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🏆 Amsterdam Candidates (1956)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
The event was played in Amsterdam and Leeuwarden from 27 March - 30 April. Ten players competed in order to become the challenger for the world title. As the loser of the ... [more]

Player: Vasily Smyslov

 page 1 of 1; 18 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Smyslov vs Szabo ½-½311956Amsterdam CandidatesE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
2. Geller vs Smyslov 0-1561956Amsterdam CandidatesE26 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
3. Smyslov vs Petrosian ½-½531956Amsterdam CandidatesE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
4. Smyslov vs Panno 1-0411956Amsterdam CandidatesB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
5. Filip vs Smyslov  ½-½231956Amsterdam CandidatesE19 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 9.Qxc3
6. Smyslov vs Keres ½-½261956Amsterdam CandidatesD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
7. Bronstein vs Smyslov  ½-½241956Amsterdam CandidatesE55 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation
8. Smyslov vs Spassky 0-1661956Amsterdam CandidatesA13 English
9. Pilnik vs Smyslov  ½-½221956Amsterdam CandidatesB59 Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3
10. Szabo vs Smyslov ½-½301956Amsterdam CandidatesE46 Nimzo-Indian
11. Smyslov vs Geller 1-0381956Amsterdam CandidatesA15 English
12. Petrosian vs Smyslov ½-½101956Amsterdam CandidatesD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
13. Panno vs Smyslov ½-½251956Amsterdam CandidatesA15 English
14. Smyslov vs Filip 1-0491956Amsterdam CandidatesC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
15. Keres vs Smyslov ½-½191956Amsterdam CandidatesC78 Ruy Lopez
16. Smyslov vs Bronstein 1-0571956Amsterdam CandidatesA15 English
17. Spassky vs Smyslov ½-½231956Amsterdam CandidatesE46 Nimzo-Indian
18. Smyslov vs Pilnik 1-0501956Amsterdam CandidatesD78 Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6
 page 1 of 1; 18 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Smyslov wins | Smyslov loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-26-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project:

Vasily Smyslov recalls a nervy moment in the tournament:

<"The battle became especially fierce in the second cycle, when three rounds from the finish Keres was level with me, with Geller and Bronstein half a point behind, and Spassky and Petrosian trailing by a further half point. In this sharp situation <<<I won a very tense game against Bronstein,>>> (Smyslov vs Bronstein, 1956) then drew with Spassky, and success in the final game with Pilnik gave me victory in the tournament.">

-Vasily Smyslov, "Smyslov's 125 Selected Games" Ken Neat transl. (Cadogen 1983), pp.13-14

Mar-07-14  RookFile: Really an awesome result for Smyslov. He was at the height of his powers in these days.
Jun-07-15  zanzibar: Here's a little contemporanous atmospherics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTc...

Dec-17-18  Olavi: From four quite easily winning positions in rounds 2-5 Petrosian scored just three draws and a loss. As Euwe wrote in his tournament book, he really should have won the tournament - and who knows, Tal would never have become WC.
Dec-17-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Tough for even the strongest character to overcome what happened to Petrosian in that second-round game, though so very easy to play armchair quarterback after the event.

Bit surprising really that Euwe would offer up the idea that Petrosian should have come out winner; one rather suspects matters would have gone differently overall for everyone concerned.

Why Tal 'would never have become WC' is beyond my understanding, as it was only the next year that he took that critical first step by qualifying from the Soviet title event.

Dec-20-18  Olavi: <Why Tal 'would never have become WC'> is my thoughts on a possible Petrosian - Tal 24 game match in 1960. Remember that Tal scored 5½/12 against the other Soviets in the 1959 candidates, and I'd put it beyond him to beat Petrosian at least before the 70's. As for that opinion of Euwe's, I agree, but he was referring to how it seemed to him after the tournament ended. In 1953 Smyslov had dominated, this time, despite the gap at the end, not so, and for Euwe Petrosian had played the best chess.
Dec-20-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  fabelhaft: <Remember that Tal scored 5½/12 against the other Soviets in the 1959 candidates>

He didn't lose any of his games against Petrosian, not sure if the losses to Keres say much about how Tal would have done against Petrosian.

<I'd put it beyond him to beat Petrosian at least before the 70's>

They played a dozen games up until Curacao 1962, and Tal was the only player to win between them.

