Archive for the ‘John Fedorowicz’ 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 00s: Some Chess Theory from the Tulsa US Championship Qualifier

April 18, 2008

The March 2008 Tulsa, Oklahoma US Championship Qualifier had some interesting games from the perspective of chess theory. Let’s see some of these perpetual time pressure games (G/90 + 30 sec increment). Endings suffered, and opening familiarity rose to the foreground. See this background post for some Tulsa “glamor shots.”

GM Alex Yermolinksy – NM Movses Movsisyan, Round 2. Gruenfeld Defense.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Be3 cxd4 Here, 8…Qa5 and 8…O-O are the most popular. Strangely, black plays a burst of natural but rare moves and emerges with a good game!

9.cxd4 Bg4 9…Qa5+ 10. Qd2 Qxd2+ was a quick draw in Groszpeter-Farago, Bibinje 2006, but white has a small edge after 11. Kxd2 Nc6 12. Rb1 (12. Rc1 was played).

10.Be2 Nc6 11.d5 (What else?) 11…Ne5 12.Nxe5 Bxe2 13.Qxe2 Bxe5

Position after 13…Bxe5.

14.Rd1?! Previously, the lame 14. Qb5+? Qd7 led nowhere in Gorshkov-Zilberstein, Sverdlovsk 1979, and drawn in 30 moves. However, 14. Rc1! looks more useful than the artificial text move. After all, 14. Rc1! Qa5+ 15. Qd2 Qxd2+ 16. Kxd2 with f2-f4 coming is a solid ending edge for white.

14…Qa5+ 15.Bd2 Qa4! With simple moves, black has achieved a good game against the experienced grandmaster. Note that Yermo provided several good wins of his vs. the Gruenfeld in his book “The Road to Chess Improvement.” This indicates that black’s particular Gruenfeld choice in this game warrants further study. Well, maybe not, since white did have the stronger 14. Rc1! in the game.

16.Bh6 Qb4+ After 16…Rc8 17. O-O Rc2, black has full equality. For example, 18. Qd3 Rxa2 19. Rc1 Ra3 20. Qe2 Ra2 21. Qf3 Ra3 is a perpetual attack on the queen and draw.

17.Kf1 Rc8 18.g3 Rc4 19.Re1 Bc3 19…Qa4! eyeing c2 is strong. Then, 20. Kg2 f6 makes an escape hatch for black’s king and once again he is happy.

20.Rc1 Rxe4?? Black ruins everything with a dreadful tactical oversight. 20…b5 was fine. For example, 21. f3 Be5 22. Kf2 Kd7! with equality.

21.Qc2 Rc4 22.Bg7! Oops. Undoubtedly overlooked by black. The rest of the game is technique.

22…Bxg7 23.Qxc4 Qxc4 24.Rxc4 Kd7 25.f4 b5 26.Rc6 Rb8 27.Ke2 b4 28.Ra6 Rb7 29.Rb1 Bc3 30.Kd3 Rc7 31.Rc1 Rc5 32.Rxa7+ Kd6 33.Ke2 33. a3 is a simple win. 33…Rxd5+ 34. Kc4! Rd4+ 35. Kb3 Rd3 36. axb4! Bd4+ 37. Kc4! does the trick. The text is fine too. White will win this.

33…Rxd5 34.Rd1 Rxd1 35.Kxd1 Bd4 36.Rb7 Bc5 37.Ke2 Kc6 38.Rb8 Kd5 39.Kd3 e5 40.fxe5 Kxe5 41.Rb7 Ke6 42.g4 Bd6 43.h3 h6 44.Ke4 f5+ 45.gxf5 gxf5+ 46.Kf3 Be7 47.Rb8 Kf6 48.Rg8 Bd6 49.h4! Iron-clad. 49…Kf7 50.Rg2 Be7 51.h5 Bg5 52.Rc2 Ke6 53.Rc6 Kd5 54.Rb6 Kc5 55.Rg6 Bd2 56.Ke2 Bc1 57.Rf6 Kb5 58.Rxf5 Ka4 59.Kd3 Bb2 60.Kc4 Bc3 61.Rd5 Ka3 62.Rd6 Kxa2 63.Rxh6 Bd2 64.Rd6 Bc3 65.h6 Kb2 66.h7 Kc2 67.Rh6 Bh8 68.Kxb4 Kd3 69.Re6 1-0

IM Blas Lugo – GM Jesse Kraai Round 4, French Exchange

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4!? 5.Nxe4 Be7
A favorite treatment of GM Evgeny Bareev. This is not as quiet as it appears since the kings wind up on opposite sides often. It has the advantage of avoiding many long mainline theory variations.

