Boris Spassky at the Amsterdam Interzonal, 1964.

A short blog post featuring translations of annotations, by Spassky and by his trainer Bondarevsky, to several of Spassky’s games from the Interzonal tournament in Amsterdam, and some brief background to the event.

1964 - Amsterdam izt - Spassky

Boris Spassky at the Amsterdam Interzonal tournament (photo credit: P. van Zoest / ANP, via

The Interzonal tournament in Amsterdam was a marathon, 23-round all-play-all event that ran from the 20th May until the 21st June 1964.  The venue was the GAK-gebouw on Bos en Lommerplantsoen in west central Amsterdam.  (Opened in 1960, this was one of the most modern office buildings in the city.  It has since been renovated, and today is used for student accomodation.)

First place was ultimately shared by Bent Larsen, Vasily Smyslov, Boris Spassky and Mikhail Tal, who each scored 17/23.  Leonid Stein finished in 5th spot on 16½, with David Bronstein in 6th place on 16.  Normally, all of these players would have qualified for the Candidates’ matches that were due to start in the spring of 1965.  However, at that time FIDE had in place a rule limiting the number of qualifiers from any one country to five, so that Stein and Bronstein missed out.  (This was a particularly cruel blow for Leonid Stein, as he had been excluded from the 1962 Candidates’ tournament at Curaçao on precisely the same grounds.)  Their places in the Candidates’ matches were taken by Ivkov and Portisch (the latter after a playoff match with Reshevsky).

1964 - Amsterdam izt - Larsen, Tal, Smyslov, Spassky

Winners at Amsterdam: left to right: Bent Larsen, Mikhail Tal, Vasily Smyslov and Boris Spassky, together with Folke Rogard, president of FIDE. (Photo credit: R. Hoff / ANP, via

His shared 1st place in Amsterdam was one of Spassky’s first great successes, and marked the beginning of his rise to the very top of World Chess.  He had qualified for the Interzonal by winning the ‘Tournament of Seven’ in Moscow a couple of months previously (details of which can be found here.)  After starting in Amsterdam with a loss to the outsider Klaus Darga, he soon found his gear and set a blistering pace in the middle of the tournament, winning eight successive games between the 8th and 15th rounds.  He lost only one more game in the tournament – a dramatic defeat at the hands of Larsen in the penultimate round – and played a number of fine games.

1964 - Amsterdam izt - Spassky-Benko

Spassky faces Benko in the 13th round (played 6th June). (Photo credit: F. N. Broers / ANEFO, via the Dutch National Archive.)

Some of these were later annotated by Spassky himself, and by his long-time trainer and mentor, Igor Bondarevsky.  Translations of these annotations can be downloaded at the following links:

Spassky-Tringov, Interzonal Tournament, Amsterdam 1964 (annotated by Spassky)

Spassky-Foguelman, Interzonal Tournament, Amsterdam 1964 (annotated by Bondarevsky)

Gligoric-Spassky, Interzonal Tournament, Amsterdam 1964 (annotated by Bondarevsky)

Spassky-Benko, Interzonal Tournament, Amsterdam 1964 (annotated by Spassky)

Spassky-Reshevsky, Interzonal Tournament, Amsterdam 1964 (annotated by Bondarevsky)

1964 - Amsterdam izt - Spassky-Reshevsky

Spassky faces Reshevsky in the 17th round (played 11th June). (Photo credit: H. Pot / ANEFO, via the Dutch National Archive.)



The annotations are from Shakhmaty v SSSR (No. 9, 1964) and from Volume 1 of the two-volume publication Boris Spassky (Ts. K. N. B., Moscow, 2000; edited by N. V. Krogius).


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