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Friday, November 20, 2015

Fischer's “Other” World Championship

Milan Matulovic
     Yesterday the next door neighbor was in his back yard raking up the remaining leaves, and because it was pretty chilly our windows were shut. That meant I could practice without being heard and it was a good thing because I learned I will NEVER be able to yodel and I am not going to waste any money on buying a fiddle, so it is back to chess. 
     Back in 1970 after the “Match of the Century” as it was then called, which pitted Russia, as it was then called, against the Rest of the World in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, as it was then called, was over, the question for the Yugoslavs was, would Fischer stay in the country and take part in what was known as the “Second Tournament of Peace” in Rovinj and Belgrade? As usual, Fischer hemmed and hawed, but eventually he did participate and finished first with a score of 13-4. 
     Prior to the Second Tournament of Peace the Yugoslavs were mulling over the possibility of a great blitz tournament to be held in Herceg Novi, a small tourist town on the Adriatic coast. Unexpectedly Fischer agreed to play. The best blitz players in the world, Tahl, Korchnoi, Bronstein and Petrosian, yes, Petrosian, from Russia plus the Yugoslav “Blitz Matador”, Milan Matulovic would be playing. In addition there would be several other strong Grandmasters and people were calling the tournament the “Unofficial World Blitz Championship.” 
     It was expected that Fischer would get a few “lessons” from the great Russian blitz experts. That's not what happened though. Fischer finished first by a mile...4-and-a-half points, actually. In the double round event consisting of 22 games, he lost one to Korchnoi and drew one each against Hort, Uhlmann, Bronstein and Reshevsky; all the other guys lost both games against him. Fischer had already established himself as the leading US player, but his 10.5 point finish ahead of Reshevsky, a pretty good blitz player himself, was surprising and to top things off, in most games Fischer used less than half the time of his opponent's plus he even served up a few theoretical novelties in the openings. 

1) Fischer 19-3 
2) Tahl 14.5-7.5 
3) Korchnoi 14-8 
4) Petrosian 13.5-8.5 
5) Bronstein 13-9 
6) Hort 12-10 
7) Matulovic 10.5-11.5 
8) Smyslov 9.5-12.5 
9) Reshevsky 8.5-13.5 
10) Uhlmann 8.0-14.0 
11) Ivkov 7.5-14.5 
12) Ostojic 2.0-20.0 

You can read more about this tournament at these sites:
Many of the games are available at 365 Chess
Daaim Shabazz of the great Blog, Chess Drum, writes about Fischer's blitzchess.

In this game Matulovic played the risky, even in blitz against Fischer, Schliemann Defense and Fischer comes up with some very strong moves. Fischer then sacrificed away and Matulovic's King which was caught in the center ended up getting mated.

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