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 Cross-tables ... for notable tournaments.  

  1.  The  page  for the USSR Championships, held in Moscow, RUS; 1976.  

  2.   Next?  


Thursday; June 31st, 2011: The ChessBase website recently published a new article. Another strong mathematician comes up with some lists of the strongest tournaments ever played. 

If you read these pages carefully, there are many tournaments that were skipped by Jeff Sonas, that I felt were some of the strongest ever played. (Like Avro, 1938.) Here, a new author takes a look at this subject. His mathematical formula's are beyond my ken, however I DO agree with many of his picks! 

Tourn. Year
#1
A
B
C
D
E
F
Other
Type Strength
London 1883
1
1
3
2
4
1
2
RR2-RR6* 153.7
Zurich 1953
1
3
5
5
1
RR2 144.6
Vienna 1898
1
3
3
6
4
2
1
RR2** 141.2
Vienna 1882
1
1
3
4
3
1
5
RR2 132.8
Carlsbad 1929
1
3
5
5
6
1
2
RR 91.3
St Petersburg 1914
1
1
3
1
3
 
2
RR+RR2*** 84.5
London 1899
1
3
3
2
3
1
2
RR2 83.4
Bled 1931
1
3
3
2
3
1
1
RR2 83.4
Baden-Baden 1870
1
1
2
4
1
1
RR2 82
AVRO 1938
1
1
3
3
RR2 82

For more, you will HAVE to read the whole article! 

It was "off the air" for a few weeks, however, the "Chess Metrics" website is now back. (He also has a discussion of a few of the strongest tournaments and also who the best players were.) 


   How about that, chess fans? Even the Pawns are duking it out!
Until the last pawn...


(I have had literally dozens of e-mails and other communications asking for a 
page with exactly this content. But the final push for this page occurred when 
GM Larry Evans
(5 times U.S. Champ!!) covered this topic in his monthly  column.

(See the April 2001 Chess Life. 
Or e-mail Jeff Sonas at  Jeff@Kasparovchess.com. 
Or click  here  to see his article and  here  for the follow-up article.)
(NOTE:  Kasparov's chess site is  dead - don't click on these links!!) 
  {I left them here for a historical record.} 

***
(I plan on scanning that article out of Chess Life and having here for 
reference sometime in the near future.)

[ If you are interested in finding out more about the U.S. Chess Federation, click  here.  If you would like to find out more about Chess Life, click  here.  If you would like to read "Chess Life" on-line them click  here.  (And be sure to book-mark your favorite sites for later enjoyment!) ]

Make sure you check out  my list  of the "Ten Best Tourney's Ever Held."


What was the absolutely best and GREATEST ...    
 chess tournaments of all time???   

This is the question we will ask here.

Also: What is the highest category tournaments ever to be held?
AND ... how do these modern super-tournaments stack up against 
the older, more classical tournaments?

Also ... DID YOU KNOW ... that many of the "great books" on these tournaments are out of print or no longer exist? (A true tragedy for chess fans everywhere.)


Another question a fan and reader recently brought to my attention is:
What was some of the best {personal} tournament performances of all time?

***

   What were some of the most dominating performances by any individual anytime during the history of chess in a tournament?  (Not a match.)
***

A few instances that jump into my mind are: 

# 1.)  London, 1883. (Won by Zukertort.) This was one of the most dominating personal performances in a chess tournament EVER! (Anytime, anyplace.)

# 2.)  London, 1899.  (Won by Em. Lasker.) Each contestant played the other twice. Despite practically all the best players in the world being present, Lasker, {The reigning World Champion}; dropped only one odd game, (to Blackburne); and finished a whopping 4.5 points ahead of the group finished tied for second. (Janowski, Maroczy, Pillsbury.) This is easily one of the more dominating personal performances in a tournament ever played. 

  The tournament was a "WHO'S WHO" of the chess world at that time!!   

**************

  (In the order of their finish in the tournament, the participants were:)
Emanuel Lasker, D. Janowski, G. Marocszy, H.N. Pillsbury, K. Schlechter, J.H. Blackburne, Mikhail Tchigorin, Jackson Whipps Showalter, J. Mason, 
W. Cohn, the great WILHELM STEINITZ,  F. Lee,  Henry Bird, M. Tinsley, and Richard Teichmann. Many of these players were the champions of 
the country that they represented!!!
(According to Jeff Sonas, - and the current rating list - the only players missing from this event who really belonged in the 'Top Ten,'  {or 15} was 
 Siegbert Tarrasch, Rudolf Charousek, and Paul Lipke.) 

