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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
Second Piatigorsky Cup Tournament

Boris Spassky11.5/18(+5 -0 =13)[games]
Robert James Fischer11/18(+7 -3 =8)[games]
Bent Larsen10/18(+7 -5 =6)[games]
Wolfgang Unzicker9.5/18(+2 -1 =15)[games]
Lajos Portisch9.5/18(+3 -2 =13)[games]
Samuel Reshevsky9/18(+2 -2 =14)[games]
Tigran V Petrosian9/18(+3 -3 =12)[games]
Miguel Najdorf8/18(+3 -5 =10)[games]
Borislav Ivkov6.5/18(+2 -7 =9)[games]
Jan Hein Donner6/18(+1 -7 =10)[games]
*

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Second Piatigorsky Cup (1966)

After the success of the First Piatigorsky Cup (1963), the second was organized by Gregor and Jacqueline Piatigorsky in Santa Monica, California from July 17-August 15, 1966, with Isaac Kashdan directing. The stellar field included the current and next two World Champions plus a slew of Candidates-level grandmasters in a double-round robin event:

Jan Hein Donner, Robert James Fischer, Borislav Ivkov, Bent Larsen, Miguel Najdorf, Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian, Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, Boris Spassky, Wolfgang Unzicker.

The Piatigorskys invited both Reshevsky and Fischer in spite of the Fischer - Reshevsky (1961) match fiasco.

Spassky played steadily and was at or near the lead most of the way, unsheathing his claws when the time was right. Larsen gave him some competition for a while, even taking the lead in Round 10, but three losses in a row (the last being to Spassky) put an end to his challenge.

But it was Fischer who captured everybody's attention and made this into a "Tale of Two Tournaments". In the first half, a three-game losing streak (the last being to Spassky) left him in ninth place at the halfway mark, 2.5 points behind Spassky. Undaunted, he won his first four games in the second go-around and caught Spassky by round 16. Their draw in round 17 didn't change anything, but the last round saw Fischer with Black against Petrosian while Spassky had White against tail-ender Donner.

Petrosian had been having a lousy tournament, his two losses to Larsen both being of the immortal variety. In the final round he hunkered down and secured a draw with Fischer, while Spassky demolished Donner to take first place.

In fact, Petrosian's even score made him the first world champion since Alekhine to achieve "only" an even score in a subsequent tournament.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Spassky ** 1½ ½1 1½ ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ½1 11.5 2 Fischer 0½ ** 01 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½½ 01 11 ½1 11.0 3 Larsen ½0 10 ** ½0 1½ ½1 11 1½ 01 ½0 10.0 4 Unzicker 0½ ½½ ½1 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ½½ 9.5 5 Portisch ½½ ½0 0½ ½½ ** ½½ 1½ ½½ ½1 ½1 9.5 6 Reshevsky ½½ ½0 ½0 ½½ ½½ ** ½½ ½1 ½½ 1½ 9.0 7 Petrosian ½½ ½½ 00 ½½ 0½ ½½ ** 11 ½½ ½1 9.0 8 Najdorf ½½ 10 0½ ½½ ½½ ½0 00 ** 1½ ½1 8.0 9 Ivkov 0½ 00 10 0½ ½0 ½½ ½½ 0½ ** ½1 6.5 10 Donner ½0 ½0 ½1 ½½ ½0 0½ ½0 ½0 ½0 ** 6.0

Original collection: Game Collection: Second Piatigorsky Cup 1966, by User: Benzol, based on Game Collection: Second Piatigorsky Cup 1966 by User: matey.

