14th Chess Olympiad: Leipzig 1960

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Basic data

14th Chess Olympiad
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 26th October - 9th November 1960
City: Leipzig, East Germany
Venue: Ring-Messehaus
Head of Organizing Committee: Dr. Johannes Dieckmann (GDR)
Head of Executive Committee: Mr. Herbert R. Grätz (GDR)
Chief Arbiter: IA Viacheslav Ragozin (URS)
Teams participating: 40
Players participating: 232 (incl. 26 GMs and 37 IMs)
Games played: 1600 (7 games were forfeited)
Competition format: Two stage four board round robin. Top three from each group qualified to the final.
Final "C" was the 11 round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then 1 hour for each next 16 moves
Official logo: LEIPZIG 1960
Downloadable game file: 60olm.zip

Tournament review

Like the previous one at Munich, the 14th Olympiad was also organised on German soil. Thus the Battle of Nations was relieved once again on a peaceful field, and this time the number of competing teams reached forty. The organisation was very good, highest authorities of East German regime were involved. The media covered the games broadly. The spacious game hall apart from the Olympiad hosted famous chess exposition "Chess in the Fields of History". The exhibits borrowed from people and museums from all over the world were put in showcases along the game hall. Up to 10,000 spectators visited the event every day.

All the major teams appeared this time including newly reigning World Champion Mikhail Tal, who was a few days late because of his child's birth, and American 17-year-old prodigy Bobby Fischer. Because of him Reshevsky was missing because he refused to give up first board place to Fischer. Apart from the Soviets, full-time favourites each time and place, Hungary and Yugoslavia, both having plenty of experienced GMs in their squads seemed biggest favourites for medals. USA with 4 GMs, and especially Fischer, were awaited with huge interest. Other strong nations were both German team (remember East Germany played under much political and social pressure), Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria. Argentina were already after their peak but still dangerous for anyone with two outstanding GMs, Najdorf and Eliskases, at top boards. Fourty teams were split into four groups of ten, top 12 went info championship final, following 12 were put into final B and remaining 16 were relegated to bottom section and played 11 round Swiss in order to equalize number of rounds of each division. The teams were seeded by a special resolution taken by a jury comprised of six officials including FIDE president Folke Rogard and GM Ståhlberg. Philippines and Lebanon were missing some of their players and the jury allowed them to add an extra player into the squad, breaking callous regulations but following Gens una sumus rule and this was broadly accepted among the participating nations.

In group 1 there wasn't a question about who is going to qualify for final A since Yugoslavia, East Germany and Bulgaria were dominant all over the field. They did not lose a single match throughout the preliminary stage and left the rest far behind. Surprisingly there was fierce battle about who is going to qualify for final B. Israel, who used to play in main Olympic finals in the past struggled against amazing newcomers from Indonesia, to whom they lost at the very beginning. Malich, the host player, suffered humiliating defeat against Maltese player. Indonesia then lost to France but Israel and Finland were doing no better. In penultimate round Indonesia earned important draw against East Germany. Last round brought fierce Norway-Indonesia battle that ended up in a draw pushing Indonesians down to final C since Israel's 2 points earned vs Yugoslavia were worth their weight in gold. In group 3 USSR and Argentina were safe bets and Holland, Poland and Austria were possible contenders for third place. Poland defeated Austria in an important match of round 1. Euwe lost to Aaron and Holland dropped 1½ point vs India, the cradle-land of chess. The Dutch were in even worse mood after round 2 since they were hammered by Argentina. However Poland and Austria barely drew with Italy and Portugal respectively wasting big chance to take huge lead over the Dutch. Poland-Netherlands 2½-1½ was most important result of next round. After 5 rounds USSR and Argentina were far ahead of the rest. Austria were leading the chasing group a step before Poland. Italy and Holland followed a bit behind. In round 6 Argentina drew against India (four draws!), a sensation that probably originated from Argentina's poor morale caused by their comfortable position in the progress table. Austria lost to Philippines virtually dropping out of chase. In 7th round the Dutch dealt the Austrians a decisive blow beating them by 3½-½. With last round to go Holland were in 3rd place, 1½ point ahead of Poland. They were in little danger but finally defeated Italy by a wide margin and were back in main Olympic final. Poland once again must have been satisfied with lower section placing. India earned final B spot as well at a cost of Portugal, Philippines and Italy. Group 3 was by far more predictable. Tunisia started overwhelmingly wiping out shocked Denmark by 4-0. Unfortunately this was all they could afford and were down in 8th place in the group. Sweden, the only team possibly to threaten top 3 of the group, England, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, were sent home after round 2, when they lost to Czechoslovakia by 0-4 (Lundin blundered in clearly won position). Three Scandinavian nations pushed Mongolia down to final C. Teams in this group were extremely prone to produce wide-gapped match results: 10 out of 45 matches ended up in 4-0 result and another 12 were 3½-½. In group 4 there was just a question who is going to come through apart from US and West Germany. Romania, Spain and Chile were possible contenders. Romania beat West Germany in second round but lost badly to Chile on the next day. In round six both Chile and Spain hoped to beat each other but it was a draw. Chile lost virtually all the chances in penultimate round since they lost 0-4 to USA. A question of third place was to be decided in last round. Spain played Romania and had to win, had they yet dreamt about final A. This was one of most dramatic, keeping in suspence show of the Olympiad. All four games were won by players commanding Black pieces meaning Romania drew 2-2 and qualified into championship final leaving Spain only a chance to fight for the consolation cup.

