Archive for the ‘Michael Wilder’ 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 80s: Washington Heights, NYC and Belgium and a tiny little bit of WO

October 11, 2007

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.


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??


I don’t remember how the actual game went.


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.


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!


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


I include it mostly for the historical hairstyle.

The Classic 80s Part 6: Naestved Open 1988

August 8, 2007

The tournament in the tiny town of Naestved, Denmark 1988 was a lot of fun. It was near the beach at Karresboekminde (OK, this beach in the North Sea was brrrr cold!!) and had a lot of good players such as Ljubomir Ljubojevic, Bent Larsen, Gyula Sax, Lars Bo Hansen, and others. Here is a strange tussle from that event I played versus a Romanian IM.

IM Julius Armas (2465, ROM) vs IM Mark Ginsburg (2415, USA)
Naestved Open, 1988

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 b5 8. f3 Be7 9. g4

White tries the English Attack about half a decade before it became popular.


9… O-O 10. O-O-O Bd7 11. g5 Ne8 12. h4 Nc6 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. h5 Nc7 Black’s construction is a little weird but GM Vlastimil Hort had played something like this in similar positions and I wanted to avoid black …h7-h6, giving white a clear target on the kingside.

15. Bd3 d5 16. g6 d4 17. h6 Maximum Action!


17… fxg6 18. hxg7 Rxf3 19. Qh2 h5!

Black finds all the right defensive moves and gradually beats off the short-lived white attack.

20. Bxd4 Qxd4 21. Be2 Qe3+ 22. Kb1 Rf4 23. Rdg1 Be8 24. Nd1 Qd2 25. Qg3 Qd6 26. Nf2


26… Rxf2 This surprising move has the effect of simplifying the game and preventing any nasty surprises in slight time pressure.

27. Qxf2 Qe5 28. Rf1 Kxg7 29. Bxh5 Bf6 30. c3 gxh5 31. Qg2+ Bg6 The two bishops form a very effective defensive barrier.

32. Rhg1 Bg5 33. Qxg5 Qxg5 34. Rxg5 Kh6


35. Rc5 Bxe4+ 36. Kc1 Nd5 Now black is technically winning, but still the winning process takes work.

37. Rc6 Re8 38. Rxa6 h4 39. Re1 Nf6 40. a4 h3 41. Re2 Bg2 42. Rexe6 Rxe6 43. Rxe6 h2


44. Re1 Ne4 45. axb5 Ng3 46. b6 Ne2+ 47. Kd2 Ng1! White could have resigned here. The rest is smooth sailing.

48. Re8 Kg7 49. Re7+ Kg6 50. b7 Bxb7 51. Rxb7 h1=Q 52. Rb4 Nf3+ 53. Kc2 Kf5 54. Kb3 Qd1+ 55. Ka2 Nd2 0-1

Here’s another tough struggle versus future GM L.B. Hansen, a very solid player.
Mark Ginsburg vs Lars Bo Hansen (DEN)
Naestved Open, 1988

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. Nf3 e6 4. e3 Be7 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd3 Nc6 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Bf6?! I don’t trust this variation for black; it looks too passive.

11. Be4 Nce7 12. Ne5 g6 White has to play very concretely now to compensate for his isolated queen pawn.


13. Bh6 Bg7 14. Qd2(!) Nf6 15. Bc2 b6 16. Rad1 Bb7 17. Bb3 Ned5 18. Bg5 A small change of mind but white retains some initiative.

18…Nxc3 19. bxc3


19… Qc8 20. Qd3 Qc7 21. c4 Nd7 22. Nxd7 Qxd7 23. Qh3 b5! A well-timed bid for counterplay.

24. d5! This aggressive counter looks very good at first sight, but black can defend adequately.

24…bxc4 25. dxe6


25… Qb5! 26. Be7 cxb3 27. Bxf8 Rxf8 28. e7 Re8 29. Rd8! Brief fireworks have broken out, but equilibrium is quickly reached.



29… bxa2 30. Qb3! It is kind of cool to be able to hang one’s queen on purpose, but after black’s next white has nothing better than to steer for the draw.

30…Bc6! 31. Rxe8+ Bxe8 32. Qxb5 Bxb5 33. e8=Q+ Bxe8 34. Rxe8+ Bf8 35. Re1 Bg7 And it’s a draw by repetition. A very interesting game! I had the distinct sense I was playing a Danish version of solid American GM Yasser Seirawan.


And here is a third game from the event versus Swedish wildman, future GM Johnny Hector.
Johnny Hector vs Mark Ginsburg
Naestved Open, 1988

Sicilian Defense, Taimonov Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Qc7 The move 6…Bb4 here is very risky due to 7. e5!

7. Be2 Nc6 8. O-O Bd6!? 9. Kh1 A well known opening position in which both sides have their chances. 10. h3 Bh2+ 11. Kh1 Be5 wouldn’t cause black many problems.


