|Zurich Candidates (1953)|
This event was played in Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Zürich. 1 These are the games in order according to David Bronstein's excellent book, Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953. He participated in the tournament with the strongest players in the world at that time in a candidates match to determine the next challenger to world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. 2, 3
Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Zürich, Switzerland, 30 August - 24 October 1953 1
The Swiss Chess Federation spent 100,000 Swiss francs in order to stage the event, which was one of the reasons they insisted that host countries pay the travel expenses for their respective players. Prize money for first place was 5,000 Swiss francs. Alois Nagler was tournament director. 1 All contestants brought a second except for Bronstein and Reshevsky: Miroljub Trifunovic (Gligoric), Salomon Flohr (Taimanov), Julio Bolbochan (Najdorf), Andre Lilienthal (Petrosian), Mikhail Beilin (Averbakh), Carel Benjamin van den Berg (Euwe), Kristian Skold (Stahlberg), Tibor Florian (Szabó), Alexey Sokolsky (Boleslavsky), Viktor Moiseev (Kotov), Igor Bondarevsky (Geller), Vladimir Simagin (Smyslov), and Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush (Keres). 1
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 Pts
1 Vasily Smyslov ** ½½ ½1 11 ½½ ½½ 11 ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ 11 1½ 18
=2 David Bronstein ½½ ** 11 1½ ½½ ½½ ½0 ½½ 1½ ½½ ½½ 01 1½ ½½ ½½ 16
=2 Samuel Reshevsky ½0 00 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 10 ½½ ½1 ½1 1½ ½1 11 1½ 16
=2 Paul Keres 00 0½ ½½ ** ½1 ½½ ½1 ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 1½ ½1 ½½ 11 16
5 Tigran Petrosian ½½ ½½ ½½ ½0 ** 0½ ½½ ½½ 00 ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 1½ 11 15
=6 Miguel Najdorf ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ** 00 1½ 1½ ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 14½
=6 Efim Geller 00 ½1 ½½ ½0 ½½ 11 ** ½0 01 ½½ 01 1½ ½1 01 ½½ 14½
=8 Alexander Kotov ½1 ½½ 01 ½½ ½½ 0½ ½1 ** 10 1½ 00 10 1½ 0½ 01 14
=8 Mark Taimanov ½½ 0½ ½½ ½½ 11 0½ 10 01 ** 10 ½½ ½½ ½0 0½ 11 14
=10 Yuri Averbakh ½½ ½½ ½0 1½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 0½ 01 ** ½½ ½½ 0½ 11 00 13½
=10 Isaac Boleslavsky ½½ ½½ ½0 00 ½½ ½½ 10 11 ½½ ½½ ** ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ 13½
12 Laszlo Szabo ½½ 10 0½ 0½ 00 ½½ 0½ 01 ½½ ½½ ½1 ** 1½ ½½ 1½ 13
13 Svetozar Gligoric 0½ 0½ ½0 ½0 ½0 ½½ ½0 0½ ½1 1½ ½½ 0½ ** ½1 11 12½
14 Max Euwe 00 ½½ 00 ½½ 0½ 1½ 10 1½ 1½ 00 ½0 ½½ ½0 ** 1½ 11½
15 Gideon Stahlberg 0½ ½½ 0½ 00 00 00 ½½ 10 00 11 ½½ 0½ 00 0½ ** 8
The opening banquet featured speeches by FIDE President Folke Rogard, Mark Taimanov, and Miguel Najdorf. Smyslov sang an aria from Italian opera and Taimanov played piano compositions by Tchaikovsky and Chopin. 1 The players and their seconds stayed at the Bellevue Hotel in the beautiful resort town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall. 4 Play began on Sunday 30 August in the spacious Kirchgemeindehaus (Parish Hall), which would host the first eight rounds. 1, 5 A local factory had pledged a gold watch to whoever led after Round 7, which turned out to be both Smyslov and Reshevsky. Both got a watch. 6
In Round 9 play began in the Kongresshaus (Salon of Music in the House of Parliament) in Zürich, which would host the rest of the tournament. 7, 8, 9 From rounds 9-11 Reshevsky led, only to be overtaken by Smyslov in round 12. At the conclusion of the first half of the tournament, Smyslov was the only undefeated player, leading Reshevsky and Bronstein by a point. The American kept pace with Smyslov, sharing the lead by Round 21. The stage was set for a showdown in Round 25, with Reshevsky just a half point behind Smyslov and facing him in their second meeting of the tournament- Smyslov vs Reshevsky, 1953. Smyslov obtained an advantage out of the opening and began inexorably to restrict black's activity. According to Smyslov, the first critical moment came when Reshevsky made a "reckless attempt to complicate matters" with <33...f5> (see diagram). 10
click for larger view
Smyslov judged that "objectively, this move should be condemned, since it makes it easier for White to attack." 10 Reshevsky resigned after 56 moves, giving Smyslov a 1 1/2 point lead over him with five rounds to go. Smyslov finished with a winning margin of two points, thereby earning the right to play Mikhail Botvinnik in a match for the world championship: Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954).