The finals began with Soviet's huge leap ahead as they beat Bulgaria 4-0. On the next day they beat Yugoslavia, runners-up of last two Olympiads. The Yugoslavs beat Hungary in consecutive round and Netherlands put up surprisingly tough resistance vs USSR. The Hungarians suffered heavy loss vs the Soviets in round 4 and were down to 10th place. Yugoslavia lost to USA despite of Fischer's loss to Gligorić. USA were in second position a point behind USSR. The Soviets won the match of the leaders 2½-1½ on the next day thanks to Smyslov who beat Bisguier. USA outplayed Hungary on the next day and Hungarians found themselves down to 9th place joint with Argentina. After 8th round everything was clear. Top three seemed very stable since USSR, USA, and Yugoslavia were split by heavy point margin each and the rest of the pack were far behind. All of top three had relatively easy run in last three rounds, and no sensations occurred. USSR came first five points ahead of USA and seven points ahead of Yugoslavia. Hungary took fourth place but long way behind the medal zone. Czechoslovakia came 5th ahead of Bulgaria. Sweden and Israel dominated pool B. The last round clash between the leaders was decisive. Sweden needed a draw in order to retain the lead and they did it. Austria came third, Finland fourth. We have seen Spain, last Olympiad's finalists down in 20th place. India, who surprisingly qualified into final B were indisputably last being a class weaker than the rest. The Philippines won the bottom section with a narrow margin over Indonesia with outstanding Tan Hiong Lion in the squad and Mongolia, with Myagmarsuren scoring incredible 16½/20 at their 4th board. France and Italy once again suffered serious humiliaton taking over just a couple of exotic newcomers with interior performance to such chess giants as Albania or Ecuador.

Soviet triumph was even more impressive than ever since they won all 20 matches equalling Hungary's record from 1936. They lost only one game, once again this was World Champion who suffered defeat. They won six Best board results including four gold. The team of cyborgs. USA were definitely the strongest team from all the rest. Byrne's record was second best at board 3. Despite two losses Fischer proved that those who say he is the one to deny the Soviets do not exaggerate much. All the team was truly outstanding including untitled reserve Weinstein. Yugoslavia came third, still very good but a bit disappointing as we remember they were in 2nd place in 1956 and 1958. "Gligo" stayed undefeated and scored impressive 12/17, no one was disappointing but one might easily see they lacked fourth player of equal strength as three GMs on top three boards. Hungary were decent, but far too weak for medals. Szabó's performance in the finals was pathetic (1½/7), and no one scored more than 70%. Czechoslovakia finished 5th, a little below their top results but still worth mentioning. Bulgaria recovered from last Olympiad's small collapse and were back in 6th place, mainly thanks to Bobotsov and Kolarov. Argentina was on a slumping curve simply because older, experienced masters were more and more willing to draw any possible game and the rest were far from world class necessary to fight for medals. East Germany, the home nation, must have been disappointed not only because of their 9th place, much worse than in 1958, but also since they were taken over by their Western neighbours. Euwe played awfully and Holland finished only 10th without any significant achievements. England's only memorable moment was famous Penrose's win over Tal. Sweden, who won final B were once again lead by Ståhlberg but it was Nilsson who scored best result among them. Israel once again missed main Olympic final and so did Austria, although they had young, shining star in their team, namely Karl Robatsch who won gold individual medal at board one with outstanding record of +11=5. Denmark without Larsen in their team were happy to finish as high as in 16th place. Spain fell down 11 places comparing to Munich, only Pomar Salamanca and Díez del Corral were playing their best. Indonesia's good performance based on excellent Bachtiar and Tan Hoan Liong. Mongolia, who came back after 4 years of break, came three places up thanks to Myagmarsuren who defeated such strong players like Hort and Bilek.

