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USSR Championship 1977
Compiled by Phony Benoni
--*--

The 45th USSR Championship was held at Leningrad, November 28 - December 22, 1977. The following players finished up just in time to spend Christmas with their families:

Lev Alburt; Vladimir Bagirov; Yuri Balashov; Josif D Dorfman; Efim Geller; Karen Ashotovich Grigorian; Boris Gulko; Alexander Kochyev; Gennadi Kuzmin; Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian; Lev Polugaevsky; Oleg Romanishin; Vasily Smyslov; Evgeni Ellinovich Sveshnikov; Mikhail Tal; Vladimir Borisovich Tukmakov.

Well, maybe it wasn't Christmas, but it was a time of peace as two-thirds of the games were drawn, a USSR Championship record. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Petrosian found his way to the lead. However, a loss in round 8 allowed Gulko to first catch him, then take the lead with a win over Smyslov in round 9. At this point both players went into draw mode, spliting point after point.

That set up a last-round showdown between the leaders, reminiscent of the situation in 1975 where Petrosian defeated tournament leader Gulko in the penultimate round. However, Boris kept his head (helped by having White this time around) and drew to keep his lead over Petrosian.

But not over everybody else. The slow pace allowed Dorfman to come back and tie for first with a last round win over Smyslov. Meanwhile, Polugaevsky and Tal fought for a chance to catch Petrosian for third place, and this time the older man prevailed.

1 Gulko * = = = = = = = 1 = 1 = 1 1 = = 9.5 2 Dorfman = * = = = = = = 1 = = = 1 = 1 1 9.5 3 Polugaevsky = = * = = 1 1 = 1 = 1 = = = 0 = 9.0 4 Petrosian = = = * = = = 0 1 = 1 = = = 1 1 9.0 5 Geller = = = = * = = = = = = = = = 1 = 8.0 6 Tal = = 0 = = * = 1 = 1 0 = 0 1 1 = 8.0 7 Bagirov = = 0 = = = * = = = = = = = 1 1 8.0 8 Kuzmin = = = 1 = 0 = * = = = 1 = 0 = = 7.5 9 Romanishin 0 0 0 0 = = = = * = 1 1 = 1 1 = 7.5 10 Sveshnikov = = = = = 0 = = = * = = = 0 = 1 7.0 11 Balashov 0 = 0 0 = 1 = = 0 = * 1 = = = 1 7.0 12 Kochyev = = = = = = = 0 0 = 0 * 1 = = = 6.5 13 Smyslov 0 0 = = = 1 = = = = = 0 * 1 0 = 6.5 14 Tukmakov 0 = = = = 0 = 1 0 1 = = 0 * = = 6.5 15 Grigorian = 0 1 0 0 0 0 = 0 = = = 1 = * = 5.5 16 Alburt = 0 = 0 = = 0 = = 0 0 = = = = * 5.0

Gulko and Dorfman then drew a six game play-off match *Game Collection: Gulko - Dorfman Play-off Match, 1978)m so everybody just called it a day and let them reign as co-champions.

Round 1, Game #1
Dorfman vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(B51) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1, Game #2
K Grigorian vs Smyslov, 1977
(E38) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5, 40 moves, 1-0

Round 1, Game #3
G Kuzmin vs A Kochyev, 1977
(B45) Sicilian, Taimanov, 38 moves, 1-0

Round 1, Game #4
Bagirov vs Balashov, 1977
(E18) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3, 23 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1, Game #5
Sveshnikov vs Romanishin, 1977
(B06) Robatsch, 38 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1, Game #6
Petrosian vs Alburt, 1977 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 37 moves, 1-0

Round 1, Game #7
V Tukmakov vs Gulko, 1977
(E15) Queen's Indian, 41 moves, 0-1

Round 1, Game #8
Tal vs Geller, 1977
(C93) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Smyslov Defense, 37 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #9
Polugaevsky vs Geller, 1977
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 17 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #10
Gulko vs Tal, 1977
(A17) English, 18 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #11
Alburt vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(D85) Grunfeld, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #12
Romanishin vs Petrosian, 1977
(A15) English, 40 moves, 0-1

Round 2, Game #13
Balashov vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(B21) Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #14
A Kochyev vs Bagirov, 1977
(A13) English, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #15
Smyslov vs G Kuzmin, 1977 
(B33) Sicilian, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2, Game #16
Dorfman vs K Grigorian, 1977
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 22 moves, 1-0

