Posts Tagged ‘Mark Diesen’

Mark Diesen RIP 1957-2008

January 4, 2009

Kenny Regan alerted me to the shocking news of the untimely demise of IM Mark Diesen (World Junior Champ 1976) in December 2008 – Conroe, TX.

Mark Diesen grew up in Potomac Maryland (the next town over from me in Bethesda).  He was part of a strong group of players including Larry Kaufman, Larry Gilden, Eugene and John Meyer, Robert Eberlein, Richard Delaune, Robin Spital, and others.

I played him a couple of times OTB and knew him very well since the 1970s.  He was only two years older than me.

ncl_76_2

Mark Diesen pictured along with the other victorious Washington Plumbers (National Chess League) May 1976.  Mark is standing second from right; GM Lubosh Kavalek (Mark’s coach at the World Junior Champs that Mark won) is at right.  If you’re wondering about the team name, Google it – it harkens to the fantastically evil Nixon era.

I used to have a great action photo (that I misplaced) of 16 year old Mark Diesen playing 16 year old Larry Christiansen in the US Junior Championship, San Francisco, 1973.  The caption read “they battle to a draw in a Pirc.”  I think it was a Koltanowski article in the SF Chronicle.

Mark Diesen playing Black favored defensive and counter-attacking schemes as black in the Pirc, Alekhine’s, and Sicilian Scheveningen.  He had noticeable positional superiority over most of his peers as he ascended in the mid 1970s. I posted games and memories Part I (there will be a 2nd part) on the US Chess Online site.

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NY Times Chess and NY Times Bridge? Rara Avis, Indeed!

August 3, 2008

Double Gaming: Chess and Bridge

How many chess players were in the New York Times Bridge column by Alan Truscott and also the Chess column by Robert Byrne? Well, I was. But I thought I had lost this ancient newsprint hardcopy! Mirabile dictu, it is found! Found, I tell you! I am not particularly good at bridge but at some point I managed to do a “squeeze” (think of chess zugzwang) and there it went into the Times! Here is the 1980 bridge hand clipping. Click to display it enlarged.

I appear in Alan Truscott’s New York Times bridge column, 1980.

As for the chess, to complete the 1980 double-header, remember I had defeated Dzindzi in an upset at the Chicago Open 1979. Well in 1980 he got his revenge. At the World Open, I won his queen but allowed obvious monster compensation, losing to give the big bear sweet revenge. Here is Robert Byrne’s September 1980 report!   Click to enlarge.

World Open 1980: The Big Bear Gains Sweet Revenge

I am also going to shock the chess world with a young Ken Regan (and me) posing for a photo op in a Princeton University chess team story, circa 1979. There’s something very special about 70’s hair. Click a few times for best enlargement.

Ginsburg and Regan 4/9/80. Nice hair.

This clipping was from the “Daily Princetonian” 4/9/80 – it was a complete miracle that I graduated from this esteemed institution (rated #1 undergrad again in 2008, hurrah) in June 1980.

The National Chess League!

Feast your eyes on a news clipping describing Washington DC vs Berkeley in the 1978 (!) National Chess League; an inter-city league where the games were contested by telephone and “runners” relayed the moves (often times, games had to be partially retracted due to misheard relays). Click to enlarge. For more on my game vs. Christiansen (referenced in the post), see this entry. In the clipping, the reporter amusingly refers to Eugene Meyer as Gene Myer. Note that Berkeley’s Kaplan in the clipping report was stated to have only one minute to make 20 moves. This was pre-digital clocks! Nevertheless, the feat was not so incredible because between moves, even in mutual time trouble, minutes elapsed due to the byzantine runner system!

Berkeley Riot wins the 1978 National Chess League! (Click to enlarge)

If you don’t understand the team name “Washington Plumbers”, you may not be old enough to remember Nixon and the Watergate incident of 1974. Berkeley “Riot” was also amusing, bringing to mind the famous student protests of the 60s.

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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:
1971-2003

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 70s: Breakthough Games

January 17, 2008

Certain games boost a player’s career. Here are 2 examples from 1973 (I started tournaments September, 1972 by winning a Novice Section in Washington, DC – credit to Bobby Fischer and his eponymously named “Fischer Boom”!). I am writing this paragraph on the day Bobby Fischer passed away.

