Understanding chess : my system, my games, my life
 9781936490226, 1936490226

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Understanding Chess

My System, My Games, My Life

by William Lombardy

2011 William Lombardy New York, NY USA

Understanding Chess My System, My Games, My Life by William Lombardy ISBN: 978-1-936490-22-6

© Copyright 2011 William Lombardy All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any manner or form whatsoever or by any means, elec­ tronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. Published by William Lombardy in association with Russell Enterprises, Inc. http://www.russell-enterprises.com [email protected] Editing and proofreading: Robert Hungaski Cover design by Janel Lowrance Cover photo: Andrew Hungaski www.andrewhungaski.com Printed in the United States of America

Table of Contents






Biographical Sketch


My System: Learning Chess with New Ideas


Games ( 1 ) Collins-Lombardy, July 1 953 (2) Lombardy-Cohen, August 1 953 (3) Lombardy-Sandrin, August 1 954 (4) Lombardy-Hearst, September 1 954 (5) Lombardy-Kaufman, October 1 954 (6) Lombardy-Saidy, October 1 954 (7) Lombardy-Santasiere, December 1 954 (8) Lombardy-Pavey, May 1 955 (9) Lombardy-Pietzsch, April 1 956 ( 1 0) Lombardy-Kozma, April 1 956 ( 1 1 ) Lombardy-Kolarov, April 1 956 ( 1 2) Anderson, F.-Lombardy, August 1 956 ( 1 3) Lombardy-Mangini, March 1 957 ( 1 4) Rossetto-Lombardy, March 1 957 ( 1 5) Lombardy-Benko, July 1 957 ( 1 6) Selimanov-Lombardy, August 1 957 ( 1 7) Lombardy-Hallerod, August 1 957 ( 1 8) Gerusel-Lombardy, August 1 957 ( 1 9) Jongsma-Lombardy, August 1 957 (20) Lombardy-Di Camillo, December 1 957 (2 1 ) Reshevsky-Lombardy, December 1 957 (22) Rossetto-Lombardy, March 1 958 (23) Reinhardt-Lombardy, March 1 958 (24) Olafsson-Lombardy, July 1 958 (25) Tai-Lombardy, July 1 958 (26) Botvinnik-Lombardy, September 1 958 (27) Lombardy-Jimenez, November 1 958 (28) Lombardy-Kramer, December 1 958 (29) Lombardy-Evans, December 1 958 (30) Lombardy-Kalme, August 1 959 (3 1 ) Mednis-Lombardy, August 1 959 (32) Lombardy-Sherwin, August 1 959 (33) Byrne, R.-Lombardy, August 1 959

28 31 36 37 40 43 45 47 49 52 54 55 58 59 62 63 71 73 75 77 80 83 83 85 90 92 99 1 00 1 02 1 03 1 05 1 06 1 07

Understanding Chess

(34) Lombardy-Malich, July 1 960 (35) Lombardy-van Hoorne, July 1 960 (36) Spassky-Lombardy, August 1 960 (37) Radovici-Lombardy, October 1 960 (38) Lombardy-Portisch, October 1 960 (39) Lombardy-Byrne, R., December 1 960 (40) Lombardy-Saidy, December 1 960 (4 1 ) Berliner-Lombardy, January 1 96 1 (42) Lombardy-Kalme, January 1 96 1 (43) Keller-Lombardy, June 1 96 1 (44) Larsen-Lombardy, June 1 96 1 (45) Forintos-Lombardy, July 1 96 1 (46) Evans-Lombardy, June 1 962 (4 7) Lyman-Lombardy, August 1 962 (48) Suesman-Lombardy, September 1 962 ( 49) Lombardy-Lyman, September 1 962 (50) Lombardy-Sandrin, August 1 963 (5 1 ) Pundy-Lombardy, August 1 963 Photo Section

(52) Lombardy-Benko, August 1 963 (53) Lombardy-Bills, July 1 964 (54) Smith-Lombardy, August 1 964 (55) Lombardy-Formanek, August 1 964 (56) Lombardy-Brinck-Claussen, August 1 964 (57) Lombardy-Smith, July 1 965 (58) Suttles-Lombardy, August 1 965 (59) Mengarini-Lombardy, August 1 965 (60) Momich-Lombardy, July 1 966 (6 1 ) Popov, T. -Lombardy, August 1 966 (62) Fuster-Lombardy, August 1 966 ( 63) Lombardy-Gross, August 1 966 (64) Suttles-Lombardy, August 1 966 (65) Lombardy-McCormick, August 1 966 (66) Lombardy-Forintos, March 1 967 (67) Lombardy-Mednis, May 1 967 ( 68) Lombardy-Weinberger, July 1 967 (69) Lombardy-McKelvie, February 1 968 (70) Lombardy-Levy, February 1 968 (7 1 ) Lombardy-Sherwin, March 1 968 (72) Schulman-Lombardy, October 1 968 (73) Lombardy-Fischheimer, November 1 968 (74) Saidy-Lombardy, November 1 968 (75) Bisguier-Lombardy, December 1 968 (76) Lombardy-Benko, December 1 968


1 10 113 1 16 117 118 121 1 24 1 26 1 27 1 28 1 29 1 32 1 36 1 38 1 39 141 1 32 1 43 1 45 1 54 1 57 1 58 1 62 1 63 1 64 1 66 1 70 171 1 72 1 73 1 74 1 76 1 77 1 78 1 79 1 80 181 1 82 1 83 1 84 1 86 1 89 191 1 94

My System, My Games, My Life

(77) Medina Garcia-Lombardy, January 1 969 (78) Smyslov-Lombardy, April 1 969 (79) Lombardy-Portisch, April 1 969 (80) Lombardy-Schmid, April 1 969 (8 1 ) Lombardy-Honfi, April 1 969 (82) Lombardy-Saidy, May 1 969 (83) Benko-Lombardy, December 1 969 (84) Lombardy-Popov, L., September 1 970 (85) Lombardy-Calvo, September 1 970 (86) Lombardy-Deskin, July 1 973 (87) Lombardy-Quinteros, October 1 973 (88) Ostoj ic-Lombardy, March 1 974 (89) Planinec-Lombardy, July 1 974 (90) Lombardy-Bone, August 1 974 (9 1 ) Kamer-Lombardy, March 1 975 (92) Rantanen-Lombardy, March 1 975 (93) Andersson, U.-Lombardy, May 1 975 (94) Hartston-Lombardy, September 1 97 5 (95) Lombardy-Huebner, September 1 975 (96) Lombardy-Timman, September 1 975 (97) Lombardy-Tatai, October 1 975 (98) Lombardy-Findlay, October 1 976 (99) Lombardy-Ree, October 1 975 ( 1 00) Lombardy-Lakic, November 1 976 ( 1 0 1 ) Grefe-Lombardy, April 1 977 ( 1 02) Lombardy-Gaprindashvili, April 1 977 ( 1 03) Browne-Lombardy, February 1 978 ( 1 04) Lombardy-Polugaevsky, February 1 978 ( 1 05) Miles-Lombardy, February 1 978 ( 1 06) Lombardy-Mestel, April 1 978 ( 1 07) Lombardy-Westerinen, April 1 978 ( 1 08) Korchnoi-Lombardy, March 1 979 ( 1 09) Petrosian-Lombardy, October 1 979 ( 1 1 0) Lombardy-Mccambridge, March 1 984 ( 1 1 1 ) Lombardy-Angantysson, March 1 984 ( 1 1 2) Lombardy-Mccambridge, March 1 984 ( 1 1 3) Shirazi-Lombardy, March 1 985 ( 1 1 4) Lombardy-Bjamason, March 1 985 ( 1 1 5) Lombardy-Bosboom, July 1 985 ( 1 1 6) Lombardy-Formanek, June 1 986 ( 1 1 7) Francis-Lombardy, November 1 993 ( 1 1 8) Lombardy-Steadroy, February 2009 ( 1 1 9) Lombardy-Deep Shredder 1 1 , July 2009


1 96 1 97 20 1 203 208 210 21 1 213 214 216 218 22 1 225 227 228 229 230 232 233 234 236 23 7 240 244 246 246 248 25 1 256 257 259 260 263 266 268 269 270 272 276 278 279 281 283

Understanding Chess

Appendix: ( 1 20A) Guila-Pecci, 1 875 ( 1 2 1 A) Botvinnik-Ragozin, 1 932 ( 1 22A) Horowitz-Fine, 1 934 ( 1 23A) Feigins-Fine, 1 93 6 ( 1 24A) Keres-Reshevsky, 1 93 8 (l 25A) Lilienthal-Aronin, 1 948 ( 1 26A) Fine-Najdorf, 1 949 ( 1 27 A) Reshevsky-Gudmundsson, 1 950 (l 28A) Reshevsky-Petrosian, 1 953 (l 29A) Pavey-Keres, 1 954 ( 1 30A) Keres-Kevitz, 1 954 ( 1 3 I A) Benko-Navarovszky, 1 95 5 (l 32A) Geller-Panno, 1 955 ( l 33A) Keres-Najdorf, 1 955 ( 1 34A) Spassky-Pilnik, 1 955 ( l 35A) Reshevsky-Shipman, 1 956 (l 36A) Reshevsky-Lombardy, 1 956 ( 1 37A) Lombardy-Vaitonis, 1 956 ( 1 3 8A) Blau-Larsen, 1 956 ( 1 39A) Byrne, D.-Fischer, 1 956 ( 1 40A) Lombardy-Kotov, 1 957 ( 1 4 1 A) Tai-Filip, 1 957 ( 1 42A) Olafsson-Lombardy, 1 95 7 ( 1 43A) Jongsma-Selimanov, 1 957 ( 1 44A) Gligoric-Fischer, 1 95 8 ( 1 45A) Safvat-Lombardy, 1 95 8 ( 1 46A) Gerusel-Johannsson, 1 967 ( 1 47A) Spassky-Gheorghiu, 1 970 ( 1 48A) Larsen-Fischer, 1 97 1 ( 1 49A) Spassky-Fischer, 1 972 ( l 50A) Zalys-Lombardy, 1 973 ( 1 5 1 A) Portisch-Karpov, 1 977 ( 1 52A) Alburt-Kasparov, 1 978 ( 1 53A) Andersson, U.-Franco, 1 979 (l 54A) Shirazi-Henley, 1 990 ( 1 55A) Kasparov-Karpov, 1 990 ( l 56A) Baburin-Saidy, 1 997

289 290 290 29 1 29 1 29 1 29 1 293 293 293 294 294 294 295 295 295 296 297 298 298 298 298 298 299 299 299 300 3 00 3 02 302 3 02 303 303 303 303 3 04 306



Player Index

3 09

Opening Index

311 6

My System, My Games, My Life


In the preparation of this book, I was reluctant to ask for help. I was wrong to hesitate, for by thinking to ask one has a definite idea that the person to be asked is generous. I am therefore especially grateful for the most generous support of Paul M. Albert, who also turned out to be a real lover of chess artistry! I should very much like to recognize with gratitude those at my Marshall Chess Club lectures, sponsored by the Marshall Chess Foundation. And all those who supported my grandiose effort by risking the purchase of instructional CDs and books that were preliminary productions anticipating the present work. In preparation for the above lectures, Scott Denett kindly offered to film the lectures and arrange for the production of the preliminary book. I am most grateful to him. But there is a very special person who has been with me since the very outset and continues to keep his shoulder to the wheel. My gracious young friend from Connecticut, Robert Hungaski, who literally has worked on every detail and never allows anything to remain undone. Robert is an International Master and assuredly soon to be a Grandmaster candidate. Robert is an avid reader and a dedicated colle­ giate student who assumed the massive task of editing. Mil gracias, Roberto! I also thank Robert's father, Andrew, for his considerable photographic work and especially the picture that appears on the cover. As far as I am concerned, there is no better or more professional photographer! In all this, another acknowledgment of a main contributor to the cause is cer­ tainly appropriate. Without the author's explicit knowledge, Robert chose qui­ etly to ask his mother for financial assistance for the project. His mother Claudia came through with flying colors ! For all I know, Claudia does not even play chess, but nevertheless deserves a place among the dauntless lovers of the game ! Thank you, mil veces ! Imagine that - my book became the loving project of the entire Hungaski family!


Understanding Chess


My System, My Games, My Life


Above is a study that in 1 965 I corrected and recreated with the help of Salvioli, whose faulty but ingenious idea was published in C.E.C. Tattersall's 1 905, two­ volume set, A Thousand Endgames, in which the position had been given as winning for white after l .d5 ! . But why is this evaluation faulty? See solution on page 308. This work is my first attempt at a chess book publication in some twenty years. Essentially, I did the 1 982 Tilburg Interpolis tournament book and supplied observations and human interest stories to the journalists who contributed to the work. The Dutch had invited me as commentator and Grandmaster of Honor to their great annual event. Though the manuscript was done in English, it was translated into Dutch. So the tournament book was mostly promoted in Hol­ land. In 1 992 I did extensive work covering the Reshevsky Memorial, spon­ sored by Milbank Tweed, but that work was published only in German by the Deutsche Schachzeitung. Chess Life and other English chess periodicals were scarcely interested. A Prophet is not without honor. except in his own coun­ try. So I am pleased at last to be my own editor. as far as such is convenient!

The original idea had been to present sixty-four games, each presumably illus­ trative of a distinct theme. Then, as the project grew, that simple idea gave way to the present work. Though I originally intended to publish this work in cel­ ebration of my 70th birthday, back in December of 2007, conditions conspired against such efforts. Since then, the project has grown and taken a mind of its own. The additional material has given the present work a volume and depth that I ' m proud to recognize as an autobiographical work. I sought to provide in depth analysis, while avoiding lengthy superficial as­ sessments. I have done my best to present games that will inspire and intrigue. I profusely thank the reader for acknowledging my efforts ! Yours truly, in the service of Chess and Humanity, (Rev.) William J. Lombardy, MA, M . Div. International Grandmaster New York City, Sepember 20 1 l


Understanding Chess

Biographical Sketch

On December 4, 1 93 7, in the midst of the Great Depression, I was born and baptized Roman Catholic in the New York Foundling Hospital, then located in Manhattan's mid-60s. When we later lived at 96 1 Faile St., in Hunt's Point, I had a much larger room to myself than on Beck Street. Conveniently, my fa­ ther, Raymond, used to hide his important records in my room in an old iron box with a small padlock. One day, I was looking for a particular shirt and so turned to the drawer of one of two bureaus. There I discovered that the old man had carelessly left the box unsecured. Curiosity drove me to rummage through the papers in the little box. It was summer of 1 949, so I was still a few months short of my twelfth birth­ day. But I could read quite well. There I found a paper, the contents of which made me wonder if I had perhaps been adopted. My father entered the room, put back the papers and locked the box. The masthead on the first age read "New York Foundling Hospital." Later I raised the subject of adoption, which he calmly ignored. Raymond was a soft-spoken and loving father, so "adoption" wouldn't have changed my love for my parents, even though from that day on, I have always wondered. I have not further investigated the matter, and to this day I do not know for certain. Parenthetically, in December of 2007, I had to travel to Holland for a special chess celebration. I needed a new passport and to expedite the new document I thought it simpler and cheaper to obtain a baptismal certificate to present to the passport bureau. I learned that I could not get the certificate at the church where supposedly I was baptized, but only at the Foundling! In those times, a child was brought a couple of weeks after birth to be baptized in a church. Fur­ thermore, this child would have been born in a hospital and definitely not in the Foundling Hospital, where infants were often abandoned and/or given up for adoption. At age 70, I believed that I finally had evidence of my adoption. But I was really no longer interested in pursuing the matter! Such thoughts at my age have become no more than mere curiosity. I had also learned that my father's name was Lombardi. Because he never got along with his own old man, Raymond had changed his name to Lombardy. Ap­ parently, because my grandfather wanted to remarry and lead a quiet singular life, he placed both my father and his brother Harold in an orphanage. Times were tough long after World War I and money short, especially with the re­ sponsibility of raising two sons. But the boys were lucky - Raymond was raised by his Uncle Carmine Lombardi and Harold was adopted by the Lewins couple, a German-Jewish family. Harold was happy with his new family, but neither Raymond nor Harold ever forgave their biological father. They spoke little of him and never spoke to him again, to the extent that when my grandfather died, Raymond adamantly chose not to pursue his rights of inheritance. He proudly