His domination of Paris, 1900 was also a very memorable event. 

# 3.)  New York, 1924.  [If one does not count any of the tournaments played since 1980, this is easily one of the best and most outstanding tournaments ever played.] Another one of the more dominating performances in a tournament by anyone ... especially in the pre-1950's period. (Won by Emanuel Lasker.) 

# 4.)  U.S. Championship, 1963-64. This was the tournament won with a PERFECT SCORE by Bobby Fischer. Easily the most dominating personal performance in a National Championship, anytime, anywhere. 

# 5.)  Bled, 1931.  Won by A. Alekhine. He ran away from a very strong field. [more]  

# 6.)  Linares, 1993.  Won by Kasparov. See Jeff Sonas's list (below) and also make 
sure you check out  my list.

# 7.)  Linares, 1994.  Won by Karpov. Maybe the single greatest tournament performance of the MODERN age (post-1975) by any modern player. 
 (See Jeff Sonas's list [below], and  my list.)

(If you know of any other GREAT events that were truly and totally dominated by one person, 
please bring them to my attention.)


(One of the "Greatest Tournaments" Ever Held?)

Let me throw just a one of my favorites at you. How about  Hastings 1895? (This event was won by the hitherto unknown American, Harry N. Pillsbury.) 
But many of the very best players of that entire era were present. W. Steinitz, E. Lasker, M. Tchigorin, S. Tarrasch, J. Blackburne, E. Schiffers, C. Schlechter, C. Bardeleben, H. Bird, R. Teichmann, I. Gunsberg,  {Did you know Gunsberg was a contender for the World Championship?}; J. Mason, D. Janowski, C. Walbrodt, A. Albin, J. Mieses.  World Champions, past and present. All the luminaries of that time.  (I feel ALL of these players would be GM's by today's somewhat inflated standards.) {Plus lesser players like: Marco, Pollock, Tinsley, and Vergani.} Many of these men had dozens of tournament and match successes under their belts. But a young fellow from the states stole the show. One of the most improbable outcomes of all time.

***

(For a good book that tells the main story of this tournament, see GM Andy Soltis's book, "The Great Chess Tournaments & Their Stories." © 1975.)

***

This event had great chess. The tournament featured some incredible clashes between players who were vastly different in their approach to the game. This event had drama. (Practically every round featured a different leader.) This classic tournament featured dozens of brilliant games. 
(I have a reprint of the original book. "Hastings, 1895." [The Centennial Edition. © 1995, Pickard & Sons, Publishers.])

***

The book is very rare and a collector's item in its own right. 
If one still had one of the original editions of this book, signed 
by all the participants; it would be literally priceless!!


Other great tournaments? (I have given in bold a few of my favorites and ones that chess historians consider to be some of the all-time strongest.) How about:  London, 1883 & 1899?  Nuremburg, 1896? Paris, 1900?  Cambridge Springs, 1904? San Sebastian, 1911? (Capablanca's little "coming out" party!) St. Petersburg, 1914? (A surprise win for Dr. Emanuel Lasker.)  New York, 1924  and 1927? Moscow, 1925. Bled, 1931? (Moscow, 1935?) Moscow, 1936? Nottingham, 1936!  (Many experts used to consider this one of the strongest tournaments ever played!)  A.V.R.O, 1938?  Hague - Moscow, 1948?  Moscow, 1956?  Bled, 1961? (Won by Tal, ahead of Fischer, 2nd; and many of the best players of that era.)  The two "Piatgorsky Cup" tournaments of the 1960's? The Interzonal Tournament of Stockholm, 1962?  (Fischer.)  Moscow, 1967!!  (Won by GM Leonid Stein.  18 of the strongest GM's of that time played in this event!) The Interzonal Tournament of Palma de Mallorca, 1970? (Fischer ran away with this one, despite it being perhaps one of the strongest tournaments ever held! And it also may be the single greatest and strongest of the Candidate Tournaments.)  Moscow, 1971?  The "Church's Fried Chicken"  International Tournament of 1973?  Sochi, 1973? Does anyone remember the "Novgorod" Super Tournaments? (10 - 15 years ago.)  Of course everyone has heard of Linares, Spain. [Linares, 1994.] (And the many tournaments held there.) And what about the CORUS Wijk aan Zee tournaments?  
[Wijk aan Zee, 2001.]  I could go on and on. 

*****

Oh yes, And don't forget the national (annual)  Soviet Championships!
(I used to tell my friends that - year in and year out - some of the strongest tournaments being held that year were the respective annual Soviet Championships.)

