|USSR Zonal (1964)|
While the USSR Championship generally served as the country's Zonal tournament in appropriate years, 1964 saw a separate event. The top six finishers from the recently concluded 1963 Championship (Leonid Stein, Boris Spassky, Ratmir Kholmov, David Bronstein, Efim Geller, Alexey Suetin) were joined by Viktor Korchnoi for a double-round robin tournament to determine the three qualifiers. It was close all the way with only two points separating first from last at the finish.|
Kholmov started the quickest. By round 5, he had three points and was a full point up on the field. Literally. Everyone else had two points. However, he suffered a loss in round 7, leaving these standings at the end of the first half:
4.0: Bronstein; 3.5: Kholmov; 3.0: Geller, Suetin; 2.5: Korchnoi, Spassky, Stein.
However, Spassky scored 4.5 points in six games to sprint past the field. Stein also came back strongly, and was able to claim an Interzonal spot with the fading Bronstein.
Original Collection: Game Collection: USSR Zonal 1964 by User: Phony Benoni.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Pts
1 Spassky ** == == 01 1= =1 01 7.0
2 Stein == ** == == =1 =1 0= 6.5
3 Bronstein == == ** == 1= 10 == 6.5
4 Kholmov 10 == == ** 0= 1= == 6.0
5 Suetin 0= =0 0= 1= ** == 1= 5.5
6 Korchnoi =0 =0 01 0= == ** 11 5.5
7 Geller 10 1= == == 0= 00 ** 5.0
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 42
|1. Suetin vs Geller
||1-0||38||1964||USSR Zonal||B35 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Modern Variation with Bc4|
|2. Korchnoi vs Kholmov
||0-1||41||1964||USSR Zonal||A30 English, Symmetrical|
|3. Spassky vs Bronstein
||½-½||31||1964||USSR Zonal||E21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights|
|4. Geller vs Korchnoi
||0-1||35||1964||USSR Zonal||D27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical|
|5. Stein vs Suetin
|| ||½-½||30||1964||USSR Zonal||B47 Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation|
|6. Kholmov vs Spassky
||1-0||57||1964||USSR Zonal||B84 Sicilian, Scheveningen|
|7. Spassky vs Geller
||0-1||74||1964||USSR Zonal||C85 Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation Doubly Deferred (DERLD)|
|8. Bronstein vs Kholmov
||½-½||27||1964||USSR Zonal||E19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3|
|9. Korchnoi vs Stein
|| ||½-½||32||1964||USSR Zonal||D93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3|
|10. Stein vs Spassky
||½-½||32||1964||USSR Zonal||C89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall|
|11. Suetin vs Korchnoi
|| ||½-½||37||1964||USSR Zonal||B28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation|
|12. Geller vs Bronstein
|| ||½-½||96||1964||USSR Zonal||A13 English|
|13. Spassky vs Suetin
||1-0||41||1964||USSR Zonal||B48 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation|
|14. Kholmov vs Geller
|| ||½-½||42||1964||USSR Zonal||C96 Ruy Lopez, Closed|
|15. Bronstein vs Stein
||½-½||31||1964||USSR Zonal||D79 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O, Main line|
|16. Korchnoi vs Spassky
||½-½||41||1964||USSR Zonal||A29 English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto|
|17. Suetin vs Bronstein
||0-1||83||1964||USSR Zonal||B18 Caro-Kann, Classical|
|18. Stein vs Kholmov
|| ||½-½||30||1964||USSR Zonal||C43 Petrov, Modern Attack|
|19. Geller vs Stein
||1-0||39||1964||USSR Zonal||D86 Grunfeld, Exchange|
|20. Kholmov vs Suetin
||0-1||41||1964||USSR Zonal||B99 Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line|
|21. Bronstein vs Korchnoi
||1-0||36||1964||USSR Zonal||D24 Queen's Gambit Accepted|
|22. Kholmov vs Korchnoi
|| ||½-½||42||1964||USSR Zonal||B83 Sicilian|
|23. Bronstein vs Spassky
||½-½||30||1964||USSR Zonal||D27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical|
|24. Geller vs Suetin
||½-½||90||1964||USSR Zonal||A39 English, Symmetrical, Main line with d4|
|25. Suetin vs Stein
||0-1||59||1964||USSR Zonal||C96 Ruy Lopez, Closed|
| page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 42
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
|May-21-13|| ||keypusher: <Nerwal: Botvinnik was directly seeded in the Candidates matches as the previous world champion. But he withdrew and Geller got chosen to take his place. Geller wasn't qualified until then.>|
Thanks. Do you know why he was chosen? I guess because he'd tied for second in the final qualifier in the last cycle, and the guy he tied with was already in?
|May-21-13|| ||brankat: <keypusher> <Geller qualified for the Candidates Matches the following year by, I understand, finishing in a second-place tie at Curacao. So what was he doing here?>|
Botvinnik was to play Smyslov in the first round of the Candidates' matches of 1965. It was only some two weeks prior to the beginning of the match that Botvinnik announced his withdrawal from the event.
