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Ribli - Torre Candidates Quarterfinal Match

Zoltan Ribli6/10(+3 -1 =6)[games]
Eugenio Torre4/10(+1 -3 =6)[games] Chess Event Description
Ribli - Torre Candidates Quarterfinal (1983)

Ribli had progressed from the Las Palmas Interzonal (1982), and Torre from the Toluca Interzonal (1982). Three more quarterfinal matches were held in parallel, the Korchnoi - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1983), Kasparov - Beliavsky Candidates Quarterfinal (1983), and Smyslov - Hübner Candidates Quarterfinal (1983). The draw for pairings had been made in Lucerne on 10 November at a FIDE meeting during the Olympiad. (1) Each match would be played to 10 games; (2) the first player to achieve 5.5 points would go to the semifinal. The matches were held in order to select a challenger for Anatoly Karpov, the World Champion.

After the Interzonals, Ribli had played in Novi Sad (1982) in October, in the Olympiad in November, and in Hoogovens (1983) in January. Torre played in Tilburg (1982) and Hamburg TV-B (1982), in the Olympiad, and in Manila (1982) right after the Olympiad. Thereafter, he stayed in the Philippines until this contest. The two players had met only twice before: E Torre vs Ribli, 1971 0-1 and Ribli vs E Torre, 1976 0-1.

On the organisation of the Candidates matches, the new FIDE administration had promised that the quarterfinals would be completed by end of March 1983. This pre-election promise was inadequately managed, and feuds developed between bidders, federations, and players. Venues were disputed and dates slipped, not least in the Ribli-Torre match. (3) But on 10 March a rescue bid was received from Spain, and two days later, the FIDE President Florencio Campomanes confirmed a 3 April start. (4) The venue was the salón Las Palmeras of Hotel Meliá in the city of Alicante. The Alicante Chess Club took care of the technical part. The arbiters were Antonio Angel Medina Garcia and Delfín Burdio. About 20.000 US dollars had been earmarked for prizes and other expenses. This was mainly covered by the City of Alicante, Caja de Ahorros provincial savings bank and the provincial council. (5, 6)

Ribli's second was Miklos Orso. (7) Torre had financial problems, and one week before departure for the match he still had no flights booked. At the last moment, the President of the Philippine Chess Federation Federico Moreno managed to get plane tickets for him, his wife Marilin and his second Rico Mascarinas. Torre had wanted to bring his comrade Ricardo De Guzman with him, and also GM Miguel A Quinteros of Argentina as his chief second, but there was not enough money. (8) In nice surroundings by the Mediterranean Sea, (9) the two delegations were joined by those of Nana Alexandria and Tatjana Mefodiyevna Lematschko, who played their quarterfinal match there at the same time. (5)

On the question of who would win, the chess journalist Alexander Jongsma reckoned that Ribli was versatile, more cool, and had a fast and sober judgement, whereas Torre was too kind, not enough hardened and had no chance. (10) Former World Champion (and quarterfinalist) Vasily Smyslov answered, "Ribli is more experienced, but one should not forget that Torre is a chess force with many unknown qualities. Many assess his success in the Toluca Interzonal as a sensation. But in expert opinion, this success is only evidence of his great potential. Torre is a chess player with an original style of his own, who is endowed with great fantasy by nature. That is why it will be difficult for the rational-minded Ribli to play against him. At all events, the struggle will be very intense." (11)

The first four games were played extremely cautiously, and ended in draws after 13, 19, 15 and 14 moves, respectively. Both players were trying to discover the weaknesses of their adversary. (12) In Game 5, a Queens Gambit Declined (Semi-Slav Defence), Torre allowed Ribli to close the center by 22...f5, and later he succumbed in time pressure by deficient defence against Ribli's kingside pawn storm. (13) Perhaps shocked by this, he declined to follow well-known theory in Game 6 (by playing 13...Bd7 instead of 13...Bb4+). He again spent a lot of time, and made moves below his usual strength. His position was as good as lost already on move 16. (14) Now the cigarette company La Suerte provided financial help which enabled Eduardo Bernal to buy plane tickets to Europe, and Torre felt encouraged by the extra support from those back home. (8) In Game 7, Ribli offered a pawn and a draw as early as move 18. After a long think, Torre accepted the pawn, but not the draw! The players now had 10-15 minutes left for the next 20 moves. Position after 30.Qf1:

