21 April 2017

Parents at the Supernationals

This video, on Youtube's US Chess Federation channel, starts with a quote.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, 'We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.'

At first I was puzzled by the clip, because it seems to be providing advice to parents for a specific tournament. But what tournament?


The Good Chess Parent (5:43) • 'If you're a parent, watch this video.'

Then I found another video published on the same day:-

Taken out of any context where the video might be referenced, the title is meaningless. The description said, 'Do you know everything you need for Supernationals 2017? Watch this video and find out.' Now I understood. Nearly a week later, the same channel published another video in the same series:-

Wikipedia buries the topic in a page on Scholastic chess in the United States. which is out of date:-

Beginning in 1997, there has been a single event known as the Supernationals where all events are held in one place simultaneously. [...] This event currently occurs every four years; the previous two Supernational events have shown huge participation numbers.

For more information on the forthcoming event, see SuperNationals VI (uschess.org), May 12-14, 201; Nashville, TN.

20 April 2017

Bisguier's Earliest Years

Over the last two weeks, the most important chess news stories were [ FIDE President Ilyumzhinov] Didn't Resign (on my WCC blog), 2017 Chess Champions: Men's Global Rising Star, Women's Surprise Player Prove Worth, Win U.S. and U.S. Women's Championships in Saint Louis (prnewswire.com; 'Grandmaster Wesley So and Women's Grandmaster Sabina Foisor Take Prestigious Titles of 2017 U.S. and U.S. Women's Champions, Respectively'), and Former US Champion and "Dean of Chess" Arthur Bisguier, Dies at 87 (uschess.org). That last article started,

Hall of Famer, US Champion and Grandmaster Arthur Bernard Bisguer (October 8, 1929- April 5, 2017) died at 87 years old of respiratory failure. In 2005, Arthur Bisguier was recognized by the US Chess Federation as “Dean of American Chess”, in honor of his promotion of and many contributions to the game.

From 'Chess Memoirs' by Dr. Joseph Platz (Chess Enterprises 1979, p.46):-

It was in 1943 at the Bronx Chess Club that I met a boy of 14 whose chess game made quite an impression on me. Immediately I sensed that here was a master in the making. I played him often and analyzed with him the way I had learned it from Lasker. I brought him to the Manhattan CC and there he met the competition which he needed to acquire master strength.

Soon he won the the championship of the Manhattan CC, and then the New York State Championship. Afterwards he won the U.S. Championship, he played and won some international tournaments abroad, and finally was awarded the title "International Grandmaster". His name: Arthur Bisguier. I claim to have discovered him and inspired him with the love for chess which is necessary for great achievements.

In the introduction to the same book, GM Bisguier echoed the story:-

When I started playing tournament chess in the early 1940's, my play was restricted almost entirely to public school and to the Bronx Empire City. Chess Club. There the perennial champion was a quiet, gentlemanly, solidly built yet shadowy figure by the name of Dr. Joseph Platz. Why shadowy? Because like the shadow he seemed to appear and disappear at the most unlikely times. [...]

Dr. Platz' play and demeanor, both on and off the board, served as an example for me during my formative years. His encouragement and practical advice provided a useful stimulus which served as a springboard for many of my successes in those days. His own play featured soundness with the right blend of daring aggression. He had a few "pet" lines in the opening which he handled with great virtuosity, so much so that he won more than his share of special prizes for brilliancies and best played games. To this day, thirty six years after I first met Dr. Platz, I still occasionally "borrow" one of his lines and they seldom disappoint me. Occasionally, as a result of not having the time to keep up with the latest wrinkles of opening theory, he would obtain a difficult position, but that was where his resourcefulness and tenacity held full sway, and he saved many a game where a less stouthearted player would have resigned. This was a legacy from his idol and mentor, the great former world champion, Dr. Emanuel Lasker. [...]

Arthur B. Bisguier; March, 1979; International Grandmaster

Bisguier's own autobiography ('The Art of Bisguier') was published in two volumes: The Early Years: 1945-1960 (amazon.com) and Selected Games 1961-2003 (ditto).

18 April 2017

April 1967 'On the Cover'

Last month's edition of 'On the Cover' (see March 1967 for details) featured two events for amateur players. This month's edition features two important events from 50 years ago that have been obscured by the passage of time.


Left: 'Fischer Triumphs in Grand Prix d'Echecs de Monaco'
Right: 'Ubiquitous Champion'

Chess Life

Coming in June: Grandmaster Lombardy's full report on this event.

Chess Review

Wherever one finds titles for the taking, in this country at the very least, it is apt to be Pal Benko who takes them. A former Hungarian champion, he has splurged to titles since coming here in the Eastern Open, the American Open, the National Open and the United States Open as well as numerous regional events. His latest exploit has been to re-affirm his near-monopoly on the championship of the Manhattan Chess Club in New York.

Wikipedia's page on the Manhattan Chess Club ('closed in 2002') has no list of champions. Benko's last solo 'On the Cover' was March 1966, but he also appeared in October 1966 ('U.S.Open Co-Champions') and November 1966 ('Our Men in Havana').

