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Curacao Candidates Tournament

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian17.5/27(+8 -0 =19)[games]
Paul Keres17/27(+9 -2 =16)[games]
Efim Geller17/27(+8 -1 =18)[games]
Robert James Fischer14/27(+8 -7 =12)[games]
Viktor Korchnoi13.5/27(+7 -7 =13)[games]
Pal Benko12/27(+6 -9 =12)[games]
Mikhail Tal7/21(+3 -10 =8)[games]
Miroslav Filip7/27(+2 -15 =10)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Curacao Candidates (1962)

Soon after the Stockholm Interzonal (1962), eight players met from 2 May - 26 June in Curacao in order to determine the Challenger for Mikhail Botvinnik, the World Champion.

The event in Stockholm selected six of the top finishers there. Due to a restriction limiting the number of players advancing from the same country to the next stage, Leonid Stein did not qualify, and Benk÷ took his place after the Stockholm Interzonal Playoff (1962). Both Paul Keres and Mikhail Tal qualified by virtue of their placings from the Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade Candidates (1959). This made for an eight-player quadruple round-robin, as in the previous FIDE cycle.

Only 105 games were played since Tal withdrew due to illness after round 21.

Keres and Geller, having finished second ex aequo, were obliged to play a match to determine who would automatically qualify for the next Candidates cycle; Keres - Geller 2nd place Candidates Playoff (1962) was held at Moscow from 11th-25th August 1962 and was won by Keres by a score of 2-1, with five draws.

1 Petrosian XXXX ==== ==== =1== ==11 ==1= 11=* =11= 17.5 2 Keres ==== XXXX ==== 0=1= ==1= 1110 1=1* =11= 17 3 Geller ==== ==== XXXX 11=0 ==1= ===1 =11* =11= 17 4 Fischer =0== 1=0= 00=1 XXXX 010= 01=1 =1=* 1=1= 14 5 Korchnoi ==00 ==0= ==0= 101= XXXX ===0 10=* 1111 13.5 6 Benko ==0= 0001 ===0 10=0 ===1 XXXX 10=* 011= 12 7 Tal 00=* 0=0* =00* =0=* 01=* 01=* XXXX 10=* 7 8 Filip =00= =00= =00= 0=0= 0000 100= 01=* XXXX 7

Petrosian advanced to the Petrosian - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1963).

(1) Wikipedia article: Candidates Tournament.

Original collection: Game Collection: WCC Index (Curacao 1962), by User: Hesam7.

 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 105  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Keres vs Filip ½-½371962Curacao CandidatesB49 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
2. Petrosian vs Tal 1-0641962Curacao CandidatesA12 English with b3
3. Benko vs Fischer 1-0401962Curacao CandidatesB07 Pirc
4. Korchnoi vs Geller ½-½381962Curacao CandidatesE60 King's Indian Defense
5. Korchnoi vs Petrosian ½-½361962Curacao CandidatesC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
6. Geller vs Fischer 1-0401962Curacao CandidatesB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
7. Filip vs Benko 1-0281962Curacao CandidatesE60 King's Indian Defense
8. Tal vs Keres 0-1401962Curacao CandidatesC96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Benko vs Tal 1-0411962Curacao CandidatesA00 Uncommon Opening
10. Fischer vs Filip 1-0661962Curacao CandidatesC98 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
11. Keres vs Korchnoi  ½-½331962Curacao CandidatesD02 Queen's Pawn Game
12. Petrosian vs Geller  ½-½211962Curacao CandidatesE12 Queen's Indian
13. Petrosian vs Keres ½-½171962Curacao CandidatesD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
14. Geller vs Filip ½-½131962Curacao CandidatesB42 Sicilian, Kan
15. Tal vs Fischer ½-½581962Curacao CandidatesB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
16. Korchnoi vs Benko  ½-½591962Curacao CandidatesB36 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
17. Keres vs Geller ½-½271962Curacao CandidatesE61 King's Indian
18. Benko vs Petrosian ½-½671962Curacao CandidatesA00 Uncommon Opening
19. Filip vs Tal 0-1341962Curacao CandidatesA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
20. Fischer vs Korchnoi 0-1331962Curacao CandidatesB09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
21. Geller vs Tal  ½-½271962Curacao CandidatesB48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
22. Petrosian vs Fischer ½-½251962Curacao CandidatesE84 King's Indian, Samisch, Panno Main line
23. Keres vs Benko 1-0281962Curacao CandidatesB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
24. Korchnoi vs Filip 1-01011962Curacao CandidatesD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
25. Tal vs Korchnoi 0-1351962Curacao CandidatesC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 105  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Sally Simpson> <'Russian' in this case are players who played under a Russian flag and who actually played for them in the Olympiad.>

