4th Candidates' Tournament, Bled, Zagreb, Belgrade, September - October 1959

4th Candidates' Tournament, Bled, Zagreb, Belgrade, September - October 1959

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Author: Golombek, Harry (1911-1959) [editor]

Year: 1960

Publisher: British Chess Magazine, Ltd

Place: London


viii+118 typescript pages with tables, diagrams and index. Octavo (8 1/4" x 6 1/2") bjound in original publisher's wrappers with pictorial front cover. Corrigenda laid in. British Chess Magazine Quarterly, Number 3. (Betts: 25-279) First edition.

All 112 games, annotated, with round by round commentary and indexes of openings, middle-game motifs and endings. Algebraic notations.

The 1959 Candidates Tournament was hosted by three cities in Yugoslavia. The first 14 rounds were played in Bled, rounds 15-21 in Zagreb, and rounds 22-28 in Belgrade. This event would select the next challenger to world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, who had just recaptured his title in the Botvinnik - Smyslov World Championship Rematch (1958). Mikhail Tal, Svetozar Gligorić, Pal Benko, Tigran Petrosian, Friðrik Ólafsson and Bobby Fischer qualified from the Portoroz Interzonal (1958). Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres were seeded directly into the candidates tournament on the strength of their 1-2 finish in the previous Amsterdam Candidates (1956). Harry Golombek was arbiter, and the seconds were Bent Larsen (Fischer), Yuri Averbakh, joined later by Alexander Koblents (Tal), Vladas Jonovich Mikenas (Keres), Isaac Boleslavsky (Petrosian), Igor Bondarevsky (Smyslov) Aleksandar Matanovic (Gligorić), Klaus Viktor Darga and Ingi Randver Johannsson (Ólafsson), and Rudolf Maric (Benko). The players would meet each other four times, twice in Bled and once in both Zagreb and Belgrade. In Bled, the players stayed at the Grand Hotel Toplice, the site of Alexander Alekhine's historic triumph in Bled (1931). After the first cycle Tal, Paul Keres and Tigran Petrosian shared the lead. During the second cycle, shortly after the beginning of Round 8, Golombek remarked to Fischer on how many Caro Kanns the Soviets had been playing. Bobby replied "they are all just chicken; they just don't want to face B-QB4 against the Sicilian. Tal emerged the hero of Round 8 with his spectacular win over Vasily Smyslov. He won the brilliancy prize by crushing the ex-world champion with a series of sacrifices he later described as "pure improvisation". Such improvisation did not serve him as well in his Round 10 encounter with co-leader Keres, who "seemed to enjoy taking all the material Tal was offering". According to Golombek, "most onlookers thought (Tal) might well have resigned ten moves earlier."10 Though Tal finished off the cycle with three straight wins, it was Keres who led by a half point when the players set off for Zagreb. Tal led Keres by a point and a half as the final cycle began in the 2,000 seat Belgrade Trade Union House, with the rest of the field trailing far behind. Smyslov's woes continued in Round 22 when he blundered so badly against Tal that a Russian journalist actually sent in a report that Smyslov had won the game, and "later had to contact Moscow again by telephone and eat his words". Keres showed he was still full of fight in Round 24 when he won the best game prize against Tal. The hometown favorite, Yugoslavian grandmaster Gligorić, had played a disappointing tournament until he beat Smyslov in Round 26 in just eighteen moves. Needless to say, this created quite a stir. As Golombek later described the scene, "There came a full-throated roar from over 2,000 (spectators) ... and it was quite impossible for the other players to continue their games. So I hurriedly asked Gligorić and Smyslov to vacate the stage at once. With one round to go, Tal only needed a half point against Benko to win the tournament. Benko showed up wearing dark sunglasses, "fearing- or pretending to fear the hypnotic power of Tal's eyes."16 Unfazed, Tal easily forced an early draw by perpetual check to emerge victorious over Keres and all the rest. He had earned the right to face Mikhail Botvinnik in the Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Match (1960). (Chessgames dot com)


Light edge wear and lightly soiled. A very good copy.

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