Chess - The Scotsman 14/03/13

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Question: How does Black win?

ON the eve of the London Candidates’ tournament, it’s fitting to remember that this year is the 60th anniversary of what many consider the greatest Candidates’ tournament of all time, Zurich-Neuhausen 1953.

The winner would go forward to challenge World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik of the Soviet Union. But by present day standards, the tournament was an epic – the survival of the fittest – with 15 of the strongest players in the world, battling it out in a double-round all-play-all consisting of 28 rounds, 210 games and almost two months in duration.

Winning through for the right to challenge for the title proved to be future world champion Vassily Smyslov, who won ahead of a stellar field that included the former world champion, Max Euwe; another future world champion, Tigran Petrosian; defeated world championship challenger David Bronstein; and a supporting cast who just missed out in reaching the summit, that included Sammy Reshevsky, Paul Keres and Svetozar Gligoric.

Zurich-Neuhausen 1953 came in the midst of a golden era for chess, and almost all the games were hotly contested, with many proving to be masterpieces in their own right. And three years later, Bronstein – who finished tied for second with Keres and Reshevsky – penned (along with his co-author Boris Vainstein, unnamed due to political reasons) the timeless classic, Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953, that even today is hailed as being as one of the most instructive books ever written on the game.

P Keres – V Smyslov

Zurich Candidates, 1953

English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 e3 Be7 5 b3 0–0 6 Bb2 b6 7 d4 cxd4 8 exd4 d5 9 Bd3 Nc6 10 0–0 Bb7 11 Rc1 Rc8 12 Re1 Nb4 13 Bf1 Ne4 14 a3 Nxc3 15 Rxc3 Nc6 16 Ne5 Nxe5 17 Rxe5 Bf6 18 Rh5 g6 19 Rch3 dxc4! 20 Rxh7 c3 21 Qc1 Qxd4 22 Qh6 Rfd8 23 Bc1 Bg7 24 Qg5 Qf6 25 Qg4 c2 26 Be2 Rd4 27 f4 Rd1+ 28 Bxd1 Qd4+ 0–1