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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
Riga Interzonal Tournament

Mikhail Tal14/17(+11 -0 =6)[games]
Lev Polugaevsky11.5/17(+8 -2 =7)[games]
Andras Adorjan11/17(+7 -2 =8)[games]
Zoltan Ribli11/17(+7 -2 =8)[games]
Florin Gheorghiu10.5/17(+7 -3 =7)[games]
Oleg Romanishin10.5/17(+7 -3 =7)[games]
Bent Larsen10/17(+7 -4 =6)[games]
Gennadi Kuzmin9/17(+5 -4 =8)[games]
Anthony Miles9/17(+7 -6 =4)[games]
Vitaly Tseshkovsky9/17(+5 -4 =8)[games]
James Tarjan8/17(+4 -5 =8)[games]
Yehuda Gruenfeld7.5/17(+4 -6 =7)[games]
Ljubomir Ljubojevic6.5/17(+3 -7 =7)[games]
Slim Bouaziz5.5/17(+3 -9 =5)[games]
Edmar J Mednis5.5/17(+2 -8 =7)[games]
Herman Claudius van Riemsdijk5.5/17(+2 -8 =7)[games]
Francisco Trois5/17(+2 -9 =6)[games]
Ruben Rodriguez4/17(+2 -11 =4)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Riga Interzonal (1979)

To determine a challenger for the World Champion Anatoly Karpov, it was necessary to qualify eight players for the Candidates quarterfinal knock-out matches that would conclude in 1980. Two players, Viktor Korchnoi and Boris Spassky, had already qualified by having reached the Korchnoi - Spassky Candidates Final (1977). The other six players would qualify from two interzonal tournaments: Riga (this page) and Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979). In Rio, Robert Huebner, Lajos Portisch and Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian qualified.

To play in the interzonals the players had to qualify from zonal tournaments. For the Riga interzonal, Miles had qualified from the Amsterdam (1978) zonal tournament. Grünfeld had qualified from Lucerne (1979), Tarjan and Mednis from the US Championship (1978), Rodriguez from Ito (1978), Adorjan, Ribli and Gheorghiu from Warsaw (1979), Ljubojevic and Bouaziz from Praia da Rocha (1978), Tseshkovsky, Romanishin and Kuzmin from Lvov (1978) and Trois and Riemsdijk from Tramandai (1978). (1) Larsen and Polugaevsky qualified from reaching the Candidates matches in 1977. (2) Mikhail Tal from the host country had a wild card, which had caused protests in Russia. (3)

Roman Hernandez was originally placed in the draw as no. 1, but on his failure to arrive his name was withdrawn and the draw was modified. Lubomir Kavalek had qualified from the USA zone, but due to an injury to a leg, while playing tennis as part of his physical preparation, he could not travel and his place was taken by Mednis. Vlastimil Hort withdrew at the last moment through sickness, and was replaced by Romanishin. (4)

Arbiters: Miroslav Filip (chief) and Lev Yakovlevich Abramov (deputy), assisted by Vladimir Dvorkovich (secretary), Vladas Mikenas, Zigfrid Rekshan, and Paul Podniyek. (4) The venue was a scene in the newly constructed "Rajnis-teatern" (5) (= Daile Theatre (6)). According to the drawing system, players from the same country could not meet the last six rounds. Tal met Tseshkovsky, Polugaevsky, Kuzmin, and Romanishin in the first four! After his draw offer in round one was refused, he defeated them in succession, (3) and in the end won an interzonal for the third time. "Perhaps because of a close professional and personal relationship with World Champion Anatoly Karpov, Tal's play has steadied and his results improved. According to the Soviet grandmaster and writer Alexander Kotov, Tal is now playing the best chess of his life". (7)

Riga, Soviet Union (Latvia), 5-29 September 1979

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts 1 GM Tal 2615 * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 14 2 GM Polugaevsky 2625 0 * ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 11½ =3 GM Adorjan 2525 ½ ½ * ½ 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 11 =3 GM Ribli 2595 ½ ½ ½ * 1 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 11 =5 GM Gheorghiu 2540 0 ½ 1 0 * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 0 1 10½ =5 GM Romanishin 2560 0 0 1 1 ½ * 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 10½ 7 GM Larsen 2620 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 * 0 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 10 =8 GM Kuzmin 2565 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 * 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 9 =8 GM Miles 2560 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 =8 GM Tseshkovsky 2560 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 * 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 9 11 GM Tarjan 2525 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 * 0 1 0 1 0 ½ 1 8 12 IM Grünfeld 2430 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 * 0 1 1 0 ½ 1 7½ 13 GM Ljubojevic 2590 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 * ½ ½ 1 1 0 6½ =14 IM Bouaziz 2420 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 1 0 ½ * 0 ½ 1 1 5½ =14 IM Mednis 2510 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 * ½ ½ 1 5½ =14 IM Riemsdijk 2435 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 1 0 ½ ½ * ½ 0 5½ 17 IM Trois 2415 0 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ 5 18 IM Rodriguez 2370 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 1 0 0 1 ½ * 4

Tal and Polugaevsky advanced to the Polugaevsky - Tal Candidates Quarterfinal (1980).

