3rd World Student Team Chess Championship: Uppsala 1956

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Basic data

3rd World Student Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 5th - 15th April 1956
City: Uppsala, Sweden
Venue: Norrlands hall
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: IA Fritz Andersson (SWE)
Teams participating: 16
Players participating: 86 (incl. 3 GMs and 2 IMs)
Games played: 308
Competition format: Two stage four board round robin.
Four preliminary groups and two final groups.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Direct match; 4. Berger
Time control: N/A
Downloadable game file: 56studwtch.zip (only ca. 15% of games are in there)

Tournament review

On the initiative of the International Union of Students a tournament of four-member student teams was organised in 1953 in Brussels. Of the 8 teams participating, first place was taken by the Norwegian student team.

The year after the next tournament was held in Oslo, where of the 10 participating teams the Czechoslovak students came out on top, just preceding the Soviet team. The FIDE Congress held in Amsterdam in 1954 awarded the Czechoslovak team the title of World Champion and it was furthermore decided to organise regular world student chess championships in the years to come, in co-operation with the IUS.

That this decision of FIDE was correct was confirmed during the second competition of this kind, held in Lyon in 1955 where even more teams took part. Of the 13 participating teams, the student team from the Soviet Union was the winner and thus won the title of world champion.

Folke RogardFollowing the decision of the FIDE Congress in Göteborg in 1955, the IIIrd of these already popular student chess tournaments was held in the historic Swedish University centre of Uppsala from April 5—15th, 1956. Ever greater numbers of students throughout the world are expressing their interest in this event. Altogether 16 teams competed and these included students from all over Europe and for the first time students from the United States of America also came along to compete for the title of world champion. Others faking part for the first time in the history of chess competitions organised by FIDE, were chess players from Asia namely two students from the Mongolian People's Republic. They travelled more than 10,000 km all the way from Ulan Bator so that they might at least he present as observers at the competitions which were going on at 64 chess boards. They also took this opportunity of acquainting themselves with the organisational principles of this important chess competition. They informed the President of FIDE, Mr. Folke Rogard, about the development of chess in their country. It is to be expected that in future Mongolian chess players will take a fully active part in future chess tournaments.

The tournament was opened in the "Norrlands" hall with a speech delivered by the President of FIDE, Mr. Folke Rogard in which he welcomed all present and informed them about the principles of the International Chess Federation. He also reviewed the activities of his organisation in arranging chess tournaments on the highest level. He then pointed out how the organisation of the world student chess championship could serve as an exemplary model of useful co-operation. On behalf of the International Union of Students the participants were welcomed by the Head of the Physical Education and Sports Department of the IUS, Mr. Kurt Vogel. A sincere welcome was also conveyed by the Mayor of Uppsala, professor Ari Malmström.

At 3 p. m. the main referee, Dr. Fritz Andersson, who together with Mr. Šajtar had been appointed by the President of FIDE as the main referees for the IIIrd Tournament, set the chess clock going. After two hours of an intensive game the first victory was scored. One of the youngest participants in the Tournament, the 18 year old student from Riga, Tal, defeated opponent Mogren (Sweden). The result was chalked up on the tournament board. The silence in the hall was broken only by the monotonous ticking of the chess clock.

The game hallOwing to the great number of teams that had applied, it had become necessary to divide the participants into four preliminary groups. Altogether 8 teams advanced into the winning group where competitions were going on for the title of world champion. The tournament tables give us an exact picture of the progress of the individual games in the preliminary groups and in the finals. The Polish team had originally been included in the fourth group. However, owing to travelling difficulties the Polish students arrived late and were then included directly into the second final group.

The third group caused a great surprise since it had been expected that apart from the Bulgarian team, the charming Icelandic students too would advance. But the students from Iceland were beaten by a mere half point by the Rumanian students' team, who took part in the tournament for the first time and whose skill had not been so well known. They displayed however a very good level and already in the first round, when playing against the Bulgarians, who defeated them in the end only very narrowly, it was evident that the Rumanians were dangerous opponents.