So, in 1964 Geller participated in the Zonal because his third place in Curacao qualified him only as a first "substitute" candidate. Obviously, Botvinnik's plans were not known in '64.
|May-21-13|| ||keypusher: <brankat> Very interesting. So imagine, Botvinnik dropped out just two weeks before the match was to take place! And Geller stepped in and beat Smyslov decisively.|
It must have been very hard for Smyslov to get ready psychologically for Geller. Not to denigrate Geller's difficulties...
|May-21-13|| ||brankat: <keypusher> Yes, Smyslov actually talked about it after the match. He had been preparing for Botvinnik for more than 3 months. On the other hand, Geller was getting ready for Smyslov in case Botvinnik withdraws :-)|
|May-22-13|| ||HeMateMe: Korchnoi complained about this in his autobiography--only three soviets allowed, for the Candidates matches, from a large group of talent. I suppose some of the people in an evnet like this were better chessplayers than some of the europeans or North Americans who got in.|
Looks like his low finish here may have helped fuel that discontent.
|May-22-13|| ||Eyal: <Korchnoi complained about this in his autobiography--only three soviets allowed, for the Candidates matches, from a large group of talent [...] Looks like his low finish here may have helped fuel that discontent.> |
The rule concerning no more than three players from one country applied to the qualification from the Interzonal stage of the cycle to the Candidates, not to that from the Zonal to the Interzonal. Indeed, in Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), all the 5 Soviets who participated finished among the top-6, but Stein & Bronstein didn't qualify for the Candidates. Korchnoi himself, however, never suffered from this rule; what he was pissed about here was that Smyslov & Tal were seeded directly into the Interzonal without having to take part in this tournament.
|May-22-13|| ||perfidious: <brankat:....Botvinnik was to play Smyslov in the first round of the Candidates' matches of 1965. It was only some two weeks prior to the beginning of the match that Botvinnik announced his withdrawal from the event....>|
According to Wade (I think), this took place after the FIDE Congress, at which the motion by the West Germans to eliminate the right to a rematch was successful.
|Oct-16-14|| ||plang: <ughaibu: So, FIDE got rid of the candidates tournament but the Soviets held one anyway. 60% draws, were there accusations of collusion?>|
For a tournament of this strength 60% draws is quite normal - the draw % is perhaps a bit low in fact.
|Jan-22-15|| ||perfidious: <plang: <ughaibu: So, FIDE got rid of the candidates tournament but the Soviets held one anyway. 60% draws, were there accusations of collusion?>|
For a tournament of this strength 60% draws is quite normal - the draw % is perhaps a bit low in fact.>
Seems a bit low to me as well, what with these players being so evenly matched.
|Jan-22-15|| ||Petrosianic: <So, in 1964 Geller participated in the Zonal because his third place in Curacao qualified him only as a first "substitute" candidate. Obviously, Botvinnik's plans were not known in '64.>|
Probably guessed, but not "known". Botvinnik had made rumblings about retiring undefeated in 1963, which is why the Keres-Geller 2nd place match was arranged so quickly. But in the end, Botvinnik played after all.
Apparently, Botvinnik was not DEFINITELY out of the '65 Candidates until a month before they started.
|Apr-08-15|| ||Howard: Maybe I'm wrong, but this super-strong event has probably been overlooked over the years. It was a small event with only seven players, but its
significance can hardly be overestimated.|
|Jul-28-15|| ||Zonszein: One of the strongest tournaments of the 60s|
|Jan-10-16|| ||Everett: Likely toughest zonal ever, with Geller, Suetin and Korchnoi finishing with minus scores.|
Everyplace else in the world was a joke.
|Oct-21-16|| ||ewan14: Served Smyslov right|
|Oct-21-16|| ||ewan14: It was Botvinnik who was responsible for the 3 '' Soviets '' rule
|Oct-21-16|| ||ewan14: Smyslov was supposed to have been the 8th player
per V. K.|
|Oct-21-16|| ||Olavi: Smyslov had good connections to above, therefore, managed to get a direct place in the IZ. So only three places left from this tournament.|
|Oct-21-16|| ||Olavi: So the intro is not correct.|
|Oct-28-16|| ||keypusher: <ewan14: It was Botvinnik who was responsible for the 3 '' Soviets '' rule per Averbakh>|
Yes, but he doesn't have evidence for his belief.
|Oct-28-16|| ||Petrosianic: <keypusher>: <Thanks. Do you know why he was chosen? I guess because he'd tied for second in the final qualifier in the last cycle, and the guy he tied with was already in?>|
Nearly right. With Botvinnik out, the two seeds would have been the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from Curacao. So it would have been Keres and Geller in any case.
Had Geller qualified from THIS tournament, that could have been interesting. The spot would have fallen to Fischer next. But he was already qualified. It would have fallen to Korchnoi next.
|Mar-06-18|| ||ughaibu: I don't get the negativity towards Smyslov, particularly as it seems to be fueled by nothing more than Korchnoi's habitual and nonsensical griping. Why not complain about Tal, too?|
The fact is that Smyslov and Tal were the only ex-champions on the rosta, sending them, unobstructed, to the interzonal strikes me as quite natural. Certainly, I don't see how sending Tal, but not Smyslov, could be justified.
|Apr-20-18|| ||Everett: Well, there are rumors that Smyslov was favored by authorities in 1953. Those discussions go back a while here.|
It seems that there were various favorites at different times. Mostly unsubstantiated it seems
|Apr-21-18|| ||perfidious: <Everett....Everyplace else in the world was a joke.>|
Even typical Soviet semifinals of those days were loaded with players of international standard.
|Apr-21-18|| ||Howard: A related point is that there were many promising Soviet players who were clearly world-calibre, but they rarely (if ever) qualified for the interzonal.|
Why? Because qualifying from the super-strong Soviet zonal tournaments was just too tough. Many top-30 (in the world) Soviets had to sit on the sidelines time after time rather than take part in the WC cycle.
|Apr-22-18|| ||perfidious: For a start, the winner of M Ruderfer vs Stein, 1972 was a strong master who played in multiple Soviet semifinal events, yet had no chance of winning the title; even such players as Lein and Shamkovich, formidable as they were, could fuhgeddaboutit.|
< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·
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