© 1997-2024
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: Staunton Memorial • all 120 games • Last Edited: Sunday 2 June, 2024 9:57 AM
Venue: Cheltenham, Leamington, Birmingham • Dates: 28 May - 22 June 1951Download PGN

1951 Staunton Memorial, Cheltenham/Leamington/Birmingham, 28 May - 22 June 1951

Venues: Cheltenham (rounds 1-6, 28 May - 5 June); Leamington (rounds 7-9, 8-12 June); Birmingham (rounds 10-15, 14-22 June)

1951 Staunton Memorial Fed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  Total 
1 Svetozar Gligoric IM YUG
½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ 10
2 Petar Trifunovic IM YUG ½
½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1
3 Gideon Stahlberg GM SWE 0 ½
½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 ½
4 Vasja Pirc IM YUG 0 0 ½
½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1
5 C Hugh O'D Alexander IM ENG 1 ½ 0 ½
½ ½ ½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1
6 Aleksandar Matanovic   YUG ½ ½ ½ 1 ½
0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1
7 Nicolas Rossolimo IM FRA ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1
½ ½ 0 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1
8 Wolfgang Unzicker IM GER ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½
0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1
9 Jan Hein Donner   NED ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
1 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 7
10 Ernst Ludwig Klein   ENG 0 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 0 0
1 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 7
11 Efim Bogoljubow GM GER 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
1 1 0 1 ½
12 Harry Golombek IM ENG 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0
1 0 ½ ½ 6
13 Saviely Tartakower GM FRA ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 0
½ ½ 1
14 Reginald Joseph Broadbent   ENG 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½
0 ½
15 Robert Graham Wade IM NZL ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 ½ ½ 1
0 5
16 Theo D Van Scheltinga IM NED ½ 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 1

Prizes: 1st £250, 2nd £175, 3rd £125, 4th £100, 5th £60, 6th £40, 7th £30, 8th £20. Non prizewinners received £2 per point.

1951 Staunton Memorial Tournament Theo van Scheltinga Efim Bogoljubow Saviely Tartakower Svetozar Gligoric Petar Trifunovic Harry Golombek Robert G Wade C Hugh O'D Alexander Vasja Pirc Wolfgang Unzicker Ernst Klein Nicolas Rossolimo Gideon Stahlberg Frank Chetwynd (BCF Hon.Sec.) Aleksandar Matanovic Reginald Broadbent Jan Hein Donner William Ritson Morry
Players of the 1951 Staunton Memorial Tournament: Front row: Van Scheltinga, Bogoljubow, Tartakower, Gligoric, Trifunovic. Second row: Golombek, Wade, Alexander, Pirc, Unzicker, Klein Third row: Rossolimo, Stahlberg, Frank E Chetwynd (B.C.F. Secretary), Matanovic. Broadbent, Donner. W. Ritson Morry.

BCM, July/August 1951, Tournament Supplement, Round Summaries (by Harry Golombek)



May 26th to June 23rd


By kind permission of the British Chess Federation we reprint here the brief accounts of the players from the official programme

P. TRIFUNOVIC (Jugoslavia)

Born 1910 in Dubrovnik, Jugoslavia. A civil servant. International master of the F.I.D.E. Jugoslav champion in 1945 and 1946. Has had many successes in international chess including second prize at Hilversum in 1947 and the best percentage for any board at the International Team Tournament at Dubrovnik 1950. Drew a match with Najdorf 6-6 in 1949.

V. PIRC (Jugoslavia)

Born 1907 in Idria, Jugoslavia. A teacher. International master of the F.I.D.E. Three times Jugoslav champion. Won first prize at Lodz 1938, Harzburg 1939 and Trencianske Teplice 1947. Drew a match with Euwe in 1949. A remarkably fine opening theorist.

H. GOLOMBEK (Great Britain)

Born 1911 in London. “The Times” chess correspondent. International master of the F.I.D.E. British champion 1947 and 1949. First prizes at Leeuwarden 1947 and Baarn 1948. Tied for fourth prize with Barcza, Foltys, and Gligoric at Venice 1949, and has just taken fifth prize at Bad Pyrmont qualifying for the World Championship Inter-zonal Tournament. Author of many books on the game and Games Editor of the “British Chess Magazine.”

E. D. BOGOLJUBOW (Germany)

Born 1889 in Kiev, Russia, but resident since 1926 in Triberg, Germany. One of the greatest figures of all time in chess history. Won the Soviet championship several times and the German championship in 1931, 1933, and 1940. Winner of many great international events, including Moscow 1925, above Lasker and Capablanca, and Bad Kissingen 1928, again above Capablanca. Was twice defeated by Alekhine in matches for the World Championship.

W. UNZICKER (Germany)

Born 1925 in Pirmasens, Germany. A law student. International master of the F.I.D.E. Champion of Germany 1948 and 1950. Winner of the international tournaments at Heidelberg 1949, Travemunde 1950, and Hastings 1951. Playing on top board for Germany in the international team tournament at Dubrovnik 1950, tied with Najdorf for the best top board score (11 out of 14).

