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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Championship Tournament

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian13.5/19(+8 -0 =11)[games]
Boris Spassky12.5/19(+8 -2 =9)[games]
Mikhail Tal12.5/19(+9 -3 =7)[games]
Mark Taimanov12/19(+7 -2 =10)[games]
Ratmir Kholmov12/19(+7 -2 =10)[games]
Lev Polugaevsky11/19(+7 -4 =8)[games]
Yuri Averbakh10.5/19(+5 -3 =11)[games]
Paul Keres10.5/19(+5 -3 =11)[games]
Viktor Korchnoi10/19(+6 -5 =8)[games]
Efim Geller9.5/19(+6 -6 =7)[games]
Anatoly S Lutikov9.5/19(+5 -5 =9)[games]
David Bronstein9/19(+4 -5 =10)[games]
Eduard Gufeld9/19(+3 -4 =12)[games]
Jacob Yuchtman8.5/19(+4 -6 =9)[games]
Semyon Abramovich Furman8/19(+3 -6 =10)[games]
Evgeni Vasiukov7/19(+2 -7 =10)[games]
Bukhuti Gurgenidze7/19(+2 -7 =10)[games]
Nikolai V Krogius6.5/19(+1 -7 =11)[games]
Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov6/19(+3 -10 =6)[games]
Aleksander S Nikitin5.5/19(+0 -8 =11)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Championship (1959)

The 26th Soviet Chess Championship took place in the city of Tbilisi from January 9th to February 11th, 1959. Twenty of the Soviet Union's best masters and grandmasters were invited to and qualified for the round robin tournament. Tigran Petrosian won his first of four USSR Championships here, undefeated against a field that included over 10 past and future winners of the Soviet crown.

Tbilisi, Soviet Union (Georgia), 9 January - 11 February 19591

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts 1 Petrosian * 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 =2 Spassky * 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12 =2 Tal * 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 12 =4 Taimanov 1 * 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 12 =4 Kholmov 1 * 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 12 6 Polugaevsky 1 0 1 * 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 11 =7 Averbakh 0 0 0 * 1 1 1 1 1 10 =7 Keres 0 1 * 1 0 1 1 0 1 10 9 Korchnoi 0 1 0 0 0 * 1 1 1 0 1 1 10 =10 Geller 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 * 0 1 1 1 1 9 =10 Lutikov 0 0 0 0 1 * 1 1 1 0 1 9 =12 Bronstein 0 1 0 0 0 * 1 1 0 1 9 =12 Gufeld 0 0 1 0 1 0 * 1 9 14 Yuchtman 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 * 1 0 1 8 15 Furman 0 0 0 1 0 0 * 0 1 1 8 =16 Vasiukov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 * 1 7 =16 Gurgenidze 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 * 0 7 18 Krogius 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 * 6 19 Nezhmetdinov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 * 1 6 20 Nikitin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 * 5

Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov, The Soviet Championships (Cadogen 1998), pp. 99-102.

Original collection: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1959, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 190  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bronstein vs Furman  ½-½191959USSR ChampionshipB31 Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation
2. Lutikov vs J Yuchtman ½-½411959USSR ChampionshipC10 French
3. Keres vs Polugaevsky 1-0541959USSR ChampionshipA48 King's Indian
4. Tal vs Taimanov ½-½371959USSR ChampionshipB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
5. Gufeld vs Spassky 0-1741959USSR ChampionshipC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
6. Vasiukov vs Gurgenidze  ½-½201959USSR ChampionshipC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
7. Geller vs Krogius  ½-½241959USSR ChampionshipD42 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3
8. Averbakh vs Nikitin  ½-½471959USSR ChampionshipD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
9. Nezhmetdinov vs Korchnoi 0-1331959USSR ChampionshipC16 French, Winawer
10. Petrosian vs Kholmov ½-½531959USSR ChampionshipE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
11. J Yuchtman vs Tal 1-0401959USSR ChampionshipC44 King's Pawn Game
12. Korchnoi vs Averbakh 0-1431959USSR ChampionshipB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
13. Geller vs Keres 1-0381959USSR ChampionshipE45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation
14. Polugaevsky vs Lutikov  ½-½191959USSR ChampionshipA80 Dutch
15. Furman vs Vasiukov  0-1401959USSR ChampionshipE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
16. Kholmov vs Nezhmetdinov  ½-½631959USSR ChampionshipD25 Queen's Gambit Accepted
17. Krogius vs Gurgenidze  ½-½341959USSR ChampionshipE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
18. Nikitin vs Gufeld  ½-½511959USSR ChampionshipB32 Sicilian
19. Spassky vs Bronstein ½-½201959USSR ChampionshipB65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
20. Taimanov vs Petrosian  ½-½261959USSR ChampionshipD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
21. Keres vs Krogius 0-1801959USSR ChampionshipB48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
22. Vasiukov vs Spassky ½-½361959USSR ChampionshipB02 Alekhine's Defense
23. Lutikov vs Geller  1-0551959USSR ChampionshipB88 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
24. Bronstein vs Nikitin 1-0301959USSR ChampionshipC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. Tal vs Polugaevsky 1-0341959USSR ChampionshipB94 Sicilian, Najdorf
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 190  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Classic Petrosian win. Beats everyone in the bottom half and draws all the top guys in 30 moves or less.
Mar-08-16  Howard: He didn't beat "everyone" in the lower half, but he came close.

That's a typical strategy in round-robins, at any rate. Take quick draws against the tougher players, so as to conserve energy---and then go full-throttle against the weaker players.

