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Budapest Candidates Tournament

David Bronstein12/18(+8 -2 =8)[games]
Isaac Boleslavsky12/18(+6 -0 =12)[games]
Vasily Smyslov10/18(+5 -3 =10)[games]
Paul Keres9.5/18(+3 -2 =13)[games]
Miguel Najdorf9/18(+3 -3 =12)[games]
Alexander Kotov8.5/18(+5 -6 =7)[games]
Gideon Stahlberg8/18(+2 -4 =12)[games]
Andre Lilienthal7/18(+2 -6 =10)[games]
Laszlo Szabo7/18(+3 -7 =8)[games]
Salomon Flohr7/18(+1 -5 =12)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Budapest Candidates (1950)

After the FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948) was held, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) began a series of cycles (1) that would select a challenger to Mikhail Botvinnik. The tournament was held from April 9 through May 16 (and the subsequent play-off was held in July and August) (2, 3). The world was divided into various Zones, from each of which one or more players would qualify for an Interzonal tournament. The highest finishers in this, combined with other seeded players, would compete in a Candidates tournament to select the Challenger.

The first Interzonal was the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal (1948), from which the following players qualified: David Bronstein, Laszlo Szabo, Isaac Boleslavsky, Alexander Kotov, Andre Lilienthal, Igor Bondarevsky, Miguel Najdorf, Gideon Stahlberg, and Salomon Flohr. Bondarevsky later withdrew due to illness. They were to be joined by the unsuccessful invitees to the 1948 Championship, but only Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres took their places.

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 Pts 1 Bronstein ** ½½ 01 ½1 11 1½ 01 ½½ 1½ ½1 12 2 Boleslavsky ½½ ** 1½ ½½ ½½ 1½ ½½ ½1 ½1 11 12 3 Smyslov 10 0½ ** ½½ 1½ ½1 01 ½1 ½½ ½½ 10 4 Keres ½0 ½½ ½½ ** ½½ 10 1½ ½½ ½1 ½½ 9½ 5 Najdorf 00 ½½ 0½ ½½ ** ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 ½½ 9 6 Kotov 0½ 0½ ½0 01 ½½ ** ½1 10 10 1½ 8½ 7 Stahlberg 10 ½½ 10 0½ ½½ ½0 ** ½½ ½½ ½½ 8 8 Lilienthal ½½ ½0 ½0 ½½ 00 01 ½½ ** 10 ½½ 7 9 Szabo 0½ ½0 ½½ ½0 ½0 01 ½½ 01 ** 10 7 10 Flohr ½0 00 ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ ½½ ½½ 01 ** 7

Bronstein and Boleslavsky contested the Bronstein - Boleslavsky Candidates Playoff (1950), won by Bronstein and leading to the Botvinnik - Bronstein World Championship Match (1951).

The Zurich Candidates (1953) tournament event followed this cycle.

(1) Wikipedia article: Candidates Tournament.
(2) (the stamp collector also had dates of a couple of other tournaments from this era).
(3) (as suggested by the Roman numerals).

Mainly based on Game Collection: WCC Index (Budapest 1950) by User: nescio2.

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Stahlberg vs Keres 0-1611950Budapest CandidatesA30 English, Symmetrical
2. Bronstein vs Szabo 1-0311950Budapest CandidatesE27 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation
3. Lilienthal vs Smyslov  ½-½291950Budapest CandidatesD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
4. Flohr vs Boleslavsky 0-1591950Budapest CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
5. Najdorf vs Kotov ½-½401950Budapest CandidatesD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. Flohr vs Najdorf ½-½141950Budapest CandidatesE39 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation
7. Szabo vs Stahlberg ½-½291950Budapest CandidatesE08 Catalan, Closed
8. Boleslavsky vs Keres ½-½601950Budapest CandidatesC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
9. Smyslov vs Bronstein 1-0551950Budapest CandidatesD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
10. Kotov vs Lilienthal 1-0371950Budapest CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
11. Lilienthal vs Flohr  ½-½181950Budapest CandidatesC49 Four Knights
12. Keres vs Szabo ½-½411950Budapest CandidatesC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
13. Stahlberg vs Smyslov 1-0411950Budapest CandidatesD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
14. Najdorf vs Boleslavsky ½-½211950Budapest CandidatesD72 Neo-Grunfeld,, Main line
15. Bronstein vs Kotov 1-0321950Budapest CandidatesD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
16. Najdorf vs Lilienthal 1-0411950Budapest CandidatesD84 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit Accepted
17. Flohr vs Bronstein ½-½201950Budapest CandidatesE92 King's Indian
18. Kotov vs Stahlberg ½-½271950Budapest CandidatesD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
19. Boleslavsky vs Szabo ½-½331950Budapest CandidatesC89 Ruy Lopez, Marshall
20. Smyslov vs Keres ½-½261950Budapest CandidatesD29 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
21. Stahlberg vs Flohr ½-½751950Budapest CandidatesD97 Grunfeld, Russian
22. Lilienthal vs Boleslavsky  ½-½201950Budapest CandidatesE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
23. Szabo vs Smyslov  ½-½721950Budapest CandidatesA28 English
24. Keres vs Kotov 1-0271950Budapest CandidatesB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
25. Bronstein vs Najdorf 1-0211950Budapest CandidatesE29 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 90  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Keres' fourth-place finish in this event is a remarkable testimony to a brilliant career at top level, inasmuch as it was his lowest placing in any cycle for which he qualified as a candidate.
Feb-25-14  RookFile: The Bronstein vs. Boleslavsky match may be the greatest match that few have ever heard of.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Boleslavsky is so under-appreciated - he was a really good player
Oct-05-17  ughaibu: <a series of cycles (1) that would select a challenger to Mikhail Botvinnik.>

