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Budapest Interzonal Playoff 1979
Compiled by Tabanus
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Three players from the Rio de Janeiro Interzonal (1979) and three from the Riga Interzonal (1979) would advance to the Candidates quarterfinal matches in March 1980. In Riga, Mikhail Tal and Lev Polugaevsky advanced, but the shared 3rd place between Adorjan and Ribli had to be decided by a playoff. This took place in Budapest, three weeks after the Interzonal. The condition was best of 6 games, or first to get 3,5 points. If tied at 3-3 the winner would be the one with better Sonneborn-Berger score in the Interzonal (Adorjan). (1, 2)

Adorjan (28), Ribli (27) and Gyula Sax (27) lived within the same square kilometre in Budapest. (3) Before the match, Adorjan had defeated Ribli 2 to 0, with 10 draws. (4) Adorjan was "troubled with illness and interruptions" during the Interzonal (5) and the doctor there had permitted him a 14-day extension before meeting Ribli. (6) The experts gave Ribli the better chances, (7) and he was higher rated with 70 more Elo points. (8) The players were each entitled to two postponements during the match. (2) In Game 1, the position was even until Adorjan faltered in the double rook endgame just before the time control. Game 2 was a boring Symmetrical English. Adorjan could have played on, but offered the draw on move 15. In Game 3, he lost his isolated queen pawn on move 19. He had to play a rook ending a pawn down, until he resigned. When Ribli was leading by 2 points after the third game, everybody expected him to win the match. (7) Adorjan now postponed Game 4 until 29 October. (2) According to Bent Larsen, it was just his favorite postponement trick. (9) Or Larsen was unfavorable: Adorjan vs Larsen, 1979 had ruined his chance to run for the throne. Game 4 reached this position:


click for larger view

18.Bh6! Bf6 19.gxh7+ Kxh7 20.Bxg7 Bxg7 21.h6 Bf6 22.Qg2! 1-0. The diagrammed position and its variants was later published in many books and websites as an example of how to conduct such an attack, and how to avoid it. The game was a moral blow to Ribli. (2) But Adorjan still needed to win. He complicated matters in Game 5 with the King's Indian Defense (Panno Variation). Ribli could not find the right moves; Adorjan sacrificed the exchange to get a pawn and a dominant position on the queenside. Faced with two connected pawns, Ribli gave up on move 41. And now it was he who had to win! And with the black pieces. Ribli requested two days postponement before Game 6. (10) But it was not his day either. As time ran out with only two minutes to perform 16 moves, he offered the draw. (2) Adorjan naturally accepted.

Budapest, Hungary, 20 Oct - 4 Nov 1979

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

Adorjan advanced to the Candidates matches:

Hbner - Adorjan Candidates Quarterfinal (1980) Polugaevsky - Tal Candidates Quarterfinal (1980) Portisch - Spassky Candidates Quarterfinal (1980) Korchnoi - Petrosian Candidates Quarterfinal (1980)

Further reading: Interzonal tournaments. Riga -79. Rio de Janeiro -79 by Viktor Ivanovich Chepizhny (Physical Culture and Sports, Moscow 1980. 415 pp.) (in Russian; covers the playoff).

1) Harry Golombek in The Times 17 November 1979 p. 13.

2) Laszlo Szabo in Jaque 97, p. 38 (http://www.bartelski.pl/olimpbase/l...).

3) Tidskrift fr Schack, October 1979, p. 238 (http://www.schack.se/tfsarkiv/histo...).

4) Statistics by Chessgames.com. They have probably played some more games.

5) Tidskrift fr Schack, October 1979, p. 237.

6) Evening Star (Washington) 11 Nov 1979 p. 62 (E-12).

7) j Sz 16 November 1979 p. 7.

8) FIDE Rating List January 1979 (http://www.olimpbase.org/Elo/Elo197...).

9) Tidskrift fr Schack, November 1979, p. 273.

10) De Waarheid 5 November 1979 p. 6.

Original collection: Game Collection: Budapest Interzonal Playoff 1979 by User: Tabanus. Game dates are from ChessBase (from User: Chessical). The dates of Games 1 and 4 are same as in Jaque 97 p. 38, and Game 6 date is same as in j Sz 6 Nov 1979 p. 7.

Game 1 Oct 20
Ribli vs Adorjan, 1979
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 43 moves, 1-0

Game 2 Oct 22
Adorjan vs Ribli, 1979
(A36) English, 15 moves, 1/2-1/2

Game 3 Oct 24
Ribli vs Adorjan, 1979 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 62 moves, 1-0

Game 4 Oct 29
Adorjan vs Ribli, 1979 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 22 moves, 1-0

Game 5 Oct 31
Ribli vs Adorjan, 1979
(E63) King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation, 41 moves, 0-1

Game 6 Nov 4
Adorjan vs Ribli, 1979
(A26) English, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

6 games

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