The Budapest Candidates (1950) tournament and the Amsterdam Candidates (1956) tournament were the previous and next qualification events in the FIDE cycle to select a challenger for a World Chess Championship match.
1 Miguel Najdorf, Zürich 1953, Taylor Kingsford transl. (Russell Enterprises 2012), pp. 14-17.
2 Gino Di Felice, Chess Results 1951-1955, p. 268.
3 David Bronstein, Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, 2nd Edition, Jim Marfia transl. (Dover 1979), pp. xvii-xvii.
4 Baruch Harold Wood, World Championship Candidates' Tournament Switzerland 1953 (Hardinge Simpole 2003), p. 3.
5 Najdorf, p. 116.
6 Najdorf, p. 107.
7 Chess Review, Vol. 21, No 11, Nov. 1953, p. 321.
8 Najdorf, p. 124.
10 Vassily Smyslov, Smyslov's 125 Selected Games, Kenneth Neat transl.(Cadogan 1983), p. 81.
Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Zurich 1953), by User: suenteus po 147; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project. The round numbers for the original games collection were supplied by User: marekg248 from the "Fritz 8 Database": David Bronstein (kibitz #183).
| page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 210
|1. Euwe vs Kotov
||1-0||39||1953||Zurich Candidates||A64 Benoni, Fianchetto, 11...Re8|
|2. Stahlberg vs Boleslavsky
||½-½||48||1953||Zurich Candidates||E68 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Variation, 8.e4|
|3. Taimanov vs Bronstein
||0-1||42||1953||Zurich Candidates||A56 Benoni Defense|
|4. Petrosian vs Keres
||½-½||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||A32 English, Symmetrical Variation|
|5. Szabo vs Geller
||0-1||59||1953||Zurich Candidates||E02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4|
|6. Averbakh vs Smyslov
||½-½||32||1953||Zurich Candidates||C97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin|
|7. Najdorf vs Reshevsky
||½-½||24||1953||Zurich Candidates||E59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line|
|8. Bronstein vs Najdorf
||½-½||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||E70 King's Indian|
|9. Keres vs Averbakh
||0-1||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||E58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3|
|10. Kotov vs Stahlberg
||0-1||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||D37 Queen's Gambit Declined|
|11. Gligoric vs Taimanov
||½-½||32||1953||Zurich Candidates||E21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights|
|12. Smyslov vs Szabo
||½-½||46||1953||Zurich Candidates||A15 English|
|13. Reshevsky vs Petrosian
||½-½||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||E58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3|
|14. Geller vs Euwe
||0-1||26||1953||Zurich Candidates||E26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch|
|15. Stahlberg vs Geller
||½-½||54||1953||Zurich Candidates||A49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4|
|16. Szabo vs Keres
||0-1||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||D24 Queen's Gambit Accepted|
|17. Najdorf vs Gligoric
||½-½||20||1953||Zurich Candidates||E60 King's Indian Defense|
|18. Euwe vs Smyslov
||0-1||58||1953||Zurich Candidates||D72 Neo-Grunfeld, 5.cd, Main line|
|19. Boleslavsky vs Kotov
||1-0||42||1953||Zurich Candidates||D28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical|
|20. Petrosian vs Bronstein
||½-½||17||1953||Zurich Candidates||E04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3|
|21. Averbakh vs Reshevsky
||½-½||33||1953||Zurich Candidates||E59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line|
|22. Reshevsky vs Szabo
||1-0||32||1953||Zurich Candidates||D83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit|
|23. Smyslov vs Stahlberg
||1-0||33||1953||Zurich Candidates||C11 French|
|24. Keres vs Euwe
||½-½||34||1953||Zurich Candidates||E53 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3|
|25. Gligoric vs Petrosian
||½-½||41||1953||Zurich Candidates||A61 Benoni|
| page 1 of 9; games 1-25 of 210
|Dec-03-12|| ||Conrad93: Why is Bronstein second one one chart and third on the other?|
|Dec-03-12|| ||Phony Benoni: Different tie-breaking systems. I supplied the crosstable in the introduction, and used a program which ranks tied players by the commonly used Sonnenborg-Berger method.|
The leaderboard at the top of the was generated automatically by <chessgames.com> based on the results on the games. I do not know what sort of ranking system they use for ties.