click for larger view

At this point Mascarinas was furious at Torre for his impractical time management and stormed out of the playing hall. (8) Each player had one minute left on the clock, (8) but Torre had considered that the queenside pawns should win. And they did, after he survived the time scramble on moves 35-40 (with errors on both sides). In Game 8, Ribli could have played on for a win by 21.Rc7 but the players settled on a draw by repetition. Game 9 was a Sicilian Scheveningen which followed Karpov vs Ermenkov, 1980 until Ribli grabbed a pawn with 15...exf5!? Torre got the pawn back by 19.Qxe5 and 20.Qxf5, but after 19.Nxe5! Ribli would have been in trouble. (15) Short of time, (7) the players soon agreed to a draw. To level the score Torre now had to win with Black in Game 10. Ribli built up a space advantage and could have had connected passed pawns by 26.Nd5! Instead he blundered three moves later with 29.Qh2? Torre did not seize this chance to win the exchange (and the game?) by 29...Bxd6! and lost to Ribli's kingside attack.

Hotel Meliá, Alicante, Spain, 4-26 April 1983

Elo* 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 GM Ribli 2595 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ 1 6 2 GM Torre 2580 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ 0 4

Ribli advanced to the Smyslov - Ribli Candidates Semifinal (1983).

Suggested reading: Ribli and Orso wrote a summary plus analysis of the games which found its way (in various forms) to several magazines: Magyar Sakkélet 1983 no. 7 pp. 145-148, Jaque June 1983 pp. 224-226 and July 1983 pp. 296-300, Suomen Shakki 1983 no. 5 pp. 180-184, Tidskrift för Schack May 1983 pp. 122-127, British Chess Magazine June 1983 pp. 236-237 and July 1983 pp. 278-282.


(1) Tidskrift för Schack, December 1982, p. 317.
(2) Tidskrift för Schack, March-April 1983, p. 86.
(3) British Chess Magazine, April 1983, pp. 136-137.
(4) British Chess Magazine, May 1983, pp. 184-185.
(5) El Mundo Deportivo, 1 April 1983, p. 30.
(6) El Mundo Deportivo, 7 April 1983, p. 37.
(7) British Chess Magazine, July 1983, p. 278.
(8) Kibitz by User: The Eagles 11 December 2010 at E Torre vs Ribli, 1983.
(9) Photo: (the white building houses Hotel Meliá and other facilities).
(10) De Telegraaf, 19 March 1983, p. 41.
(11) Interview by Alexey Suetin in British Chess Magazine, February 1983, p. 62.
(12) Zoltan Ribli in Jaque, June 1983, p. 224 (
(13) Analysis by Robert Eugene Byrne in New York Times, 26 April 1983 (
(14) See also analysis by Robert Byrne in New York Times, 3 May 1983 (
(15) Zoltan Ribli in Jaque, July 1983, p. 299 (

*FIDE Rating List January 1983 (

Original collections: Game Collection: WCC Index (Ribli-Torre 1983) by User: Hesam7 and Game Collection: Ribli - Torre Candidates Quarterfinal 1983 by User: Tabanus. Game dates are from El Mundo Deportivo and Dutch newspapers. Thanks to User: Paint My Dragon for information from BCM and other help.

 page 1 of 1; 10 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Torre vs Ribli  ½-½131983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalE17 Queen's Indian
2. Ribli vs E Torre  ½-½191983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalD17 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
3. E Torre vs Ribli  ½-½151983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalD42 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch, 7.Bd3
4. Ribli vs E Torre ½-½141983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
5. E Torre vs Ribli 0-1351983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Ribli vs E Torre 1-0201983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalD49 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
7. E Torre vs Ribli 1-0701983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalB42 Sicilian, Kan
8. Ribli vs E Torre  ½-½231983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalE97 King's Indian
9. E Torre vs Ribli  ½-½221983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalB84 Sicilian, Scheveningen
10. Ribli vs E Torre 1-0411983Ribli - Torre Candidates QuarterfinalA46 Queen's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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