The Classic 70’s Part 10 – Odds and Ends

Here are some funny games that I played during the 70s featuring some classic personalities.

Region III Championship 10/24/76        40/2

Mark Ginsburg (2173) – Charlie Powell (2304)


Charlie was a real Southern gentleman with a discernible Virginia accent. Unflappable even in severe time trouble, he was a wizard with the initiative. However, he was extremely erratic. Sometimes he lost badly as in this game and sometimes he played like a genius. For example, he was unstoppable in the old National Chess League, or NCL, (that was played via telephone) in the 70s on the Washington Plumbers squad (named after the Nixon Watergate incident). You can also see how well he did in Virginia State Championships. Kudos to IM Greg Shahade for resurrecting the NCL into a new Internet form (eminently logical) – now named US Chess League. The Washington Plumbers also recruited, at times, GMs Kavalek and Andersson but that’s another story. I played on occasion, as did Robert Eberlein, John Meyer, future World Junior Champ Mark Diesen, and Robin Spital.

Charlie played a particularly good game vs IM John Peters in the NCL that I will find. He was a swashbuckling figure who would arrive late, dressed a bit like Errol Flynn, on his motorcycle. He would often have a lady friend at his side during the game. He was a natural talent of the first order, much like Michael Rohde and Michael Wilder after him.

Tragically, Charlie passed away on the West Coast at a young age. The Mechanics Institute had a Charlie Powell Memorial tournament and referred to him as one of the Bay Area’s top players in the 1980s – although I had lost track of him in this time period.

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6?! The first misstep. 2…c6, 2…e6, 2…d4, and 2…dxc4 are all normal.

3. cxd5 g6? 3…Nxd5 leads to a bad position but the text is simply a blunder.

4. e4! Oops! Charlie must have been asleep at the wheel. Since 4…Nxe4? 5. Qa4+ is not playable, white is just winning.


4…Bg7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Be2 c6 7. dxc6 Nxc6 8. d4 a6 9. O-O b5 10. d5 Na5 11. e5 Ne8 12. Bf4 Bb7 13. b4 13. Qd4! was the most accurate move intending 13… Rc8 14. b3! e6 15. Rad1 and black can hardly move.

14. Rc1 Nc4 15. a4 bxa4? 15…Nc7 was the only chance to keep playing.

16. Qxa4 Nb6 17. Qa5 Nxd5? A further blunder, but it didn’t matter anymore.

18. Nxd5 Black’s pieces are tied to each other and overloaded, so he loses a lot of material. For example, 18…Qxa5 19. bxa5 Rxc1 20. Nxe7+! (classical zwischenzug) and white remains up a piece. Black resigned.



Atlantic Congress


Sal Matera (2421) – Mark Ginsburg (2157) Round 3, 40/2

Sal Matera from New York City became an IM in the 1980s along with Ken Rogoff (who went on to become a GM) and Andy Soltis (ditto).


1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Nf3 a6 5. a4 Nf6 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O b6!?


I was too young to utilize chess psychology but actually I’m making a really good opening choice here. Sal was a very careful, solid player so a provocative opening is perfect – he wouldn’t try to punish it outright.  So the text, although seemingly way out there, actually carries very little risk.

8. Re1 [5] 8. Bg5!? is interesting here. Then, 8…c5 9. a5! b5 10. dxc5! is strong for white.

8… Bb7 It’s humorous that Sal himself liked to play Modern Defense structures as black, and here I am not knowing that and blithely trotting it out. Nevertheless, I get a good game.

9. Bf1 9. Bc4 is certainly more active.

9… Nbd7 10. h3 Again, 10. Bc4 is more active. White is playing too slowly and black has no problems now.

10… e5 [37] 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Bc4 Nc5! [43] A nice shot. It is white who has to be careful now.


13. Qxd8 Raxd8 14. Bg5 [41] Rd6 15. Nxe5? A major miscue. 15. Bxf6! Bxf6 16. b4 Ne6 17. b5! a5 18. Bd5! is a very nice way to maintain the balance.