In the final group the struggle for the first place, and thereby for the title of world champion was practically decided during the first three rounds. The Soviet team won in the first round against the Bulgarian 4-0, in the second beat Spain 3-1 and in the third, they beat their most serious opponent,Yugoslavia 4-0. In the rounds to come they only strengthened their advance position. In the last round but one and in the last round they drew with the Rumanian and Hungarian teams.

The team of Soviet student chess players was well balanced and only one member, Polugaevsky did not attain 50 % of the possible points. The other members mostly achieved the best possible individual score on their chess boards. The International Master, Korchnoi, playing on chess board No. 1 scored 80%, Tal on chess board No. 3, 80%, Antoshin together with Marić on chess board No. 4 also 80% and of the reserves Vasiukov 88 % and Lutikov 90 %.

Mednis-HannpääTheir victory is fully deserved and hence the title of world champion goes to those whose merits are the highest. Second place was taken by the student team from the Hungarian People's Republic. They played balanced game throughout the tournament and also fully deserve their placing. The next places went to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, who each attained an equal number of points, i. e. 15. In the end third place was taken by the Yugoslav team, for it had scored a higher number of points for matches won in accordance with the regulations of the tournament. The placing of Yugoslavia is the second great surprise of the tournament. At the last tournament in Lyon the Yugoslav students were second. This year two Grandmasters were included in their team and they were considered as the most likely candidates for the first place. The Grandmasters Matanović and Ivkov, playing on the first two chess boards, did not display their usual skill and in the winning group did not even attain 50 % of the points. In the winning group the Bulgarians started off by suffering a heavy defeat from the Soviet Union. Later on however, they improved their game until they fought their way to a mighty finish to the top of the winning group. As in the previous year, they were placed third owing to a worse proportion of points for games won. The Spanish team, led by the international Master Torano displayed a good game and fully deserved the fifth place. The Czechoslovak team which took sixth place, only gained average results. Out of the whole team, the only one to achieve satisfactory results was Alster, when on the first chess board he achieved the second best individual results, immediately following the International Master Korchnoi. The play of the remaining members of the Czechoslovak team was below their average form. The Rumanian representatives, when playing in the winning group, were successful only at times. Their greatest success was the draw in the game with the Soviet Union. Since this was the first time they took part in this tournament their placing must be considered as a success. More and better results had been expected from the charming student chess players from the United States. But only Lombardy, who attained the best individual results on the second chess board lived up to expectations. Mednis was a great disappointment, especially since at the Junior World Championship in Brussels in 1955 he came out second, after Spassky. In Uppsala however, he did not even attain 50 % in the winning group. The other members of the American team were far behind Lombardy. It must however be pointed out that the participation of the students from the United States was extremely useful all-round for the tournament and we are sure that at the next tournament they will be more successful.

In the second group Iceland won in a most convincing way, followed by the chess players from the Polish People's Republic and from the German Democratic Republic. The leading player of the Icelandic team, the international Master F. Ólafsson attained the best individual results of the entire tournament in the winning group — 7 points out of 7 games played.

Forintos-AltshulFrom the organisational aspect the tournament took place under the best conditions. The Swedish organisers, headed by the President of the Swedish Chess Federation, Mr. Folke Rogard, Ivar Gumaelius, the student from Uppsala who is always to be met on such occasions, the Secretary of the Swedish Chess Federation Westberg and many other officials really did a good job to ensure participants all conditions for a good game and to see that they could spend as much of their free time as possible by getting to know Swedish students. A series of cultural and social evenings were arranged, at which the participants from abroad were able to exchange experiences with their Swedish colleagues.

The Mayor of Uppsala arranged a very successful bus excursion to some of the interesting sites in this ancient Swedish university centre. Some buildings of the University were built as long ago as 1477, while the new accommodation quarters were put up during the last 5 years. The excursion finished up at "Gamla Uppsala" (Old Uppsala) where there was a tea party put on for the visitors. On Sunday afternoon, March 15th, the IIIrd World Student Chess Championship came to an end again in the "Norrlands" Hall.