6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 Nd7

Position after 7….Nd7. Decision Time.

8.Qd2 Maybe it’s just me, but I think a planned Bishop placement on d3 warrants a queen on e2 more than a queen on d2. For example, 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Qe2 c5!? 10. O-O-O cxd4 11. h4!? with ultra sharp play (eventually drawn) in Sutovsky-Ivanchuk, Moscow 2002. Both this plan and the text have been seen in dozens of games, of course.

8…O-O 9.O-O-O Be7 10.Bd3 b6 11.Kb1 The primitive 11. h4 turned out to be too slow in Suetin-Bareev, Hastings 1991, and black won after 11…Bb7 12 Kb1 Nf6. To give a counter-example, White won after 11. h4 Bb7 12. c3!? Nf6 13. Neg5 Bxf3 14. gxf3, but this position is equal after 14…Qd5. Black played 14…Kh8?! and lost in Topalov-Dreev, Linares 1995. The text move, on the other hand, also doesn’t promise much – only 3 draws in Chessbase’s BigBase. A more dangerous try is 11. Neg5!? which hopes for 11…h6? — after 11. Neg5 h6?, white scored +4 =0 -0 in ChessBase!

Position after 11. Neg5!? (Analysis). Black has to be careful.

But there’s a curiosity here: in Volokitin-P.H. Nielsen, Germany 2004, the game went 11. Neg5 h6 12. Bh7+ Kh8 13. Be4 which at first glance looks good for white. However, upon reflection doesn’t it look like black missed 13…hxg5 14. Bxa8 g4! and the threat of Be7-g5 wins material? We will come back to this. In the game, black played 13…Bxg5 14. Nxg5 Rb8 and lost. However, he was doing OK after 15. Nf3 Nf6 16. Bc6 Qd6 17. Ne5 Ng4! 18. Nxg4 Qc6 – he only lost due to later middlegame miscues. The truth about 13…hxg5? is revealed in another example, J. Polgar – F. Berkes, Budapest 2003, white introduced an incredible gambit: 12. Bh7+ Kh8 13. Be4 hxg5? 14. g4!! (not the greedy 14. Bxa8?) and now black faces complex problems. White stops black from playing g5-g4 and prepares to open the h-file. In the game, black lost after 14…Rb8 15. h4 g6 16. hxg5+ Kg7 17. Qf4 and white crashed through. The question is, can black live after 14. g4? Let’s take a look. First of all, 14….Ba6 15. h4! gxh4 16. g5! is crushing. For example, 16…Kg8 17. Rxh4 f5 (What else?) 18. Bc6 Rc8 19. Rdh1 Kf7 20. d5! and wins. Let’s go back to Berkes’s choice, 14…Rb8. 15. h4 and first we see that 15…gxh4? is bad: 16. g5 g6 17. Rxh4+ Kg7 18. Rdh1 Rg8 19. Rh7+ Kf8 20. Qf4! and wins.

So we go to Berkes choice, 15…g6 16. hxg5+ Kg7 17. Qf4. This is critical. We first notice that 17…Ba6 is crushed by a typical Judit Polgar brute-force tactic 18. Rh7+!! Kxh7 19. Qh2+ Kg8 20. Rh1 Bxg5+ 21. Nxg5 Qxg5+ 22. f4! and wins. We also notice that Berkes’s choice, 17…Bb7?, was crushed by the same tactic.

what about 17…Rh8!? – trying to defend on the h-file. There follows 18. Rxh8 Qxh8 (forced) 19. Ne5! and now black cannot take: 19…Nxe5? 20. Qxe5+ Kg8 21. Qxc7 Bxg5+ 22. Kb1 and the rook on b8 is trapped; white wins. And after 19…Qe8 20. Rh1! the lethal threat of 21. Nxf7! is introduced. Black still cannot take on e5 and hence is lost.

Going back to the beginning, 11. Neg5!? is best met by 11…Bxg5! and now 12. Qxg5 Qxg5+ 13. Nxg5 Nf6 is dead equal. Or, 12. Nxg5 Nf6 and black is OK and even won in B. Lopez-Kraai, San Diego 2004. That game continued 13. Qf4 Bb7 14. Rhe1 Qd6!? and here white disdained an equal ending after 15. Qxd6, opting for 15. Qh4 h6 16. Nf3 (16. Ne4! equal) Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nd5 18. Re4, eventually getting into trouble with the weak d4 pawn. White tried 13. h4!? in Sax-Dizdar, Celje 2003, and black reacted suspiciously with 13…c5?! 14. dxc5 Qd5 15. Kb1? Qxc5 equal. But white missed 15. Qf4!! Qxa2 16. Nxh7! Nxh7 17. Qe4 Nf6 18. Qxa8 Qa1+ 19. Kd2 Qxb2 20. Qxa7 and white keeps a small plus. Stronger is 13. h4 Bb7! and black is fine.