15… Nfxe4 [53] As so often happens, the sudden opening of the game just gives black too much activity. White is simply losing control of the position.

16. Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bf4 Rd4 [58]18. Ba2 [62]



If a good player hands his head on a silver platter, you have to take it.

18…Nc5?? [73] You don’t need a computer to see that the obvious 18… Nxf2! is completely winning. For example, 19. Be3 (19. Bg3 Ne4 20. c3 Rd2 wins with no problems) 19… Nxh3+! 20. gxh3 Bxe5 and white is dead lost. It’s impossible to say why I would think for 15 minutes and then avoid this easy line. A case of seeing ghosts? Continuing on a bit, 21. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 22. Kf1 Bxb2 23. Rad1 Bc6 24. Re7 Bxa4 25. Rxc7 Be5 and black mops up.

19. Bg5 Ne4 20. Bf4 Nc5?? [79] Naturally black passes up 20…Nxf2 winning once again. It’s not often that a player can miss two clear wins in the opening, but I did it. Matera escapes.

21. Bg5 Ne4 22. Bf4



A good example of a huge tactical blind spot changing the normal outcome of the game.


One more from the Atlantic Congress ’77 which I am guessing took place in New York City, although I did not record which hotel.

Atlantic Congress


Mark Ginsburg (2157) – Roberto Kaimo (2293)

Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 d6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Qd2 Bd7 8. Bc4 Nf6 9. f3 a6?

In some openings, black can afford avant-garde experimentation. The Dragon is not one of them. The text loses an entire tempo.

10. O-O-O O-O 11. h4 Qa5 12. h5?! A little too gung ho. Now black has an amazing resource.

12…Rfc8? Which he misses! 12…Nxh5! leads to incredible positions. For example, 13. g4 Ng3 14. Rh3 Qb4!!


Position after 14…Qb4!! (Analysis). This is really an amazing resource that I don’t think I’ve seen in other Dragon games. Play might continue 15. Bb3 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Bxd4 17. Qxd4 Qxc3!! 18. bxc3 Ne2+ 19. Kb2 Nxd4 20. cxd4 h5! 21. Rh4 hxg4 22. Rdh1 Kg7 and black is fine!

13. hxg6 hxg6 14. Bb3 Ne5 15. Bh6 Bh8 This position is a good tactical quiz situation.


16. Bg5? White already had a win with the elegant quiz solution shot 16. Nf5! Qd8 17. Qg5 Rc5 18. Qh4 Bxf5 19. exf5 Qc7 20. Bf8!! Kxf8 21. Qxh8+ Ng8 22. Rh7 with total devastation. The move 20. Bf8!! is an attacking motif that every white Yugoslav Attack player should know – a classic clearance theme.

16… Bg7 17. Kb1 17. f4! Nc4 18. Qd3! b5 19. Bxf6! Bxf6 20. Nd5 is more to the point, with a huge edge.

17… Nc4 18. Bxc4 Rxc4 19. Nb3 Qc7? A grotesque blunder, walking into white’s next move and immediately losing. He had to try 19…Qd8.

20. e5! Nh5 21. Nd5 Qb8 22. Nb6 Be6 23. Nxc4 Bxc4 24. Bxe7 dxe5 25. Qg5 Qe8 26. Rxh5 gxh5 27. Bf6 Qf8 28. Rh1 Bxb3 29. axb3 Kh7 30. Qxh5+ Bh6 31. Bg5 1-0

What a massacre! It was not a good day for the Filipino NM. I don’t know what happened to Kaimo; I lost track of where he went in the 80s and beyond.




One Response to “The Classic 70’s Part 10 – Odds and Ends”

  1. dana blogs chess » Virginia memories Says:

    […] Also, some “big names” of Virginia chess, such as former state champions Ed Kitces and Charlie Powell, would show up now and […]

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