14  Lossmaster: I twice attended that tournament as a 14 year-old spectator. I still have the scorebook where I wrote down the moves of two Karpov games. (See my kibitz in Karpov vs Spassky, 1979). On the blank inside front cover of my scorebook I have autographs from three of the "stars": Bent Larsen, Jan Timman and Vlastimil Hort. (Is it worth anything?)
Premium Chessgames Member
  PhilFeeley: I find it disgusting that they boycotted Korchnoi. I hope that never happens to anyone ever again.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <suenteus po 147>

You should give yourself a pat on the back every day for all the collections you put together.

<HSOL: Overall, I find these historical tournaments are a nice improvement of>


Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Larsen's slightly offbeat methods might have won a tournament a couple of categories lower. But here the opponents were too strong.
May-10-14  Petrosianic: Well, that's part of it, but there's also the fact that Larsen was 44 by this time, and past his prime.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: But a year later he won the very strong Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1980) tournament ahead of similar-strength players!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: ...And later in 1979, after Montréal, he also won the previous Clarin tournament, Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1979), by a clear 3 points (though the field was certainly weaker).
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher: <suenteus po 147>

You should give yourself a pat on the back every day for all the collections you put together.>

Concur--he done goot!

May-10-14  zanzibar: <suenteus po 147> You helped bring order into the chaos.

And yes, I'm glad to read your ruminations here, but I got lucky to spot <perfidious>'s comment.

<Bio Bistro> is a good spot for "os" - be it bios, pathos, chaos or bathos.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zanzibar> Chaos is my business.
May-10-14  Howard: Granted, Clarin 1979 was a weaker field than, say, Montreal 1979 but then Larsen did finish three points clear of second-place Spassky. That, in itself, was quite an accomplishment.

On the other hand, the all but unbeatable Petrosian finished with a minus score at Clarin. But then he was 50 at the time and well past his prime.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Top 10 in 1/1/79 rating list were:

1 Karpov
2 Korchnoi
3-4 Portisch
5-6 Polugaevsky
7 Larsen
8-9 Mecking
10 Petrosian

So 6 of the top 10 played in Montreal

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Petrosian was not playing many elite events by age fifty, but he was far from a spent force as implied above: in 1979, he managed to win the Keres Memorial at Tallinn; in 1980, Las Palmas and equal second to Beliavsky at Tilburg 1981 were some fine results in the twilight of his career, which belie any claim that he was finished.
May-10-14  Howard: Trust me, I never meant to imply that Petrosian was a "spent force" by 1979---he's one of my 4-5 favorite players of all time.

Granted, he did quite well at Tilburg 1981 but then I do recall Chess Life and Review pointing out in its tournament article that it'd been awhile since he'd done so well in such an elite tournament.

This August, by the way, will mark the 30th anniversary of his premature death, at 55. In fact I still remember that both Time and Newsweek magazines briefly mentioned his death back then !

May-11-14  zanzibar: <<perfidious:> Chaos is my business.>

Ha! Guess you watched a lot of <Get Smart> as a kid then?!

May-11-14  Howard: I've never watched Get Smart. What's the point of your joke...I don't get it.

At any rate, I did look up Las Palmas 1980 yesterday after reading your comment, and you're correct about Petrosian. He tied for first place with Miles and Geller in that event....and all three of them went undefeated.

May-11-14  zanzibar: <Howard> The quote at the top of my post is a reference to a different subthread than the Petrosian discussion.

I was just trying to get a friendly reply in turn.

(I miss the old days of usenet that allowed for multiple, simultaneous threads - back in the days when "Get Smart" was actually still airing!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Zanzibar> Never watched much <Get Smart>--just something which came from the recesses of my muddled brain.

No accounting for some things, Ah guess.

Jul-03-18  Granny O Doul: "Chaos is my business" sounded more like a tweaking of Philip Marlowe.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: I had started to get serious about chess in 1979 and started a subscription to "Chess in Australia" mgazine. The first issue that I received was the July 1979 issue, which had a huge report about this tournament. It was so exciting for me to play through current games by international GMs!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Graham.

The book of the event is excellent. It's here at a reasonable price on E-Bay.


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