The President of FIDE, Mr. Folke Rogard took leave of the participants on behalf of the International Chess Federation and the Swedish Chess Federation. The referees Šajtar and Dr. Andersson awarded the prizes to the individual groups. Kurt Vogel closed the tournament on behalf of the International Union of Students and informed everyone that the IVth World Student Chess Championship would be held in July 1957 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The definite decision as to the place of the next championship will however be taken by the FIDE Congress, which will meet this year in Moscow in August.

To end the tournament a "Blitz-Tournament" was organised, the winner of which was the International Master Korchnoi, who beat Ólafsson.

The IIIrd World Student Chess Championship was an all around success. It became evident that students all over the world are keenly interested in chess and that it is correct to offer ever greater possibilities to these students to compete for the highest title in a friendly and fair atmosphere. Such chess encounters also help the exchange of opinions and experiences on the life of students in different countries, and contribute to friendly co-operation between young people the world over.

We are certain that the IVth World Student Chess Championship to be held in 1957 will bring further great successes.

/ Jaroslav Šajtar, International Chess Master /

*     *     *


It is three p. m. April 5th, 1956. In the hall "Norrlands" the participants of the IIIrd World Championship are prepared to begin the play. The chief umpire Mr. D. Fritz Andersson, starts the clock and the World Student Chess Championship is opened. After two hours' play the first result has been registered. Tal, a young student from Riga, beats his opponent in 21 moves. The rivals sign the forms; the result is registered by the umpires. On the other boards the fights are going on. In the first round the victory of Spain over England, the narrow victory of Bulgaria over Rumania and Iceland over Norway have been surprising. USA resisting Yugoslavia promises to be a serious rival in future games.

In round 2, in an interesting match played between the teams of Spain and the Soviet Union, the main interest of the onlookers was concentrated on the game between Toran and Korchnoi, the leaders of both teams. After an exciting struggle, the game was won by the Soviet master. The English showed an improved performance against Sweden. The high victories of Bulgaria over Iceland and Rumania over Norway were a surprise. The students of German Democratic Republic put up a very good fight in the match against the United States.

The team of Polish students, arriving late because of obstacles during travelling, cannot play in the preliminary group any more so that it will start in the final group B. This day has been decisive for the advancing teams into the final group A. Very severe fighting is going in the important game Iceland-Rumania. First points are won by F. Ólafsson and Pálmason and score is active for Iceland 2-0, with two games interrupted. But home analysis show that this fight is lost. Only Th. Ólafsson gains a draw in the game with Voiculescu. Iceland wing this game but it needs only ½ of point to advance. USA secures the advance by the high victory over Finland. Great fighting is carried out in the Sweden-Spain game. A draw is the success of the home students.


The drawing of final groups gave the following order: in the victorious group A: 1. Bulgaria, 2. Yugoslavia, 3. Czechoslovakia, 4. Hungary, 5. Spain, 6. USA, 7. Rumania, 8. Soviet Union. Group B: 1. Poland, 2. Norway, 3. England, 4. Sweden, 5. G. D. R. 6. Iceland, 7. Finland, 8. France. The first game was unsuccessful for the Bulgarian team which was beaten without gaining ½ point. The main interest of spectators was concentrated on the game Padevsky-Korchnoi which was very exciting and stormy. Young champion of Bulgarian Popular Republic did not know how to make use of all possibilities in the game and finally was beaten by the more experienced Soviet representative. Another surprise was prepared by Rumania which drew with Yugoslavia.

The second round of the final group was extremely interesting. The games became sharper. The quantity of points was decisive for final result and therefore every half a point was fought for strenuously. The result of this endeavour was in the second round 14 interrupted games. Rumania prepared another surprise having beaten Czechoslovakia. Also Soviet students slackened in this round and the defeat of Polugaevsky by Bordell has been so far the greatest surprise in the Championship.