S. GLIGORIC (Jugoslavia)

Born 1923 in Belgrade, Jugoslavia. A journalist. International master of the F.I.D.E. Four times champion of Jugoslavia. First prize at Warsaw 1947, two points ahead of Boleslavsky and Smyslov. Second prize at Budapest 1948 and first at Mar del Plata 1950. Won a match against Stahlberg in 1949. Has just won Bad Pyrmont Tournament.

A. MATANOVIC (Jugoslavia)

Born 1930 in Belgrade, and therefore the youngest competitor in the Centenary Tournament. Law student. Won the Jugoslav Championship for Juniors in 1948. In 1949 was fourth in the Jugoslav Championship and in 1950 came second, ahead of Pirc and Trifunovic.

J. H. DONNER (The Netherlands)

Born 1928 in The Hague. Law student. The most talented young player Holland has produced for some time. Won first prize at Beverwijk 1949 ahead of Euwe, Rossolimo, etc. Beat Prins in a match this year 4½-1½ and also defeated Van Scheltinga 4-2.


Born in Russia but resident in Paris for many years and now a naturalized French citizen. Before he left Russia in his early teens he had attained the rank of first category player. Since the last war has become one of the most successful tournament players in the world, his numerous prizes being too many to record here. The most outstanding were first at Hastings 1949, third at Oldenburg 1949 and Venice 1949 and third at Venice 1950.


Born in Sweden. Made a name in 1933 and 1934 by defeating Spielmann and Nimzovitch in short matches. He has scored many successes in international tournaments including firsts at Mar del Plata 1941 (ahead of Najdorf and Eliskases) and Trencianske Teplice 1949 (ahead of Pachman, Szabo, Rossolimo and O’Kelly). By finishing sixth in the Stockholm Interzonal Tournament of 1948 he qualified to play in the World Championship Candidates’ Tournament last year. Also finishing seventh he won one of his games against Bronstein.


Born in 1887 at Rostov-on-Don, the witty and genial author of numerous books and articles on chess theory, has a tournament career of great distinction to his credit. His enterprising style leads to uneven results but he touched the heights of greatness by a grand victory over Alekhine in the 1933 Team Tournament at Folkestone. England is his happy hunting ground for he has taken first prizes in London (1927), Hastings (1945-46) and Southsea (1950 and 1951).

R. G. WADE (New Zealand)

Born 1922 in New Zealand. After three firsts and a second in the New Zealand Championship between 1940 and 1946, he came to Europe where he has performed with increasing success.


Holland’s official nominee in place of Dr. M. Euwe. Has visited England several times as a member of the Dutch team and has also played at Hastings. He was runner-up to Euwe in the 1950 Dutch Championship.

R. J. BROADBENT (British)

Reigning British Champion, was born in Durban in 1906. Has had little opportunity to play in international tournaments but has all the attributes necessary in a great master. His victory over grandmaster Bernstein in the 1946 London Tournament and his long sequence of wins in Anglo-Dutch matches are a striking testimony to his capabilities.

E. KLEIN (British)

Born in Vienna in 1910. Came to England before the war and played in a number of Margate and Hastings Congresses with consistent success. At Margate in 1935 he drew with Capablanca and Reshevsky; at Bournemouth in 1939 he tied for second place with Flohr behind Euwe. He is now a naturalized British subject and was runner-up to Broadbent in the last British Championship.

C. H. O’D. ALEXANDER (British)

Born in Cork in 1909 will be very much at home in Birmingham, where he learned his chess at King Edward School. The only player who has ever been both British Boy Champion and British Champion. He won equal second prize at Hastings in 1938, half a point behind Reshevsky and ahead of Fine, Flohr and Mikenas. He also won the Hastings event in 1947 ahead of Tartakower.

ROUND 1. Cheltenham, May 28th

First rounds are always tentative affairs in which the players are not yet really attuned to the tournament atmosphere. This was no exception. It was noticeable, too, that all the contestants who had recently been playing at Bad Pyrmont were still suffering from the strain of that tournament.

Gligoric and Unzicker soon agreed a draw lest worse should befall; whilst Trifunovic tried vainly to win against me for several long hours in a game that abounded in Queen manoeuvres. Rossolimo lost a pawn by an oversight against Dr. Tartakower, but still retained sufficient positional advantage to ensure the draw.

Pirc came up to me shortly after his game had commenced against Matanovic and announced in great jubilation that for the first time in his tournament career he had opened with P—K 4. On a closer inspection of his board I needed no further assurance of this. Indeed, I can only explain his method of treating the French Defence by regarding it as a by-product of the cold war between Jugoslavia and the Soviet—it looked very much like a burlesque of Tchigorin.

Donner got the advantage out of the opening against Wade but let it slip in the later middle game. Though Alexander was rather lucky to win against van Scheltinga the finish was attractive. Stahlberg won well against Klein who got into an indifferent variation of Lasker’s Defence. Broadbent won an excellent game against Bogoljubow with one of those massive attacks typical of his style. On the whole a good day for the B.C.F. players who scored 2½ out of 4 against strong opposition.

