Old Photos of 1979 Tournament of Stars
Tuesday May 1, 1979
Many thanks to Ontarian Steve Smith for sending to me some photos he took when he visited the Tournament of Stars on May 1st. “ I popped down to Montreal Man and his World site from Ottawa just to see the stars on May 1st, 1979 – one of the later rounds. I took these available light photos before the games started with on old film camera – so they are pretty grainy and not very sharp. Still – some familiar faces! I deeply regret not catching Tal, but he came in a little later.”
May 1, 1979 was a Tuesday, and the 15th round of the 18-round supertournament. Going into the round both Tal and Karpov were in the lead with 9.5 points, followed by Portisch with 9 points; Ljubojevic 7.5; Timman and Hubner 6.5; Hort 6; Kavalek 5.5 and finally Larsen and Spassky with 5.
The above photo shows Spassky (centre) and Hubner (right). In the far left corner we can catch a glimpse of the tournament director, Gligoric, setting up the pieces. The clocks (below the demo boards) have not yet been set to the initial position (15:30; the rate of play was 40 in 2.5 hours; there were adjournaments in those days!)
Even though it was May 1st, the weather was still a bit cool in Montreal and the tournament hall (at the island Man and His World) did not have any heating. The players often wore their winter coats while playing!
Another tidbit about the tournament is that the organizers often let the spectators into the tournament hall before play began, and this offered an excellent opportunity to take photos.
Here we can see World Champion Karpov in the centre, looking out towards the spectators. Flanking Karpov is Spassky, Hort and Kavalek (sitting, far right). Timman and Hubner (sitting to the left of Spassky). I am not sure which player is sitting in the extreme right of the photo. (Note: Steve let me know that this person is Ljubojevic!)
Here, once more, Spassky standing. Kavalek is arranging his pieces, in preparation of his game against Larsen. Behind them we can see organizers arranging the name cards and what not.
Kavalek and Portisch flanking Karpov. Notice the overcoat of Portisch. We can see that the clocks have been set to the initial position. Play is about to begin!
Play has begun! Spassky, still wearing his winter overcoat, is about to play his 4th move (4.Nxd4). This game turned out to be a great victory by Spassky, helping him to climb out of the cellar. Curiously, this game would prove to be the last time Spassky defeated Ljubojevic. The Serbian superstar had a large lifetime plus score against Spassky
The round saw a lot of fighting chess. Besides Spassky’s win over Ljubo, Kavalek won a great game against Larsen (analyzed elsewhere on this blog) while Tal won an equally great game against Portisch. Hort and Karpov had a quick draw, while Timman and Hubner fought out a fascinating ending to a draw in 59 moves.
Scores after the 15th round: Tal 10.5; Karpov 10; Portisch 9; Ljubo 7.5; Hubner and Timman 7; Hort and Kavalek 6.5; Spassky 6; Larsen 5.