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20th Chess Olympiad

Official logo of the Olympiad.

The 20th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE and comprising an open team tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between September 18 and October 13, 1972, in Skopje, Yugoslavia (present-day Macedonia).

For the first time, the Soviet team only comprised 5 GMs and one IM (Savon). Since Bobby Fischer had beaten Spassky earlier in the year, the team wasn't led by the current world champion - also a first. It did, however, feature three previous (Smyslov, Tal, and Petrosian) as well as one future champion (Karpov). The team still lived up to expectations, though, and won their eleventh consecutive gold medals, with Hungary and Yugoslavia taking the silver and bronze, respectively.

Before the Soviet team could achieve a victory, there was some controversy. In the 4th round of Final Group A, the Soviets played a match against the team from Bulgaria. A game between Victor Korchnoi and Georgi Tringov was adjourned after 41 moves with Tringov to seal his next move. At this Olympiad, sealed moves were written on a separate piece of paper, not the player's score sheet. Tringov rejected this way of sealing his move and instead wrote it on his score sheet.

When the game was resumed, the arbiter opened the envelope. In the envelope was Korchnoi's score sheet but not the one belonging to Tringov. The arbiter ruled the game a forfeit win for Korchnoi. The Bulgarian team captain instituted protest proceedings but an arbitration committee upheld the arbiter's ruling.

After the Olympiad was over, it was learned that Tringov had absentmindedly placed his score sheet in his pocket. Tringov discovered his mistake several days after his forfeit but was too ashamed to admit his mistake to the organizers of the Olympiad.

In Final B, the Albanian team refused to play Israel and withdrew after round 11. Their matches were regarded as "friendlies" and didn't count in the overall standings.

Jens Enevoldsen represented Denmark at his 11th and final Olympiad, 39 years after his first appearance at Folkestone 1933. Both records at the time (although both have since been beaten by Lajos Portisch).

This Olympiad was the first major success for the Benko Gambit, named after Hungarian-American master Pal Benko. In sixteen games, Black players scored ten wins and six draws with the opening.

Results

Preliminaries

A total of 63 teams were divided into eight preliminary groups of seven or eight teams each, from which the top two advanced to Final A, no. 3-4 to Final B etc. Unlike the last few tournaments, preliminary head-to-head results were not carried over to the finals, so each teams met one other team twice. All preliminary groups and finals were played as round-robin tournaments. The results were as follows:

Finals

Final A
# Country Players Average
rating
Points MP Head-
to-head
1 Soviet Union Petrosian, Korchnoi, Smyslov, Tal, Karpov, Savon 2635 42
2 Hungary Portisch, Bilek, Forintos, Ribli, Csom, Sax 2531 40½
3 Yugoslavia Gligorić, Ivkov, Ljubojević, Matanović, Matulović, Rukavina 2543 38
4 Czechoslovakia Hort, Smejkal, Filip, Jansa, Přibyl, Trapl 2534 35½
5 West Germany Hübner, Darga, Pfleger, Hecht, Kestler, Dueball 2540 35
6 Bulgaria Bobotsov, Tringov, Radulov, Padevsky, Peev, Bohosjan 2459 32
7 Romania Gheorghiu, Ciocâltea, Ghiţescu, Ungureanu, Ghizdavu, Partoş 2466 31½
8 Netherlands Donner, Ree, Zuidema, Timman, Hartoch, Enklaar 2465 29 13
9 United States Kavalek, Byrne, Benko, Bisguier, Martz, Kane 2515 29 13
10 East Germany Uhlmann, Malich, Knaak, Liebert, Schöneberg, Vogt 2490 27½
11 Spain Pomar, Díez del Corral, Medina, Torán, Bellón López, Visier Segovia 2434 26
12 Poland Schmidt, Bednarski, Pytel, Sznapik, Filipowicz, Sydor 2410 24½
13 Denmark Hamann, Jakobsen, Sloth, Holm, Enevoldsen, Pedersen 2428 23
14 Argentina Rossetto, García, Rubinetti, Emma, Debarnot, Hase 2418 22½ 9
15 Sweden Andersson, Jansson, Ornstein, Liljedahl, Olsson, Uddenfeldt 2399 22½ 8
16 Switzerland Hug, Lombard, Bhend, Schaufelberger, Wirthensohn, Gereben 2383 21½
Final B
# Country Average
rating
Points MP
17 England 2413 37
18 Israel 2353 36½
19 Canada 2443 33
20 Philippines 2365 31½
21 Norway 2404 30½
22 Cuba 2383 30 16
23 Austria 2360 30 15
24 Iceland 2419 29
25 Colombia 2361 27
26 Indonesia 2318 25½
27 Italy 2358 25
28 Mongolia 2330 24½
29 Greece 2273 21
30 Belgium 2298 20½
31 Peru 2303 19
- Albania 2245 -
Final C
# Country Average
rating
Points MP Head-
to-head
32 Australia 2370 45
33 Finland 2288 42½
34 Scotland 2273 39
35 Iran 2250 37½
36 Brazil 2236 25½
37 Portugal 2285 32½
38 Turkey 2261 31
39 Ireland 2200 28½ 15
40 Puerto Rico 2280 28½ 12
41 Mexico 2213 26½ 12 3
42 Tunisia 2225 26½ 12 1
43 Wales 2248 26½ 10
44 New Zealand 2235 25
45 Dominican Republic 2200 21½
46 Bolivia 2200 19
47 Japan 2220 15½
Final D
# Country Rating Points MP
48 France 2276 46½
49 Singapore 2263 42½
50 Malta 2213 32½
51 Hong Kong 2200 30½
52 Lebanon 2200 30
53 Luxembourg 2214 29½
54 Faroe Islands 2200 29
55 Syria 2200 28
56 Cyprus 2200 27½
57 Morocco 2205 26
58 Andorra 2200 24
59 Malaysia 2200 23½
60 Guernsey 2200 20½ 9
61 Iraq 2200 20½ 5
62 British Virgin Islands 2200 10½

Individual medals

Best game

The Best Game prize went to Werner Hug (Switzerland) - Vlastimil Hort (Czechoslovakia) from Final A.

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