17 April 2017

Korchnoi's Career 1946-1977, Team Events++

Let's take stock. The first portion of Viktor Korchnoi's Tournament, Match, and Exhibition Record (TMER; 1946-2015) lists only the major events played by Korchnoi during the period 1946-1977. For the last few posts -- the most recent being Korchnoi's Career 1946-1977, More of the Same -- I've been comparing the TMER with the game record in Levy & O'Connell's book (L&O), which also covers the first 30 years of Korchnoi's career.

In the 'More of the Same' post, I identified 13 events missing from the TMER. The top portion of the following chart shows those events along with appropriate identification. Most are team events.

The bottom portion of the chart lists 34 more events where L&O gives between four and six games for the event. A handful of these match the TMER, e.g. '1957 European Team Ch., Vienna'. Another handful are listed on the TMER, but with a difference in the number of games played, e.g. '1950 Leningrad Ch. [13 games played]' but with only five games in L&O.

The majority of the events are missing from the TMER completely, e.g. '1956 ? [Molotov, Match vs. Kotkov]'. Most of the missing events are either team events or mini-matches. Some events have a footnote, e.g. '1959 Budapest (A)', which I'll address at a later time.

16 April 2017

The 'Seventh Season' Is Chess

The last time we saw a lithograph on Top eBay Chess Items by Price was Chess Stone Lithograph (December 2014). The item pictured below was titled 'Will Barnet Seventh Season signed and numbered 15/300 girl chess cat' and sold for US $1,300.00 on a single bid.

The item's description said,

"Seventh Season”; Color serigraph/ lithograph; 1975?; Framed size: 17 1/2 x 14 1/2 in.; Edition: 15/300; Signed and titled in pencil; Condition: excellent; Back of frame states: "Le septieme saison", French for "SEVENTH SEASON"

It also included the artist's biography:

American Artist: b. 1911-2012. Will Barnet was born in Beverly, Massachusetts. He studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School and then at the Art Students League in New York. He cites Daumier as his first great inspiration at the age of 14, both for "his profound vision of life and his unequalled draftsmanship."

A prolific graphic artist, Barnet changed his style significantly at different points in his career. His earliest works were influenced by expressionism. His work of the 1930s and 1940s deals with the social themes in the forefront of the depression era, but also the more personal theme of the mother and child. They were followed by abstract works in the 1950s and 1960s, and finally evolved into more figurative works of silhouetted forms set against geometrically designed backgrounds.

From the earliest years Barnet valued concept equally with technique. Printmaking gave him a wider, freer means of expression although painting has remained another important medium throughout his career. He later taught art at such leading American schools as Yale University, Cornell University, the Art Students League and at Cooper Union. Among his students at Cooper Union were Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly.

Barnett's work has been exhibited in prominent museums and galleries in the United States and Canada and is included in many prestigious collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

To tell the truth, the image above isn't from the recent auction, where all images were photos taken at an angle (presumably to reduce glare) and weren't very good. The image is from a 2011 eBay auction, which said,

From a color serigraph produced in 1975, this beautiful book print was lithographically reproduced over 30 years ago, and printed on heavy, white stock. Paper size is about 11 by 15 1/2 inches; image size about 10 1/2 by 13 3/4 inches; highly suitable for framing

To learn more about the printing technique, see Wikipedia's Lithography. From the same source, the Will Barnet page informs,

He is probably best known for his enigmatic portraits of family, made from the 1970s onwards, notably the Silent Seasons series.

As for 'Seventh Season' and chess, I wasn't able to make the connection.

14 April 2017

Karpov's Stamp Exhibition

The description for this photo said,

Anatoly E.Karpov, World Chess Champion and President of the International Foundations of Peace Association, gives a welcome speech.

What's that got to do with postage stamps?


Anatoly E. Karpov © Flickr user UNIS Vienna under Creative Commons.

The related photo album, 'Exhibition of postal stamps from the collection of the world chess master Anatoly Karpov', said,

Opening ceremony of the exhibition of postal stamps from the collection of the world chess master Anatoly Karpov and simultaneous chess game with 14 representatives from international organizations competing against Anatoly Karpov on 4 April 2017 at the Vienna International Centre.

As for UNIS, it stands for 'United Nations Information Service'.

02 April 2017

Mrs. Piatigorsky's Autograph Collection

The name Piatigorsky has appeared on this blog many times, most notably for the 1966 Piatigorsky Cup (September 2016), but this is its first appearance for Top eBay Chess Items by Price. The item pictured below was titled '2nd Piatigorsky Cup program - signed by all the players, including Bobby Fischer', and sold for US $999.99, Buy-It-Now. Assuming it's legitimate, someone got a great bargain.

The description said,

This is the program book from the 2nd Piatigorsky Cup Grandmaster Chess Tournament held in 1966 at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. It is signed by all the players including World Champion GM Tigran Petrosian and future World Champions GM Robert Fischer and GM Boris Spassky. As you can see, several pages have small stains; but on the whole the program is in very good condition. The tournament is the strongest one ever held in California. (From the estate of Jacqueline Piatigorsky.)

Condidering the phrase 'From the estate of Jacqueline Piatigorsky', and adding the seller's background...

Interests: Anything concerned with California chess - magazines, photos, letters, pinbacks, tournament bulletins, newspaper columns and articles, posters, tournament flyers and other ephemera.

...it's certainly legitimate.