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San Antonio Tournament

Lajos Portisch10.5/15(+7 -1 =7)[games]
Tigran V Petrosian10.5/15(+6 -0 =9)[games]
Anatoly Karpov10.5/15(+7 -1 =7)[games]
Svetozar Gligoric10/15(+7 -2 =6)[games]
Paul Keres9.5/15(+6 -2 =7)[games]
Vlastimil Hort9/15(+6 -3 =6)[games]
Duncan Suttles9/15(+5 -2 =8)[games]
Henrique Mecking8.5/15(+5 -3 =7)[games]
Bent Larsen8.5/15(+7 -5 =3)[games]
Donald Byrne7/15(+4 -5 =6)[games]
Larry Evans6.5/15(+2 -4 =9)[games]
Walter Browne6.5/15(+4 -6 =5)[games]
Julio Kaplan5/15(+2 -7 =6)[games]
Mario Campos Lopez3.5/15(+2 -10 =3)[games]
Anthony Saidy3.5/15(+2 -10 =3)[games]
Kenneth Smith2/15(+1 -12 =2)[games]
* Chess Event Description
San Antonio (1972)

In 1972, while the world's gaze was fixed on Iceland, a company in America had plans to generate publicity for itself through the chess world. Church's Fried Chicken, a restaurant chain in the United States, organized an international tournament to be held in San Antonio, Texas. European and Soviet grandmasters were pitted against grandmasters and masters from the Americas in a round robin format. The sixteen participants were (in order of Elo rating): Tigran Petrosian (2645), Lajos Portisch (2640), Anatoli Karpov (2630), Bent Larsen (2625), Vlastimil Hort (2600), Paul Keres (2600), Svetozar Gligoric (2575), Henrique Mecking (2570), Larry Evans (2545), Walter Shawn Browne (2530), Donald Byrne (2470), Julio Kaplan (2470), Duncan Suttles (2470), Dr. Anthony Saidy (2425), Ken Smith (2395), and Mario Campos Lopez (2200). The tournament ended with the top three seeds sharing first place.


San Antonio, Texas USA, 19 November - 11 December 1972

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 01 Portisch * ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 10.5 02 Petrosian ½ * ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 10.5 03 Karpov 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 10.5 04 Gligoric 1 0 0 * ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 10.0 05 Keres 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 9.5 06 Hort 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 9.0 07 Suttles ½ ½ 0 0 ½ ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 9.0 08 Mecking ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ * 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 8.5 09 Larsen 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 ½ 0 * 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 8.5 10 Byrne ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 * 1 0 ½ 1 1 1 7.0 11 Evans ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 * ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 6.5 12 Browne ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ * 1 0 0 1 6.5 13 Kaplan 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 * 1 ½ 0 5.0 14 Campos Lopez ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 0 * 1 ½ 3.5 15 Saidy 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 * 1 3.5 16 Smith 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 * 2.0

Original collection: Game Collection: San Antonio 1972 User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 120  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Browne vs Evans  ½-½251972San AntonioA43 Old Benoni
2. Keres vs Hort 1-0601972San AntonioE14 Queen's Indian
3. Saidy vs Karpov 0-1521972San AntonioA07 King's Indian Attack
4. Mecking vs J Kaplan 1-0311972San AntonioB44 Sicilian
5. D Byrne vs Petrosian ½-½221972San AntonioA00 Uncommon Opening
6. M Campos Lopez vs Portisch  ½-½331972San AntonioB42 Sicilian, Kan
7. Suttles vs Gligoric  0-1481972San AntonioE81 King's Indian, Samisch
8. Larsen vs K Smith 1-0241972San AntonioD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. Karpov vs Browne 1-0591972San AntonioA30 English, Symmetrical
10. Hort vs Petrosian  ½-½131972San AntonioB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
11. Keres vs Mecking 1-0281972San AntonioD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
12. Portisch vs Suttles  ½-½401972San AntonioB08 Pirc, Classical
13. Evans vs Larsen 0-1431972San AntonioA14 English
14. Gligoric vs D Byrne  1-0391972San AntonioD91 Grunfeld, 5.Bg5
15. J Kaplan vs Saidy  ½-½691972San AntonioB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
16. K Smith vs M Campos Lopez ½-½641972San AntonioC02 French, Advance
17. Browne vs J Kaplan 1-0241972San AntonioB54 Sicilian
18. Mecking vs Hort  0-1871972San AntonioB68 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 9...Be7
19. Saidy vs Keres 0-1551972San AntonioD02 Queen's Pawn Game
20. Petrosian vs Gligoric 1-0351972San AntonioE81 King's Indian, Samisch
21. D Byrne vs Portisch  ½-½321972San AntonioA22 English
22. Suttles vs K Smith 1-0491972San AntonioA07 King's Indian Attack
23. M Campos Lopez vs Evans  ½-½411972San AntonioB96 Sicilian, Najdorf
24. Larsen vs Karpov  ½-½331972San AntonioE17 Queen's Indian
25. Hort vs Gligoric  ½-½231972San AntonioE92 King's Indian
 page 1 of 5; games 1-25 of 120  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-23-18  offramp: I visualise the competitors dining 24/7 like Boss Hogg.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Ken Smith had black in all three of his games against the Soviet contingent. He played a total of 205 moves (nearly 70 moves per game!) and managed a draw against Keres.

