World Junior Champion (1953), Champion of Argentina (1953, 1975 (with Miguel Najdorf) & 1983); Pan-American Champion (1958); Champion of South America (1954, 1957, 1966 and 1969); Candidate (1956)
Oscar Roberto Panno was born in Buenos Aires and is a civil engineer by trade. He was the first locally born superstar of South American chess.
He won the IM title in 1954 and the GM title in 1955.
In 1953, Panno won both the World Junior Championship and the championship of Argentina. The following year in 1954, he won the South American Championship (staged in Mar del Plata), which also doubled as the Zonal Tournament for the continent in that year, thereby qualifying for the Gothenburg Interzonal (1955). At Gothenberg he placed third behind David Bronstein and Paul Keres, qualifying for the Amsterdam Candidates (1956) where he started strongly, co-leading for the first few rounds but eventually placing =8th. He also contested the Portoroz Interzonal (1958), Palma de Mallorca Interzonal (1970), Petropolis Interzonal (1973) and Manila Interzonal (1976).
In 1958, he won the Pan-American championship (aka the Tournament of the Americas) that was staged in Bogotá and won three subsequent championships of South America in Rio de Janeiro in 1957, Rio Hondo, 1966 (jointly, again doubling as a Zonal) and again at Mar del Plata, 1969 (again jointly).
Panno was a primarily a player for team events and championships especially in his early years, although he does have some notable tournament successes. One of his earliest major wins, if not the earliest, was his 12/17 result at Buenos Aires in 1952 when he was still 16 years old. While there are games missing from the record of this event, they appear to be missing in respect of players who were out of the running for first place. The following year, he won the World Junior Championship and the Argentine Championship (see above).
During the decade from 1958 to 1968, Panno actively pursued his civil engineering career and only played rarely, and not at all between 1958 and 1962. Between 1962 and 1968 he kept his eye in by playing in the occasional tournament with some success, the Club Argentino in 1963 (2nd with 8/11), the Buenos Aires YMCA event in 1963 (1st with 5.5/7), the Punta del Este event in 1964, Mar del Plata in 1965 (=4th with 9.5/13 behind Najdorf, Leonid Stein and Yuri Averbakh), and Buenos Aires 1965 (=2nd behind Najdorf with 8/11)
Upon returning to a fuller schedule, he won several strong tournaments, Buenos Aires 1968 (+8, =2, -1) ahead of Najdorf; Palma de Mallorca (1971) (+7, =8) in his finest achievement since Gothenburg in 1955, winning ahead of a stellar cast of Grandmasters including co-leader Ljubomir Ljubojevic, and Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, Ulf Andersson, Bent Larsen, Pal Benko and Raymond Keene. He had other good results including =3rd at the Buenos Aires Open in 1968, 3rd with 11/17 at the famous Buenos Aires (1970) behind Robert James Fischer 's incredible 15/17 win and Vladimir Borisovich Tukmakov 's distant runner up placement with 11.5/17. Other successes included first on tiebreak at Caracas in 1970 ahead of co-leaders Stein and Lubomir Kavalek, and runners-up Anatoly Karpov and Pal Benko. There was also an excellent =2nd behind Lev Polugaevsky at Mar del Plata in 1971, a 2nd placement at the Villa Gesell open in 1971 and a stunning win at Palma de Mallorca (1972) (+6, =8, -1) ahead of the likes of Lev Polugaevsky and Viktor Korchnoi.
Other good results in the 1970s included equal second behind Benko at Sao Paulo in 1973, equal third at Las Palmas in 1973, equal second at Lone Pine in 1976 behind Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, a runaway first at Bogota in 1976, second at Buenos Aires in 1977, equal second at Biel in 1977, equal second at Buenos Aires in 1978 and in 1983. After 1980, his results declined with age but Panno remained active into the 21st century, last playing in a FIDE-rated event at the Bobby Fischer Memorial tournament held in Vicente Lopez in Argentina in March 2008; in that event he remained undefeated (aged 73) winning one and drawing nine games finishing equal third with 5/9, half a point behind Diego Valerga and Mauricio Flores Rios.
In 1958, Panno was on top board for Argentina at the World Student Championships. He led his team to place second in the qualifying group to contest the Finals where he scored 5.5/10 (+3 -2 =5) and his team placed 7th.
He represented his country eleven times at the Olympiads of 1954, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1986, 1988 and finally in 1992. His medal tally for these events was a team silver (behind the Soviet Union) in 1954, team bronzes in 1958 and 1962 (behind the USSR and Yugoslavia on both occasions), individual bronze for board 2 in 1958 and individual gold for board 2 in 1966. In total at these Olympiads, Panno played 151 games (+51 -13 =87) for an overall percentage of 62.6%.
Panno also represented Argentina at the World Team Championship of 1985 and the Pan-American Team Championships staged in 1971, 1985 and 1991; in the 1971 and 1985 Pan-American events he won both team and individual gold.
He played matches against Ruben Rollansky in Buenos Aires in 1965 (winning with +3 =2), Vicente Palermo in 1966 (winning with +2 =5), Miguel A Quinteros in 1970 (winning with +2 =7) and again in 1990 (also won with +2 =7), Horatio Garcia in 1971 (winning with +3 =5), Cesar Guillermo Poch in 1971 (winning with +4 =4), Oscar Cuasnicu in 1975 (+3 =3), and Rodrigo Vazquez in 1987 (+1 =9).
Panno was never formally ranked or rated during his peak years. However, his results in the Interzonals and in major tournaments shows he was amongst the world’s leading grandmasters. Chessmetrics.com, which attempts to rank players from before the introduction of FIDE ratings, estimates that he was as high as 18th in the world in late 1955 when he qualified for the Candidates by placing third at the Gothenburg Interzonal.
Tributes to Panno on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of winning the World Junior in 1953 appear at https://www.fide.com/component/cont....
Team results were referenced from http://www.olimpbase.org/players/82..., World championship qualifying events from http://www.mark-weeks.com/chess/wcc.... Other events, mainly non-championship tournaments, were sourced primarily from www.365chess.com. The chessmetrics stat appears at http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/....