11…Bb7 12.Qf4 c5 In Sindik-Dizdar, Pula 1993, black introduced an idea similar to the game a little earlier: 12…Qb8!? 13. Qg3 c5! with good play. White can improve with 13. Ne5! c5 14. Bb5! Nf6 with sharp play after 15. Nxf6+ Bxf6 16. Rhe1 and now the Korchnoi pawn grab 16…Bxg2!?

13.dxc5 Qb8! Gambits in opposite-castled king positions are effective even in the ending! This is particularly true in the “perpetual time pressure” time control of G/90+30 sec. This motif, although it has been seen before, is ingenious and disconcerting for white. There is no more attack and white has to switch gears (notoriously difficult) to a defensive up-a-pawn but under pressure mode.

Position after 13….Qb8! – A gambit to reach an ending!

14.Qxb8 Raxb8 15.cxb6 Nxb6 16.b3? Correct is the solid but not particularly easy to find 16. Ned2! and then a defensive hunkering down. This would not create the glaring c3 weakness in the game. White would then have enough counter-chances.

16…Na4! Very unpleasant to meet in this time control. White probably overlooked this. The c3 square is now home for black’s knight.

17.Rde1 Bxe4 18.Bxe4 Nc3+ 19.Kb2 Bf6 This position is terrible for white.

20.Bd3 Ne4 21.Kb1 Nxf2 22.Rhf1 Nxd3 23.cxd3 Rfd8 24.Re3 a5 25.Ne5 Rd5? Correct is 25…Bxe5 26. Rxe5 a4! and black is on top. For example, 27. Kc2 axb3+ 28. axb3 Ra8 29. Kc3 Ra2 with a huge initiative.

26.Nc6 Rb7 27.Rg3 Kf8 28.Rf4! White is doing the right things now to get back in the game.

28...Be5 29.Nxe5 Rxe5 30.Rc4 f5 31.Rf3? 31. Kc1!

31…Ke7 31…Re2! is strong. 32.Rf2 Rd7 33.Kc2 Red5 34.Rf3 Kf6 35.Kc3 g5 36.d4? 36. h4! to reduce the number of pawns.

36…f4 37.a3 Kf5 Now black is gaining control again with his monstrously active king.

38.Rc5? White had to wait with 38. Rf2. The pseudo-active text is crushed.

38…g4 39.Rf1 e5! White probably underestimated this.

40.Rxd5 Rxd5 41.dxe5 Rxe5 42.Kd2 h5 43.b4 axb4 44.axb4 h4 45.Rb1 f3 46.gxf3 gxf3 47.b5 Kg4! The key move. White is lost.

48.b6 f2 49.b7 Re8 50.Rb4+ Kh3 51.Rb3 Kg2 52.b8Q Rxb8 53.Rxb8 f1Q 54.Re8 0-1

In more Round 4 action:

GM John Fedorowicz – FM Michael Langer Modern Benoni

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.Nd2 Nbd7 8.e4 Bg7 9.Be2 O-O 10.O-O Re8 11.a4 Ne5 12.Qc2 g5 13.Ra3 Fischer defeated the lame 13. Nf3?! Nxf3+ 14. Bxf3 h6 in Gligoric-Fischer, Palma de Mallorca 1970 Interzonal. White has equality here but Gligoric soon made a fatal tactical miscue. The text move is an idea of Petrosian’s; but will it “work” along the 3rd rank or get stuck?

Position after 13. Ra3. How useful will this rook be?

13…g4 14.Nd1 Ng6!? The very interesting 14…Nh5!? was seen in Antunac-Y. Gruenfeld, New York 1981, and black managed to win eventually. The game proceeded 15. Ne3 Nf4 16. Bd1 and black was very active. If 15. Re1 Nf4 16. Bf1 Neg6 and black is also OK and drew in 23 moves, Karolyi-Poloch, Leipzip 1984. The most active move, 15. f4!?, might be good for white but prior games misplayed both sides: 15…gxf3 16. Nxf3 Ng6?! 17. Ng5? (17. Bg5! with edge) and drawn eventually, Koualty-Renet Marseille 1988. Or 16…Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 (17. Raxf3 is a white edge) 17…Be5?? 18. g3?? and white even lost in 40 moves, Nowak-Pokojowczyk Zielona Gora 1982. Black’s 17th move was complete bluff and white could win with the very nice 18. Bxh5 Qh4 19. Rg3+! (Ouch!) 19…Bxg3 20. Bxf7+ Kg7 21. hxg3 Qxe4 22. Bh6+!! Kxh6 23. Qc1+! Kg7 24. Qg5+ and now black must lose his queen with the sad 24…Qg6 – so it’s resignable.