If he'd had white the games probably would have been a lot shorter. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: <Keres and I started out well, but when I for no reason lost a pawn-up adjournment against him I lost some spirit, and hereafter it almost looked like the oldest participant was going to win. But in the last rounds he played poorly while Portisch pulled out a sprint. Before last round Petrosian and Karpov were half a point ahead of the Hungarian but they offered draws against Suttles and Mecking before the games. Pussies! Maybe too much money was at stake? The first 3 prizes were 4000, 2000 and 1000 dollars, a steep decline. The Russians suggested at the beginning of the tournament to cut 1000 dollars from first prize, add 500 dollars to third prize and distribute the remaining on lower prizes. The organizers were willing, if all players approved. I hurried to protest, I do not like changing the conditions that made me come. Although apart from that, it is true that such a big difference between the main prizes is unusual. (In Hastings 1967-68 the first prize was twice the size of second prize, and fourth prize was almost nothing. It has been suggested with great certainty that the four participating grandmasters were unhappy and from the beginning planned to share first which also succeeded.)>

Bent Larsen 1973 - "Skakbladet" Feb 1973

Sep-25-18  Olavi: Among professionals in the old days it was agreed that the more the prizes are weighted in favour of the first prize, the more likely one gets lots of ultra short draws, particularly in the last rounds of Opens. This is a given, if you think about it just a little, but somehow organizers and sponsors never seemed to understand.
Sep-25-18  Howard: Yes, but keep in mind that "opens" are almost always Swiss tournaments---not round robins.

As for Larsen's protest, keep in mind that he was objecting (rightfully) towards changing the prize distribution at the last minute.

Sep-25-18  Olavi: You're right there.

However it happens in round robins too, off the top of my head I remember this shortie Nunn vs Adams, 1991 in the last round between the leader and the young man half a point behind. And the reason they gave was exactly this: the first prize was very big in proportion, so of course Nunn wouldn't take a risk (even if now Curt Hansen could have caught him), while for Adams, with a loss it would have been peanuts.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: At the 1984 Toronto International, I had my only meeting with the strong master Fred Lindsay, after which he told some interesting stories, one of which I recall to this day.

Several years before, he had played one of the major American swisses which was won jointly by Gheorghiu.

In the last round, Gheorghiu quickly agreed to a draw on board one, but furtively looked about to make sure at least one other top board did so at the same time.

The droll way in which Lindsay related this has always stayed with me.

Sep-26-18  Howard: Met Lindsay several times in the late 80's/early 90's. Nice guy.

Are you implying, by the way, that Gheorghiu had "conspired" with someone else, as far as agreeing to a draw ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: <Are you implying, by the way, that Gheorghiu had "conspired" with someone else, as far as agreeing to a draw ?>

I think it is well known that Gheorghiu did that occasionally.E.g. Larsen mentioned it a couple of times.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Perhaps the kibitzing at Gheorghiu vs L Piasetski, 1977 will shed some light on the Roumanian grandmaster's tendencies for any doubting Thomases, past, present and future.
Sep-27-18  Howard: The Oxford Companion to Chess (second edition, 1993) also states similar regarding Gheorghiu, as I recall. It said that he did have a reputation for rigging games.
Sep-16-19  pdvossen: We can only ask " What if " when it comes to what it could have been if Bobby had kept it together and moved on with his chess. Nevertheless, I think chess is moving in the right direction, and the online explosion is helping a lot. Magnus I think is good for the game as well.
Sep-17-19  WorstPlayerEver: Lol Mags is boring as hell.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Victoria Advocate, December 11th 1972, p.5A:

<SAN ANTONIO, Tex. (AP) A gregarious, hand-shaking, smiling Bobby Fischer declared Sunday he will defend his chess title, although he likes his new lifestyle now that "the pressure is off".