***

(If anyone has a lot of the CROSS - TABLES for the above events, I would be interested in having a copy. Please scan them up into an MS-Word document and send them to me as an attachment to an e-mail. If you like, I will be sure to mention your name here.)

(Many people have asked what books I used to compile the above list. Many of the events stick out in my memory. But 2 or 3 of the books that helped the most were: Anne Sunnuck's Encyclopedia of Chess, The Oxford's "Companion To Chess," and Guinness' book: "Guinness Chess, The Records." I used to have J. Gaige's book, but I have managed to misplace it over the years.) 


"The Complete Chess Addict"

(© 1987) This noble book, By Mike Fox and Richard James; attempts to set down every record in just about every category of chess that you could imagine. (And some you could not.) There are literally hundreds of games in here, and I can highly recommend this book to any true chess fan. It is one of the more "fun" chess books out there. (The other two favorite "fun" books in my collection are, "The Fireside Book of Chess," by I. Chernev and Fred Reinfeld; and "The Chess Companion," by Irving Chernev. You do not buy these books to get better. You buy them to have fun, be entertained, and enjoy many hours of pleasurable reading.) 

Anyway, "The Complete Chess Addict," has many, many lists of its own. Such as the sixty best chess games of all time. You get a description of the game, why it is important and the game itself! They also have set forth their own list of, "The Strongest Chess Tournaments of All Time." According to these authors, the strongest chess tournaments of all time were:

EVENT YEAR WINNER(S) FINAL SCORE WINNING
PERCENTAGE
A.V.R.O. 1938 Fine & Keres 8.5/14 61%
World Championship 1948 Botvinnik 14/20 70%
Candidates Tournament 1950 Boleslavsky
& Bronstein
12/18 67%
Candidates Tournament 1953 Smyslov 18/28 64%
Candidates Tournament 1962 Petrosian 17.5/27 65%
Johannesburg 1981 Andersson 7/12 58%
Turin 1982 Karpov &
Andersson
6/11
(Plus one win 
by default)
55%
Bugojno 1986 Karpov 8.5/14 61%
O.H.R.A.
/Brussels
1986 Kasparov 7.5/10 75%
Amsterdam 1987 Karpov & Timman 4/6 67%

Note that that this book was published in 1987, so this list naturally will 
NOT include any tournaments played after that date!


  "Chess is ruthless. You've got to be prepared to kill people."  - GM Nigel Short   

  • BEST QUESTION  (from Chess Life, April 2001 issue, page # 10.)

132 super tournaments

Jeff Sonas (jeff@KasparovChess.com)

San Lorenzo, California

" I wrote an article for kasparovchess.com with a complete list of historical super-tournaments 
(my definition: standards round-robins that include at least five of the top 10 players in the world). Since ratings are not available for everyone, I had to come up with something more workable than "tournament average rating" for the early years. I also introduced a ranking scale of 6 to 22 which is roughly equivalent to FIDE "Categories" but without a rating Inflation problem; (There were no tournaments above Category 17 until 1992). 
 [http://www.kasparovchess.com/serve/templates/folders/show.asp?p_doclD=7374, with a follow-up article at 7771.] " 

   (Note: Kasparov's site is dead.  Don't  use  the above links.)    


 (Here is the list given by JEFF SONAS in that article. I have taken the liberty of adding a few tournaments. Where possible, I have taken the liberty of letting you know which tournaments were added by me. 


October 10th, 2003:  I have said many times that - year in and year out - for many years, the very strongest tournament ever played during the year was the Championship of the USSR/Soviet Russia. I have recently acquired about a dozen books which will help me prove this point. The first is the book, "The Soviet Championships," by Bernard Cafferty and GM Mark Taimanov. (A cross-table and games for EVERY year!) The other volume is: "Soviet Chess: 1917-1991,"  by GM Andrew Soltis. Both of these books are outstanding and beautiful hard-back books. They also prove that most of the strongest players lived in Russia during this period and that most players in the west had no idea who these players were. I will try to bring you a sampling of some of the better games and articles that I find within these excellent books. Stay tuned!


London 1851, (Knock-out) -  
(First SUPER-Tournament, Won by Anderssen.)  # 1.) (This tournament was NOT on the Sonas list!) 

Baden-Baden 1870 - (Super 16, won by Anderssen.)

Paris 1878 - (Super-12, won by Zukertort & Winawer.)

Berlin 1881 - (Super-13, won by Blackburne.)

Vienna 1882 - (Super-20, won by Steinitz & Winawer.)  # 2.)
(Too bad no book of this event was ever written. And if it was, it has probably been lost in antiquity. I am sure the chess must have been good and the story fascinating …  Maybe one of the greatest events of all time?)

