1st World Team Chess Championship: Lucerne 1985

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[ Basic data | Tournament review | Best board results | Interesting games ]

Basic data

1st World Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 15th - 28th November 1985
City: Lucerne, Switzerland
Venue: Grand Casino Luzern
Tournament Director: Mr. Lothar Schmid (GER)
Chief Arbiter: IA Miroslav Filip (CSR)
Teams participating: Switzerland - host nation;
USSR - winners of 1983 European Team Championship;
China - winners of 1983 Asian Team Championship;
Argentina - winners of 1985 Panamerican Team Championship;
Africa - combined team;
England, USA (did not arrive), Hungary, Romania, West Germany - teams ranked 2nd-6th at the 1984 Olympiad (winners USSR already qualified);
France - 7th at 1984 Olympiad; replaced USA.
Players participating: 76 (incl. 29 GMs, 26 IMs and 10 FMs)
Games played: 270
Competition format: Six board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Direct result
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then each next 16 moves in 1 hour
Downloadable game file: 85wtch.zip

Tournament review

As the number of countries participating at the Olympiads grew excessively the round robin system had been replaced by the Swiss system. Unfortunately the new format proved far too volatile to bring the excitement and joy of pre-1974 Olympic finals. This is why the brand new competition had been designed and the newly established World Team Championship was first scheduled for November 1985 in the Grand Casino of Lucerne, Switzerland. While the Olympiads bring unique charm of the meeting of thousands of players from decent amateurs to world's top professionals and are the place where FIDE motto Gens una sumus comes into being, there was a need to set a closed competition only for the invited top teams to run for true supremacy among best teams of the world.

The format adopted was a one group round robin of 10. Each team had 8 men in the squad and the matches were played at 6 boards. Sum of game points was decisive. There was a decision to invite (apart from host nation) best teams from the Olympiads and four continental champions (Europe, Africa, Asia+Oceania, Americas). In 1985, unlike further events, continental championship results were superior to Olympic qualification so that USSR were invited as European Champions and not as Olympiad medalists, West Germany, 6th at the Olympiad, qualified as reserves. Had USSR been treated as Olympic medalists first, the runner-up from European Championship (Yugoslavia) would qualify.

Not all of strongest players arrived to Lucerne. The WTCh was held soon after strong international in Montpellier and many players felt somehow exhausted. USSR were missing Kasparov and Tal. Hübner of Germany came into conflict with FIDE and refused to participate in any event under FIDE patronage. Africa sent a combined team of six (no reserves). The Soviet Union, Hungary and England were the main contenders for gold. Young Chinese were expected with interest.

In the very beginning USSR won modestly over Romania (Stoica beat Beliavsky who blundered badly) and Gheorghiu missed easy chance for rescuing his game and the match for the Romanians. Hungary hammered France 4½-1½ while England took early lead with a clear 6-0 over Africa. England kept the lead after day 2 though they lost to Hungary. USSR fought very hard to finally go on for an impressive 5-1 win over China. In round 3 USSR beat France by expected margin (although HaĂŻk defeated Sokolov) and Hungary struggled vs Argentina to win finally 3½-2½. England beat fourth placed West Germany 4-2. Standings: USSR 13, England 12½; Hungary 11½. On the next day USSR dropped just three draws vs Argentina while Hungary beat the Germans by 4-2. England were missing Miles at board 1 and lost to Romania to fall down to third. Round 5 saw top match Hungary-USSR. The 3-3 package deal had not been made although some negotiations were conducted. Soon afterwards Pinter beat Beliavsky to produce the only decisive game of the match and seal Hungary's win - a sweet revenge for 0-4 debacle from Thessaloniki Olympiad. England beat China 4-2 and Romania, stepping from one win to another after poor start, ran over Germany by the same margin. USSR kept the lead but the margin over England and Hungary went down to one point. In round 6 USSR were happy to beat Switzerland 4-2 and Smyslov extricated from a seemingly hopeless position vs Keller. Hungary stopped forceful Romania nicely winning 4½-1½ while England beat France. Standings with three days to the end: USSR 24, Hungary 23½, England 23, Romania 19. USSR finally got a wind in round 7 when they smashed Africa with a maximum 6-0 while England and Hungary both won by the smallest possible margin vs Argentina and Switzerland respectively. In penultimate round the Soviets sealed their triumph as they ran over England thanks to Polugaevsky and Beliavsky who won with black pieces in adjournment session. Hungary struggled vs China to be finally defeated by 3½-2½. Switzerland moved up the table beating Africa 5-1 (five wins and one loss at board #6). Last round was already a relax day for the winners who beat West Germany with five draws and Yusupov's win over Pfleger. Hungary destroyed Africa 5-1 and came second while England won bronze despite poor play vs Switzerland to whom they lost 4-2 (Kortschnoj-Nunn 1-0). France beat China and leveled on points with Romania to grab fourth place by virtue of match points. Switzerland had an impressive final spurt and they clambered up to sixth place.