My System, My Games, My Life

took that decision when our family was truly short of funds. As for me, I had only seen my grandfather some four times - at weddings and funerals. I was quite young then, so there was no conversation except the occasional "Hello" and "Goodbye ! " I have lived about half of m y present 73 years i n the Bronx, New York. O n 8 3 8 Beck Street, w e were three families i n one apartment. Talk about "Angela's Ashes!" In the late 1 950s and early 60s, relatives and others pointed a finger at new Puerto Rican immigrants who shared their tenement apartments with so many relatives. Already a theological student, I used to respond, "So did our family, for we had to take care of each other in hard times ! " Among our family's main recreational facilities was "Tar Beach," the roof above our top floor apartment. On especially torrid nights, we would bring blankets up there to spend the night in relative comfort. Beck Street was a poor to lower middle class tenement area and on the comer of Longwood Avenue was Public School (PS) 39, where I attended kindergarten. It turns out that Colin Powell also later attended that school. My earliest memory at Beck Street, when I was about 31/z years old, was the burial of my Polish grandfather who had died a victim of stomach cancer. In those days, mourners could watch the box lowered into the ground, but because frantic relatives would attempt to jump into the grave, in later years mourners had to depart before the coffin was lowered. Jadek's plain coffin, already lowered into the grave, was strewn with roses thrown by relatives. The spring day was bright and sunny. I recall that after the funeral my mother, Stella (Stasha Banek), held my hand as we climbed to our apartment. Still in progress, the Great Depression had robbed a modest four-family house from my hard-working grandparents. Jadek was a carpenter and Stasha my grandmother had scrubbed floors as a domestic. She had been an indentured servant to her relatives in Poland, ample reason for migrating to the United States. My mother used to tell me that relatives and friends, when given hospitality in tough days, were accustomed in the dead of night to moving out without paying any rent and stealing the new locks on the apartment doors in the bargain! By the end of the 1 950s, both Beck Street a bit farther south and Faile Street in the Hunt's Point section became known by the well-deserved nickname "Fort Apache." The connected roofs of the "Tar Beaches" became the convenient con­ duit for transporting drugs, finding a place for easy sex (consensual or not!) and escaping from the police. World War II never quite addressed social problems. Since a child had to have reached the age of five years by September to enter the first grade (and I would be five in December), repeating "Children's Garden" was in the cards for me. But my parents were unwilling to see me lose an entire year just because I missed the age requirement by some three months; they evidently II

Understanding Chess

thought my quick mind could easily compensate for the three-month deficit from September to December of 1 942. Since I was hardly five-years old, I cannot tell why my parents thought I was any brighter than any other child. Let's suppose that parents always believe their own children to be bright! In June 1 942, Stella and Raymond took me by the hand to St. Athanasius School on Fox Street where the principal, Sister of Charity Marie Estelle, interviewed me. The good nun confirmed my parents' confidence in me and I was accepted to St. A's first grade. Although after my Ordination in 1 967 I did see Sister Estelle at her retirement convent behind St. Joseph 's Hospital in Yonkers, I never asked her what she had seen in me back when I was 5 . But she and other nuns I knew at grammar school were most happy to receive the bless­ ing of a newly-ordained priest whom they had taught! When the war ended in 1 945, my father began earning more and also got pro­ moted in the restaurant division of the Union News Company. He used to boast that his company was on the Big Board for over a 1 00 years. After a while, he avoided this braggadocio when, for promotional opportunities, he was regu­ larly passed over in favor of wet-behind-the-ears employees, without restaurant experience but with a college degree. My father knew every inch of the restaurant business. He supervised the Rain­ bow Room, then among the many first-class hangouts for the rich. But during a depression and a world war, so many like my father had no time for college. Starting on the mid 1 950s and without a degree, he was at a complete disadvan­ tage. His company was bought out by American News, one of whose lawyers was Roy Cohn. Finally at age 62, he had to retire early to take care of my always­ ailing mother. In the wake of having recently been passed over by a kid from Long Island and the company robbing a chunk of his pension, Dad's retirement opened another tragic can of worms. But that's another story. In short, our fam­ ily was always closer to poverty than to middle class. Perhaps Paul Morphy was the only first-class American player who ever knew money. Anyway, moving would dissipate any savings my parents had. But still my mother desperately wanted to move, and perhaps have another child or two. We moved to a separate apartment and, sadly, away from my grandmother. As we left the Beck apartment behind, the 4-flight climb made it very trying for Nana's bad legs and prevented her from going out very often. At Faile, we were on the fifth floor. Needless to say, we did not get to see her very often. St. Athanasius was about midway between Beck and my new building at 96 1 Faile St. So on school days, I always had lunch at Grandma's, who used to look after me and my cousin Barbara because both our parents were working. My father was then a restaurant manager and my mother a beautician, working in a beauty parlor named, coincidentally, "Raymond's." On Wednesday evenings, Nana liked 12

My System, My Games, My Life

to visit the Star movie theater. For a couple of years after the move, I made it my business to get back to Beck and keep Nana company at the movies. I really did not care what was playing. Cousin Barbara, a month older than I, usually came along. We always had a good time. Next door to the movie was a store that sold charlotte russes, a small piece of pound cake topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry housed in a cylindrical cardboard cup. Grandma would buy her kids a russe, which in those days we were allowed to take into the show. But the move to Faile St. was going to change my life on a more profound level. There, I learned about the chess pieces from a friend a year older. Eddie Galernter was a strawberry blond (we called him red! ), medium height, slightly plump and quite an intelligent kid, from a strict orthodox Jewish family. The Galernter family occupied a ground floor apartment facing the street in an adjacent building at the corner of Faile and Aldus. In warm weather, Eddie's mother always handed us a glass of water through her kitchen window. On the other hand, I always helped her with tasks she was religiously unable to do on the Sabbath. Ten years Eddie's senior, his brother had taught him chess. Eddie could not beat his brother, so, looking for an easier opponent, Eddie taught me the game ! He had taught me the wrong technique for the knight move, but either way I was from the start too good for him. By the way, the knight in our games was almost as strong as a queen. I was the better chess player but chess was an excuse for visiting, especially on the Sabbath. We remained friends until we lost contact after, having become more prosperous, people began buying new houses on Long Island. Another friend, Danny Reisner, lived in an apartment on the floor directly above Eddie's place. Danny's family was more prosperous. I recall that after the war Mr. Reisner drove up the street in an Oldsmobile, the first auto on the block. Needless to say, there was no trouble finding a parking spot! There were a num­ ber of synagogues on the next block still on Faile, but I do not believe that any of them were Reform ! The Reisner family was much less religious than Eddie's, but the Reisner's too celebrated by lighting Sabbath candles. The Reisner's also had the first television set on the block. On Tuesday nights I was regularly invited to watch Milton Berle's Texaco Hour ("We are the Texaco men . . . and we'll wow you with an hour full") and on Wednesday evenings I was also invited to watch Bishop Fulton J. Sheen's lecture (sermon). Because I was attending Catholic schools, the Reisner's actually thought I knew something of Catholic theology! To be sure, my knowledge of the Baltimore Catechism did not approach the Bishop's scholarship! Anyway, we were well entertained and instructed by the Bishop. Of course, there was no chess at the Reisner 's. Danny was a strong boy about my size, but far more interested in physical sports than were Eddie or I. With Eddie 13

Understanding Chess

and another friend Jerry Lovinger no longer being competition for me, I soon found a special place to play chess. Incidentally, for the first time in almost twenty years and right after Reykjavik, I heard from Jerry. I had answered his letter but never got a reply. Jerry had seen my name in the papers ! I was about 1 0 when I decided to see if I could get a game at Lion's Square Den Park. So I crossed Faile to PS 75, walked to the end of the playground at Bryan Avenue, crossed that street, turned right to the corner and entered the park where in the afternoon I discovered those I dubbed "the old men in the park." Conserva­ tively, the men ranged in age from their 20s through 70s. Most of them were Jewish, so I not only won a lot of chess games early on, but also learned a fair quantity of Yiddish. "Mach aah moof chal-yee-kah ! ". One day, an old man ap­ proached me, "How come you 're not dressed up?" I was wearing my usual dunga­ rees play clothes. As everyone was dressed up, I was reminded that the Jewish High Holy Days in the fall had arrived. Almost everyone else wore shirt, tie and suit coat. The neighborhood was almost exclusively Jewish. So although I was secluded at St. Athanasius Catholic Grammar School, I had learned something of Judaism. I answered the man's question, "I ' m not Jewish." Fearful of embarrass­ ing me, the man adroitly exclaimed, "You're not Jewish? You look like such a nice Jewish boy ! " Without further formalities, we played chess. Day after day I came to play chess in the park. About a week later, the same old man singled me out to talk and brought me something that would change my life. He took out a marble design notebook from a brown paper bag. "Here," he said, pushing the notebook into my hands, "You will have better use for this than me. I'm finished with it." I thanked him for the book, put it back in the bag and played chess with the man. When I got home, I looked at my book. For a kid I played better than every other kid I knew and quite a few adults. But I had never even heard that there were chess books, let alone seen one. Back in those days, there were five or six newspapers that carried a chess column. Over many, many years the old man had studiously pasted some two thousand of those chess clippings into his book. I had never asked him whether he had actually played over the games in those clippings. I was about to do what he himself may not entirely have done. I was very enthusiastic. I had to decipher the games' code by discovering the ins and outs of descriptive chess notation with a trip to the public library around the corner from my school. Once I had grasped the notation, I began enthusiastically playing over the games with a vengeance ! I would estimate that within a month of receiving the gift, I had played over some 20% of its contents. The process was necessarily slow. After all, I had to set up the pieces for every game on my little chessboard. But the process was becoming more and more a great and exciting pleasure. Without knowing what really was happening to me, I was becoming a better and better player in the process of reviewing the games. Using that book I


My System, My Games, My Life

discovered the power of eidetic imaging. I had improved to become a very pow­ erful player and I was also a thorough student of the game. I have never forgotten the "old man" who kindly gave me that awesome gift. I can still see his dear face, although he never thought to tell me his name. I hope he learned that his gift brought me along to make a special mark on world chess. I am not a general but as a "chess general," I will likely never be forgotten. A strange little magical book with lots of chess diagrams transformed me from a wandering kind to a wunderkind! And that wunderkind taught Bobby Fischer from the time the crew cut, blond-haired boy in a flannel shirt and dungarees was six months short of his twelfth birthday. That I was Bobby's only chess teacher from that time, and right through Reykjavik, is a fact. Some may not like hearing this surprising news, but I assume that they will get over the shock. I don't know who taught the Byrne brothers, for example, but it was not Jack Collins. The Byrne brothers were tutored at the Manhattan Chess Club and other chess haunts around New York City, as was I, Bobby and Raymond Weinstein. Thus Spake Zarathustra!


Understanding Chess

My System: Learning Chess with New Ideas

This is a 1 985 Lombardy composition with "White to play and win" See solution on page 308. At a time when the Manhattan Chess C lub was suffering economically, the venerable Fan Adams (a descendant of John Adams) held me responsible for ferreting him out of his lair, where he was ordinarily lying in wait. As vice­ president but realistically as behind-the-scenes president of the Manhattan Chess Club, the man, in a generous mood, personally put up $ 1 200 so that the club could replace its worn carpeting at the Carnegie Hall location. As a Harvard country lawyer, he had devised a chattel mortgage against a trophy sculptured and donated to the Club by the great artist Man Ray. By that contract, if the club did not pay off the loan in time, then the club would forfeit the invaluable trophy to the wily Adams. Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "A country man between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats ! " Fortunately the club got an all too brief reprieve. For i n the person o f Jerzy Kosinski, a knight in shining armor rode to the rescue. With absolutely no urging from me, and at the instance of Bette Deitchman, Jerzy wrote a check to Adams for $ 1 300 which specifically included a hundred dollars interest on the devious loan. Before the club's board meeting when the chattel mortgage was to be enforced (a scene right out of a Charlie Chaplin movie ! ), Bette requested "privilege of membership" to speak before the board. I was the only other person besides herself who, only after speaking with her directly before the meeting, knew of the contents of the announcement. The subtly planned rescue of the trophy ! When she announced her topic, Adams turned scarlet. Rather than collecting his prize as planned, he had instead been caught red-handed. His unearned dignity had been tilted. In his paranoid mind he had held me personally responsible for his well-deserved embarrassment. Frankly, I would have enjoyed taking credit for the deed, but in reality I had nothing to do with the repayment, except of course being informed of the issue before the board meeting.


