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Paul Keres vs Yuri Averbakh
Zurich Candidates (1953), Zurich SUI, rd 2, Aug-31
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Normal Variation. Bernstein Defense (E58)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Given 15 times; par: 64 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: As it turns out, Chessbase also sources Bronstein's comments to Fischer:

<For years rumors persisted about why he lost. Some say Soviet authorities pressured him to lose in order to keep Botvinnik, a favorite of the Communist Party leadership, on the throne. Chess writer Lev Khariton described an interview with Luis Rentero, longtime organizer of the prestigious annual Linares chess tournament, in which Rentero tells how Bronstein consoled a young Bobby Fischer, who was teary-eyed after a loss to Boris Spassky in the 1960 Mar del Plata tournament. "Listen," Bronstein said to the future world champion. "They forced me to lose an entire match to Botvinnik, and I didn't cry."

In an interview in the journal Chess in Russia, Bronstein initially denied having said it, but eventually conceded that he may have uttered something of that nature. "Too much time has passed," he said. Though Bronstein went on to have a successful career, winning many Soviet and international tournaments, he will likely be remembered more for what he didn't accomplish rather than what he did.>

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail...

That's followed by discussion about the likely truth of the above, with Raymond Keene weighing in against the proposition. Anyway, the whole article is worth reading.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <GravityWave: <There is little difference between you and the old mexican woman finding the visage of christ in her grilled tortilla. >> What a catchy analogy! Thanks!! :D
Sep-09-10  I play the Fred: <"Listen," Bronstein said to the future world champion. "They forced me to lose an entire match to Botvinnik, and I didn't cry.">

If I wantd to console some chessplaying kid who had just lost a tough game and who was known as a fanatical anti-communist, this might just do the trick.

Bronstein may have been sincere when he told Fischer that, or he may have just said it to get him to cheer up.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark:

Was Fischer a fanatical anti-communist when he was 15? I thought that came later...remember he visited Moscow about this time.

Sep-09-10  I play the Fred: <Was Fischer a fanatical anti-communist when he was 15? I thought that came later...remember he visited Moscow about this time.> <in which Rentero tells how Bronstein consoled a young Bobby Fischer, who was teary-eyed after a loss to Boris Spassky in the 1960 Mar del Plata tournament.>

Fischer was 17 in 1960.

Two years earlier, he didn't care for the treatment he got when he visited the USSR as their guest.

And his mother was a communist sympathizer.

Chances are pretty good that by 1960 he was already making rather pointed remarks against communism.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: Maybe...and maybe not. I thought Curacao 1962 and the alleged Soviet collusion set Fischer off. In any case, the issue was whether Bronstein succumbed to the pressure not to win.

The most convincing argument against seems to be Keene's about the nature of the game Bronstein supposed threw. It's a good argument, but against that are the comments attributed to Bronstein, and his own ambivalence about outright refuting that he ever made such comments or succumbed to the pressure he was under.

Sep-09-10  I play the Fred: <In any case, the issue was whether Bronstein succumbed to the pressure not to win.>

Well, what I responded to initially was the Trotsky question. As for the 1951 match, Bronstein most definitely left the waters murky with varying answers to the question, none of which seemed to confirm or deny that he played the match "on the level".

The most likely scenario to my mind was that Bronstein was playing to win but never felt fully free to properly compete, at least on a subconscious level. Such a condition would be hard to explain to people, which explains all the different answers Bronstein gave over the years.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <Was Fischer a fanatical anti-communist when he was 15? I thought that came later...remember he visited Moscow about this time.>

He didn't become one until afer that trip. They gave him a free trip to Moscow, but didn't let him play Botvinnik, so naturally he was furious (sarcasm mode).

But I still don't believe Bronstein said it. Not only because the statement is factually wrong (he didn't lose the match), but there's no way a guy living in a totalitarian state is going to badmouth his superiors to some loudmouth kid.

