The 42nd Hastings Christmas Congress was held December 28, 1966 - January 6, 1967 in Hastings, England.
<The Gods Smiled on Botvinnik>
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts
1 Botvinnik * = = 1 1 1 1 0 = 1 6.5
2 Uhlmann = * 1 0 1 = = = = 1 5.5
3 Basman = 0 * 1 0 = 1 = 1 = 5.0
4 Kurajica 0 1 0 * = = 1 = = 1 5.0
5 Balashov 0 0 1 = * 1 0 1 1 = 5.0
6 Penrose 0 = = = 0 * 1 = = 1 4.5
7 Mecking 0 = 0 0 1 0 * 1 = 1 4.0
8 Keene 1 = = = 0 = 0 * = 0 3.5
9 Hartston = = 0 = 0 = = = * 0 3.0
10 Czerniak 0 0 = 0 = 0 0 1 1 * 3.0
by William Ritson-Morry
The Forty-second Hastings Christmas Congress disproved the old adage "Those whom the Gods love die young!" ex-World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, now fifty-five and looking very fit indeed, won what he himself described as his luckiest tournament after some escapes which would have astounded even Houdini.
History does not always repeat itself. In 1934-35 Sir George Thomas defied the tradition that British Champions always do badly at Hastings by beating Botvinnik, Capablanca, and Lilienthal to tie for first with Euwe and Flohr and put the young Russian among the "also-ran." This time both the present British Champion and the rapidly improving Michael Basman could have won or shared first prize had they taken their respective chances to beat Botvinnik. A great British triumph was averted by a hairs-breadth solely because of the Maestro's remarkable recuperative powers. The cold figures of the score table tell little of the excitement of the final rounds.
History was made in other directions. There was the new venue at the Falaise Hall in the White Rock Gardens just behind the White Rock Pavilion, where I attended the first of my twenty-nine Christmas Congresses in 1931. That was the first of seventeen at the Pavilion to be followed by twelve at the Sun Lounge, but I think it is fair to say that, on the whole, the accommodation this time was the best we have ever had. Certainly the floor was a trifle noisy and sound tended to be magnified owing to the structure of he hall, but there was not the lack of ventilation of the windowless room at the Pavilion nor inadequacy of the heating in the Sun Lounge in cold weather. There was, moreover, room enough to cater for the largest entry ever received (231).
At 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 28th, the Mayor extended his customary welcome to the competitors and called on the Brazilian Ambasador, Señor Jayme Sloan Chermont, formally to open the congress. The Mayor then made the draw for the first round of the Challengers' Tournament and the Ambassador made Botvinnik's first move. Play began just after 4 o'clock.
This year an impressive contingent of young players had been assembled. No less than six of the ten competitors in the Premier Section were twenty years old or less. H. Mecking, the Brazilian Champion, who created a sensation by his tie with Panno and J. Bolbochan in the South American Zonal Tourney, is only fourteen and the youngest player ever to participate in that section. Kurajica, the World Junior Champion, and Balashov, winner of last year's Challengers' Tourney, are but eighteen. Penrose seems almost a veteran with his thirty-two years by the side of Hartston and Keene (nineteen) and Basman (twenty)! The balance of experience and age was adjusted by the presence of grandmasters Botvinnik and Uhlmann and the Israeli master M. Czerniak. (1)
Two games in the 8th Round were played on Monday, January 2 instead of the original January 5 to enable Hartston and Keene to attend a reception at the Cuban Embassy on the Thursday. (2)
Prize money was as follows: 1st - £150; 2nd - £60; and 3rd-5th, £21 13s. 4d. (3)
Hastings (1967/68) was the next annual Christmas tournament.
(1) British Chess Magazine, February 1967, pp. 33-34.
(2) British Chess Magazine, February 1967, p. 39.
(3) British Chess Magazine, February 1967, p. 41.
Based on an original Collection by User: TheFocus.