Scores: Alexander, Broadbent, Matanovic, and Stahlberg 1; Donner, Gligoric, Golombek, Rossolimo, Tartakower, Trifunovic, Unzicker, and Wade ½; Bogoljubow, Klein, Pirc, and van Scheltinga 0.

ROUND 2. Cheltenham, May 29th

The outstanding event of the round was Alexander’s sparkling victory over Gligoric. Not that it was exactly a surprise—Alexander with the White pieces is a dangerous player who can beat anybody in the world. But Gligoric was generally regarded as the favourite for first place and he had already shown what great form he was in by winning first prize quite comfortably at Bad Pyrmont. Anyway now we had the refreshing sight of a B.C.F. player at the top of the list.

However, those of us who knew Gligoric well were quite sure that this temporary setback would only inspire him to greater efforts. He is one of those fortunate masters who possesses an ideal temperament for the game. A defeat in an early round even seems to have a beneficial effect on his morale.

I nearly added to the sensations of the day by achieving a won position against the great Stahlberg. The decisive moment came on move 22 when I should have played B x d4 instead of N x d4. As played I won a pawn, but allowed my opponent to free his game, and in the later stages of the game I had to play quite carefully to secure the draw. The two other B.C.F. players were engaged in civil war out of which Klein emerged the victor, Broadbent going astray quite early on.

Rossolimo tried the Marshall attack against Unzicker’s Ruy Lopez and had little difficulty in reaching the draw that nowadays seems almost the inevitable end to this variation. Wade had equality for quite a long time against Matanovic, but drifted planlessly towards a loss at the end of the session. Bogoljubow and van Scheltinga had a hard cut and thrust struggle in which the veteran grand master seemed to have the upper hand. Van Scheltinga, however, just managed to hold the draw.

Tartakower-Pirc was a deceptive game. Tartakower had a distinct advantage in the early middle game; then suddenly weakened and allowed his inventive opponent to fasten on to the square e3 with fatal results.

Trifunovic again tried vainly to get more than a draw, this time against Donner. Scores: Alexander and Matanovic 2; Stahlberg 1½; Broadbent, Donner, Golombek, Klein, Pirc, Rossoiimo, Trifunovic, and Unzicker 1; Bogoljubow, Gligoric, Tartakower, van Scheltinga, and Wade ½.

ROUND 3. Cheltenham, May 31st

In a round in which no less than three Caro Kann Defences were played I thought it was a grim trick of Fate that I, whose favourite defence it was, should be the only player to lose with it. I tried a variation from my usual practice and was duly punished by Broadbent who quietly but firmly destroyed my King side.

Alexander continued his victorious career, much to the delight of the other members of the B.C.F. contingent who sunned themselves in reflected glory. This time he won a beautiful game against the unfortunate Bogoljubow. Unfortunate because it does not seem so very long ago that he met with a disastrous defeat at the hands of Jonathan Penrose with the same defence.

None of the numerous draws in this round were conducted in pacific style. Wade gave up a whole Rook to force perpetual check against Tartakower; Trifunovic also sacrificed heavily in an attempt to shatter the unnatural equanimity with which the youthful Matanovic always plays. Gligoric and Rossolimo had a game in which a hair’s breadth of difference either way would have meant a loss, and though van Scheltinga attacked ferociously against Klein the latter’s defence proved most adequate.

Not so Unzicker against Pirc. Here Bishops of opposite colour seemed to foreshadow a certain draw. But the German champion, normally one of the most secure players, faltered for once and allowed Pirc to win an ingeniously played ending. Stahlberg enjoyed some advantage in space throughout his game against Donner, but could never quite manage to obtain more than this.

Scores: Alexander 3; Matanovic 2½; Broadbent, Pirc, and Stahlberg 2; Donner, Klein, Rossolimo, and Trifunovic 1½; Gligoric, Golombek, Tartakower, Unzicker, van Scheltinga, and Wade 1; Bogoljubow ½.

ROUND 4. Cheltenham, June 2nd

Alexander met with his first setback to-day at the hands of Klein. The latter chose an antique variation in dealing with the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, one so old that “the wheel had turned full circle” and it appeared shining new to both players. After deep thought Alexander replied with a most inferior line—a sad occurrence that happens to most of us. Klein exploited this very well indeed and won convincingly.

Alexander’s loss rather levelled the state of affairs at the head of the table. The two Jugoslavs, Pirc and Matanovic, came up to equal first with him, both by somewhat fortuitous results. Matanovic for a long time had the worse game against Stahlberg and when the game was adjourned thought he was lost; but on resumption of play the Swedish grandmaster failed to find the most forcing line and Matanovic escaped with a draw. Pirc was even more lucky against the nervous Rossolimo. The latter attacked briskly from the very start but Pirc defended well and had equalized when Rossolimo blundered badly and threw away a piece.

