Havana 1966: chess pieces,board and table

SPRAGGETT ON CHESS

Official poster for the Olympiad
Yesterday I wrote that each team at the Havana Olympiad was given an exact duplicate of the official Olympiad chess set as well as table with the inlaid marble board, shipped back home at the organizers expense! Some sources say that infact each participant was given this! (I will have to check this out and get back to you later)

Today on Xadrez Memoria ( http://xadrezmemoria.blogspot.com/ ) one of the very best Portuguese chess blogs today, Arlindo Vieira provided some wonderful photos of this set, table and board! He estimates that today it would be worth between 10,000 and 20,000 euros!
 
PLEASE NOTE: The actual chess set and table belong to Jon Crumiller, an antique chess collector from Princeton.  You can visit his site here   Or see more pics of this historic set here
 
The box contains inner boxes containing the Staunton pieces

Apparently Fischer was so impressed with the set that when he played Spassky in 1972 he tried to get everything similar to what he played on in Havana!

Magnificent wooden pieces specially made for the Olympiad

A position from the Fischer-Spassky encounter (ended in a draw)

Another position from the same game.
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A slightly different perspective of the pieces and how they were packed can be seen at the following website: http://www.crumiller.com/chess/chess_pages/staunton/HavanaEnsembleDetail.htm

This set was presented to one of the FIDE officials.

The pieces were packed in the above box.
Opening from the side, we can see the inner boxes, housing the pieces

The design is metal

Each piece has its own place in the box

Absolutely magnificent!

The Black pieces

The Olympiad seal
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THE USA vs USSR ENCOUNTER:

”The finals began on 4th November. American team’s captain Donald Byrne asked to abandon any play of Robert Fischer on the Jewish Sabbath. Although Fischer was a Jew in origin he became a member of the Christian World Church of God (The Seventh Day Adventists), a fundamentalist faction of Christianity forbidding to perform any activity from Friday, 6PM until Saturday, 6PM.

Unfortunately evening sessions on Saturdays were planned to begin at 4PM. This was somehow clumsy request given that in 1961 Fischer did not care about Reshevsky’s religious beliefs of same kind during their match. The proposal was refused by Šajtar, head referee, and Danish team declined American offer to reschedule USA-Denmark clash from Friday 4PM to 12AM…

The games were to start at Saturday, 4PM, two hours before Fischer could come back to reality from spiritual elation. USA claimed their match vs USSR to be rescheduled under threat of their withdrawal. The answer was: “no way”.

The Americans then simply did not appear at the game hall, but didn’t leave Havana and came back on the next day. The games were set as defaults of course.

A huge conflict with profound political background exploded soon. The Americans insisted on reply and FIDE president Mr. Folke Rogard proposed a 2-2 default. Perhaps under strong political pressure the Soviets agreed finally to repeat the match…

Postmortem of Fischer vs Spassky. Tal and Polugaevsky join in; notice the board and pieces!

USSR were missing Petrosian this time and it was Spassky who had to defend from Fischer’s furious offensive. USSR won 2½-1½ thanks to Tal who beat Byrne …”

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Another pic of the board and pieces! Letelier vs Velimirovic
MISCELANEOUS PHOTOS FROM 1966 OL:
Fidel Castro signing an autograph. Fischer can be seen behind him(right).Bondarevsky to the left

The closing ceremony. Castro awarding Petrosian the medal for best result on board one.

Closing ceremony. Castro awarding Bondarevsky medal for USSR coming in first place. Notice that Canada’s John Prentice is directly to Castro’s right

CASTRO PLAYS CHESS !!:
The Mexican Filiberto Terrazas challenged Fidel Castro to a game of chess. The latter accepted!
Terrazas F. – Castro F.Havana 1966.
1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 Bd6 4. d4 h6 5. e5 Bb4 6. c3 Ba5 7. Bxf4 g5 8. Bg3 Qe7 9. Be2 d6 10. exd6 cxd6 11. Qa4 Nc6 12. d5 Bd8 13. dxc6 b5 14. Qxb5 a6 15. Qa4 g4 16. c7 Bd7 17. cxd8=Q Rxd8 18. Qd4 gxf3 19. Qxh8 Qxe2#

The final position!

Soon Petrosian and Polugaevsky started to kibbitz the game, and then Bobby Fischer joined in! The journalists and spectators loved the scene. So did Castro!

Fischer giving his two cents worth of advice on the opening!
Fidel Castro seems to be saying ” Wait one minute, young Bobby…!”

The postmortem ends and everyone seems to have had a great time!

Fischer giving some more advice…
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The 17 th Olympiad took place at the prestigious hotel Habana Libre between October 23 and November 20. In all, 299 participants took part, of which 38 were grandmasters and 45 were IMs. The Soviet Union took first place and the USA took second place.
One of the curiosities of this Olympiad is that Misha Tal got into a bar fight right before the beginning of the event. He had to be given stitches and missed the first 5 rounds!

The Habana Libre is a very beautiful hotel and one of the most famous in latin America. I had the pleasure of staying there for 2 weeks in the winter of 1986! The hotel was built as the Habana Hilton, under the personal auspices of President Fulgencio Batista, as an investment by the pension plan of the Cuban Catering Workers’ Union, and was operated by the American Hilton Hotels group. The hotel has 572 rooms and is 25 floors high.
The hotel was officially opened on March 22, 1958, but when Fidel Castro took power and entered Havana on January 8, 1959 he used the hotel for his first headquarters! (Good taste!)

During the Olympiad one could see chess pieces on the outside of the hotel, lit up.
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