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🏆 Biel Interzonal (1976) Chess Event Description
As part of the cycle which culminated in the ... [more]

Player: Robert Eugene Byrne

 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Smejkal vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½481976Biel InterzonalE18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3
2. Robert E Byrne vs Sosonko  ½-½251976Biel InterzonalB78 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 10.castle long
3. Huebner vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½171976Biel InterzonalA04 Reti Opening
4. Robert E Byrne vs O Castro  1-0411976Biel InterzonalB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
5. J Diaz Diaz vs Robert E Byrne  0-1261976Biel InterzonalB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
6. Robert E Byrne vs V Liberzon 1-0291976Biel InterzonalB68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
7. R Sanguineti vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½171976Biel InterzonalE99 King's Indian, Orthodox, Taimanov
8. Robert E Byrne vs Csom  0-1741976Biel InterzonalB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
9. K Rogoff vs Robert E Byrne ½-½231976Biel InterzonalE63 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Panno Variation
10. Robert E Byrne vs Geller  ½-½231976Biel InterzonalB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
11. Gulko vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½301976Biel InterzonalE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
12. Robert E Byrne vs Smyslov 1-0371976Biel InterzonalC19 French, Winawer, Advance
13. Tal vs Robert E Byrne 1-0221976Biel InterzonalB53 Sicilian
14. Robert E Byrne vs Petrosian  ½-½171976Biel InterzonalC41 Philidor Defense
15. Portisch vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½641976Biel InterzonalD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Robert E Byrne vs Larsen 1-0521976Biel InterzonalB42 Sicilian, Kan
17. A Lombard vs Robert E Byrne ½-½431976Biel InterzonalD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
18. Robert E Byrne vs A Matanovic  1-0601976Biel InterzonalC95 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer
19. Ulf Andersson vs Robert E Byrne  ½-½591976Biel InterzonalD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
 page 1 of 1; 19 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Robert E Byrne wins | Robert E Byrne loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Apr-11-14  Everett: The "washed up" Larsen wins an Interzonal with his unorthodox and uncompromising style intact.

Petrosian's loss to Castro and Portisch's loss to Lombard were likely shockers that helped determine the placing.

Portisch bangs out nine wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett> Huebner vs Petrosian, 1976, from the last but one round, was of greater significance still at the finish.
Apr-11-14  Everett: Thanks <perfidious> very interestingly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett> Recall reading the critical fragment of Huebner-Petrosian at the time in amazement. More proof-if any were needed-that even great players are human beings, not machines.

It is unfortunate that Byrne had a near miss at Biel as well, but his loss to Tal proved costly in the end.

Apr-11-14  Howard: As one who is pretty familiar with this event, let me point out that a key reason why Larsen took clear first was that he "cleaned up the players at the bottom of the scoretable", as Pal Benko pointed out in his excellent tournament report in "Chess Life and Review" (as the magazine was called back then).

More specifically......Larsen scored a perfect 5/5 against the five tailenders--and the only other player who managed that was Andersson (who didn't make the top three Candidates spots though). As Benko stated, Larsen's sharp, aggressive style was deadly against players much weaker than he was.

But then Larsen didn't do especially well against the top players. He beat Portisch but he lost to Petrosian and Byrne.

Granted, Larsen took clear first place, fair and square---there's no denying that. But some people argued back then that this illustrated a drawback of allowing weaklings to be playing in a world championship qualifying event. Someone like Larsen, in other words, could slip into first place by bowling over the weaker players much more effectively than his rivals.

In fact......this case was strangely similar to Fischer's taking clear first at the 1962 interzonal ! The young, brash American scored 9.5 against the bottom 10 players, allowing only one draw against them. None of this rivals, such as Petosian and Geller, were able to do this well against these weaklings.

But then Fischer didn't do particularly well against the other, much stronger players. Thus, his impressive winning margin of 2.5 points (!) was perhaps not as impressive as it looked.

Thus, Fischer's fate in the Curacao tournament, later that year, was similar to Larsen's fate 15 years later (1977) when he was slated to play Portisch in the Candidates quarterfinals....

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Andersson, it should be noted, scored +6=2 against the eight players who finished minus, same as Larsen. Difference was, Larsen split his games against the remainder of the field, whereas Andersson lost four games without a victory, an all too typical failing for him at top level.

It is possible to ascribe too much to Benko's report as well, for in the period 1967-70, Larsen had a tournament record at least equal to that of any player in the world--for this reason, he was selected as first board in USSR-ROW. Larsen did a bit more than simply whaling on bottom markers for his fine tournament results.

Match play? That was another kettle of fish, same as Bogoljubov in his day. The optimism which propelled Larsen to such heights in tournament play was punished by the sangfroid necessary to achieve the greatest success.

Apr-13-14  Everett: <It is possible to ascribe too much to Benko's report as well, for in the period 1967-70, Larsen had a tournament record at least equal to that of any player in the world--for this reason, he was selected as first board in USSR-ROW. Larsen did a bit more than simply whaling on bottom markers for his fine tournament results.>

Indeed, Larsen went +2 -1 =1 vs the combo of Spassky and Stein. Just wasn't so great, comparatively, in longer match play situations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett> Recall a comment somewhere on Larsen vs the tag team, after Spassky sat the last round: 'Larsen, smouldering, beat Stein'.

One can only imagine the paroxysms of horror which might well have passed through the Soviet chess bureaucracy had Spassky played that critical fourth round and lost a second consecutive game, as well as the mini-match.

Apr-13-14  Howard: It is certainly correct that in the late 60's Larsen's tournament record was among the very best in the world--certainly better than, say, Petrosian's, and the latter was world champion during that time.

But there is no doubt that by 1976, Larsen's best days were behind him. He was 41, and as far as FIDE ratings he was no longer in the top five.

But there's no denying that his taking clear first at Biel 1976--ahead of Petrosian, Geller, Portisch, etc--was a very notable achievement. That was, however, his last appearance in the Candidates.

Apr-13-14  Everett: <Howard> so what about his age? Did you notice the ages of those he beat? And what of the FIDE ratings? Look what happened. See Anand recently for more info. See Karpov in his early 40's.

Strange things happen when one doesn't quit but keeps playing. Why are you even on this topic?

And read about his '73 and '79 gripes. Maybe he has a point that he may have been screwed by traveling to the Eastern (Soviet) Interzonals.

And, it is all but certain that <every single person> on average did much better against the bottom half compared to the top half of the table. No need for a mathematician to explain it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett: Strange things happen when one doesn't quit but keeps playing.....>

Considering that my last serious game was played at age forty, I have nothing to say, this once. (laughs)

Mar-29-18  csmath: <In fact......this case was strangely similar to Fischer's taking clear first at the 1962 interzonal !>

No, it is not similar. Fischer did not lose a single game and he did beat Korchnoi and Portisch.

If he were to beat top players that easily in 1962 the way he was beating the bottom then he would have had perhaps 6 point margin which would have been the best performance ever on any tournament. How far he should have shined when he was only 18 years old? The Stockholm tournament was a spectacular result which announced his arrival at the top of the world chess. I can only find one other similar "youngster" and he is well known to you - 19-year-old Kasparov in Bugojno 1982. Tal came at the age of 20 winning Soviet championship, Karpov did similar feat in Alekhine Memorial at age 20 and even "wunderkind" Magnus who is arguably one of the best players ever to play chess had less spectacular arrival at that age.

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