They played under the flag of the <Soviet Union> and for the <Soviet> Olympiad team. Russia was only one of the 15 constituent republics and did have a different flag of its own, and these chessplayers did <not> play under it.

But of course 'Russia' was often informally used to refer to the Soviet Union, since it was the successor to the Russian Empire, and Russia was by far the largest and most important part of it. In that sense your point is like when Bobby Fischer said, "They're all Russians to me!"

In the rest of the post, wherever you wrote 'Russian' I'll take it to mean 'Soviet'.

<There were no Russians seeded in the Stockholm Interzonal as you say>

I did not say they were seeded in the <Stockholm Interzonal> but in the <Curacao Candidates>. Tal and Keres did not play in the Stockholm Interzonal but qualified as the winner and runner-up from the previous cycle for the Curacao Candidates.

<Only 4 Russians could play in it and they qualified from their zone. (the 1961 Russian Championship)>


<only 3 Russians from the Interzonal were allowed into the Candidates. Two Russians were already there (3 + 2 = 5).>


<A total of six players including the three Russsians qualified from Stockholm (the other three were Fischer, Fillip and Benko) maybe this is where you are getting your 6 from.>

No. I am getting my 6 from the '58-'60 cycle. See below.

<The 3 player rule maximum for any federation in the Candidates (ignoring seeded players) was adopted by FIDE in 1959>


<In 1958 (now I'm talking about the 58-61 cycle) 4 players from one federation could advance from the Interzonal to the Candidates.>

Yes, but there were also Keres and Smyslov, who did not play in the Interzonal and qualified for the Candidates Tournament as the winner and runner up from the previous cycle. Their spots in the Candidates were guaranteed, and we have been referring to them as <seeded players>.

So if four Soviet players had advanced from the Interzonal, there would have been <6> in the Candidates (2+4=6). But <althus> interprets his sources as saying that was not possible. As it so happened, only two Soviets advanced from the Interzonal, which is consistent with either interpretation.

Hope this clarifies.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Beat Giant,

Everything is OK. Looks like we were talking about different years and getting out Interzonals crossed.

And yes Russia at that time should read the USSR.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <althus>
(Talking about the 1958-60 cycle)

<There's the BCM, plus I have a FIDE Revue from the same time that is worded like this, plus a Shakhmaty v SSSR also (for the view from the "other side").>

I checked out the BCM source in your Mark Weeks link above( The relevant quote is the following, in the <IZ Qualifiers> news item:

<The first five in this event will join Smyslov and Keres in the Candidates' Tournament next year. Since no country is permitted to have more than four players in this event the Soviet grandmasters will have a fiercely competitive time in the Interzonal.>

There is a little bit of ambiguity here. It says <this event>. Does that mean the <Interzonal> or the <Candidates'>?

In the first context, <The first five in <this event>>, it's clearly refering to the Interzonal. In the second context, <no player is permitted to have more than four players in <this event>>, you think it's referring to the Candidates', which makes sense connected with the idea of <a fiercely competitive time>.

