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San Antonio Tournament

Lajos Portisch10.5/15(+7 -1 =7)[games]
Tigran V Petrosian10.5/15(+6 -0 =9)[games]
Anatoly Karpov10.5/15(+7 -1 =7)[games]
Svetozar Gligoric10/15(+7 -2 =6)[games]
Paul Keres9.5/15(+6 -2 =7)[games]
Vlastimil Hort9/15(+6 -3 =6)[games]
Duncan Suttles9/15(+5 -2 =8)[games]
Henrique Mecking8.5/15(+5 -3 =7)[games]
Bent Larsen8.5/15(+7 -5 =3)[games]
Donald Byrne7/15(+4 -5 =6)[games]
Larry Evans6.5/15(+2 -4 =9)[games]
Walter Browne6.5/15(+4 -6 =5)[games]
Julio Kaplan5/15(+2 -7 =6)[games]
Mario Campos Lopez3.5/15(+2 -10 =3)[games]
Anthony Saidy3.5/15(+2 -10 =3)[games]
Kenneth Smith2/15(+1 -12 =2)[games]
* Chess Event Description
San Antonio (1972)

In 1972, while the world's gaze was fixed on Iceland, a company in America had plans to generate publicity for itself through the chess world. Church's Fried Chicken, a restaurant chain in the United States, organized an international tournament to be held in San Antonio, Texas. European and Soviet grandmasters were pitted against grandmasters and masters from the Americas in a round robin format. The sixteen participants were (in order of Elo rating): Tigran Petrosian (2645), Lajos Portisch (2640), Anatoli Karpov (2630), Bent Larsen (2625), Vlastimil Hort (2600), Paul Keres (2600), Svetozar Gligoric (2575), Henrique Mecking (2570), Larry Evans (2545), Walter Shawn Browne (2530), Donald Byrne (2470), Julio Kaplan (2470), Duncan Suttles (2470), Dr. Anthony Saidy (2425), Ken Smith (2395), and Mario Campos Lopez (2200). The tournament ended with the top three seeds sharing first place.


San Antonio, Texas USA, 19 November - 11 December 1972

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 01 Portisch * ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 10.5 02 Petrosian ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 10.5 03 Karpov 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 10.5 04 Gligoric 1 0 0 * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 10.0 05 Keres 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 9.5 06 Hort 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 9.0 07 Suttles ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 9.0 08 Mecking ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 8.5 09 Larsen 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 * 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 8.5 10 Byrne ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 7.0 11 Evans ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 * ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 6.5 12 Browne ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ * 1 0 0 1 6.5 13 Kaplan 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 * 1 ½ 0 5.0 14 Campos Lopez ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 * 1 ½ 3.5 15 Saidy 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 * 1 3.5 16 Smith 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 * 2.0

Original collection: Game Collection: San Antonio 1972 User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 120  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Browne vs Evans  ½-½251972San AntonioA43 Old Benoni
2. Keres vs Hort 1-0601972San AntonioE14 Queen's Indian
3. A Saidy vs Karpov 0-1521972San AntonioA07 King's Indian Attack
4. Mecking vs J Kaplan 1-0311972San AntonioB44 Sicilian
5. D Byrne vs Petrosian ½-½221972San AntonioA00 Uncommon Opening
6. M Campos Lopez vs Portisch  ½-½331972San AntonioB42 Sicilian, Kan
7. Suttles vs Gligoric  0-1481972San AntonioE81 King's Indian, Samisch
8. Larsen vs K Smith 1-0241972San AntonioD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. Karpov vs Browne 1-0591972San AntonioA30 English, Symmetrical
10. Hort vs Petrosian  ½-½131972San AntonioB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
11. Keres vs Mecking 1-0281972San AntonioD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
12. Portisch vs Suttles  ½-½401972San AntonioB08 Pirc, Classical
13. Evans vs Larsen 0-1431972San AntonioA14 English
14. Gligoric vs D Byrne  1-0391972San AntonioD91 Grunfeld, 5.Bg5
15. J Kaplan vs A Saidy  ½-½691972San AntonioB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
16. K Smith vs M Campos Lopez ½-½641972San AntonioC02 French, Advance
17. Browne vs J Kaplan 1-0241972San AntonioB54 Sicilian
18. Mecking vs Hort  0-1871972San AntonioB68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
19. A Saidy vs Keres 0-1551972San AntonioD02 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Petrosian vs Gligoric 1-0351972San AntonioE81 King's Indian, Samisch
21. D Byrne vs Portisch  ½-½321972San AntonioA22 English
22. Suttles vs K Smith 1-0491972San AntonioA07 King's Indian Attack
23. M Campos Lopez vs Evans  ½-½411972San AntonioB96 Sicilian, Najdorf
24. Larsen vs Karpov  ½-½331972San AntonioE17 Queen's Indian
25. Hort vs Gligoric  ½-½231972San AntonioE92 King's Indian
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 120  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-27-18  Howard: The Oxford Companion to Chess (second edition, 1993) also states similar regarding Gheorghiu, as I recall. It said that he did have a reputation for rigging games.
Sep-16-19  pdvossen: We can only ask " What if " when it comes to what it could have been if Bobby had kept it together and moved on with his chess. Nevertheless, I think chess is moving in the right direction, and the online explosion is helping a lot. Magnus I think is good for the game as well.
Sep-17-19  WorstPlayerEver: Lol Mags is boring as hell.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Victoria Advocate, December 11th 1972, p.5A:

<SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (AP) A gregarious, hand-shaking, smiling Bobby Fischer declared Sunday he will defend his chess title, although he likes his new lifestyle now that "the pressure is off".

For someone considered the "l'enfant terrible" of the game, Fischer relented to request after request of fans, officials and even television cameramen for autographs and the like at the Church's International Chess Tournament.

"This money is a joke," said Fischer when asked why he did not compete with the field of 16 masters in the Church's tournament.

He said, however, the tournament has a strong field.

Fischer, of Los Angeles, said he was in San Antonio to view the final round of the three and one-half-week Church's tournament and also to attend a religious meeting of California evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong.

"I don't want to get into that. That's a private part of my life," Fischer said of Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. It was the only question in a quite frank interview which he didn't answer straightforwardly. About his life after the world championship match with Boris Spassky of Russia, he said, "I'm enjoying it." He said he's taken an apartment after many years of mostly living in hotels and is following other pursuits.

Asked about a suggestion by one of the Church's competitors that he might not defend his title, he laughed before declaring, "I will defend it."

Then, in a joking manner, he said of the suggestion, "that's a good idea, come to think of it," and laughed again.

Fischer said he did not know when his next competition would be although he conceded "there's talk" of an exhibition with Brazilian Enrique Mecking. "I wouldn't name any figures," he said when asked how much money he now commands.

Pressed, he mentioned professional golf prize money - "they offer what, $50,000, for first place?" and then said golfers play for only a weekend while chess tourneys last a month.

Church's promoters touted young Russian champion Anatoly Karpov, a member of the Church's field, as possibly the next challenger.

Said Fischer, "I've hardly heard of him.">

Jul-02-21  TheBish: That's classic, <MissScarlett>! Thanks for that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: From <Interviewing the Soviet Stars at San Antonio by Anthony Saidy> in <Chess Life & Review>, February 1973:

<CL&R: You led the tournament for ten rounds with the excellent score of eight points. Then you suffered reverses in the next three rounds. Did you tire? What happened?

Keres: Yes. Maybe I started too fast. I don't like excuses, but my feet were bothering me.>

A footnote reads: <Lajos Portisch told me that Keres has been having a problem with one of his feet for some time and, in fact, recently considered corrective surgery. - Ed. [Burt Hochberg]>

Now that's what you call a lame excuse.

Mar-20-22  Z free or die: Groan!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Paul, why are you limping?

I've got Estonia in my shoe.

Mar-20-22  Z free or die:
Mar-21-22  Granny O Doul: <Olavi: Among professionals in the old days it was agreed that the more the prizes are weighted in favour of the first prize, the more likely one gets lots of ultra short draws, particularly in the last rounds of Opens. This is a given, if you think about it just a little, but somehow organizers and sponsors never seemed to understand.>

I still don't understand, after much thought. I think this should have the opposite effect.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Granny> Thats what I would think as well.
Mar-22-22  Olavi: <Check It Out: <Granny> >

You may think otherwise if you have no guaranteed income at all. For lower level professionals, travelling from one open to another, it was not so unusual to have to make a pragmatic choice. I know an aspiring chess player who took a short draw in Spain to be sure of a train ticket back home to Sweden. I try to remember to give the Nunn quote re the 1991 Adams game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It is one thing for the likes of Luis Rentero to decry the tendency towards short draws at top level and force the likes of Spassky to sign an agreement to play chess, yet quite another to live in the real world where one must earn one's way.

The pragmatism alluded to by <Olavi> rears its head in tournament poker: there has long been a stigma attached to simply making the prize list, as opposed to playing to win the event, yet if the benefits of min-cashing are ignored, that would tend to have a disastrous effect on one's bottom line.

Case in point: a few months back at the WSOP, I played a $2500 event in which the min-cash was $4k. An Israeli pro was at my table and had a very short stack and no real chance of winning the event, so he played super-safe poker as the money bubble approached, rather than his trademark aggro he had displayed all day--we had got into several tussles. This bore fruit, as he went out at the beginning of the second day, $4000 to the good.

Mar-22-22  Olavi: Yes, even Nunn wrote in 1991 (near the world top for ten years) that you have to think what the odds are. Because the chesspleyer does rely on his prizemoney to pay his phonebill and polltax. When the first prize is very big in proportion to the other prizes, it makes sense to take a sure second share of it, instead of taking a gamble.

