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🏆 USSR Championship (1963)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
The 31st Soviet Chess Championship was held in the city of Leningrad from November 23 to December 27, 1963. Twenty of the Soviet Union's strongest masters and grandmasters competed in the round robin event, with only two notable absences: the newly crowned world champion ... [more]

Player: Boris Spassky

 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Geller vs Spassky ½-½271963USSR ChampionshipC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
2. Bondarevsky vs Spassky ½-½211963USSR ChampionshipD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
3. Spassky vs Taimanov ½-½191963USSR ChampionshipA46 Queen's Pawn Game
4. A Zakharov vs Spassky ½-½231963USSR ChampionshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
5. Spassky vs Stein ½-½331963USSR ChampionshipD91 Grunfeld, 5.Bg5
6. A Novopashin vs Spassky 0-1221963USSR ChampionshipC89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall
7. Spassky vs Bronstein ½-½191963USSR ChampionshipD78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
8. Klovans vs Spassky 0-1541963USSR ChampionshipC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Spassky vs V Osnos 1-0261963USSR ChampionshipA46 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Averbakh vs Spassky ½-½721963USSR ChampionshipA07 King's Indian Attack
11. Spassky vs Furman ½-½171963USSR ChampionshipE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
12. Gipslis vs Spassky  ½-½211963USSR ChampionshipC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
13. Spassky vs Gufeld 1-0321963USSR ChampionshipE82 King's Indian, Samisch, double Fianchetto Variation
14. Kholmov vs Spassky ½-½251963USSR ChampionshipD25 Queen's Gambit Accepted
15. Spassky vs Suetin ½-½891963USSR ChampionshipA04 Reti Opening
16. Bagirov vs Spassky 0-1501963USSR ChampionshipB94 Sicilian, Najdorf
17. Spassky vs Korchnoi ½-½221963USSR ChampionshipA15 English
18. Polugaevsky vs Spassky ½-½291963USSR ChampionshipD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
19. Spassky vs I Nei ½-½421963USSR ChampionshipA06 Reti Opening
20. Spassky vs Stein 0-1331964USSR ChampionshipD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
21. Kholmov vs Spassky  ½-½411964USSR ChampionshipB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
22. Stein vs Spassky ½-½651964USSR ChampionshipB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
23. Spassky vs Kholmov 1-0251964USSR ChampionshipC35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
 page 1 of 1; 23 games  PGN Download 
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-03-13  ughaibu: I was surprised to see that Suetin scored the most wins, in this championship. Though at only eight, it must be amongst the lowest highests. Of the games without kibitzing, Suetin vs Polugaevsky, 1963 and Novopashin vs Suetin, 1963 are nice. The latter features a great manoeuvre Ba8 and Qb7 to allow Rc5-g5.

Of the games with kibitzing, Suetin vs Bagirov, 1963 is fun.

Apr-03-13  RookFile: Shows you how ridiculously strong these events were. Korchnoi was just in the middle of the pack.
Apr-03-13  Marmot PFL: This does not look like one of the stronger fields for a USSR ch. Besides Botvinnik and Petrosian several other notable players were missing - Tal, Keres, Smyslov. Probably the prize fund was not too attractive compared to international events like the Piatigorsky.
Apr-03-13  RookFile: They sent slackers like Bronstein, Polugaevsky, Geller, Spassky, Averbakh, etc. instead.
Aug-01-13  Conrad93: You forgot Mark Taimanov and Eduard Gufeld.

Yeah, just a bunch of slackers.

Aug-01-13  Conrad93: Boris spassky was a domninating force at this time. The fact that Leonid Stein won this tournament is amazing.
Aug-21-13  ewan14: Kholmov suffered as a result of the subsequent '' zonal tournament of seven '' ( because of Smyslov )

Tal & Keres were already through to the Candidates

Spassky's primary aim was not to lose( he had already played in a pre - qualifying tournament )

Stein was a star !

Aug-21-13  ughaibu: Why wasn't Tal playing?
Aug-21-13  Nerwal: <Why wasn't Tal playing?>

He was busy playing other tournaments. He had just finished playing an international tournament in Moscow, then he travelled to England for the traditional Christmas tournament in Hastings.

Aug-21-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Nerwal>'s post, while correct as far as it goes, misses the essential point of the situation, noted by <ewan14> in the preceding kibitz: no need for Tal to play in this zonal, having already qualified for Amsterdam.
Aug-21-13  Nerwal: <<Nerwal>'s post, while correct as far as it goes, misses the essential point of the situation, noted by <ewan14> in the preceding kibitz: no need for Tal to play in this zonal, having already qualified for Amsterdam.>

Well that's correct, and he did not play at the 66/67 Championship for the same reason, but he later changed his mind and played (and won) at Baku 1972, although already qualified for the Interzonal.

Aug-21-13  ughaibu: Thanks.
Apr-06-15  A.T PhoneHome: People always talk how Soviets draw against each other at international events; apparently Fischer made them scared or something. Looking at this tournament's standings I'd say Fischer has nothing to do with it! Then again, my argument has a flaw; I try to use one instance (this USSR Championship) as proof against multiple instances. Oh well..

Ratmir Kholmov had a great showing here by the way! Kholmov was a very solid performer, consistently placing between fourth-sixth places, getting here the "won medal", third place. He was a regular at USSR Championships; too bad his chances of playing abroad were few and far between!

