A picture from the Olympiad in Lugano 1968: Korchnoi and Spassky in play for the Gold medal winning USSR team. Photo: Keystone Photopress Archiv by Bote der Urschweiz, Schwyz
Lugano 1968, report by Olimpbase (and own additions):
A small country opened its gates to chessplayers from all quarters of the globe.
The advance entries indicated a further rise in the number of participants, and, though several countries
eventually backed out, the total of 53 teams that took part did indeed constitute a new record for the series.
Some of these were newcomers, for Andorra, Costa Rica, Singapore and the Virgin Islands were making their first appearance in an Olympiad.
A new arrangement was also introduced, whereby teams that qualified for the same final section did not repeat the match they had played against each other in the preliminaries, i. e. the results of these matches were carried over to the Finals.
had Geller and Smyslov instead of Tal and Stein, compared with 1966. For the first time we have seen both Fischer and Reshevsky announced in American team:
On request, FIDE imposed a regulation allowing both players to have a rest on Jewish Sabbath
and no games were scheduled on Friday evening and Saturday morning. This was commonly criticized since it brought confusion into tournament procedure.
Unfortunately for the USA, Fischer withdrew from their team because he was not happy with the lighting
in the tournament hall. Fischer wanted to play his games in a private room. The Olympiad organizers refused to meet this request. Fischer left Lugano.
Chief arbiter was Jaroslav Sajtar (CSR), he often acted as arbiter at the Olympiads, and other important
official FIDE tournaments, for instance, Sajtar was also chief arbiter at the Interzonal in Sousse 1967, where Bobby Fischer withdrew during the tournament.
Czechoslovakia who were invaded in Autumn 1968 by the Soviets and the troops of the Warsaw Pact,
were missing Pachman (this obviously had a political background).
The USSR and Yugoslavia were the only two teams to have had six Grandmasters in the squad, the USA and Hungary had 5 GMs out of six players. West Germany were back in the pool after Havana
break from 1966.
Prominent players apart from the USSR and Yugoslavia were Larsen, Hort, Portisch, Szabo, Reshevsky, Evans, Benkö, R. Byrne, Najdorf, Panno, young Mecking, Unzicker, young Hübner, Uhlmann, Gheorghiu, O'Kelly, Donner, Penrose,
Pomar, and Yanofsky.
Bulgaria who won rather surprinsingly the Bronze medal had a balanced trio on their top boards: Bobotsov, Tringov, Padevsky (three grandmasters).