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Friday, February 3, 2012

Fischer at Bled 1961

Mikhail Tahl captured the Alekhine Memorial Tournament in Bled after losing the World Chess Championship earlier in the year to Mikhail Botvinnik. The tournament was a race to the finish with Bobby Fischer. The tournament was played in the Grand Hotel Toplice from September 3rd to October 3rd, 1961.

The only loss suffered by Tal in the tournament was in the second round at the hands of Fischer, who scored 3½ out of 4 against the "Russians". Actually he played a Ukrainian, an Armenian, and two from the Baltic states but, "They are all Russians to me!" Fischer said.

The final round was one of excitement.  Tahl had a half point lead on Fischer and a full point on Svetozar Gligoric. Fischer and Gligoric were the only remaining undefeated players and Tahl had only been victorious over the weaker players that were at the bottom of the standings. He had only scored 2½ out of 6 against the 2nd through 7th place finishers, with no wins against any of them.

Tahl also had the luxury of being the only player of the three in contention to have the white pieces in the final round. He fully utilized this advantage to defeat Miguel Najdorf.  Fischer had to settle for a draw with Borislav Ivkov while Gligoric suffered his lone defeat against Tigran Petrosian. The loss relegated him to a tie for 3rd-5th place with Petrosian and Paul Keres.

All games can be found HERE.
A crosstable and my post on Bisguier at Bled can be found HERE.
Check out the pdf article from the 2005 Chess Correspondent Magazine with two annotated games HERE.

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