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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
USSR Zonal Tournament

Boris Spassky7/12(+4 -2 =6)[games]
Leonid Stein6.5/12(+2 -1 =9)[games]
David Bronstein6.5/12(+2 -1 =9)[games]
Ratmir Kholmov6/12(+2 -2 =8)[games]
Alexey Suetin5.5/12(+2 -3 =7)[games]
Viktor Korchnoi5.5/12(+3 -4 =5)[games]
Efim Geller5/12(+2 -4 =6)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
USSR Zonal (1964)
While the USSR Championship generally served as the country's Zonal tournament in appropriate years, 1964 saw a separate event. The top six finishers from the recently concluded 1963 Championship (Leonid Stein, Boris Spassky, Ratmir Kholmov, David Bronstein, Efim Geller, Alexey Suetin) were joined by Viktor Korchnoi for a double-round robin tournament to determine the three qualifiers. It was close all the way with only two points separating first from last at the finish.

Kholmov started the quickest. By round 5, he had three points and was a full point up on the field. Literally. Everyone else had two points. However, he suffered a loss in round 7, leaving these standings at the end of the first half:

4.0: Bronstein; 3.5: Kholmov; 3.0: Geller, Suetin; 2.5: Korchnoi, Spassky, Stein.

However, Spassky scored 4.5 points in six games to sprint past the field. Stein also came back strongly, and was able to claim an Interzonal spot with the fading Bronstein.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Pts 1 Spassky ** == == 01 1= =1 01 7.0 2 Stein == ** == == =1 =1 0= 6.5 3 Bronstein == == ** == 1= 10 == 6.5 4 Kholmov 10 == == ** 0= 1= == 6.0 5 Suetin 0= =0 0= 1= ** == 1= 5.5 6 Korchnoi =0 =0 01 0= == ** 11 5.5 7 Geller 10 1= == == 0= 00 ** 5.0

Original Collection: Game Collection: USSR Zonal 1964 by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 42  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Suetin vs Geller 1-0381964USSR ZonalB35 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Modern Variation with Bc4
2. Korchnoi vs Kholmov 0-1411964USSR ZonalA30 English, Symmetrical
3. Spassky vs Bronstein ½-½311964USSR ZonalE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
4. Geller vs Korchnoi 0-1351964USSR ZonalD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
5. Stein vs Suetin  ½-½301964USSR ZonalB47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation
6. Kholmov vs Spassky 1-0571964USSR ZonalB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
7. Spassky vs Geller 0-1741964USSR ZonalC85 Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD)
8. Bronstein vs Kholmov ½-½271964USSR ZonalE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
9. Korchnoi vs Stein  ½-½321964USSR ZonalD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
10. Stein vs Spassky ½-½321964USSR ZonalC89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall
11. Suetin vs Korchnoi  ½-½371964USSR ZonalB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
12. Geller vs Bronstein  ½-½961964USSR ZonalA13 English
13. Spassky vs Suetin 1-0411964USSR ZonalB48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
14. Kholmov vs Geller  ½-½421964USSR ZonalC96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
15. Bronstein vs Stein  ½-½311964USSR ZonalD79 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O, Main line
16. Korchnoi vs Spassky ½-½411964USSR ZonalA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
17. Suetin vs Bronstein 0-1831964USSR ZonalB18 Caro-Kann, Classical
18. Stein vs Kholmov  ½-½301964USSR ZonalC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
19. Geller vs Stein 1-0391964USSR ZonalD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
20. Kholmov vs Suetin 0-1411964USSR ZonalB99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
21. Bronstein vs Korchnoi 1-0361964USSR ZonalD24 Queen's Gambit Accepted
22. Kholmov vs Korchnoi  ½-½421964USSR ZonalB83 Sicilian
23. Bronstein vs Spassky ½-½301964USSR ZonalD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
24. Geller vs Suetin ½-½901964USSR ZonalA39 English, Symmetrical, Main line with d4
25. Suetin vs Stein 0-1591964USSR ZonalC96 Ruy Lopez, Closed
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 42  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-21-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Nerwal: Botvinnik was directly seeded in the Candidates matches as the previous world champion. But he withdrew and Geller got chosen to take his place. Geller wasn't qualified until then.>

Thanks. Do you know why he was chosen? I guess because he'd tied for second in the final qualifier in the last cycle, and the guy he tied with was already in?

May-21-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <keypusher> <Geller qualified for the Candidates Matches the following year by, I understand, finishing in a second-place tie at Curacao. So what was he doing here?>

Botvinnik was to play Smyslov in the first round of the Candidates' matches of 1965. It was only some two weeks prior to the beginning of the match that Botvinnik announced his withdrawal from the event.

So, in 1964 Geller participated in the Zonal because his third place in Curacao qualified him only as a first "substitute" candidate. Obviously, Botvinnik's plans were not known in '64.

May-21-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <brankat> Very interesting. So imagine, Botvinnik dropped out just two weeks before the match was to take place! And Geller stepped in and beat Smyslov decisively.

It must have been very hard for Smyslov to get ready psychologically for Geller. Not to denigrate Geller's difficulties...

