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Las Palmas Interzonal Tournament

Zoltan Ribli9/13(+5 -0 =8)[games]
Vasily Smyslov8.5/13(+6 -2 =5)[games]
Mihai Suba8/13(+6 -3 =4)[games]
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian7.5/13(+3 -1 =9)[games]
Vladimir Borisovich Tukmakov7.5/13(+5 -3 =5)[games]
Bent Larsen6.5/13(+4 -4 =5)[games]
Jan Timman6.5/13(+3 -3 =7)[games]
Jozsef Pinter6/13(+2 -3 =8)[games]
Andrew Jonathan Mestel6/13(+4 -5 =4)[games]
Lev Psakhis6/13(+2 -3 =8)[games]
Slim Bouaziz5.5/13(+1 -3 =9)[games]
Jaime Sunye Neto5.5/13(+2 -4 =7)[games]
Lars Karlsson5.5/13(+2 -4 =7)[games]
Walter Shawn Browne3/13(+1 -8 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Las Palmas Interzonal (1982)

As a step toward finding a challenger for the World Champion Anatoly Karpov, eight players had to qualify for the Candidates quarterfinal matches that would take place in 1983. Viktor Korchnoi was seeded into the Candidates by virtue of his loss to Karpov in the world title match the previous year, and Robert Huebner was qualified as the loser of the Korchnoi - Hübner Candidates Final (1980). The other six players had to qualify from interzonal tournaments: Las Palmas (this page), the Toluca Interzonal (1982) (Lajos Portisch and Eugenio Torre qualified), and the Moscow Interzonal (1982) (Garry Kasparov and Alexander Beliavsky qualified).

To play in the interzonals one had to qualify from zonal tournaments. Mestel had qualified from Marbella B (1982), Marbella Final (1982) and the Leiden Zonal Playoff (1982), Ribli, Suba, and Pinter from Baile Herculane (1982) (Pinter via the Budapest Zonal Playoff (1982)), Tukmakov and Psakhis had qualified from Yerevan (1982), Sunye from Morón (1982), Browne from the US Championship (1981), Karlsson from Randers B (1982) and the Randers Final (1982), and Bouaziz from Tripoli (1981). (1) Four players were directly seeded: Timman, Larsen and Petrosian based on rating per 1 July 1981, (2) and the 61-year-old Smyslov by appointment of the Soviet Chess Federation. (3)

The opening ceremony took place on Sunday 11 July, at about 12 noon. It was announced that Mestel and Timman's second Jonathan Speelman played in the European Club Cup but would arrive in Las Palmas at the start of Round 1. Prior to the drawing of lots, Antonio Angel Medina Garcia explained that FIDE had decided that players from the same country should not play against each other in the last five rounds. After the draw, in seeking a player-member for the Appeals Committee, the organizers cheerfully leapt into the lion's den. Medina addressed the hall and proposed Petrosian as a member. Petrosian nodded. But then the scraping of a chair was heard, and the volatile Browne protested. Larsen then refused a place. Then Browne proposed Sunye. The Russians objected. Ribli then suggested Browne. He refused, while still objecting to Petrosian. All this happened in short succession, creating complete confusion. Medina complained that the others would not listen to the voice of experience, "which is why I now decree a players meeting Monday at noon." Play would start at 3 pm and last up to eight hours, with time for resumptions between 10 and 12 midnight. (4) Medina was the arbiter. (5)

Hotel Reina Isabel, Las Palmas, Spain, 12-29 July 1982

Elo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 1 GM Ribli 2580 * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 9 2 GM Smyslov 2565 0 * 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 8½ 3 GM Suba 2525 ½ 0 * ½ 0 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 0 8 =4 GM Petrosian 2605 ½ ½ ½ * 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 7½ =4 GM Tukmakov 2555 0 1 1 1 * ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 7½ =6 GM Larsen 2595 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ * ½ 0 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 6½ =6 GM Timman 2600 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 6½ =8 GM Pinter 2550 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 1 0 * 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 6 =8 IM Mestel 2540 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0 1 * 0 ½ 0 1 1 6 =8 GM Psakhis 2615 ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 * ½ ½ ½ 1 6 =11 IM Bouaziz 2360 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ * ½ ½ 1 5½ =11 IM Sunye 2500 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ * ½ 1 5½ =11 IM Karlsson 2505 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ * ½ 5½ 14 GM Browne 2590 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ * 3

Ribli and Smyslov advanced to the Candidates matches:

Ribli - Torre Candidates Quarterfinal (1983)
Smyslov - Hübner Candidates Quarterfinal (1983)
Korchnoi - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1983)
Kasparov - Beliavsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1983)

Smyslov beat Ribli in the Smyslov - Ribli Candidates Semifinal (1983) and went on to the Kasparov - Smyslov Candidates Final (1984) before he had to throw in the towel.

