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🏆 USSR Championship (1951)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
The 19th Soviet Chess Championship took place in the capital city of Moscow from November 11 to December 14, 1951. Eighteen of the Soviet Union's strongest players, including the reigning world champion, participated in the round robin event. Fourteen of the players qualified from the semi-final tournaments played earlier in the year. Nikolai Novotelnov, Isaac Lipnitsky, and Mark Taimanov qualified from Baku; Vasily Smyslov, Evgeny Terpugov, Oleg Moiseev, and Nikolai Kopilov qualified from Leningrad; Lev Ar ... [more]

Player: Mikhail Botvinnik

 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs O Moiseev 1-0571951USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
2. Flohr vs Botvinnik ½-½811951USSR ChampionshipD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
3. Botvinnik vs Taimanov  ½-½371951USSR ChampionshipE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
4. Botvinnik vs Lipnitsky  1-0411951USSR ChampionshipE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
5. Bronstein vs Botvinnik 0-1501951USSR ChampionshipD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Botvinnik vs Novotelnov 1-0871951USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
7. Smyslov vs Botvinnik 1-0391951USSR ChampionshipC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. Botvinnik vs Simagin ½-½421951USSR ChampionshipD49 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
9. Petrosian vs Botvinnik ½-½1001951USSR ChampionshipA46 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Botvinnik vs Keres  ½-½581951USSR ChampionshipE41 Nimzo-Indian
11. E Terpugov vs Botvinnik 0-1191951USSR ChampionshipA46 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Botvinnik vs N Kopilov 0-1371951USSR ChampionshipA81 Dutch
13. Aronin vs Botvinnik 0-1411951USSR ChampionshipC03 French, Tarrasch
14. Botvinnik vs Geller 0-1621951USSR ChampionshipA45 Queen's Pawn Game
15. Bondarevsky vs Botvinnik ½-½801951USSR ChampionshipB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
16. Botvinnik vs Kotov  ½-½211951USSR ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
17. Averbakh vs Botvinnik  ½-½201951USSR ChampionshipC07 French, Tarrasch
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Botvinnik wins | Botvinnik loses  

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-18-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: This was Kopylov's only participation in a USSR Championship final tournament. Although he finished 11th, he did have the satisfaction of defeating tournament winner Keres, =2nd place finisher Geller and the current World Champion Botvinnik.
Jul-01-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Funny to see Keres, Petrosian, and Geller bunched together at the top of the cross-table. Eleven years later at Curacao they were bunched together almost exactly the same way - except there it was Petrosian who finished half a point above the other two.
Dec-25-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: A magnificent victory by Keres, who didn't have sunny days under the Soviet regime. I think this was his renaissance after having been in a deep cellar of depression in the second half of the 1940s. We shall never learn what Paul Keres could have achieved if he was not forced to live in the Soviet. Well, the same could be said for many others. Only a few, primarily Botvinnik, Petrosian and Karpov were favoured by the regime.
Jun-26-15  zydeco: The tournament was also a zonal for the 1951-54 Candidates cycle. Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres, and Smyslov were already seeded into the Candidates tournament. Geller, Petrosian, Taimanov, and Averbakh qualified for the Interzonal. The Soviet Union had a fifth spot - which would have gone to Lev Aronin if he had won his last-round game (Aronin vs Smyslov, 1951) - but instead of organizing a tiebreak between Flohr and Aronin, they 'socially promoted' Kotov, who wasn't even close to qualifying but was a member of the Sports Committee -- and justified his rather corrupt qualification by making a record score at the Interzonal. It's a really sad story for Aronin -- who apparently never got over the setback.

This tournament is right up there as one of Keres' greatest achievements. He played smooth, attractive chess, overcame a couple of early defeats, went 4.5/5 down the stretch, and cold-bloodedly won a tough last-round game against Taimanov. He was pretty clearly the best player in the world in 1951 -- and made such an impression that the Soviet grandmasters orchestrated a remarkable coup: they dumped Botvinnik, the reigning world champion, from board one on the 1952 Olympiad team, with the rationale that his recent results hadn't been anywhere close to Keres'.

It's interesting to think about Geller and Petrosian playing as a pair. They don't seem to have much in common stylistically or temperamentally -- but rose up through the ranks at exactly the same time.

Kopilov was definitely the tournament wild card.

Good games from this tournament:

Bronstein vs Kotov, 1951
Smyslov vs Bronstein, 1951
Botvinnik vs Geller, 1951
Smyslov vs Keres, 1951
Geller vs Keres, 1951
Keres vs Taimanov, 1951
Kotov vs Geller, 1951
Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1951
E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1951
N Kopilov vs Bondarevsky, 1951

Nov-04-17  ughaibu: GrahamClayton: Kopilov also played, at least, in the USSR Championship (1949).
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