On the other hand, it also says <The first five in this event <will> join Smyslov and Keres in the Candidates'>, without mention of any proviso about the country. If the first five happened to include all four Soviet players, then...?

So, I'm not convinced yet. Can you give us the exact quotes from your FIDE Revue and Shakhmaty v SSSR sources?

Mar-20-17  althus: <beatgiant> <In the second context, <no country is permitted to have more than four players in <this event>> you think it's referring to the Candidates', which makes sense connected with the idea of <a fiercely competitive time>>.

Yes it makes sense, and the alternate reading of that sentence has no logic that I can see. To insist that the alternate reading is the correct one is somewhat obtuse. In any case, Shakhmaty v SSSR, 10/1956 p. 289, reporting on the 1956 FIDE Congress:

<Пять победителей межзонального турнира и два победителя турнира кандидатов 1956 года разыграют в 1959 году матч-турнир кандидатов, который будет проводится в 4 круга. В исключительном случае, например из-за болезни кого-либо из сильнейших гроссмейстеров мира, президенту ФИДЕ дано право поставить вопрос о восьмом учаснике, однако это должно быть одобрено 75 процентами голосов членов квалификационной комиссии ФИДЕ. При семи или восьми участниках в матч-турнире кандидатов не должно быть более четирех представителей от одной страни.>

Allow me to translate:

<The five leaders of the Interzonal tournament and two leaders of the 1956 Candidates Tournament will play a Candidates Tournament in 1959, which will be held in 4 rounds. In an exceptional case, for example due to the illness of any of the world's strongest grandmasters, the president of FIDE has the right to raise the issue of an eighth participant, however this must be approved by a 75 percent vote of the members of the FIDE Qualification Commission. In the case of seven or eight participants in the Candidates Tounament, there must not be more than four representatives from one country.>

Mar-20-17  althus: Furthermore:

FIDE Revue, 3/1956 p. 75, reporting on the 1955 Congress:

<In view of the complexity of the problems involved and the major divergences of opinion manifested during the discussion, the Assembly decided to leave most of the questions regarding the system 1957-1960 to a special Commission.. It will elaborate its final report at a meeting in Moscow, opening on August 20th 1956. The Assembly decided, however, to recommend already

a) that as from 1959 the Candidates' Tournament be played by seven participants and in four rounds. Five of the participants should be selected from the preceding Interzonal Tournament; the number from any single nation should be limited to four.>

You *could* if you wanted to be contrary insist there is an ambiguity here too, as to what "the number from any single nation" refers to. Is it <participants selected from the preceding Interzonal Tournament> or simply <participants>? In light of the clarity of Sh/SSSR, the clear logic of BCM, and the strained reading involved in taking this any other way, it's case closed: participants = four.

Mar-21-17  sudoplatov: On my last visit to Curašao, tried to find the hotel where the Candidates' tournament took place. The names of the hotels in Curašao seemed to have changed a bit. I did find what I though was correct but there wasn't anything there (except a Curašao souvenir shop.) The husband of an assistant I had in a computer laboratory had been in Curašao as a painter and did portraits of the contestants and other chess-themed pictures; I had hoped to see these (of course in 55 years, lots had changed as well as the name of the hotel.)

At least it was fun to look.

Mar-21-17  Retireborn: <sudoplatov> According to the 2005 tournament book, the tournament was played in the Hotel Curacao Intercontinental, which in 2004 was called the Curacao Plaza. I suppose it may have been renamed again, or demolished since then.
Mar-21-17  Nosnibor: No mention in the introduction of the second place playoff between Keres and Geller which was won by the former. This entitled Keres to play in the next Candidates without qualifying for it.
Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: Not exactly. In the end, both Keres and Geller were seeded into the next Candidates.

The reason that playoff happened so quickly is not that they were concerned about the next cycle. Rather, Botvinnik was talking about retiring with the title and not playing in 1963. It was a long shot, but if it had happened, it was very important to know right away who had finished 2nd at Curacao in order that that person might take Botvinnik's place in the match.