Tournament books: Torneo Interzonal de Ajedrez Ciudad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 12 al 30 julio 1982 (Sevilla 1982. 96 pp.), and Interzonal Las Palmas 1982, ed. by Robert Wade (England 1982. 24 pp.). The Dutch newspapers at had decent coverage.


(1) Mainly based on Mark Weeks at
(2) Timman in Schaakwerk I (Studien und Partien), 1990, pp. 152-153, and assuming that Henrique Mecking (2615) (who was ill) was replaced by Petrosian, see
(3) Tidskrift för Schack, vol. 88 (1982), p. 188.
(4) Alexander Jongsma in De Telegraaf, 12 July 1982, p. 17.
(5) El Mundo Deportivo, 22 July 1982, p. 34.

Original collections: Game Collection: Las Palmas Interzonal 1982 by User: suenteus po 147 and Game Collection: Las Palmas Interzonal 1982 by User: Tabanus. The Elo in the crosstable is from FIDE Rating List July 1982 (

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 91  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Ribli vs A J Mestel  ½-½361982Las Palmas InterzonalA15 English
2. Suba vs Smyslov 0-1561982Las Palmas InterzonalA28 English
3. V Tukmakov vs Petrosian 1-0331982Las Palmas InterzonalE17 Queen's Indian
4. Browne vs Timman 0-1451982Las Palmas InterzonalE12 Queen's Indian
5. L Karlsson vs Larsen  0-1511982Las Palmas InterzonalB27 Sicilian
6. S Bouaziz vs Psakhis  ½-½241982Las Palmas InterzonalB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
7. Pinter vs J Sunye Neto  ½-½411982Las Palmas InterzonalE54 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System
8. Smyslov vs L Karlsson 1-0571982Las Palmas InterzonalA04 Reti Opening
9. J Sunye Neto vs Ribli 0-1401982Las Palmas InterzonalA14 English
10. Browne vs Pinter  ½-½241982Las Palmas InterzonalD41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
11. Psakhis vs Suba 0-1451982Las Palmas InterzonalA61 Benoni
12. Timman vs Petrosian 0-1211982Las Palmas InterzonalD16 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
13. A J Mestel vs S Bouaziz ½-½821982Las Palmas InterzonalB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
14. Larsen vs V Tukmakov  ½-½291982Las Palmas InterzonalA37 English, Symmetrical
15. Petrosian vs Larsen  ½-½231982Las Palmas InterzonalE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
16. S Bouaziz vs J Sunye Neto  ½-½161982Las Palmas InterzonalB42 Sicilian, Kan
17. L Karlsson vs Psakhis  ½-½331982Las Palmas InterzonalA15 English
18. Pinter vs Timman  0-1411982Las Palmas InterzonalE41 Nimzo-Indian
19. V Tukmakov vs Smyslov 1-0711982Las Palmas InterzonalE16 Queen's Indian
20. Ribli vs Browne  ½-½151982Las Palmas InterzonalA30 English, Symmetrical
21. Suba vs A J Mestel  ½-½581982Las Palmas InterzonalA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
22. Pinter vs Ribli  ½-½171982Las Palmas InterzonalA30 English, Symmetrical
23. Psakhis vs V Tukmakov  ½-½571982Las Palmas InterzonalE50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
24. Smyslov vs Petrosian ½-½131982Las Palmas InterzonalD27 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
25. J Sunye Neto vs Suba 0-1351982Las Palmas InterzonalA15 English
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 91  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  SteinitzLives: What a terrible tournament for Walter. No e pawn openings in his games. Wonder if that had anything to do with it.
Oct-15-15  say it with a smile: SteinitzLives:

Because this tournament was out of Walter Browne's league. He was used to Mickey Mouse US championships.

His short fuse/bipolar behavior didn't help either.

Oct-15-15  Howard: Chess Life, as I recall, said that the tournament would knock about 70 points off of Browne's rating.

On the other hand, Browne had a very good year in 1983. As I recall, he had one of the 6-7 best results that year of any player in the world.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Browne had long been regularly playing 1.d4 by then: I recall at least one pundit questioning his changing over from 1.e4 before an interzonal, but that was prior to Manila Interzonal (1976), not this event.
Oct-16-15  Retireborn: I wouldn't agree that Browne was "out of his league" here, and he'd had good results earlier in 1982; shared first (with Henley) in the massive Indonesian tournament and second (behind Huebner) at Chicago.