London 1883 - (Super-19, won by Zukertort.)  # 3.)
One of the greatest personal performances by any player ... EVER!!!!  (I have several books on this event.)

Frankfurt 1887 - (Super-12, won by MacKenzie.)

New York 1889 - (Super-11, won by Chigorin & Weiss.)

Hastings 1895 - (Super-19, won by Pillsbury.)  # 4.)
The first truly great International tournament ... that also featured virtually ALL of the World's BEST Players!! 

St. Petersburg, 1895-1896. ( Super 21 (?) Won by Emanuel Lasker. )
(A tournament left completely  OFF  Jeff Sonas's list. Yet it has to be one of the strongest tournaments ever played. The four strongest players in the world - Lasker, Steinitz, Pillsbury, Tchigorin get together and play six (6) games  EACH  against the other 3 competitors. I have the red, hard-back 'Caissa' editions book of this tournament, by John C. Owens.)

Budapest 1896 - (Super-14, won by Chigorin & Charousek.)
(A tournament that appears on many lists! Yet is it virtually forgotten by chess historians. I have The red, hard-back 'Caissa' editions book of this tournament by John C. Owens. A beautiful book, if you can still get it. There were a total of 13 competitors, 10 of which would easily be GM's - especially by today's weakened standards. Many of the greatest players of that era, players like: Pillsbury; Schlechter; Janowski; Winawer; Tarrasch; & Maroczy all played in this tournament. [Not counting the winners, Mikhail Tchigorin and Rudolf Charousek!]  Again, this is a case of a tournament where the numbers don't do it justice. I think it would be at least a Category 18 tourney, [OR BETTER!] ... if it were held in modern times!!) 

Nuremberg 1896 - (Super-20, won by Lasker.)  # 5.)
(Another tournament that appears on virtually ALL the major 'top ten' lists of the best tournaments. Yet it is virtually ignored by chess history. I used to have an old book on this tournament, but alas - I no longer have it. Lasker won, G. Maroczy was second, Pillsbury and Tarrasch tied for third and fourth, David Janowski was fifth. In fact every player in the world's top ten was here!!)

Berlin 1897 - (Super-9, won by Charousek.)
Cologne 1898 - (Super-9, won by Burn.)
Vienna 1898 - (Super-16, won by Tarrasch & Pillsbury.) (Another very strong tournament virtually forgotten by chess history.)

London, 1899 - (Super-18, won by Lasker.)  # 6.)
One of the most dominating performances in the history of chess, period!!! (See my comments at the top of this page.) 

Paris 1900 - (Super-16, won by Lasker.)   # 7.)  

Munich 1900 - (Super-11, won by Maroczy & Pillsbury & Schlechter.)

Monte Carlo 1902 - (Super-18, won by Maroczy, just ahead of Pillsbury.)
Monte Carlo 1903 - (Super-15, won by Tarrasch.)

Cambridge Springs 1904  - (Super-14, (?) won by Marshall.)  # 8.)
(A personal favorite of mine. I used to have a book on this tournament.I think this tourney is much stronger than the numbers given it here would indicate. 
 Click  HERE   to go to a GREAT website on this tourney!!) 

Ostend 1905 - (Super-11, won by Maroczy.)
Ostend 1906 - (Super-10, won by Schlechter.)
Karlsbad 1907 - (Super-13, won by Rubinstein.)
Ostend 1907 - (Super-12, won by Tarrasch.)
Vienna 1908 - (Super-12, won by Maroczy & Duras & Schlechter.)
St. Petersburg 1909 - (Super-14, won by Lasker & Rubinstein.) # 9.)
(Carlsbad 1910. Left off of J. Sonas's list.)
Hamburg 1910 - (Super-8, won by Schlechter.)  

San Sebastian 1911 - (Super-18, won by Capablanca.)  # 10.)
Quite a bit stronger than the numbers indicate. Nearly  all  the 
best tournament players were present. This was Capa's little 
"coming out party." (His first major international tournament. 
Capa scored a surprise victory.)
Karlsbad 1911 - (Super-11, won by Teichmann.) 
Pistyan 1912 - (Super-11, won by Rubinstein.) 
San Sebastian 1912 - (Super-11, won by Rubinstein.) 
Another tournament where the numbers do not tell the whole story. 
This event is much stronger than the pure numbers would indicate. 