Mar-21-17  Retireborn: Yes, I gather that dear old Botty was disgruntled that his right to a return match had been abolished. Or at least very far from being gruntled.
Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: Petrosian said he never believed that Botvinnik wouldn't play, and said that he probably considered it the same way a player considers a bad move before rejecting it.
Mar-21-17  althus: Another thing I'm unclear on is whether rescinding Botvinnik's rematch clause was part of the package of reforms enacted at the Varna 1962 Congress, in response to Fischer's collusion outcry following Curacao. It would seem logical that it was, but again I haven't found any documentary evidence.

But I wonder now if the timing of the Keres-Geller match is a clue. There wouldn't have been a match if Botvinnik hadn't made noises about not playing in 1963. And I want to believe Botvinnik wouldn't have made those noises if the rematch hadn't already been taken away.

However. The Keres-Geller playoff was in August, and the FIDE Congress was in October of 1962. So Botvinnik was already making those noises before FIDE scrapped the Candidates Tourney and changed whatever else they did.

When, then, did FIDE scrap the rematch? I'm not sure.

Mar-21-17  Howard: As far as why the rematch clause was scrapped, for the next 20 years, at least two theories have been given.

One was that Botvinnik was allegedly abusing the rematch clause. When he was defending his title against Smyslov in 1957 and then Tal in 1960, he may have viewed those matches as "training" matches. If he won, great. If not, he could always try to get his title back in the rematch.

Another reason is that he may have purposely thrown his matches in 1957 and 1960, so as to allow the Soviet Union to have more world champions from that country. To put it another way, he may have purposely "loaned" the title to both Smyslov and Tal, so that the Soviets would have two additional former world champions.

Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: Well, Botvinnik was one of the most resilient and scientific players of all time. Better than anyone, he knew how to learn from his mistakes, which meant being objective about his shortcomings and correcting them.

But there's also a psychological factor. As Petrosian explained it to himself, Smyslov and Tal both beat Botvinnik so convincingly that there was no room for doubt about the outcome. To be asked to measure up against the same guy so soon is hard to do. He felt that both of them looked past the rematch, thinking that they'd already proven their superiority to this guy, and deep down just wanted to coast through with a minimum expenditure of energy. Botvinnik, on the other hand, was the kind of guy who could get slapped silly and come back burning with energy.

There was the same kind of talk after 1960. That Botvinnik was pushing 50, and beaten so badly that he wouldn't even exercise his right to the rematch. People who thought that didn't know him very well.

Talk of Botvinnik, who mistrusted others so much that he played world championship matches without a second, to throw a match and trust the bureacracy to give him the title back are totally insane, and on the same level as those theories that Saidy threw the game to Fischer to help him finish 11-0. Wishful thinking with no evidence.

Mar-21-17  Howard: Granted, there is no evidence about what I suggested, but the theory is plausible, in my view.

Keep in mind that Botvinnik was held in high esteem by the Soviet government, so he might have very well trusted it, as far as making sure he got his "title" back during the rematch.

But, we'll obviously never know what was really going on back then.

Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: Botvinnik's relationship with the Soviet Government was complicated. He was their Fair-Haired Boy, but also kind of their Bad Boy. They didn't even give him the Order of Lenin until he lost the title, and it would have been too embarrassing to give it to Smyslov and not Botvinnik.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The next re-match clause after Botvinik's reign was officially in the 1978 match between Karpov and Korchnoi.

The last one - I'm not sure if this qualifies as a 'return match clause', but in the 2007 World Chess Championship. There was a rule that if Kramnik did not win it (he came second) then he would play a match v the winner (Anand).

Also not too sure about the theory that Botvinnik threw in the towel to allow two more ex-World Champions for the USSR. He was not that type of guy.

He got beat fair and square. His record in World Champion matches on paper was not too impressive.

P. 7. W.2 D.2 L3

However losing the title twice and winning it back twice is a stiff record to beat, especially under the current rules.

To equal it Carlsen has to lose in two finals and qualify from two candidates to get back into the finals. Botvinnik never had to play in a candidates to get his titles back.

Mar-21-17  Howard: Here's one piece of trivia which a lot of people probably aren't aware of:

When Petrosian successfully beat Spassky for the WC in 1966, it was the first time since 1934 that a reigning world champion beat his challenger in a WC match.

I'll admit I wasn't aware of this until Petrosian died, in 1984, and was surprised...

...until I mentally reviewed all the WC matches starting with 1934, and I realized that this was indeed correct.

Botvinnik, in other words, never won a WC match in which he was the defending champion.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Geoff....Botvinnik never had to play in a candidates to get his titles back.>

He had the opportunity, but chose not to play in the 1965 cycle.

Mar-21-17  althus: <Petrosianic> <Botvinnik's relationship with the Soviet Government was complicated. He was their Fair-Haired Boy, but also kind of their Bad Boy>

This is true. Sometimes I think he was their Useful Idiot, too. Let him think he's in charge, but ultimately too unimportant to bother purging.

To have survived the bonkers USSR of the 1930s to 50s as anyone of stature required a complicated relationship, to be sure.

Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: The way I heard the Order of Lenin story was that Botvinnik "forgot" to congratulate Comrade Stalin when he (Botvinnik) won the World Championship, and in return they "forgot" to give him the Order of Lenin. But there would be no way to hide the snub if Smyslov got it and Botvinnik didn't, and they didn't want to deny Smyslov. Yeah, it is rather surprising that Botvinnik survived the Stalin era at all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi althus: and beatgiant

I found a report on the on the 1959 FIDE meeting that took place from the 13th to the 24th September at Luxembourg,

CHESS Oct 24th 1959 (page 14).

The report is from Alan F Stammwitz who at the time was hon.Secretary B.C.F.

He arrived with a letter from the president of the Scottish Chess Fed saying he could vote on their behalf.

First item on the agenda. Countries excluded for not paying their FIDE fees:

Chile, Columbia, Egypt, Greece, Pakistan and SCOTLAND! (you could not make it up)

A promise was made that Scotland would send their fees before December so they were allowed back in,

I have photo-copied the relevant bit and it is here at the bottom of an old Blog. Just scroll down and you will see it. It is reading like Tal was in because he was the recently disposed Champion.

It does says 3 players max from the same nation - it does not specifically say the two who are already there (Tal and Keres) are not to be counted as the part of the maximum 3.

Mar-21-17  althus: This is good stuff! It also makes you shake your head.. Written in black and white: three players max. But those two guys Keres and Tal...? Oh don't worry, they don't count.

I guess there is no answer to the question of how the rule was truly defined. FIDE seems to have pulled things out of their ear ad hoc, then as now.

Unless this is sloppy reporting by CHESS -- but when every journalistic outlet is the same kind of sloppy, then it looks instead like the slop comes from the source.

Mar-21-17  Petrosianic: <This is good stuff! It also makes you shake your head.. Written in black and white: three players max. But those two guys Keres and Tal...? Oh don't worry, they don't count.>

It's clear enough. Three may qualify from the Interzonal. Keres and Tal didn't count because they didn't play in the Interzonal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi althus:,

OOPS! I've just had a grim e-mail.

I had a league match and forgot all about it. I was at that the Edinburgh Club when I should have been playing the Edinburgh Club at the RAF Club.

I have the bound CHESS's 1959-1960-1961-1962-1963 with me. I am going though them to see if I can uncover anything else.

I am finding loads of other good stuff..

Petrosian was given an onyx Knight after beating Botvinnik by one of his fans.

If you looked into the tiny eye of the Knight you could see the final position of Petrosian vs Botvinnik, 1963

It had been carved on a piece of rice, inserted in the eye and covered with a small magnifying glass.

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