Mar-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Late 50s into the 60s - there weren't many easy games in the USSR championships
Mar-08-16  morfishine: Wow, these are the first kbitz and this tourney played 57 years ago
May-12-16  belgradegambit: Why didn't Botvinnick play?
May-12-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <belgradegambit: Why didn't Botvinnick play?>

Not sure this is really an answer, but he didn't play in any Soviet championship after 1955.

May-12-16  morfishine: <belgradegambit> I don't know why Botvinnik didn't play. I searched around for awhile and didn't find anything

Perhaps he was preparing for his 1960 match vs Tal

May-13-16  Howard: Maybe Botvinnik felt that he was still the best player in the world, so therefore he wouldn't have much to prove by playing in the Soviet championship.

But, in the 1955 event (his last one, as keypusher points out), he didn't do very well for a world champion.

May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Botvinnik wasn't that active in tournament play later in his career
May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang> Till 1963, that is hardly surprising; for Botvinnik was constantly preparing for his title matches when not actually playing them.
May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: That must have been a strange chess career once he was world champion. He could probably guess within 2 or 3 who his challenger was going to be so he knew his games were going to be limited to 2 or 3 opponents. A very dry kind of chess life that - would have been a kind of prison I would think!
May-13-16  Olavi: After Botvinnik in 1955, the only reigning World Champions to play the Soviet ch were Karpov in 1976 and 1983 and Kasparov in 1988.
May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <That must have been a strange chess career >

I doubt he complained about the right to a rematch in 1958 and 1961.

May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Dionysius1: That must have been a strange chess career once he was world champion. He could probably guess within 2 or 3 who his challenger was going to be so he knew his games were going to be limited to 2 or 3 opponents. A very dry kind of chess life that - would have been a kind of prison I would think!>

True, but (i) he played lots of fascinating games in his world championship matches, as winner, loser, or drawer (ii) he seemed to enjoy life after his parole, viz. Botvinnik vs Portisch, 1968

May-13-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang: I doubt (Botvinnik) complained about the right to a rematch in 1958 and 1961.>

Me either, but Botvinnik was certainly unhappy when FIDE failed to grant his 'divine right' to a rematch after he lost to Petrosian.

May-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: FIDE decided to abolish the rematch in 1960 or 1961, though the decision didn't take effect until 1963. Here's Botvinnik's substantive defense of the rematch clause, given at a press conference after he dethroned Tal.

<The point is young players are primarily interested in the play of the world champion. Perhaps this should not be so significant, since it is quite clear that nowadays there is a whole group of international grandmasters who play roughly equally strongly, but the battle for the title of world champion forces these grandmasters to try and improve in the field of chess, and, in addition, the battle for the world championship assists the growth of the popularity of chess. For these reasons, conditions should be created, in order if possible to exclude the accidental possession of this title, and in any event to ensure this: if a player begins to study chess less seriously after a victory, he should be punished for this. Thus the return match is an additional verification, which is very useful. Now it no longer exists.>

He said Tal had also supported the rematch clause. Incidentally, <Howard>, as you can see Botvinnik didn't consider himself the best player in the world at this point.

May-14-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher> The 1965 FIDE Congress failed, at the proposal of West Germany, to give Botvinnik the right to a rematch.
May-15-16  Howard: True, keypusher, but I was thinking more of the late 1950's rather than 1961. Botvinnik probably still thought of himself as #1 during then.

An interesting fact about Botvinnik's being denied a rematch was that Geller and Keres tied for 2nd-3rd at Curacao, so they had to have a playoff to see which one of them would get seeded into the 1965 Candiates. But, since Botvinnik (a la Fischer in 1977) passed up his seeded spot in 1965, the playoff--in retrospect--turned out to have been unnecessary.

Thus, both Geller and Keres got seeded.
And they were both eliminated by no other than Spassky.

May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Howard: True, keypusher, but I was thinking more of the late 1950's rather than 1961. Botvinnik probably still thought of himself as #1 during then.>

It's extremely unlikely that he felt any differently in 1959 than in 1961. Given that he scored two draws, one loss and one win in WC matches in the 1950s, failed to win any international tournaments outright, and won one Soviet championship while failing to win two others, he had no justification for thinking he was #1. In fact I'm pretty sure the <primus inter pares> quote dates from the 1950s.

May-15-16  Howard: You probably know about Botvinnik than I do---personally, he's never been of much interest to me.
May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <failed to win any international tournaments outright, and won one Soviet championship while failing to win two others,>

I don't think Botvinnik put a lot of emphasis on tournaments after he became WC. But I think most see his peak play as having been in the 40s before he became champion

May-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: There is a wealth of evidence for that opinion of Botvinnik's zenith, despite Alekhine being the reigning champion most of the time.
May-17-16  Howard: But, then Alekhine had a "free ride" on the title from 1939-45, for obvious reasons---and he was clearly NOT the best player in the world anymore by 1938.
Nov-02-16  ughaibu: "undefeated against a field that included over 10 past and future winners of the Soviet crown"

Incorrect. Petrosian "won [ ] undefeated against a field that included [exactly nine] past and future winners of the Soviet crown".

Had petrosian played against himself and had Kholmov not lost the playoff with Spassky and Stein, then the number would have been "over 10", it would have been eleven, but in that case, why the hell write "over 10"? Why not write "11"?

Nov-02-16  John Abraham: Great result for Petrosian! very proud of him!
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