Las Palmas must have affected his confidence though; he was still apparently 1st board for the US at the Lucerne olympiad, but played rather passively and suffered horrible defeats against Ljubo and Miles.

Some people (Ljubo and Miles again!) just seemed destined not to make an impact on the old-style interzonals. The highest rated player at Las Palmas was Lev Psakhis (over 2600 at the time)...

Oct-16-15  Howard: Miles, Ljubo, and Andersson were three of the strongest players of the late 70's/early 80's not to ever make the Candidates.

Though in the case of Andersson, it was suspected that he (secretly) never really wanted to qualify.

Oct-16-15  Howard: Incidentally, 1982 was a good year for Psakhis notwithstanding his falling short at the Interzonal. He and Kasparov tied for first place in the Soviet championship, plus Psakhis beat the latter in their individual game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <say it with a smile....this tournament was out of Walter Browne's league. He was used to Mickey Mouse US championships.>

Come again? He won six of those 'Mickey Mouse' events.

You ever play anyone in the class of Browne or other US championship participants? They all have plenty of game--that I can tell you from experience, including being on the receiving end from Browne himself.

<Retireborn....Some people (Ljubo and Miles again!) just seemed destined not to make an impact on the old-style interzonals....>

The cause of these great players' failures may well be psychological in nature.

At best, maintaining one's form can be a tricky business: Kasparov averred that before losing his title to Kramnik, he was playing very well and his results supported this assertion.

May-28-16  Howard: Maybe it was the wrong year for Browne to be at an interzonal. In 1983, he had one of the best years of his career, and at the end of the year he was ranked in the world's top-20.

By the way, he was not first board at Lucerne 1982---that was Seirawan.

May-29-16  Retireborn: <perfidious> I agree that one never knows when one's form will desert one. As for the psychology, I gather that for FIDE interzonals the prize money (and sometimes the playing conditions) weren't that great, which may have affected Western players a little more.

<Howard> Are you sure about that? According to my database Browne played ao Huebner, Timman, Igor Ivanov, Ljubojevic, Miles, and Andersson at Lucerne.

I know Seirawan was top board in 1986 (beat Kasparov!) and in 1984 it was Dzin. My understanding is that the US Olympiad team was often plagued by disagreements about board order, financial affairs etc.

May-29-16  Howard: Oops! You got me there! Just looked it up---Browne was 1st board, and Yaz was second. My mistake.

I figured since Seirawan played Karpov in the event (and drew), then "logically" he must played 1st board.

Regarding the 1984 edition, Yaz refused to play. Had something to do with the fact he didn't want Dzin playing on a higher board than he.

And, then, there's the story about Browne refusing to play on the 1976 squad because it was either first-board-or-nothing.

May-30-16  Retireborn: <Howard> Yes, I think Seirawan being promoted to play Karpov (who he'd beaten at London earlier that year) makes more sense than Browne being promoted to first board several times.
May-30-16  Howard: You're certainly right about Yaz having beaten Karpov earlier that year--in fact, there was a picture from that game on the cover of Chess Life when that took place.

Lest we forget, however, Karpov beat Seirawan later that year, at Hamburg, by improving on the opening variation from the London game! That went down as one of the top 3-4 games from the Informant volume that it appeared in.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Obviously a very strong tournament. Both Timman and Larsen scored just 50%. Browne had a bad tournament - it happens to every player.
Apr-15-17  Howard: Browne not only came in dead-last, but he did so by a wide margin. For the record, I still remember seeing Robert Byrne's NYT chess column on this interzonal back in '82, and noticing that Browne had come in last. It was quite a surprise.

Another noteworthy thing about this event was the failure of Petrosian to qualify for the Candidates! As some people noted back then, this was the first time in 30 YEARS that Petrosian would not be part of the world championship cycle!!

Apr-16-17  Retireborn: Any other examples of strong players unexpectedly coming last? Shirov at Dos Hermanas 1995 is the only one that immediately comes to mind.
Apr-16-17  Nerwal: <Any other examples of strong players unexpectedly coming last? Shirov at Dos Hermanas 1995 is the only one that immediately comes to mind.>

Shirov has a good record in finishing last in tournaments, like at Dortmund 1998 when he was at the peak of his career.

Apr-27-17  Howard: Another example is Geller's dismal last-place finish at Moscow 1981. Granted, he was well past his prime at the time, but last place was still quite unusual for him.
Apr-27-17  Howard: Then there was Speelman and Short's joint-last-place finish at Linares 1992 !

Rather surprising was that later that year, Short pulled off a big upset by beating Karpov in the Candidates, despite the fact that Karpov did fairly well at Linares 1992.

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