The third round in fact decided the victory of the IIIrd Championship. To the great surprise of all participants the Soviet students have highly beaten their main competitor in the fight for the first place and have secured the title of World Champion. Hungary stopped the successful start of Rumania. In both other games of the final group A the fights were equal. In the afternoon the Lord Mayor arranged a nice trip by bus which finished with a tea reception in a restaurant on "Gamla Uppsala". The old Uppsala is characterised by three hills with graves of the Viking's Kings. At night more participants of Championship, two students of the Mongolian Popular Republic, arrived. They travelled more than 10.000 km in order to be present as spectators at the fights of the students. The Chess organisation of the Mongolian Popular Republic is the youngest member of FIDE and is very active in popularising chess. The Mongolian students came to Uppsala to get farther experiences in organising international tournaments. Last June a successful international tournament was organised in the capital Ulan Bator.

Only Soviet students advanced firmly to the victory and before the time-control had active score against USA 2½-1½. Fights were again very hard and many games were interrupted. Surprising was the high defeat of Rumania which also in the proceeding round had been highly beaten. In the group B three teams are clearly the best. The Icelandic students hindered only by ½ of point in advancing to final group are far the best. After them follow equal teams of Poland and GDR. Situation after 4th round: Group A: Soviet Union 14, Hungary 10½, Spain 8½, CSR, Yugoslavia 7, Rumania, USA 6, Bulgaria 5. Group B: Iceland 14, Poland 12, GDR 10½, Finland 8, England, France 5½, Norway 4½, Sweden 4.

Only two games ended surprisingly in round 5: The team of Bulgarian students which so far had occupied the last place improved the position by a high victory over Spain. The Czechoslovak team was highly beaten by Soviet Union and pushed on the last place. In Group B Iceland firmed the position by further victory.

Round six: excellent success was the draw of Rumania with Soviet Union. Bulgaria after high victory over USA is fighting for third place. In second group first team of Iceland was defeated for the first time by Poland but maintains still the first place. England is also successful in final games. Situation after 6th round: Group A — Soviet Union 19½, Hungary 14½, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia 11½, Spain 10½, CSR 9½, USA 9. Group B: Iceland 19, Poland 16½, GDR 15½, England 13, Finland 10½, France 8, Norway 7½, Sweden 6.

The last round was very dramatic. The Champion had been known a long time ago but hard fights were going for the other places. Hungary fought draw with Soviet Union and secured the 2nd place. Yugoslavia defeated highly USA but also Bulgaria gained high victory over Rumania. It is necessary to estimate their martial spirit — after unsuccessful start they fought bravely and in last three rounds succeeded to occupy honourable place in Championship. Interesting was the game Kolarov-Drimer which ended as the last game of the whole tournament. In case of victory Bulgaria would occupy third place. But Drimer by clever defence maintained draw.

Individual medals

bd name flag code fin. pts gms %
1. IM Ólafsson, Friðrik ISL B 9 10 90.0
=2. Lombardy, William James USA A 7 9 77.8
=2. Pálmason, Guðmundur ISL B 7 9 77.8
3. Tal, Mikhail URS A 6 7 85.7
4. Marić, Rudolf YUG A 6 7 85.7
1 res. Vasiukov, Evgeny URS A 6 91.7
2 res. Lutikov, Anatoly URS A 7 92.9

Interesting games

It was Tal — The Strangler, no piece sacs this time.
Tal, Mikhail (URS) - Ivkov, Borislav (YUG) 1 - 0

Fantastic play by Korchnoi in this brisk yet exciting game.
Padevsky, Nikola (BUL) - Korchnoi, Viktor (URS) 0 - 1

Pair of Rooks fights three minor pieces.
Berthold, Dieter (GDR) - Saidy, Anthony Fred (USA) 1 - 0

This game was NOT a tournament game, rather a friendly blitz.
Jotted by Euwe and then published in the world press
it became one of most widely known Uppsala-related episodes.
Szukszta, Janusz (POL) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) 0 - 1