Friends and rivals – USSR vs Yugoslavia 2007

11/11/2007 – Now hang on, we hear you say, the two nation states have long ceased to exist? But this week organisers in Moscow rolled back the clock and staged a match in the tradition of the famous friends-and-rivals encounters of the 1950s-80s. The teams consisted of veteran players who had taken part in the matches during the heyday of the Soviet era. Illustrated report.

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Friends and rivals

Collectors of Soviet chess literature will probably be familiar with the book "Druzya i soperniki" ("Friends and rivals"), which deals with the history of the USSR-Yugoslavia chess matches. Throughout the 1950s to 1980s, these annual matches were one of the most impressive events of the international chess calendar, and produced some great chess.

Over the past 15 or so years, both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have ceased to exist as nation states, but this week in Moscow, an attempt was made to roll back the clock. The Russian capital played host to a two-round USSR-Yugoslavia match, involving teams of veteran players, all of whom had taken part in the matches during the heyday of the Soviet era.

The "USSR" team was led by Victor Korchnoi, now a Swiss citizen, but restored to "honorary" Soviet citizenship for the two days of this match. Opposing him on board one was Svetozar Gligorić, who had lead the Yugoslav team with success on so many former occasions. The ten-board teams included Taimanov, Averbakh, Vasyukov and Balashov on the USSR side, and Ivkov, Matanovic, Velimirovic and Karaklaic for Yugoslavia. The full results were as follows:

1st Round, 08.11.2007
 
2nd Round, 09.11.2007
Yugoslavia
 
USSR
S. Gligorić
0-1
V. Kortchnoi
B. Ivkov
1/2
E. Vasiukov
A. Matanovic 
1/2
M. Taimanov
D. Velimirovic
1-0
Y. Balashov
N. Karaklaic
1/2
I. Zaitsev
S. Vlahovic
1/2
Y. Averbakh
Z. Spasojevic
1/2
V. Vorotnikov
A. Savic
1/2
A. Machulsky
M. Lazarevic
0-1
E. Fatalibekova
K. Blagojevic
0-1
L. Zaitseva
Total:
4-6
 
 
USSR
 
Yugoslavia
 V. Kortchnoi
 1/2  S. Gligorić
 E. Vasiukov
 1/2  B. Ivkov
 M. Taimanov
 1/2 A. Matanovic 
 Y. Balashov
 1/2  D. Velimirovic
 I. Zaitsev
 1/2  N. Karaklaic
 Y. Averbakh
 0-1  S. Vlahovic
 V. Vorotnikov
 1-0  Z. Spasojevic
 A. Machulsky
 1/2  A. Savic
 E. Fatalibekova
 1/2

M. Lazarevic

 L. Zaitseva
 1/2  K. Blagojevic
Total:
 5-5  
Final result: Yugoslavia 9, USSR 11

Gligoric,S (2447) - Korchnoi,V (2611) [E41]
USSR vs Yugoslavia m Moscow RUS (1), 08.11.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 d5 5.Nf3 c5 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 Qc7 8.Qd3 a6 9.a3 cxd4 10.exd4 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Nbd7 12.0-0 0-0 13.Be2 Qd6 14.Ne5 Nd5 15.Qg3 f6 16.Bh6 Qe7 17.Nc4 b5 18.Nd6 Kh8 19.Bd2 N7b6 20.Rfe1 Rd8 21.Nxc8 Raxc8 22.Bd3 g6 23.Qh3 f5 24.Qg3 Qd6 25.Qh4 Nc4 26.Bg5 Nxb2 27.Bxd8 Nxd3 28.Bf6+ Kg8 29.Be5 Qf8 30.Red1 Rc3 31.h3 h6 32.Ra2 g5 33.Qg3 Nc1 34.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 35.Kh2 Qc8 36.Qf3 Qe8 37.Qd3 Rc3 38.Qd1 Kh7 39.Rc2 Kg6 40.Rxc3 Nxc3 41.Qc2 Nd5 42.Qc5 Nf6 43.Qb6 Qc8 44.Qd6 Ng8 45.g4 fxg4 46.hxg4 Kf7 47.Qb4 Nf6 48.Qb3 Nxg4+ 49.Kg3

Black is two pawns up and clearly on the road to victory. However his next move is a mistake: 49...Qc4? This allows the queen fork 50.Qf3, turning the tables and winning White a piece and the game. However Gligorić misses the chance: 50.Qb2? and now Black has easy play to take the full point: 50...h5 51.f3 Qd3 52.Qc1 Nxe5 53.dxe5 g4 54.Qf4+ Qf5 0-1.


Korchnoi vs Gligorić after White's 42nd move

After the game 76-year-old Viktor Korchnoi said to 84-year-old Svetozar Gligorić: "You are stronger now than you were fifty years ago!" Gligorić was uncertain whether this was a compliment or not.


Grandmaster, endgame expert, arbiter, author, administrator: the multi-
talented Yuri Averbakh, 84, was born six days after Svetozar Gligorić


Aleksandar Matanović, 77 vs Mark Taimanov, 81 sees the latter remain
faithful to his eponymous Sicilian variation


Andor Lilienthal (left), who is now 96 years old,
with Russian team captain Boris Postovsky


The USSR vs Yugoslavia match setup in Moscow

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