Soviet's clear three-point advantage suggests an easy ride, but this was not the case. A lot of adjourned games, stamina problems and number of dubious positions converted into wins due to perfect technique only were a common picture of the day for the Soviets. Still, they achieved five individual best results at respective boards. Hungary won silver but they could only truly count on their top four (+13 and bottom four scored only +3). Apparently they missed fighting spirit as they drew as much as 33 games and won only 18. England were led by Miles who played well but had a slip-up in a 19-hour game vs Panno of Argentina in round 7 where he failed to win though he was a piece up. This significantly lowered team's morale and the finish was extremely poor for them. France at 4th is definitely kind of surprise and Spassky and Haïk contributed mostly. Switzerland's +1 was contribution of their top star Kortschnoj who - after awful performance in Montpellier - achieved best result at board #1 with excellent 7½/9. Team China (average age: 26) earned respect with brave and creative play and came in decent 7th with 50% score. Germany came 9th and did quite badly compared to pre-tournament odds. Africa came last with only 1 game win (Caiafas vs Rüfenacht of Switzerland in round 8) and Bousmaha (Algeria) who lost all 9 games received set of chess books as a consolation prize and encouragement to improve his chess skills!

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Kortschnoj, Viktor SUI 9 83.3
2. GM Karpov, Anatoly URS 5 7 71.4
2. GM Miles, Anthony John ENG 5 7 71.4

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Ribli, Zoltán HUN 9 72.2
2. GM Yusupov, Artur URS 5 7 71.4
3. GM Nunn, John Denis Martin ENG 4 8 50.0
3. GM Quinteros, Miguel Ángel ARG 4 8 50.0

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Vaganian, Rafael URS 6 8 75.0
1. GM Sax, Gyula HUN 6 8 75.0
3. IM Haïk, Aldo FRA 9 72.2

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Pintér, József HUN 6 9 66.7
2. Xu Jun CHN 5 8 62.5
3. IM Bărbulescu, Dan ROM 3 5 60.0

5th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Beliavsky, Alexander URS 5 8 62.5
1. GM Hecht, Hans-Joachim GER 5 8 62.5
3. IM Seret, Jean-Luc FRA 8 56.3
3. GM Mestel, Andrew Jonathan ENG 8 56.3

6th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Smyslov, Vassily URS 5 70.0
2. GM Chandler, Murray Graham ENG 8 68.8
3. IM Stoica, Valentin ROM 5 8 62.5
3. Ye Rongguang CHN 5 8 62.5

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Chernin, Alexander URS 5 7 71.4
2. GM Csom, István HUN 7 64.3
3. FM Franzoni, Giancarlo SUI 3 6 50.0
3. IM Plaskett, Harold James ENG 5 50.0

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Polugaevsky, Lev URS 7 78.6
2. FM Miralles, Gilles FRA 6 58.3
3. IM Ionescu, Constantin ROM 5 50.0
3. Soppe, Guillermo ARG 5 50.0

Interesting games

The leitmotif of this game: CENTRALISATION.
Suba, Mihai (ROM) - Kortschnoj, Viktor (SUI) 0 - 1

Subtle technical manoeuvres increased pressure.
Qi Jingxuan (CHN) - Karpov, Anatoly (URS) 0 - 1

Pseudo-active 10. Bg5 exposed White piece to give Black
better chances for Kingside counter-attack.
Renet, Olivier (FRA) - Chernin, Alexander (URS) 0 - 1

Low skilled players will find it nearly impossible to point Black mistakes.
Ghitescu, Theodor (ROM) - Short, Nigel (ENG) 1 - 0

Black needed his Bishop to protect the King, not for attack.
Kortschnoj, Viktor (SUI) - Panno, Oscar (ARG) 1 - 0

He first dragged black Queen out of the den then opened central files for attack.
Pintér, József (HUN) - Beliavsky, Olexandr (URS) 1 - 0

Passed pawn worth a Rook. A nice piece of small tactics following a nice game.
Barbero, Gerardo (ARG) - Keller, Dieter (SUI) 0 - 1

Destructive attack on black King.
Quinteros, Miguel Ángel (ARG) - Nunn, John (ENG) 1 - 0

Kortschnoj's "bad" Bishop started marauding behind enemy lines.
Nunn, John (ENG) - Kortschnoj, Viktor (SUI) 0 - 1