Of course it would be nice if they agreed, but that would require constructing the crosstable by hand, a laborious and error-prone task.
|Dec-03-12|| ||Conrad93: I'm surprised I am the first to comment on this tournament.|
I thought it was quite famous...
|Dec-03-12|| ||Jim Bartle: It is. Notice that the great majority of the games have comments, some several pages worth.|
|Dec-03-12|| ||Phony Benoni: Not surprising. This page is one of the later additions to the Historical Tournament project, which only began about a month ago.|
|Dec-04-12|| ||Conrad93: Jim Bartle those games refer to the games themselves, not to the tournament. |
This is the tournament forum.
|Dec-04-12|| ||Fusilli: Taimanov vs Najdorf, 1953 must be my favorite game from this tournament. And it still has to be GOD... perhaps no one could come up with a good pun.|
|Dec-05-12|| ||Jim Bartle: Yes, Conrad, I was just pointing out there's been lots of interest. As phony benoni pointed out, the tournament page is new.|
|Dec-05-12|| ||Conrad93: What exactly motivated Bronstein to write a book on this tournament?|
Obviously it wasn't his success.
|Dec-05-12|| ||rilkefan: I've been playing over the games in Bronstein's book using a physical set in the hope of interesting my kids in the game.|
Thanks to those who set this page up, it's nice to have an easy way to look up commentary.
|Aug-21-13|| ||nescio: For years Bronstein's famous book (in a hardcover edition titled "The Chess Struggle in Praxis") was the only chess book I owned. Since then I have also read Euwe's excellent book on this tournament in Dutch. Not translated in English so far, but Euwe used a special language in his chess books with a limited vocubulary of only about a thousand words so that everybody can read it with a little effort.|
I heard there was still a third tournament book and it turned out to be completely different from the other two, but also the best of the lot. Najdorf evidently liked anlyzing as much as playing and sometimes he approached the quality of Boleslavsky or Keres in his annotations. It has now been translated in English: http://chess.about.com/od/chessbook...
|Aug-21-13|| ||Karpova: Najdorf, Miguel 'Zürich 1953 - 15 Contenders for the World Chess Championship', 2012, Milford CT USA|
Indeed an excellent book which by no means needs to hide itself from the other two classics on this tournament.
Sadly, the editing was done poorly and often* the game scores are partly incomplete. So I had to reconstruct some of the game scores myself (if only a few moves were missing, this is possible by looking at later moves or diagrams) but in some cases this was not possible with too many moves missing so I had to look it up elsewhere.
That's a serious objection, but apart from that the book is so outstanding that not even this can be considered a reason not to recommend it. You have a preface by Averbakh, biographhies of the players, Najdorf's great annotations and supplementary material by Taylor Kingston.
*I can't give numbers, but much too often for my taste as a game collection should be authoritative on the game scores in my opinion.
|Jan-29-14|| ||thomastonk: I just enjoyed this gallery: http://www.zurich-cc.com/photos1953..., though I had seen it some time before.|
|Mar-17-14|| ||WCC Editing Project: |
Both <Boleslavsky> and <Smyslov> were seeded directly into this tournament due to their results at the Budapest Candidates (1950): Boleslavsky 2d place, Smyslov 3d place.
