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World Chess Championship Candidates' Tournament - Budapest 1950

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The World Championship Candidates’ Tournament of 1950 marked a fresh phase in the history of the world title. Hitherto, the champion had chosen his challenger, of course bearing in mind such pressures as public opinion and prize purses on offer. Now, after the interregnum caused by the death of Alekhine as incumbent in 1946, FIDE, the World Chess Federation, instituted a regular series of qualifying events to determine the rightful challenger to the chess throne. Budapest 1950 was to be Bronstein’s finest hour: coming from behind he caught his imperturbable compatriot Boleslavsky at the finishing post and then squeezed ahead of him in the play-off.

The notes to this great event, which also featured such immortals as Smyslov, Keres, and Najdorf, are by the British publishing pioneer Cordingley, while the comments to the tie-breaking match are furnished by the world champion of chess journalists, Grandmaster emeritus Harry Golombek OBE, based on his insights for the British Chess Magazine.

As we know, Bronstein advanced to challenge Botvinnik for the world title, but faltered at the final hurdle. That epic clash is covered in the companion Hardinge Simpole volume,

World Chess Championship 1951, by William Winter and R.G. Wade, ISBN 1843820846

This mighty clash between the top two Soviet Grandmasters was Botvinnik’s first title defence after becoming World Champion in 1948. Amazingly, the man who had dominated Soviet and World chess was only able to defend his title by the skin of his teeth after a most ferocious and determined onslaught from his youthful challenger David Bronstein. The controversial 23rd game where a demoralised Bronstein may have resigned prematurely was the key to Botvinnik’s ultimate success.

This book was written by two expert eye witnesses, former British Champion and International Master William Winter, and Bob Wade, International Master, vice-president of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and later to be awarded the OBE for services to chess and chess education. Together these two acknowledged experts of the game give a thrilling first hand account of the intense intellectual drama of one of the most evenly fought battles in chess history.

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