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Monday, December 18, 2017

One of Fischer's Most Incredible Tournament Victories

     America's Golden Boy, Bobby Fischer's decisive win in the Interzonal at Palma de Mallorca Interzonal in 1970 wasn't a big surprise, but the way he won was incredible; he won by a 3.5 margin ahead of Robert Huebner, Bent Larsen, and Yefim Geller. 
     Other great players included: Miroslav Filip, Svetozar Gligoric, Vlastimil Hort, Borislav Ivkov, Milan Matulovic, Henrique Mecking, Oscar Panno, Lev Polugaevsky, Lajos Portisch, Samuel Reshevsky, Vasily Smyslov, Mark Taimanov and Wolfgang Uhlmann.
     At the end of round 16 with seven rounds to go, Fischer's score stood at 11.5. Trailing him were Geller and Uhlmann (10.5), Taimanov (10.0), Huebner, Larsen, Gligoric and Portisch (9.5). In the remaining rounds Geller could make no progress while Huebner and Larsen surged to tie him for second place. Fischer? He won seven games in a row.
     One of the more famous incidents was when Argentina's Oscar Panno cut his own throat in the last round. With the top six qualifying for the Candidates and a seventh spot available for a reserve. Any of the players with 12.5 had a theoretical chance of qualifying for the reserve spot. That was important because you could never be sure if Fischer was going to participant in the next event.
     Panno was scheduled to play black against Fischer in the last round. The organizers had scheduled the last round to begin on Saturday at 4:0 PM. But Reshevsky and Fischer couldn't play due to their Sabbath observances so their games were scheduled to start after sundown at 7:00 PM. Panno protested that all games should start at the same time so nobody would have an unfair advantage. Reshevsky's opponent, Duncan Suttles, had no problem with the arrangement and the two played a 23-move draw. Fischer showed up at 7:00 PM. But Panno was nowhere to be found. Fischer played 1.c4 and not wanting to accept a forfeit, went to Panno's hotel room and tried to talk him into playing, but Panno refused.    
     According to Larry Evans, Panno arrived after the hour was up and he had been forfeited, wrote “Resigns” on his score sheet and left. I am not sure it this is actually what happened; Evans was known to be a little “loose” with his stories. Why would Panno bother to show up after he had been forfeited? Why write “Resigns” on his score sheet? He did not resign, he lost on forfeit. While Panno's chance at qualifying were theoretical, he would have to beat Fischer with the black pieces and the other games would all have to work out in his favor, who knows what would have happen if he had played? 
     As it was, there was a playoff match between Portisch and Smyslov for the reserve spot, played in Portoroz in 1971. The match was drawn, and Portisch was awarded the spot due to better tiebreaks from the tournament. After this tournament Fischer went on to win the World Championship.
     In this game we'll take a look at a first round game between two of the players with somewhat surprising results. Tudev Ujtumen of Mongolia and Samuel Reshevsky. 
     At the age of 59 Reshevsky's best years were behind him, but his 17th finish with a minus score was still a disappointment. Too many draws and a couple of losses to bottom finishers left him in the dust. 
    Ujtumen began Palma 1970 with three straight wins and was all alone in first place. Of course that wasn't going to last, but he DID draw Fischer. He ultimately tied for 20th place with a score of 8.5.
     Tudev Ujtumen was born in Altaj, Mongolia August 27, 1939 and died at the age of 53 in 1993. He became Mongolia's first IM in 1965. In 1969, he won the West Asian zonal tournament in Singapore. In other international tournaments, he took 15th at Sochi 1964, 15th at Sochi 1965, 9th at Havana 1967, tied for 11-13th at Tbilisi 1971 and 9th at Dubna 1973.
     Ujtumen was a three-time winner of the Mongolian Chess Championship, in 1972, 1978 and 1986. He played six times for Mongolia in Chess Olympiads (1964–1974). He won the individual gold medal on second board (+11 −1 =5) at Tel Aviv 1964 and silver on second board (+12 −3 =3) at Siegen 1970.
     According to Chessmetrics. Ujtumen's highest rating was achieved in January 1971 at 2565 which placed him 117th in the world. His normal rating was in the low to mid 2400s.

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