For someone considered the "l'enfant terrible" of the game, Fischer relented to request after request of fans, officials and even television cameramen for autographs and the like at the Church's International Chess Tournament.

"This money is a joke," said Fischer when asked why he did not compete with the field of 16 masters in the Church's tournament.

He said, however, the tournament has a strong field.

Fischer, of Los Angeles, said he was in San Antonio to view the final round of the three and one-half-week Church's tournament and also to attend a religious meeting of California evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong.

"I don't want to get into that. That's a private part of my life," Fischer said of Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. It was the only question in a quite frank interview which he didn't answer straightforwardly. About his life after the world championship match with Boris Spassky of Russia, he said, "I'm enjoying it." He said he's taken an apartment after many years of mostly living in hotels and is following other pursuits.

Asked about a suggestion by one of the Church's competitors that he might not defend his title, he laughed before declaring, "I will defend it."

Then, in a joking manner, he said of the suggestion, "that's a good idea, come to think of it," and laughed again.

Fischer said he did not know when his next competition would be although he conceded "there's talk" of an exhibition with Brazilian Enrique Mecking. "I wouldn't name any figures," he said when asked how much money he now commands.

Pressed, he mentioned professional golf prize money - "they offer what, $50,000, for first place?" and then said golfers play for only a weekend while chess tourneys last a month.

Church's promoters touted young Russian champion Anatoly Karpov, a member of the Church's field, as possibly the next challenger.

Said Fischer, "I've hardly heard of him.">

Jul-02-21  TheBish: That's classic, <MissScarlett>! Thanks for that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: From <Interviewing the Soviet Stars at San Antonio by Anthony Saidy> in <Chess Life & Review>, February 1973:

<CL&R: You led the tournament for ten rounds with the excellent score of eight points. Then you suffered reverses in the next three rounds. Did you tire? What happened?

Keres: Yes. Maybe I started too fast. I don't like excuses, but my feet were bothering me.>

A footnote reads: <Lajos Portisch told me that Keres has been having a problem with one of his feet for some time and, in fact, recently considered corrective surgery. - Ed. [Burt Hochberg]>

Now that's what you call a lame excuse.

Mar-20-22  Z free or die: Groan!
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Paul, why are you limping?

I've got Estonia in my shoe.

Mar-20-22  Z free or die:
Mar-21-22  Granny O Doul: <Olavi: Among professionals in the old days it was agreed that the more the prizes are weighted in favour of the first prize, the more likely one gets lots of ultra short draws, particularly in the last rounds of Opens. This is a given, if you think about it just a little, but somehow organizers and sponsors never seemed to understand.>

I still don't understand, after much thought. I think this should have the opposite effect.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Granny> Thats what I would think as well.
Mar-22-22  Olavi: <Check It Out: <Granny> >

You may think otherwise if you have no guaranteed income at all. For lower level professionals, travelling from one open to another, it was not so unusual to have to make a pragmatic choice. I know an aspiring chess player who took a short draw in Spain to be sure of a train ticket back home to Sweden. I try to remember to give the Nunn quote re the 1991 Adams game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: It is one thing for the likes of Luis Rentero to decry the tendency towards short draws at top level and force the likes of Spassky to sign an agreement to play chess, yet quite another to live in the real world where one must earn one's way.

The pragmatism alluded to by <Olavi> rears its head in tournament poker: there has long been a stigma attached to simply making the prize list, as opposed to playing to win the event, yet if the benefits of min-cashing are ignored, that would tend to have a disastrous effect on one's bottom line.

Case in point: a few months back at the WSOP, I played a $2500 event in which the min-cash was $4k. An Israeli pro was at my table and had a very short stack and no real chance of winning the event, so he played super-safe poker as the money bubble approached, rather than his trademark aggro he had displayed all day--we had got into several tussles. This bore fruit, as he went out at the beginning of the second day, $4000 to the good.

Mar-22-22  Olavi: Yes, even Nunn wrote in 1991 (near the world top for ten years) that you have to think what the odds are. Because the chesspleyer does rely on his prizemoney to pay his phonebill and polltax. When the first prize is very big in proportion to the other prizes, it makes sense to take a sure second share of it, instead of taking a gamble.

I'd add that most chess players don't play chess to make money, they'd have chosen another profession is such was their ambition. They play chess to play chess.

Mar-22-22  offramp: <Olavi:...I'd add that most chess players don't play chess to make money, they'd have chosen another profession is such was their ambition. They play chess to play chess.>

Perhaps Keres's corrective surgery on his feet may have been connected to Keres changing his profession.

Keres could have given up chess and become a referee in football, with the legs of Oscar Pistorius.

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