Gligoric quite outplayed Bogoljubow in fine positional style and Unzicker had a quick win against Wade who rather helped him by an unsound counter-attack. As in Round Two I once again attained a won position, only to waste my opportunity and let my opponent off with a draw—this time the fortunate recipient of half a point was van Scheltinga.

Dr. Tartakower had a long, hard game against Trifunovic. For a long time he appeared to have the draw in hand, but he weakened during the second session of play and Trifunovic won a nice ending. Broadbent redeemed an indifferent opening by strong middlegame play against Donner; then, owing to time pressure, once again got the worse game, and looked to have a loss when the adjournment came. But he played the ending very cleverly indeed to secure a draw on resumption of play.

Scores: Alexander, Matanovic, and Pirc 3; Broadbend, Klein, Stahlberg, and Trifunovic 2½; Donner, Gligoric, and Unzicker 2; Golombek, Rossolimo, and van Scheltinga 1½; Tartakower and Wade 1; Bogoljubow ½.

ROUND 5. Cheltenham, June 4th

Apart from two short draws between Alexander and myself, and Trifunovic and Unzicker, this round was characterized by very bitter and prolonged fights. Pirc lost his place at the head of the list by a blunder right at the end of the day’s play against Gligoric, but for which, his game was clearly drawn. Matanovic had a long steady draw against Broadbent in which there was much manoeuvring behind the lines by both players.

Van Scheltinga rather surprisingly emerged from the slough of despond that had seemed to afflict his play and soundly trounced Donner. Rossolimo got into great trouble against Wade and just managed to secure the draw by the skin of his teeth.

There remain the two most interesting games of the round. That between Stahlberg and Dr. Tartakower proved such a tragic disappointment for the latter that it is doubtful if he ever recovered from the upset to his morale for the rest of the tournament. By a miracle of ingenuity he survived faulty opening methods and, not only survived, but so far turned the tables as to attain a won game. But the great length of the game proved too much for his staying powers and he twice missed a clear win.

The other game was a most dramatic struggle between Klein and Bogoljubow. Here again the older player found the going too hard and succumbed to a fierce attack on his King.

Scores: Alexander, Klein, and Matanovic 3½; Broadbent, Gligoric, Pirc, Stahlberg, and Trifunovic 3; Unzicker and van Scheltinga 2½; Donner, Golombek, and Rossolimo 2; Tartakower and Wade 1½; Bogoljubow ½.

ROUND 6. Cheltenham, June 5th

This, the last round at Cheltenham, was a fine day for Jugoslavia, whose representatives were working themselves to the top with great rapidity. Matanovic won in really powerful style against van Scheltinga. So mature and accomplished is his play that it comes as a distinct shock to realize that he is only a few months over age for the Junior Tournament. Gligoric too won well against Klein. He handled an unusual ending of three minor pieces against two rooks with great virtuosity.

Rossolimo and Trifunovic had a quick draw and the game between Unzicker and Stahlberg, though more lively and somewhat longer, always had a drawish look. Pirc had some advantage out of the opening against Wade, but failed to get more than half a point against the New Zealander’s stubborn defence. Donner and Alexander drew by a curious sort of pendulum manoeuvre, though subsequently the British player rather regretted agreeing to the draw. Similarly, Tartakower agreed to a draw with Broadbent, and then spent several hours working out winning variations for himself.

Bogoljubow won a beautiful ending against me and so interrupted his series of bad defeats.

I cannot close my account of the Cheltenham phase of the tournament without emphasizing how impressed I was with the local organization there. Everything for players, spectators, and press seemed to work on oiled wheels, and in the magnificent town hall we had the best surroundings in which I have ever played. All this was, of course, due to the band of willing and enthusiastic local workers headed by Messrs. Wilkinson and Mann, who lavished hospitality and care on all of us.

Scores: Matanovic 4½; Alexander and Gligoric 4; Broadbent, Klein, Pirc, Stahlberg, and Trifunovic 3½; Unzicker 3; Donner, Rossolimo, and van Scheltinga 2½, Golombek, Tartakower, and Wade 2, Bogoljubow 1½.

ROUND 7. Leamington, June 8th

The whole party moved off to Leamington Spa by motor coach on June 6th, stopping on the way at Stratford-on-Avon for tea. That is, all except Stahlberg and Pirc, both of whom blanched with terror at the thought of taking tea.

In the 7th round Matanovic retained his lead by a quick draw with Alexander, arriving at an interlocked position in which neither side could attempt anything—a not infrequent result of the Winawer variation of the French Defence.

The most bitter contest of the round was that between Trifunovic and Pirc. At one moment Pirc claimed a draw by threefold repetition of position, a claim that would have been upheld under the F.I.D.E. rules as known abroad. But the English translation of these rules gives a different interpretation, so his claim was disallowed. Eventually, despite Bishops of opposite colour, Trifunovic found a winning line, a triumph for his grim tenacity.

Bogoljubow crushed Donner in 21 moves. He had trounced him with the same variation against the French Defence only a few weeks ago at Bad Pyrmont. But then it took him 34 moves, and Donner wanted to know whether this was because he was deteriorating or Bogoljubow improving—the point of the query being that Bogoljubow has some three times as many years as Donner, and was winning international tournaments over twenty years before the young Dutchman was born.

