The Fabulous 80s: Washington Heights, NYC and Belgium and a tiny little bit of WO

For most of the 1980s, I lived on W 170th St. and Fort Washington Avenue in Washington Heights, Upper Manhattan. Senior Master Jeremy Barth was one of my roommates. At one time or another, John Fedorowicz, Michael Rohde, and others also stayed there. This heavily Dominican neighborhood saw many the odd chess player stay in our sprawling 3-bedroom: for example, Vince McCambridge, Pia Cramling, Ralf Lau, and Eric Lobron. The historical reason for this neighborhood choice was that at one time, I attended Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (to be distinguished from Columbia’s main campus at 116th and Broadway).

Here are some action pictures from the era.

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This happens to be Hanna Moishezon (daughter of the famous Columbia U. mathematics professor Boris Moishezon), me with Petey Pie the cat, and Jeremy. That Radcliffe sweatshirt is too small! Boris had his own geometric space(!), and was a specialist in the abstruse field of Algebraic Geometry. I would estimate this photo as somewhere in the 1985-8 range.

Moving back to August 1983 (fortunately some photos are labeled!), we have me battling Natasha Christiansen in a blitz game (back then she was Natasha Us) with a really old-fashioned Garde chess clock. In fact, the tint of the photo suggests the 19th century. I like my moustache. Is that wrong??

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I don’t remember how the actual game went.

Belgium

Here’s a good one. We have Vreele Goethals, British future-GM David Norwood, me, and seated we have IM Roman Tomaszewski from Poland. On the right is Vreele’s mother, Mia Goethals. I think this was taken in August 1985 in the ECI Youth open tournament at Eeklo, Belgium (not far from Sas van Gent, Holland, site of the tournament in alternating years). It also had a parallel IM round robin tournament. Roman and I were in that – I beat him in a crazy Nimzo 4. Qc2 game where I was one of the early experimenters with a strange gambit as black; namely 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 c5 5. dxc5 Na6 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Qxc3 Nxc5 8. b4 Na4!? 9. Qb3 b5!?; I will dig that game score up and post it.  Future GM Mr. Norwood had an unfortunate encounter with a soccer ball in the off-day whilst attempting a header.

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World Open, Philadelphia

Things always come back to the World Open. Here is the July 1986 incarnation at the now-defunct Adam Mark Hotel Players Bar with IM Leonid Bass (left), Linda Carrubba, Michael Wilder (standing) and Joel Benjamin. Good old Leonid moved to Spain (I think, or maybe it was France) at some point in the 1990s. Never saw him again!

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We culminate with a 1981 antique – just a photo edit experiment.

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I include it mostly for the historical hairstyle.

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2 Responses to “The Fabulous 80s: Washington Heights, NYC and Belgium and a tiny little bit of WO”

  1. Tom Patton Says:

    Does anyone still have a copy of the 1986 World Open crosstable? Thanks!

    Goichberg keeps old ones.

  2. James Says:

    what was it like living in Washington Heights during the crack city years.
    I would love to read a first hand account of your experience in the neighbourhood in 80s. You got throught it. It can have all been bad.

    It wasn’t good. We had petty burglars at 250 Forth Washington Ave. (our landlord provided us with a “police lock” after a break-in, but told us to keep it quiet, (so other units wouldn’t know about it and ask for one) and we even had guys who opened a fire hydrant then trained water into a second floor open window. Nice. A doctor was murdered in the parking lot of CPMC, a major hospital. The neighborhood had one faux-Irish pub and one sushi place. And a whole lot of boombox music. On the other hand, it was a chess mecca. Over the years we had a fantastic list of visitors: Pia Cramling, Ralf Lau, Eric Lobron, Larry Christiansen, Michael Rohde, and so on. And of course Victor Frias lived nearby and came over a lot for blitz.

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