The shared third place had to be decided by a playoff, held a few weeks later. Condition: best of six games or first to get 3,5 points. If 3-3, the winner would be the one with better Sonneborn-Berger score in the interzonal (Adorjan). (8)

Playoff in Budapest 20 Oct. - 4 Nov. 1979:

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 GM Adorjan 2525 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 3 2 GM Ribli 2595 1 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 3

Adorjan thereby advanced to the Hübner - Adorjan Candidates Quarterfinal (1980). Playoff games: see Budapest Interzonal Playoff (1979).

Tournament books: Interzonal tournaments. Riga -79. Rio de Janeiro -79 by V. I. Chepizhny (Physical Culture and Sports, Moscow 1980. 415 p.) (in Russian, covers the playoff, not seen); Riga Interzonal 1979 by Anthony Miles and Jonathan Speelman (Batsford, London 1979. 80 p.) (with round dates).

Notes

1) Mark Weeks at http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/zon....
2) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 85 (1979), p. 11.
3) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 85, p. 237. The text says "in Soviet".
4) Miles' tournament book.
5) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 85, p. 240.
6) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped....
7) Shelby Lyman in Springfield Union, 7 October 1979, p. 111.
8) Harry Golombek in The Times, 17 November 1979, p. 13.

Original collections: Game Collection: Interzonals 1979: Riga by User: capybara and Game Collection: Riga Interzonal 1979 by User: Tabanus.

 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. H Van Riemsdijk vs Tarjan 1-0651979Riga InterzonalB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
2. F Trois vs Polugaevsky 0-1451979Riga InterzonalE15 Queen's Indian
3. Ljubojevic vs Larsen  ½-½191979Riga InterzonalB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
4. Miles vs R Rodriguez 1-0381979Riga InterzonalD85 Grunfeld
5. Gheorghiu vs Romanishin  ½-½241979Riga InterzonalE12 Queen's Indian
6. Tal vs Tseshkovsky 1-0421979Riga InterzonalB33 Sicilian
7. Ribli vs G Kuzmin  ½-½191979Riga InterzonalA16 English
8. Y Gruenfeld vs Adorjan  ½-½151979Riga InterzonalB33 Sicilian
9. Mednis vs S Bouaziz  1-0611979Riga InterzonalB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
10. Y Gruenfeld vs Ljubojevic 0-1371979Riga InterzonalB03 Alekhine's Defense
11. Tarjan vs Mednis 1-0381979Riga InterzonalB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
12. Romanishin vs F Trois  1-0461979Riga InterzonalA14 English
13. S Bouaziz vs Ribli  0-1341979Riga InterzonalB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
14. Tseshkovsky vs Miles  0-1341979Riga InterzonalB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
15. Adorjan vs R Rodriguez  ½-½181979Riga InterzonalA16 English
16. Larsen vs H Van Riemsdijk 1-0231979Riga InterzonalA00 Uncommon Opening
17. G Kuzmin vs Gheorghiu  0-1371979Riga InterzonalB99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line
18. Polugaevsky vs Tal 0-1281979Riga InterzonalA34 English, Symmetrical
19. Miles vs Polugaevsky 0-1771979Riga InterzonalE15 Queen's Indian
20. H Van Riemsdijk vs Y Gruenfeld  1-0401979Riga InterzonalB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
21. F Trois vs G Kuzmin  1-0411979Riga InterzonalE17 Queen's Indian
22. R Rodriguez vs Tseshkovsky  ½-½481979Riga InterzonalA71 Benoni, Classical, 8.Bg5
23. Ribli vs Tarjan  ½-½171979Riga InterzonalA34 English, Symmetrical
24. Mednis vs Larsen  0-1391979Riga InterzonalB11 Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4
25. Tal vs Romanishin 1-0381979Riga InterzonalC93 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense
 page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-18-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: This event marked the climax of Tal's third career high-water mark; pity he found himself quite unable to elude his bête noire Polugaevsky in the eventual first-round Candidates match.
Oct-19-14  Eggman: As I recall special pairings at this tournament ensured that no two players from the same country could meet in the second half of the event, thus forcing the Russian players to try hard against each other in the early going, instead of coasting to the finish line with GM draws. What kind of results might Tal have achieved if all tournaments had featured this format?
Oct-19-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The practice was enacted after Fischer's interview with Sports Illustrated regarding Curacao Candidates (1962), so Amsterdam Interzonal (1964) was the first in a world title series to feature this rule.
May-14-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I just thought of something weird.

Tal was really having a great patch around this time. If his health had remained solid he might have made it through to the Candidates Final. If that final was against Korchnoi, though, he wouldn't have got any further.

What I find weird is that in the next cycle Tal's great predecessor did exactly that, losing only to Kasparov in the final: Game Collection: 99999_Kasparov-Smyslov 1984 Candidates final.

Perhaps Botvinnik should have had a punt in 1987.

May-14-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Eggman: As I recall special pairings at this tournament ensured that no two players from the same country could meet in the second half of the event, thus forcing the Russian players to try hard against each other in the early going, instead of coasting to the finish line with GM draws...>

USSR players, but does it matter anyway? Tal scored 4-0 against his "fellow Russians".

May-14-17  Howard: Tal played all four of them in the first four rounds, if I'm not mistaken.

His win against Polugaevsky was especially memorable...but then when the two of them played each other in the first round of the Candidates, the result was a different story.

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