Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Pal Benko vs David Bronstein
Amsterdam Interzonal (1964), Amsterdam NED, rd 10, Jun-01
English Opening: Agincourt Defense. Agincourt Variation (A13)  ·  1/2-1/2



Get this game explained with Decode Chess
explore this opening
find similar games 8 more Benko/Bronstein games
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: As you play through the game, you can get the FEN code for any position by right-clicking on the board and choosing "Copy Position (EPD)". Copy and paste the FEN into a post to display a diagram.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Wizard war! It was trying to understand mysterious games like this one that improved me back then from a 15-year old A-player to an Expert. First White declines a draw by repetition,then Black. They fight like crazy, but by third adjournment it is still drawn.
Mar-20-10  jerseybob: I played this game over mainly because of IM Day's note, and was not disappointed. A great battle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: From his failure to qualify for the candidates in '58 up until this tournament, it looked as if Bronstein had lost the desire to fight for the highest honors in the chess world. Yet in '63-'64 he seemed to get a second wind, and had one last try to make it through.

For those who are tired of seeing the same old Bronstein games from the 50's, do yourselves a favor and see his fighting chess from this period.

Apr-19-12  Petrosianic: That seems like a harsh indictment, to say that he didn't care. I know it's meant as a compliment, to suggest that the only way he could fail to qualify was by not caring, but when you think about it, it's not really a compliment. The fact is that he was in the world's toughest zonal. Even Spassky near his peak didn't always qualify from the Soviet Championship.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <Petrosianic> I must apologize for writing something that in my eyes has been completely misconstrued.

Bronstein has ever had mixed feelings about competitive chess, and it is my view from looking at his games throughout his career, reading Secret Notes, Sorcerer's Apprentice, etc., reading various quotes from other authors... that his chess always toed the line between the competitive and aesthetic aspects, sometimes with greater emphasis on the latter.

I wish I could find the quote, from the late 50's, when Bronstein, after a tough loss (maybe to Cardoso in '58) said tiredly "maybe competitive chess is not for me any more."

In any case, from looking at his games from 59-62, I find more whimsy, and in '63-'64, I see more discipline and fight.

I don't see why this is such a "harsh indictment." And I could be seeing things imperfectly, which I am allowed to do. This is why I wrote "<it looked as if> Bronstein had lost the desire to fight for the <highest honor in the chess world.>" If you honestly feel that Bronstein goal in chess at that point was to be WC, then I do disagree with you.

Apr-19-12  Petrosianic: Maybe "harsh indictment" is an overstatement. I just mean that if it were me, losing is one thing, but losing because you didn't hussle is worse.

But are you saying he lost the desire to fight for the highest title, or the desire to play chess at all? There was a slow period, like 1959-1961, when he finished with an identical 9-10 score in the Soviet Championship 3 years in a row, but then he had better results again in the early 60's.

But I haven't checked his games from that period to see if the problem came from unhappiness about not being allowed to experiment enough, or from too much experimenting. If it was from too much whimsy, as you say, he might not have been down or depressed at all, just playing things he wanted to play that weren't quite sound. I did once hear that he said something about envying Larsen for trying things like Bird's Opening, but feeling he'd draw too much negative attention on himself if he tried it too.

Speaking of the Cardoso game, my understanding of it has always ben that it wouldn't have been enough for him to have simply saved the game. A draw would have left him out in the cold also, thanks to the 4 Soviets Rule. Even a win might not have gotten him into the Candidates. Keres and Smyslov were seeded, Tal won the Interzonal, and a win would have left Bronstein and Petrosian tied for the 4th spot (and I have no idea how they would have tiebroken that).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <Petrosianic> Good questions, and I don't have the answers... I would say that when Bronstein feels a bit burnt out from competitive chess he intentionally gets a little more experimental. So, "whimsy" might come straight from being "down." Or not, who knows...

When I was talking "whimsy," I was thinking of games like this. Bronstein vs Petrosian, 1960

There are also two losses to Spassky under 30 moves during this time. Maybe Bronstein just started getting punished for his looseness at the board. I think in '63-'64, he was not doing it as much.