Game 1.

In the first game, be aware I knew no theory at all. I had just studied a Reinfeld book, “Comprehensive Chess Course” which was actually a bunch of Reinfeld paperbacks stuck together into one thick hardcover. The game showed me I had some ability to “make the pieces dance” – cool tactics always captivate Juniors. Let’s see it. At the time I was “B” strength.
NN – M. Ginsburg Offhand Game, May 5, 1973. Quartermadero, CA.

Bird’s Opening.

1. f4 d5 2. e3 c5 3. Be2 Nc6 4. Nf3 g6 5. O-O Bg7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Ne5 Nxe5 8. fxe5 Nd7 9. d4 cxd4 10. exd4 Qb6 11. Kh1 O-O 12. c3? 12. Nc3 is the right move.

12…f6! 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. Bd3 Bg4 Too advanced for me was 14…e5! 15. Nd2 (15. dxe5?? Ng4 wins for black) 15…Ng4 with a huge plus.

15. Qc2 Ne4 I adorned my scorepad with a “!” here but 15…e5! is again also strong. The text is fine too.

16. Re1 Nf2+ 17. Kg1

nn1.png

Position after 17. Kg1. What’s the crazy kid gonna do?

17…Bxd4? I gave this one “!!” but in fact it is too crazy and it should only draw. It is a cool move, though. The right moves are the cold-blooded 17…Rac8 18. Qd2 e5! or the immediate 17…e5 again, in both cases winning easily.

18. cxd4 Qxd4 19. Be3? Really quite amazingly, the ignoring move 19. Bxg6! draws for white. The text runs into my planned refutation and it all comes up roses for black.

19…Qxd3 20. Qc7

nn2.png

Position after 20. Qc7. This time, I get it right.

20…Nh3+! I gave it a “!” on my scorepad and it is nice. White gets overloaded.

21. gxh3 Rf1+! Very nice. I gave it “!!”. White has no chance to breathe.

22. Rxf1 Qxe3+ 23. Rf2 Rf8 24. Qg3 Qe1+ 25. Kg2 Bxh3+! The final overloading shot. I once again awarded it “!!”. I must have really liked this game (I reconstructed it after the fact into my first scorepad). 26. Kxh3 Rxf2 27. Nd2 Qe6+ 28. Kh4 Qf6+ 29. Qg5 Rxh2+ 30. Kg4 h5+ 0-1

The entire game, played poolside, must have taken only about 20 minutes but it was very enjoyable (at least for the player with the black pieces). I don’t know how strong NN was.

Let’s see the second game, actually more important: the first time I managed to beat a USCF expert. It occurred in a DC Chess League (DCCL) game, June 1, 1973.

Game 2.

Mark Ginsburg (1692, JCC “A”) – Kent Goulding (2023, “Toadgrabbers”).

Sicilian Defense, Dragon, Classical. 6/1/73.

The Toadgrabbers were the perennial league powerhouse. This 1973 edition featured strong players Mark Diesen, Allan Savage, and Richard Delaune. Our team was crushed in this match, but I had a happy ending on my board. Interestingly, my opponent Kent went on to become a world-class backgammon talent, authoring books (such as Backgammon with the Champions) and playing in many top-level matches. He also seems to have played some poker.

His brother, Phil “Flippy” Goulding, was my contemporary at Pyle Junior High School (that’s when I played in my first tournament) and subsequently at Walt Whitman HS. We would play Bethesda-Chevy-Chase (BCC HS) – they had future IM Steve Odendahl – many mirthful HS matchups. I also played in some tournament bridge events with Flippy and I heard a rumor that later on in life, Flippy captured the OTB Texas State Chess Championship. Future World Junior Champ Mark Diesen was a HS over in the other direction, Potomac HS. As far as I know, Mark Diesen and Flippy now both reside in Texas.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6

It’s a Dragon and I know zero theory. What to do? The Classical Variation!

7. Be2 d6 8. f4 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Kh1 Qc8 11. Rc1 I couldn’t think of anything else to do.

11…Ng4 12. Bg1 At the time, I was sort of proud of this “nestled” bishop and the fact my 10th had vacated the g1 nestle point. Today, of course, all this is ho-hum. Black is fine.