9… Bf4?! Correct was 9…Nxd4 10. Qxd4 O-O.

10. c5! A strong move, going for a black square bind.

10…O-O 11. Nc2?! 10. Nf3 was much stronger.

11…Bxc1 12. Rxc1 b6 13. cxb6 Qxb6 14. f4 Qxb2? Much safer was 14…d5 with a small disadvantage. The grubby text is looking dubious for black.

15. Rf3?! An inaccuracy in return. 15. Qd3! was correct with a gigantic plus.

15…Qb8 15…Ng4!? was possible.

16. e5 Ng4? 16…Ne8 was circumspect and better.


17. Ne4 Ncxe5!? I could not resist this speculative piece sac. However, it’s asking too much from the position and the modest 17…Bb7 was better. The point would be if 18. Nd6, black has the surprising shot 18…Nb4!! hitting the rook on f3 and simplifying close to equality.

18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. Rg3 Bb7 20. Bxg4 Bxe4 21. Qd4 21. Bf3! was stronger.

21…Qxd4 22. Nxd4 f5! For the first time since 14…Qxb2?, black has a completely OK game.

23. Be2 e5


24. Nb3 d5 Is this a formidable pawn wedge or not? Exactly five years earlier, I got a winning and really pleasing pawn wedge vs Patrick Wolff (NY Open 1983) but here, it was not to be. But, believe it or not, black might even have a small edge here.

25. Kg1 a5? A very bad waste of time. 25…Rfc8! was correct to get rid of a pair of rooks. For example, 25…Rfc8 26. Rxc8+ Rxc8 27. Bxa6 Rc2! and black’s high level of activity saves the game. This easy line should not have been missed.

26. a4 f4 27. Rgc3 h6? Another bad move. Correct was a more constructive waiting move like 27…Kf7 28. Rc7+ Kg6 with only some disadvantage.

28. Bd3?! Here, 28. Rc5 was stronger.

28…Rfb8? Another poor selection. 28…Bxd3 was necessary; 29. Rxd3 Rfd8 and black has decent chances to hold.

29. Bb5! Of course. Now white has a monumental bind and black fades into oblivion. A very poorly played middlegame.

29…Kh7 30. Rc7 Rb6 31. Nd2 Bg6 32. Rd7


It is becoming painfully clear that black’s pawns are held up and the white monster on b5 rules the roost. The rest is agony for black.

32… e4 33. Rxd5 Rf8 34. Rd7 Bf5 35. Rd4 e3 36. Nc4 Rg6 37. Rxf4 Bh3 38. Rxf8 Rxg2+ 39. Kh1 e2 40. Ne3 1-0


Drat!!! Ugh. Poop.


The readers should see a very interesting encounter between future GM and future US Champ Mike Wilder and venerable Danish GM and former Candidate, Bent Larsen.

Michael Wilder – Bent Larsen

Naestved 1988

Sicilian Defense, Maroczy Bind


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. c4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 Ng4 A variation that is very passive and has gone totally out of favor in modern chess.

8. Qxg4 Nxd4 9. Qd1 Ne6 The positionally hideous 9…e5?! is at least a fighting choice.

10. Rc1 d6 11. Bd3 a5 This looks slow. I would prefer 11…O-O immediately.  Compare this to a similar bad position black got in Ginsburg-Wozney covered in my US Open 1976 installment.

12. O-O O-O 13. Bb1 Bd7 14. Qe2 Bc6 14….Rc8 deserves attention.

15. Rfd1 b6 16. f4 Qb8 17. Nd5 Ra7 18. f5 Nc5 19. Bg5 Here, 19. Qf2 is also good. The position is totally bad for black and white, making simple moves, is on the verge of winning.

19…Re8 20. Qf2 Bxd5 21. exd5 b5 22. Rf1 22. b3 maintains a crushing position. The text should also win.

22…bxc4 23. fxg6 fxg6 24. Bxg6! Rf8 25. Bf7+ Kh8 26. Qh4 Qxb2 27. Rxc4 Nd3 So far, so good, White is on the verge of upsetting the famous GM. Many strong spectators such as Sax and Ljubojevic were now staring aghast at the shambles of black’s position.

28. Qxh7+??? Oh no! Mike loses his nerve in the presence of the famous opponent!

Correct was 28. Be3! and white wins quickly and easily in all variations. For example, 28…Rb7 29. Bg6! (Crushing, hitting both h7 and d3, winning a piece) 29… Rxf1+ 30. Kxf1 Qf6+ (30… Qb1+ 31. Bc1 will mate shortly) 31. Qxf6 Bxf6 32. Bxd3 and black must resign, down a piece.

28… Kxh7 1/2-1/2 It’s just a repetition draw after 29. Rh4+ Bh6 30. Rxh6+ Kg7 31. Rg6+ Kh7. A very disappointing anti-climax, roundly booed by Ljubojevic.


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.