3 games by Ratmir Kholmov

3 games by Ratmir Kholmov

Feb 22, 2017, 12:34 PM |



Kholmov scored one of the best results of his career to date with a tied 1st–2nd, along with Smyslov, at the Moscow International 1960 with 8.5/11. The same year FIDE awarded him the Grandmaster (GM) title. He won the Soviet semifinal at Novgorod 1961 with 13/16. In Baku, at URS-ch29 (December 1961), he scored 11/20 to tie for 8th–11th places. He was clear first at Bucharest 1962 with 11.5/15, ahead of Vladislav Shianovsky. He tied for 2nd–4th places in the Spartak Championship at Minsk 1962 with 11/17, behind Anatoly Bannik. Kholmov won at Kecskemét 1962 with 11/15, ahead of Lajos Portisch and László Szabó, who tied for 2nd–3rd places. He placed 4th in the URS-ch30 at Yerevan 1962 with 13/19, a point behind champion Korchnoi.


In 1963 he shared 1st–3rd, with Boris Spassky and Leonid Stein, at Leningrad at the 31st Soviet Chess Championships. Stein prevailed in the three man playoff. Consequently, Kholmov is arguably the strongest player of the era ranging from the 1940s through the 1960s to never hold the title of Soviet Champion. (Isaac Boleslavsky is the only other player of Kholmov's strength in that period to never hold the title.) At Sochi 1964, Kholmov tied 2nd–3rd places with 10/15, behind winner Nikolai Krogius. Then Kholmov suffered perhaps his greatest career disappointment in the Soviet Zonal tournament, Moscow 1964, where he scored 6/12 for 4th in a super-strong field, but fell one place short of advancing to the Interzonal stage. At Kiev in the URS-ch32 (1964/65), Kholmov tied 5th–6th places with 11.5/19, as Korchnoi won. He made a notable result at Havana 1965 with 5th place on 14.5/21, as Smyslov won, but Kholmov defeated Bobby Fischer and finished undefeated in the tournament. At Tbilisi 1966/67 for URS-ch34, he scored 10/20 to tie for 10th–12th places, as Stein won again.

(extracted from Wikipedia)

The next game is from the same year, and in it, Kholmov beats Fischer from the Black side of a ruy Lopez!

Here is part of the story, in Kholmov's words!.....


"How did I beat Fischer? That was in '65 in Cuba, when Fischer was playing by telex and they were transmitting his moves from New York. I was under a lot of pressure during that game, understanding that if I lost, they'd all set the dogs on me, they'd remember everything, and the evening before the game in particular. Why? The bar in the hotel was open all night and I was drinking Bacardi as you do. This rum is marvellous in Cuba. It was already very late when Smyslov came looking for me. Let's go, Ratmir, he says, I'll show you a variation that you can play against Fischer tomorrow. We went up to Smyslov's room and he showed me a new idea in the Chigorin Variation of the Spanish, but I was so drunk that Vasily Vasilievich was sure I wouldn't remember anything.


I sit down to play the next day and think to myself, what did you do yesterday, there'll be hell to pay for your behaviour, and it had to be right before the game with Fischer. They'll say, you son of a bitch, you were drunk as a skunk. I sit there, gritting my teeth and clenching my fists, not getting up from the chair. So you can imagine, the entire variation we'd looked at that night came on the board. After the game Fischer congratulated me, but we didn't discuss the game."



The next game is Kholmov's win against Garry Kasparov. It is a good game, a very complete game, and Kholmov outplays Garry in great style. In 1978 Garry was 15 years old, and Kholmov was 53 years old. This game is a Master Class!