Archive for the ‘IM Ken Regan’ Category

The Fabulous 70s: Jersey Squad Takes 1976 US Amateur Team

May 15, 2008

I don’t think gambling was allowed this year in Atlantic City. The 1976 Amateur Team event was held at the Hotel Shelburne (?), which does sound like a pre-Taj-Mahal kind of place. There weren’t other regions then, the East “was it.” The event had only been going for a few years, but it was already a popular prestige event.

The winning team had John Fedorowicz (2237) on board one, iconoclastic 1…b6 practitioner Ken Regan (2223) on board two, Michael Wilder (1977!) on board three, and Tyler Cowen (1876) on board four. Needless to say, these team members continued to improve in the years ahead. Michael Wilder, from Princeton NJ (Princeton U was my alma mater) would even capture the 1988 US Championship. Dr. Leroy Dubeck, the photographer, was the famous TD who halted the 1974 US Junior Open’s round in progress so that the players could watch President Nixon resigning.

Weirdly, this blog entry got about a zillion hits when a Tyler Cowen fan, talked about it on an Economics blog forum named ‘angrybear’ for some reason. Advice to angrybear: buy and hold.

Here is the Chess Life photograph (click to enlarge).

The Winning 1976 Squad

The chief organizer, Denis Barry, was an affable fellow who retired in Arizona – I knew him in both states. He passed away a few years ago. Some interesting factoids from this Wikipedia site – Denis was USCF president from 1993 to 1996 and, at a tournament for the blind, he was the first to introduce braille wallcharts.

As a historical note, young Steve Doyle was an assistant in the 1976 event.

And from 1975…

In the 1975 USATE (also won by the GSCA 4: 1975 GSCA Four Ken Regan, John Fedorowicz, Edward Babinski Jr., Tyler Cowen) there was a titanic match between the winners and my ‘Seafood Platter’ Bethesda/Potomac MD squad featuring future 1976 World Junior Champ Mark Diesen. Let’s see an entertaining individual game between two very junior Juniors, Fedorowicz and me. I had some very humorous annotations on my scorepad (made during and after the game) which by the way was in descriptive notation.

Mark Ginsburg (2042, Seafood Platter) – John Fedorowicz (2128, GSCA 4) USATE February 16, 1975. Sicilian Najdorf. Time control 50/2.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. f4 e5 7. Nf3 Nbd7 8. a4 Qc7 9. Bd3 b6 10. Qe2 Be7 11. O-O Bb7 12. Bd2 (0:25) O-O (0:21) 13. Kh1 Rfe8 14. fxe5 dxe5 15. Bc4 Bb4 Hard to believe, this has been seen before. It’s nothing special. At the age of 15, using descriptive notation, I was clueless about opening theory. I was making it all up.

Position after 15…Bb4. Nothing’s going on.

16. Rad1 TN My “novelty”. Chances are equal. White was unsuccessful with 16. Ng5!? Rf8 17. Rad1 Bxc3 18. Bxc3 h6 19. Nxf7? (he had 19. Nf3 Bxe4 20. Rxd7 Qxd7 21. Nxe5 Qxa4 22. b3 Qa2 23. Bxf7+ Rxf7 24. Nxf7 Qxc2 25. Nxh6+ Kh7 26. Qxc2 Bxc2 27. Bxf6 gxf6 28. Rxf6 b5 29. b4 and draws) 19…Rxf7 20. Bb4 a5 and white lost rather quickly in Petrov,A (2375)-Popov,V (2430)/St Petersburg 1997.

16… Rac8 17. Bxa6? This is, of course, bad. Josh Waitzkin made a similar mistake versus me many years later, going after a wing pawn and giving up an all-important center pawn.

17…Bxa6 18. Qxa6 Bxc3 19. Bxc3 Nxe4 20. Bb4 Ndc5? Crushing is 20… Nb8! 21. Qb5 Qxc2.

21. Qc4 Nf6 22. Bc3 e4 23. Bxf6 If white tries 23. Nh4 e3 24. Qe2 Nce4 25. Qxe3, black hits hard with the nice tactic 25… Qxh2+!! 26. Kxh2 Ng4+ 27. Kg1 Nxe3 and wins.