12…Nxd4 13. Bxd4 e5 14. Nd5!? Re8 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. Bc3 h5 17. Bb4 Qd8 18. Bc4 I’m just sort of flailing around. My opponent is tempted into winning an exchange, but I get the material back.

18…Qh4 19. h3 Nf2+ 20. Rxf2 Qxf2 21. Nc7

kent73_1.png

Position after 21. Nc7. Black has a strange defense here.

21…Bc6 A curious computer defense here is 21… Bh6! 22. Qf1 Qf4 23. Rd1 Qxf1+ 24. Rxf1 Bf4! with a level game. The text is also OK; maybe white is a tiny bit better.

22. Nxa8 Bxe4 23. Qf1! Thanks to the counterattack on f7, White is fine.

23…Qxf1+ 24. Rxf1 Rxa8 25. Rxf7 Kh8 26. Bd3 Bd5 27. Rd7 Bc6 28. Re7!? A very odd “winning attempt” that unexpectedly succeeds. Retreats are a simple draw.

28…Bf8 White is OK after losing the exchange, but it certainly should not be anything for me.

29. Bxg6 Bxe7 30. Bxe7

kent_2.png

Position after 30. Bxe7. Black is fine but he has to be accurate.

30…e4?! Black starts to go wrong. If memory serves, he was in time trouble (Time Control 50 moves in 2 hours). He had the surprising and instructive 30… h4! with the idea 31. Bxh4 Kg7! 32. Bd3 Rh8 33. Bf2 Rxh3+! and he stands better. This isn’t forced, but in the game black doesn’t get any kind of play. After 30…h4! his rook gets active in all lines. The problem with the text is that white can easily deal with the passed center pawn, and black’s rook doesn’t have entry points.

31. Bxh5 Kg7 32. Bc5 b6 33. Be3 Rf8 34. Be2 White’s bishops have reached nice blockading squares.

34…Kg6? Black should play 34… Kf6 35. g4 Ke5; that’s where the king belongs. It will be tough for white to win that position. For example, 36. Kg2 b5 37. c3 a5 38. a3 b4!? with some counterplay. White is a bit better, but it will be a tough slog.

35. g4 Rh8 Now black has very little play.

36. Kg2 Bd5? Necessary was 36…b5. The text is the last straw.

37. c4! White’s advantage has reached decisive proportions.

37…Be6 38. Kg3 Rc8 39. b3 b5 40. c5! Sealing things up. Black is helpless.

40…Bd5 41. Bxb5 Rc7 42. Kf4 Rf7+? Losing material but it was lost anyway.

43. Ke5 Ba8 44. Be8 Kg7 45. Bxf7 Kxf7 46. Kd6 1-0

 

I was really shocked that I won this game. Beating an Expert! This milestone helped me realize that even (oooh!) Masters might be fallible. Soon I would be feasing on the likes of John Meyer , Robert Eberlein, and other locals such as Duncan Thompson, but that would take two years or more.

 

Postscript: My First Tournament

 

My First Tournament was the 8-round Swiss, September 1972 Novice Section at the Ramada Inn, Thomas Circle, Washington, DC. I managed to win it! Here are two games.

 

 

Mark Ginsburg (UNR) – Moses Ma (1288) Round 4, Alekhine’s Defense

Ah, to be unrated again!   Even though I knew no theory, I was able to get “OK” positions in most openings.

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. exd6 cxd6 7. Bd3 e5 8. d5 Nb4 9. Be2 Bf5 10. Na3 Qe7 11. Be3 e4 12. Nd4 Bg6 13. Ndb5 Nd3+ 14. Bxd3 exd3 15. O-O Qd8 16. f4 Be4 17. Re1 g6??  This miscue ends the game.

