|USSR Championship (1951)|
The 19th Soviet Chess Championship took place in the capital city of Moscow from November 11 to December 14, 1951. Eighteen of the Soviet Union's strongest players, including the reigning world champion, participated in the round robin event. Fourteen of the players qualified from the semi-final tournaments played earlier in the year. Nikolai Novotelnov, Isaac Lipnitsky, and Mark Taimanov qualified from Baku; Vasily Smyslov, Evgeny Terpugov, Oleg Moiseev, and Nikolai Kopilov qualified from Leningrad; Lev Aronin, Vladimir Simagin, and Salomon Flohr qualified from Lvov; and Tigran Petrosian, Efim Geller, Yuri Averbakh, and Isaac Boleslavsky qualified from Sverdlovsk. Boleslavsky fell ill before the final and was therefore replaced by Igor Bondarevsky, who had placed fifth in the Leningrad semi-final. Four invitations were also sent to Paul Keres as returning Soviet Champion, Mikhail Botvinnik as world champion, David Bronstein as world vice-champion, and Alexander Kotov. The assembled field was the strongest in the history of the USSR championship at that time, which makes it an especially impressive victory for Keres. It was his second consecutive Soviet crown and his third overall. He edged out runners-up Petrosian and Geller by half a point, and finished two full points ahead of world champion Botvinnik, who only managed to finish in fifth place.
The final standings and crosstable:
Original collection: Game Collection: USSR Championship 1951, by User: suenteus po 147.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts
1 Keres * ˝ 1 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 1 0 0 ˝ 1 1 1 1 1 12
=2 Petrosian ˝ * ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 0 0 1 1 1 ˝ 1 1 1 11˝
=2 Geller 0 ˝ * 0 1 ˝ 0 1 0 1 1 1 ˝ 1 1 1 1 1 11˝
4 Smyslov 0 0 1 * 1 0 1 1 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 1 0 1 11
5 Botvinnik ˝ ˝ 0 0 * ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 1 1 10
=6 Averbakh ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ * 0 0 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 0 1 1 9˝
=6 Bronstein ˝ ˝ 1 0 0 1 * 1 ˝ 0 1 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 9˝
=6 Taimanov 0 0 0 0 ˝ 1 0 * ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 1 ˝ 1 1 1 1 9˝
=9 Flohr ˝ ˝ 1 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ * 0 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 0 1 9
=9 Aronin 0 1 0 ˝ 0 0 1 ˝ 1 * 1 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 1 1 ˝ 9
11 Kopilov 1 1 0 0 1 ˝ 0 0 ˝ 0 * 0 1 1 0 1 1 ˝ 8˝
=12 Kotov 1 0 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 ˝ 0 ˝ 1 * ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 1 0 8
=12 Bondarevsky ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ 0 ˝ 1 0 ˝ * ˝ 1 0 1 1 8
14 Simagin 0 0 0 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ * 1 ˝ 1 1 7˝
=15 Moiseev 0 ˝ 0 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 0 0 ˝ 1 ˝ 0 0 * ˝ 1 1 6˝
=15 Lipnitsky 0 0 0 0 0 1 ˝ 0 ˝ 0 0 1 1 ˝ ˝ * ˝ 1 6˝
17 Novotelnov 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 ˝ * ˝ 3
18 Terpugov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ˝ ˝ 1 0 0 0 0 ˝ * 2˝
| page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153
|1. Bronstein vs Kotov
||0-1||66||1951||USSR Championship||E64 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Yugoslav System|
|2. Petrosian vs N Kopilov
||0-1||34||1951||USSR Championship||E43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation|
|3. Simagin vs Aronin
|| ||½-½||30||1951||USSR Championship||E61 King's Indian|
|4. Keres vs E Terpugov
||1-0||22||1951||USSR Championship||D07 Queen's Gambit Declined, Chigorin Defense|
|5. Lipnitsky vs Averbakh
|| ||1-0||42||1951||USSR Championship||A27 English, Three Knights System|
|6. Novotelnov vs Bondarevsky
||0-1||39||1951||USSR Championship||D34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch|
|7. Flohr vs Taimanov
|| ||½-½||28||1951||USSR Championship||A15 English|
|8. Smyslov vs Geller