Breslau 1912 - (Super-8, won by Rubinstein & Duras.) 
St. Petersburg 1914 - (Super-17, (?) won by Lasker.)  #11.) 
(Another personal favorite of mine. In the late 70's, I was asked to give 
"The Ten Greatest Chess Tournaments Ever Played,"   for a local chess 
article. I picked this event as one of the ten best. It is surely one of the 
most historic, and resulted in the Czar of ALL Russia naming the 
FIRST and original list of the ... 
  FIRST  FIVE (5)  GRAND-MASTER's  OF CHESS!!!    
{They were: Emmanuel Lasker, Jose R. Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, 
Siegbert Tarrasch, and Frank J. Marshall.}  It is also a lot stronger than 
the pure numbers would indicate. Equal to any modern tournament in 
real strength and quality. 
It also had a unique format, at least for that time. Virtually all the best 
players were invited to a preliminary event. Only the above 5 players 
played in the FINAL event. The players who did NOT make it into the 
final five were: O. Bernstein, A. Rubinstein, A. Nimzowitsch, 
J. Blackburne, D. Janowski, and I. Gunsberg. 
All of these players are legends in the realm of chess. 
In reality, this tournament is equal - or even superior - to most 
modern events! Another tournament I used to have a book on but 
that I have lost over the years. A true tragedy. I think there needs 
to be a modern book on this tournament. This would indeed be a 
gift to history and heritage of chess. ) (Click here to read more.) 
London 1922 - (Super-13, won by Capablanca.)

Vienna 1922 - (Super-? Won by ?)  # 12.)
Mahrisch-Ostrau 1923 - (Super-9, won by Lasker.)
Karlsbad 1923 - (Super-12, won by Maroczy & Alekhine & Bogoljubow.)
 New York 1924 -  (Super - ?) (Not in Sonas's list and added by me.) # 13.) 
(A true "Super tournament" in MY book. Equal to ANY of the more 
modern tournaments!)
(A tournament where the numbers don't tell the whole story!!!
Emanuel Lasker, supposedly past his prime, DOMINATED this event. He played great chess. He went undefeated, and won by a point and a half, [16]  ahead of the [then] current World Champion, Jose R. Capablanca. [14.5] The rest of the players - in the order they finished - were: Alexander Alekhine, [12]; Frank Marshall, {at his peak} [11]; Richard Reti, [10.5]; Geza Maroczy, [10];  Efim Bogolyubov, {An off tournament for Bogo!} [9.5]; Savielly Tartakower, [8]; Frederick Yates, [7]; Edward Lasker, [6.5] and David Janowski. {Hard to remember too many tourneys where this guy finished dead last.} [5]. 
Every single one of these players belongs in the, "Chess Hall of Fame."

Baden-Baden 1925 - (Super-11, won by Alekhine.)
Another tournament that is probably a LOT stronger than the numbers would indicate. A. Alekhine won clear first (16 points out of 20!) ahead of a strong group of chess players. Second place was taken by Akiba Rubinstein, (14.5); and third place was captured by (the supposedly weak!) F. Samisch, (13.5). 
This tournament produced several beautiful and famous chess games, the most well-known is the Queenless attack in the game, Reti-Alekhine.

Moscow 1925 - (Super-11, won by Bogoljubow.)  # 14.)
This tournament was won by Bogolyuboff, (another version or spelling of this name). Bogolyubov had 15.5/20;  ahead of Lasker (14), Capablanca (13.5), Frank Marshall (12.5), and Savielly Tartakower and Carlos Torre. (Both 12.) 
(Another one of those tournaments where maybe the numbers don't do real justice to the greatness of this event and the strength of the chess played.)

Semmering-Baden 1926 - (Super-12, won by Spielmann.)

Dresden, 1926 - (This tournament is not on the list by Jeff Sonas.)
Maybe Nimzovich's greatest tournament triumph. He won 8 games and drew one to finish a point and a half AHEAD of the reigning World Champion, Alexander Alekhine. Four or five of the world's best players competed in this tournament. (A. Rubinstein, S. Tartakower, K. von Holzhausen, P. Johner, F. Samisch, F.D. Yates, Blumich, Lajos Steiner all competed in this event.)

London 1927 - (Super-9, won by Nimzowitsch & Tartakower.)

New York, 1927 - (Definitely a super - tournament, won by Capablanca. 
But for some reason, it is NOT on Jeff Sonas's list.)  # 15.)

Bad Kissingen 1928 - (Super-12, won by Bogoljubow.)
Karlsbad 1929 - (Super-14, won by Nimzowitsch.)  # 16.)
San Remo 1930 -   # 17.)
(Another tournament where the numbers alone do not tell the whole story.)

