1981, New York City (can’t remember exact venue – think it might have been the Statler on 34 St.). The Pan-Am Intercollegiates, December.
The following motley group gathered – we were not part of any one team, we were just doing a “staged” photo clustered around the first place trophy.
From left to right, standing we have: Jon Schroer, the author, Steve Odendahl, and Eric Tall.
Seated we have future US Champion Michael Wilder whom I believe was still in High School.
Also in this time frame, maybe 1981 or 1982, we have the author at the famous Marshall CC (23 W 10 St., NY NY), site of many IM- and GM- norm tournaments.
Throughout most of the 1980s, I lived in a sprawling 3-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights (Upper Manhattan, 170th St.) along with Senior Master (hailing from Michigan) Jeremy Barth, Andrea Sisniega (sister of Mexican GM Marcel Sisniega) and at one time or another, also John Fedorowicz, Michael Rohde, and other visiting luminaries such as Pia Cramling. Here is the semi-famous cat Petey Pie, who throughout the 1980s terrorized such GM apartment guests as Eric Lobron and Ralf Lau with nocturnal prowling while they were trying to sleep. Click on Petey to see the bigger version. We used to sign her up to get magazine subscriptions; they arrived addressed to “Ms. Pie.”
The apartment was a haven for beatniks and foreign artisans. Here are discussants Charles (Chuckles) Fambro and Hanna Moishezon on our crummy Washington Heights foam sofa. Of course, Chuckles was unclassifiable. So was Hanna. I would place this photo at
around 1985 or 1986 Fall 1987 or 1988 (see Jeremy Barth comment – current thinking places Jeremy as the photog).
Photo by Eric Schiller, whom I believed organized many of these important norm events. I discovered this photo by accident by stumbling on this web page. After making norms, players would celebrate at the palatial Schiller mansion on Long Island. One of these tournaments is where I first met Judy Shipman I found her instructional chess book somewhere and now she spells her name Judee. There must be some story there.
Moving to 1983, Manhattan Chess Club, famous old soda machine
on the 10th floor of Carnegie Hall, 57th St. and 7th Avenue, on its old location on 155 E 55 St. (prior to Carnegie Hall, W 57 St), NYC. Sadly the MCC went defunct. See another related post where I am trying to reconstitute the champions’ list with the help of one-time manager, Nick Conticello. I am pretty sure pink tinted glasses were popular then.
The author at the Manhattan Chess Club’s famous old Coke machine, 155 E 55 Street, 1983
Do you know why men like having a beard? In the act of feeling the beard (pretending to think), the concentrated nerve endings on the fingertips feel good! It’s got nothing to do with the face feeling the fingers, it’s all to do with the converse. That’s why you see learned men of advanced education constantly feeling their beard! I read this in a neurophysiology study. Don’t make me cite it.
Here is the World Open 1985. I can state for certainty that both Ian Findlay (Canada) and Michael Wilder were relaxing on the bed. As for the principles, better they remain anonymous. The less said about this, the better. I believe this was taken in the hotel across the parking lot from the Adam’s Mark – the Sheraton (?).
Between Rounds at the World Open 1985
Moving ahead to the World Open 1986, what progress has been made? Well, first of all we have more people in the photo. We have Leonid Bass with that stylish hat and Sergey Kudrin left to the right, seated, rear. From left to right in the forefront, we have Michael Wilder, the author, and Joel Benjamin. This looks like it was taken right outside the Adam Mark’s “Players Bar”.
Between Rounds at the World Open 1986
Here’s another one from the World Open, same era. I would estimate it’s also 1986.
Relaxing at the World Open 1986
Here we have Joel Benjamin on the left rear and cute as a button Andrea Sisniega (sister of Mexican GM Marcel Sisniega) with a most excellent bottle of Mouton Cadet. Andrea lived in Washington Heights in a sprawling three bedroom apartment along with me, Senior Master Jeremy Barth, and at various other times Fedorowicz, Lobron, Rohde, Christiansen, McCambridge, Lanni, Wilder, Pia Cramling, Ralf Lau, and other luminaries. Yes, 250 Fort Washington Avenue, Apt. 2A, NY, NY, 10032, had a lot of chess player guests over the years from 1981-1988.
In the forefront of this photo we have the author on the left and peripatetic Michael Wilder on the right with an amusing expression. It looks like everyone is having a good time. My “wine glass” as you might guess was an Adam’s Mark hotel bathroom glass. Not very haute couture.
Here’s one more from the same event. In this one, Mike Wilder has on Leonid Bass’s hat. Standing, left, Dmitry Gurevich. Sitting, the author. On the right, Joel Benjamin.
More between-round relaxation, World Open 1986
The next curio depicts Joel Benjamin with some bread rolls. I don’t know the location or exact date, but it has to be the 80s, doesn’t it? Photographer unknown as of this writing.
Moving up to 1989, we have a photo from the Berlin Open organized by Herr Seppelt. Photo by Eric Tall.
The author playing blitz with Joel Benjamin, Berlin Summer Open 1989
By this time, the pink tinted glasses were history. I actually had a job on Wall Street (although I got sacked later in the year for too much nocturnal polka-ing). From left to right seated we have Matthew Messinger and the author; I am playing Joel Benjamin in a friendly blitz game in the Hotel Intercontinental in Berlin, Germany. Standing observing the proceedings is Dr. Anne Dinning who pretty much was responsible for me losing my day job. I wrote a small article on this tournament for Chess Life magazine that some of you may remember. The upshot is that we won more in the casino than the chess tournament. The highlight of the tournament may have been GM Josef Klinger of Austria getting ejected for public drunkenness (there was a convenient beer hall directly adjacent to the playing area).
And here is the view of the actual Berlin Open playing hall. I’m figuring out where to move vs a German FM Uwe Bokelbrink. Photo by Eric Tall.
The author (left, foreground playing white) vs. FM Uwe Bokelbrink, Berlin 1989
And of course we saw two dogs fighting (or were they playing?) in Berlin:
Action photo credit: Eric Tall.
And at the very end of the decade I played in a Brugges, Belgium tournament New Years Eve 1989.
Before the event, this photo was taken in Delft, Holland.
The author and Christine Syben, Scheveningen Holland 1989.
Nice town! Home of the little blue porcelain. That’s the author with a smaller person, American chess player Christine Syben. She went on to lose money in the Scheveningen casino. Photo by Eric Tall.
Finally we switch to what has to be a World Open; Canadian future IM Deen Hergott vs Joel Benjamin. A side note: the Wikipedia article on Hergott mentions he is the chess columnist for the Ontario Citizen newspaper – I learn so much from Wikipedia! The article also points out Hergott’s academic proficiency in mathematics, a nice counterpoint to our own IM Kenny Regan.
Deen Hergott (left) vs Joel Benjamin, World Open (?), 198x (?)
Do you feel like jumping ahead a decade? Here are the 1990s photos.