1971 Candidates Matches

CYCLE 8: 8-Man Knockout

Six qualifiers from one Interzonal tournament, plus two seeds play knockout matches, with the winner playing a World Championship match against Spassky in 1972.

(Black background indicates black in the first game)

Fischer   111111  6
Taimanov  000000  0
Larsen    10򚸝01  5
Uhlmann   01򚤰10  3
Petrosian 浇浇浇1  4
Huebner   浇浇浇0  3
Korchnoi  1浇0111  5
Geller    0浇1000  2
Fischer   111111  6
Larsen    000000  0
Petrosian 浇浇浇浇1  5
Korchnoi  浇浇浇浇0  4
Fischer   10浇1111  6
Petrosian 01浇0000  2


# Player Country Status
1 Robert James Fischer USA Qualified from Interzonal
2 Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian USSR Seeded, Former World Champion
3 Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi USSR Seeded; lost last Candidates Final
4 Bent Jorgen Larsen Denmark Qualified from Interzonal
5 Robert Huebner West Germany Qualified from Interzonal
6 Wolfgang Uhlmann East Germany Qualified from Interzonal
7 Efim Petrovich Geller USSR Qualified from Interzonal
8 Mark Taimanov USSR Qualified from Interzonal


Vancouver, May 16 - Jun 2 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6
Fischer 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Taimanov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Las Palmas, May 13 - Jun 1 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Larsen 1 0 1 1 0 1 5
Uhlmann 0 1 0 0 1 0 3

Seville, May 13-28 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Petrosian 1 4
Huebner 0 3
Huebner resigned the match prematurely

Moscow, May 13-31 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Korchnoi 1 0 1 1 1 5
Geller 0 1 0 0 0 3

THE SEMI-FINALS (Best of 10)

Denver, Jul 6-25 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6
Fischer 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Larsen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Moscow, Jul 4-28 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Petrosian 1 5
Korchnoi 0 4

THE FINALS (Best of 12)

Buenos Aires, Sep 30 - Oct 28 '71 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Fischer 1 0 1 1 1 1 6
Petrosian 0 1 0 0 0 0 2

  • Former World Champion Mikhail Tal on the Quarterfinals: "I am sure Huebner will not win a single game vs. Petrosian, who will win one or two - as needed. Fischer-Taimanov is not so clear. Everybody says 95% for Bobby. Neither has much match experience. Taimanov had the better position at Palma [before he lost]. I predict Fischer by 5-4. By the way, I predicted the qualifiers at Palma correctly from our delegation. Larsen will beat Uhlmann if he doesn't play too "crazy." [On Korchnoi-Geller]: Korchnoi 51%, Geller 49%.

  • Fischer before the 1971 Candidates: "I believe it will now be for the first time that both Finalists in the Candidates Matches are not from the Soviet Union. I don't think that Taimanov in our group can defeat both me and Larsen. I hope it will be me or Larsen who plays for the title against Spassky, but it is difficult to make predictions. In short matches surprises are possible." -- Chess Life & Review, April, 1971, pp. 186-7

  • Fischer on the length of the Candidates Matches: "First I would ask that the system of candidates matches be changed so that they would really show the relative strength of the two players. I would suggesst that the matches should be won by the player who first wins six games, drawn games not counting. At present the matches are short, and if a player should win a game by luck, this would be a big handicap for the other player in a short match." -- Chess Life & Review, April, 1971, pp. 186-7

  • Fischer on the World Championship format: Also, I would suggest that the match for the world title should consist of a fixed number of victories, with draws not counting." -- Chess Life & Review, April, 1971, pp. 186-7

  • Huebner on his chances: "My chances in the match with Petrosian are absolutely nil. I had no hopeful illusions about qualifying for the semifinals in matches with professionals. Now, when it has been decided by lot that I should play Petrosian, I have no hope at all. A player of his style does not suit me. I would look forward to much more if I had Larsen, Fischer, or someone else for an opponent. Besidse, I without experience and they are all professionals. Petrosian, too, has had enormous experience with matches."

  • Taimanov on Fischer and Larsen: "Fischer and Larsen are the two players completely equal in strength to the Soviet grandmasters. There are three other grandmasters close to this level of strength: Gligoric, Portisch and Hort. But neither Fischer, nor Larsen, nor any of the other grandmasters is now any better than the best Soviet players."

  • Larsen on his chances: "The new World Champion in 1972 will be Bent Larsen!... I shall win the Candidates Matches. I and Fischer have the best chances, but the final winner will be me." [However, he also said] "The favorites are Larsen, Fischer, Petrosian and Korchnoi."

  • Larsen on Soviet domination of chess: "There can be no talk of Soviet domination! What domination? It has not existed in individual tournaments for some time now. In recent years Soviet players did not win a single big tournament in which I or Fischer played. The primacy of the Soviet teams will continue in team competitions, however, such as the Olympiads, European Team Championships, etc."

