Rovinj/Zagreb 1970: Fischer starts with five wins and a draw

by Johannes Fischer
4/15/2020 – The Tournament of Peace in Rovinj/Zagreb is a round-robin with 18 players, eight from Yugoslavia, ten from abroad. Two former World Champions, Tigran Petrosian and Vasily Smyslov, take part, but tournament favourite is the 27-year old American Bobby Fischer, currently number one on the FIDE World Ranking List. Fischer started the tournament with five wins and a draw and is the sole leader. One point behind follows Yugoslavia's number one, Svetozar Gligoric, who defeated Petrosian with a brilliant sacrifice and also won against Smyslov. | Photo: Rovinj

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2020 with 8 million games and more than 80,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!

More...

The Tournament of Peace 1970

The Tournament of Peace will be played in two cities: the small idyllic city Rovinj hosts the first eleven rounds, Zagred will host the final six rounds. The tournament is one of the biggest and most prestigious events of 1970 and it is the first tournament in which Fischer plays again after a prolonged break from tournament chess. In fact, before he decided to take part in USSR vs Rest of the World match in Belgrade in March Fischer had only played one official game in 18 months – against his friend Anthony Saidy at a team match in New York. Which, however, was quite impressive.

 

But inviting the eccentric American to a tournament comes with a price. Before Fischer agreed to play in Rovinj/Zagreb he had a close look at venue and area and presented the organisers with a catalogue of no less than 41 demands. The organisers agreed to 40 of them and Fischer grudgingly agreed to play.

Bobby Fischer

But his play in the first six rounds in Rovinj/Zagreb helped to forgive Fischer his whims and eccentricities. He scored five convincing wins and only conceded a draw against Borislav Ivkov in round 5. In this game Fischer overpressed but secured a draw after a long and tenacious defense.

Five wins and a draw: Fischer's games from round 1 to 6

 

Tigran Petrosian, World Champion from 1963 to 1969, has a much more peaceful approach. He seems to be intent to try for a win against the nominally weaker players while being content with quick draws against the nominally stronger participants.

Tigran Petrosian and his wife Rona

However, this strategy backfired in round five. Petrosian had White against Gligoric who did not want to draw but won with fine attacking play.

 

Gligoric also managed to defeat Vasily Smyslov, the second former World Champion in the field, and after six rounds he has 4.5 points out of 6 games and is only one point behind Fischer.

Svetozar Gligoric 1966 | Photo: Eric Koch, Anefo, CC By-SA 3.0 NL

Smyslov, however, did not start well. He still has to win a single game and with 2.5/6 he is not even on 50 percent.

But the tournament is far from over and only six of 17 rounds are played. Time enough to catch Fischer – unless he continues to play the way he started the tournament.

Standings after six rounds

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             ½ 1   1       1 1     1 5.5 / 6
2 Svetozar Gligoric     1 ½ ½           ½ 1     1       4.5 / 6
3 Tigran V Petrosian   0           ½             1 1 1 ½ 4.0 / 6
4 Walter Shawn Browne   ½           0 ½             1 1 1 4.0 / 6
5 Vlastimil Hort   ½       ½   ½ ½             1 1   4.0 / 6
6 Viktor Lvovich Kortschnoj         ½   1     0 1 ½ ½           3.5 / 6
7 Borislav Ivkov ½         0     ½ ½     ½ 1         3.0 / 6
8 Wolfgang Uhlmann 0   ½ 1 ½                   0     1 3.0 / 6
9 Mario Bertok       ½ ½   ½       ½ ½ ½           3.0 / 6
10 Dragoljub Minic 0         1 ½         ½ ½ ½         3.0 / 6
11 Bojan Kurajica   ½       0     ½         ½   ½ ½   2.5 / 6
12 Vassily V Smyslov   0       ½     ½ ½       ½   ½     2.5 / 6
13 Theodor Ghitescu           ½ ½   ½ ½       ½   0     2.5 / 6
14 Bruno Parma 0           0     ½ ½ ½ ½           2.0 / 6
15 Risto Nicevski 0 0 0         1                 ½ ½ 2.0 / 6
16 Mijo Udovcic     0 0 0           ½ ½ 1           2.0 / 6
17 Vlatko Kovacevic     0 0 0           ½       ½     ½ 1.5 / 6
18 Drazen Marovic 0   ½ 0       0             ½   ½   1.5 / 6

Games from rounds 1 to 6

 


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".

Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register