Best board results

1st Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. IM Robatsch, Karl AUT B 13½ 16 84.4
2. GM Tal, Mikhail URS A 11 15 73.3
3. GM Fischer, Robert James USA A 13 18 72.2

2nd Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. GM Botvinnik, Mikhail URS A 10½ 13 80.8
2. Guðmundsson, Arinbjörn ISL B 11½ 16 71.9
3. IM Pomar Salamanca, Arturo ESP B 12 70.8

3rd Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. GM Keres, Paul URS A 10½ 13 80.8
2. IM Byrne, Robert USA A 12 15 80.0
3. GM Ivkov, Borislav YUG A 12 16 75.0

4th Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. Myagmarsuren, Lhamsuren MGL C 16½ 20 82.5
1. Tan Hoan Liong INA C 16½ 20 82.5
3. GM Korchnoi, Viktor URS A 10½ 13 80.8

1st Reserve Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. GM Smyslov, Vassily URS A 11½ 13 88.5
2. Damjanović, Mato YUG A 7 10 70.0
2. Schweber, Samuel ARG A 7 10 70.0

2nd Reserve Board
no. name code fin. pts gms %
1. GM Petrosian, Tigran URS A 12 13 92.3
2. Guthi, Emanuel ISR B 9 13 69.2
3. IM Kluger, Gyula HUN A 10 65.0

Interesting games

The clash of two top stars was short but pithy game.
Fischer, Robert James (USA) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) ½ - ½

Tal saved by perpetual check.
Tal, Mikhail (URS) - Śliwa, Bogdan (POL) ½ - ½

Fischer's ability to keep his opponent in subtle zugzwang was absolutely unique.
Fischer, Robert James (USA) - Euwe, Machgielis (NED) 1 - 0

White made use of Black's awkward freeing manoeuvre.
Pachman, Luděk (CSR) - Szabó, László (HUN) 1 - 0

Tal's first game as World Champion.
Tal, Mikhail (URS) - Campomanes, Florencio (PHI) 1 - 0

Fischer's sensational loss didn't happen because of a blunder.
Fischer, Robert James (USA) - Muñoz, César (ECU) 0 - 1

Black went into serious trouble but cunningly recovered.
Robatsch, Karl (AUT) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) ½ - ½

Tal in his favourite element once again.
Tal, Mikhail (URS) - Najdorf, Miguel (ARG) 1 - 0

Were it Sultan Khan's lessons that helped?
Aaron, Manuel (IND) - Euwe, Machgielis (NED) 1 - 0

Well-played game with Black Knights bonanza.
Bobotsov, Milko (BUL) - Najdorf, Miguel (ARG) 0 - 1

Dazzling win of young Romanian master facing Euwe's bland resistance.
Euwe, Machgielis (NED) - Ghiţescu, Theodor (ROM) 0 - 1

Tripled pawns were no obstacle for fast win.
Szabó, László (HUN) - Ståhlberg, Gideon (SWE) 1 - 0

White seemed totally out of plan.
Böök, Eero (FIN) - Uhlmann, Wolfgang (GDR) 0 - 1

Nihil novi sub sol. Well-known Budapest Gambit motive.
Lagha, Khelil (TUN) - Contedini, Ennio (ITA) 0 - 1

Penrose's sensational, excellent win of last round of the finals.
Penrose, Jonathan (ENG) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) 1 - 0

It seemed equal but suddenly White pieces exploited.
Neikirch, Oleg (BUL) - Matanović, Aleksandar (YUG) 1 - 0

Thanks to games like this Keres earned well-deserved nickname of "Sicilian-Buster".
Keres, Paul (URS) - Bilek, István (HUN) 1 - 0

Dubious manoeuvres of White Queen took much time.
Wexler, Bernardo (ARG) - Fuchs, Reinhart (GDR) 0 - 1

Shortest decisive game of the Olympiad.
We are not really surprised this was last Klein's Olympic game in his life...
Klein, Paul (ECU) - Myagmarsuren, Lhamsuren (MGL) 0 - 1

If you do not protect h5 then a Stonewall becomes a Sand-wall.
Pfeiffer, Gerhard (GER) - Batlouni, Salim (LIB) 1 - 0

Game was adjourned and Black sealed their 41st move.
Pachman wanted to resign but finally came for adjournment...
Pachman, Luděk (CSR) - Lundin, Erik (SWE) 1 - 0

Fischer threw the pieces off the board
and informed Najdorf that he agrees for a draw!
Fischer, Robert James (USA) - Najdorf, Miguel (ARG) ½ - ½

With a play like that Tunisia-Denmark 4-0 cannot be considered surprise.
Belkadi, Ridha (TUN) - Nielsen, Axel (DEN) 1 - 0

Outstanding game with many chances on both sides.
Barcza, Gedeon (HUN) - Ivkov, Borislav (YUG) 1 - 0

Who said only top GMs are able to find beautiful, complicated tactical lines?
Yépez, Oswaldo (ECU) - Cassidy, Raymond (IRL) 1 - 0


Tan Hoan Liong (Indonesia) and Myagmarsuren (Mongolia) won 16½ points, all-time best and 3 points more than anyone else in Leipzig.


Paidousis (Greece) scored most points without a win in the history of the Olympiads. His record is 13 draws and 7 losses.


Euwe with his miserable +3=7-6 record was the first ever GM to score less than 50% at the Olympiads.