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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chess in 1967

What a year that was! If you weren't around, you missed a lot. 
     Monte Carlo was won by Bobby Fischer ahead of Smyslov (2nd) and Geller and Larsen (=3). The rest of the field was Matanovic, Gligoric, Lombardy, Forintos, Mazzoni and Bergraser. There was also a 21 player “B” open event won by Nikola Karaklajic and Rudolf Maric. Unfortunate circumstances prevented it from being even stronger. French master Pierre Rolland died in a car accident, Klaus Viktor Darga canceled for business reasons, Florin Gheorghiu was invited but couldn't get a visa and Wolfgang Unzicker telegraphed at the last minute that he could not come. In addition, the current world champion Tigran Petrosian withdrew at the last minute. He objected to Fischer being granted an extra $2,000 appearance fee.
     Following the rebuilding of the Macedonian capital Skopje, Yugoslavia organized the first in a series of international tournaments to be held in Skopje, as well as the two nearby villages of Krusevo and Ochrid, in 1967. The first "Turnir solidarnosti" featured a field of twelve Yugoslav masters headed by Milan Matulovic. Others were Peter Dely from Hungary, Luben Popov from Bulgaria, and Bela Soos from Romania. The Soviet Union participants were Efim Geller and Ratmir Kholmov. Fischer had just recently returned to competition and Skopje would be an important stop on his road to the Sousse Interzonal.
     After nine rounds Fischer was tied tied for first with Kholmov ahead of Geller, but then Booby suddenly announced he would withdraw unless the chess sets were modified and the spectators removed from further rounds. Fischer forfeited his tenth round game, but a compromise was reached and Fischer was allowed to replay his tenth round game. He continued play and went on to score a clear first.
     The Sousse Interzonal took place from October 15 to November 16, 1967. Fischer was, again, acting like a snot face. This time it was over the tournament rules which had been bent for him and Reshevsky to meet their religious practices of not playing on Friday and play to begin after 7 pm on Saturday. They also would not play on four Jewish holidays. When Fischer threatened to withdraw over a scheduling dispute the secretary of the US Embassy in Tunis reminded him to think himself a representative of the Unites States, Fischer's reply was, “I am here as a representative of Robert Fischer!” He ended up walking out. You can read complete details in the Sports Illustrated article HERE. Bent Larsen ended up scoring a decisive victory ahead of Korchnoi, Geller and Gligoric with Portisch taking fifth place. 
     There was a three-way tie for the final spot between Reshevsky, Hort and Stein. Their playoff was held in Los Angeles that ended with all three scoring 4 points; Reshevsky had the better tie-break at the Interzonal and advanced to the Candidates matches.
     Maribor was won by Unzicker a half point ahead of Reshevsky. Palma de Mallorca was won by Larsen ahead of Botvinnik and Smyslov who were followed bt Portisch and Gligoric. Dr. Anthony Saidy took the US Open ahead of Robert Byrne with Rossolimo and Benko tying for 3rd-4th. Venice was won by Donner ahead of Larry Evans and Tigran Petrosian. Vrnjacka Banja (a Zonal tournament) was won by Ivkov ahead of Matanovic and Barczay. Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of their Confederation and arranged a GM tournament, the first of its kind in Canada. Organizer was Abe Yanofsky who also played in the tournament. Larsen and Klaus Darga of West Germany tied for first. They were followed by Keres and Spassky who tied for 3rd-4th. Others were Benko, Gheorghiu and Szabo, Matanovic, Yanofsky with IM Shimon Kagan finishing last.
     Reggio Emilia was won by Matulovic ahead of Saidy with third place going to IM Ladislav Mista. Furman took the Rubinstein Memorial in Polanica Zdroj ahead of Wolfgang Uhlmann and Vlastimil Hort. Invov and Stein tied for first at Sarajevo while at Sochi Nikolai Krogius, Vladimir Simagin, Boris Spassky, Leonid Shamkovich and Alexander Zaitsev all tied for first. Matulovic won the Yugoslav championship
     The Capablanca Memorial in Havana was won by Larsen ahead of Taimanov and Smyslov. Florin Gheorghiu took first at Bucharest. The Asztalos Memorial at Salgotarjan ended in a tie between Istvan Bilek and Leonid Shamkovich. Henrique Mecking won the Brazilian championship in Sao Paulo. Ratmir Kholmov took first in Belgrade.
     The Hoogovens tournament in Beverwijk was won by Spassky and the IBM tournament in Amsterdam was won by Portisch. The Halle Zonal was a tie between Portisch and Hort. Szabo took the Hungarian championship. At Hastings Alexey Suetin, Hort, Stein and Gheorghiu all tied for first. Fischer won the US Championship.
     Lost in all this was a small tournament at Dundee, Scotland. The tournament was held in the Caird Hall. The event was marred by the withdrawal of Arturo Pomar who became ill during the tournament and had to withdraw after three rounds, so his score was canceled. Also, the legendary Paul Keres and Mikhail Botvinnik had expressed a desire to play, but due to political events going on in the Soviet Union (especially the Six Day War), they were unable to play. The tournament was controlled by Harry Golombek. Gligoric won without much difficulty. His only challenger was Olafsson, but he lost to Larsen in the last round with the result that they ended in a tie for second. Penrose was the only undefeated player, but only manged two wins, against Larsen and Wade.

1) Svetozar Gligoric 6.5
2-3) Fridrik Olafsson and Bent Larsen 5.5
4-5) Jonathan Penrose and Alberic O'Kelly de Galway 5.0
6) Cenek Kottnauer 3.0
7-8) R.G.Wade and Alexander Davie 2.0
9) Craig Pritchett 1.5

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