3rd Chess Mitropa Cup: Ciocco 1978

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Basic data

3rd Chess Mitropa Cup
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 8th - 15th October 1978
City: Castelvecchio Pascoli, Lucca province, Italy
NOTE! The event is commonly placed in Il Ciocco, which in fact is the name of the Congress Center where the tournament was played. Administratively speaking, Il Ciocco is in Castelvecchio Pascoli village.
Venue: Il Ciocco Congress Center
Tournament Director: Mrs. Gertrude Wagner (AUT)
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 7
Players participating: 32 (including 8 IMs)
Games played: 84
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points;
Unknown tie-breaking for 5th place.
Time control: 50 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then ?
Downloadable game file: 78mitropa.zip
Special thanks to Massimiliano Orsi for help.

Tournament review

Eight Central European teams took part in the third edition of the Mitropa Cup held in Castelvecchio Pascoli, a renowned health resort in Northern Italy. Yugoslavia had by far the strongest team with 4 IMs in the pool. Potential contenders included Italy and Switzerland (2 IMs each).

The opening took place on Sunday, October 8th. The first round was played on October 9th in the afternoon. Italy took the lead beating Luxembourg by the wide margin. The hosts retained the lead after day two defeating Germany 3—1. The 3rd round was played on Wednesday, October 11th, but not at the "Il Ciocco". A meeting of car dealers was already scheduled in the conference center. Players moved out of their hotels to Viareggio, a seaside resort 40 km away from "Il Ciocco", which is placed in the Tuscany hilly inland. Games were played in the afternoon in a beach cafe! Italy, the leaders lost to Switzerland. Yugoslavia beat France 3½—½ to climb up the table.

There were two rounds scheduled on Friday, 13th. The Italian team spent the night between Oct 12th and Friday 13th playing the strategic board game "Risk!". Di Cera went to bed at 3am, only to lose both his games the next day. The rest of the team stayed up until 6am. Still, Italy took two 2½—1½ wins on penultimate day to retain 2½ point advantage with last round to go. The Italians had a free day and West Germany had to play Yugoslavia.

There was another far reaching incident in the Italian team. The team captain was convinced that match points were the main criterion, followed by game points. In this case, Italy would have won the overall competition whatever the results of the final day would be. All this had an influence in the Weill—Taruffi game, where the Italian 3rd board accepted a draw in a presumably favourable position.

In a meeting with Marić on Saturday morning, October 14th, Tatai got to know that the score was actually based on game points and not on match points. The Italian team had a bye in the final round, so they couldn't help but observe Yugoslavia beating Germany 3—1 in the afternoon and overtaking them for the the final victory.

/ Based on notes by IM Tatai from l'Italia Scacchistica, Dec 1978 /

Best board results

no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Tatai, Stefano ITA 5 90.0
2. IM Lombard, Andre SUI 5 6 83.3
3. Kindermann, Stefan GER 5 6 83.3
=4. Hartmann, Wolfram GER 4 6 66.7
=4. Benoît, Michel FRA 4 6 66.7

Interesting games

Black couldn't have given away control over e7 at any cost.
Roth, Peter (AUT) - Rukavina, Josip (YUG) 1 - 0

Would you agree 22...e3! was the turning point of the game?
Lau, Ralf (GER) - Tatai, Stefano (ITA) 0 - 1

This opening is called "the Lithuanian defence".
Tatai, Stefano (ITA) - Meštrović, Zvonimir (YUG) 1 - 0