My System, My Games, My Life

After the Manhattan was ousted in the mid- l 990s from residence in the so-called Chess in the Schools Foundation building on restaurant row, the club, as the oldest true chess institution in the country essentially closed its doors. The club was last seen at the New Yorker Hotel. But before the club escaped restaurant row, Adams, Cullman and company sold off the most valuable and central parts of the club's library to the highest bidding collectors. Adams put forth the excuse that the club had to "move or pay rent! " Even as an outsider usurper, he certainly knew that the institution had continually experienced subsidy and was worthy of continual support. But the rapacious Chess in the Schools Foundation had other ideas that included sacrificing the club. Cullman was known to have supported the Metropolitan Opera. If that Opera failed in its rental, would Cullman have ousted the opera from Lincoln Center? The furor that would have ensued would have embarrassed him and brought both him and Philip Morris into total disrepute ! But chess and its revered institutions meant nothing to outsiders such as Adams, Cullman and Kossack. Kossack did temporarily get stuck with the rent bill for a few short years. But after all, as compensation, he still retains much of the invaluable artifacts of the club ! Those outsiders were thwarting my position as a chess teacher, from which I depended for my living. When in the early 90s the A merican C h e s s Foundation was tragically commandeered by Fan Adams (who pretended to be fabulously wealthy but was merely rich ! ) and Philip Morris scion Lewis B. Cullman, the ACF name was changed to The Chess-in-the-Schools (CITS) Foundation. After all, in America everybody loves kids and so many are scammed into donating funds for our glorious kids, who then become the worthy cause ! Chess at the top level was almost nil and a matter mostly to be ignored by the new CITS Foundation, which became a sub-culture in funding the teaching of chess to kids by amateurish teachers who were also amateurish players. I recall that in those years not a single master had been engaged as teacher in the program, until the arrival from California of one Dennis Monokroussos, who planned to study for his doctorate in philosophy at Fordham University. Soon enough Dennis decided exclusively to work in chess. That activity must have been attractively profitable. But at least he deserved his position as one competent in education. I presume that I was not adequately qualified to teach in the foundation's exclusive program. A fter all, the moneyed members of the foundation knew who was qualified. For the moneyed class is endowed with special knowledge in order to recognize ability. As the match for the world championship opened at Hotel Macklowe, I noticed that Bruce Pandolfini was among the commentators explaining the match. I enquired of Field's staff-of-one, Robert Burkett "Why was not a top Grandmaster engaged for this position, one who can both entertain and ably explain the course 17

Understanding Chess

of the games to the public?" Burkett's wily put-off was, "We owe the foundation." Were I slightly more intelligent, I suppose I would have better interpreted his answer. Instead I answered, "I understand that Ted (Field, the sponsor of the match to the tune of a couple of million ! ) also directly contributed a quarter of a million to the American Chess Foundation (qua Manhattan Chess Club School, of which Adams was the current president) and $ 1 5,000 to the Manhattan Chess Club, of which Adams was vice-president and Pandolfini the club's manager! So who owes whom a favor?" Burkett did not appreciate the detailed deflation of his pretext. An habitually ignorant man in power is habitually angered at instruction received from one considered inferior. I truly had no further civil or uncivil words for him anyway and kept any conversation with him to a minimum. The problem with Burkett during the match obviously continued. By the time Field had come to New York 1 6 years after Reykjavik, chess teaching as a business was securely entrenched and in the hands of two groups with a third in reserve and fading. In those days, I did not know that I was, by a goodly number of the known teachers, already relegated to the status of a living myth. For many years previously, my name was never given to anyone who requested a chess teacher. Only a very close friend would recommend me, because he knew I was not yet among the dearly departed. Only one teacher at the Manhattan before the club's extinction sent me one of his students, perhaps reminiscent of Carmine Nigro's introducing me to Fischer. Only this time I was paid a modest sum. That teacher was chess master, film expert of the oldies but goodies, amateur magician and aspiring intellectual Nicholas Conticello. My new student took only ten lessons at $40 per lesson of over two hours, but with a kindly voluntary bonus for added time spent. What a piker I must have seemed to be, when other professional teachers demanded more than $50 per hour! After those lessons, the new student's official rating rose from about 1 600 to some 2000 ! That man now makes a prosperous living teaching chess . . . The first black, but not native-born, American Grandmaster, Maurice Ashley, was also soon invited to teach by the Chess in the Schools Foundation. Bette Deitchman and I had conspired to push Fan Adams (then the new president of the ACF) into hiring Ashley. Ashley probably still believes he got in the door purely as a result of his talents. Sometime after his appointment, I joined with manager Russ Garber and Maurice in an after-hours "chess club midnight snack" at a local diner across the street from the Carnegie Deli. I curiously asked Maurice "Now that you are teaching in the ACF's Harlem Program, what do you personally bring to the teaching program besides your current title of chess master?" He answered glibly, "I am a role model to the (black) Harlem kids". "How are you, as so young and inexperienced 18

My System, My Games, My Life

a person, a role model?" I persisted. His answer astonished me, "I graduated college." "Do you have any other credentials to add to substantiate your person as role model? After all, those educationally deprived kids need a lot more from a teacher than the fact that their teacher graduated from college," I pressed. "No, that is enough," answered Maurice quite directly. He seemed adverse to my line of questioning. I suppose that I did not fully grasp the pervasive nature of his answer. I still do not feel a title and a college degree from any kind of institution necessarily adds up to a role model. I believe that kids, in requiring massive learning, need a role model with the greatest amount of general knowledge, high learning, superior ethics, genuine expertise in the specific subj ect taught and a dedicated personality! All that goes far beyond merely being a college graduate, which is far and away overestimated in American society. The dubious policies of the ACF continued. Parenthetically, Ashley was accepted by the "in" crowd and so lectured at the 1 990 Kasparov-Karpov match, in preference to many competent Grandmasters whom I, as technical advisor, had recommended. I believe Bob Burkett and Fan Adams chatted in the same lavatory. This is not a volume exclusively concerned with chess instruction. Yet my main thesis is the presentation of my theory on how to efficiently and gradually learn chess. A coach and or teacher may at times come in handy, but I emphasize that first a prospective sojourner of the inaptly named royal game should raise his antenna patiently towards how properly to play and understand the facets of the game independently of high-sounding lectures and classes. These too may become valuable later. But in my view, true learning is better grasped through the serious efforts of the independent mind storing vital information. This learning task cannot be done in a classroom where only a few ideas are treated. As any professor knows, the real learning takes place after class when the student pours over those few professorial ideas and then adds his own research and massive sessions of reading to those encouraging bits of knowledge ! There is much more to be added to the above thoughts, but please do start the learning process independently from any and all other distractions! For a time I taught talented youths "First get rich and later play chess, for then with the ability to pay the rent you will be able to play chess to your heart's content! " But upon deeper reflection I discarded this false teaching, for wealth does not guarantee passion and is at times guided by arrogance. When passion is a permanent fixture in one's psyche, wealth can cautiously be sought. Knowledge is a form of wealth as well, but the distinctions are often hard to discern. Fortunately, the acquisition of knowledge does not depend on material. No great chess player starts out wealthy. Some of these even expand 19

Understanding Chess

their intellects beyond chess ! Acute learning gained in one field compliments and sharpens the pursuit of knowledge in other fields. The brain delights in as­ sisting towards the betterment of both. Doing one and only one task makes the mind dull. This is at the heart of my theory. On Teaching T heory and Method

Out of whole cloth every now and then certain people dream up new interpreta­ tions of old principles. I propose to examine a handful of such principles, to be digested cum granum salum, or not at all. For example, I have heard people advance the doctrine "play with your pieces, not with your pawns ! " The world of chess teaching is replete with such cliches that are devoid of meaning and do nothing to advance one's skills in the long term. Moreover, I consider these jingles to fall under the category of what I call. . . False Principles

Permanent Weaknesses

There is always talk by teachers who point to a pawn or a square as a permanent weakness. The emphasis on permanent is in fact a euphemism for it suggests that in chess, as in life, these is such a thing as something permanent. But in fact, all weaknesses can be improved or transformed. Further, the advocates of perma­ nent weaknesses disregard the varying degrees between short-term and long­ term strengths and weaknesses. The experienced player will learn to distinguish which weaknesses to avoid and which to endure. Prophylaxis

In 1 929 Aron Nimzovich published Chess Praxis, which outlined his career and the sum of his teachings. The concept of prophylaxis was also introduced then. It became simply known as a kind of waiting plan, by which one patiently prevents the opponent's plan. Advancing the idea that by being flexible in one's ambitions we are more adept at avoiding being overrun by our opponent's, and only then pouncing on their mistakes. Indeed prophylaxis does involve watching for mis­ takes, but the idea is less simple than that casual reference. I interpret prophylaxis as a tool by which one watches for the opportunity to further unify the structure, conformed by pawns and pieces, that contains the seeds for active play and positional nuances. Such as opportunities for sacri­ fices, the ownership and "nursing" of the center. It is yet another tool for the improvement of the placement of pieces and pawns towards intertwined coop­ eration and the development of future strategy. Such Ideas are thus borne in the efficient thinking of every player. This definition vitalizes the concept of pro­ phylaxis.


My System, My Games, My Life

Sadly, Nimzovich died at 48, far too young for a chance to expand on his thinking and summarize that thinking into a true system, for his first work (My System, 1 925) can hardly be considered a "system," but rather a collection of interesting games in which Dr. Nimzo offers advice on strategy and how to recognize and avoid mistakes. Yet his thoughts provided a foundation towards advancing chess strat­ egy, even to my recommendation of the super-version of Fischer Random Chess! Positional Play

At the Manhattan Chess Club, masters often referred to the great Reshevsky as a positional player, meaning a player who plays safe, avoids sharp tactics and in a boring display applies strategies. There arose the false dichotomy of the posi­ tional versus tactical. Furthermore, the tactician was considered the brilliant innovator to be feared by all. But Reshevsky was neither a tactician nor a posi­ tional player. He was a complete player who combined and applied pertinent principles with flawless execution. Reshevsky knew how to wait, and how and when to advance. On the other hand, many tacticians I- knew were really insecure. In this mental state, they gambled on so-called sharp play and the memorization of gambit openings in order to bamboozle an opponent, lest a game transform to quiet positional play. In order to break away from such dogmatic beliefs, I pro­ pose the following all-encompassing yardstick for players to use: Definition of sound strategy: The cQoperation of pieces and pawns in such a manner that a player weds his play to centralization, domination and all the strategic and tactical tools joined efficiently to basic principles. Basic Principles

There are principles known as basic principles. These will be key throughout the book. Development: Move as few pawns as possible, only those moves needed to re­

lease pieces for effective mobilization (development). Owning the center: Al­ ways focus on gaining ownership of the central squares, d4, d5, e4, e5, along with the peripheral squares surrounding the center. Recall that "ownership" is not signified by mere occupation.

Mobilization: In classical, so-called open games, one develops (mobilizes) knights before bishops. A bishop is a long-range and speedier piece and allows the slower knight a head start to keep pace in the race for mobilization by devel­ oping first. The bishop, in fact, may already be mobilized at its initial square. Trading pieces: There are two acts that irreversibly alter the course of a game: moving a pawn or trading a piece. Trading a piece provides an illusion that one piece for another is an even trade. There is no such thing as an even trade ! The point-count system says that two opposing knights, for example, are worth three


Understanding Chess

points each. But when one examines the possibility of such a trade, one will have to consider which of these holds the stronger post and thus choose to pursue a "good" trade or avoid a "bad" one. Furthermore, one knight may be strategically posted rather well (better than the enemy knight that proposes the trade) but it's not always best to get rid of the "better" knight by way of an "even" trade, since other factors may (and should) come into consideration. Such a trade may solve the problem of the presence of the oppressive knight but the trade might give way to an uninvited guest that may not be so easily remedied by a trade (such as protected passed pawn likely to stare down the opponents face for the remainder of the game or even the presence of another piece to replace the absent knight, such as a centralized queen). Lastly, very often players are tempted to trade pawns. There are no automatic trades, let alone any automatic pawn trades. So one must use (good) judgment in these decisions since, as already noted, any trade of any kind alters the course of the game permanently. Domination: The ultimate goal in chess. We seek to dominate, to restrict the

movement or even potential of our opponent's pieces by maximizing the utility of our own.

Proximity promotion: This helps us especially to define our endgame prospects.

Proximity promotion occurs when we have established a situation whereby one or more of our pawns are closer to promotion than any of our opponents' . Keep in mind that proximity promotion will often apply in the middle game.

The king: The king is a strong piece, use it prudently, but use it from the start of a game to its conclusion. In the endgame especially, the king should head to­ wards the center! The king is a sturdy but relatively slow piece and deserves greater opportunity for choice when properly posted in and around the central squares. Castling: As a frequently occurring and desirable maneuver, castling presents subtle dangers. The problems posed by the decision to castle are much misun­ derstood and thereby underrated. The old principle, enunciated by Capablanca, Tarrasch and Nimzovich, still stands unchallenged. It is "(a) Castle if you must; (b) Castle if you so desire; but (c) Do not castle simply because you can ! "

The above traditional advice i s deviously complex. Because the decision i s com­ plex, some teachers prefer to patronize the student. A prominent writer once advised in one of his chess books, "Castle early and often ! " This ill-conceived advice is tantamount to advising the reader "Rush to castle so that one does not have to expend time in thought! " Such advice implicitly suggests, "No matter, even if one castles into a slaughter, perhaps the opponent may not play the attack well enough to win ! ".


My System, My Games, My Life

So, my new advice on castling: it is castling is to be considered a waste of time wrongly expended when there is almost always something more important to achieve! Thus castling is a passive move that nurtures the hope of king safety. I believe that a player who learns how and when to delay castling will certainly improve his/her play. Very often that cherished hope of safety is ill founded. I therefore believe that the maneuver of castling is the most dangerous of all moves and the decision thus requires more attention to delicate judgment! Not only should one not rush to castle, but should delay that passive maneuver for as long as good judgment relates that there are more urgent, if only slightly better, tasks to accomplish. Frivolous castling will almost never supply strategi­ cally or tactical needs ! Sometimes the king is safer castled, sometimes not! Sometimes the castling rook is more effectively mobilized, sometimes less ef­ fectively, a possible hindrance to other pieces or even not at all effectively mobi­ lized. The player most likely to discover which is correct will be the player who reflects on the requirements of a position without surrendering to his impulses. Eidetic Imagery

At age 1 3 , Bobby Fischer stated: "I think my subconscious mind is working on chess all the time - even when I ' m not playing br studying." Evans surely polished up this quote for his own readers since Bobby had no notion of terms such as the "subconscious mind." But Bobby did know that his mind was indeed working overtime on chess. We spent hours in our sessions, simply playing over quality games. In those days, most of the quality games came from the Soviet magazine Shakhmatny Bulletin by virtue of our access to the Soviet-owned bookstore "Four Continents" and the Manhattan Chess Club li­ brary. After we began our long and complicated association, out of the blue sky he said, "I 'm gonna be world champ! " So be it! I tried to instill in Bobby the secret of my own speedy rise. Eidetic Imagery and Total Immersion. I could not have put that secret to better use myself! Now at last Bobby and Larry are free to privately discuss the issue that seemed so mysterious. When I was a young master, a Manhattan Chess Club member asked, "How do you think so fast? " I didn't have the foggiest idea. All I knew was that I was often making good moves. I was winning games without the ability to reason why. Justly famous for Pawn Power in Chess, International Master and scholar Hans Kmoch contributed to the quest for pinpointing the nature of chess thinking when he said "A master makes his moves through his fingers ! " Years later, I derived a conclusion from this seemingly flippant remark.


Understanding Chess

Players who expect or attribute their full success to the exclusive application of conscious level thinking are wasting their time. The answer lies in the level be­ low the conscious, where the brain accumulates and stores information, thoughts and ideas. The sum total stored is more vast than we can know. We believe that we make a conscious decision, when in fact it is the subconscious pulling the strings. Conversely, the less quality elements stored the more defective the results. Per­ haps the result is no thought produced at all. In other words, little or no quality information stored produces imperfect or even most defective results. Defec­ tive matter stored equals defective thinking. As a consequence, we fumble around or offer the excuse of lapse of memory. In forming a body of knowledge, the mind stores multiple facts, as we now can guess. Recall that facts are almost always subject to correction or betterment. Adding elements is part of the process of correction. Updating knowledge con­ stantly makes for more accurate facts stored in the brain for future use. Reading, reading, reading! For chess players this means: regular review of games, study and practice. Such information stored in the subconscious level is needed to feed the conscious level. For example, when a person is walking, that person walks without consciously thinking about walking. The mind is still working, but seemingly without effort. Practice facilitates the mind's work via repetition. We are reminded of the Loyolan phrase "repetition is the mother of study! " I believe this so-called reflex thinking is the foundation for thought and the formation of any body of knowledge. Repetition, repetition, repetition ! We commonly hear of a mathematicians with minds filled with figures, and sud­ denly via a brain storm seem to instantly solve a problem. Similarly, a musician has music on his mind. He plays an instrument daily, studies sheets of music, and listens to all sorts of music. And one day he somehow magically composes a masterpiece or hit tune. These examples imply more than hours of practice and a conscious effort to improve. I attribute such phenomenon to the power of eidetic imagery. Hopefully to clarify the idea I present the following as a pertinent definition. Eidetic, derived from the Greek, means structure. Therefore, Eidetic Imagery is the process by which the brain absorbs, stores and later sorts information re­ ceived visually for use of its owner. It has been estimated that 60% of the mate­ rial stored in the brain is done so visually. However, there are other eidetic forces at work that include audio, tactile and gustatory. Eidetic Imagery is not to be equated with photographic memory, which depends on an ability to instantly re­ call or reproduce with startling accuracy, clarity, and vividness.