Bled, 1931 - (Super-11, won by Alekhine.)  # 18.)
(Another tournament where the numbers alone do not tell the whole story.)

Zurich 1934 - (Super-12, won by Alekhine.)

Moscow, 1935 -   (Super - 18 to 20)  (?)   
Won by Mikhail Botvinnik and Salo Flohr.  
(I could definitely use some help on this event. Who played in it?
What was the approximate category? Could someone send me a cross-table?) 
{A reader sent me the following excerpt. He noted that Alekhine was not there, 
 as he had fled Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. 
<< Botvinnik and Flohr tied for first (13-6). 
3rd - Dr. Lasker, (12.5). He "aroused universal admiration." 
(Lasker was 67 years old), 
Capablanca - 4th (12-7), Spielmann - 5th (11-8), Kan 6th (10 1/2-8 1/2), 
Levenfish - 6th (10 1/2-8 1/2),  followed by in order; Lillienthal, Ragozin, 
Romanovsky, Alatortsev, Goglidze, Rabinovich, Ryumin, Lisitisyn, Bogatyrchuk, 
Stahlberg, Pirc, Chekhover, and in last Miss Menchik, (1 1/2-17 1/2). >> 
I would still like to see a photo-copy of the tournament report! 
And maybe a cross-table? } 

Nottingham 1936 -   # 19.) (One of the all-time best tournaments.)  
Most historians used to agree, especially before the 1970's, that this was easily the strongest and best chess tournament ever held.  

Kemeri 1937 - (Super-11, won by Flohr & Petrov & Reshevsky.)
Semmering-Baden 1937 - (Super-9, won by Keres.)

Moscow, 1936 - A late-career triumph for Capablanca, who DOMINATED this 
event!  (Note: this event was NOT part of the original Sonas list, I added it.) 

AVRO 1938 -   # 20.)
Maybe the greatest and strongest single tournament ever held? 
(See my list below.) 

Groningen 1946 - (Super-15, won by Botvinnik.)
Moscow 1947 - (Super-15, won by Botvinnik.)  # 21.)
Parnu 1947 - (Super-10, won by Keres.)

The Chess World Championship, Quadrangular Match;
Hague/Moscow 1948 - (Won by M. Botvinnik.) # 22.)
USSR Championship - (Moscow) 1949 
(Super-13, won by Bronstein & Smyslov.)
Budapest 1950 - (Super-15, won by Boleslavsky & Bronstein.)  # 23.)

USSR Championship - (Moscow) 1951 (Super-15, won by Keres.)  # 24.)
This is easily one of the stronger tournaments of the whole of this series. 
GM Paul KERES  wins with 12 points, clear first. GM's E. Geller, and T. Petrosian
are tied for second and third with 11.5. Fourth is occupied by GM Vassily Smyslov 
with 11 points. World Champion (& GM) Mikhail Botvinnik is in 5th place. (10 points.)
The remainder of the field is: Y. Averbakh, D. Bronstein, M. Taimanov, L. Aronin, 
GM Salo Flohr, (At one time - one of the strongest players and the world and even 
considered to be the challenger for Alekhine's title.); Kopylov, Bondarevsky, (later a 
famous trainer); Alexander Kotov, (The man who wrote the book, "Think Like a GM." 
At one time Kotov was easily one of the ten best players in the world!); V. Simagin, 
Lipnitsky, Moiseev, Novotelnov; and Terpugov. 


USSR Championship (Moscow) 1952 - 
(Super-16, won by Botvinnik & Taimanov.)  # 25.)
Zurich 1953 - (Super-17, won by Smyslov.)  # 26.) 

USSR Championship (Moscow) 1955 - (Super-15, won by 
Geller & Smyslov.) (A VERY strong tournament, and Botvinnik's last!)  # 26.) 
This event marked the final appearance of the great Botvinnik in the USSR Champ.

Moscow 1956 - (Super-18, won by Botvinnik & Smyslov.)  # 27.)
USSR Championship (Moscow) 1957 - (Super-14, won by Tal.)
(Another very, very strong event. Definitely stronger than a 14.)
USSR Championship (Riga) 1958 - (Super-10, won by Tal.)
USSR Championship (Tbilisi) 1959 - (Super-13, won by Petrosian.)  # 29.)
USSR Championship (Leningrad) 1960 - (Super-11, won by Korchnoi.)
USSR Championship (Moscow) 1961 - (Super-13, won by Petrosian.)
USSR Championship (Baku) 1961 - (Super-13, won by Spassky.)  # 30.)
Bled 1961 - (Super-12, won by Tal.)   # 31.)
( Forget the numbers! This event was one of the strongest tournaments 
ever played!!! One the greatest pure tournaments of all time! Many of the 
legends of the game competed in this one!)

