Ten grandmasters and masters were invited to the 30th Hastings Christmas Chess Festival premier tournament, led by Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres from the Soviet Union. The field also featured Luděk Pachman, two-time Hastings winner and returning co-champion Conel Hugh Alexander, three-time Hastings winner László Szabó, previous Hastings winner Wolfgang Unzicker, Dutch champion Jan Hein Donner, British co-champion Alan Phillips, and international masters William Fairhurst and Andrija Fuderer. 1 Robert Wade served as tournament director, F. A. Rhoden was tournament organizer, and Hastings mayor F. T. Hussey presided over the opening and closing ceremonies. 2 Funding for the event was provided primarily by private donations and a grant from the Hastings Corporation. 3
St Leonards-on-Sea 29 Dec 1954 - 7 Jan 1955 4
The contestants lodged at the stately Royal Victoria Hotel, and played in the nearby Sun Lounge in St Leonards-on-Sea. 5 The tournament kicked off with victories by Unzicker, Pachman and Szabó, but the surprising absence of Paul Keres in the first and second rounds became the main news story. He was sick with influenza, and was forced to play two games on the first off-day, Sunday 2 January. His illness and heavy day's workload didn't seem to bother him, however, as he posted a draw against Smyslov and a win over Unzicker. 2 Bizarrely, this incident was soon blown up into a scandal by the London Daily Express, which published an article accusing Keres and Smyslov of being "unfriendly" to the other people at Hastings, especially towards some of the Americans participating in the minor events. Keres' absence at the start of the tournament was cited as the prime evidence. The Soviet delegation in Hastings dashed off an angry letter of protest to the offending newspaper, but it soon became apparent that some of the players in the premier event did not endorse or support this letter. 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
=1 Smyslov * ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 7
=1 Keres ½ * 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 7
=3 Fuderer 0 1 * 1 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 5½
=3 Pachman ½ ½ 0 * ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 5½
=3 Szabo 0 0 1 ½ * ½ ½ 1 1 1 5½
6 Unzicker 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 1 1 5
7 Alexander ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ * ½ 1 1 4½
8 Donner ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½ * 1 ½ 2½
9 Fairhurst 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 * 1 1½
10 Phillips 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 * 1
Undaunted by this suddenly frosty atmosphere, the Soviets forged ahead, seemingly in lockstep. By round five they shared the lead with four points each. Smyslov was in stirling form, and had been for some time. He had lost the Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Match (1954) in May, but since that date he had played four major events, including the Amsterdam Olympiad, without losing a single game. 6 In round six Keres suffered a disaster against the unheralded Andrija Fuderer, who sacced his Queen en route to a sparkling victory over the three-time USSR champion. Keres fought back to share the lead again after round eight, with one game to go. Both Soviet champions triumphed in the final round, sharing the tournament first prize. The giant killer Fuderer shared 3d with Pachman and Szabó. Incumbent co-champion C. H. Alexander proved something of a disappointment, managing only 7th place. More had been expected of him by the home crowd, given that a year earlier at Hastings he had shared first with David Bronstein, finishing ahead of Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush, Aleksandar Matanovic, and Fridrik Olafsson.
Photos of St Leonards-on-Sea: http://www.1066online.co.uk/hasting...
Photo of the Sun Lounge: http://www.1066online.co.uk/gallery...
Photo of the Royal Victoria Hotel: http://images.francisfrith.com/c10/...
Hastings (1953/54)) and Hastings (1955/56) were the previous and next annual Christmas tournaments.
1 Britbase, Hastings, http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/has....
2 Chess Life, 1955, Jan 20th, pp. 3, 8.
3 Harry Golombek, Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess (Crown Publishers Inc. 1977), p. 138.
4 British Chess Magazine, 1955, pp. 61-68.
5 Jan van Reek at http://www.endgame.nl/hastings.htm.
6 Gino Di Felice, Chess Results 1951-1955, pp. 420-23; Edward Winter, ed., World Chess Champions (Pergamon Press 1981), p. 152.
Original collection: Game Collection: Hastings 1954/55, by User: suenteus po 147; Introduction written by User: WCC Editing Project and User: suenteus po 147, and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project.
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45
|1. Pachman vs C H Alexander
||1-0||36||1954||Hastings 1954/55||A81 Dutch|
|2. J H Donner vs Szabo
|| ||0-1||56||1954||Hastings 1954/55||E00 Queen's Pawn Game|
|3. A Phillips vs Unzicker
|| ||0-1||38||1954||Hastings 1954/55||A05 Reti Opening|
|4. W Fairhurst vs A Fuderer
|| ||½-½||22||1954||Hastings 1954/55||C66 Ruy Lopez|
|5. Szabo vs Pachman
|| ||½-½||17||1954||Hastings 1954/55||E62 King's Indian, Fianchetto|
|6. Smyslov vs A Fuderer
||1-0||37||1954||Hastings 1954/55||A21 English|
|7. W Fairhurst vs J H Donner
|| ||0-1||67||1954||Hastings 1954/55||A42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System|
|8. C H Alexander vs A Phillips
|| ||1-0||49||1954||Hastings 1954/55||C79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred|
|9. Keres vs C H Alexander
||1-0||22||1954||Hastings 1954/55||C42 Petrov Defense|
|10. A Fuderer vs Unzicker
|| ||½-½||19||1954||Hastings 1954/55||A04 Reti Opening|
|11. Szabo vs W Fairhurst
|| ||1-0||46||1954||Hastings 1954/55||B10 Caro-Kann|
|12. J H Donner vs Smyslov
|| ||½-½||35||1954||Hastings 1954/55||E19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3|
|13. Pachman vs A Phillips
|| ||½-½||47||1954||Hastings 1954/55||E87 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox|
|14. Unzicker vs J H Donner
|| ||1-0||30||1955||Hastings 1954/55||C97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin|
|15. W Fairhurst vs Pachman
||0-1||35||1955||Hastings 1954/55||D82 Grunfeld, 4.Bf4|
|16. C H Alexander vs A Fuderer
|| ||½-½||26||1955||Hastings 1954/55||B90 Sicilian, Najdorf|
|17. A Phillips vs Keres
||0-1||30||1955||Hastings 1954/55||D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch|
|18. Smyslov vs Szabo
||1-0||43||1955||Hastings 1954/55||D74 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.cd Nxd5, 7.O-O|
|19. Unzicker vs Keres
||0-1||44||1955||Hastings 1954/55||C71 Ruy Lopez|
|20. Keres vs Smyslov
||½-½||25||1955||Hastings 1954/55||D14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation|
|21. Pachman vs Keres
|| ||½-½||28||1955||Hastings 1954/55||E14 Queen's Indian|
|22. A Fuderer vs A Phillips
||1-0||34||1955||Hastings 1954/55||A54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3|
|23. J H Donner vs C H Alexander
|| ||½-½||39||1955||Hastings 1954/55||A81 Dutch|
|24. Szabo vs Unzicker
|| ||½-½||35||1955||Hastings 1954/55||E53 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3|
|25. W Fairhurst vs Smyslov
||0-1||39||1955||Hastings 1954/55||E46 Nimzo-Indian|
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45
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