Apr-20-12  Petrosianic: It does seem worth looking into more. Bronstein is one of those fun players, like Larsen, whose games I've always meant to study closer some day.

He does seem to be be more serious in the mid-60's. I don't know if you know this, but after he lost his spot in the 1965 Candidates over the 4 Soviets Rule, he didn't take it lying down. He actually made a motion that the Candidates be increased to 16 players, and that both he (who should have qualified) and Bobby Fischer (who didn't even compete) should be included in that 16. (That's something you don't often hear, that a Soviet GM once moved to give Fischer a free spot in the Candidates).

They turned it down, unfortunately. I"d be very interested to see how they'd both have performed (Fischertarian Dogma holds that Fischer achieved his 1972 playing level practically the day after Curacao ended).

And of course, Leonid Stein was bumped out of the candidates twice over the 4 Soviets Rule, and never did get in.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: <Petrosianic> Actually, it was this exact tournament that saw Bronstein and Stein get bumped from the candidates. It's a remarkable form of chess "affirmative action."

Game Collection: Amsterdam Interzonal 1964

And you're right about Leonid. Stein got ripped off at Stockholm '62. I'm not sure what exactly happened at Sousse '67. His last game with Hort seems to have an interesting ending... Stein vs Hort, 1968

And I can't recommend Bronstein's names enough, even his draws and losses... Game Collection: Bronstein's Remarkable Draws and Losses

Apr-20-12  Petrosianic: I think the 4 Soviets Rule was Botvinnik's idea. On the surface it sounds like a good idea, to get other nationalities into the Candidates. But it has a sneaky side too. In the Soviet Union, there were maybe a dozen players who could have posed a reasonable threat to Botvinnik. The more of them that can be eliminated early, the better able he is to prepare for the remaining ones.

It was especially insulting for Stein in 1962, because he not only nominally qualified from the interzonal, he won a PLAYOFF against Benko and Gligoric. Despite winning the playoff, he didn't qualify, Benko did, because there were already the maximum number of Soviets in the candidates already.

So, why play in the playoff at all, if he's not eligible? This is the most insulting part. He had to play in the playoff, to determine whether it would be him or Gligoric who got the spot if one of the other Soviets dropped out! Of course none of them did, but he had to play the playoff anyway, just in case.

I'm not sure about 1967. Technically he didn't get bumped by the rule that time, but that loss may have been caused by needing to try too hard to win. If he'd finished a half point higher, he'd have been tied for the final Candidates spot, and probably have been bumped out a THIRD time, since he would have been the 5th Soviet. I think he needed the full point to tie with Korchnoi for the 4th Soviet spot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: From move 13-34 Bronstein has the better position. In an effort to win, he risks 35.c5, which may have lost his advantage.

Nonetheless, Bronstein may have missed a win late in the game with <53.Ne5>, hitting c4 and leaving Benko's K cut off from the action.

May-08-16  Howard: Why is Petrosian calling it a "4 Soviets" rule ? The limit back then was no more than FIVE Soviets, not four.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Flemming: 66. ...Rf4 was also draw (both sides promote Queens). 66. ...Rd8 was a desperate try.
Apr-01-17  RookFile: Bronstein had 10 wins and 1 loss in this tournament. I think it's fair to say he was giving it has best effort.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: >May-08-16 Howard: Why is Petrosian calling it a "4 Soviets" rule ? The limit back then was no more than FIVE Soviets, not four.>


The limit, actually, was THREE, and he was the fourth twice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <Howard>,<Everett> It was discussed in depth on the Curacao Candidates (1962) and the number was changed between 1959 and 1962.

1959: "Maximum 4 from a single country in the candidates" (not clear whether seeded players counted toward the limit)

1962: "Maximum 3 from a single country in the candidates" (but they didn't count the two seeded players, so in practice there were 5)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Everett: Wait, so Stein was not screwed at all, Neither Bronstein? No one got hurt by this rule after '62? The Curacao page is not enlightening.

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
Amsterdam Interzonal 1964
by sneaky pete
Heavy pressure on Benko
from Bronstein's Remarkable Draws and Losses by Everett

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2021, Chessgames Services LLC