Archive for the ‘Boris Spassky’ Category

The Fabulous 70’s: Britain’s Starlets Battle Spassky in a Simul!

November 28, 2007

Boris Spassky gave a simultaneous exhibition to Britain’s best schoolboys in January 1979. And what a crew!

Let’s see the photograph, from the Evening Standard, January 22, 1979. As Spassky said, this match was “hard bread” (!) indeed; he lost 5, drew 12, and won only 13. Click several times until it is clear enough to see details. We won’t comment on the humorous choice of the word ‘Starlets’ in the headline.

starlets.jpg

1979:  Boris Spassky versus Britain’s Starlets in the Hard Bread Simul

In the photograph, we have Nigel Short (!) on the left (Nigel drew), then Julian Hodgson (Julian won brilliantly in 22 moves; I assume the game score exists somewhere), then Glenn Flear (who also defeated Boris), then David Cummings (who lost, although up a piece, to a mating attack in the last game to finish). Next to Cummings on the far right we have William Watson.

Suzzane Wood sent me this photograph in that very same year, 1979, and labeled it “Watch Out America, We’re as good as you now.” In 1979, this was more or less a joke but in the intervening years indeed the UK made fantastic strides, whereas the US has never really seemed to get its junior act together.

And Elsewhere in the Blogoverse

Petrosian simul verus Short, A. Martin, etc.

Advertisements

The Fabulous 80s: Lugano, Switzerland

October 27, 2007

Nobody can say this site doesn’t have cool photos. Let’s go back to 1984, the Open tournament in the beautiful Swiss-Italian (Tyrolian) Alps town of Lugano, for this classic.

jay_w.png

The hoodie guy with his back to the camera is indefatigable, indomitable IM Jay Whitehead. Of course the person he is analyzing with is the one and only GM Viktor Korchnoi. But look at the all-star kibitzers! Ex-World Champ Boris Spassky is seated next to Korchnoi. GM Florin Gheorghiu is standing next to Spassky. Sergey Kudrin is standing between Spassky and Korchnoi. I don’t know who the two fellows behind Kudrin and Gheorghiu are.  The photo is by French photographer Catherine Jaeg. Quite a nice shot, don’t you think?

Why was I playing in this pretty, exotic but rather expensive locale? Because Jay had won enough money for both of us to go with an incredible backgammon streak one evening in New York City. He had gone downtown from our crash pad in Washington Heights and he took a big win away from a Jazz Club owner (I think a famous club, such as Kenny’s Castaways or The Village Gate).  As a spiritual footnote, he had previously informed me that his Hare Krishna temple had given him permission to gamble (his other moniker was Jaya Krishna). When he got back, he woke me up to count the 50’s and 100’s bulging out of every one of his pockets. We were on a flight to Milan, Italy only two days later. So we get to Milan. We transfer to a train that will take us from Italy across Lake Como and on into Switzerland. On this train, I meet a panicky Malcolm Pein in the club car. “Mark, there is the most dreadful fellow on this train!” I asked why and he said “he is going on and on about vegetarian food options in Lugano!” I knew right away this was my patron saint, Jay. Malcolm was feeling probably a wee bit put upon but, amusingly, there were decent vegetarian options in meat-crazed Switzerland. Once we got to Lugano, there were a whole bunch of Brits. Glenn Flear, and many more. They had an economy cottage rental and bought enough groceries for the week – very clever. I was rooming with John Fedorowicz. One day we had a surprise visitor: Spassky. More on this later.

Watch this space for some good Lugano 1984 games, including a win over Dutch blabbermouth Erik Knoppert.  It’s too bad they discontinued this classic annual Open.