Friday, 15 June 2007

Chess in the attic: Leningrad 1963

Mikhail Botvinnik Leonid Stein Leningrad Chess 1963
Viktor Korchnoi was probably the favourite to win the USSR Championship at Leningrad in 1963. He was the defending champion, had performed magnificently a few months previously in Havana, and Leningrad was his home town. His strenuous schedule in 1963, and perhaps the pressure of expectation, took it's toll though, and his wins were punctuated with some morale sapping losses that finally ruled him out of the battle for first place.

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Leonid Stein was a somewhat surprise winner, at the time, of the tournament. He finished ahead of not just Korchnoi, but also Spassky, Bronstein, Geller, Taimanov, Polugayevsky and other stars. Stein went on, though, to win 2 more Soviet chess championships and host of strong international tournaments. He remained in the World's top 10 until his untimely death from a heart attack in 1973 (he was just 38 years old).

The tournament book is still available on eBay at a bargain price!

In last Friday's chess puzzle, we looked at quick win by Gligoric with the Black pieces in a Najdorf Poisoned Pawn. At Leningrad 1963, it was Gipslis with White winning a miniature in the line against Korchnoi:

Aivars Gipslis - Viktor Korchnoi, USSR Ch. Leningard 1963
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4
Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.f5 Nc6 11.fxe6 fxe6 12.Nxc6 bxc6
13.e5 dxe5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Be2 O-O 17.Rb3 Qa4 18.c4
Kh8 19.O-O Ra7 20.Qh6 f5 21.Rg3 Bb4 22.Nf6! 1-0

Gipslis Korchnoi Leningrad 1963 chess

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Chess Tales by Roger Coathup: A collection of online articles about chess and chess players.