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Hastings 1953/54 Tournament

Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander6.5/9(+4 -0 =5)[games]
David Bronstein6.5/9(+5 -1 =3)[games]
Alberic O'Kelly de Galway5.5/9(+4 -2 =3)[games]
Fridrik Olafsson4.5/9(+3 -3 =3)[games]
Aleksandar Matanovic4.5/9(+2 -2 =5)[games]
Alexander Tolush4.5/9(+4 -4 =1)[games]
Rudolf Teschner4.5/9(+3 -3 =3)[games]
Savielly Tartakower3.5/9(+3 -5 =1)[games]
Robert Graham Wade3/9(+1 -4 =4)[games]
Dennis Morton Horne2/9(+1 -6 =2)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Hastings 1953/54

The 29th Hastings Christmas Chess Festival was held at the end of the year 1953. After resuming annual tournaments in 1945 following World War II, the chess club at 7 Carlisle Parade had struggled to keep the event ongoing without many foreign participants to make the contests more engaging to the public. This edition of the premier tournament saw an opportunity that would shape the course of the event for the remainder of the 1950s. The Soviet Chess Federation, in the interest of displaying their dominant grandmasters to the West, sent as emissaries David Bronstein and Alexander Tolush to participate in the festival. They were met by four time Hastings winner Dr. Savielly Tartakower, and Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, who had won the 22nd edition of the Hastings event and been a code-breaker for the Allies during WWII. The remaining seats were filled by International masters Aleksander Matanovic, Alberic O'Kelly de Galway, and Robert Wade; Fridik Olafsson, who had placed third in the 1953 World Junior Championship; Rudolf Teschner, the editor of "Deutsche Schachzeitung" and West German champion of 1951; and a previous Hastings participant, Dennis Horne. The time control for the event was 34 moves in two hours followed by 17 moves every hour. Alexander won his second Hastings festival with 6½/9, sharing first with world vice-champion Bronstein. Despite Bronstein's shared first, his and Tolush's losses to Alexander, as well as their inability to sweep the field, were considered an embarrassment by the Soviet Chess Federation. They would retaliate the following year by sending Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres to Hastings in an effort to accomplish what Bronstein and Tolush had failed to do. Nevertheless, the new invitations to Soviet grandmasters was a success and the Hastings Christmas festivals continued with new vigor throughout the 1950s.

The final standings and crosstable:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 =1st Alexander * 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 6½ =1st Bronstein 0 * 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 6½ 3rd O'Kelly 0 0 * ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 5½ =4th Olafsson ½ 0 ½ * ½ 0 1 1 1 0 4½ =4th Matanovic ½ ½ 0 ½ * 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 4½ =4th Tolush 0 ½ 0 1 0 * 1 1 0 1 4½ =4th Teschner ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 * 1 1 1 4½ 8th Tartakower ½ 0 0 0 1 0 0 * 1 1 3½ 9th Wade ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 * ½ 3 10th Horne 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 0 0 ½ * 2

As usual, the credit for much of the historical content goes to Jan van Reek and his amazing website.

Previous: Hastings (1952/53). Next: Hastings (1954/55)

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Bronstein vs R G Wade  ½-½221953Hastings 1953/54D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
2. F Olafsson vs Tolush 0-1331953Hastings 1953/54B68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
3. A Matanovic vs Tartakower  0-1321953Hastings 1953/54A07 King's Indian Attack
4. C H Alexander vs O'Kelly 1-0401953Hastings 1953/54C02 French, Advance
5. Teschner vs D Horne  1-0611953Hastings 1953/54D38 Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation
6. Tolush vs Bronstein  ½-½211953Hastings 1953/54E36 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
7. D Horne vs A Matanovic 0-1321953Hastings 1953/54B09 Pirc, Austrian Attack
8. R G Wade vs Teschner  0-1501953Hastings 1953/54C24 Bishop's Opening
9. Tartakower vs C H Alexander  ½-½441953Hastings 1953/54A89 Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6
10. O'Kelly vs F Olafsson  ½-½481953Hastings 1953/54E69 King's Indian, Fianchetto, Classical Main line
11. R G Wade vs Tolush 1-0311954Hastings 1953/54E38 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5
12. C H Alexander vs D Horne  1-0251954Hastings 1953/54C73 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
13. F Olafsson vs Tartakower  1-0701954Hastings 1953/54D19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
14. Bronstein vs O'Kelly 1-0701954Hastings 1953/54C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. Teschner vs A Matanovic  ½-½751954Hastings 1953/54E14 Queen's Indian
16. Tartakower vs Bronstein 0-1641954Hastings 1953/54B50 Sicilian
17. O'Kelly vs R G Wade  1-0301954Hastings 1953/54D50 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. D Horne vs F Olafsson 1-0321954Hastings 1953/54C35 King's Gambit Accepted, Cunningham
19. A Matanovic vs C H Alexander  ½-½221954Hastings 1953/54C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
20. Tolush vs Teschner  1-0311954Hastings 1953/54D40 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch
21. Tolush vs O'Kelly  0-1681954Hastings 1953/54E59 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line
22. Teschner vs C H Alexander  ½-½391954Hastings 1953/54C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
23. F Olafsson vs A Matanovic  ½-½401954Hastings 1953/54E15 Queen's Indian
24. Bronstein vs D Horne 1-0311954Hastings 1953/54E50 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Nf3, without ...d5
25. R G Wade vs Tartakower  0-1241954Hastings 1953/54D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 45  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-22-15  zydeco: Interesting historical footnote to the tournament, from this book -

The Soviet cultural attache in England was Sergei Kondrashev, who was really a spy for the KGB and assigned to handle Soviet mole, George Blake. Blake had just scored his greatest coup - he had minutes to a meeting documenting a daring Anglo-American plan to build a tunnel under Berlin and tap into Eastern Bloc communciations cables. Kondrashev had to escort the Soviet delegation (Bronstein, Tolush, Alatortsev) to the airport at the end of the tournament, then "spent some hours ensuring he was not under surveillance" before he met Blake on a double-decker bus and received his copy of the minutes.

I have the feeling that Tolush's failure at Hastings was pretty much the end of his career. He had twice finished in the top four in the USSR Championship finals, won Bucharest 1953 ahead of Smyslov, Szabo, Petrosian, and Boleslavsky, and was a newly-minuted grandmaster, but failure (shared fourth) at a tournament in a capitalist country was just too embarrassing. He was never again sent to an international tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I believe this is the first Hastings event that has a competitor who is still alive (Olafsson).
Aug-28-22  Good old Neil: Hastings (1953/54) (kibitz #2) Barden played in the 1950/51 and 1951/52 Hastings tournaments and is still alive as at August 2022.

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