18. Bd4 Rg8 19. Rxe4+ Kd7 20. Qxd3 a6 21. Qe3 Nxc4 22. Nxc4 axb5 23. Nb6+ Kc7 24. Rc1+ Kb8 25. Re8 Qxe8 26. Qxe8+ Ka7 27. Qxa8# 1-0

I include this bad game just for historical interest – my opponent certainly went on to make societal headines: Moses Ma went on to become “Dr. Ma”, a very well known Information Technology consultant and head of a large consulting company, MMG Partners. Very amusingly, he also made big headlines in the 1980s when his MIT squad was busted in a tournament bridge cheating scandal. His team was using hand signals to relay their cards – the gory details are here. The hand signals were much too fidgety and they were caught on camera. Ooops! At the time, it was the most “shocking” etc. etc. scandal, but I had a good laugh due to the sheer ineptitude of the cheaters. I have it on good authority that the MIT Dean, when contacted for comment, said “A card game? Who cares!” and hung up the phone.

Let’s fast forward to the last round. I have 6.5 points out of 7, and my opponent Ziegler has 6. He needs to win!

Ziegler – M. Ginsburg, Round 8. September 3, 1972.

 

 

Let’s see this nervous battle royale featuring the usual last round items of jitters, blunders, and incredible saves.

1. d4 Nf6 2. b3?! e6 3. Bb2 Bb4+ 4. c3 Be7 5. e3 b6 6. Qf3 Nc6 7. e4 Bb7 8. Bd3 e5?! 9. d5 Nb8 10. Nh3 Ba6 11. c4 Bb4+? 12. Nc3 d6 13. O-O Bc8 14. a3 Bxc3 15. Bxc3 Bxh3 16. Qxh3 Qd7 17. Qg3 Qg4 18. Qxg4 Nxg4 19. f3 Nf6 20. f4 Nbd7 21. b4 O-O 22. f5 Nh5 23. Bd2 h6 24. g4 Nhf6 25. g5 hxg5 26. Bxg5 Ne8?? Passive but playable is something like 26… a5 27. Kg2 Nh7 28. Bd2 Nhf6 29. Kf3 Kh7 30. Rg1 Rh8 31. h4 Kg8 32. Bg5 and the game toddles on.

27. Be7 Ooops! Oh no! Not to worry, I play on.

27…Ndf6 28. Rf3 g6 29. Kh1 Kg7 30. Bxf8+ Kxf8 31. fxg6 fxg6 32. Bc2 Kg7 33. Raf1 b5? It was losing anyways but this is crazy.

34. cxb5 Rd8 35. h4 Nh5 36. Rg1? The infilatration with 36. Rf7+ is simplest.

36… Nf4 37. Rfg3 Nf6 38. Rc3 Rd7 39. Re1 Kh6 40. Bd1 Rh7 41. Kh2 Ne8 42. Kg3 Kg7 43. Rh1 g5 44. h5 Kh6 45. Kf2 Nf6 46. Ke3 Inaccurate. Stronger is 46. Rc4.

46…N6xd5+? What the heck is this? Another crazy sacrifice from the kid. Last round nerves? Black had 46… Ng2+! 47. Kd3 Nf4+ 48. Kc2 Nxe4 49. Rc6 Rf7 50. Re1 Nf6 51. Ra6 g4 with some counterplay. This is the best black’s being doing in some time.

47. exd5 Nxd5+ 48. Kd2 Nxc3 49. Kxc3 d5 50. Rf1 The computer has white up by more than 4 points. It’s looking grim for my drawing hopes.

50…g4 51. Bxg4 Rg7 52. Rf6+ Kg5 53. Rg6+ Rxg6 54. hxg6 Kxg6 55. Bf3 d4+ 56. Kd3 Kf5 57. Bd5 Kf4 58. Be4 Kg4 59. Kc4 Kf4 60. Kd5 Ke3 61. Kxe5 d3 62. Bxd3 Kxd3 63. Kd5 Kc3 64. Kc6 Kc4 65. Kxc7?? The nice shot 65. b6!! wins. For example, 65…cxb6 (65…axb6 66. Kxc7 b5 67. Kc6) 66. b5 Kb3 67. Kb7 Ka4 68. Kxa7 Ka5 69. a4 and wins. Very good. The text draws!

65…Kxb5 66. Kb7 a5 1/2-1/2

And I win first place, a happy ending! I received $100, which in 1972 was a lot of money! I immediately bought a beautiful pearl-handled cap gun for $5 at the local Woolworth.

Not a good finale for Mr. Ziegler, who threw his pen.