||1-0||48||1951||USSR Championship||A07 King's Indian Attack|
|9. Botvinnik vs O Moiseev
||1-0||57||1951||USSR Championship||E45 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Bronstein (Byrne) Variation|
|10. Averbakh vs Bronstein
||0-1||42||1951||USSR Championship||B93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4|
|11. Taimanov vs E Terpugov
||1-0||37||1951||USSR Championship||D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav|
|12. Kotov vs Novotelnov
|| ||1-0||37||1951||USSR Championship||E34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation|
|13. Geller vs Simagin
||1-0||32||1951||USSR Championship||D41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch|
|14. N Kopilov vs Keres
||1-0||59||1951||USSR Championship||B32 Sicilian|
|15. O Moiseev vs Lipnitsky
|| ||½-½||30||1951||USSR Championship||E02 Catalan, Open, 5.Qa4|
|16. Aronin vs Petrosian
||1-0||39||1951||USSR Championship||C91 Ruy Lopez, Closed|
|17. Flohr vs Botvinnik
||½-½||81||1951||USSR Championship||D14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation|
|18. Bondarevsky vs Smyslov
|| ||½-½||62||1951||USSR Championship||D94 Grunfeld|
|19. Keres vs Aronin
||1-0||63||1951||USSR Championship||B62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer|
|20. Lipnitsky vs Flohr
|| ||½-½||34||1951||USSR Championship||B17 Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation|
|21. Petrosian vs Geller
|| ||½-½||23||1951||USSR Championship||E92 King's Indian|
|22. Smyslov vs Kotov
||½-½||67||1951||USSR Championship||B85 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical|
|23. Simagin vs Bondarevsky
|| ||½-½||20||1951||USSR Championship||D34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch|
|24. Novotelnov vs Averbakh
||0-1||31||1951||USSR Championship||E08 Catalan, Closed|
|25. E Terpugov vs N Kopilov
|| ||½-½||49||1951||USSR Championship||A43 Old Benoni|
| page 1 of 7; games 1-25 of 153
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
|Dec-25-14|| ||Sokrates: A magnificent victory by Keres, who didn't have sunny days under the Soviet regime. I think this was his renaissance after having been in a deep cellar of depression in the second half of the 1940s. We shall never learn what Paul Keres could have achieved if he was not forced to live in the Soviet. Well, the same could be said for many others. Only a few, primarily Botvinnik, Petrosian and Karpov were favoured by the regime.|
|Jun-26-15|| ||zydeco: The tournament was also a zonal for the 1951-54 Candidates cycle. Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres, and Smyslov were already seeded into the Candidates tournament. Geller, Petrosian, Taimanov, and Averbakh qualified for the Interzonal. The Soviet Union had a fifth spot - which would have gone to Lev Aronin if he had won his last-round game (Aronin vs Smyslov, 1951) - but instead of organizing a tiebreak between Flohr and Aronin, they 'socially promoted' Kotov, who wasn't even close to qualifying but was a member of the Sports Committee -- and justified his rather corrupt qualification by making a record score at the Interzonal. It's a really sad story for Aronin -- who apparently never got over the setback.|
This tournament is right up there as one of Keres' greatest achievements. He played smooth, attractive chess, overcame a couple of early defeats, went 4.5/5 down the stretch, and cold-bloodedly won a tough last-round game against Taimanov. He was pretty clearly the best player in the world in 1951 -- and made such an impression that the Soviet grandmasters orchestrated a remarkable coup: they dumped Botvinnik, the reigning world champion, from board one on the 1952 Olympiad team, with the rationale that his recent results hadn't been anywhere close to Keres'.
It's interesting to think about Geller and Petrosian playing as a pair. They don't seem to have much in common stylistically or temperamentally -- but rose up through the ranks at exactly the same time.
Kopilov was definitely the tournament wild card.
