Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Milan Tournament

Anatoly Karpov12/21(+4 -1 =16)[games]
Lajos Portisch12/21(+5 -2 =14)[games]
Tigran V Petrosian11.5/21(+3 -1 =17)[games]
Ljubomir Ljubojevic11/21(+5 -4 =12)[games]
Jan Smejkal6/11(+2 -1 =8)[games]
Mikhail Tal5.5/11(+3 -3 =5)[games]
Walter Browne5.5/11(+2 -2 =7)[games]
Ulf Andersson5/11(+3 -4 =4)[games]
Wolfgang Unzicker5/11(+2 -3 =6)[games]
Svetozar Gligoric5/11(+3 -4 =4)[games]
Bent Larsen5/11(+4 -5 =2)[games]
Sergio Mariotti2.5/11(+0 -6 =5)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Milan (1975)

Since the introduction of the Elo rating system earlier in the decade, the 1970s saw a resurgence of the so-called "super" tournament where the best in the world gathered to compete. 1975 was one of the biggest years of the decade in that regard as a number of international "super tournaments" were held in which top rated masters participated. Milan, Italy in late summer saw the attendance of twelve such top rated grandmasters, including the newly designated world champion Anatoly Karpov (2705). He was joined by Tigran Petrosian (2645) and Mikhail Tal (2645) from the Soviet Union; Lajos Portisch (2635) from Hungary; Bent Larsen (2625) from Denmark; Ljubomir Ljubojevic (2615) from Yugoslavia; Jan Smejkal (2600) from Czechoslovakia; Svetozar Gligoric (2575) from Yugoslavia; Ulf Andersson (2565) from Sweden; Walter Browne (2550) from the United States; Wolfgang Unzicker (2535) from West Germany; and Sergio Mariotti (2495) playing for his home country of Italy. The combined ratings of all the grandmasters qualified the tournament as a Category XV event, making it stronger than most other international tournaments seen up to that point. Games were played from August 20th to September 14th. In addition to a round robin all-play-all format, a series of semifinal and final matches among the top four finishers were devised to follow the tournament. This would turn out to be a blessing for the Soviet grandmasters as the final of the tournament proper saw Portisch finish clear first, a half point ahead of shared seconds Petrosian, Karpov, and Ljubojevic. While Portisch dispatched Ljubojevic in their semifinal match, Petrosian and Karpov drew their match, allowing the higher rated world champion a shot at the tournament leader in the finals match for first place. Karpov only managed to win one game, but it was enough to put him over the edge and finish the entire event as clear first ahead of Portisch. It was to be one of the earliest of what would be copious numbers of super tournament victories for the new world champion.

Milan, Italy, 20 August - 14 September 1975

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 1 Portisch * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 7 =2 Karpov ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 6½ =2 Petrosian ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 6½ =2 Ljubojevic ½ 0 ½ * ½ 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 1 1 6½ 5 Smejkal ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 6 =6 Tal ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ * 0 1 0 ½ 1 1 5½ =6 Browne 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 * ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 5½ =8 Andersson 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ * ½ 0 0 1 5 =8 Unzicker ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ * 0 0 ½ 5 =8 Gligoric 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 * 0 ½ 5 =8 Larsen 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 * 1 5 12 Mariotti 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 * 2½

The final standings and crosstable of the semifinal matches:

1 Portisch ½ ½ 1 ½ 2½ 2 Ljubojevic ½ ½ 0 ½ 1½ =1 Petrosian ½ ½ ½ ½ 2 =1 Karpov ½ ½ ½ ½ 2

The final standings and crosstable of the final matches:

Third/fourth place match

=1 Ljubojevic 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 3 =1 Petrosian 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 3

First/second place match

1 Karpov ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 3½ 2 Portisch ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2½

