Rubinstein Memorial in Polanica Zdrój

8/21/2015 – The International Chess Festival in Polanica Zdrój wants to keep the memory of Akiba Rubinstein alive. It once was one of the most popular tournaments in the world and players like Smysłow, Karpov, and Gelfand took part. Then the tournament fell into crisis. But it is still an attractive and strong tournament. The 51. edition begins today.

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The International Chess Festival in Polanica Zdrój

by Tomasz Mincewicz

A look back

The Rubinstein Memorial was basically a brainchild of Max Euwe. The former World Champion supported the idea of a Rubinstein Memorial in Poland where Rubinstein was born. “Every chess player, no matter what title he has, will be proud to receive an invitation to a tournament dedicated to the memory of Akiba Rubinstein!” said Euwe 1963 during a meeting with officials from the Polish Chess Federation in 1963.

A few months later the First Rubinstein International Chess Festival began. It was won by IM Nikolay Padevski from Bulgaria.

Nikolay Padevsky

In the years to come the tournament became stronger and stronger. In 1966 former World Champion Vassily Smyslov came to Polanica Zdrój and outclassed all opponents.

Every time Smysłow played in Polanica Zdrój he won in convincing style. (Photo: deluxchess.com)

In the 1990s the Akiba Rubinstein International Chess Festival reached its peak and had established itself as one of the strongest tournaments in the chess calendar.

One of the greatest Rubinstein admirers is Boris Gelfand. The former World Champion challenger again and again stresses how much he learned from the games of Rubinstein and how much Rubinstein influenced his play. Thus Gelfand will be pleased to have won two of the strongest editions of the Rubinstein Memorial (in 1998 and 2000). The 1998 tournament had an average rating of 2654 (category 17) which at that time was really impressive. It was a tournament full of tense and exciting games but the duel between Gelfand and Shirov was a real highlight.

 

The Rubinstein Memorial 2000 even reached an average rating of 2674. Unfortunately, after that the tournament declined slowly due to a number of unfortunate events and no longer was a top event.

Historical photos

Closing ceremony of the 25. edition (Photo: dolny-slask.org.pl)

Members of the Polish Chess Federation in 1979 ( Photo: Andrzej Filipowicz)

A picture of 1991: Do you recognize familiar faces?

1996: FM Jerzy Konikowski comments (Photo http://www.blog.konikowski.net)

1987 (Photo: dolny-slask.org.pl)

1963

The arbiters in the service of Rubinstein

The playing hall

Before the start of the blitz tournament

Even though the Rubinstein Memorial is not as strong as it once was the organisers do their best to make the tournament attractive for amateurs and grandmasters. This year GM Mikhail Brodsky from Ukraine is the top seed in the GM tournament.

GM Michail Brodsky

GM Rafał Antoniewski (2531) is the top seed in the B-tournament (Photo: Olga Zajkowska)

GM Vadim Shishkin won in 2014

Polanica Zdrój

The entrance to the playing venue (Photo from the official site of the city)

Chess in the park

The park at night

The river Bystrzyca-Dusznicka flows right through the city.

Summer sledge track ( Photo from the official site of the city)

A different kind of Rubinstein Memorial

Tournament site of the 51. Rubinstein Memorial


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