Round 3, Game #17 [Incorrect tournament]
K Grigorian vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(A21) English, 40 moves, 1-0

Round 3, Game #18
G Kuzmin vs Dorfman, 1977
(E55) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3, Game #19
Bagirov vs Smyslov, 1977
(E15) Queen's Indian, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3, Game #20
Sveshnikov vs A Kochyev, 1977
(C42) Petrov Defense, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3, Game #21
Petrosian vs Balashov, 1977 
(A17) English, 51 moves, 1-0

Round 3, Game #22
V Tukmakov vs Romanishin, 1977
(E15) Queen's Indian, 41 moves, 0-1

Round 3, Game #23
Tal vs Alburt, 1977
(A34) English, Symmetrical, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3, Game #24
Geller vs Gulko, 1977
(C09) French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #25
Polugaevsky vs Gulko, 1977
(A04) Reti Opening, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #26
Alburt vs Geller, 1977
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #27
Romanishin vs Tal, 1977 
(A14) English, 38 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #28
Balashov vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(C82) Ruy Lopez, Open, 63 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #29
A Kochyev vs Petrosian, 1977
(D27) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 13 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #30
Smyslov vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(B33) Sicilian, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #31
Dorfman vs Bagirov, 1977
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4, Game #32
K Grigorian vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(E34) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation, 14 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #33
G Kuzmin vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #34
Bagirov vs K Grigorian, 1977
(E10) Queen's Pawn Game, 59 moves, 1-0

Round 5, Game #35
Sveshnikov vs Dorfman, 1977
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #36
Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1977
(E19) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3, 23 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #37
V Tukmakov vs A Kochyev, 1977
(E18) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3, 18 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #38
Tal vs Balashov, 1977
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 42 moves, 0-1

Round 5, Game #39
Geller vs Romanishin, 1977
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 5, Game #40
Gulko vs Alburt, 1977
(A32) English, Symmetrical Variation, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #41
Polugaevsky vs Alburt, 1977
(A15) English, 38 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #42 [Best Game Prize]
Romanishin vs Gulko, 1977 
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 44 moves, 0-1

Round 6, Game #43
Balashov vs Geller, 1977
(B33) Sicilian, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #44
A Kochyev vs Tal, 1977
(A04) Reti Opening, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #45
Smyslov vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(B92) Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 6, Game #46
Dorfman vs Petrosian, 1977
(E11) Bogo-Indian Defense, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #47
K Grigorian vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(A13) English, 35 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 6, Game #48
G Kuzmin vs Bagirov, 1977
(B10) Caro-Kann, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7, Game #49
Bagirov vs Polugaevsky, 1977 
(A33) English, Symmetrical, 38 moves, 0-1

Round 7, Game #50
Sveshnikov vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(C56) Two Knights, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7, Game #51
Petrosian vs K Grigorian, 1977
(D83) Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit, 36 moves, 1-0

Round 7, Game #52
V Tukmakov vs Dorfman, 1977
(E18) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7, Game #53
Tal vs Smyslov, 1977 
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 40 moves, 0-1

Round 7, Game #54
Geller vs A Kochyev, 1977
(D79) Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O, Main line, 14 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 7, Game #55
Gulko vs Balashov, 1977
(E17) Queen's Indian, 88 moves, 1-0

Round 7, Game #56
Alburt vs Romanishin, 1977
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8, Game #57
Polugaevsky vs Romanishin, 1977
(A04) Reti Opening, 62 moves, 1-0

Round 8, Game #58
Balashov vs Alburt, 1977 
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 29 moves, 1-0

Round 8, Game #59
A Kochyev vs Gulko, 1977
(A15) English, 31 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8, Game #60
Smyslov vs Geller, 1977
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8, Game #61
Dorfman vs Tal, 1977
(A43) Old Benoni, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8, Game #62
K Grigorian vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(A34) English, Symmetrical, 52 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 8, Game #63
G Kuzmin vs Petrosian, 1977 
(C10) French, 61 moves, 1-0

Round 8, Game #64
Bagirov vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 66 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9, Game #65
Sveshnikov vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 18 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9, Game #66
Petrosian vs Bagirov, 1977
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9, Game #67
V Tukmakov vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(E19) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3, 42 moves, 1-0

Round 9, Game #68
Tal vs K Grigorian, 1977
(E96) King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, Main line, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 9, Game #69
Geller vs Dorfman, 1977
(C96) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9, Game #70
Gulko vs Smyslov, 1977
(A25) English, 35 moves, 1-0