As for Boris Spassky, he usually finished fourth-sixth with a few podium finishes, excluding two titles (second USSR Championship of 1961 and he would win the one in 1973) so this one was a big positive, one major indicator of new playing style working and enabling him to compete seriously for the World Championship.

And Leonid Stein... Debutant of the first of two USSR Championships back in 1961, he became known after his strong performance there. Here, already two years later, winning the Championship is enormous feat! Stein was able to keep his cool in those play-off games.

Apr-06-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <A.T PhoneHome: People always talk how Soviets draw against each other at international events.....>

In Soviet compatriots' meetings at Hastings, pacific intentions were certainly evinced, with Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1972, being, I think, the first decisive result.

<Then again, my argument has a flaw; I try to use one instance (this USSR Championship) as proof against multiple instances. Oh well..>

These championships were--at least for the relative lesser lights (who would contend for national titles about anywhere else)--about the chance to make one's mark at a potentially higher level, though this proved a daunting task in the face of all the world champions of the past, present and future who competed.

Apr-06-15  A.T PhoneHome: The first decisive result? Hah, that's interesting <perfidious>! Need to have a look at the events there later.

And that's a good point, considering how many strong chess players Soviet Union was able to produce. It is clear that it was very hard to reach higher when new strong players appeared in swarms on a yearly dasis. The climate in Soviet Union was that of confinement and if one made a mark at a potentially higher level, one may have received privileges and more freedom although I am hardly a historian but I guess those things may have motivated many (not all of course) plus of course the eagerness to test one's playing level against Western players and play in international events.

Apr-10-16  Everett: <A.T PhoneHome: People always talk how Soviets draw against each other at international events; apparently Fischer made them scared or something. Looking at this tournament's standings I'd say Fischer has nothing to do with it! >

Every Russian school-boy knows that to play every game like it's your last is a sure-fire way to go crazy.

Apr-10-16  Howard: What are you studying in school, ATPhoneHome ? Still going over Spassky's games ?
Apr-10-16  Howard: There are at least a few notable exceptions to the notions of the Soviets' "drawing each other at international events"----here are two I still recall from 1979.

At Montreal 1979 Spassky was completely shut out by the other two Soviets (Karpov and Tal) by a 0-4 score !

Then, later that year, Tal beat all four of his Soviet colleagues at the Riga interzonal, 4-0. In fact, he played them all in the first four rounds---due to a rule back then that players from the same country in an interzonal, needed to play each other in the early rounds.

Apr-10-16  Everett: <At Montreal 1979 Spassky was completely shut out by the other two Soviets (Karpov and Tal) by a 0-4 score !>

Spassky became a French citizen in '78

Apr-10-16  Sally Simpson: Interesting Stat No.139.

Players who have played in the Most USSR Championships up to 2012.

Geller & Taimanov - 23 times.

Bronstein, Polugaevsky, Tal - 20 times.

Smyslov - 19 times.

Balashov, Kholmov, Korchnoi and Petrosian - 16 times.

Plenty more Russian Championship stats here:

https://www.chess.com/blog/Spektrow...

(this lad needs a job, a girlfriend, a hobby and a lot more fresh air.)

Apr-10-16  Mr. V: <most USSR Championship up to 2012> Umm... ok then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDX...
Apr-11-16  Howard: Regarding Everett's recent comment, Spassky still played under the Soviet flag until 1984. In fact, Bugojno (sp?) 1984 was his last event while representing the Soviet Union.

From a personal standpoint, I still remember playing at a tournament near Milwaukee over the 4th of July weekend that year, and I overheard a couple players mention that Spassky had just played his last event while representing the Soviet Union.

Chess Life also briefly mentioned that, as I recall.

Apr-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <A.T PhoneHome> People always talk how Soviets draw against each other at international events>

This is the most comprehensive study I have found that analyzes whether the Soviets colluded in tournaments: http://www.fsb.muohio.edu/moulcc/so.... It is an update of the authors' 2007 paper on the same subject. It compares Soviet player performance in both Interzonal Tournaments and USSR Championships for the period 1940 – 1978.

I have my opinion but draw your own conclusions.

Apr-11-16  Everett: <Howard: Regarding Everett's recent comment, Spassky still played under the Soviet flag until 1984. In fact, Bugojno (sp?) 1984 was his last event while representing the Soviet Union.>

Doesn't matter. He clearly wasn't in the fold by Montreal '79. Becoming a citizen of a different country the year before would not be lost on the authorities of the motherland.

Apr-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <RookFile: Shows you how ridiculously strong these events were. Korchnoi was just in the middle of the pack.>

With that coming the year after he won with ease, despite the final margin of merely one-half point; he scored -1 =4 at the finish in '62.

<Marmot: This does not look like one of the stronger fields for a USSR ch. Besides Botvinnik and Petrosian several other notable players were missing - Tal, Keres, Smyslov....>

Botvinnik never played in a Soviet championship after 1955 and by the sixties was generally rather more selective about appearances in the tournament arena.

<....Probably the prize fund was not too attractive compared to international events like the Piatigorsky.>

For the elite, such events were plums; Korchnoi (according to Wade in his work on Viktor the Terrible) was invited to play in the Cup but Keres was sent in his stead.

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