Good games from this tournament:
Bronstein vs Kotov, 1951
Smyslov vs Bronstein, 1951
Botvinnik vs Geller, 1951
Smyslov vs Keres, 1951
Geller vs Keres, 1951
Keres vs Taimanov, 1951
Kotov vs Geller, 1951
Petrosian vs Smyslov, 1951
E Terpugov vs Petrosian, 1951
N Kopilov vs Bondarevsky, 1951
|Nov-04-17|| ||ughaibu: GrahamClayton: Kopilov also played, at least, in the USSR Championship (1949).|
|Sep-11-18|| ||ughaibu: Did Botvinnik complain that he was robbed by the drawing conspiracy of Petrosian, Geller and Averbakh?|
|Sep-11-18|| ||perfidious: <zydeco....(Keres) was pretty clearly the best player in the world in 1951 -- and made such an impression that the Soviet grandmasters orchestrated a remarkable coup: they dumped Botvinnik, the reigning world champion, from board one on the 1952 Olympiad team, with the rationale that his recent results hadn't been anywhere close to Keres'....>|
Matter of fact, Botvinnik was dropped from the Soviet side in 1952 altogether.
|Sep-12-18|| ||ewan14: Did he not play because he was not to be on board 1 ?|
|Sep-12-18|| ||ughaibu: Ewan14: No, he was voted off the team by the other players.|
|Sep-12-18|| ||Retireborn: Botvinnik did play in the next six Olympiads though (as well as the 1961 and 1965 Euros.)|
|Sep-12-18|| ||perfidious: In <Botvinnik's Best Games 1947-70>, at the finish of a game played against one of those who made up the '52 Soviet team, (paraphrasing) 'This game had definite significance for me....a secret ballot in which only one vote was cast for the World Champion. Naturally, I wished to prove that I did not play worse than our "Olympic men".'|
I have occasionally wondered who cast the one vote in favour of Botvinnik's participation. My first thought: Keres.
|Sep-12-18|| ||Retireborn: <perfidious> What game was that, do you know? I assume it's from the 20th USSR ch shortly after Helsinki, where he scored +3=2-0 against the team members.|
|Sep-12-18|| ||Sally Simpson: I do not have the book on hand but according to Wiki (I know not always a reliable source...) Botvinnik says:|
"..these games (plural) had a definite significance for me..." so he was talking about all three victories.
Wiki also states the players voted for the board positions and Botvinnik was not happy with board 2 - Keres was voted board one.
I do recall Bronstein saying somewhere it was the board order vote that Botvinnik did not like and he [Bronstein] was voted on as board 4 adding jokingly he thought Botvinnik should have protested over that!
|Sep-12-18|| ||Sally Simpson: see above.
link to 1952 USSR Championship
USSR Championship (1952)
found a mention of what I said above.
The Soviet olympic team for Helsinki in 1952 was very curious
-- the world champion was omitted. Is it true that your other players
voted him off the team? So democratic!
No. First, we voted for the team line-up, and we placed
Botvinnik second, after Keres. I was placed fourth.
Botvinnik protested, and declined to take part. Why didn't he
protest that I was placed fourth?
Saidy slipped in [Was it to signify that Keres was
forced to lose to Botvinnik in 1948 for the crown > -- AS] as an after thought. I edited it out as it was misleading.
I read the above from somewhere else, it had no mention of Keres.
|Sep-12-18|| ||perfidious: <Retireborn>, I am doing all this from memory--my copy of Botvinnik's games is in mothballs and I have not read it in years--hence the gaps in my post. Do not recall which game it was.|
|Sep-12-18|| ||Retireborn: Thanks to both.|
|Sep-12-18|| ||Sally Simpson: Hi Perfidious:
"I have occasionally wondered who cast the one vote in favour of Botvinnik's participation. My first thought: Keres."
It still may the case that a vote was taken by the players to oust Botvinnik.
I speculate that the players where told one of them voted for Botvinnik, but not told which one. (infact none of them did.)
So the Soviet Olympiad team were all denying to each other it was not one of them (and all were telling the truth.) but all are thinking 'one of us is lying.'
