2nd European Team Chess Championship: Oberhausen 1961

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Individual medals | Interesting games ]

Basic data

2nd European Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Dates: Preliminaries: October 1959 - February 1961
Final: 20th June - 2nd July 1961
City: Final: Oberhausen, West Germany
Venue: Final: Evangelisches Gemeindehaus
Tournament Organiser: Mr. Alfred Schlya (GER)
Chief Arbiter: Mr. Alois Nagler (SUI)
Mr. Wilhelm Fohl (GER)
Teams participating: Preliminaries: 12 in four groups
France withdrew from group 1. Norway withdrew from group 2. Poland were originally drawn in group 4 and were moved to group 3 subsequently.
Final: 6
Players participating: Preliminaries: 149 (incl. 8 GMs and 32 IMs)
Final: 72 (incl. 19 GMs and 23 IMs)
Games played: Preliminaries: 280
Final: 300
Competition format: Preliminaries: teams were drawn into four groups. Each group saw double ten board round robin. Winners of respective groups qualified to the Championship Final.
Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, top two from 1957 championship qualified without play.
Final: Ten board double round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then 16 moves in each next hour
Downloadable game file: Preliminaries: 61prel.zip
Final: 61etch.zip

Tournament review

Unlike in 1957 as much as 6 teams qualified this time. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, first two teams from previous championship had been awarded automatic qualification while Hungary, Czechoslovakia, West Germany and Spain won four respective preliminary groups. Especially Spain's success was quite unexpected since a year ago in the Leipzig Olympiad they came only 20th. Teams like Bulgaria, Romania or England were rather expected to be seen in Oberhausen.

On the first day USSR destroyed Spain 9-1, which was by many thought to be standard result, but Hungary ran over Czechoslovakia by almost same margin (8½-1½ to be precise). The result itself was not a sensation, but no one expected such a big margin. On day two the Soviets beat dangerous Yugoslavia to pave their way into the win. They achieved the same 6½-3½ result vs Hungary on day 4 and finished first cycle with a ruthless 7-3 over the Germans, despite Botvinnik's loss vs Unzicker. Hungary were lying in second position with a five point deficit and Yugoslavia were another three points behind.

The Czechs and Slovaks took sweet revenge on Hungary in the beginning of the revenge cycle beating them 5½-4½ to let Yugoslavia close the gap to the Hungarians. The Soviets won all of the revenge cycle matches in style beating 7-3 both Hungary and Yugoslavia. Before the last round started Hungary had a half of a point advantage over Yugoslavia whom they were yet to play, so Yugoslavia needed a win in order to take the silver. The match was a horror for the Hungarians who were down by 8-2 losing six games and only drawing four. Czechoslovakia easily defended 4th position while West Germany, who lost nine matches and drew only one were 5th. Spain, who won three matches (including two wins over the Germans) came last.

The Soviets won their second ETCh trophy with ease, earning 8 out of 12 best board individual prizes. As in 1957, the best individual score was performed by Korchnoi who scored fabulous 8½/9. Yugoslavia took silver despite Gligorić's poor form (no win and two game loses) - best results were achieved by Čirić and Đurašević. Hungary slowed down the pace after excellent start (holding the lead for first days) and none of the players of the Hungarian team scored more than decent 65% (best result: Portisch). And of course last round's debacle is another story. Czechoslovakia, West Germany and Spain were by far weaker. Players to be stressed here: Trapl of Czechoslovakia (including a win over Tolush), Unzicker (1-1 vs Botvinnik and 6/10 overall) and Ballbé Anglada of Spain (6½/8 with no loss at first reserve board).

Individual medals

bd name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Botvinnik, Mikhail Soviet Union URS 6 9 66.7
2. GM Portisch, Lajos Hungary HUN 10 65.0
3. GM Keres, Paul Soviet Union URS 6 8 75.0
4. GM Petrosian, Tigran Soviet Union URS 8 81.3
5. GM Smyslov, Vassily Soviet Union URS 8 9 88.9
6. GM Korchnoi, Viktor Soviet Union URS 9 94.4
=7. IM Čirić, Dragoljub Yugoslavia YUG 9 72.2
=7. GM Geller, Efim Soviet Union URS 9 72.2
8. GM Taimanov, Mark Soviet Union URS 9 83.3
9. IM Polugaevsky, Lev Soviet Union URS 9 72.2
10. Trapl, Jindřich Czechoslovakia CSR 9 72.2
1 res. Ballbé Anglada, Francisco Spain ESP 8 81.3
2 res. IM Đurašević, Božidar Yugoslavia YUG 6 8 75.0

Only one medal per board because there were too few teams participating.

Interesting games

Shortest decisive game.
Matanović, Aleksandar (YUG) - Saborido, Rafael (ESP) 1 - 0

Nice Queen sac and piece co-ordination.
Rejfíř, Josef (CSR) - Haág, Ervin (HUN) 0 - 1

Unzicker's only lifetime win over Botvinnik.
Unzicker, Wolfgang (GER) - Botvinnik, Mikhail (URS) 1 - 0

Very brave final shot and well-deserved draw.
Pesch, Werner (GER) - Polugaevsky, Lev (URS) ½ - ½

Iron Tigran was well known from his defensive skills
so conducting furious attacks on his King was always sort of a risk!
Bilek, István (HUN) - Petrosian, Tigran (URS) 0 - 1

This time Portisch's firm play was ample shield for Tal's talents.
Portisch, Lajos (HUN) - Tal, Mikhail (URS) 1 - 0

This magnificent game is full of surprising turnovers
and sophisticated tactics. A must.
Minić, Dragoljub (YUG) - Tolush, Alexander (URS) 0 - 1

The leitmotif of this game is worth taking closer look at.
Eisinger, Max jr (GER) - Rejfíř, Josef (CSR) 1 - 0