Between 7th September 1959 and 29th October 1959, eight of the strongest GMs in the world met in the Yugoslav cities of Bled, Zagreb and Belgrade for the right to a challenge Mikhail Botvinnik for the World Championship. The tournament consisted of 28 rounds, each player facing the others four times.The eight players in this competition had qualified as follows:
ex-World Champion Vasily Smyslov.
second place finisher in the previous Candidates Tournament - Paul Keres.
The other six places were determined by an Interzonal tournament, held in 1958 in Portorož, Yugoslavia - Mikhail Tal, Svetozar Gligorić, Tigran Petrosian, Pal Benkö, Fridrik Ólafsson and Robert Fischer.
Ex-World Champion Vasily Smyslov and Paul Keres were considered strong favorites with Tigran Petrosian being given an outside chance. Of the non-Soviet players Gligorić was considered the strongest but not a likely victor. Olafsson and Benko had only recently been awarded the GM title and were not considered serious contenders. Everyone’s eye was on Bobby Fischer and it was expected he would play the role of spoiler in a few games, but he was not considered a threat to win the tournament. Tahl won the event one and a half points despite losing 3 out of 4 games to the unfortunate perennial runner-up, Paul Keres.
In commeration of this event The House of Staunton offers the Zagreb '59 Series set which is a reproduction of one of the most popular sets used in international tournaments durign the 1950s and 1960s. This my set of choice and as usual, the set from HOS comes with two extra Queens.
|Tartajubow's Chess Set|