<"3d place in the <<<Budapest 1950 Candidates Tournament>>> gave me the automatic right to a place in the next Candidates Tournament.">
-Vasily Smyslov, "Smyslov's 125 Selected Games" Ken Neat transl. (Cadogen 1983), p.125
|Mar-17-14|| ||perfidious: <thomastonk> Thanks for posting that excellent gallery!|
|Mar-17-14|| ||zanzibar: I've tried to identify all the people pictured in the group photograph (3/63).|
1. Petrosian 2. Kotov 3. Gligoric 4. Geller 5. Averbakh 6. Smyslov 7. Boleslavsky 8. Taimanov 9. Bronstein 10. Keres 11. Nadjorf
1. Dmitri Postnikof (USSR chess chief) 2. Szabo 3. Euwe 4. Folke Rogard (FIDE President) 5. Reshevsky 6. Stahlberg
There is likely a couple of mistakes. Corrections/affirmations appreciated.
|Mar-18-14|| ||ozmikey: <zanzibar> I think No.3 in the top row is Szabo, not Gligoric. In fact, I don't think anyone in the front row is a competitor at the event (it's clearly not the full photo).|
|Mar-18-14|| ||Olavi: <ozmikey: <zanzibar> I think No.3 in the top row is Szabo, not Gligoric. In fact> Correct. 2nd left seated is Ari Ilmakunnas.|
|Mar-18-14|| ||zanzibar: Thanks, <ozmikey> and <Olavi>. We'll hash it out. I had trouble with several of them. |
But all the fifteen participants are there according to the caption:
<< Folke Rogard, FIDE-President
Dmitri Postnikof (first row l), Folke Rogard (first row, 4th from left) and the 15 tournament participants >>
(That makes 3 certain identifications - since I'm only 100% sure I got Petrosian right!)
|Mar-21-14|| ||zanzibar: Here's my guess with the suggestion of Szabo. It's a bit like musical chairs, permutating the candidates around:|
1. Petrosian 2. Kotov 3. Szabo 4. Geller 5. Averbakh 6. Smyslov 7. Boleslavsky 8. Taimanov 9. Bronstein 10. Keres 11. Nadjorf
1. Dmitri Postnikof (USSR chess chief) 2. Stahlberg 3. Gligoric 4. Folke Rogard (FIDE President) 5. Reshevsky 6. Euwe
I think it's right, with a measure of uncertainty for the following 3 pairs:
Geller and Taimanov look very similar to me, but I think I got that right.
Gligoric's should have been easier to identify, but I thought his hair wasn't right. But given Szabo placement, where else can he be?
Strahlberg was unknown to me, and so difficult. Euwe apparently was a larger man than I originally thought.
|Jun-19-14|| ||offramp: <thomastonk: I just enjoyed this gallery: http://www.zurich-cc.com/photos1953..., though I had seen it some time before.>|
Thanks for that gallery!
In this picture, http://www.zurich-cc.com/img_zu/pla... Smyslov is holding one of those resiny fake-bronze trophies available at any cobbler/key-cutter for a tenner; in fact the man on the top of the trophy has a tennis racquet in his hand!
|Jun-19-14|| ||offramp: Some other great pictures!
Taimanov's trousers are the eighth wonder of the world! Undoubtedly he has a miniature version of UNIVAC sellotaped to his shins.
The players are standing along that thin harbour wall exactly according to their tournament standing!
http://www.zurich-cc.com/db_admin/i... I wonder what are the medals worn by Averbakh & Keres but not by Smyslov?
|Jun-19-14|| ||offramp: <offramp: Some other great pictures!
http://www.zurich-cc.com/db_admin/i... Taimanov's trousers are the eighth wonder of the world! Undoubtedly he has a miniature version of UNIVAC sellotaped to his shins.|
http://www.zurich-cc.com/db_admin/i... The players are standing along that thin harbour wall exactly according to their tournament standing!
http://www.zurich-cc.com/db_admin/i... I wonder what are the medals worn by Averbakh & Keres but not by Smyslov?>
Sorry - those links don't seem to work; but if you go through the pictures you'll see the ones I mean.
|Dec-01-15|| ||siggemannen: the photos are relocated to http://www.zurich-cc.com/zurich-195...|
nice ones, especially Geller looks pretty sharp =)
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