Round 9, Game #71
Alburt vs A Kochyev, 1977
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 9, Game #72
Romanishin vs Balashov, 1977 
(B07) Pirc, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 10, Game #73
Polugaevsky vs Balashov, 1977 
(A27) English, Three Knights System, 87 moves, 1-0

Round 10, Game #74
A Kochyev vs Romanishin, 1977
(A13) English, 46 moves, 0-1

Round 10, Game #75
Smyslov vs Alburt, 1977
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 10, Game #76
Dorfman vs Gulko, 1977
(E19) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 10, Game #77
K Grigorian vs Geller, 1977
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 24 moves, 0-1

Round 10, Game #78
G Kuzmin vs Tal, 1977
(B80) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 25 moves, 0-1

Round 10, Game #79
Bagirov vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(D94) Grunfeld, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 10, Game #80
Sveshnikov vs Petrosian, 1977
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 19 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #81
Petrosian vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #82
V Tukmakov vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 56 moves, 1-0

Round 11, Game #83
Tal vs Bagirov, 1977 
(B05) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #84
Geller vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #85
Gulko vs K Grigorian, 1977
(D40) Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 37 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #86 [Prize for Best Attack]
Alburt vs Dorfman, 1977 
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 34 moves, 0-1

Round 11, Game #87
Romanishin vs Smyslov, 1977
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 73 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11, Game #88
Balashov vs A Kochyev, 1977
(C42) Petrov Defense, 58 moves, 1-0

Round 12, Game #89
Polugaevsky vs A Kochyev, 1977
(E96) King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, Main line, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12, Game #90
Smyslov vs Balashov, 1977
(E61) King's Indian, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12, Game #91
Dorfman vs Romanishin, 1977
(C95) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer, 55 moves, 1-0

Round 12, Game #92
K Grigorian vs Alburt, 1977
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12, Game #93
G Kuzmin vs Gulko, 1977
(C09) French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line, 19 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12, Game #94
Bagirov vs Geller, 1977
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12, Game #95
Sveshnikov vs Tal, 1977 
(B14) Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack, 49 moves, 0-1

Round 12, Game #96
Petrosian vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(A48) King's Indian, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #97
V Tukmakov vs Polugaevsky, 1977
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 62 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #98
Tal vs Petrosian, 1977 
(C16) French, Winawer, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #99
Geller vs Sveshnikov, 1977
(B33) Sicilian, 68 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #100
Gulko vs Bagirov, 1977
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 18 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #101
Alburt vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(E06) Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3, 63 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #102
Romanishin vs K Grigorian, 1977
(A14) English, 28 moves, 1-0

Round 13, Game #103
Balashov vs Dorfman, 1977
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13, Game #104
A Kochyev vs Smyslov, 1977 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 40 moves, 1-0

Round 14, Game #105
Polugaevsky vs Smyslov, 1977
(E19) Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3, 51 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #106
Dorfman vs A Kochyev, 1977
(E96) King's Indian, Orthodox, 7...Nbd7, Main line, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #107
K Grigorian vs Balashov, 1977
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #108
G Kuzmin vs Romanishin, 1977
(C77) Ruy Lopez, 16 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #109
Bagirov vs Alburt, 1977
(A57) Benko Gambit, 60 moves, 1-0

Round 14, Game #110
Sveshnikov vs Gulko, 1977
(C18) French, Winawer, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #111
Petrosian vs Geller, 1977
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 19 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 14, Game #112
V Tukmakov vs Tal, 1977 
(A34) English, Symmetrical, 25 moves, 0-1

Round 15, Game #113
Tal vs Polugaevsky, 1977 
(A13) English, 51 moves, 0-1

Round 15, Game #114
Geller vs V Tukmakov, 1977
(B92) Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 15, Game #115
Gulko vs Petrosian, 1977
(B06) Robatsch, 31 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 15, Game #116
Alburt vs Sveshnikov, 1977 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 62 moves, 0-1

Round 15, Game #117
Romanishin vs Bagirov, 1977
(D12) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 15, Game #118
Balashov vs G Kuzmin, 1977
(E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 15, Game #119
A Kochyev vs K Grigorian, 1977
(A04) Reti Opening, 57 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 15, Game #120
Smyslov vs Dorfman, 1977
(C99) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, 12...cd, 87 moves, 0-1

120 games

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