Rossolimo got into a bad tangle in the opening against Stahlberg, but somehow or other managed to extricate himself for the draw. Klein, too, played the opening poorly against me, but then conducted the middle game so well that I was hard put to it to draw. Broadbent and Unzicker had a long level tussle, and Tartakower gave a glimpse of his former self by winning nicely against van Scheltinga.

Scores: Matanovic 5; Alexander, Gligoric, and Trifunovic 4½; Broadbent, Klein, and Stahlberg 4; Pirc and Unzicker 3½; Rossolimo and Tartakower 3; Bogoljubow, Donner, Golombek, van Scheltinga, and Wade 2½.

ROUND 8. Leamington, June 9th

Matanovic was displaced from the lead in this round; he met with his first defeat at the hands of Bogoljubow, who was now playing with almost irrepressible optimism and energy. However, this one Jugoslav defection merely left room for two other masters of the same country. For both Gligoric and Trifunovic won, and so came up to equal first.

Trifunovic efficiently outplayed Wade and Gligoric gave a brilliant display, both positionally and combinatively, in a hard game against me.

Pirc and Stahlberg had a steady draw; but that between Tartakower and Alexander, though the result of a briefer game, could not exactly be termed steady. Tartakower had a clear advantage out of the opening, then failed to find the most vigorous continuation which would have preserved his advantage and finally only just managed to retain equality.

Broadbent, saddled with an isolated pawn against Rossolimo, fought back well in the early middle game; but weakened under time pressure and the persistent onslaught of the inventive French master. Unzicker took advantage of a slight inaccuracy on the part of van Scheltinga to administer a punishing defeat in the style well worthy of a disciple of Tarrasch. Klein fell into a lost variation of the opening against Donner. Fine player as he is, he seriously handicaps himself by lack of study of up-to-date opening theory.

Scores: Gligoric and Trifunovic 5½; Alexander and Matanovic 5; Stahlberg and Unzicker 4½; Broadbent, Klein, Pirc, and Rossolimo 4; Bogoljubow, Donner, and Tartakower 3½; Golombek, Wade, and van Scheltinga 2½.

ROUND 9. Leamington, June 12th

A round that brought little change to the leading positions. Gligoric and Trifunovic drew with each other as expected, and so remained at the head of the table. But the game itself was quite a sharp skirmish in which Gligoric had to give up the exchange to procure equality.

Alexander, in the belief that his opponent would play the open variation of the Morphy Defence against the Ruy Lopez, spent several hours beforehand preparing a really strong line to meet it with. But Unzicker thwarted him by playing the Berlin and somewhat taken aback Alexander got rather the worse game and had to play with great care to restore equality. After the game he learned that Unzicker had abandoned the open variation since he feared the very line Alexander had prepared.

The draw between Donner and myself satisfied neither of us. Both parties believed they ought to have won—so perhaps the draw was a fair result. Tartakower played one of the worst games in his life in losing to Bogoljubow, who had, however, now won four games in succession. Klein sacrificed two pawns to obtain positional pressure against Matanovic; the latter was constrained to return them and steady play gave him the draw.

Broadbent-Pirc was a tragic deception for British hopes. After playing nine-tenths of the game in his best style the British champion had secured a clearly won game. But he weakened right towards the end and threw the game away. Stahlberg, aided by faulty strategy on Wade’s part, won a fine enveloping game. Van Scheltinga once again showed he was not his normal solid self by blundering avyay a half point against Rossolimo.

Scores: Gligoric and Trifunovic 6; Alexander, Matanovic, and Stahlberg 5½; Pirc, Rossolimo, and Unzicker 5; Bogoljubow and Klein 4½; Broadbent and Donner 4; Tartakower 3½; Golombek 3; van Scheltinga and Wade 2½.

ROUND 10. Birmingham, June 14th

The transition from Leamington to Birmingham was achieved smoothly by motor coach on June 13th, the next round’s play taking place the following day. Some of the organizers had felt nervous as to the reactions of the foreign masters to an industrial town like Birmingham after the first three weeks stay at such beautiful health resorts as Cheltenham and Leamington: needlessly so as it turned out for all the foreign players seemed greatly impressed with the town itself.

It had also been expected that there would be a much greater number of spectators here; but this was not the case and indeed, in view of the limited nature of the accommodation, it was fortunate. Had the Russians come another story might have been told. This much however is clear, at present there is no public in this country for tournaments unless these contain something strange and wonderful. Perhaps next time we might feature a set of performing dogs—not I think trained seals as they have too uncanny a resemblance to some chess players.

To revert to the play, nothing spectacular occurred in this round, most of the leaders being content with quick draws. Gligoric, however, had a very hard struggle with Donner who, but for sealing an inferior move on adjournment, might well have won. At Bad Pyrmont Matanovic had avoided a Caro Kann against me by playing a Queen’s. Here, warned by his previous loss, he played the King’s pawn but I soon achieved easy equality.