My System, My Games, My Life Eidetic Imagery in Action

Amateurs invariably ask me, "Do you play blindfold chess?" The answer has been and still is "Yes." In fact, every player from the competent amateur and up plays blindfold chess. Playing without concrete or conscious sight of the board is absolutely necessary to achieving any thoughtful objective in the play of a game. Whether or not one knows or accepts this idea, blindfold play is intrinsic to playing chess, and so for all other mental action. In fact, the use of the subcon­ scious mind's eye is part of the foundation of all thought processes pertaining to any subject. Any given position over the board is merely a physical representa­ tion of what the mind had already conceived of and pursued. A player somehow conceives of an idea. The player then commands the mind's eye through use of the imagination as a necessary tool to conjure up a picture of the concept. Then, that picture ultimately becomes a possible objective in the game in progress. Now concrete analysis takes place from the reference point on the board to determine whether the pictured concept can be concretely achieved. One must decide which picture to accept and which to reject. Given the time limit of any game one must practice decision-making in order to swiftly accept pictures that relate to the sought-after reference point and reject those that don't. Analysis is not chess. It is an emergency condition by which we solve immediate problems during a game of chess. Sometimes there are long combi­ nations that require exquisite analytical processes, but those kinds of games are rare in the annals of chess. Analysis is intended to reach conclusions. But how do we know what conclusion to steer toward? Our abilities will largely depend on the information we've stored over our lifetimes. The point is analysis is over­ rated. It is merely a thought assistant, not a thought creator. Eidetic Training: Total Immersion

Suppose we plan to acquire a language other than our native tongue. Dutifully we repeat words and phrases as often as necessary to retain the knowledge of the chosen words and phrases now on the tip of the tongue. For a more profound knowledge of the new language we read its literature. We also listen to tapes and/or attend lectures. We practice speaking whenever opportunity arises. We go to places where the language is present in every way. We also look at pictures and generally acquaint ourselves with the culture of land(s) where the language is used. In short, all sorts of repetition take place. By now we can see that these building blocks, combining various forms of knowledge, reinforce our acquain­ tance with the subject we wish to master. The various levels at which we practice repetition engage all our senses and give way to a process of total immersion. Knowledge of the language is processed in at least four ways: visually, aurally, tactilely and orally. For the purpose of the learning process, we may consider chess as a language. We learn chess best when using all the avenues mentioned. This is total immersion. Education in any field is benefited powerfully by total 25

Understanding Chess

immersion. The teaching of languages is a key example of its use. So we may conclude that total immersion is the ideal instrument for maximizing the eidetic imagery process. The Groundwork: Eidetics for Children

In 1 976 I wrote Chess for Children: Step by Step. My co-author was Bette Marshall who did the wonderful photographs. Bette was the spouse of Paul G. Marshall, Fischer's main attorney during the 1 972 Spassky-Fischer match. I wrote the book with the sole purpose of introducing the game to children as simply as possible. The work was translated into Danish and German and in the latter was acclaimed as "The Best Children's Book" ( ! ). Back on U.S. shores, a couple of chess teachers in Brooklyn schools also used my book as a background for teaching kids. How does a family teach its children? Clearly a child within the standard family is unlikely to be totally immersed in any subject, save - in the modem techno­ logical world - the useless, constant watching of television. The first step to­ ward better learning is the limitation of television watching. There also exists another serious problem in teaching chess to children. Be­ sides being a valid subject of and for learning, chess is also a game of the mind. As such, competition between children is inevitable. Before a child can appreci­ ate his ability to learn chess as a legitimate disciple, that child must be assisted in overcoming the emotion of embarrassment at losing a game. Losing a game has traditionally been thought a sign of defective intelligence. But this is just not so! Once the unwarranted embarrassment is defeated, the true process of learn­ ing may start. Then total immersion may be accomplished by the play of rapid chess a few hours a month. Children usually enjoy rapid chess and so in that way are participants in the Ei­ detic Imagery process through the pleasant practice of rapid chess with associ­ ates. Finally, the adult must endeavor to invent ways for making the subject pal­ atable to the child. However, the teacher must always be alert since patronizing the child not only does not educate but actually retards education. Whoever thinks to teach the child must himself be educated and always continuing the process of self-education. The educator must be proficient in his field and to do so must always strive to increase his knowledge of the subject and associated subjects. One of such as­ sociated subject is the procurement and advancement of pedagogical skills. For­ mal educators are expected to be minimally certified. Parents and other educa­ tors who even remotely assume the education of the child must find ways to certify themselves through a personally devised system and process of self­ education. In so many fields, but especially in chess, teachers do not have to prove their expertise through formal certification. Chess teachers frequently 26

My System, My Games, My Life

claim expertise and even mastery of the subject, when in fact they know little or nothing. A chess teacher once excused his lack of expertise by saying to me, "One does not have to be a Grandmaster to teach chess." I replied, "Really? But being a Grandmaster certainly helps ! " Finally, i t is the responsibility o f the parent about t o place h i s child into the care of the chess teacher to investigate whether or not that proposed chess teacher actually possesses the expertise claimed. A nice personality is endemic to the role of the teacher, but a charming personality without expertise is not a chess teacher at all.


Understanding Chess


while Collins remained Collins. I can­ not imagine even today that anyone could consider that Collins had the strength or knowledge to coach the champion that Bobby already was by the time he reached the Collins apart­ ment! Somehow the myth of Collins's professorial skills persists.

( 1 ) Jack Collins - Lombardy Practice Game New York, July 1 953 Sicilian Defense [B58] For the latest HBO mythological film

Bobby Fischer Against the World, that

company wanted to interview me gratis. "How nice," I mused, "a corpo­ ration only in it for profit and with a million dollar budget thinks to do with­ out spending a dime to interview me who knows the subject." Perhaps HBO feared the unforeseen that I might re­ veal and which views HBO would rather decline to publish. Without access to appropriate knowledge, HBO created new myths based on its own precon­ ceptions.

Back then because Collins was in a wheelchair, I did not desire to burst his bubble. Then America was, and even today is, poorly informed of chess and its history. Some journalists have and still promote chess history by copy­ ing and reporting previous gratuitous assertions . With my misplaced sympathy for Collins gone, I attempt to correct and inform. In determining not to interview me, HBO got some crucial detai ls wrong. That group was tempted to re­ peat what they saw as facts derived and repeated from erroneous sources. Per­ haps HBO does not regard itself as hav­ ing journalistic inclinations, so that organization does not accept an obli­ gation to check facts before reporting.

HBO also revived old myths, one of which that Jack Collins was Bobby's teacher. Collins was neither mine, nor the Byrne B rothers ' , nor Ray Weinstein's nor Bobby's teacher. I had recommended to Collins that the in­ clusion of Cohen in My Seven Chess Prodigies was inappropriate. Although I did him the favor of writing the Intro­ duction to Prodigies, he rejected my suggestion. I also wrote the Lombardy chapter, in which I state that Collins was my friend and mentor but not my teacher. I again stated this at the lun­ cheon of the Collins induction to the chess Hall of Fame at Los Angeles in 1 99 1 .

As a result of its play-for-profit policy, HBO also impugns history and my per­ son and surely distorts other ideas. This is another long story. One fact is "I was there and most who speak were not." All anyone can do is recognize the ob­ ligation, relate the history observed and work in the framework of obligation. We then all pass on to eternity, hope­ fully without harming our fellows !

I had joined the Manhattan Chess Club when I was almost 1 4. By the time I was 1 7, I was a mature knowledgeable player. As the years progressed, so did my chess powers and education. Mean-

In Curag7 18.b5 4)c4?

An unnecessary ploy that further un­ dermines Black's pawn structure. Af­ ter this I believe White has a winning position, which to say the least, I did not handle perfectly. I was so far ahead on the clock that I presumed to win on time instead of on the board itself.

2 9 . �d4 ! ± was the last chance for White to retain anything resembling an edge.

1 8 . . . Ad7 ! ? 1 9 . b x c 6 A x c 6 2 0 . 4Jb 5 .ll x b5 2 1 . A x b 5 § h8 2 2 . § ec l § c8 23.°'i'ii'f5 °'i'ii'e 6 24 .Ad3 ±

Black misses his golden opportunity:

27 ... gxf3 28.gxf3 cxd5 29.§.xd5?

29 . . . Ag4 30.f4 'l!/b2+?

30 . . . § x d 5 ! 3 1 . � x d 5 § d8 3 2 . �c4 �b2+ 33. 'i!tgl §d2 + .

1 9 . A x c4 d x c4 2 0 . b x c 6 b x c 6 21.4)a4! h5

3 1 . \t>gt Af3

Cohen's flag was just about to fall. I was surprised he was able to play as many moves as he did! However, at this point the tides are again turning in my favor. 3 1 . . .Ah3 32.§e2 �al + 33 .�h2

Sam rightly placed all his hopes in at­ tacking the king. What choice did he have? 2 2 . 4) c 5 Ac8 2 3 . .£i f 3 24. 'l!/ x c4 'l!/f6 25.§.bdl?!

4) g4

A g 4 ! 3 4 . § g 5 + ( 3 4 . § e d 2 ? .lH3 3 5 . � d4 + ! � x d4 3 6 . § 5 x d4 § x d4! 37.exd4 § e l 38.�h3 § h l + 39.§h2 Ag4+ 40.�g2 §al 4 1 .a4 § d l 42.�f2 § x d4 4 3 . �e 3 § c4 + ) 3 4 . . . 'i!tf8 35.�b4! § e7 36. § d2 ±

I first wanted to centralize my rooks and only then proceed with the advance of the center pawns. But this seemingly natural move allows B lack enough time to enter some exciting tactical 33

Understanding Chess


Imagine that I reached a position where I was forced to play an only move. My play was not very clever. Had Cohen drawn this game, would he still have lodged a protest?

3 7 . . . 'iii b 6! 3 8 . ili'g S + 'iii f6 3 9 . 'lii c S + 'iii d6 4 0 . 'lii g S + = ( 4 0 . g x f4 'iii x c 5 4 1 .4Jxc5 § d2 4 2 . l'1 f2 § d l + 43.'it>g2 'it>d6 + )

32 ... \t'f8 33.'ll'/ fl f6?

33 . . . .ilg4! It's hard to imagine that the pawn plus means much here. The game remains terribly complicated. 34.'ll'/ xf31

With this I did not heave a sigh of re­ lief, but should have. The capture of the bishop was the third "only move," but it allowed me to recover. Now Black's king is too exposed. I had to consider myself fortunate that Cohen still had to make 1 6 more moves to satisfy the time control.

I suppose Cohen had no time on the clock to consider his ultimate goal, so he wrongly decided to avoid perpetual c h e c k . However, after 4 1 . . . 'lii f7 , 42.'iii e 4+ 'iii e 6 43.4Je5 ! +- . 42 . .£1 xf4! §e7

42 . . . § x e 3 4 3 . § d l + 'it>c6 44 . § c l + l'1 c 3 4 5 . 'lii e 4 + 'it>c7 4 6 . 4Je6+ 'it>c8 4 7 . l'1 x c 3 + 'lii x c 3 4 8 . ili'a 8 + 'it>d7 49. 'lii d S+ 'it>e7 5 0 . ili'xd8+ ( 5 0 . 4Jxd8 ili'xg3+ 5 1 .'it>fU and I believe in this

34 ... fx g5 35.'ll'/ xh51?

I decided not to make matters easier for Black by immediately weakening my pawns. But it would also have been good enough to play 3 5 . fxgS+ 'it>g8

variation Black has a problem draw)

50 . . . �xe6 5 1 .ili'e8+ 'it>d5 5 2 . ili'd7 + �e4 5 3 . 'lii g 4+ 'it>d5 5 4 . 'lii d l + 'it>c5 5 5 . �f2 ±

36.4Je4 'iiie S 37.4Jf6+ �g7 38.4Jxe8+ § xe8 39.'liif4 ± . 35 ...gxf4 36.§fll \t'e7 37 . .£id3?1

4 3 . 'll'/ d 3 + \t'c7 44 . .£i d 5 + § x d 5 45.'ll'/ xd5 'll'/ c 6 46.'ll'/ x c6+! \t' x c6 47.§f6+ Black forfeited on time . l ­ o T h e game could have continued 47 . . . 'it>b7 48. 'it>f2 § c7 4 9 . g4 l'1 c 2 + 5 0 . 'it>f3 l'1 x a 2 5 1 . g S a S 5 2 . g6 § a l 5 3 .'it>g2 § a4 5 4 . § f4 § a 2 + 5 5 . 'it>f3 § a l 56.g7 §gl 57.l'1g4 +- .

Securing the knight both to defend and to attack. But a quick win is better! "Always check it might be mate ! " 3 7 . 'lii h 7 + ! �d6 3 8 . 4Jb 7 + 'it> c 6 3 9 . 4Ja 5 + ! + - ( 3 9 . 4J x d 8 + § x d8 40. 'lii e 4+ +- )

S.S. Cohen overstepped the time limit in a lost position. But old Sam had an

37 . . . 'll'/ g7?


My System, My Games, My Life

ace up his sleeve! During play he had sent a relative to the director to pro­ test the game on the grounds that I had consulted chess material during the game. Pretty clever. He played the game out in case he might beat an in­ experienced 1 5-year-old. And should he finally lose, he then announced his protest.

wondered whether Norman knew I was occupied in the Committee Room and nevertheless started my clock. We were quite friendly. I knew Norman not only from Manhattan and Marshall Chess Club circles but also from the West Orange Log Cabin Chess Club hosted by E. Forry Laucks. Norman was a faithful member of the Log Cabin where Weaver W. Adams was also a Laucks' devotee. Adams had written an interesting book titled White to Play and Win. But he also recommended the Albin Counter Gambit as a tool against the Queen 's Gambit, so of course Norman essayed that defense.

The matter was not settled until the last round ( 1 3 ) was starting. Fortunately for me a reliable witness with integrity came suddenly to my defense. This dis­ tinguished witness could not be chal­ lenged. Grandmaster Arthur Dake said that I was not at all cheating and that I should not be penalized simply because I did not know the rule. At the end of the game, I had told the referee who informed me of the protest that I was looking up the Giuoco Piano in my 6th edition of M C O Modern Chess

He was surprised to discover that I knew quite a bit about that defense as well. The Manhattan Chess Club's li­ brary was the culprit. The thirty or so minutes I had lost became meaningless. A fter s e e i n g h i m s e l f completely outplayed in the opening, Norman fell into an ending in which he had a lone knight against my e-, f-, g-, and h­ pawns, all soundly connected. Winning that game gave me the score 81/z-41/z. In my first U.S. Open I had actually won a prize. Some of the grand sum of $20 went for gas money for a wonderful car ride h o m e . Master Edgar T. McCormick chauffeured four masters back to New York. Jerry Donovan, Eliot Hearst, and Edmar Mednis were the others.


Openings .

I had lost a strange variation to Edmar Mednis in the previous round and by perusing MCO I found that I was actu­ ally following move-for-move the game Rossolimo-O ' Kelly. The latter lost the same way as I had. Happily for me, Dake, whose game was next to mine with Cohen, had looked over my shoulder in effect to verify my claim. I believe he wanted to be sure I was not looking up the opening in my game in progress. He, like myself, had no idea ofthe protest about to be lodged. He sim­ ply expected me to be on the up and up.