I'd add that most chess players don't play chess to make money, they'd have chosen another profession is such was their ambition. They play chess to play chess.

Mar-22-22  offramp: <Olavi:...I'd add that most chess players don't play chess to make money, they'd have chosen another profession is such was their ambition. They play chess to play chess.>

Perhaps Keres's corrective surgery on his feet may have been connected to Keres changing his profession.

Keres could have given up chess and become a referee in football, with the legs of Oscar Pistorius.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: I love Fischer's "I've hardly heard of him" comment about Karpov, who was ranked =7 in the world at the time, and who on the following list, 7 months later (ratings were published just once a year at the time), would be ranked =2, with Tal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Had never heard of Fischer mentioning Karpov in that way, the more so as he was known to have an omnivorous appetite for chess books and journals--even if, as has been stated, he began taking less interest after Reykjavik, this strikes me as being either a flip remark, or as foolish as such early proclamations as his 'Bust to the King's Gambit'.
Nov-24-22  Petrosianic: Assuming Fischer actually said it, the time at which he said it might be indicative of how far distanced he was from chess itself at the time. When Fischer was still involved with chess, he knew the most incredible minutiae. There's a story about how he once tried to discuss the Bykova-Zvorykina match with some of the Soviet players, and they didn't know a thing about it. Tal said something to the effect of "We're so busy with our own games, who has times to follow the women's championship?" But after winning the title, Fischer got completely away from chess for a while, and never could get back to the grind.

But I have my doubts as to whether he said it at all. It seems doubtful that Fischer that a former World Junior Champion would be unknown to Fischer by 1972. He might not have seen many of his games in the pre-Internet Age, but Fischer must have been well aware of who he was.

Nov-24-22  Olavi: Karpov had won the Alekhine Memorial in 1971 together with Stein, arguably the strongest tournament since AVRO 1938... not very likely Fischer uttered those words.
Nov-24-22  Petrosianic: <Olavi>: <Karpov had won the Alekhine Memorial in 1971 together with Stein, arguably the strongest tournament since AVRO 1938... not very likely Fischer uttered those words.>

Yes, but it's possible that he said something similar that the speaker misreported. More likely he said that he hadn't seen many of Karpov's games, which would be plausible. These days, when you can pull up any game you want in a database, often the same day it's played, it's hard to imagine what things were like in those days.

There are stories about Fischer pestering anyone who went to the USSR, asking if they'd been able to bring back any Taimanov games, because Fischer was interested in the 3...a6, 4...b5 line in the Ruy Lopez, and Taimanov was known to play it sometimes. Finding games back then meant getting hold of obscure periodicals, and lots of passing around hand to hand. These days, that stuff is at everyone's fingertips.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Excellent conversation, above. Apparently Fischer's wheels hadn't come off yet. Maybe when he was finally broke, after donating large sums of money to Garner Ted Armstrong's church of god that the harsh realities of life began to set in. Seems ironic that a smart, cynical life long new Yorker like Fischer would be duped by a religious huckster.

If RF was still reading Chess Informants each month he most certainly knew who anatoly Karpov was and that he was a damn good player.

Nov-26-22  Olavi: There were also Karpov's tournaments at Caracas 1970, Hastings 71-72, Russian and USSR championships, and Fischer was an avid Shakhmaty v SSSR reader (that's where he got the ladies' games from - Tal tells the story a bit differently), and surely the restarted 64 as well. I think he knew a lot of Karpov's games. But some sort of misinterpretation is possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: I think a distinction is getting lost here. Regarding Karpov, Fischer is quoted as saying "I've *hardly* heard of him", not "I haven't heard of him", after all. There's a real difference there.

Fischer would have been pretty busy in '72 preparing for Spassky, and there were a lot of new-on-the-scene younger players to keep track of. I don't think it was yet clear that Karpov was the best of these.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Eggman: I think a distinction is getting lost here. Regarding Karpov, Fischer is quoted as saying "I've *hardly* heard of him", not "I haven't heard of him", after all. There's a real difference there.

Fischer would have been pretty busy in '72 preparing for Spassky, and there were a lot of new-on-the-scene younger players to keep track of. I don't think it was yet clear that Karpov was the best of these.>

Fischer's comment is not even a teensy bit credible.

<I have no doubt Fischer was aware of who Karpov was in 1966 or 1967, never mind 1973, even if no one else outside Zlatoust was. Tim Krabbe has an amazing anecdote about Fischer meeting up with some relatively minor Dutch master in '70 or '71 and knowing everything about the master's career, prospects, errors etc. If he knew that much about the Dutch master, you can bet he knew everything there was to know about Karpov.>

Robert James Fischer (kibitz #25895)

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Bobby in ironic comment shocker. Americans confounded half-a-century later.
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