23… exf3 24. Qg4 fxg2+ 25. Qxg2 g6 26. b3 Ne4 Black is way on top, but I battle on.

27. c4 Re6 28. Ba1 Qc6 29. Rd5 (1:41) Rce8! (1:25) Black coordinates his pieces well and should win.

30. Qf3 f6 31. Kg1 Ng5 32. Qc3 Re5 33. Qd4 (1:51)

Position after 33. Qd4 – Last Chances

33…Qe6? (1:50) Both sides are in serious time pressure since it’s 50/2. Black could have won here with the nice tactical shot 33…Re1! 34. Rxe1 Nf3+ 35. Kf2 Nxd4 36. Bxd4 Rxe1 37. Kxe1 h5 38. h4 f5 and he will slowly convert this. After 33…Re1!, white cannot take on f6: 34. Qxf6? Qxf6 35. Bxf6 Nh3+! 36. Kg2 R8e2+ and wins by picking up the white rook on f1. This second variation was probably the line missed in time trouble.

34. Rxe5 (1:53) fxe5 35. Qd5 Now white is OK.

35…Qxd5 36. cxd5 e4? 36…Nh3+ followed by Nf4 is equal.

37. d6 Nf7?? This is the biggest blunder. 37…Nf3+! followed by Kf7 is equal. Now white is easily winning.

38. d7 Rb8

Position after 38…Rb8. White fails to win.

39. Re1 In time trouble, white misses 39. Rc1! with a computer eval of more than +6. Ouch. Of course also winning is 39. Rd1.

39… Rd8 40. Rxe4 Again, 40. Rd1 e3 41. Kf1 wins easily.

40… Kf8 41. Bd4 Well, this way also wins. I haven’t blown it yet. At the time, I indicated 41. Re8+ Rxe8 42. dxe8=Q+ Kxe8 43. Bd4 as easy, but black can play on after the obvious 43…b5 44. axb5 Kd7 45. Kd2 although admittedly white is on top.

41… Rxd7 42. Bxb6 Rd1+ 43. Kf2 Rd2+ (1:55) 44. Re2 (1:56) Rd3 45. Bc5+ Kg7 46. b4 Ra3 47. a5 h5 48. Re7? I didn’t understand that 48. Bd4+ Kf8 49. Re6! is very easy as black’s king is corraled.

48… Kf6 49. Re3 Ra2+ 50. Re2 Ra3 51. Re3? Time control made, but again, a move I missed, 51. Bd4+ Kf5 52. Bb2 Rb3 53. a6 Rxb4 54. a7 Ra4 55. Bd4! Nd6 56. Kf3 Nb5 (56… Nc8 57. Re5+ Kf6 58. Rc5+) 57. Re5+ and wins.

51… Ra2+ 52. Kg3 Nh6 53. Re8 Nf5+ 54. Kf3 g5 55. Rf8+? I must have been freaking out in the face of black’s sudden activity. The rather obvious 55. Rh8+ still wins after 55…Kg6 56. Ke4 g4 57. Rg8+ Kh7 58. Ra8 g3 59. hxg3 Nxg3+ 60. Kf4 h4 61. a6 h3 62. Kxg3 h2 63. Bd4 Kg6 64. Rh8 Rxa6 65. Rxh2 and it’s all over.

55… Ke5 56. Re8+ Kf6 57. Rf8+ Ke5 58. Re8+ 1/2-1/2 Boo! Very “junior” ending technique.

In the match, my notation says, “Diesen lost to Regan!” This was quite an upset, as Mark Diesen would win the World Junior in the very next year and Ken Regan was still an expert. I vaguely recall Diesen blowing it in a time scramble. Perhaps Ken Regan could shed more light and/or the game score?

Update 6/9/08:  In a turn of events typical for my generation, Ken Regan has revealed to me that he has all his old game scores in a box, but he has misplaced the box.  🙂

We lost the match 1 to 3. I also remember vaguely that Ed Babinski for the GSCA 4 caught Flippy Goulding in some opening trap. That means our fourth board (not sure who that was) must have drawn Tyler Cowen.