By the end of his career, Edgar had competed in forty U.S. Opens, as well as many other events. Edgar had gradu­ ated Princeton but had no easy life. He worked for a firm that had acquired part of the obligation to pay Edgar's pension at his enforced "retirement." Edgar was among the few known "gays"

By the time the committee had denied Cohen's protest, I had lost more than a half-hour on my clock. I had been paired as White with International Mas­ ter Norman T. Whitaker. Years later, I 35

Understanding Chess

in the chess community. Nobody ever thought ill of that. Edgar shunned things crude. At off-color conversa­ tions, he blushed, contradicting the generally ignorant evaluation of"gays" towards matters sexual. He always treated me with consummate respect and so through the years we were friendly. When he died, I was honored to deliver the eulogy at the service memorializing his presence in the chess world. At that service were about 250 people, many distinguished per­ sonages.

1 0. . .0-0 1 1.b4 � xe2+

At first, the computer engine opined that the position is equal ! But as the following variations may illustrate, there is much play for White in case of Black's capture on a3 : 1 1 . . .i;'rxa3?! 1 2 . 4:\xd4 ( 1 2 . .ll x d4!? c x d4 1 3 . 4Jb5 i;'ra4 1 4 . c 4 i;'r x d l 1 5 . .§ fx d l .§ d8 1 6.4Jbxd4. White has regained the lost

material while still maintaining domi­ nation over the center. If the reader is interested in seeing how this position might play out, I offer the following variation: 16 . . . .lld7 17.f4 e5 18.4Jc2

(3) Lombardy - Albert Sandrin U.S. Open New Orleans, August 1 954 Closed Sicilian [B24]

.llg4 1 9.�f2 exf4 20.gxf4 .§ db8 2 1 .b5 .llf6 22 . .llf3 .lld7 23 .4Je3 .lle6 24.d4 .ll h 4+ 2 5 . "1tg 2 .§ d8 2 6 . e 5 ± and

White 's massive pawn center and Black's weak queenside pawns guaran­ tee a c l ear advantage for White . )

-Neither Mednis, Saidy, Hearst nor I did very well at the 1 954 U.S. Open in New Orleans. Mednis, Saidy and I were recognized as the new wave of talent. Fischer was not yet on the scene but was soon to appear.

1 2 . . . i;'rxc3 1 3 . 4Jb5 i;'rf6 1 4 . bxc5 d5 1 5 . i;'rd 2 1 6 . 4Jc7 .§ b8 4J c 6 1 7 . exd5 +- . 1 2 . � x e 2 c x b4 1 3 . a x b4 *c7 14.c4 b6 1 5 . *b3 Ad7 16. §,fcl §ad8 17.d4 f5 18.f3 *b8 19.dS fxe4 20.fxe4 exd5 2 1 .exdS

Sandrin was a strong master, who in fact won the 1 949 U.S . Open at Omaha. However, by this time he was almost completely blind ! I had to tell him my moves and make his on his own spe­ cial board for the blind. This game somehow got published in the British Chess Magazine which suggested that much would be heard from me! I thank the editor for the encouragement.

It would have also been interesting to capture with the c-pawn, since in this case the f5-square would not be avail­ able to Black's pieces: 2 1 . cxd5!? i;'rb7 2 2 . 4Jd4 .ll g 4 2 3 . 4Jc6 .§ de8 2 4 . b 5 4Jc8 2 5 . .lld4 .ll x d4+ 26.4Jxd4 'li:l'd7 2 7 . 'li:l'e3 .§f7 28 . .§ c4 .ll h 3 29 . .ll x h3 'li:l'xh3 30.4Je6 i;'rh5 3 1 . .§ a l ±

1 . e4 c5 2 . � c 3 � c 6 3 . g 3 g 6 4 . .Q.g2 Ag7 5.d3 e6 6 . .Q.e3 *a5 7.�ge2 �d4 8.0-0 �e7 9.§.bl d6 10.a3!?

2 1 . . . .Q.fS 22.§b2! (D)

I had anticipated this exchange sacri­ fice a few moves back; the point is to retain the pawn center with prospects for an attack against the king. The idea

Smyslov was credited for this idea.


My System, My Games, My Life

38 . . . �hS 39.�h7+ 4::lh 6 40.Af3+ g4 4 1 . E! c 5 + +39. E! x d6! � x d6 40. -'l,g7+ B lack

resigned. 1-0

(4) Lombardy - Eliot Hearst New York State Championship Binghamton, September 1 954 Queen's Gambit Accepted [025]

is speculative but very low risk, since Black's king will be quite exposed and his rooks will find difficulty being use­ fu l . However, B lack could hardly refuse the sacrifice since his position cannot afford such luxuries, especially considering that by now he was already running short of time!

From the fall of 1 95 4 through the spring of 1 95 5 , I had startled the chess world by becoming at 1 6 the youngest player ever to win the prestigious N ew York State Championship (a record pre­ viously held by James Sherwin who had won it at a slightly older age). In America, that was worth noting. At 1 7, I then added the Marshall Chess Club championship to my belt. If ratings ap­ propriately measured skill then or now, I expected to gain many rating points. As a practical matter, a high rating would certainly have been helpful in obtaining invitations to high-level events since foreign tournament orga­ nizers would contact the USCF for their recommendation for whom to invite, given how FIDE ratings were virtually non-existent at that time. In securing such invites to great European and South American events, Americans suffered added obstacles of distance and expense. Only the great American player Samuel Reshevsky could be sure of honorariums and other expenses. Expenses were always a prob lem throughout my abbreviated career. But that's another matter.

22 ... -'l,xb2 23. � x b2 E!de8

Or if 23 . . . bS 2 4 . c 5 a6 2 5 . c6 Yflc7 26.h3 Ac8 27.g4, dominating Black's knight while preparing the entrance of its white counterpart ! 27 . . . .§ de8 28.Yfld2 .§f7 2 9 . Ad4 .§ ef8 3 0 . 4::l g 3 E! e8 3 1 .Yflg5 E! d8 32.4::le4 +- . 24 . .£) f4 26.�d2


2 5 . Ad4


There exists a simple plan: Ab2 fol­ lowed by Yfld4, which Black now de­ fends against. 26 . . . h6 27.h4

For the privilege of driving off White's knight, Black will have to further ex­ pose his king 2 7 . . . h7 2 8 . � a 2 1 .£) g 8 2 9 . c 5 1 b x c 5 30.bxc5 g 5 3 1 . h x g 5 h xg5 3 2 . .£) e6 ! g6 3 3 . � d 2 1 A. x e 6 34.c x d6 � d 7 3 5 . d x e6 � x e 6 3 6 . d 7 1 E! x d7 3 7 . E! c 6 ! E! d 6 38. �d3+1 h6

On Labor Day weekend I was ready for a car trip to the New York State Cham­ pionship at Binghamton. This time Saidy was absent. There were two other 37

Understanding Chess

players, including the driver, whose names I do not remember. Frankly, I did not think of winning the tournament but hoped to do better than at my show­ ing at the U.S. Open. When I arrived at Binghamton, I found the event stron­ ger than anticipated. Former New York State champs Collins and Santasiere were there, as were several strong mas­ ters, including Florencio Campomanes (future President of FIDE), future M.D. Karl Burger, Roy T. Black and a tough old master in his 80s, Harold M. P h i l l i p s . Perhaps lucki ly, Edgar McCormick played in New Jersey on that weekend and Jeremiah Donovan stayed home.

captain and first board of the famed Columbia University intercollegiate team that dominated college chess in the 1 950s. That team also included masters Sherwin, Burger, Mechner and Witte. Were there a collegiate chess hall of fame, that team would be num­ ber one! So in this game playing Hearst, I was up against chess history ! 1 .d4 d 5 2 .c4 d x c4 3 . � f3 � f6 4.e3 g6

Apparently Hearst did not intend to joust in the lines of the QGA, but pre­ ferred to transpose into the Griinfeld. 5.�c3 Jl.g7 6. tta4+

Yet, I was simply an inexperienced young master with promise who was certainly not a favorite in the field. To win the event I would have to meet al­ most every one of those masters, given the small elite field of participants. Early on, I was paired with Eliot Hearst. Winning this game gave me confi­ dence that I could win the tournament. In fact, I am certain that it was this vic­ tory that ultimately won the event for me.

In those days, I did not know much theory and so thought with this check to take my opponent out of the "book." 6 . . . c6

This forces the capture on c4 with the queen and enters what was known as the Spielmann Griinfeld. A giant such as Euwe espoused th i s o p e n i n g . 6 . . 4Jfd7 was and still i s considered one of B lack 's best alternatives, since Black is then ready soon to attack White's center with either e5 or c5. .

I drew with Santasiere, Collins and Mednis between v i ctories over Phillips, Hays and Black. Late in the tournament, I drew with Burger in eight moves, as I started to coast into first place. I clinched the tournament in the final round by draw i n g with Campomanes, a game in which I had the winning chances throughout but was unwilling to risk playing for the win. All I needed was a draw for clear first.

7.tt xc4 J}.g4 8.,1l.d2

I was already preparing logically to stop both c 5 and e 5 in order to put a stranglehold on Black's position. With the inability to threaten the center, Black would be completely on the de­ fensive.

A first-class master, Hearst was con­ sidered a favorite in our game. He was

8 . . . 0-0 9.h3


My System, My Games, My Life

I had hoped Black would give me the bishop rather than simply retreat to ei­ ther f5 or e6, after which Black would not stand worse. It should have been considered.

though White has a slight advantage in territorial ownership, he still has the difficult task of breaking open the game if Black continues to sit tight. 13.a3 a x b4 14.axb4 4)e8 1 5.Etcll

9 ... Axf3?

I took my rook off the long diagonal, out of reach of Black's bishop, in or­ der to work against the idea of b6 fol­ lowed by c5. On a deeper level, I sought to reinforce the c4-square, since I in­ tended to play my bishop onto the long diagonal.

Black thought he was saving time. True enough. But he was also giving a strong bishop for a knight. His own knights will not be in position to do any dam­ age for a long time. It would probably have been best to play: 9 . . Ae6!? when despite blocking the advance of his e­ pawn, Black retains his bishop pair and along with it control over the light squares. .

1 5 ... 4)d6 16.�e2 e6 17 . .Q.g2 4)f5

This knight maneuver is a total waste of time. The knight was already fo­ cused on c4, so that B lack should have immediately worked to focus his other knight via b6 on that square.

10.gxf3 4)bd7 l l .f41

This is the strategic consequence of giving up the bishop. White has an ex­ tra pawn with which to dominate the cen­ ter. The e7-e5 break has been thwarted.

1s.o-o 4) h4 19.Ahll

I retain and cherish what I got without a fight. The bishop pair!

1 1 ... !kS 1 2.b41

And now c6-c5 is prevented, so that Black will have to look elsewhere for play. Both the central light and dark squares are in White's hands. Hearst went into a very long think en route to putting himself in devastating time pressure. I was typically moving rather quickly.



E{c7 20.4)e4 b5

As anticipated, Black prepares to park a knight on c4 in order to retain the closed nature of the game and shield c6 from White's rooks. 2 1 . 4) c 5 4) b 6 2 2 . 4) b3 .£i c4 2 3 . 4) a 5 1 4) x a 5 2 4 . b x a 5 �d7 25.Ab4 Etas 26 . .Q.c51 h5 27.�h2 4)f5

1 2 . . . a5?1

This helps White open lines for the bishops later on. Black should adopt survival tactics by trying to keep the position closed against the bishops.

The black rooks will have no space to properly protect c6, so here comes the other knight headed to c4.

1 2 . . . e6 1 3 .Ag2 4Jb6 1 4 . �b3 4Jbd5 1 5 . 4Ja4 �d6 1 6.4Jc5 b6 17.4Jd3 and

28 . .Q.b6 E{cc8 29.Etc21 4)d6?


Understanding Chess

This is too ambitious. Black should have sat tight with 29 . . . 4Je7, patiently defending c6.

35.�xa3 A x a3 3 6. .11. x aS! § x a8-

36 . . . .ll x cl 37 . .llb7 §c2 38.'it>gl .lld 2 39.a6! .lle l 40.a7 Axf2+ 4 1 .'it>g2 §a2 4 2 . 'it>f3 .llh4 43.a8'l1i'+ +-

30.§fcl .£lc4 31.§xc4! (D)

37.§al Ab2 38.§a2 Ac3 39.a6 h6 48.§a5 +- .

Black should have tried 34 . . . �e7!? 35 . .llx a8! § xc3 36.§ xc3 �h4 37.§c2 g5 38.fxg5 'l1i'xg5 39.a6 �b5 40.§ c8+ .>lf8 4 1 . .>l c 5 �xa6 4 2 . § x f8 + 'it>g7 4 3 . 'iti>g 2 +- . These lines represent

Black's best tries. He is still lost, but White can still err en route to the win. There always remains the task of win­ ning a won game. Often one doesn't!


My System, My Games, My Life

about a month later, while I was already on my way to winning the club title. It seems that every time I lost a game it was published ! I suppose that was be­ cause I was considered, as Al Horowitz and Abe Kupchik used to say, "such a good player! "

knocked out the plug on the floor and a game would be cast into temporary darkness. Not every tournament clock was fitted with flags. These were the electric clocks by which a time forfeit could be claimed only if it could be proved that a clear space existed be­ tween the minute hand and twelve o ' clock. Needless to say there was some argument over time forfeits in games where the electric timers were used.

As a charity seed, I won the tournament. Actually one Franklin Howard tied me in the end. In a Met League game of the previous year I had beaten him eas­ ily. Howard had played for the Log Cabin Club. I played for the Marshall Juniors, a team of players not consid­ ered good enough to play for the Marshall top team. I won every game that year, inc luding games against Manhattan ' s A l bert P i n c u s and Marshall 's Carl Pilnic. The Juniors only tied matches with the two great clubs but had to be satisfied with sec­ ond place in the League, a half match­ point behind Manhattan, because the Marshall Masters could not tie their match with the Manhattanites.

I saw the need to stay out of time pres­ sure and did. Mednis, for instance, played well in the tournament but he could not help or hope to cure his time pressure addiction. We drew our indi­ vidual game. I was White in a Dutch Defense. My game with Kaufman pre­ sented here was played early in the tournament. My win here and a very short win over Saidy set the stage for a string of victories that only Howard somehow dealt with ! -1 .e4 �c6 2.d4 e5

In the Marshall Championship I had to be satisfied with drawing my game with Howard who survived a rook ending a pawn down. Part of Franklin's success must be attributed to his ever-present bag of Good 'n'Plenty; in every game he would rattle the plastic bag and loudly suck on the candies. He had a very good tournament, his only great success. Nobody complained about his antics, certainly not Franklin.

At the time I thought only Alex Kevitz played the Nimzovich Defense. As I knew little "book," I was fortunate to have known the game Keres-Kevitz, New York 1 954 see appendix. Natu­ rally I relied on that sole, fine sample of masterly play! -

3.dxe5 � xe5 4.�f3

The game now departs from the Keres game, which course turned out much to my advantage.

The championship was conducted in the club's main room under optimum con­ ditions. Quiet was the rule. The play­ ers bent over their boards ducking the lamp that sprouted from a hole drilled into the tables. Sometimes a player

4 ... � xf3+ 5.'it xf3 'itf6


Understanding Chess

The beginning of a fl awed p l a n . Kaufman thought t o enter a drawn end­ ing by chasing my queen and eventu­ ally forcing a trade. He could not have exerc i sed poorer j udgment in h i s overly optimistic approach.

1 2 .'l1'Yd4 Af5 1 3 . Ad3 Axd3 1 4.'l1'Yxd3 0-0 1 5 .4Jf3 .§.fe8 1 6.�b l d5 1 7.Ad4 4Je4 18.4Je5 'it!e6 19.f3 ± and White

maintains a strong advantage given his better coordination, the prospects of a king-side attack and Black's weak d5pawn . ) 1 0 . Ac4 4Jg4 1 1 . 0-0-0 'it!d6

6. 'ltg31 'ltg6?