Tentative Conclusion: 15. f4! is the best move after 14…Nh5!?

The natural move 14…Bd7!? is also very interesting. White gets in trouble after the lemon 15. Bb5? Bxb5 16. axb5 Qb6!. No edge for white is to be seen in this position. After the text move, black has enough counter-chances as well.


Position after 15. Ne3.

15…Qe7?! 15…Nf4! is a good choice. Witness the nifty defusing tactic: 16. Bb5 Bd7! 17. Bxd7 (apparently gaining the monster square f5 for the knight) 17…Ne2+!! 18. Kh1 Qxd7 19. Nf5 Nd4! with equality. A very nice defensive motif. There is also 16. Bc4 and here is a crazy repetition draw line: 16. Bc4 Bd7 17. f3!? gxf3 18. Rxf3 Bh6 19. Kh1 Bg5 20. Rg3 N6h5 21. Rf3 Nf6 22. Rg3. Unforced, but you get the idea. Putting the queen opposite the white rook (soon to arrive on e1) will have nasty consequences in the game.

16.Bb5 Rd8 17.a5 Not much is accomplished by 17. f4 gxf3 18. Rxf3 a6 19. Bd3 Ne5 with equality.

17…Nf4 17…a6 is possible. If 18. Ba4 Nf4 19. Re1 with a small white edge.

18.Re1 h5 19.Qd1 h4? Again, the careful 19….a6 is good to include. For example, 20. Bf1 Re8 and all is well. More dangerous is 20. Ba4! Rb8 21. Bc2! with a latent attack in the works. The impulsive text is an example of going overboard in a Modern Benoni. Just because the opening is an active choice does not mean every single move has to be maximally active even at the cost of weakening.

20.Nf5! The punishment. Black’s king is too weak now.

20…Bxf5 21.exf5 Qf8 22.Ne4 N4xd5 23.Bg5 Note that 23. a6! is crushing.

23…Nxe4 24.Rxe4 Nf6 25.Bxf6 25. Re1 with the idea of Bxh4 would win easily also.

25…Bxf6 26.Rxg4+ Kh7 27.Qd5 Black is paralyzed.

27…Qe7 28.Re3 Qc7 29.Rxh4+ 29. Qe4 with the idea of 30. Rxh4+ was total butchery. The text also wins quickly.

29…Bxh4 30.f6 Kg6 31.Re7? 31. Bd3+ is a fast forced mate. 31…Kxf6 32. Qf5+ Kg7 33. Qh7+ Kf6 34. Qh6 mate. Accuracy is often a victim at this crazy time control (or maybe white was playing on black’s clock). Of course, the text wins easily as well.

31…Qxe7 32.fxe7 Bxe7 33.Bc4 Rf8 34.Qe4 Kf6 35.Qh4 Ke5 36.Qxe7 Kd4 37.Bf1 1-0

Let’s move on to a real barn burner between two strong Grandmasters.

Round 5. GM Goldin – GM Yermolinsky Slav Defense

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4 7.f3 Bg6 8.Qb3 Qc7

Position after 8…Qc7. To 9. g4 or not to 9. g4.

9.Bd2 GM Vadim Milov, a connoisseur of opening theory, played 9. g4!? here and won after 9…Be7 10. g5!? Nfd7 (10…dxc4!) 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. f4 f6? (12…dxc4!) 13. Bd2 with a big edge; Milov-Rogozenko, Istanbul 2000. If black had played the correct dxc4! on either move 10 or move 12, he would have had equal chances. Goldin’s natural move has also been seen.

9…Be7 10.Nxg6 Karpov got nowhere with 10. g3 Bh5! and drawn in 31 moves, Karpov-Bacrot Cannes 2000. 10. cxd5!? looks stronger. After 10…cxd5 11. Nxg6 hxg6 12. Bd3 Nc6 13. O-O-O, black missed the mirror move 13…O-O-O! and lapsed with 13…a6, going on to lose in Malakhov-Volkov, Sochi 2004.


Position after 10…hxg6. A very critical moment. To cackle or not to cackle?

