Vlastimil Hort: Memories of Rovinj/Zagreb

by Vlastimil Hort
4/27/2020 – Bobby Fischer won the 2. Tournament of Peace in Rovinj/Zagreb 1970 convincingly with a two point margin. Vlastimil Hort shared second place but felt that he and the other players "were more or less reduced to the role of spectators".

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Vlastimil Hort remembers…

2. Tournament of Peace in Rovinj/Zagreb 1970

The organizers from Yugoslavia never forgot me and invited me to this spectacular tournament. It was a super strong event, this 2. Tournament of Peace. The first two thirds were played on the beautiful island of Sveta Katarina just opposite the old town of Rovinj, the final six rounds were played in Zagreb.

The prize money was good, as always in Yugoslavia, and we were particularly pleased that the dinars were convertible. The blue sea and the bright sun were also wonderful.

Bobby Fischer and some strong Soviets such as Tigran Petrosian, Viktor Kortschnoi and Vassily Smyslow took part. Just as Svetozar Gligoric from Serbia, Wolfgang Uhlmann from the German Democratic Republic and a number of strong Croatians. Walter Browne from the USA, who was born in Australia, was the young "rising star".

Fischer was once again in "top form", winning almost all games though he lost against Vlado Kovacevic. The rest of us were more or less reduced to the role of spectators.

Bobby was very kind to me. He often invited me to his hotel suite to talk to me about the rounds. In Zagreb he was also the organizers' favourite guest. All his extra wishes were gladly fulfilled.

Who else besides me is still alive from the players who took part in Rovinj/Zagreb?

Wolfgang Uhlmann, who just celebrated his 85th birthday; Kovacevic, who was the only who could win against Fischer in this tournament; and Bruno Parma and Drazen Marovic. Time simply goes too fast and, before the memories fade away completely, I like to revisit my chess experiences again.

After the tournament Fischer and I received a special invitation. We were to spend a few days on a ship that would take us to places on the blue Yugoslavian sea we had not yet seen. On board were some attractive hostesses, of course because of Fischer. They swarmed around him like hornets, but he paid them no attention at all. Only when they served him his beloved cold milk or the countless steaks he hastily devoured, did he look up briefly from the chessboard and nod his head. He was almost always focused on his pocket chess set. If he did not analyze, which was rare, he liked to jump headfirst from the railing into the sea. At that time he was still in shape and handsome! When I evoke memories of him at that time I always think of Johnny Weissmüller's Tarzan.

Bobby Fischer liked to swim

After cooling down in the sea he dried off as quickly as possible to immediately return to the chess set or dedicate himself to some chess journal. There was not much talking! For me it was an experience to be that close to my idol so privately from close up. I was very lucky!

In my game against Petrosian in Rovinj/Zagreb I had to adjourn a bad rook ending.

But Dimitry Bjelica rescued me. The well-known chess journalist, who accompanied us throughout the tournament, had organized a simul with Petrosian for the following morning. Petrosian was lured by the money. But his opponents probably tired him out and in the afternoon he was so exhausted that he spoiled the win against me.

 

"Vlasty, how did you save it?" Fischer was very interested in the game and I had to show it to him move by move. But Petrosian was very annoyed about the draw. It cost him much more than he had received for the simul. Greed is a bad advisor.

Rovinj/Zagreb 1970, Final standings

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 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 13.0 / 17
2 Viktor Lvovich Kortschnoj ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ 0 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 11.0 / 17
3 Vassily V Smyslov ½ ½   0 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 11.0 / 17
4 Svetozar Gligoric 0 ½ 1   ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 11.0 / 17
5 Vlastimil Hort ½ ½ ½ ½   ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 11.0 / 17
6 Tigran V Petrosian ½ ½ ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 10.5 / 17
7 Borislav Ivkov ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 9.0 / 17
8 Dragoljub Minic 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½   ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 9.0 / 17
9 Vlatko Kovacevic 1 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½   1 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 8.5 / 17
10 Wolfgang Uhlmann 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0   ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 8.5 / 17
11 Mario Bertok 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 8.5 / 17
12 Walter Shawn Browne ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½   ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 7.5 / 17
13 Bojan Kurajica 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 6.5 / 17
14 Bruno Parma 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½   ½ ½ ½ ½ 6.5 / 17
15 Theodor Ghitescu 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½   ½ 0 ½ 6.5 / 17
16 Drazen Marovic 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½   0 ½ 6.0 / 17
17 Mijo Udovcic 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1   1 5.5 / 17
18 Risto Nicevski 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0   3.5 / 17

Games

 

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer

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Vlastimil Hort was born January 12, 1944, in Kladno, Czechoslovakia. In the 1970s he was one of the world's best players and a World Championship candidate. In 1979 he moved to West Germany where he still lives. Hort is an excellent blindfold player, a prolific author and a popular chess commentator.

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