1 2 .Af4 'it!xc7 1 3 .Axc7 d5 1 4 .Ab5+ �e7 1 5 . .§. he l + Ae6 1 6 . Ag 3 �f6 l 7.4Jb3 .§. c8 18.f3 4Jh6 1 9.Ae5+ �g6 20.4Jd4 Ab4 2 1 .c3 +- . This variation

White gives up a center for a flank pawn, but at a cost to Black of a rag­ gedy pawn structure.

is an interesting illustration of the dan­ gers that await Black even after the trading of queens.

7.'lt xc71 'ltxe4+ 8 . .Q.e3

Both sides have indulged in pawn hunt­ ing with the queen at the general cost of mobilization, but Black alone has made concessions! Black has an eas­ ily harassed isolated pawn and is be­ hind in the race to bring out pieces. In this last respect, he is about to fall fur­ ther behind!

9 . . . .Q.b4

It would have been very risky for Black to capture on c2: 9 . . . 'it!xc2 1 0.itl'e5+ ( 1 0 . .§. c l ! ? ) 10 . . . Ae7 l l . A c 5 0-0 1 2 .Axe7 .§. e8 1 3 .Ae2 d6 1 4.'it!e3 'l1'Yf5 1 5 . 0-0 itl'd7 16.Ab5 +- . 10.0-0-0! .Q. x c3

8... 4)f6 9.4)c3?1 (D)

Just as well at this stage? Perhaps not. Technical ly, B lack has no chance against White 's ample mobilization, but a more stubborn defense could have been found in 10 . . . itl'c6 l l .'it!e5+ 'it!e6 1 2 . Ad4 0-0 1 3 . a3 Ad6 1 4 . itl'g5 h6 1 5 .'it!d2 Ae5 16.f4 Axd4 1 7 .'it!xd4 ± . 1 1 . 'lt x c 3 0 - 0 1 2 . .Q.d4! 'ltf4+ 1 3 . 'ltd 2 -lt x d 2 + 1 4 . § x d 2 4) e4 1 5 . §e21 §e8 t 6 .f3 4) d6 17. § x e8+ 4) xe8

Without constructive analysis I played this move solely with the thought that my superior development would be more than enough for the c2-pawn. Especially since Black's king is still stranded in the center and White will advance his development even more by continued harassment of the queen. 9.4Jd2! 'it!e7 (Perhaps Black is best adv i sed to go for the more s o l i d

The recent skirmish including a couple of trade s has actually i ncreased White's edge. So trading pieces is not always a solution to one 's problems. Here the rook trade reduces the force necessary to defend the black king.

9 . . . 'it!c6 1 0 .'it!e5+ Ae7 1 1 . 0-0-0 d6


My System, My Games, My Life

18.Ac4! 4)c7?

2 9 . §. f4 d 5 3 0 . A x d 5 t;J h 3 3 1 . §. g4 + t;J g 5 3 2 . Ae4 f6 3 3 . h4 'iti' f7 34.hxg5 �xe7 35.g6! +- and White will queen.) 25.gxf5 gxf5 26.§.d5 b6 27.§. xf5 Ab7 28.Ad3 §. c8 29.§.f6 h5 30.§.g6+ 'iti'f7 3 1 . §. h6 Af3 3 2 . §. h7 + t;Jg7 3 3 . Ae5 §.g8 34.'iti'd2 +- and aside from being

This leaves all the important dark squares in White 's hands . Besides, Black cannot hope to block the e-file and a subsequent rook penetration. 1 8 ... d6 is basically the most logical move and forced besides. There could follow 1 9 . §. e l �f8 20.a4 t;Jc7 2 Ulf2

down a pawn, Black is hard-pressed to find moves .

.ilf5 22.'iti'd2 Ae6 23 .Ad3 'iti'e7 24.h4 t;Jd5 25 .c3 t;Jf4 26.Afl t;Jg6 27.h5 t;Jf4 28.g4 a5 29 . .llg 3 t;Jd5 30.f4! +- . Black

24.f5 4)d8 25 .§el �h7 26 . .§eS b5 27.Ad5 4)c6 28.A xf7 h5 •

certainly could have played better. But the sample line demonstrates how quickly the bishop pair with the assis­ tance of pawns can dominate a weak position containing a helpless knight.

Sometimes it's less painful to surren­ der, as this move indicates. B lack's pieces are paralyzed and he cannot re­ sist the mating attack. If 28 . . . g5, 29.f6! t;Jd4 3 0 . Ag8 + 3 2 . §. xe6+ +- .


�g6 3 1 . f7 t;Je6

29.Ag6+ Black resigned. 1-0

Now the isolated pawn will be block­ aded at its home base. This blockade will isolate the queen-side army from the king-side. This means that a lone knight and king will have the hopeless task of defending the kingside against a rook and the bishop pair.

Al Horowitz would have said "Too late ! " For it is mate next! If 29 . . . 'iti'h6, 30.Af4 • A kind of position that could easily have stemmed from a Sicilian Defense. As if such a comment had any significance!

19 ... 4)e6 20 . .§dl 4)d8 2 1.Ac7!

(6) Lombardy - Anthony Saidy Marshall Chess Club Championship New York, October 1 954 French Defense [C02]-

So that any Ab7 will be pinned after Jld5. 21 ... 4)e6 22.Ad6 h6 23.f4! a5?

Before this game Saidy and I had al­ ready played twice. My first tourna­ ment game ever was against Saidy at the 1 952 Marshall Junior Champion­ ship. A game I won in 55 moves. While the scoresheet has been lost to me for nearly 50 years, the first few moves went as follows l .e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 (I played this move thinking I had an opportunity to play the Queen's

An indication that Black was waiting for the end. In this case I believe that chess was not so much a struggle as pure surgery. 23 . . . g6!? holds on longer, for anything can happen to an opponent filled with triumphant thoughts. 24.g4 f5 (24 . . . 'ifi>g7 25.f5 gxf5 26.gxf5 t;Jg5 27.Ae7 t;Jh3 28.§. d4! and Black is fac­

ing some very unpleasant threats. I f he is to avoid mate he must play t;Jf2 43

Understanding Chess

Gambit!) 4 . . . Nf6 5 .Nc3 Be7 6.Qb3 00 7 .cxd5 and I held on to my extra pawn.

7 ... .Q.d7 8 . .Q.c2 f6!?

The immediate opening of the center does not anticipate the problems Black will create by castling long ! Black c o u l d attempt to d i sturb White ' s smooth development with 8 . . . �a6!?

Saidy and Mednis were not only con­ sidered the Marshall CC up-and-com­ ing junior players, but were considered as such in the U.S. overall. The second game was in the Marshall Junior of the following year. This was Saidy's only victory over me. I was playing two tournaments simultaneously (the Met League and the Marshall Junior). His victory came shortly after I had beaten Albert Pincus in the Met League the previous night. Saidy beat me in fine style on the black side of a Nimzo-In­ dian/Nimzovich Variation ( 3 . . . Ab4 4.e3 -'l.xc3!?) That losing experience impelled me to study the variation since I had underestimated its value. I have since used it over a number of years and also studied it with Bobby who delayed its use until game 5 of his match with Spassky (see appendix).

9 . Ae3 c x d4 1 0 . c x d4 i:! c8 1 1 . h 7 4 0 . 'it> g3 �e7 41 . .§.e5 �f8

43 . . . g5

43 . . . .§ f7 44."t£i'e2 .§ a7 4 5 . 4Jb5 .§ a8 46."t£i'dl +-

There is little Black can do without any open fi l e s for h i s rook s . 4 1 . . . "t£i'f6

44 . .§. x f6 gxf4+ 45 . .§. x f4

42.�b3 "t£i'd8 43.h4 'itlg8 44 . .§ g5 a5 (44 . . . "t£i'a8 4 5 . i£i' c 3 "t£i'f8 4 6 . c6 .§ d6


Understanding Chess

If White dares to continue marching his king up the board he will need to play with extreme caution. 45 .'it'xf4

59. !it>f4 �b8+ 60 . !it> x e4 � x h 2 6t.�d7+ !it>h8 62.�dS+ Black re­ signed. 1-0

§ f7 46.'it'e5 (46 . l"=\ f5 !?) 46 . . . l"=\ ce7+ 47.§e6 l"=\ xe6+ 48.4Jxe6?? {48. �xe6 §e7 49.c6 � ) 48 . . . §f5+ -+ 45


( 1 1 ) Lombardy - A tanas Kolarov World Student Team Championship Uppsala, April 1 956 Nimzo-Indian Defense [E46]


This was the penultimate round and we were already out of contention for any sort of team medal. In fact, we were struggling to avoid finishing in last place (to no avail). Despite my present win, the Bulgarians still managed to beat us 3 - 1 ! We fared no better in the last round against the Yugoslav team, who beat us unmercifully by a score of 3 Yi-Yi and secured our position at the bottom of the board.

45 . . . l"=\f7 46.l"=\h4+ 'it>g8 47.�e6! l"=\ ce7 48.�xd5 +46. !it>h3 §cf7

46 . . . l"=\gf7 47.�d6 § xf4 48.�xc7+ § f7 4 9 . �d6 �a8 5 0 . 4Je6 'it'g8 5 1 . c6 §f3+ 52.'it'h4 l"=\ xe3 53.c7 +47.§h4+ !it>g8 48.�e6!

White tightens the screw on the al­ ready cramped black pieces.

On a personal note, I managed to roll along, finishing with 7/9 (over 75%). I did not lose a single game but drew with White against Polugaevsky, lvkov and Mora and with Black against Ghitescu. Despite my good perfor­ mance, I had to share the honors for top second board with the Icelandic player Gudmundur Palmason, who scored j ust as well, but in the sub­ group.

48 ... §h7 49 .£if5 !it>h8 50.�e5+ §f6 51.§xh7+? •

I had become careless towards the sec­ ond time control and seemed to be los­ ing my grip. Now White's king is in trouble. I should have played 5 1 .c6! l"=\ xh4+ 52.'it'xh4 d4 53.'it'g5! +- . 51


!it>xh7 52.!it>g41 !it>g6? t .d4 4) f6 2 .c4 e6 3 .£ic3 j'tb4 4.e3 0-0 5.4)ge2 d6?1 •

Black misses a golden opportunity to bail out with 52 . . . �f7! 53.h4 (53.b5?

Giving away the bishop without dou­ bling White 's pawn is a very question­ able strategy.

�g6+ 54.'it'f4 �h6+ 55.'it'g4 l"=\ g6 # ) 5 3 . . . �g6+ 5 4 . 'it'f4 �h6+ 5 5 . 'it'g4 t¥g6+=, but not 5 2 . . . l"=\ g6+? 5 3 . 'it'f4 t¥f7 5 4 . t¥e7 § f6 5 5 . t¥ x f7 + l"=\ x f7 56.'it'e5 +- .

6.a3 it xc3+ 7.4) xc3 4)c6 8.Ae2 e5 9.0-0 §e8 10.dxe5 4) xe5

53.4)h4+ !it>h7 54. � x d 5 �c8+ 5 5 . !it>g3 �c7+ 5 6 . !it> g 4 �c8+ 57 .!it>g5 §e6 58.4)f5 § g6 +

Now the position becomes very simi­ lar to the one I would play a year later 54

My System, My Games, My Life

at the World Junior - see Lombardy­ Halleri:id, Toronto 1 95 7 (game 1 8). If Black were to recapture with the pawn, then he might soon find himself in a hopeless position: 1 0 . . . dxe5? 1 l .b4 b6

which will open lines toward the black king. Therefore it was better to start steering pieces in that direction with 1 9 . . . .£lf8 20.E!fc l axb4 2 1 .axb4 E! xa l 22.Axal E! e7 23.b5 b6 ± and Black is

still in the game.

12.l:!a2 Ab7 1 3. l:! d2 f!e7 1 4 . .£id5 . 1 1 .b4 ,1l.e6?!

l l . . . c6 1 2 . Ab 2 Ag4 ! ? ( 1 2 . . . Af5 ! ?

keeping a n eye o n e 4 is probably best.) 13.f3 Ae6 1 4 . f!d4 flc7 1 5 .f4! ( 1 5 .c5 dxc5 1 6.f!xc5 .£ied7 ;!; followed by c5

may give B lack some play, though not much) 1 5 . . . .£ieg4 1 6 .h3 c5 1 7 . f!d2

4Jxe3 1 8 .f!xe3 Axc4 1 9 . flg3 cxb4 2 0 . A x c4 f! x c 4 (20. . .bxc3 .£l h 5 2 1 . .£\d 5 2 1 . f! x c 3 +- ) 22.4Jf6+ ! +-

The position opens up and Black is un­ prepared.

1 2.f41 4)c6

12 . . . 4Jxc4? 1 3.f5 +-

2 6 ... fxe5 27.fxe5 d x e 5 28.,1l.h5 13.fS


28 . . . E! e7 29.flg3 .£id6 30.E! xe5 +-

Courtesy of the bishop pair, White 's pawns enforce a massive grip on the center.

2 9 . "ttr g3 13, x f l + 3 0 . 13, x f l 'ttr e7 3 1 . ,1l. x e 5

13 . . . ,1l.c8 1 4 . .11. f 3 4)d7 1 5 . 4) d 5 .£ie7 16. .Q.b2 a5?!

3 l .E!f7! + - i s even more effective but would have denied me the elegant finish.

B lack should have tri e d 1 6 . . . c 5 ! ?

31 ... §.fS 32.'ttr xg7+1 B lack resigned. 1-0

1 7 . fld 3 ? ! ( 1 7 . .£\ e 3 ! ± ) 1 7 . . . .£\ x d 5 18.exd5 b 6 1 9 . E! ae l .£if8 2 0 . E! xe8 f!xe8 2 1 .f!c3 f6 22.E!el fff7 ;i; when

( 1 2) Frank Anderson - Lombardy Canadian Open Montreal, August 1 956 Ruy Lopez [C84]

Black's position is very solid; but not 16 . . . c6? 1 7 . f!d4! f6 18 . .£le3 +- . 1 7 . "ttr d 4 f6 1 8 . "ttr c 3 19.c xd5 4)b6?!

4) x d 5

Frank Anderson was to replace Daniel "Abe" Yanofsky as Canada's leading player. I did not know at the time that Frank was struggling with polio, against

It does not take too long to realize that White is aiming for the e4-e5 break,


Understanding Chess

which everyone in Canada and the States was vaccinated after World War II. Apparently, in Frank's case, the vac­ cine did not avoid certain crippling ef­ fects. Nevertheless, his persistence and brilliance allowed him to lead a productive but shortened life. I knew I was in for a tough struggle. Frank later emigrated to California where he died. I understand that John Donaldson is preparing a book on Anderson's life and games . With John doing the work, Frank should be well memorialized.

1 8 .�xfl fxe4 1 9 . �c4+ �h8 2 0 . .£\c3 �d3 2 1 .�xe4 +- ). 9 ... dxc6 10.§el f51

I anticipate two main ideas: first, re­ treating the knight to e6 in the block­ ade of the e5-passer and second, stem­ ming the tide of a possible pawn ava­ lanche following f2-f4-f5 . One may also note that despite Black's doubled pawns, he is compensated with the bishop pair and the fact that White has difficulty completing his development.

I ultimately won that Canadian Open, but Larry Evans caught me in the last round to tie. I had foolishly played a "safe" draw in the final game to allow the tie. Lombardy-Vaitonis, Montreal 1 956 - see appendix.