Sep-09-10  jussu: <Petrosianic>, 1960 was not Stalin era anymore; I think Bronstein may have said something like this even in public and reasonably expect to get away with it.
Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <In any case, the issue was whether Bronstein succumbed to the pressure not to win.>

With respect, I think the issue was whether the pressure existed anywhere other than Bronstein's mind, years after the fact. One of his best pals in 1951 was a colonel in the Russian secret police. Botvinnik was not the only connected chessplayer in the USSR.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: <1960 was not Stalin era anymore;>

He may not have feared for his life, but they could still make things very uncomforable. The most likely "punishment" for a comment like that would have been a revocation of the right to play in international tournaments. It beats a trip to the gulag to be sure, but still doesn't seem worth trusting your career to a 15 year old kid.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Petrosianic: Actually, the same principle would apply here. The state was Bronstein's "boss". The ones who paid his salary. Even if you think your boss is a crook, who's going to tell that to a 15 year old kid, who might blab it goodness knows where?
Sep-09-10  jussu: I think it takes just a slight burst of emotion to get over such considerations and simply shoot out what you think. Also, the 15-year-olds I have known would keep their mouths shut if asked to.

Finally, I am much too young to know about it myself, but maybe in 1960 it wasn't such a bad idea to accuse Stalin's regime for its deeds. There were twists in the history of USSR, and Stalin was not considered a bright chapter in the history rather soon after his death.

Sep-09-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <I play the Fred> <The most likely scenario to my mind was that Bronstein was playing to win but never felt fully free to properly compete, at least on a subconscious level. Such a condition would be hard to explain to people, which explains all the different answers Bronstein gave over the years.>

Might not be the truth as that's now beyond reach, but it does have the appeal of being a best fit explanation. The merest intimation from a source connected to the top that his winning might not be welcome might have put him off his game.

Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <twinlark: <I play the Fred> <The most likely scenario to my mind was that Bronstein was playing to win but never felt fully free to properly compete, at least on a subconscious level. Such a condition would be hard to explain to people, which explains all the different answers Bronstein gave over the years.>

Might not be the truth as that's now beyond reach, but it does have the appeal of being a best fit explanation. The merest intimation from a source connected to the top that his winning might not be welcome might have put him off his game.>

Best fit explanation was that he was talking @#$%, to use a technical term.

Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: <maybe in 1960 it wasn't such a bad idea to accuse Stalin's regime for its deeds. There were twists in the history of USSR, and Stalin was not considered a bright chapter in the history rather soon after his death.>

Of course. This was the period of "de-stalinization" at its height. Denouncing Stalin and his real or alleged crimes was the "politically correct" thing to do.

Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Well, not necessarily as it was politically still the same commie-country ruled by 'dictatorship of the proletariat'.
Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: No, there was a big difference politically. The USSR started to change direction entirely after Stalin's death.

As for <dictatorship of the proletariat>, even that was officially abolished in favour of the <state of the whole people>, something quite different.

Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Really? The second-rate apparatchik and and third ranked bureaucrats remained. No? I think history showed some examples of long reverberations of authoritarian governments. Whatever. I think Bronstein's decision secured him a ongoing good chess-/live within USSR.
Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Many people remained in "high places" after the transition to capitalism -- doesn't mean the Soviet Union and Yeltsin's (or Putin's or Medvedev's) Russia are anywhere close to the same politically. And after 1917, the revolutionary state had to largely rely on former Tsarist bureaucrats simply because of the lack of other competent people in a turbulent time.

I think the Soviet Union underwent a very substantial change soon after Stalin's death, maybe bigger in essence than that in China after Mao's.

Doesn't necessarily have much bearing on Bronstein's situation, no.

Sep-10-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Doesn't necessarily have much bearing on Bronstein's situation, no.> Noteworthy, that we finally agree at least on this. :D
Nov-30-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < Petrosianic: <1960 was not Stalin era anymore;> ....The most likely "punishment" for a comment like that would have been a revocation of the right to play in international tournaments....>

Examples of such punishment: Korchnoi was invited to the first Piatigorsky Cup, but forced to decline. Then there was Bronstein himself, of course, for failing to sign the condemnatory letter against Korchnoi.

Jun-22-13  phil6875: On Averbakh's strength: according to chessmetrics' monthly ratings for August 1953 Keres was No.10 Averbakh was No. 25. Everybody taking part in this tournament was Top 16, except Averbakh.
Jan-04-16  cwcarlson: 29...Ba6!? allows 30.Re1 f6 31.Rg8+ Kf7 32.Ree8. Better was 29...Bc8 30.Rh4 Be6.
Jan-04-16  cwcarlson: 31.Bd3 h3 32.gh Rh3 is hopeless. 31.Rg8+ Ke7 32.Ra8 might have held.
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