Dec-20-18  Olavi: I took these things into consideration. For me, what I wrote is almost a conviction; but of course my argument is rather weak. As must any argument about the matter be, I think.
Dec-04-19  diagonal: Candidate's Tournament 1956 in The Netherlands: <Ten players, but none of West Europe or the USA!>

Six from the Soviet Union, two from Argentina, and one each from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

And watch out the near misses / next following players from the Interzonal at Gothenburg in 1955, with the top nine players qualifying for this Candidate's Tournament (the winner was Bronstein with 15/20, Keres was second with 13.5, surprising Panno had 13, Petrosian 12.5, Geller and Szabo each had 12, then Filip, Pilnik and young Spassky with 11; Smyslov was directly qualified from the previous title match against WC Botvinnik in 1954):

Just missing out at Gothenburg Interzonal with 10.5 were unlucky Georgy Ilivitzky, Soviet Union, and Ludek Pachman, Czechoslovakia (with Ilivitzky defeating Pachman in a Candidates Reserve play-off at Prague in 1956); followed jointly by Najdorf, and Guimard, both from the federation of Argentina. Hard (chess) days for West Europe and the USA.

Dec-04-19  Olavi: Olavi: <diagonal> Reshevsky and Evans were qualified for the Gothenburg Interzonal (1955), from which the former would of course have gone further. According to Lothar Schmid in Schach-Echo 17/1955, they chose the US Open instead. That had a 3000 $ first prize. 56th US Open (1955)
Dec-05-19  Olavi: According to that report by Schmid, in the congress just before the Gothenburg Interzonal Botvinnik had asked to be allowed to play in this candidates' hors concours.
Dec-05-19  diagonal: <Olavi> Thanks for pointing out that (Reshevsky)!

In the previous Candidate's, the famous 1953 Zurich and Neuhausen tournament, also won by Smyslov, eight of the top ten finishers were coming from the Soviet Union, the two exceptions were <Najdorf>, and of course, <Reshevsky> as shared second (together with Bronstein and Keres).

Amazing background line by Lothar Schmid concerning a request of the World Champion to play hors concours in the Candidate's. Was Botvinnik really serious about that?

Playing as a reigning World Champion in a qualification contest, and possibly not winning, would mean to lose face in those days.

Botvinnik did not participate in too many big international tournaments very often as reigning World Chess Champion:

<1952 Budapest (Maroczy Memorial)> 3rd-5th> (Keres won ahead of Geller); <1956 Moscow (Alekhine Memorial)> =1st (shared with Smyslov); <1958 Wageningen (Caltex-Scheepjes)> 1st (ahead of Flohr and Donner, six players, four from the Dutch hosting nation); <1961/62 Hastings> 1st (ahead of Gligoric, followed by his compatriot Flohr); <1962 Stockholm> 1st (ahead of Flohr, many Swedish fodder players).

Dec-07-19  Olavi: It's hard to believe Botvinnik actually thought that he be allowed to play, but from his point of view, he must have thought that he needed the toughest possible 'training'. I think it showed in the match next year, he failed to win a couple quite winnable positions.
Mar-23-21  tympsa: In this tournament Keres was not even close to come thru. Too many draws and only 3 wins against clearly inferior players. Loss to Filip sealed the deal. He had to wait another 3 years to try again, but in 1959 young Tal was too strong
Mar-23-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: "Clearly inferior players"?

That is a pretty strong field.

Mar-23-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: That poster got thing right: Keres' loss to Filip from a winning position was the death blow to his chances.
Mar-23-21
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: This was mainly a Soviet-Argentinian event 🙂 ... Well, and this was actually an enough balanced tournament: Seven players scored 9.5 or more points. There was just two mini-matches with a score of 2-0 (Smyslov beating Geller was one of them). How hard was the field: The ninth (penultimate) drew 1-1 with four of the first seven participants, and drew one game against the others... Keres missed that whole point (game won) but that single point still wouldn't be enough for him to become the challenger. Smyslov lost also a mini-match 0,5-1,5 - to Spassky, who held vs Keres with 1-1 ... Etcetera etcetera & summa summarum, Smyslov's victory in the event cannot be contested solely on the basis of that Keres accidental defeat to Filip ... And finally, since he beat Botvinnik in the title match, this was by far also not a useless Tournament
Mar-23-21  thelegendisback: Same old story when Keres comes close to becoming the challenger then he has to lose games. Same as in 1948, 1953 or later again 1962.

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