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ivkov vs Larsen 1-0461966Second Piatigorsky CupE16 Queen's Indian
2. J H Donner vs Unzicker ½-½431966Second Piatigorsky CupE55 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation
3. Petrosian vs Spassky ½-½291966Second Piatigorsky CupD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
4. Reshevsky vs Fischer ½-½421966Second Piatigorsky CupE92 King's Indian
5. Portisch vs Najdorf ½-½331966Second Piatigorsky CupE67 King's Indian, Fianchetto
6. Petrosian vs Reshevsky ½-½411966Second Piatigorsky CupE12 Queen's Indian
7. Najdorf vs Ivkov 1-0261966Second Piatigorsky CupD25 Queen's Gambit Accepted
8. Spassky vs Unzicker 1-0461966Second Piatigorsky CupC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
9. Larsen vs J H Donner ½-½581966Second Piatigorsky CupB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
10. Fischer vs Portisch ½-½711966Second Piatigorsky CupC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
11. Unzicker vs Larsen ½-½381966Second Piatigorsky CupB61 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, Larsen Variation, 7.Qd2
12. Reshevsky vs Spassky ½-½201966Second Piatigorsky CupE43 Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation
13. J H Donner vs Najdorf ½-½411966Second Piatigorsky CupE60 King's Indian Defense
14. Ivkov vs Fischer 0-1421966Second Piatigorsky CupA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
15. Portisch vs Petrosian 1-0321966Second Piatigorsky CupE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
16. Najdorf vs Unzicker ½-½261966Second Piatigorsky CupE59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
17. Reshevsky vs Portisch ½-½161966Second Piatigorsky CupD28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
18. Petrosian vs Ivkov ½-½251966Second Piatigorsky CupE75 King's Indian, Averbakh, Main line
19. Spassky vs Larsen ½-½801966Second Piatigorsky CupB64 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
20. Fischer vs J H Donner ½-½341966Second Piatigorsky CupC89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall
21. Unzicker vs Fischer ½-½771966Second Piatigorsky CupB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
22. Larsen vs Najdorf 1-0691966Second Piatigorsky CupE98 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov, 9.Ne1
23. J H Donner vs Petrosian ½-½351966Second Piatigorsky CupA56 Benoni Defense
24. Portisch vs Spassky ½-½321966Second Piatigorsky CupE47 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3
25. Ivkov vs Reshevsky ½-½931966Second Piatigorsky CupC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-29-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: ROBERT JAMES FISCHER was THE best chess player in the world whilst this tournament was being played.

BOBBY was playing against the Chess world , and the Political world .

BOBBY V THE WORLD ❤️️😎

Mar-29-19  Count Wedgemore: <harrylime: ROBERT JAMES FISCHER was THE best chess player in the world whilst this tournament was being played>

Yet he ended behind Spassky. And Petrosian was the World Champion.

Mar-29-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Count Wedgemore: <harrylime: ROBERT JAMES FISCHER was THE best chess player in the world whilst this tournament was being played> Yet he ended behind Spassky. And Petrosian was the World Champion.>

You not read abooooooot the COLD WAR ?? lol lol lol

Mar-29-19  Count Wedgemore: <harry> Cold War? Must have been fought in the winter months, huh?
Mar-29-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  harrylime: <Count Wedgemore: <harry> Cold War? Must have been fought in the winter months, huh?>

Don't even start mentioning RJF's name on ere before reading Ooooooooop on the Cold War. 😉

May-30-19  ChessDryad: Strongest tournament ever played in California!
May-30-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<harrylime> ROBERT JAMES FISCHER was THE best chess player in the world whilst this tournament was being played.>

I wouldn't say that during the first half of the tournament when he lost 3 straight games to Larsen, Najdorf, and Spassky in rounds 6 through 8 to fall into last place tied with Ivkov at 3.0/8. But then he caught fire and won 4 straight games in rounds 10 through 13, and 2 more games in rounds 15 and 16 to catch up with Spassky. He unfortunately could not beat either Spassky or Petrosian in the last 2 rounds and had to settle for second place. It was a very exciting finish.

In fact, I think that it was during the second half of the Second Piatigorsky cup tournament when Fischer became the best player in the world until after the 1972 Spassky match when the stopped playing.

Sep-29-19  amadeus: Spassky vs Top5: +3

Fischer vs Top5: 0

Oct-11-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Count Wedgemore: <harry> Cold War? Must have been fought in the winter months, huh?>

Winter months? Where you're from, I suppose that's September through June...