Curacao 1962 - (Super-13, won by Petrosian.)
Palma de Mallorca 1970 - (Super-11, won by Fischer.)  # 32.) 

***

The thirty-ninth (# 39) Championship of the U.S.S.R. 
 Leningrad
{The former} Soviet Union1971.
[ This tourney was not mentioned by Jeff Sonas, but perhaps deserves to be.] 
 One writer called this perhaps one of the strongest tournaments of that time 
 period.  {Several other writers mention it as well.} 
 On page # 370 of the book, "My Great Chess Predecessors, Part II," by 
 Garry Kasparov and D. Plisetsky;  we find that this tournament is once again 
 mentioned as a very strong event. 
 (Won by  GM Vladimir A. Savon, (age 31)  ...  with 15 points out of a possible 21. 
  Second and third places were shared by M. Tal and V. Smyslov with 13.5. 
  #4.)  GM Anatoly Karpov, with thirteen points. (13.)  
  # 5-6.)  GM's Yuri Balashov and Leonid Stein with twelve points (12) each. 
  # 7-8.)  GM's David Bronstein and Lev Polugayevsky, each with 11.5 points.)  
  Rounding out this truly stellar field were the following players: Mark Taimanov
  Kapengut, N. Krogius, Anatoly Lein, Igor Platonov, Efwim Geller, Karasev, 
  Leonid Shamkovich, Rafael Vaganian, Nikolayevsky, V. Tukmakov, K. Grigorian, 
  (a very famous and well-known problemist); Roman Dzhindzhikhashvilli, and 
  Mark Tseitlin. (ALL of these players were easily of Grand-Master strength.)  
  Don't forget that most of these players had to play an extremely grueling 
  schedule of qualifying tournaments just to get here! 

***

Moscow 1971 {Alekhine Memorial Tournament}  - 
(Super-11, won by Karpov & Stein.)  # 33.)

 USSR Championship  (Moscow) 1973 - (Super-15, won by Spassky.)  # 34.)  
After years of study ... I believe I have identified the  STRONGEST  SOVIET  
CHAMPIONSHIP
  ever played!!! And this is it!  FIVE  World Champions! 
(Spassky, Karpov, Petrosian, Tal, and Smyslov.)  Plus players like Geller, 
Polugaeyevsky, Keres, and Korchnoi ... who although they never won the 
World Championship, were perpetually Candidates ... and came as close 
as you can - without actually winning it. Additionally, I am sure that every player 
here is virtually a SUPER-GM. (Beliavsky - who finished in last place this year - 
would later go on to become one of the Ten Strongest players in the world and 
also won the Soviet Championship two years in a row! In fact - he tied for First 
Place the very next year in Leningrad!!) Using ELO's five-year averages for these 
players, and information from Jeff Sonas's  web site,  I feel quite certain that this 
is the most powerful and impressive ever assembled for the Championship of 
Russia or the U.S.S.R. 

  (Another point is that every single player in this tournament  {eventually - at    
    some time}  won or tied for first in at least one USSR Championship!!!)     

"In the 41st U.S.S.R. Championship (Moscow, 1973) the title was contested by 
 many former World Champions, thirteen Grandmasters, the World Junior 
 Champion, and four strong (Soviet) Masters - who all had won qualifying tournaments. 
 First Place went to (ex-) World Champion, Boris Spassky." 
 (From an introduction on a book of the tournament.) 

Another thing I recently learned about this tournament was that draws in under 
30 moves would NOT be allowed, anyone breaking this rule would be banned 
from traveling abroad for a period of two years. (Remember, this tournament was 
held just after Spassky lost the World's Championship to Fischer. The government 
felt that by changing the rules of their championship that it would fix whatever might 
be 'broken' about their system.) 
This last paragraph added: February 07th, 2004. 

42nd U.S.S.R. Championship; Leningrad 1974  -  NOT named by Sonas. 
Close to a category 13 or 14 tournament. Won by Mikhail Tal and A. Belijavsky. 
 (RHM Press did a nice book on this tournament.) 

Moscow 1975 - (Super-13, won by Geller.)
Milan 1975 - (Super-12, won by Portisch.)
Bugojno 1978 - (Super-13, won by Karpov & Spassky.)