Prior Winners 1971 – 2003

U.S. Amateur Team East Champions according to this NJ chess site:

1971 Franklin Mercantile CC Mike Shahade, Arnold Chertkov, Myron Zelitch, Eugene Seligson
1972 Penn State CC Donald Byrne, Steve Wexlar, Dan Heisman, Bill Beckman, Jim Joachin
1973 The Independents Edgar T. McCormick, Edward Allen, Steve Pozarek, Charles Adkins
1974 Temple University Mike Pastor, Bruce Rind, Harvey Bradlow, Joseph Schwing
1975 GSCA Four Ken Regan, John Fedorowicz, Edward Babinski Jr., Tyler Cowen
1976 GSCA Four Ken Regan, John Fedorowicz, Tyler Cowen, Michael Wilder
1977 Mahko Ornst Damian Dottin, Sunil Weeramantry, Jasper Chin, Doug Brown
1978 Westfield Winners Stephen Stoyko, Stephen Pozarek, Saul Wanetick, John McCarthy
1979 Mahko Ornst Doug Brown, Timothy Lee, David Gertler, Harold Bogner
1980 Heraldica Imports Roman Dzindzichashvili, Jose Cuchi, Jose Saenz, Ignatio Yepes
1981 The Materialists Eugene Meyer, Robin Spital, Gordon Zalar, Peter McClusky
1982 Metalhead ‘N’ Mutants Tony Renna, Jonathan Schroer, Andrew Metrick, John Kennedy
1983 The Costigan Team Thomas Costigan, William Costigan, Andrew Costigan, Richard Costigan
1984 Collins’ Kids Vasity Stuart Rachels, John Litvinchuk, David Peters, Marcos Robert
1985 We Don’t Have One George Krauss, Robert Miller, David Gertler, Sam Waldner
1986 Ace Reporter Tisdall Michael Rohde, Mark Ginsburg, Leonid Bass, Julia Sarwer
1987 Walk Your Dog Michael Feinstein, William Mason, Robin Cunningham, David Greenstein
1988 Bergen County Chess Council Aviv Friedman, Jose Lahoz, Lee Rutowski, Jonathan Beeson
1989 Rube V. Rubenchik, R. Shocron, D. Rubinsky, R. Rubenchik
1990 Walk Your Dog 3 Michael Feinstein, William Mason, Seth Rothman, Paul Gordon
1991 Collins’ Kids Graduates John Litvinchuk, Sal Matera, William Lombardy, Joe Ippolito
1992 Made in the USA David Arnett, Josh Waitzkin, Eliot Lum, Dan Benjamin
1993 Bonin the USA Jay Bonin, Mark Ritter, Harold Stenzel, Dan O’Hanlon
1994 Jimi Hendrix Exp Ilya Gurevich, Mark Ginsburg, Victor Frias, Chris Kendrex, Steven Kendrex
1995 Brooklyn College “A” Genady Sagalchik, Alex Kalikshteyn, Yuri Alpshun, Joe Valentin
1996 Westfield CC Robin Cunningham, Todd Lunna, Jason Cohen, Jerry Berkowitz, Yaacov Norowitz
1997 Kgovsky’s Killers Igor Schliperman, Mark Kurtzman, Stan Kotlyar, Nathan Shnaidman
1998 WWW.ChessSuperstore Anatoly Karpov, Ron Henley, Irina Krush, Albert Pinnella
Light Blue Dyllan McClain, Nathan Resika, Brian Hulse, Alan Price
1999 Clinton-Insufficient Lusing Chances Jim West, Mike Shapiro, Alan Kantor, David Sichel, Mel Rappaport
2000 Total Brutality Philip Songe, Savdin Robovic, Igor Schliperman, Mark Kurtzman
2001 Zen and the Art of Bisguier Ron Burnett, Art Bisguier, Sergio Almeida, Noach Belcher
2002 Weera Family Hikaru Nakamura, Sunil Weeramantry, Asuka Nakamura, Michael Ellenbogen
2003 UTD Orange Andrei Zaremba, Dennis Rylander, Ali Morsaedi, Clem Rendon


The Fabulous 1970s – Some Photos

September 3, 2007

I found some more 1970s photos!  If you can’t get enough of this, there are more here. 

First, from May 1973!  (I only started playing in tournaments in September 1972). Click several times to get it enlarged enough to read.