May-21-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  brankat: <keypusher> Yes, Smyslov actually talked about it after the match. He had been preparing for Botvinnik for more than 3 months. On the other hand, Geller was getting ready for Smyslov in case Botvinnik withdraws :-)
May-22-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Korchnoi complained about this in his autobiography--only three soviets allowed, for the Candidates matches, from a large group of talent. I suppose some of the people in an evnet like this were better chessplayers than some of the europeans or North Americans who got in.

Looks like his low finish here may have helped fuel that discontent.

May-22-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Korchnoi complained about this in his autobiography--only three soviets allowed, for the Candidates matches, from a large group of talent [...] Looks like his low finish here may have helped fuel that discontent.>

The rule concerning no more than three players from one country applied to the qualification from the Interzonal stage of the cycle to the Candidates, not to that from the Zonal to the Interzonal. Indeed, in Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), all the 5 Soviets who participated finished among the top-6, but Stein & Bronstein didn't qualify for the Candidates. Korchnoi himself, however, never suffered from this rule; what he was pissed about here was that Smyslov & Tal were seeded directly into the Interzonal without having to take part in this tournament.

May-22-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <brankat:....Botvinnik was to play Smyslov in the first round of the Candidates' matches of 1965. It was only some two weeks prior to the beginning of the match that Botvinnik announced his withdrawal from the event....>

According to Wade (I think), this took place after the FIDE Congress, at which the motion by the West Germans to eliminate the right to a rematch was successful.

Oct-16-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <ughaibu: So, FIDE got rid of the candidates tournament but the Soviets held one anyway. 60% draws, were there accusations of collusion?>

For a tournament of this strength 60% draws is quite normal - the draw % is perhaps a bit low in fact.

Jan-22-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <plang: <ughaibu: So, FIDE got rid of the candidates tournament but the Soviets held one anyway. 60% draws, were there accusations of collusion?>

For a tournament of this strength 60% draws is quite normal - the draw % is perhaps a bit low in fact.>

Seems a bit low to me as well, what with these players being so evenly matched.

Jan-22-15  Petrosianic: <So, in 1964 Geller participated in the Zonal because his third place in Curacao qualified him only as a first "substitute" candidate. Obviously, Botvinnik's plans were not known in '64.>

Probably guessed, but not "known". Botvinnik had made rumblings about retiring undefeated in 1963, which is why the Keres-Geller 2nd place match was arranged so quickly. But in the end, Botvinnik played after all.

Apparently, Botvinnik was not DEFINITELY out of the '65 Candidates until a month before they started.

Apr-08-15  Howard: Maybe I'm wrong, but this super-strong event has probably been overlooked over the years. It was a small event with only seven players, but its significance can hardly be overestimated.
Jul-28-15  Zonszein: One of the strongest tournaments of the 60s
Jan-10-16  Everett: Likely toughest zonal ever, with Geller, Suetin and Korchnoi finishing with minus scores.

Everyplace else in the world was a joke.

Oct-21-16  ewan14: Served Smyslov right
Oct-21-16  ewan14: It was Botvinnik who was responsible for the 3 '' Soviets '' rule per Averbakh
Oct-21-16  ewan14: Smyslov was supposed to have been the 8th player per V. K.
Oct-21-16  Olavi: Smyslov had good connections to above, therefore, managed to get a direct place in the IZ. So only three places left from this tournament.
Oct-21-16  Olavi: So the intro is not correct.
Oct-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <ewan14: It was Botvinnik who was responsible for the 3 '' Soviets '' rule per Averbakh>

Yes, but he doesn't have evidence for his belief.

Oct-28-16  Petrosianic: <keypusher>: <Thanks. Do you know why he was chosen? I guess because he'd tied for second in the final qualifier in the last cycle, and the guy he tied with was already in?>

Nearly right. With Botvinnik out, the two seeds would have been the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from Curacao. So it would have been Keres and Geller in any case.

Had Geller qualified from THIS tournament, that could have been interesting. The spot would have fallen to Fischer next. But he was already qualified. It would have fallen to Korchnoi next.

Mar-06-18  ughaibu: I don't get the negativity towards Smyslov, particularly as it seems to be fueled by nothing more than Korchnoi's habitual and nonsensical griping. Why not complain about Tal, too?

The fact is that Smyslov and Tal were the only ex-champions on the rosta, sending them, unobstructed, to the interzonal strikes me as quite natural. Certainly, I don't see how sending Tal, but not Smyslov, could be justified.

Apr-20-18  Everett: Well, there are rumors that Smyslov was favored by authorities in 1953. Those discussions go back a while here.

It seems that there were various favorites at different times. Mostly unsubstantiated it seems

Apr-21-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett....Everyplace else in the world was a joke.>

Even typical Soviet semifinals of those days were loaded with players of international standard.

Apr-21-18  Howard: A related point is that there were many promising Soviet players who were clearly world-calibre, but they rarely (if ever) qualified for the interzonal.

Why? Because qualifying from the super-strong Soviet zonal tournaments was just too tough. Many top-30 (in the world) Soviets had to sit on the sidelines time after time rather than take part in the WC cycle.

Apr-22-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: For a start, the winner of M Ruderfer vs Stein, 1972 was a strong master who played in multiple Soviet semifinal events, yet had no chance of winning the title; even such players as Lein and Shamkovich, formidable as they were, could fuhgeddaboutit.
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