  • Larsen on what changes he would make to the Candidates: "I would strive for abolishing the Zonal and Interzonal tournaments. At least half the Interzonal players do not even dream of a match with Spassky. Simply, the 16 strongest players in the world should play matches among them to decide who would be the challenger for the World Champion.

  • Larsen on Candidates Matches vs. Candidates Tournaments: I think the system of matches should be retained precisely because there have been complaints in the press that in a tournament, players from one country can play as a single team."

  • Petrosian on the Candidates: "Larsen, Fischer and the Soviet grandmasters Korchnoi, Geller and Petrosian have equal chances." [Talk about hedging your bets! -- GC]

  • Petrosian on Candidates Matches versus Tournaments: One of the shortcomings of the match system is that all the Candidates do not play each other. A tournament of six Candidates (four rounds) or four candidates (eight rounds) would be better."

  • Korchnoi on his chances: "I have no high opinion of myself now. I do not rate my chances in the Matches too high. I have a strong opponent, Grandmaster Yefim Geller, in the quarter-finals."

  • Korchnoi on the 1971 Candidates: "Fischer and Petrosian have the best chances. Fischer is undoubtedly a threat to Soviet domination in chess. He plays very well and his results are fantastic - even better than that."

  • Korchnoi on Candidates Systems: "Zonal and Interzonal tournaments should be eliminated. It would suffice to have a computer determine, on the basis of all results, the 32 strongest players, who would play in candidates matches. This is simple and interesting." [Note: At the time, Korchnoi and Bronstein were the only Soviet Grandmasters who preferred Candidates Matches over Candidates Tournaments. How they felt on the Stuffing vs. Potatoes question is unknown.]

  • Uhlmann on his chances: "I would consider it a full achievement if I qualified for the semi-finals of the candidates matches. I have no experience with matches, and this is a handicap. With Larsen, I think, my score so far is even: 3-3."

  • Uhlmann on Fischer: "I believe that Fischer's chances in the matches are great indeed. It's simply unbelievable with what superiority he played in the Interzonal. There is a vitality in his games; the other grandmasters seem to get an inferiority complex. It should be remembered with what ease Gligoric and I lost to him. As if we had been hypnotized. Fischer plays faultlessly."

  • Uhlmann on the Candidates System: "The road to the candidates is a trial for all the players. For instance, Portisch's fate was decided by Jimenez. To tell the truth, there are hardly a dozen real candidates for the World Champion. The principle upon which the present system rests is basically correct but these numerous FIDE tournaments last too long. Both the candidates tournaments and the matches are interesting, but the matches seem to me more equitable."

  • Geller on Spassky: "A nice man but an awkward opponent - that is how I spoke of Spassky after those matches [Geller lost to Spassky by 5-2 in both the 1965 and 1968 Candidates]. But now when Boris is the World Champion, we are all eager to play a match with him."

  • Geller on Candidates Matches: "Short matches are not the proper criterion of strength. Matches are not actually the most suitable form of selection. What matters most here is the style of the opponent, psychological factors, a convenient or invonvenient opponent. All these are circumstances owing to which the objectively weaker player may win a match. In these matches, the weaker player may annoy the opponent by playing for a "sure" draw, by not risking loss. One defeat in a short match can mean a psychological crash. That is why I am against the Candidates Matches. It is necessary to determine the best players by playing a tournament. This may be done according to the existing systems, or experts may determine the strongest candidates. The complex road of qualification for the world championship should be shortened."

  • Geller on Fischer Fear: "We are not afraid of fischer. He certainly has good chances. It may happen that he will reach Spassky. I don't know, it is difficult to forecast anything."

  • Geller on Fischer's worst enemy: "Fischer's greatest enemy is... Fischer himself! The important thing is whether he will prevail over himself, restrain his nerves, soothe his conduct."

  • Geller on whether Soviet players play as a team in individual tournaments: "This was Fischer's attempt to justify his relative failure in that tournament. To me these are individual tournaments. I am in favor of the strongest playing in the candidates tournaments, no matter what country they may be from. There are mild draws also between players from other countries. One cannot always play to win. You see, in the Interzonal I had a number of comparatively quick draws, as with Gligoric, for instance. But this did not trouble Fischer. You ask me what would happen if I played the decisive game in the final round with a compatriot. I cannot answer in advance, just as no answer can be given about games between players from any country. This is simply an individual tournament. It is necessary to play honorably."

  • Geller on the world's strongest players: "It is difficult to list them in order. Among the Soviet players I would name Spassky, Korchnoi, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Geller, and probably also Stein. Among the others: Fischer, Larsen, Portisch, Gligoric and Hort. And after this cycle we shall see. Somebody may sink, somebody may rise."

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