11.Rc1 This is an important moment. Van Wely was successful twice (vs. Volkov and Sokolov) with 11. O-O-O! here. For example, 11. O-O-O Nbd7 12. cxd5! Nxd5 13. Kb1 Nxc3+ 14. Bxc3 and white is clearly better (Van Wely-Sokolov, Amsterdam 2002, and 1-0, 55 moves. Or, 11. O-O-O a6 12. Kb1 dxc4 13. Bxc4 b5 14. Bd3 Rxh2 and here, 15. Ne4! is strong with white advantage (15. g4?! was played, but white won a long game anyway, Van Wely-Volkov, Panormo 2002, 1-0, 79). After 11. O-O-O, 11…dxc4!? looks critical. 12. Bxc4 b5 13. Be2!? a6 14. Kb1?! was Tregubov-Bareev, and black won a tough struggle, 0-1 40 moves, Venacu 2006. It’s easy to find improvements for white. First of all, in the game, 14. e4! is strong (14…Rxh2? 15. e5! with a big edge). Secondly, the more active 13. Bd3!? (with Nc3-e4 ideas) is a tricky try one move earlier. Black’s position is very dangerous after 13…Rxh2 14. Qc2!. Conclusion: 11. O-O-O! is strong!

11…Nbd7 12.cxd5 exd5 12…Nxd5! is fine for black. For example, 13. e4 Nxc3 14. bxc3 Bh4+! (the point!) and black is happy.

13.e4 13. g3 Bd6 got white nowhere in Chiburdanidze-Zhukova, Istanbul 2000, and drawn in 16 moves.

13…dxe4 14.fxe4 Rxh2 14….Rd8! is perfectly good for black. The text is OK too but chances are still balanced. We are now out of book and it’s …. about even.

15.Rxh2 Qxh2 16.Qxb7 The computer move 16. e5 is playable. One humorous line is 16…Nxe5!? 17. dxe5 Qxe5+ 18. Kd1 Rd8 19. Qxb7?? Qf4! and wins.

16…Rb8 17.Qxc6 Rxb2 18.Nb5 Qh4+ 19.Kd1 Qf2

Position after 19…Qf2. White falls on his own Claymore.

20.Qa8+?? A horrific blunder that loses on the spot. 20. Qc8+! is drawn. For example, 20…Bd8 21. Be2 Qg1+ 22. Be1 Qe3 (or 22…Nxe4 23. Nc7+ Ke7 24. Nd5+ with a perpetual check) 23. Rc2! (guarded by the queen!) Rb1+ 24. Rc1 Rb2 25. Rc2 with a repetition. White must have missed something very simple.

20…Bd8 21.Be2 Qg1 22.Be1 Qxg2 Oops. There is no 23. Rc2 defense because the white queen is on a8, not c8. So white could already resign.

23.Bd2 Qg1 24.Be1 Qe3 25.Rc8 25. Nc7+ Ke7 is just a spite check.

25…Qxe2+ 26.Kc1 White has seen enough and resigns before black can play 26…Rxb5. An unusual collapse on Goldin’s part.


Here’s an important last round game – the winner qualified for the US Championship (to be held also in Tulsa). Once again the Gruenfeld triumphed.

IM Salvijus Bercys – GM John Fedorowicz Round 7, Gruenfeld Defense

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Be3 Qa5 For 8…cxd4, see Yermolinsky-Movsisyan discussed above.

9.Qd2 O-O 10.Rc1 The most popular, but 10. Rb1 is a major alternative. Statistically, 10. Rb1 scores a little better.

10…Rd8 11.d5 e6 12.c4 Qxd2 13.Nxd2 b6 14.Be2 Na6 15.O-O GM Khenkin is a proponent of the weird 15. Nb1!?. After 15. Nb1 f5 16. f3 fxe4 17. fxe4 Bb2 18. Rd1 exd5 19. cxd5 Re8 the chances were balanced and the game was drawn in 24 moves, Khenkin-Gutman Bad Wiessee 2002.

15…Nb4 Still the mainline, we are following 18 games in ChessBase. Nevertheless, the position appears to promise zero for white so it’s a mystery why it has occurred so often.

16.a3 Na2 Black’s knight wanderings are actually very logical. White has proven nothing in practice starting from this point.

Position after 16…Na2. White has nothing.

17.Rc2 Nc3 18.Bd3 White plays a slightly less common move now. The most common move is the awkward looking 18. Bf3. However, black won after 18. Bf3 exd5 19. cxd5?? (19. exd5! Bf5 20. Rcc1 equal) 19…Ba6 20. Rfc1 Ne2+ 21. Bxe2 Bxe2 22. f3 Bd3 with an obvious advantage, R. Stone – Ilya Gurevich, Chicago 1992.

18…Ba6 19.Bg5 Some white players have preferred 19. Nb1? here, but it’s just a blunder after 19…exd5 20. Nxc3 d4 with a big black edge after 21. Nd5 dxe3 22. fxe3 Be5.

