12th Chess Olympiad

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The official logo of the Olympiad.

The 12th Chess Olympiad, organized by the FIDE and comprising an open[1] team tournament, as well as several other events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between August 31 and September 25, 1956, in Moscow, Soviet Union.

The host nation were double defending champions and naturally huge favourites, and they lived up to expectations. Although their victory margin wasn't as big as two years before, they still won comfortably, with Yugoslavia and Hungary taking home the silver and bronze medals, respectively.



A total of 34 teams entered the competition and were divided into four preliminary groups of eight or nine teams. The top three from each group advanced to Final A, the teams placed 4th–6th to Final B, and the rest to Final C. All groups and finals were played as round-robin tournaments.

Group 1 was won by the Soviet hosts, well ahead of Bulgaria and Switzerland. Poland, Sweden, and Norway took the places 4–6, while Puerto Rico and Saar finished at the bottom of the group.

Yugoslavia took first place in group 2, ahead of Israel and Denmark. Netherlands, Austria, and France made up the middle part of the group, while Mongolia and Scotland had to settle for the bottom.

Group 3 was won by Argentina, ahead of West Germany and England. Iceland, Chile, and Finland took the places 4–6, while India, Luxembourg, and Ireland finished at the bottom of the group.

Hungary cliched group 4, ahead of Romania and Czechoslovakia. East Germany, Colombia, and Belgium made up the middle part of the group, while the Philippines, Greece, and Iran completed the field.


Final A
# Country Players Points MP
1  Soviet Union Botvinnik, Smyslov, Keres, Bronstein, Taimanov, Geller 31
2  Yugoslavia Gligorić, Matanović, Ivkov, Karaklajić, Milić, Đurašević 26½ 17
3  Hungary Szabó, Barcza, Benkő, Szilágyi, Bély, Portisch 26½ 16
4  Argentina Najdorf, Bolbochán, Panno, Pilnik, Sanguineti, Wexler 23
5  West Germany Unzicker, Schmid, Darga, Pfeiffer, Niephaus, Teschner 22 12
6  Bulgaria Padevsky, Minev, Kolarov, Tringov, Tsvetkov, Milev 22 10
7  Czechoslovakia Filip, Pachman, Šefc, Rejfíř, Alster, Ježek 20½
8  England Golombek, Penrose, Wade, Milner-Barry, Clarke, Phillips 20
9   Switzerland Blau, Bhend, Walther, Keller, Johner 19 9
10  Denmark Larsen, Poulsen, Pedersen, Ingerslev, Nielsen, Enevoldsen 19 8
11  Romania Bălănel, Ciocâltea, Troianescu, Soós, Ghițescu, Rădulescu 19 7
12  Israel Czerniak, Porath, Aloni, Oren, Dobkin, Smiltiner 15½

Individual medals[edit]

Due to a special rule for the top board at Olympiads, Larsen's result automatically earned him the GM title (the rule has since been abolished).


  1. ^ Although commonly referred to as the men's division, this section is open to both male and female players.