This also applies to the games between Rossolimo and Alexander and Trifunovic and Stahlberg. Klein gradually got the upper hand against Dr. Tartakower and won a nice ending. Broadbent tried an exceedingly bad defence against Wade’s K Gambit in an endeavour to avoid known theoretical paths and was duly and competently destroyed.

Remain the two best games of the round: in the first Unzicker showed what a fine player he is and how closely his style resembles Tarrasch by winning in classic style against Bogoljubow. In the other Pirc won a most exciting game against the unfortunate van Scheltinga, finishing up with some beautiful combinative play.

Scores: Gligoric and Trifunovic 6½; Alexander, Matanovic, Pirc, Stahlberg, and Unzicker 6; Klein and Rossolimo 5½; Bogoljubow and Donner 4½; Broadbent 4; Golombek, Tartakower, and Wade 3½; van Scheltinga 2½.

ROUND 11. Birmingham, June 15th

This was a most important round from the point of view of first place as Gligoric was to meet Stahlberg. As Gligoric had already won a match against the Swedish grandmaster he was expected to do well against him here; but he had only won the match by the narrowest of margins and it seemed as though Stahlberg had overcome his uncertain form of the earlier part of the tournament and was playing his usual fine chess. Nevertheless he met with a most severe defeat this time and hardly seemed to be out of the opening stage before he was lost. From a study of this game and others in his tournament career it would seem that the weakest point in his play lies in his handling of the half open defences to the K Pawn.

By winning this game Gligoric came into the sole lead as Trifunovic was well held to a draw by Broadbent. Two Sicilian Defences—between Donner and Matanovic and Alexander and Pirc—led to steady draws, there being considerably more play in the latter game than the other.

Klein again gave signs of lack of knowledge of up-to-date opening theory—this time against Unzicker who won most efficiently. I scored my first—and alas only—win of the tournament against Dr. Tartakower in a struggle abounding in thrills and unsound play. Van Scheltinga gave a glimpse of his true form by winning well against Wade.

There was a really extraordinary game between Bogoljubow and Rossolimo in which the advantage oscillated to and fro in quite alarming fashion. Some of the positions attained would figure well in the endgame section of the B.C.M. and others would be not out of place in the problem department. In the end it was the younger player who won through.

Scores: Gligoric 7½; Trifunovic and Unzicker 7; Alexander, Matanovic, Pirc and Rossolimo 6½; Stahlberg 6; Klein 5½; Donner 5; Bogoljubow, Broadbent, and Golombek 4½; Tartakower, van Scheltinga, and Wade 3½.

ROUND 12. Birmingham, June 16th

This was the third round we had played in successive days and most of us were feeling a trifle worn. In such circumstances staying power and tenacity of purpose are at a premium. This was well and truly borne out in the game between the grimly determined Trifunovic and the hapless van Scheltinga. For some time the Dutch master did quite well but he visibly wilted in the last few hours of the game and allowed his opponent to win a well-played ending. This brought him up to equal first with Gligoric, as the latter, try as he might, could make no impression on the imperturbable Matanovic.

Unzicker missed an excellent chance of coming up to the top in this round. I played some inexact moves early on against him and had to give up a pawn to avoid worse. So we came down to a position with both rooks and pawns on the board, the sort that is termed a matter of technique. However, the German champion was over confident, neglected to observe my threats and only awoke to the serious nature of the situation when faced with the menace of a mate in five moves. This he managed to avert but only at the cost of conceding a valuable half point.

Stahlberg won in that sparkling style for which he is famous; but Broadbent rather helped him by playing along lines that were very familiar to his opponent. Wade had spent several hours analysing out a special variation of the K Gambit to spring on Alexander. All to no purpose, however, as when it came to be tested on the board Alexander showed its inferiority in no uncertain fashion.

Dr. Tartakower sat down against Donner determined to avenge his defeat at Amsterdam last year. He attacked from the very start but seemed likely to get nowhere until the young Dutch player blundered in the late middle game. Rossolimo did not seem his usual self against Klein and played the opening weakly. His opponent took excellent advantage of this in a game conducted with great vigour.

Bogoljubow’s method of meeting the Catalan would not commend itself to the purist and indeed in practice it resulted in the complete shutting in of one of his Bishops. Pirc played all the technical part of the game with the utmost competence.

Scores: Gligoric and Trifunovic 8; Alexander, Pirc, and Unzicker 7½; Matanovic and Stahlberg 7; Klein and Rossolimo 6½; Donner and Golombek 5; Bogoljubow, Broadbent, and Tartakower 4½; van Scheltinga and Wade 3½.

ROUND 13. Birmingham, June 19th

Once again Gligoric assumed the sole lead, this time by a quick win over Broadbent. It was a pity that the British champion was not familiar with Matanovic’s game against me at Bad Pyrmont; for this game went the same way except that Broadbent went in for an inferior line on his 8th move. Trifunovic had a steady draw with Alexander and so remained half a point behind.