Position after 19. Bg5. Time for a surprise!

19…exd5!? TN I have not been able to locate this move, hence I am labeling it a Theoretical Novelty (TN). Previously seen was 19…Rd7!? and black has quite a good game. For example, 19…Rd7 20. Rfc1 h6 21. Bf4 exd5 22. Rxc3 Bxc3 23. Rxc3 g5 24. Bg3 dxc4 25. Nxc4 Rd4 26. Bf1 Rad8 27. f4?? Rxe4 and black went on to win, Tunik – Timofeev, St. Petersburg 2002. 27. f3! of course was correct with an equal game. The conclusion is that the entire line is harmless. White has to seek improvements earlier.

At this point, according to Monroi, black had spent 1 minute and 30 seconds executing all these moves! The sacrifice is made even more attractive by the fact black is not risking anything. His position is very solid after white grabs the exchange with the bishop pair and an extra pawn.

20.Bxd8 White, surprised, took 8 minutes on this and now had 1:02 remaining.

20…Rxd8 21.exd5 Nxd5 22.Re1 Nf4 23.Bf1? Passive. White only spent one minute on this clunker. 23. Be4! is clearly stronger. White is in no danger after 23…Ne6 24. Nf3 Bf6 25. g3. Or, 23…Nd3? 24. Bxd3 Rxd3 25. Re8+ and white is too active.

23…Ne6 24.Nb3 Weird. 24. Nf3 is more natural.

24…Bb7 25.a4?! White’s moves are all connected to a poor plan of queenside action. He could have still bailed out with 25. Rd2 and a likely draw.

25…a5 26.Ra2 Bc3 27.Rc1 Bb4 28.f3?! 28. Be2, guarding d1 and contemplating Rd1, looks better.

28…Bc6 29.Kf2 Kg7 30.Be2 Nd4 31.Nxd4 cxd4 32.Bd3 Re8 33.Be4? This move, losing a key pawn, is too cavalier and should just lose. Most players would just wait. However, black reacts inaccurately to give white one more chance on move 40.

33…Bxe4 34.fxe4 Rxe4 35.Rd1 Bc5 36.Rd3 f5 37.Re2 Kf6?! The clever 37….g5! is stronger here to rule out the white possibility mentioned in the note to white’s 40th move.

38.h3 h5?! And here, black had 38…Rf4+ and a later …g5, or 38…g5 right away. The idea is to take away h3-h4 for white.

39.Kf3 Ke5

Position after 39…Ke5. Last Chance.

40.Rd1? The last chance to resist was 40. h4! to hold black up on the kingside. White might even be able to hold the position with careful play; it’s up to black to demonstrate progress.

40…g5! Now it’s really all over. The rest is torture.

41.Rd3 Bb4 42.Rd1 Bc5 43.Rd3 g4+ 44.Kf2 h4 45.Kf1 Bb4 46.Rd1 Rxe2?! The simplest is 46… gxh3 47. gxh3 f4 with total domination.

47.Kxe2 Ke4 48.Rf1? Very bad. White has to try to hold the 3rd rank with 48. Rd3 and make black demonstrate a plan.

48…d3+ 49.Kd1 gxh3 50.gxh3 f4 51.Rg1 f3 52.Rg6 f2 53.Rf6 Bc5 White is paralyzed and gives up.


Sweet Validation

October 17, 2007

Living Chess History Lives!

I am very pleased that people are starting to chip in with their own memories, recollections, anecdotes, games, what have you – to fill out my “near-term” historical outlines.  The process is working and almost snowballing and I must say the wordpress blog format is ideal for this fill-in-the-blanks exercise that spans time and space.  The nice thing about chess history is that it includes gamescores, good and bad moves, memorable situations, as well as personalities, photos, interesting places, …. all very historical!  We are at an interesting cusp here – the pre-Chessbase (computer? what the heck is that?) and the post-Chessbase (computer-heavy) days.  Many of the games you’ll see here are pre-Chessbase (but by all means, add them to your database!).  Since there are some big names, such as GM Larsen, GM Dzindzihashvili, etc., no doubt many game hunters will indeed want to increase their electronic storehouse.

The Notion of Game Replay

I received a request from Mr. Friedel at ChessBase to have all the games at this site replayable via a Javascript widget, the type you might see in a generic ChessBase output file or US Chess Online.  I am working on it, but wordpress has certain constraints (it strips out 3rd party iFrames).  For now, I will just use a mixture of text and well-placed diagrams as you might see in a book.

