World Chess Championship 1954

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The 1954 World Chess Championship was played between Mikhail Botvinnik and Vasily Smyslov in Moscow from March 16 to May 13, 1954. Botvinnik retained his title.

1952 Interzonal tournament[edit]

An interzonal tournament was held at Saltsjöbaden in Stockholm, Sweden, in September and October 1952. The top eight finishers qualified for the Candidates tournament.

1952 Interzonal Tournament
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Total Tie break
1  Alexander Kotov (Soviet Union) x ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 16½
2  Mark Taimanov (Soviet Union) ½ x ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 13½ 125.50
3  Tigran Petrosian (Soviet Union) ½ ½ x ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 13½ 125.00
4  Efim Geller (Soviet Union) ½ ½ ½ x ½ 1 0 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 13
5  Yuri Averbakh (Soviet Union) ½ ½ ½ ½ x 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 12½ 115.25
6  Gideon Ståhlberg (Sweden) ½ ½ ½ 0 1 x 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 12½ 115.00
7  László Szabó (Hungary) 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 x ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 12½ 114.25
8  Svetozar Gligorić (Yugoslavia) 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 ½ x 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 12½ 105.50
9  Wolfgang Unzicker (West Germany) 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 x ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 11½
10  Erich Eliskases (Argentina) 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ x ½ 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 10½
11  Herman Pilnik (Argentina) 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ x 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1 10 93.75
12  Ludek Pachman (Czechoslovakia) ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 0 x ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 10 92.50
13  Herman Steiner (United States) ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 1 1 ½ x ½ 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 10 88.50
14  Aleksandar Matanović (Yugoslavia) 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ x 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 9
15  Gedeon Barcza (Hungary) 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 x 1 ½ 0 0 1 ½ 8
16  Gösta Stoltz (Sweden) 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 0 x 0 1 1 ½ 1
17  Luis Augusto Sánchez (Colombia) 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 x ½ 0 1 1 7
18  Robert Wade (Great Britain) 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ x ½ 0 1 6
19  Paul Vaitonis (Canada) 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 0 1 ½ x ½ 0 5
20  Harry Golombek (Great Britain) 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 ½ x 0 39.25
21  Lodewijk Prins (Netherlands) 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 x 38.00

Only the top five were supposed to have qualified for a 12-player Candidates Tournament, but four players were tied for fifth place, and since the tie-break margins were so small, all four were included. The tournament was surrounded by some controversy as the five Soviet players took the top five spots - having drawn every single game amongst themselves, several of them after suspiciously few moves. Originally, the 1952 Interzonal was supposed to have featured 22 players, but Julio Bolbochán of Argentina suffered a hemorrhage and had to withdraw after a first-round adjournment.

1953 Candidates tournament[edit]

The Candidates tournament was held in Zürich, Switzerland, from August to October 1953. The field consisted of 15 players: The top eight from the 1952 Interzonal, the top five from the previous Candidates Tournament (Bronstein, Boleslavsky, Smyslov, Keres, and Najdorf), and the last two players from the 1948 championships not already qualified (Reshevsky and Euwe).

# Player 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Total Tie break
1  Vasily Smyslov (USSR) xx ½½ 11 ½1 ½½ 11 ½½ ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 11 18
2  David Bronstein (USSR) ½½ xx 11 ½½ ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 01 ½½ ½½ 16 224.00
3  Paul Keres (USSR) 00 xx ½½ ½1 ½1 ½½ ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 ½½ 11 16 210.75
4  Samuel Reshevsky (USA) ½0 00 ½½ xx ½½ ½½ ½½ 10 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½1 11 16 210.25
5  Tigran Petrosian (USSR) ½½ ½½ ½0 ½½ xx ½½ ½½ 00 ½½ ½½ 11 ½1 11 15
6  Efim Geller (USSR) 00 ½1 ½0 ½½ ½½ xx 11 ½0 01 ½½ 01 ½1 01 ½½ 14½ 198.00
7  Miguel Najdorf (Argentina) ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 00 xx ½0 ½½ ½½ ½½ 11 14½ 197.75
8  Alexander Kotov (USSR) ½1 ½½ ½½ 01 ½½ ½1 xx 10 00 10 01 14 198.75
9  Mark Taimanov (USSR) ½½ ½½ ½½ 11 10 01 xx 10 ½½ ½½ ½0 11 14 191.75
10  Yuri Averbakh (USSR) ½½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 01 xx ½½ ½½ 11 00 13½ 194.00
11  Isaac Boleslavsky (USSR) ½½ ½½ 00 ½0 ½½ 10 ½½ 11 ½½ ½½ xx ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ 13½ 185.75
12  Laszlo Szabo (Hungary) ½½ 10 00 ½½ 01 ½½ ½½ ½1 xx ½½ 13
13  Svetozar Gligorić (Yugoslavia) ½0 ½0 ½0 ½0 ½½ ½1 ½½ xx ½1 11 12½
14  Max Euwe (Netherlands) 00 ½½ ½½ 00 10 00 ½0 ½½ ½0 xx 11½
15  Gideon Ståhlberg (Sweden) ½½ 00 00 ½½ 00 10 00 11 ½½ 00 xx 8

Smyslov qualified as challenger by winning the tournament.

1954 Championship match[edit]

The match was played as best of 24 games. If it ended 12-12, Botvinnik, the holder, would retain the Championship.

World Chess Championship Match 1954
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Points
 Mikhail Botvinnik (Soviet Union) 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 12
 Vasily Smyslov (Soviet Union) 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 12

Botvinnik retained the Championship.

External links[edit]