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Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Vladimir Savon
12th Soviet Team-ch final A (1972), Moscow URS, rd 2, Mar-09
English Opening: Anglo-Slav Variation. General (A11)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-04-06  Jim Bartle: Purely accidental.

Actually I have a question about Savon. He apparently was quite a strong player, but rarely played in the West. Was he out of favor by the Soviets, or considered a security risk, or risk to defect?

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: It seems that Savon was treated the same as many other strong soviet grandmasters in not getting the opportunity to travel including Yuri Balashov, Semyon Furman, Aivar Gipslis, Ratmir Kholmov, Nicolai Krogius, Gennady Kuzmin, Anatoly Lutikov,Alexei Suetin, Vladimir Tukmakov, Evgeny Vasiukov etc
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: When Vladimir A Savon won the USSR Championship in 1971 he was only an IM. He was from Chernigov a small country settlement in the Ukraine and only learnt to play chess when he was thirteen years old. These factors probably told in the selection as to who was getting the nod from the Soviet Chess Federation for foreign tournament invitations. When he won the USSR Championship in 1971 he was included in the squad for the Skopje Olympiad in 1972. His score in eight games there was (+3, =3, -2). He did eventually become a GM (in 1973) but was over thirty years old by that time. I think profile had a lot to do with it.
Feb-04-06  Jim Bartle: Thanks, both. A lot of the names Plang mentions I'd never heard until I read Tal's autobiography, where he shows a lot of respect to some of these players.

Of course with the collapse of the USSR and the waves of ex-Soviet players invading the western tournaments, we saw how many outstanding players had been trapped inside the USSR.

Feb-04-06  euripides: The limited international opportunities also reflect the fact that invitations issued to Soviet players never matched the strength of chess there. This was true not only of privately organised tournaments but of the Interzonal and Candidates' tournaments. The Soviets got about four out of 24 places in the interzonals, when they had more than half the players in the world of the requisite strength, and their numbers in the Candidates were restricted after 1962. Tournament organisers also seem mostly to have gone along with the allocation of places by the Soviet federation.
Feb-04-06  ughaibu: I think the numbers in the candidates were restricted 1956-1965 inclusive.
Feb-04-06  Jim Bartle: So a Russian championship might have been a tougher event than an Internzonal in that period?
Feb-04-06  euripides: <Jim> In principle, the Soviet championships could be stronger than the Interzonal, but it depends who was playing. The interzonals didn't include the world champion, the previous challenger, or the previous candidates' runner-up; so e.g. in 1970 it didn't include Petrosian, Spassky or Korchnoi - nor Keres, who had retired from the world championship cycle: nor Tal, who got eliminated at the zonal stage. Also, the interzonals often included players from weaker zones who might well not have got into the Soviet Championships. But I think the Soviet Championships were rarely full-strength either. Of course the best players in the Interzonals were usually very strong - to win the interzonal in 1970 one would have had to come in ahead of Fischer at his peak.

I think there was a separate, and weaker, Russian championship.

Feb-04-06  Jim Bartle: Thanks. I'd just add that the point of an Interzonal was not to win but to qualify for the candidates.

I remember one year Paul van der Sterren played beautifully in the Interzonal, came in first, and was rewarded with a first-round match with Kamsky, where he was quickly dispatched.

Here in Peru--admittedly a steps down the ladder--the players all say that the Lima qualifier is always much tougher than the natl. championship itself, since almost all the best players live in Lima.

Feb-04-06  ughaibu: To get an idea of how difficult it was for Soviet players to reach the interzonal. The top three qualified. (Geller later replaced Botvinnik in the candidates.)

Zonal tournament Moscow 1964
1 Spassky 7
2 Stein 6
3 Bronstein 6
4 Kholmov 6
5 Suetin 5
6 Korchnoi 5
7 Geller 5
Surely one of the strongest tournaments of the 60s.

Feb-04-06  ughaibu: Tal and Smyslov also played in the interzonal, Amsterdam 1964, I dont know how they qualified. The top six places at the interzonal were taken by the five Soviets, plus Larsen. Bronstein and Stein were then eliminated by FIDE's restriction on the number of Soviets in the candidates. Now you know how silly it is when people talk about "Soviet control" of chess or similar.
Premium Chessgames Member
  sackman: Archetypal Petrosian - no-fuss strangulation with no counter-play for his opponent.
May-28-12  birthtimes: Notice how beautifully Petrosian's pawns at e5 and f4 make Black's dark-squared bishop a bad bishop!!! Petrosian then takes advantage of Black's queenside dark-squared weaknesses induced by 11.a5 a6. The Master at work!!!
Jun-17-12  King Death: <Jim Bartle> When Anatoly Lein and Leonid Alexandrovich Shamkovich came to the United States in the 1970s they were very strong players here that had just gotten lost in the shuffle when they played behind the Iron Curtain. These were players that did well to make plus scores in the Soviet championships and I doubt that they were ever in the top 10 in their country. Life here was a lot better for them though.
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