Special thanks to early respondents

Ian Findlay, Jeremy Barth, Jon Jacobs, Bruce Leverett, Lonnie Kwartler, John Fedorowicz, Barry Popik, Joe LuxBen Finegold, Elizabeth Vicary, Gregory Kaidanov, Ken Regan, and a few anonymous New Englanders.

All I can say is, keep the memories coming.

-MG 10/18/07

Fabulous 90s: More Photos

October 5, 2007

Let’s start off with young Jorge Zamora (now Sammour-Hasbun). I believe this was Needham, MA 1992 – I am in the foreground playing Jorge a skittles game – photograph by Chris Bernstein.


Moving right along, here are two Ivanovs. Alexander Ivanov and the dearly departed Igor Ivanov – I would guess it’s the World Open in some year in the 1990s. Of course it might be the 1980s. 🙂


And now we have GM Jaan Ehlvest with a sharp plaid jacket! Photo by Bill Hook. The site and year are unknown as of this writing.


And now we have a photo with an official caption (bestowed by the photographer, Chris Bernstein): “The Mystical Hertan.” Photo year: 1992.


I believe this photo was probably taken at the Needham, MA tournament. Yes, it’s FM Charlie Hertan! He recently wrote an article in Chess Life magazine about the mysteriously disappeared and presumed dead junior talent Peter Winston. I might “retaliate” someday with a memorial to the known deceased Billy Adam (a junior talent from Syracuse, NY). Billy’s incredibly short, meteoric life was from 1963 to only 1982. He spent his last years in Stony Brook, NY. As a sidenote, I must confess for many years I thought Charlie was an IM. I was *shocked* to see his title as FM in Chess Life.

Boxing News

News update: John Fedorowicz boxed Billy Adam on W 74th Street without training helmets in 1981. John Fedorowicz boxed me a few years later on W 170th Street (with red training helmets).

News postscript: apparently in 1981, Billy Adam’s practice boxing with John Fedorowicz almost turned into a fistfight because I forgot to say “ding” (the end of the round). According to John on Oct 5, 2007, “it became a fistfight when Bill punched me in the month.” He continues, “I ended the fight with a brutal uppercut… you (this author) were laughing.” Good times. 🙂 He adds, “One of your girlfriends uppercut me as well.” I asked who, and he said “Sue”. Ah yes, my Princeton buddy! Sue Kazmaier!!! John adds, “she snapped my head back into a brick wall.” I remember our apartment on W 74 Street and we did have a brick wall, so it’s all coming back!

More Photos

OK moving on. we have the dearly departed IM Victor Frias, photographed March 1994 eating breakfast. Photographer and site unknown as of this writing.


Victor Frias was the referee in the aforementioned Fed-MG boxing match, Washington Heights, Mid 1980s. I will dig up a photo of that classic event.

For something completely different now I present an award I got in 1991 (during my graduation from NYU with an MBA in Stat/Operation Research) from Dr. W. Edwards Deming – considered a Very Important Person in quality control and, as I understand it, revered by the Japanese.  To wit: “The Deming prize was instituted by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers and is awarded each year in Japan to a statistician for contributions to statistical theory.  The Deming prize for application is awarded to a company for improved use of statistical theory in organization, consumer research, design of product and production. “

Dr. Deming was 90 years old when I got the award in May of 1991!   The typo in my handwritten last name did not bother me. 

Dr. Deming passed away a few years after (20 December 1993) I received this accolate. 


An award from Dr. W. Edwards Deming, NYU, 1991.

The Fabulous 1990s – Photos

July 29, 2007

Some photos from the fabulous 1990s. You can click on the thumbnails to see enlargements.

At the very beginning of the decade, In late December 1989 (I have to move this photo!) I found myself in Brugges, Belgium tangling with fellow American Ben Finegold in the last round a late round of a FIDE round-robin (see Comments – thanks to Ben for the corrections).


Ben, on the left, is emulating David Bronstein who was famous for tanking before move 1. I seem to be fumbling with a scoresheet in my lap. Note the cute little USA flags the Belgians gave us. This game happened to end in a relatively quick draw due to some trickery I perpetrated in a Modern Defense. The tournament concluded MG 1st, 6.5/9, BF 2nd, 6/9. BF won his last game vs Danish IM Ole Jakobsen. I coasted to victory after some lucky wins, for example versus future GM Michele Godena (ITA). I will post that game score when I find it.

In 1991, I played in a round robin tournament in Trinidad (a small island near Venezuela) with Ilya Gurevich, John Fedorowicz, and a flock of four Cubans such as IM Armas, IM Sariego, and two others (will recover the crosstable and post), Barbadian FM Kevin Denny, Jamaicans, what have you.