So no one in the team trusted anyone, which is just how the USSR liked it.
|Sep-13-18|| ||Howard: Petrosian lost only two games, despite the fact that (according to How to Defend in Chess) his playing style had not evolved into the avoid-losses-at-all-costs stage yet.|
|Jan-29-19|| ||ughaibu: Presumably it was Botvinnik who voted for himself.|
|Jan-29-19|| ||whiteshark: <perfidious: ..paraphrasing > Here's Botwinnik's quote (from the intro):|
"Late in December 1952, in Moscow, the 20th USSR Championship was coming to an end. When I resumed my game from the last round, I was not in the best of spirits. Initially I had retained every chance of winning, but I played weakly, and before Black's 58th move it was already clear that the game should
end in a draw: there were opposite colour bishops. Meanwhile, only success in this game would enable me to catch the leader Mark Taimanov, and keep open an opportunity of fighting for the championship of the country.
And to win this title was simply essential. <A few months earlier, on the proposal of other participants, I had been excluded from the Olympiad team, since, in the opinion of my colleagues, I was now a poor chess player.> The 20th Championship was the first after the Olympiad, and, naturally, I wanted to demonstrate that the World Champion could still perform successfully.
I managed to win that last round game (Suetin vs Botvinnik, 1952) and to share first place in the tournament with Taimanov. Our match concluded successfully for me, and for the last (and 7th ) time I won the title of USSR Champion. True, there were a number of adventures in the
|Jan-29-19|| ||ughaibu: Why did Botvinnik state it was his 7th title? Everyone else says it was his 6th.|
|Jan-29-19|| ||whiteshark: <ugh> Which six of the seven championships do you mean?|
|Jan-29-19|| ||whiteshark: Aside of 1931, 1933, 1939, 1944, 1945 and 1952
there's USSR Absolute Championship (1941)
|Jan-29-19|| ||ughaibu: That certainly looks like seven to me. So why is it said the the most Soviet championships were won by Botvinnik and Tal, at six a piece?|
|Jan-29-19|| ||beatgiant: <ughaibu>
Probably because they don't count USSR Absolute Championship (1941), because of the non-standard format and unusual back-story of that event.
|Jan-29-19|| ||ughaibu: Beatgiant: That seems reasonable. The 12th Soviet championship was played before the "absolute championship" and the 13th after it, so the "absolute championship" doesn't appear to be a Soviet championship. |
I wonder if Botvinnik denied that.
|Jan-29-19|| ||Howard: Bit surprising that Iron Tigran lost two games, but then...|
a) He was only 22 at the time, and still rather inexperienced.
b) I read somewhere once that his "Iron Tigran reputation didn't engender until about the mid-50's. Before that, he was known to take chances in his games.
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply.
Getting your account takes less than a minute, is totally anonymous, and 100% free—plus, it
entitles you to features otherwise unavailable.
Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should
Please observe our posting guidelines:
- No obscene, racist, sexist, profane, raunchy, or disgusting language.
- No spamming, advertising, duplicate or nonsense posts.
- No malicious personal attacks, including cyber stalking, systematic antagonism, or gratuitous name-calling of any gratuitous name-calling
of any members—including Admin and Owners—or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests.
- Nothing in violation of United States law.
- No malicious posting of or linking to personal, private, and/or negative information (aka "doxing" or "doxxing") about any member, (including all Admin and Owners) or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests. This includes all media: text, images, video, audio, or otherwise. Such actions will result in severe sanctions for any violators.
- NO TROLLING. Admin and Owners know it when they see it, and sanctions for any trolls will be significant.
- Any off-topic posts which distract from the primary topic of discussion are subject to removal.
- The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by Moderators is expressly prohibited.
- The use of "sock puppet" accounts in an attempt to undermine any side of a debate—or to create a false impression of consensus or support—is prohibited.
- All decisions with respect to deleting posts, and any subsequent discipline, are final, and occur at the sole discretion of the Moderators, Admin, and Owners.
- Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.
NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page.
This forum is for this specific tournament and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or
this site, visit the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of Chessgames.com, its employees, or sponsors. All Moderator actions taken are at the sole discretion of the Admin and Owners—who will strive to act fairly and consistently at all times.
your profile |
Premium Membership |
Kibitzer's Café |
Biographer's Bistro |
new kibitzing |
Tournament Index |
Player Directory |
Notable Games |
World Chess Championships |
Opening Explorer |
Guess the Move |
Game Collections |
ChessBookie Game |
Chessgames Challenge |
privacy notice |
Copyright 2001-2019, Chessgames Services LLC