Rovinj, Round 8: Vlatko Kovacevic beats Bobby Fischer!

by André Schulz
4/17/2020 – Bobby Fischer started the tournament in Rovinj/Zagreb with 6½/7 and seemed to be unstoppable. But in round 8 he suffered a sensational loss against Vlatko Kovacevic who surprised the American in the opening and continued to outplay him convincingly. This is Fischer's first loss since his defeat against Efim Geller in Skopje 1967. Fischer still leads the tournament with 6½/8 but Svetozar Gligoric is only half a point behind. | Photo: Vlatko Kovacevic

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Tournament of Peace, Round 8

The big sensation of yesterday's 8th round of the 2nd Tournament of Peace in Rovinj/Zagreb was Bobby Fischer's loss against Vlatko Kovacevic. But who is this Kovacevic? He is 28 years old and comes from Dubrovnik. We met him after the game.

ChessBase: That was a sensational game, wasn't it...?

Kovacevic: Thanks. I have studied the French Defence intensively for years and I know it very well. Fischer's line is not particularly good.

The move ...b6 is a novelty, isn't it...?

Yes, in the past Black usually played 9...c5, like Euwe did against Alekhine, in their World Championship match 1935. Byrne also played like this against Fischer four years ago. The move is OK, but ...b6 is much better. The Bc8 comes into play.

When did you learn to play chess?

Late, I didn't start until I was 15. Then I was in the Marine Corps in Split but I made good progress in chess. In 1959 I became Junior Champion of Croatia and third at the Junior Championships of Yugoslavia. In 1961 I became a Master Candidate. But then I started to study.

What did you study?

Electrical engineering. They offered me an assistant position, but I decided to play chess.

With success, as you can see!

Yes, last year I also became Croatian Champion.

Do you still live in Dubrovnik?

No, I moved to Zagreb this year. I now play for SK Mladost.

Are you a professional chess player?

No, I work as a sports reporter for the radio in Zagreb.

During the game, when you took a walk, I saw Rona Petrosian talking to you. What did she want?

I don't know. I didn't understand her.

Thank you very much and good luck with your tournament.

Thanks.

Vlatko Kovacevic with his team: Udovcic, Damjanovic, Kovacevic, Hulak, Mrda, Nikolac and Bukal | Photo: Sah.hr

After this interview a player who wants to remain anonymous waved me aside:

"I'll tell you something, but don't mention my name or I'll get in trouble and in the end I might have to leave my country in a couple of years. When Fischer and Kovacevic were playing I sat next door in the café and watched the game, with Tigran and his wife Rona. You know, for him she is a blessing and she helped him to become World Champion, but nobody likes her.

Then Fischer set this trap with f3. Interesting I said, Fischer is allowing him to win the queen but if Kovacevic accepts the 'gift' he may even lose. Great was my astonishment when Petrosian's wife announced that she was going to tell Kovacevic about this trap. Kovacevic avoided it and won. He later confirmed that Rona did approach him. But he did not understand her Russian and found Fischer's trap on his own."


Rona and Tigran

 

Games

 

Standings after round 8

Rk. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Pts.
1 Robert James Fischer                 1     0 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 6.5 / 8
2 Svetozar Gligoric     1   ½ ½   1     ½     ½     1 1 6.0 / 8
3 Tigran V Petrosian   0   ½     ½     1   1   ½     1 ½ 5.0 / 8
4 Viktor Lvovich Kortschnoj     ½   ½ 1   ½ 0   1   1     ½     5.0 / 8
5 Vlastimil Hort   ½   ½     ½   ½ 1   1   ½ ½       5.0 / 8
6 Walter Shawn Browne   ½   0     ½     1   1   0 ½     1 4.5 / 8
7 Mario Bertok     ½   ½ ½   ½     ½   ½     ½ 1   4.5 / 8
8 Vassily V Smyslov   0   ½     ½   ½ ½     1   ½ ½     4.0 / 8
9 Dragoljub Minic 0     1 ½     ½     ½   ½   ½ ½     4.0 / 8
10 Mijo Udovcic     0   0 0   ½     ½         1 1 1 4.0 / 8
11 Bojan Kurajica   ½   0     ½   ½ ½   ½ ½   ½       3.5 / 8
12 Vlatko Kovacevic 1   0   0 0         ½     1     ½ ½ 3.5 / 8
13 Borislav Ivkov ½     0     ½ 0 ½   ½       1 ½     3.5 / 8
14 Wolfgang Uhlmann 0 ½ ½   ½ 1           0         0 1 3.5 / 8
15 Bruno Parma 0       ½ ½   ½ ½   ½   0     ½     3.0 / 8
16 Theodor Ghitescu 0     ½     ½ ½ ½ 0     ½   ½       3.0 / 8
17 Risto Nicevski 0 0 0       0     0   ½   1       ½ 2.0 / 8
18 Drazen Marovic 0 0 ½     0       0   ½   0     ½   1.5 / 8

Games

 

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer; Viktor Kortschnoi (Chess is My Life) contributed reporting.

Links

 



André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.