1 1 .f3 .£lc5 12 . .£)c3 .£) e6 13.Ae3 .£) xd4 14.j}.xd4 Ae6

The e 5 - b l o c kade is constructe d . Black's next two moves reinforce that construction.

1 .e4 e5 2 . .£l f3 .£) c6 3 . Ab5 a6 4.Aa4 .£lf6 5.d41?

1 5 . .£)e2 f41 16. �d2 c51

Now the knight cannot disturb the e6bishop.

This sharp variation was very popular in those days. Previous to this game, I had already successfully assumed the white side in several games. A capable master, Miro Radojcic had introduced the opening at the Manhattan Chess Club. I had learned much from him. Miro was also an intellectual, linguist and a respected journalist, reporting from the United Nations for Belgrade's


On his deserved reputation of Interna­ tional Master, Anderson offered a draw. I consumed nearly an hour to decline. I already had a reputation of my own, having recently fared well in a match with Reshevsky. I still had trouble over­ coming the idea that a strong master was so willing to draw with me. I was only 1 8 after all and with no interna­ tional title, which spelled my tentative knowledge and inexperience. Later I learned that "Titles were an atavistic throwback to antediluvian times ! " Ac­ tually I well recognized that White has troubles either in the endgame or de­ fending the coming attack. Hence, I declined.

Politika. 5 . . . e x d4 6 . 0 - 0 Ae7 7 . e 5 .£) e4 8. .£) x d4 0-0 9.Axc61?

White proceeds with the standard treat­ ment of the open i n g . 9 . d3 "1.d4+ 28.�hl "1.b6 29.g3

Opening a direct route for the king to­ wards the center.

Sammy figured the Turner game would end in a draw, and so it did well before the real conflict began in his game with me. With that draw, Sammy was giving me (and Bobby! ) draw odds. A Sammy draw with me would leave Bobby alone in first place. As far as Sammy was concerned, a draw was as good as a loss!

29 ... �g7 30.�g2 hS 3 1 . �f3 as 32.§.b8 fS 33.-t>eS b4 Black lost on time. 1-0

(2 1 ) Samuel Reshevsky - Lombardy U.S. Championship New York, December 1 957 King's Indian Defense [E99] 80

My System, My Games, My Life

As my game with Sammy reached the late opening stage, Sammy went into a huddle. I therefore took a break from the board and went to the Manhattan Chess Club's main room. There I saw a group of enthusiasts pouring over the gam e . Among them was M o s e s Mitchell, a club director. Moe asked me: "How ya h7 37.§.f7+ .llg7 38.§.ffl l"'! xdl 39.§. xdl b l � -+ . 34 . . . �d2!

Suddenly turning my thoughts to the white king. 3 5 . � d l § x b l 3 6 . � x b l .11. h 3 37.§gl �f4 White resigned.0-1

In the last round I was unable to beat Larsen. The draw left me undefeated in second place. The headline in Clarin read : "Larsen Primero, Lombardy Segundo, Invicto! " I had had several great results in the previous three years, including a creditable perfor­ mance in a match versus Reshevsky, who at the time was among the top five in the world. Yet everyone but me was awarded the Grandmaster title! The politics of the United States Chess Federation studiously ignored me. It wasn't until a better than 93% score on first board at the Leningrad World Student Team Championship - beating Spassky in the process - that FIDE was

In the final group of the Varna World Student Team, nearly every player on first board was already or was slated to become a Grandmaster. I myself had already lost a tragic game to Panno, who already possessed a rock-solid and


Understanding Chess

legitimate title. Oscar had already qual i fied in Amsterdam for the The Candi dates Tournament. quali fication automatically brought with it the title of Grandmaster. So, besides assisting my team in the running for a medal, my related issue was to score hard points, first to regain 50%, and then work for more. I so wanted the Grandmaster title sooner rather than later.

offer. This time I really needed the maximum. I hoped that Fridrik would take risks in playing for the win. After all, he was in training in this his last tournament before the P ortoroz Interzonal, where he hoped to qualify for the Candidates. This time I had prepared a personally conceived nuance in the Slav. The nuance was known but general ly scoffed at by most theoreticians . I believe Fridrik (before the game) sided with the critics. I scored a point more significant than I had recognized at the time since Fridrik would surprise the pundits by qual i fy i n g for the Candidates!

Fridrik was already a de jure Grandmaster. Tournament players often so respect the title that they hold a false logi c . They believe that winn ing with Wh ite aga inst a Grandmaster is difficult enough, but thinking with the black pieces to beat a Grandmaster is the height offalse optimism. In the previous three years I

That recipe for success is not easily installed in the human frame, in which safety first is strongly entrenched in and by the conscious psyche. We tend to rej ect, in the name of safety, the execution of thoughts deemed contrary to our immediate self-interest. That selfish thinking inhibits the clarity of thought n e c e s s ary to the m i n d ' s production in the long-term. In other words, one must overcome and control the native selfishness of the conscious psyche in order for the mind to produce anything worthy!

had suffi c i ent experi ence against Grandmasters to surm i s e that Grandmasters are human, and as such have endemic weaknesses . My practice was to appraise the qualities and the weakness of prospective opponents. In other words, I had the absurd idea that I might actually win from any Grandmaster with any color! I sought always the optimal result. Play out a l l games to the very end, continuing until prospects have been exhausted. A positive m i nd never considers having Black the slightest detriment. Yet these plans are easier said than done !

Still ruling my own psyche was the fact that I had in the previous year agreed to a "friendly" draw with Fridrik. This time I hoped for a more competitive and l e s s friendly gam e . With the Portoroz Interzonal in mind, I assumed Fridrik too would be competitive to the max. Thus, my win became a distinct pleasure and a special privilege. I later concluded that this victory was partly a result of a better-than- average

Still in charge of the World Junior Title for another year, I remained ambitious. In the previous year's World Student at Reykjavik, I had surprised Fridrik when I essayed a defense of the Ruy that I had invented. I got the better of it, yet made an all-too-friendly draw 86

My System, My Games, My Life

fighting spirit on my end and slightly excessive and ambitious spirit by Fridrik. No player is ever the total cause of his success, but somehow a player i s al ways h e l d total l y accountable fo r his failures ! The more urgent fact was that I knew well the player inside myself and had to change my attitude, to focus on my game and not the politics. In other words, I had to practice what I was already preaching to Bobby. When teaching myself, I pondered too long and therefore prolonged decision­ making. Often a quick decision risks error. But a calculated risk saves time and often ends up being the right decision. "Determine to play every game for the win, no short draws and p lay every game out! Winning games will be all the politics you '// ever need. Sloth and lack offocus offers failure. Focus and attentive labor provides the incentive n eeded fo r the persistence of that labor"

was a Czech tourist. They are still married. In part, my 1 964 trip to Prague was a form of chess diplomacy, since I secretly c arried a love letter from Arthur to Alice. Time to travel to Portoroz. Bulgarian chess, social interaction and Mastika ended, I boarded the Ljublj ana train with Fridrik and h i s two coaches ( lngvar Asmundsson and Freysted Thorbergson) . F irst stop B elgrade. There I learned from a chess player that Bobby had arrived earlier than I had expected. He had already played two short practice matches. A two-game match with GM Janosevic and a four­ game t i l t w i th G M Matu l o v i c . Janosevic was famous fo r his blindfold s k i l l s , of w h i c h there is a cute anecdote found in my Chess Panorama.

O n c e we were w e l l i nto the tournament, Larsen, Fridrik and I were engaged in a friendly debate over Fischer's performance. "Lucky to have 50% ! " quipped Larsen, who went on to say, "I will spank that baby! " I did not have to add anyth i n g to the conversation. With wisdom Fridrik supplied a thought for me, "Watch out the baby doesn't spank you ! " At that comment, Larsen waved his hand. In the very next round, F i scher crushed Larsen, who wound up far back in the fi e l d . The irony was that the philosophically conservative Fridrik spanked both !

Notice that at times a given player goes on a streak winning game after game. The reward offered to the psyche apparently i s the incentive for the psyche to foster the streak, during which a player seems miraculously to play better and better. The mind grows stronger and more confident, focusing with superior determination! Varna ended with a poor result for the U.S. team. Arthur Feuerstein, however, did meet his future wife on the beach. Arthur was immediately ecstatic at the new association. His social life and his chess improved ! His future wife Alice

Parenthetically, after Bobby had won the 1 95 7 U.S. Open in Cleveland, the c h e s s world took greater note o f B obby. B u t when he w o n the U . S . Championship the following January


Understanding Chess

privately been coaching B obby, I thought it well to arrange for my professional presence in Yugoslavia, so around the time of the 1 95 8 Memorial Day weekend I made my play. That a teenaged champion would be traveling without adult company or professional assistance had hardly occurred to any authority. The A merican C h e s s Foundation treasurer and president of the Manhattan Chess Club was Maurice J. Kasper. He carefully set aside a princely five hundred dollars for my request. I was not in a bargaining position and was too inexperienced to do so. Also, I knew the importance of my being with B obby. I fe lt that bargaining over a few hundred dollars might result in leaving Bobby entirely on his own. Emphatically, I was in no way receiving a fee for the coaching position but rather expenses to cover hotel, food and travel from Bulgaria to Belgrade, to Lj ublj ana and then to Portoroz and fi n a l l y through the interim period before the Munich Olympiad.

(thus qual i fying for the Portoroz I nterzonal ) , the Soviet C h e s s Federation took a n even more keen interest in the prodigy. To get a first­ hand and more incisive look at the new resident genius, the Soviet Federation, with its offices at the Moscow Central Chess Club, invited Bobby to visit what was truly the global center of chess. Of course, Bobby accepted. There, Bobby played a lot of 5-minute games against top Soviet players . B obby declined to tell me his results, but during Portoroz I became friendly with David Bronstein and Tigran Petrosian, each of whom divulged that "the boy did very well and p l ayed l ike a machine ! " David would usually trans l ate for Ti gran . T h i s was something Bobby could not expect to do in the United States, play one who had seven years earlier tied Botvinnik in a championship match and another who would be world champion some seven years later! Since I was preparing to travel to Bulgaria, I was unable to see Bobby off at JFK when he left for Moscow. So I missed a spectacle at the airport. It turns out that his mother Regina had literally overstuffed Bobby's bag with items that Bobby decided were useless. Before checking in for h i s fl ight, Bobby had strained to yank the bag's contents, until he was pleased with the reduced sum . Apparently there was loud debate and quite a scene before Bobby checked his bag and boarded the fight. Regina's objections mattered not to the young champion !

Moreover, knowing that the F I D E Congress would take place during the interruption of play at Portoroz, I convinced acting USCF president Jerry Spann to name me as del egate . Incidentally, I was to foot my own expenses, including the five dollars per day at Dubrovnik's one-and-only luxury hotel. Since that time, I never knew of a USCF politician whose expenses were not covered! Until the advent of Colonel Edmondson, all politicians were volunteers who paid their own way. Volunteers were more dedicated to accomplish !

I knew Bobby had not been assigned a second for Portoroz. I always had to ask for the smallest crumbs. As I had

Curiously there was a c l ear misinterpretation as to my status at the FIDE sessions. At the opening session 88

My System, My Games, My Life

of the congress, FIDE president Folke Rogard called for a vote on an issue. " Vous etes d 'accord? " When I had raised my hand to vote in agreement, the president informed me "that I was sent by the USCF as an observer and not as a delegate and that only a delegate had the right to vote . " I immediately informed Mr. Rogard of my intention directly to withdraw from the congress and return to Portoroz, where I had important work anyway. Not wishing to conduct the congress with no U S C F presence, Rogard adjourned the session in order to settle the issue. We phoned Jerry Spann in Norman, Oklahoma. I informed USCF President Spann of my decision, which assisted in his correcting my status to that of delegate. I could then say that there was at least a minimal confidence between of U . S . chess and this top player.

had already conclusively worked with him not only on possible openings but also on methods of conducting the endgame. I convinced him simply to rest, study, exercise and eat well. Still he strongly debated, but recognized I was obligated. Bobby did well while I was gone. At Dubrovnik I succeeded and, because of his steady nerves, he succeeded as well. The U.S. then got one more qualifying spot for the In­ terzonal. Until that year the U.S. had but two, one of which was in effect re­ served for Reshevsky, one of three liv­ ing all-time greats of American chess (along with Marshall and Fine). 1 . d4 d5 2 . 4) f3 4) f6 3 . c4 c6 4 . 4) c 3 d x c4 5 . a4 Af5 6.e3 e6 7.Axc4 j'lb4 8.0-0 4)bd7 9.�e2 Ag6

This idea was mostly ignored in theo­ retical discussions. But it has features worth considering. ( 1 ) To escape stan­ dard book lines, especially against a good and experienced player; (2) White always plans the advance e3-e4, hope­ fully well-timed. If he does so here, he gambits a pawn without anything resembling the compensation offered in similar settings; and (3) Black de­ lays castling (in my system ! ) in order to anticipate xf2 § xd2 24.\t>el B lack re­ signed. 1-0

(28) Lombardy - George Kramer U.S. Championship New York, December 1 95 8 Catalan Opening [EO 1 ] After World War I I, George Kramer was considered among the greatest tal­ ents, along with fe l l ow Manhattan Chess Club members Arthur Bisguier, Robert and Donald Byrne and Walter Shipman. The championship was con­ tested over the Christmas holidays at the Manhattan Chess Club, which was then located on the lobby floor at the Hotel Woodrow on West 64th Street. 1 . .£l f3 d5 2 .g3 c5 3 .1}.g 2 .£i c 6 4.d4 •

White introduces the Griinfeld De­ fense Reversed. The passive appear­ ance of White's opening is deceptive.

B lack must consolidate his center first. For example, if 8 . . . d4!? 9 . �a4 �a6 1 0 . 0- 0 e5 1 1 . .ll. g 5 B l ack ' s center pawns are incredibly weak . 9.0-0 Ae7 10.c xd51

Taking advantage of his superior mo­ bilization, White correctly opens the center. 10

cxd5 1 1 .e41


This sharp riposte wins a pawn, mostly because Black's king is stil l exposed. 11

. . •


It would have been hardly better to play 1 l . . . dxe4 1 2 . �xe4 .ll. b 7 1 3 .'i£ra4+ ! �d7 1 4 . §. d l .ll.d 5 1 5 .�c3 +- . 1 2.exd5 14 .1le31

-'l a 6


-'l c 5

At every step White's mobilization in­ creases while B lack engages in a hope­ l e s s struggle to maintain material equality. 1 4 .11, x e 3 1 6 . �b31 . • .

