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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Championship Tournament

Paul Keres12/17(+9 -2 =6)[games]
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian11.5/17(+8 -2 =7)[games]
Efim Geller11.5/17(+10 -4 =3)[games]
Vasily Smyslov11/17(+9 -4 =4)[games]
Mikhail Botvinnik10/17(+6 -3 =8)[games]
Yuri Averbakh9.5/17(+5 -3 =9)[games]
David Bronstein9.5/17(+6 -4 =7)[games]
Mark Taimanov9.5/17(+7 -5 =5)[games]
Salomon Flohr9/17(+4 -3 =10)[games]
Lev Aronin9/17(+6 -5 =6)[games]
Nikolai Georgiyevich Kopilov8.5/17(+7 -7 =3)[games]
Alexander Kotov8/17(+4 -5 =8)[games]
Igor Bondarevsky8/17(+4 -5 =8)[games]
Vladimir Simagin7.5/17(+3 -5 =9)[games]
Oleg Leonidovich Moiseev6.5/17(+3 -7 =7)[games]
Isaac Lipnitsky6.5/17(+4 -8 =5)[games]
Nikolay Novotelnov3/17(+2 -13 =2)[games]
Evgeny Terpugov2.5/17(+1 -13 =3)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Championship (1951)

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 Aronin, Vladimir Simagin, and Salomon Flohr qualified from Lvov; and Tigran Petrosian, Efim Geller, Yuri Averbakh, and Isaac Boleslavsky qualified from Sverdlovsk. Boleslavsky fell ill before the final and was therefore replaced by Igor Bondarevsky, who had placed fifth in the Leningrad semi-final. Four invitations were also sent to Paul Keres as returning Soviet Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik as world champion, David Bronstein as world vice-champion, and Alexander Kotov. The assembled field was the strongest in the history of the USSR championship at that time, which makes it an especially impressive victory for Keres. It was his second consecutive Soviet crown and his third overall. He edged out runners-up Petrosian and Geller by half a point, and finished two full points ahead of world champion Botvinnik, who only managed to finish in fifth place.

The final standings and crosstable:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts 1 Keres * 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 12 =2 Petrosian * 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 11 =2 Geller 0 * 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11 4 Smyslov 0 0 1 * 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 11 5 Botvinnik 0 0 * 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 10 =6 Averbakh 1 * 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 9 =6 Bronstein 1 0 0 1 * 1 0 1 0 1 1 9 =6 Taimanov 0 0 0 0 1 0 * 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 =9 Flohr 1 0 * 0 1 1 0 1 9 =9 Aronin 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 * 1 0 1 1 9 11 Kopilov 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 * 0 1 1 0 1 1 8 =12 Kotov 1 0 0 1 0 1 * 0 1 0 8 =12 Bondarevsky 0 0 0 1 0 * 1 0 1 1 8 14 Simagin 0 0 0 0 0 * 1 1 1 7 =15 Moisieev 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 * 1 1 6 =15 Lipnitsky 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 * 1 6 17 Novotelnov 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 * 3 18 Terpugov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 * 2

Original collection: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1951, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 59  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Botvinnik vs O Moiseev 1-0571951USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
2. Keres vs E Terpugov 1-0221951USSR ChampionshipD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
3. Smyslov vs Geller 1-0481951USSR ChampionshipB26 Sicilian, Closed, 6.Be3
4. Lipnitsky vs Averbakh  1-0421951USSR ChampionshipA27 English, Three Knights System
5. Geller vs Simagin 1-0321951USSR ChampionshipD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
6. Taimanov vs E Terpugov 1-0371951USSR ChampionshipD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
7. N Kopilov vs Keres 1-0591951USSR ChampionshipB32 Sicilian
8. Kotov vs Novotelnov  1-0371951USSR ChampionshipE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
9. Aronin vs Petrosian 1-0391951USSR ChampionshipC91 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. Keres vs Aronin 1-0631951USSR ChampionshipB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
11. O Moiseev vs Novotelnov  1-0351951USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
12. Averbakh vs Smyslov 1-0401951USSR ChampionshipC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
13. Botvinnik vs Lipnitsky  1-0411951USSR ChampionshipE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
14. Taimanov vs N Kopilov  1-0701951USSR ChampionshipD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. Petrosian vs Kotov 1-0521951USSR ChampionshipE68 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Variation, 8.e4
16. Novotelnov vs Flohr 1-0401951USSR ChampionshipD29 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
17. Kotov vs Keres 1-0401951USSR ChampionshipE00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Botvinnik vs Novotelnov 1-0871951USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
19. Bondarevsky vs E Terpugov  1-0411951USSR ChampionshipD07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense
20. Geller vs N Kopilov 1-0461951USSR ChampionshipD46 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
21. Bronstein vs Taimanov 1-0421951USSR ChampionshipE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
22. Smyslov vs Botvinnik 1-0391951USSR ChampionshipC92 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. N Kopilov vs Bondarevsky 1-0541951USSR ChampionshipC59 Two Knights
24. E Terpugov vs Kotov  1-0391951USSR ChampionshipD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
25. Averbakh vs E Terpugov  1-0381951USSR ChampionshipC70 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 59  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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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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