The 29th Hastings Christmas Chess Festival was held at the end of the year 1953. After resuming annual tournaments in 1945 following World War II, the chess club at 7 Carlisle Parade had struggled to keep the event ongoing without many foreign participants to make the contests more engaging to the public. This edition of the premier tournament saw an opportunity that would shape the course of the event for the remainder of the 1950s. The Soviet Chess Federation, in the interest of displaying their dominant grandmasters to the West, sent as emissaries David Bronstein and Alexander Tolush to participate in the festival. They were met by four time Hastings winner Dr. Savielly Tartakower, and Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, who had won the 22nd edition of the Hastings event and been a code-breaker for the Allies during WWII. The remaining seats were filled by International masters Aleksander Matanovic, Alberic O'Kelly de Galway, and Robert Wade; Fridik Olafsson, who had placed third in the 1953 World Junior Championship; Rudolf Teschner, the editor of "Deutsche Schachzeitung" and West German champion of 1951; and a previous Hastings participant, Dennis Horne. The time control for the event was 34 moves in two hours followed by 17 moves every hour. Alexander won his second Hastings festival with 6½/9, sharing first with world vice-champion Bronstein. Despite Bronstein's shared first, his and Tolush's losses to Alexander, as well as their inability to sweep the field, were considered an embarrassment by the Soviet Chess Federation. They would retaliate the following year by sending Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres to Hastings to accomplish what Bronstein and Tolush had failed to do. Nevertheless, the new invitations to Soviet grandmasters was a success and the Hastings Christmas festivals continued with new vigor throughout the 1950s.
The final standings and crosstable:
Hastings (1952/53) was the previous annual event of the city.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
=1st Alexander * 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 6½
=1st Bronstein 0 * 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 6½
3rd O'Kelly 0 0 * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 5½
=4th Olafsson ½ 0 ½ * ½ 0 1 1 1 0 4½
=4th Matanovic ½ ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 4½
=4th Tolush 0 ½ 0 1 0 * 1 1 0 1 4½
=4th Teschner ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 * 1 1 1 4½
8th Tartakower ½ 0 0 0 1 0 0 * 1 1 3½
9th Wade ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 * ½ 3
10th Horne 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 0 0 ½ * 2
As usual, the credit for much of the historical content goes to Jan van Reek and his amazing website.
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45
|1. Teschner vs D Horne
|| ||1-0||61||1953||Hastings 1953/54||D38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation|
|2. Bronstein vs Wade
|| ||½-½||22||1953||Hastings 1953/54||D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav|
|3. F Olafsson vs Tolush
||0-1||33||1953||Hastings 1953/54||B68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7|
|4. A Matanovic vs Tartakower
|| ||0-1||32||1953||Hastings 1953/54||B10 Caro-Kann|
|5. C H Alexander vs O'Kelly
||1-0||40||1953||Hastings 1953/54||C02 French, Advance|
|6. D Horne vs A Matanovic
||0-1||32||1953||Hastings 1953/54||B09 Pirc, Austrian Attack|
|7. Wade vs Teschner
|| ||0-1||50||1953||Hastings 1953/54||C24 Bishop's Opening|
|8. Tartakower vs C H Alexander
|| ||½-½||44||1953||Hastings 1953/54||A89 Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6|
|9. O'Kelly vs F Olafsson
|| ||½-½||48||1953||Hastings 1953/54||E69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line|
|10. Tolush vs Bronstein
|| ||½-½||21||1953||Hastings 1953/54||E36 Nimzo-Indian, Classical|
|11. Teschner vs A Matanovic
|| ||½-½||75||1954||Hastings 1953/54||E14 Queen's Indian|
|12. Bronstein vs O'Kelly
||1-0||70||1954||Hastings 1953/54||C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical|
|13. F Olafsson vs Tartakower
|| ||1-0||70||1954||Hastings 1953/54||D19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch|
|14. C H Alexander vs D Horne
|| ||1-0||25||1954||Hastings 1953/54||C73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense|
|15. Wade vs Tolush
||1-0||31||1954||Hastings 1953/54||E38 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5|
|16. Tartakower vs Bronstein
||0-1||64||1954||Hastings 1953/54||B50 Sicilian|
|17. O'Kelly vs Wade
|| ||1-0||30||1954||Hastings 1953/54||D50 Queen's Gambit Declined|
|18. D Horne vs F Olafsson
||1-0||32||1954||Hastings 1953/54||C35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham|
|19. A Matanovic vs C H Alexander
|| ||½-½||22||1954||Hastings 1953/54||C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical|
|20. Tolush vs Teschner
|| ||1-0||31||1954||Hastings 1953/54||D40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch|
|21. Tolush vs O'Kelly
|| ||0-1||68||1954||Hastings 1953/54||E59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line|
|22. Teschner vs C H Alexander
|| ||½-½||39||1954||Hastings 1953/54||C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical|
|23. F Olafsson vs A Matanovic
|| ||½-½||40||1954||Hastings 1953/54||E15 Queen's Indian|
|24. Wade vs Tartakower
|| ||0-1||24||1954||Hastings 1953/54||D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav|
|25. Bronstein vs D Horne
||1-0||31||1954||Hastings 1953/54||E50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5|
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45
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|Nov-22-15|| ||zydeco: Interesting historical footnote to the tournament, from this book - https://books.google.com/books?id=c...|
The Soviet cultural attache in England was Sergei Kondrashev, who was really a spy for the KGB and assigned to handle Soviet mole, George Blake. Blake had just scored his greatest coup - he had minutes to a meeting documenting a daring Anglo-American plan to build a tunnel under Berlin and tap into Eastern Bloc communciations cables. Kondrashev had to escort the Soviet delegation (Bronstein, Tolush, Alatortsev) to the airport at the end of the tournament, then "spent some hours ensuring he was not under surveillance" before he met Blake on a double-decker bus and received his copy of the minutes.
I have the feeling that Tolush's failure at Hastings was pretty much the end of his career. He had twice finished in the top four in the USSR Championship finals, won Bucharest 1953 ahead of Smyslov, Szabo, Petrosian, and Boleslavsky, and was a newly-minuted grandmaster, but failure (shared fourth) at a tournament in a capitalist country was just too embarrassing. He was never again sent to an international tournament.
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