Unzicker, trying to avoid the draw against Donner, overreached himself and was well beaten—an experience that comes to every master, but none the less vexing for all that. Bogojubow and Wade had a complicated game in which the German grandmaster always held the initiative. Stahlberg unexpectedly got the worst of it against van Scheltinga and only just managed to save the half point.

Tartakower was in his most perverse mood against Matanovic. Just as in his encounter with Bogoljubow he seemed set upon flouting all the recognized principles of the game. Despite his youthful years Matanovic is not a master to experiment with in such a way and the end was much like a massacre.

I had an even struggle with Rossolimo, as did Klein against Pirc.

Scores: Gligoric 9; Trifunovic 8½; Alexander, Matanovic, and Pirc 8; Stahlberg and Unzicker 7½; Klein and Rossolimo 7; Donner 6; Bogoljubow and Golombek 5½; Broadbent and Tartakower 4½; van Scheltinga 4; and Wade 3½.

ROUND 14. Birmingham, June 20th

If the previous round had been a disappointment for Unzicker this round was still more tragic for Trifunovic. He had established something very like a won game against Bogoljubow, but allowed himself to be upset by a desperate sacrifice and so lost a full point. A victory for him would have meant that he was back again at the head with Gligoric since the latter had a brief draw with Tartakower.

As it was he was relegated to third place since Pirc won against me. There are two versions of what happened in this game—mine, which is that I won a pawn out of the opening, then relaxed too much and threw away first the win and then the draw—and Pirc’s, which is that he sacrificed the pawn for continued pressure and so achieved a logical and well merited win. The reader can take his choice, but what is certain is that at one point in the late middle game I could have forced an easy draw.

The best game of the round was undoubtedly Stahlberg’s win against Alexander —a game “all light and air.” Alexander only made one small inaccuracy (it could hardly be called error) but this was sufficient to allow Stahlberg to engineer an overwhelming attack.

Van Scheltinga was lucky to escape with a draw against Broadbent who looked like winning for nine-tenths of the game. Klein played somewhat loosely against Wade and met with a severe defeat. Unzicker and Matanovic had a very short draw indeed; Whilst Rossolimo, having missed a clear win against Donner quite early on, tried to extract something out of nothing for^nother twenty odd moves.

Scores: Gligoric 9½; Pirc 9; Matanovic, Stahlberg, and Trifunovic 8½; Alexander and Unzicker 8; Rossolimo 7½; Klein 7; Bogoljubow and Donner 6½; Golombek 5½; Broadbent and Tartakower 5; van Scheltinga and Wade 4½.

ROUND 15. Birmingham, June 22nd

There were no great surprises in the last round and with virtue meeting with its reward Gligoric justly gained the first prize. His quick draw with van Scheltinga was enough for this as Pirc, his nearest rival, was also unable to do more than draw with Donner.

Trifunovic and Stahlberg both played well to win their games and so come up to equal second with Pirc; but in most contrasting styles. Trifunovic’s win over Klein was a triumph of technique aided by careless play on his opponent’s part. Stahlberg, on the other hand, had a struggle of palpitating interest against Bogoljubow. At one time indeed it looked as though the latter was going to pull off a surprise victory; but he could not stay the pace and rather went to pieces towards the end.

Unzicker tried hard to avoid the draw against Tartakower; but, warned by his previous bad experience against Donner, did not overpush the game. This, however, is exactly what I did against Wade and I count myself very lucky indeed to have got a draw by perpetual check.

Rossolimo had the longest game of the round, but always appeared to have a winning advantage against Matanovic. I would have said the same about Alexander’s position against Broadbent except that the result belies me. He did indeed have a winning advantage at one stage but was too eager to liquidate the position.

Final scores: Gligoric 10; Pirc, Stahlberg, and Trifunovic 9½; Alexander, Matanovic, Rossolimo, and Unzicker 8½; Donner and Klein 7; Bogoljubow 6½; Golombek 6; Broadbent and Tartakower 5½; van Scheltinga and Wade 5.


So the first prize fell to the 27 year old Jugoslav grandmaster, Svetozar Gligoric. Writing about him in 1946 in the introduction to my book of the Prague International Tournament of that year I said: ‘‘It soon became evident from his play that he Is a great master in the making.” These words now having been borne out, perhaps I may indulge in the further prophesy that we have a world champion in the making. Consider his achievements in the last few months—1st prize in the Jugoslav championship (one of the strongest national championships in the world); then first prize with a point advance over his nearest rival in the strong European Zonal Tournament; and, after only a few days had elapsed, playing in this still stronger tournament and gaining first prize. It speaks volumes for his resolution and great control of nervous power that in both these last tournaments he met with a loss in the first few rounds and still managed to come to the front in the end\

It is to be hoped he will be in his best form in the Interzonal next year; for, if he crosses this hurdle, it will indeed be interesting to see how he fares in the Candidates’ Tournament for the World Championship. The highlights of his play in the Centenary were his wins over Stahlberg, Bogoljubow and Broadbent and his fine finishes against myself and Klein.