That’s Ilya Gurevich on the left doing some kung-fu on the Trinidadian pier with the author. Venezuela is barely visible on the horizon. GM Fedorowicz wound up winning the event and inflicted my only defeat.

Jumping ahead to later in 1991, we have future GM Alex Sherzer studying a Chess Chow magazine. Chess Chow, (GM Joel Benjamin, Chief Editor; I was the Technical Editor) was an enjoyable project that lasted from 1991-4.


One more from May 1991: John Fedorowicz (left) expresses his appreciation for Ilya Gurevich’s enterprising chess style. Location and photographer unknown.


Going ahead a few more years, here’s an action photo just before the start of the Dos Hermanas 1993 round. GM Leonid Yudasin puts on an aggressive “game face” to prepare for strong GM Alexander Khalifman.


It worked, the Krazy Eye Killah expression helped Yudasin win the 80 move long titanic game! If you were wondering, in other action from that round, Magem lost to J Polgar in 45 moves in a classical Scheveningen and Izeta drew Adams in 45 moves in a King’s Indian Defense.

Time for the current World Champion. Here’s future-WC GM Vladimir Kramnik in a light-hearted celebratory mood, early 1990s, I believe New York City PCA.


Here is a picture from 1994, the US Amateur Team in Parsippany, NJ.


That’s my team in action. According to this history web page, our team was the “Jimi Hendrix Exp” (actually we were the Jimi Kendrex Experience, note the rip-roaring pun, ha ha ha).

We have first board on the left, playing the white pieces, GM Ilya Gurevich. I don’t know the name of Ilya’s opponent, maybe a reader can help me out here. Next we have board 2, the late, great, bearded IM Victor Frias. Next to Victor there I sit on board 3, and on board 4 we have one of the Kendrex (either Chris or Steven, somebody help me out here). I believe Sophia Rohde helped us locate this miracle set of lowly-rated brothers. As so often happens, in some round one of them “woke up” and scored a match-clinching point!

Our top heavy team: The Last of the Mohicans

After we won this event, a special motion was passed to ban all top-heavy teams (teams with 3 titled players and one 1000-player). These team types were deemed rather anti-competitive. Oh well.

The Sordid Tale of our Forfeit in the USATE playoff

In the inter-regional playoff that ensued, Frias was over an hour late to the match that took place at the Marshall CC. Despite John MacArthur’s best efforts to delay the frenzied efforts of the huge underdog lowly-rated Southern team paired against us to start the match, eventually the clocks did have to start. In bursts Frias and in a whirlwind, he bashes out a bunch of moves (note: he never explained why he was 75 minutes late). After about 10 moves, the Southern team claims a retroactive forfeit back to the point the game started! General chaos erupts, and we “choose” to discontinue the match on all four boards, earning an official reprimand from the USCF! Yes!

Let’s move ahead to some vague year in the 1990s and voila, GM Patrick Wolff pondering his opponent’s incredibly lame opening moves.


Nice T-shirt! It turns out this is Needham 1992 also; and the passive player with White was NM Larry Tapper who wound up making a draw in this game. Reader power!

Let’s move ahead 2 or 3 years. Here is Elizabeth Vicary (in the back) and her sister Rachel on a sofa at Opaline, a bar in the East Village. The photographer: Yours Truly. The Year: Approx 1996 or 1997.


Now we have a classic scene from a New England tournament, Needham 1992 (thank you, Granny, for the correction). I think it’s circa 1996 or 1997. In the foreground (left) we have GM Joel Benjamin vs GM Alex Yermolinsky. I believe Alex won that game. To Joel’s left we have IM Igor Foygel (I think) playing the inimitable, the one and only, Mr Donkey also known as FM Charlie Hertan! Mr. Donkey is a hallowed name in chess that will be mentioned repeatedly in these historical passages. The other players in this photograph are unknown to me. and I will need readers’ help to pin down the date, the location, and their names.


Jumping ahead to the end of the decade, here is the author with a verboten Cuban cigar during New Year’s Eve 1999 at Schroder’s German Restaurant in downtown San Francisco, California. This tie is one of my favorites, featuring little goblins and other oddities based on an


Escher woodcut.

As far as I know Schroders is still there. Photo by Paige Stockley.

If you liked these, try the 1980s photos or leap ahead to the 2000s photos.

1980s Photos

July 28, 2007

Some Photos.

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 commentcurrent 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.

As is usual, if anyone has the game score of this encounter (for completeness), that would be appreciated – send it in.

Deen Hergott (left) vs Joel Benjamin, World Open (?), 198x (?) 

Do you feel like jumping ahead a decade? Here are the 1990s photos.