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:
Original collection: Game Collection: Montreal 1979, by User: suenteus po 147.
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
| page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90
|1. Portisch vs Hort
||1-0||51||1979||Montreal||E81 King's Indian, Samisch|
|2. Larsen vs Ljubojevic
||0-1||26||1979||Montreal||A07 King's Indian Attack|
|3. Tal vs Spassky
||1-0||32||1979||Montreal||E94 King's Indian, Orthodox|
|4. Huebner vs Karpov
|| ||½-½||17||1979||Montreal||E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3|
|5. Kavalek vs Timman
|| ||½-½||19||1979||Montreal||B64 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack|
|6. Spassky vs Kavalek
||1-0||58||1979||Montreal||A53 Old Indian|
|7. Ljubojevic vs Portisch
|| ||½-½||52||1979||Montreal||C00 French Defense|
|8. Hort vs Tal
|| ||½-½||20||1979||Montreal||D58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst|
|9. Karpov vs Timman
|10. Huebner vs Larsen
||1-0||55||1979||Montreal||C04 French, Tarrasch, Guimard Main line|
|11. Larsen vs Karpov
|12. Portisch vs Huebner
||1-0||39||1979||Montreal||A34 English, Symmetrical|
|13. Timman vs Spassky
|| ||½-½||31||1979||Montreal||C91 Ruy Lopez, Closed|
|14. Tal vs Ljubojevic
|| ||½-½||31||1979||Montreal||B43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3|
|15. Kavalek vs Hort
|| ||½-½||20||1979||Montreal||D41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch|
|16. Karpov vs Spassky
||1-0||41||1979||Montreal||D37 Queen's Gambit Declined|
|17. Hort vs Timman
|| ||½-½||54||1979||Montreal||A64 Benoni, Fianchetto, 11...Re8|
|18. Huebner vs Tal
|| ||½-½||16||1979||Montreal||A62 Benoni, Fianchetto Variation|
|19. Larsen vs Portisch
|20. Ljubojevic vs Kavalek
|| ||1-0||56||1979||Montreal||C18 French, Winawer|
|21. Portisch vs Karpov
|| ||½-½||17||1979||Montreal||E12 Queen's Indian|
|22. Kavalek vs Huebner
||0-1||32||1979||Montreal||B18 Caro-Kann, Classical|
|23. Spassky vs Hort
|| ||½-½||12||1979||Montreal||E52 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with ...b6|
|24. Timman vs Ljubojevic
||½-½||23||1979||Montreal||D43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav|
|25. Tal vs Larsen
||1-0||22||1979||Montreal||B63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack|
| page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
|Aug-03-13|| ||ozmikey: <offramp> Apparently he was closely involved in the organisation of the tournament...so 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.
|Sep-05-13|| ||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.
|Sep-28-13|| ||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?)|
|Apr-17-14|| ||PhilFeeley: I find it disgusting that they boycotted Korchnoi. I hope that never happens to anyone ever again.|
|Apr-17-14|| ||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 chessgames.com.>
|May-10-14|| ||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.|
|May-10-14|| ||offramp: But a year later he won the very strong Buenos Aires (Clarin) (1980) tournament ahead of similar-strength players!|
|May-10-14|| ||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).|
|May-10-14|| ||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.
|May-10-14|| ||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.
|May-10-14|| ||plang: Top 10 in 1/1/79 rating list were:
So 6 of the top 10 played in Montreal
|May-10-14|| ||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!)
|Feb-27-15|| ||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.|
|Jun-25-19|| ||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!|
|Jun-25-19|| ||Sally Simpson: ***
The book of the event is excellent. It's here at a reasonable price on E-Bay.
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
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