Original collection: Game Collection: Milan 1975, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 86  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Smejkal vs Larsen 1-0521975MilanE17 Queen's Indian
2. Petrosian vs Karpov ½-½291975MilanE53 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
3. S Mariotti vs Portisch  0-1411975MilanC75 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
4. Unzicker vs Tal 1-0321975MilanB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
5. Ljubojevic vs Andersson 1-0401975MilanB44 Sicilian
6. Browne vs Gligoric  ½-½571975MilanC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
7. S Mariotti vs Petrosian  ½-½281975MilanC03 French, Tarrasch
8. Karpov vs Smejkal ½-½551975MilanA29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto
9. Tal vs Browne 0-1441975MilanB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
10. Portisch vs Gligoric 1-0341975MilanE88 King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.d5 c6
11. Andersson vs Unzicker  ½-½781975MilanA05 Reti Opening
12. Larsen vs Ljubojevic 0-1271975MilanA77 Benoni, Classical, 9...Re8, 10.Nd2
13. Browne vs Andersson ½-½411975MilanB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
14. Petrosian vs Portisch  ½-½271975MilanA07 King's Indian Attack
15. Ljubojevic vs Karpov 0-1571975MilanC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. Smejkal vs S Mariotti  ½-½341975MilanD79 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O, Main line
17. Unzicker vs Larsen 0-1461975MilanB50 Sicilian
18. Gligoric vs Tal  ½-½351975MilanA56 Benoni Defense
19. Karpov vs Unzicker 1-0221975MilanC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
20. Portisch vs Tal  ½-½431975MilanA34 English, Symmetrical
21. Andersson vs Gligoric 0-1381975MilanA13 English
22. S Mariotti vs Ljubojevic  0-1411975MilanA05 Reti Opening
23. Larsen vs Browne ½-½231975MilanA34 English, Symmetrical
24. Petrosian vs Smejkal  ½-½291975MilanA15 English
25. Ljubojevic vs Petrosian  ½-½281975MilanC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 86  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-03-13  suenteus po 147: Okay, so this is something I've been meaning to ask for a while: Were the semi-final and final matches an original part of this event, or were the Soviet grandmasters so irked by Portisch's win that they lobbied for more games? I'm guessing it was part of the program from the beginning (but then, hey, it was the seventies, they might have decided to rob a bank and pay them to play more games! ciao!), but then how much must it have irked Portisch that he fought so hard only to succumb to one crummy loss to Karpov in the final match and be dispatched in the ultimate standings?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: No proof at hand, but I'm pretty sure that was the original program. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the Soviet players coasted in the preliminaries, looking merely to qualify.
Apr-04-13  suenteus po 147: <Phony Benoni> Coasting, sure: Karpov only has three wins. But how to tell if Petrosian was or not? He always had few wins and no losses :)
Sep-07-13  Everett: Isnt this format one of the ideas for deciding the world championship, or at least the candidates? Candidate tournament, then a series of matches until one is left standing. This person would either be the new WC, or be the challenger to the incumbent. Not so bad, in my eyes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Have any other international tournaments used this format of a round-robin followed by knock-out matches?
Aug-05-15  offramp: This tournament, as the intro says, began on August 20th 1975, exactly 75 years ago in a fortnight's time.

As a celebration of that anniversary, <and> as a memorial to the late and great master of chess Walter Shawn Browne, Europe Echecs has published a quite SOO-PERB article on this tournament.

It can be seen at

Some wonderful photos and reminiscences.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Seventy-five years? Seems more like forty to me.
Aug-03-16  Mr. V: I like Mariotti's strategy, draw with black, lose with white. It reminds me of my own play.
Aug-03-16  Absentee: <perfidious: Seventy-five years? Seems more like forty to me.>

Time flies, doesn't it?

Mar-06-21  Z legend 000000001: Browne gives a brief intro to the tournament in <CL&R Jan 1975 p12>.

He mentions S-B being used to determine his winnings depending on placement at the end. (Even 12th place getting $1000).

The prize pot was generous for the time, $32,000 with the 1st place winner getting $12,000.

I guess Mr. Paladino ran the tournament, and some 400-600 people attended daily.

<Everyone would have preferred a double round robin since an 11-round event is too short. After Portisch had qualified in the round robin event, he said he would still rather play a double round robin than compete in the matches!

In the matches Karpov had four listless draws with Petrosian and qualified for the final match since he had better Sonneborn-Berger points. Portisch drew in a lost position against Ljubojevic and came back to draw the second and win the third game. He was thus assured of second place even if he lost the last game. Karpov won one and drew five against Portisch to become the champion.>

Mar-06-21  Z legend 000000001: I believe there was a later tournament book published in English - but the original was (I think) this one:

<Il torneo internazionale di Milano 1975
Sergio Luppi
Mursia, 1975


Mar-06-21  areknames: <but the original was (I think) this one:>

<Il torneo internazionale di Milano 1975 Sergio Luppi
Mursia, 1975

Correct, it was published shortly after the end of the tournament. I acquired my copy a few years later and it's still in my possession.

Mar-06-21  Z legend 000000001: Hi <areknames>, thanks for the confirmation.

Any chance you could give us the time controls and arbiters, for completeness?

Thanks again.

Mar-06-21  areknames: Hi <legend>, it's an excellent book with a long introduction and plenty of annotated games but there's no direct reference to either time controls or arbiters. As it was a major event I can only assume the time controls and adjournment rules would have reflected the standards of the time. Furthermore, the tourney was organized by the then vice president of the Italian Chess Federation (FSI), the indefatigable Nicola Palladino, who would most certainly have been the Chief Arbiter. I remember him with fondness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: It was definitely a classical tournament if that is the question.

The standard at the time was 2 and a half hours for 40 moves - of course there was no time delay at that time and there were still adjournments.

The above is just a guess but at that time there was not the variety of formats used now and not the pressure for quicker play.

Mar-07-21  Z legend 000000001: Thanks <areknames> and <plang>.

Yes on the classical, and I do agree with the older 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours as being the standard at the time.

But I'm now a little curious, about when did the 40 move limit transition to 2 hours vs. 2 1/2 hours?

I guess I'll start by investigating the WCC's...

PS- The <legend> part is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I mostly just go by <Z>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed>, believe the genesis of 40/2.5 was in the 1920s, but only really took hold after WWII; for example, Nottingham 1936 was played at the rate of 36/2 and 18 moves per hour thereafter. The notorious game Flohr-Capablanca at Nottingham was decided by Capa's blunder at move 37, as was the Cuban's victory vs Winter towards the finish.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific tournament only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC