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Milan Tournament

Anatoly Karpov12/21(+4 -1 =16)[games]
Lajos Portisch12/21(+5 -2 =14)[games]
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian11.5/21(+3 -1 =17)[games]
Ljubomir Ljubojevic11/21(+5 -4 =12)[games]
Jan Smejkal6/11(+2 -1 =8)[games]
Mikhail Tal5.5/11(+3 -3 =5)[games]
Walter Shawn Browne5.5/11(+2 -2 =7)[games]
Ulf Andersson5/11(+3 -4 =4)[games]
Wolfgang Unzicker5/11(+2 -3 =6)[games]
Svetozar Gligoric5/11(+3 -4 =4)[games]
Bent Larsen5/11(+4 -5 =2)[games]
Sergio Mariotti2.5/11(+0 -6 =5)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Milan (1975)

Since the introduction of the Elo rating system earlier in the decade, the 1970s saw a resurgence of the so-called "super" tournament where the best in the world gathered to compete. 1975 was one of the biggest years of the decade in that regard as a number of international "super tournaments" were held in which top rated masters participated. Milan, Italy in late summer saw the attendance of twelve such top rated grandmasters, including the newly designated world champion Anatoly Karpov (2705). He was joined by Tigran Petrosian (2645) and Mikhail Tal (2645) from the Soviet Union; Lajos Portisch (2635) from Hungary; Bent Larsen (2625) from Denmark; Ljubomir Ljubojevic (2615) from Yugoslavia; Jan Smejkal (2600) from Czechoslovakia; Svetozar Gligoric (2575) from Yugoslavia; Ulf Andersson (2565) from Sweden; Walter Browne (2550) from the United States; Wolfgang Unzicker (2535) from West Germany; and Sergio Mariotti (2495) playing for his home country of Italy. The combined ratings of all the grandmasters qualified the tournament as a Category XV event, making it stronger than most other international tournaments seen up to that point. Games were played from August 20th to September 14th. In addition to a round robin all-play-all format, a series of semifinal and final matches among the top four finishers were devised to follow the tournament. This would turn out to be a blessing for the Soviet grandmasters as the final of the tournament proper saw Portisch finish clear first, a half point ahead of shared seconds Petrosian, Karpov, and Ljubojevic. While Portisch dispatched Ljubojevic in their semifinal match, Petrosian and Karpov drew their match, allowing the higher rated world champion a shot at the tournament leader in the finals match for first place. Karpov only managed to win one game, but it was enough to put him over the edge and finish the entire event as clear first ahead of Portisch. It was to be one of the earliest of what would be copious numbers of super tournament victories for the new world champion.

Milan, Italy, 20 August - 14 September 1975

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 1 Portisch * 1 0 1 1 1 7 =2 Karpov * 1 0 1 1 6 =2 Petrosian * 1 1 6 =2 Ljubojevic 0 * 1 1 0 1 1 6 5 Smejkal * 1 0 1 6 =6 Tal 0 * 0 1 0 1 1 5 =6 Browne 0 0 1 * 1 5 =8 Andersson 1 1 0 0 * 0 0 1 5 =8 Unzicker 0 1 1 * 0 0 5 =8 Gligoric 0 0 0 1 1 1 * 0 5 =8 Larsen 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 * 1 5 12 Mariotti 0 0 0 0 0 0 * 2

The final standings and crosstable of the semifinal matches:

1 Portisch 1 2 2 Ljubojevic 0 1 =1 Petrosian 2 =1 Karpov 2

The final standings and crosstable of the final matches:

Third/fourth place match

=1 Ljubojevic 0 1 3 =1 Petrosian 1 0 3

First/second place match

1 Karpov 1 3 2 Portisch 0 2

Original collection: Game Collection: Milan 1975, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ljubojevic vs Ulf Andersson 1-0401975MilanB44 Sicilian
2. Smejkal vs Larsen 1-0521975MilanE17 Queen's Indian
3. Unzicker vs Tal 1-0321975MilanB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
4. Portisch vs Gligoric 1-0341975MilanE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
5. Karpov vs Unzicker 1-0221975MilanC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
6. Tal vs Ulf Andersson 1-0261975MilanB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
7. Karpov vs Gligoric 1-0501975MilanC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
8. Portisch vs Larsen 1-0311975MilanA17 English
9. Petrosian vs Gligoric  1-0391975MilanE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
10. Smejkal vs Browne  1-0331975MilanB36 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto
11. Gligoric vs Smejkal  1-0251975MilanD87 Grunfeld, Exchange
12. Ulf Andersson vs S Mariotti  1-0411975MilanA22 English
13. Gligoric vs Unzicker  1-0301975MilanE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
14. Portisch vs Ljubojevic  1-0661975MilanA04 Reti Opening
15. Petrosian vs Ljubojevic 1-0301975MilanA73 Benoni, Classical, 9.O-O
16. Karpov vs Portisch 1-0641975MilanC72 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 5.O-O
17. Ljubojevic vs Petrosian 1-0471975MilanA07 King's Indian Attack
 page 1 of 1; 17 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-03-13  suenteus po 147: Okay, so this is something I've been meaning to ask for a while: Were the semi-final and final matches an original part of this event, or were the Soviet grandmasters so irked by Portisch's win that they lobbied for more games? I'm guessing it was part of the program from the beginning (but then, hey, it was the seventies, they might have decided to rob a bank and pay them to play more games! ciao!), but then how much must it have irked Portisch that he fought so hard only to succumb to one crummy loss to Karpov in the final match and be dispatched in the ultimate standings?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: No proof at hand, but I'm pretty sure that was the original program. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the Soviet players coasted in the preliminaries, looking merely to qualify.
Apr-04-13  suenteus po 147: <Phony Benoni> Coasting, sure: Karpov only has three wins. But how to tell if Petrosian was or not? He always had few wins and no losses :)
Sep-07-13  Everett: Isnt this format one of the ideas for deciding the world championship, or at least the candidates? Candidate tournament, then a series of matches until one is left standing. This person would either be the new WC, or be the challenger to the incumbent. Not so bad, in my eyes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Have any other international tournaments used this format of a round-robin followed by knock-out matches?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This tournament, as the intro says, began on August 20th 1975, exactly 75 years ago in a fortnight's time.

As a celebration of that anniversary, <and> as a memorial to the late and great master of chess Walter Shawn Browne, Europe Echecs has published a quite SOO-PERB article on this tournament.

It can be seen at

Some wonderful photos and reminiscences.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Seventy-five years? Seems more like forty to me.
Aug-03-16  Mr. V: I like Mariotti's strategy, draw with black, lose with white. It reminds me of my own play.
Aug-03-16  Absentee: <perfidious: Seventy-five years? Seems more like forty to me.>

Time flies, doesn't it?

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