Am I wrong?

Oct-12-19  Cibator: <EdZelli: <offramp>: Tigran got his revenge later in 1966 Havana Olympiad by winning the first place gold medal at table 1 with Larsen, Bobby, Portisch, etc present.>

Petrosian might have won that gold medal ahead of Fischer but it was only by a whisker (13.5/15 vs 15/17). AND he was carefully sheltered from the strongest opposition, including Fischer himself. Poor old Spassky had to take black against all the toughies, which accounted for his relatively low score (for a Soviet) of 10/15.

Oct-12-19  ewan14: Fischer was not the best player in the world in 1966
Oct-12-19  Olavi: <Cibator: <EdZelli: <offramp>: Tigran got his revenge later in 1966 Havana Olympiad by winning the first place gold medal at table 1 with Larsen, Bobby, Portisch, etc present.> Petrosian might have won that gold medal ahead of Fischer but it was only by a whisker (13.5/15 vs 15/17). AND he was carefully sheltered from the strongest opposition, including Fischer himself.>

Petrosian was hardly sheltered from Fischer, as he was included in the line up against the USA, a match which the latter first defaulted because of Fischer's demands. The Soviets agreed to play it later on the free day anyway. Fischer sheltered himself from Tigran.

Sep-17-20  jerseybob: <EdZelli:..Tigran repeated his success again in 1968 Olympiad with same players (Larsen, Bobby, ..) present.> Bobby didn't play in '68. I believe he showed up at Lugano but decided against it.
Sep-17-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <jerseybob>, Fischer was indeed present at Lugano, but the lighting was deficient or some such rot, so he then headed for Milan.
Sep-17-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Cibator.....Petrosian might have won that gold medal ahead of Fischer but it was only by a whisker (13.5/15 vs 15/17)....>

Which does not happen if Fischer accepts the draw offer of Gheorghiu in a clearly inferior position in the last but one round.

Jan-12-22  Allanur: <Petrosian was hardly sheltered from Fischer, as he was included in the line up against the USA, a match which the latter first defaulted because of Fischer's demands. The Soviets agreed to play it later on the free day anyway. Fischer sheltered himself from Tigran.>

It was Petrosian who was absent when the USA and the USSR teams played, not Bobby. Petrosian sheltered himself from Bobby, Petrosian sheltered from Bobby.

Jan-12-22  Allanur: Besides his 1970-72 run, Fischer somehow choked all the time in international events. In Bled 1961 for example, he came second to Tal despite finishing undefeated and defeating Tal. Somehow choked against Botwinnik, choked here in this cup, choked in the olympiads (1966 Olympiad being his closest), choked to Spassky in 1970 Olympiad, choked in the Capa memorial 1965.

The only exception I can think of is Stockhold Interzonal. He won things like Monte Carlo 1967 but it is hard to count it among the tournaments of the highest repute.

Also, the way Fischer chokes is interesting. He loses in ways he usually would not other times. He lost to Najdorf in this tourney for example, but besides this tourney, Fischer seems to have never lost to Najdorf (as of cg database). Against Spassky in the olympiad for example, he had a winning position yet let it go. He had winning positions against Botwinnik and Reshevsky as well but again let them go.

If we count Monte Carlo 1967 as a tournament among the highest repute, then, before 1970, Fischer won only two such tournaments: Stockholm Interzonal and Monte Carlo 1967.

After 1969 though, he won 3-4 such highest level tournaments. The USSR vs Rest of the world is the only tournament Fischer finished first AND ahead of the reigning world champion.

Jan-12-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Allanur>, come again? Fischer 'choked' at Santa Monica? He started with 3.5/9 in the first cycle, then ceded but three draws in the second to all but close the considerable gap.

By your standards, any great has 'choked': Carlsen has performed well below par overall in his native land and Alekhine finished a distant second at New York 1927 to the man he would defeat at the end of that year. When Karpov and Kasparov were at their respective zeniths, it was a miracle when they failed to win a tourney. Were those non-victories 'choked away' too?