This amusing clipping from the May 1973 Washington Post mentions a very young NM Mark Diesen (and his father Carl) as well as me (JHS winner of a Metro Area HS Champ). Of course they misspelled my name and my school (Pyle not Pile). But still, it’s funny to see these old things. For example, it talks about the 2nd place US Amateur Team local (local to DC/Md./Va.) squad (in those days, there was only the East Team, not the other regions) consisting of Richard Delaune (he came an IM before sadly passing away at age 47), bridge- and backgammon-player Kent Goulding (Kent wrote a famous treatise on backgammon), bridge player David Hoffner and future World Junior Chesss Champ Mark Diesen.

Jumping ahead to 1975, here is a promising hopeful’s senior high school picture.


Thankfully leaving 1975 behind, in 1977 there was some norm activity in the USA and some really nostalgic photographs.

Here are Andy Soltis (left) and Ken Regan; photo by Nigel Eddis. Click to enlarge.

Trivia fact: only Michael Rohde and Larry Christiansen won the National High School while still in Junior High School, according to this report. Is that still true today? I think so…


The only thing I knew about Andy Soltis was that he liked to keep score in descriptive notation. Although I was quite active in New York City in the 1980s, I never saw him play there (he was a journalist for the NY Post). Two ships passing in the night. The only time I did notice him playing, he had a horrible reverse losing a piece in the opening , trying a Dragon against Joe Gallagher in Lloyds Bank London 1990. London was the same city where GM Larry Evans miserably failed in a comeback bid. There might be a moral here.

Here is the famous April 1977 Chess Life cover excerpt with Michael Rohde; photograph also by Nigel Eddis who deserved some kind of journalism prize for this uncompromising candid shot. It is hard to believe, but only a year and a quarter later I was playing Michael in the US Junior ‘Closed’ [Invitational] in Memphis, TN with my own rating being 2339, although at this stage in my development 4/1977, according to my Chess Life magazine label, I was only rated 2157.


The Classic 70s Part 9 – Pan-Ams

July 9, 2007

Every year brought a new Pan-Am Intercollegiate adventure.

In 1977, it happened to be in St. Louis. I had not played my freshman year (why not?) and I was now a sophomore. On my squad was Ken Regan (a freshman), who won 1st board prize and went on to earn an IM title (and become a Math Prof at SUNY Buffalo) and Steve Strogatz (who wound up being an Applied Math Prof (!!) at Cornell) won Top Alternate. I played Board 2 for Princeton; we wound up equal 2nd behind U. Penn and the Costigans.

Here are some crazy games from the event.

Round 6

K. Mohr (Illinois Tech ‘A’, 1846) – M. Ginsburg (Princeton Univ, 2255)

Board 2, Sicilian Kan

I include this game for some amazing middle-game tactics that remained behind the scenes.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. O-O Qc7 7. c4 d6 8. Nc3 Nbd7 9. Be3 b6 10. Rc1 Bb7 11. Kh1 Nc5 12. f3 Nxd3 13. Qxd3

Needless to say, black is happy gaining the two bishops but the task of making progress and winning lies ahead.

13…Be7 14. b3 O-O 15. Bg1 Rfe8 16. Nc2 Nd7 17. Ne3 Bf8 18. Rfd1 Rad8 19. b4 Qb8 20. a3 Nf6 21. Bf2 Nh5?! 22. Nf1 Nf4 The knight really can’t do that much.

23. Qd2 d5? And this is crazily too optimistic.

24. exd5 exd5 25. Bxb6 d4?

A ridiculous “combination”. 25… Rc8 26. cxd5 Nxd5 27. Nxd5 Bxd5 28. Rxc8 Rxc8 29. Bc5 Bxc5 30. Qxd5 Bb6 is much better for white but a sane alternative to the text that should lose. Youth players often embark on irrational flights of fancy.

26. Bxd8 dxc3


27. Rxc3? White misses the obvious 27. Qd7 Re2 28. Rxc3 Rxg2 29. Bc7! Qa7 30. c5! (cold shower!) cutting off the diagonal and winning.

27… Re2 28. Qd7 Qe5 29. Rcd3?

29. Rcc1? Rxg2 30. Qxb7 Qe2! amazingly forces mate! If 31. Rd2 Bc5!! is really an incredible shot. 31…Nh3? is too soon due to 32. Bb6, but 31…Bc5!! is a fantastic interference theme to make the line work.