It's a subtle observation; the candidates tournaments only selected challengers for Botvinnik.

As a separate issue; did Stahlberg complain about collusion?

Apr-11-20  Paint My Dragon: A report of this event has recently been posted on the FIDE website ...

Includes some key moments and B&W photographs of Keres, Smyslov, Bronstein etc.

Apr-11-20  RookFile: Reshevsky said he could have played but simply didn't want to.
Apr-12-20  Muttley101: <Paint My Dragon: A report of this event has recently been posted on the FIDE website ...

Includes some key moments and B&W photographs of Keres, Smyslov, Bronstein etc.>

Lovely report to see, thanks for posting the link.

"Robin Fine"? Reuben Fine of course :D

The story about Boleslavsky's failure to win is an interesting one. What I read many years ago was that Boleslavsky did not want to play a match against Botvinnik, so allowed Bronstein to catch up, and ultimately win their play off match. Can't remember where I read it, but looking at this again, avoiding the match by drawing the last two games when Bronstein needed to win both his? Not the most sure-fire strategy in the world.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LRLeighton: The supposed motivation for Boleslavsky to let Bronstein catch up was that the two players believed that if they tied for first, then FIDE would organize a World Championship Match Tournament involving Boleslavsky, Bronstein, and Botvinnik. Botvinnik liked match tournaments, and he had expressed strong views that the 3-year cycle needed to be maintained without additional interruptions. This isn't widely known, but the original FIDE rules (supported by Botvinnik) were that if the WC lost a match, then the new WC, the old WC, and the candidate would play a 3-player match-tournament three years later. For example, if these rules had been maintained, then after Smyslov won in 1957, there would have been no return match, but instead, Smyslov, Botvinnik, and Tal (assuming a victory for Tal in the 59 CT) would have played a match-tournament in 1960. FIDE decided in the mid-50s to go with return matches (over Botvinnik's objections, even though he is customarily blamed for return matches). Back to 1950: Boleslavsky and Bronstein were close friends (Bronstein later married Boleslavsky's daughter) and they believed that they would be able to take advantage of this to wear down Botvinnik in a match tournament. The problem with this strategy was that there was no existing rule for how to deal with a tie for first in the CT, and FIDE opted to decide the challenger by a match. And so Boleslavsky missed out on his only opportunity to play for the WC.
Mar-18-22  Petrosianic: <The story about Boleslavsky's failure to win is an interesting one. What I read many years ago was that Boleslavsky did not want to play a match against Botvinnik, so allowed Bronstein to catch up,>

There's no actual evidence that's true, just speculation. Boleslavsky gambled and lost (or drew, at least).

Had Keres been able to beat Fischer in the last round of Curacao, people would have said that Petrosian "let" him catch up. No, Petrosian just gambled and won. But it was a good gamble, given Keres' history of erratic performances in the final round of a Candidates Tournament. Some people just love conspiracy theories.

Mar-18-22  Olavi: This conspiracy theory is backed by Bronstein's comments in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. That is no definitive proof.
Mar-19-22  Olavi: I was of course referring to Budapest 1950. If Bronstein is telling the truth and Boleslavsky deliberately slowed down in the hope of arranging a three way match, well that's not a conspiracy. It's bad judgment.

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