Jan-12-22  Allanur: <By your standards, any great has 'choked': Carlsen has performed well below par overall in his native land and Alekhine finished a distant second at New York 1927 to the man he would defeat at the end of that year. When Karpov and Kasparov were at their respective zeniths, it was a miracle when they failed to win a tourney. Were those non-victories 'choked away' too?>

The difference between Carlsen and Fischer is, Carlsen won several or many tournaments without choking whereas Fischer almost always choked. In 2019 for example, Carlsen won 6-7 tournaments, in 2019 alone.

or if you wanna go to pre-championship of Carlsen, then Carlsen won Tata Steel 2008 for example, ahead of the reigning champion and other top stars of the time. A year later, he won Tata Steel 2009. Already 2 out of my fresh memory.

Fischer on the other hand choked and never won at the timehe played in a tournament that featured the reigning world champions: 1) Olympiad vs Botwinnik. Did not win the individual gold. 2) Olympiad against Spassky. Did not win the individual gold. 3) Santa Monica 66
4) Bled 1961
5) Siegen 1970

Havana 66 did not feature the reigning world champion, but still we can count it as well, as it was a very propondical event.

Jan-12-22  offramp: < Allanur>

You are right.

Robert James Fischer won very few non-FIDÉ tournaments.

I mean <outright> winners! I think he won about 5 FIDÉ tournaments.

He won that Buenos Aires (1970).

Jan-13-22  Allanur: Besides being non-fide, my point was that he had chances to back-up his claim that he was a better player than the Soviet World Champions, that the reason he is not champion yet is because the Soviets conspired etc.

Even in 1971, Fischer claimed that the Soviets had been holding his title for 10 years. In the USSR vs RotW, Fischer was shown as crownless king of the chess world etc.

Yet, till 1970 he failed to overtake leading Soviet players when they clashed. Failed to take Olympiad Gold medals, failed to win the tournaments. It was usually won by the Soviets and Fischer choked.

Jan-13-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <Allanur> though I concede your point about Fischer's occasional stumbles on his way to the very top, I feel that I am with <perfidious> regarding this preferred word, 'choked'. I just don't think any chess player could have said such a thing to his face and not gotten laughed out of the room (or better yet, "Why don't we set up a board and see what choking really looks like?")

Put another way, if Fischer choked against the best Soviet players of the 1960s, then other non-Soviet GMs keeled over dead, while non-masters burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp!
Jan-13-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: <Allanur>, all the above said, I want to find the right words; at that time, the Soviet players and their world would have felt like an alien race to the post-WW2 Western generation raised on Cold War feelings. I'm old enough to have felt this growing up myself, though to a far less degree I'm sure than my parent's generation. I think it must have felt like you were fighting a mysterious machine that was hooked up right behind an already extremely strong player. So, if Fischer got unnerved sometimes I think we can still admire his tremendous steel all the same - especially at this event, with his comeback for 2nd.
Jan-13-22  Allanur: Yes, Willibob. I do agree that other non-Soviet player fared worse than Fischer did against the Soviets. But what makes Fischer's case different than theirs is:

1) Fischer had been asserting that he is the best frequently, yet failed. 2) Fischer, by many, is considered the best ever (I consider him the second best ever, second to Magnus. I consider him the greatest ever).

As for the second part, imagine this: you know nothing about Fischer, he is marketed you as the best chess player ever. Then, you shall list down your expectations based on the profile you are provided with. You would have expected him to have won many tournaments he partook in. Yet, reality would contradict you.

Larsen too had used to assert that he is the next world champion, btw.

Jan-13-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: That is totally fair, Allanur. Also I felt a little silly when I realized I was focused strictly on the Soviets when indeed Fischer struggled to prove himself against non-Soviets too (as he did here). I am always fine with seeing grandiose egos put in check. But I still enjoy seeing those same grandiose types succeed, at least when the results are fabulous and enlightening.
Spassky has much more appeal on a human level than Fischer, which makes this victory very satisfying (i.e. when a nice guy wins.). Thank you for the engaging thoughts.
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