Position after 31…Bc5!! (Analysis).

There follows 32. bxc5 Nh3!! and no matter how white twists and turns, he is mated. The finish position after accepting the queen offer 33. Rxe2 Rg1 mate is very nice. A phenomenally unusual tactic. Keep this in mind, it will recur!

White also had 29. Qd4! Qxd4 30. Rxd4 Rf2 31. Ng3 Rb2 32. Rd1 Nxg2 33. c5 winning, or 29. Re3! Rxe3 30. Bc7! Qc3 31. Nxe3 Qxe3 32. Bxf4 Qxf4 33. Qxb7 winning. Both these lines are nice and convincing.

29… Rxg2 30. Qxb7 Nxd3?

Black misses again the amazing 30… Qe2! 31. R3d2 Bc5!! with the incredible mating motif. Once again, 32. bxc5 Nh3 is the shot that mates: 33. Ng3 (33. Rxe2? Rg1 mate) 33… Rxh2 mate.


31. Qe4?? White blunders and loses, but here 31. f4 Qd4 32. Kxg2 Nxf4+ 33. Kf3 Qxd1+ 34. Kxf4 Qxf1+35. Qf3 Bd6+ 36. Ke3 Qxc4 37. h3 h6 is also very bad for him and black should win eventually. In addition, 31. Rxd3 loses horribly to 31…Qe2! hitting the Knight on f1 which cannot move. There follows 32. Rd1 Qf2! (the creeping motif threatening the mate on g1) and black mates.

31… Nf2+ 32. Kxg2 Nxe4 33. fxe4 Qxe4+ 34. Kf2 Qxc4 0-1

In this round we swept Illinois Tech 4-0 so it helped us rise back up in the leaderboard (we had lost ignominiously, 1-3, to Ohio State “B” (!!) in the first round, with Ken Regan taking an inexplicable rest. I was the only victor).


Round 7.

M. Ginsburg (Princeton, 2255) – T. Costigan (U. Penn, 2269) 45/2

Historical sidenote: in the earlier round 3, I had contrived to lose to R. Stoy (1834) (!!) from the Penn “B” Squad (!!). I was the only hapless loser as we won that match 3-1. I would go on to play Tom Costigan in the 1978 US Junior Invitational which is reported elsewhere on this site.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 g6 4. e4 d6 5. d4 cxd4 6. Nxd4 Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. Be3 Ne8?! [17] 10. Rc1 Nc7 11. Qd2 [12] Nxd4 [42] 12. Bxd4 Bxd4 13. Qxd4 Ne6 14. Qe3 Bd7 15. Nd5 [20]

Having done nothing special, white has a big edge.

15…Bc6 [55] 16. Rc3! [22] Preparing a rook lift that is a common motif in these structures.

16…Kh8 17. f4 Ng7 18. f5! Bxd5 19. Qh6! [41]

Typical of the Maroczy, sometimes white can switch to direct attack. Black’s position is now hopeless.

19…Qb6+ 20. Kh1 Qxb2 There was nothing else to try but white has a convincing winning line now.

21. Rh3 Nh5 22. fxg6 Qg7 23. Qxh5 [64] Bxe4 24. Qxh7+ Qxh7 25. Rxh7+ Kg8 26. Rhxf7 Rxf7 [104] 27. gxf7+

This ending poses no problems for me to convert.

27…Kg7 28. Bh5 [80] Rh8 29. Rf4 Kf8 [106] 30. Bf3 Bxf3 31. Rxf3 Rh7 32. g4 Rxf7 33. Rxf7+ Kxf7 34. Kg2 a6 35. a4 e6 36. a5 Kf6 37. h4 Kg6 38. Kf3 Kh6 39. g5+ 1-0

This was to no avail, as we lost this key match 1 1/2 – 2 1/2. I have no record of how Ken Regan fared on Board 1 in this match.

Let’s move ahead four years and show a funny picture from the 1981 Pan-Am.


This picture was a bunch of guys pretending to be on a team and winning the actual first-place trophy. But it was only a staged photo.

From left to right standing, Jon Schroer, me, Steve Odendahl, and Eric Tall.  A very historic and nonsensical photo!

Sitting: a young Michael Wilder.