 Montreal 1979   - (Super-14, won by Karpov & Tal.)  # 35.)
(A historic event, much stronger than the pure numbers indicate! 
More good, fighting chess was played in this one event than in 
dozens of more modern tournaments. Click  here  to read more!)

Tilburg 1980 - (Super-13, won by Karpov.)
Tilburg 1981 - (Super-13, won by Beliavsky.)
Moscow 1981 - (Super-17, won by Karpov.)  # 36.)
London 1982 - (Super-13, won by Andersson & Karpov.)
Torino 1982 - (Super-10, won by Karpov.)
Bugojno 1982 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov.)
Mar del Plata 1982 - (Super-12, won by Timman.)
Tilburg 1983 - (Super-15, won by Karpov.)
Tilburg 1984 - (Super-9, won by Miles.)
Montpellier 1985 - (Super-12, won by Jussupow & Vaganian & Sokolov.)  # 37.)
Linares 1985 - (Super-10, won by Ljubojevic & Hubner.)
Wijk aan Zee 1985 - (Super-9, won by Timman.)
Tilburg 1986 - (Super-11, won by Beliavsky.)  # 38.)
Brusselles 1986 - (Super-11, won by Kasparov.)
Bruxelles 1987 - (Super-13, won by Kasparov & Ljubojevic.)
Belgrade 1987 - (Super-7, won by Ljubojevic.)
Tilburg 1987 - (Super-11, won by Timman.)
Bruxelles 1988 - (Super-16, won by Karpov.)  # 39.)
Belfort 1988 - (Super-16, won by Kasparov.)  # 40.)
Reykjavik 1988 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov.)
Skelleftea 1989 - (Super-16, won by Karpov & Kasparov)  # 41.)
Barcelona 1989 - (Super-14, won by Kasparov & Ljubojevic.)
Tilburg 1990 - (Super-10, won by Ivanchuk & Kamsky.)
Linares 1990 - (Super-11, won by Kasparov.)
Reggio Emilia 1991 - (Super-18, won by Anand.)
Linares 1991 - (Super-18, won by Ivanchuk.)  # 42.)
Tilburg 1991 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov.)
Moscow 1992 - (Super-13, won by Anand & Gelfand.)
Dortmund 1992 - (Super-12, won by Ivanchuk & Kasparov.)
Linares 1992 - (Super-20, won by Kasparov.)
Linares 1993 - (Super-21, won by Kasparov.)  (?)
Novgorod 1994 - (Super-12, won by Ivanchuk & Kasparov.) # 43.) 
Linares 1994 - (Super-21, won by Karpov.)  (?)
Buenos Aires 1994 - (Super-13, won by Salov)
Dos Hermanas 1995 - (Super-10, won by Adams & Kamsky & Karpov.)
Dortmund 1996 - (Super-10, won by Anand & Kramnik.)
Wijk aan Zee 1996 - (Super-8, won by Ivanchuk.)
Las Palmas 1996 - (Super-17, won by Kasparov.)  # 44.)
Amsterdam 1996 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov & Topalov.)
Dos Hermanas 1996 - (Super-19, won by Kramnik & Topalov.)
Belgrade 1997 - (Super-12, won by Anand & Ivanchuk.)
Dos Hermanas 1997 - (Super-14, won by Anand & Kramnik.)
Linares 1997 - (Super-18, won by Kasparov.)   # 45.) 

Novgorod 1997 - (Super-10, won by Kasparov.)  # 46.) 
(An incredible event, MUCH stronger than the numbers would indicate.)

Dortmund 1997 - (Super-15, won by Kramnik.)  # 47.)
Dortmund 1998 - (Super-13, won by Adams & Kramnik & Svidler.)

Linares 1998 - (Super-18, won by Anand.)  # 48.)
(The first major International tournament in close to 30 years, not won by 
 Fischer, Karpov, or Kasparov!) 

Tilburg 1998 - (Super-10, won by Anand.)
Wijk aan Zee 1998 - (Super-13, won by Anand & Kramnik.)
Dos Hermanas 1999 - (Super-12, won by Adams.)
Wijk aan Zee 1999 - (Super-17, won by Kasparov.)
Linares 1999 - (Super-16, won by Kasparov.)
Sarajevo 1999 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov.)
Dortmund 1999 - (Super-11, won by Leko.)

Wijk aan Zee [Corus] 2000 - (Super-16, won by Kasparov.)  # 49.)
Linares 2000 - (Super-16, won by Kasparov & Kramnik.)
Sarajevo 2000 - (Super-12, won by Kasparov.)

Wijk aan Zee 2001 - (Super - 21, won by Kasparov.)  # 50.)  


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