Second, third and fourth prizes were shared between Pirc (Jugoslavia), Stahlberg (Sweden), and Trifunovic (Jugoslavia). But for the intrusion of the Swedish grandmaster all the chief prizes would have fallen to the Jugoslav contingent. Deservedly so, for they played the best chess of the tournament. Trifunovic, indeed, was unlucky not to come still higher. His one loss, to Bogoljubow, was in a game that for the major part of its course seemed and was quite won for him. So much so that even when he was lost most of the spectators, including such experts as the U.S.A. champion, were quite sure he was winning.

There has been a distinct change in his style of play of recent years. Before the war he was a dashing combinative player who made more wins and losses than draws. Now he is a very safe solid player relying a great deal on an excellent technique to exploit minute advantages. He can still produce beautiful combinations (witness his brilliancy prize game against Bondarevsky at the Stockholm Interzonal of 1948); but these are rarer than before and he now draws a great number of games.

Strangely enough, Pirc, an older master, has followed quite the opposite course. His chess is now much more adventurous than it used to be. One of his fellow masters in this tournament complained to me of his inability to cope with Pirc’s methods of play, saying that the Jugoslav would go in for complications of the most profound type and incur the most hair-raising risks without any consideration either for his well being or that of his opponent. He drew fewest games of all the prizewinners and always played interesting chess.

Though Stahlberg was so high up it cannot be said that he was in his best form by any means. He did play a couple of games in his own characteristic and elegant style (against Alexander and Broadbent); but I have seen him play much better chess on the whole in other tournaments and he was frequently uncertain in several phases of the game here. Still, it is because one expects so much of him that one is disappointed with his showing and in most masters this result would be reckoned an outstanding success.

There was a tie for the remaining prizes amongst Alexander (B.C.F.), Matanovic (Jugoslavia), Rossolimo (France), and Unzicker (Germany). Alexander’s success with such exalted company was most heartening to the rest of us British players. He started off in fine form and was in the lead for the first five rounds; however, he could not keep up this pace and so had to be content with a lesser prize than at one time seemed likely. Still, considering especially how short he has been of international practice in the last few years, this was indeed a remarkable performance.

Matanovic, too, might have hoped for a higher prize, since he shared the lead in the earlier stages and but for a loss to the persistent Rossolimo in the very last round would have indeed been several places higher. It is almost incredible to think that if he were only a few months younger he would be qualified to play in the Junior Tournament. The future of Jugoslav chess is very bright when one considers that, amongst others, Matanovic, Fuderer and Ivkov have emerged in the last few years from that country.

In Rossolimo we have the remarkable case of a chess master who is forced to live entirely on what he can earn in chess tournaments. Consequently he has to play in about ten tournaments every year and the resulting nervous tension must be almost intolerable. His great talents for the game are demonstrated by the fact that he is nearly always a prize winner.

Unzicker was rather tired by his efforts at the previous tournament at Bad Pyrmont and some of his games lacked that incisiveness which normally characterizes his play. Nevertheless he produced enough evidence here and there to convince one that he is a great master—not perhaps quite mature, but this makes one all the more confident of his successful future.

A point outside the prize list came Donner (Holland) and Klein (B.C.F.). The youthful Dutchman (he is in the early twenties) showed his class by not losing a game against any of the prizewinners. He will do still better in a few years’ time and is a comparative newcomer to international chess. Klein came second amongst the British players. He too has had little international practice in the past eleven years and considering this a score of 7 points is indeed an achievement. As one might expect his weak point lies in a lack of acquaintance with up-to-date opening theory—a grave handicap in a strong international tournament. But in compensation he is especially formidable in complicated positions demanding tactical ability.

The two veteran grandmasters, Bogoljubow and Dr. Tartakower, were both intensely disappointed with their results. But increasing years constitute a grave handicap in strong tournaments where staying power is essential. It is not generally known in this country that Bogoljubow is not only a great master at the game of chess but also a considerable problemist. He composed the three moves given here specially for the Centenary event. Whilst I am on this subject I also give an ending by the great Bohemian endgame composer, Prokop, dedicated to the winner of the tournament. The solution to both will be found below.

The British champion, Broadbent, started well, but fell away as the tournament proceeded. Even more than Klein he was handicapped by lack of modern opening theory. Van Scheltinga was but a shadow of his true self and Wade was in poor form throughout the tournament.

File Updated

Date Notes
4 September 2022 First upload. All 120 games complete, with dates, round numbers, a photo and round reports. I thought it was high time I featured this prestigious tournament here, particularly since ChessBase's long-standing version is in bad shape, missing the moves of Golombek-Gligoric and with a wrong result; also they have no dates and all the round numbers are wrong bar one.
7 December 2022 Andy Ansel has identified discrepancies in four game scores taken from CB Mega Database, as compared with the tournament supplement published in BCM, July/August 1951, as follows: (1) Tartakower-Pirc (rd 2); (2) Stahlberg-Alexander (rd 14); (3) Bogoljubow-Stahlberg (rd 15); (4) Matanovic-Rossolimo (rd 15). I am very grateful to Andy for drawing my attention to these likely errors.