1 00

15.§ xe3


My System, My Games, My Life

This guarantees the win of a pawn. 16 . . . e x d 5 17.� xd5 1 8. .1l, xd5 'itf6 19.13aell

� xd5

Wh ite ' s last piece emerges w i th a threat to invade the seventh rank. 19 . . . 13d7

With reduced material there are always drawing chances if patient defense is employed, e.g., 1 9 . . . Ac8! 20.ifi'a3 Ae6 2 1 . E! f3 'i;ig8 41 .fxg5

Black could have resigned without re­ suming after adj ournment. Instead he played on a few agonizing moves. For one cannot win by resigning ! The sec­ ond score sheet provided when play resumed eventually was lost, so also went the few mop-up moves played. Black soon resigned. 1-0 (30) Lombardy - Charles Ka/me U . S . Invitational at Log Cabin New Jersey, August 1 959 English Opening [A36] Back in those early days, established masters either took no interest or were denied participation in organizational functions. Note that around that time the American Contract Bridge League was founded. That body focused on top level players (life masters) and as a result bridge prospered from top to bottom. Fortunately in the background

of the c h e s s s c e n e w a s E . F o rry Laucks, the owner of the Log Cabin Chess C lub at 30 Collamore Terrace in West Orange, New Jersey. Forry had inherited a considerable "in-trust" es­ tate from his father who had been head of York Safe and Lock Company. Forry was a bit of a romantic socialist, he had even organized a strike at the cQlll pany plant ! To say the least, the father considered his son 's behavior erratic. Hence the "in-trust" condition of the inheritance ! But Forry never did without his luxuries, one of which was his generous attachment to chess. He never talked about philanthropic activi­ ties outside of chess. When Forry got an idea he followed through. In early 1 962, he visited the offices of the American Chess Bulletin at 1 50 Nassau Street, owned and operated by Herman Helms, then 92. He was con­ sidered the "Dean of American Chess" and was, among other things, the chess editor of the New York Times. Soon after Laucks ' visit, I too visited Helms and his secretary and life companion Mrs. Sullivan, both of whom were still distraught at the purpose of Forry 's visit. As Helms was advanced in age, Forry had offered to arrange and pay for all the details of Helms 's funeral. In re­ turn Forry wanted to be named an hon­ orary pallbearer. Already in theology and knowing the costs of dying, I my­ self would have accepted the offer on the spot. But Helms and Mrs. Sullivan were hurt and so declined. Helms viewed the offer "as if Laucks thought he (Helms) would die the next day ! "

1 03

Understanding Chess

The following year, Helms caught a cold, got pneumonia and died suddenly. I do not know how, when or where his funeral took place. Distracted by her love's death, Mrs. Sullivan fell under a truck and so joined him. Laucks, aged 67, attended the 1 995 U . S . Open in San Juan. In his typical lark he ran up and down the 300 steps of the El Moro Fortress in 1 00 degree temperatures. As a result of the ensuing massive heart attack he died at the U . S . Open ! All three were a great loss !

The obvious plan is to open the b-file, but if the opening of the file does oc­ cur at all, the §.b8 can do no damage without the help of the minors, particu­ larly the dark-square bishop. Hence logically Charlie should have attended to development of that bishop and beefing up the center. All in all, §. b8 coupled with a7-a6 is certainly disad­ vantageous against a sound white strat­ egy.

Anyway, in 1 959, Forry, without any special tax write-off, solely and wholly sponsored the Log Cabin U . S . Invita­ ti onal, i ntended to be the offic ial United States Championship. Had the ACF not boycotted the event, and therefore contributed financially, the tournament would have been the most spectacular ever held. But the segment of "disgusted millionaires" at the ACF was jealous of not having complete control of the tourney. So the ACF worked behind the scenes to belittle the Log Cabin event.

Lurking behind this quiet development is the idea immediately to play d4, thus simultaneously opening the center and the d-file. If White's planned advance is allowed, then the 8b8 is misplaced and a tempo wasted. Worse, B lack will be under a terrible siege in the center, where suddenly White will have work­ ing a queen and a rook on the d-file, the bishop pair and two knights com­ pared to Black's measly army of two knights.

The ACF had been founded "to support chess on all levels ! " At least so it ad­ verti sed ! A l though spec i fi c a l l y founded with the purpose o f conduct­ ing annually a U.S. Championship and also promote top-level chess, the fed­ eration was often and still is not up to its obligations. Over the years the "amateurish" types who grasped con­ trol of the organization distorted its founding purposes and gradually con­ verted the organization into an amateur­ oriented entity.

I was surpri sed that a p l ayer o f Charlie's stature would ignore such a serious positional threat! Black should have played 5 . . . e5. Even if this move only buys a little time, stopping d2-d4 is worthwhile.

1 .c4 4.)f6 2 . 4.)c3 c5 3 .g3 4.)c6 4.Ag2 EtbS?!

5 . 4.)f3

s . .. a6?

6.d4! c x d4 7 .4.) x d4 8.�xd4 d6 9.0-0

4.) x d4

White now has the time to castle, fully mobil izing his forces. On the other hand B lack's failure to properly use tempos to advance the mobilization of his pieces have granted White a mag­ nificent position.

1 04

My System, My Games, My Life

9 . . . ,£id7 10 . .'1.e3 b6 1 1 . .§. fd l Jlb7 1 2.J}.xb7 .§. x b7 1 3 . .§.acl h5

24. �cs+ ct/e7 26.Ag5+ 1-0

Black understood the error of his ways and hopefully waits for a misplay.

(3 1 ) Edmar Mednis - Lombardy U . S . Invitational at Log Cabin New Jersey, August 1 959 Sicilian Defense [B96]

14.b4 h4 1 5.g4!

Gripping more of the light squares and keeping the h-file closed so that the §hB is not activated. 15 . . . h3 1 6.f3!

Whi te must not n e g l e c t the l i ght squares. 16 ... �bS 17.,£ie4 ,£if6 18.c5!

Opening the sector where Black has in­ sufficient forces to fend off the attack. 18 . . . bxc5 19.bxc5 .§.b4 20 . .§.c4!

White is perfectly willing to trade one of Black's active pieces.

2 5 . .§. c l


Mednis was a "safe player," a draw­ magnet so to speak. I could rely on him to stifle my competition by nipping many of them with draws, but I needed the full point. The fact that I was able to beat him gave me a great advantage over the others. 1 .e4 c 5 2 . ,£if3 d6 3 . d4 c x d4 4 . .£1 xd4 ,£if6 5 . .£lc3 a6 6.Ag5 e6 7.f4 h6!?

T h i s avo i d s a recommendation of Bronstein's, 7 . . . itrb6 8 . 4Jb3 ! ? itre3+ 9 . itre 2 itrx e 2 + 10 . .ll x e 2 .ll e 7 1 1 . .1lf3 ;!; . 8 ._'1.h4 � b 6 ! ? 9 . � d 2 � x b 2 1 0 . .§. b l � a 3 1 1 . A x f6 g x f6 1 2. Ae2

There seems to be no variation in which the p l ayers fi n d themselves more trapped in a maze than the Poisoned Pawn. 1 2. . .h5

23.c xd6! exd6 23 . . . itrxc4 24.d7+ 'it'd8 25 . .llb 6+ itrc7 26 . .ll x c7 + �xc7 27 .d8itr+ +- with a quick mate to follow.

Since White plans f4-f5, Black is ad­ vised to bring out his bishop via h6. 1 2 . . . Ag7 ! ? 1 3 . f5 itra 5 1 4 . 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 5 .itre3 § e8 1 6 . .ll g4 itrc7 1 7 . § bd l 4Jc6 1 8 . 4J x c6 itrx c6 1 9 . itrd4 § d8 20 . .§ d3 .§ b8=. 13.0-0 ,£id7 14 . .§.f3 �a5 15 . .£ib3 �c7

1 05

Understanding Chess

The queen returns home triumphantly with pawn still in purse. But the mate­ rial gain is often temporary, often to be returned as an aid in resisting an at­ tack.

The other participants fearfully took note of the present display. Winning this game, in this fashion and with ap­ parent ease, was the key impetus to winning the tournament.

16.§.h3 h4 17.§.fl Ae7 1s.f5

1 .e4 e6 2 .d4 d5 3.{)d2 {)f6 4.e5 {)fd7 5.Ad3 c5 6.c3 {)c6 7.{)e2 �b6 8 . {) f3 c x d4 9 . c x d4 f6 1 0 . e x f6 {) x f6 1 1 . 0 - 0 Ad6 1 2 . Af4

Whatever happens, Mednis w i l l re­ cover the pawn, but the game will then take a new course in which White must defend weaknesses more than B lack. 18 ... {)e5 19.§.f4 j},d7 20.§.fxh4 §. x h4 2 1 . §. x h4 0 - 0 - 0 2 2 . §. h 7 Ac6 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.{)d4 d 5 ! (D)

If the general idea is to advance pieces for the attack when the rival 's forces are still not fully mobilized, then this move is correct. Theory suggests other alternatives that do not involve the gambit of a pawn. 12 ... Axf4 13.{) xf4 0-0

"Attack in the center rebuffs a flank attack ! " (Nimzovich). 25.{) xe6 Jlc5+ 26.{) xc5 � x h7 27 . {) x d 5 A x d 5 2 8 . e x d 5 �c7 29.{)e4 g2 Ae8 3 1 . . .�xb4? 32 .Aa3 +3 2 .4) c 2 1

1 20

My System, My Games, My Life

White rids himself of the first and fore­ most defender of the dark squares.

4 5 . e x d4 ? ! �h 2 + 4 6 . � e l 47.�d2 �xd4 �

�gl +

32 . . . A x b 2 33. � x b2 4) c 6 34. �b3 Af7 3 S .�c3 g S 36.4)d4!

4s ... �g6 46.�d6+ �h7 47.�f4 dxe3+ 48.�xe31 �cl+ 49.�f2

To trade off B lack 's only remaining defender of the dark squares.

After this forced queen trade Black is thrust into a hopeless endgame.

36 . . . 4) x d4 37.� x d4 g4 38.Ae2 �h6 39.Afl �a6 40.�f2 �h7 41.�cSI (D)

49 ... � x f4+ SO.gxf4 .11.d S S l .bSI 5 1 .Afl ? 'it>g7 52 .Ag2 Axg2! 53.�xg2 'it>f6 54.b5 'it>e6 5 5 .d4 'it>d5 56.'it>f2 'it>d6!= and White has no way to make progress despite his extra pawn. Sl ... �g6 S2.d4 �f6 S3.b6 Ab7 S4.dSll �e7 54 . . . Axd5 55 .Aa6 +SS.Ad31 �d6

The sealed move, and where urgent ad­ journment analysis began. Although I had designed the winning method in his game with Gligoric at that adj ourn­ ment, Fischer found no time to assist me. Actually I had discouraged him from doing so by saying that I had an easy win. The win was less easy than I had at first thought, but nevertheless a win!

55 . . . 'it>f6 56.d6! Without this maneu­ ver White could not have won. I found this in the early morning half an hour before resumption of play. I awoke to look at the board on the floor at the side of my bed and the idea hit me like "a bolt from the blue ! " 56 . . . Ac6 57.d7 'it>e7 58.Axf5 +- . S 6 . A x fS � x d S S 7 . A x g4 �cs S8.Af31 B lack resigned. 1-0

41 . . . �a2+ 42.Ae2 �bl

Black hopes for play and so yields a pawn in exchange for active prospects for his queen.

(39) Lombardy - Robert Byrne U . S . Championship New York, December 1 960 King's Indian Defense [E90]

43.� xbS �bl 44.�bS d41

In the early years after my three spec­ tacular results (The World Junior and the World Student coupled with the Leipzig Olympiad performance), my form in the ensuing U . S . champion-

Black must harass White's king for any play. 4S. �eSI


Understanding Chess

ships was less than optimal ! The U . S . C hamp ionship e v e n t trad i t i o n a l l y started with the Christmas holidays and ended in January. Thus Bobby had won 57/5 8, 5 8/59, 59/60 - in which I was eligible but unable to play! - and 60/ 6 1 . In this last, at least I played and qual i fi e d . Of course as champion, Bobby qualified for the Interzonals, while for the first time ever Reshevsky was out of the picture. In an astound­ ing performance, Bobby shocked the chess world by running away with the 1 962 Stockholm Interzonal ! But later that year he was very much alone at the Candidates in Curai;:ao, and that time being alone proved a main reason for his fai lure . As a second, Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier had to divide his talents between Bobby and Pal Benko. Pal, who qualified by de­ fault to the Stockholm Interzonals be­ cause I could not attend, remarkably qua l i fied for the Candi dates (and B i s g u i e r rep l ac e d We i n s te i n ) . At Stockholm, Stein won the playoff for the last spot against B e n k o and Gligoric, but there was a rule in place that allowed no more than three play­ ers from a single federation to qualify from the I nterzonal . S i nce Gel ler, Petrosian and Kortschnoi fi n i shed ahead of him, Stein was out and Benko took his spot in the Curai;:ao Candidates Tournament. Ironically in that U . S . Championship I was second and Raymond third. I had qualified despite having lost both to Bobby and Weinstein! But I was closer to winning that championship than any­ one had ever thought, including my­ self. In theory I was a favorite to beat Weinstein. Had I drawn that game and

beaten Raymond, I would have won the championship. Such a miracle might have necessitated a playoff champion­ ship match. As to the debacle of whose second Bisguier was, Bobby was hopping mad over the miserable arrangement made by the American Chess Foundation, which was responsible for the funding for the A m e r i c a n part i c i pants at Curai;:ao. Bobby and I both recalled, "Always money for Reshevsky and l ittle for anybody e l se ! " A s noted, Sammy was far from qualifying. In a heated argument between Benko and Bobby over sharing Bisguier's coach­ i n g serv i c e s , Benko indecorously slapped Bobby in the face. In his early years, I knew Benko as somewhat argumentative. But I never thought he would physically attack a fe llow competitor. B isguier had to stand by to help both. He had no choice in that such was his assignment. In that situation sharing was the sole alterna­ tive. But then I do recall that as U . S . O lympi ad team coach a n d analyst, Benko had not really made himself available to me when I had adj ourn­ ments. But I still consider Pal an ac­ complished Grandmaster, a true Grand­ master of Chess Composition, an as­ tounding competitor and a memorable friend. The thought of the slap-in-the face incident occurred to me as sym­ bolic of a surrogate fraternal relation which necessarily required a correc­ tion of a much younger and inexperi­ enced brother. I believe that because Bobby recognized the benefits of hav­ ing such an older brother, he and Pal remained friends.

1 22

My System, My Games, My Life

As for the possibility of my attaining the 1 960 U . S . championship title, sadly for me I was not up to beating Raymond who was playing exceptionally well . Unfortunately, neither I nor Raymond could go to the Interzonals. I had my little seminary idea and Ray was des­ perately and unsuccessfully applying to medical school. He was also showing signs of extreme nervous fatigue, al­ though he played very well both at Leningrad and Leipzig! At Leipzig and afterwards when we traveled for a couple of weeks after the Olympiad, symptoms of Ray's incipient and tragic emotional stress were c learly appar­ ent to me. 1.c4 4)f6 2.d4 g6 3,4)c3 Ag7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Jl.g5

I rail against such a move, when the bishop is already active at c I. Robert was an exceptional player ever more dangerous with a well prepared theo­ retical variation. At the time of the game, there wasn 't a whole lot of book on White 's "system." 6 . . . c6?!

A quiet way to transpose into familiar lines of the King's Indian. However, there are other methods, instead of ig­ noring the posting of the g5-bishop, which when left unchallenged com­ bines to build a structure that can cramp Black's game. An opening idea is not a winning idea but an idea that might prosper by confusing the opponent. B lack's strategy now becomes con­ fused. 6 . . . c 5 ! ? 7 . d 5 h6 8 . Ae3 b5!? 9 . cxb5 a6 oo . One reason I prefer the delayed

Benko Gambit is that I seldom re­ mained down a pawn while still man­ aging to create open lines for active play. Or 6 . . . e5?! 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.'{;'.rxd8 f1 x d8 9 . .ll x f6 -'t x f6 1 0 . 4.Jd 5 .ll. g 5 l 1 .4.Jf3! ± followed by the capture at c7. 7.4)f3 4) bd 7 8.Ae2 e 5 9.d5 cxd5 10.cxd5 a6 1 1 .4)d2 b5?1

Byrne was all too pleased with this p s e u do - aggre s s i o n , w h i c h s i m p l y leaves White 's forces unopposed on the very flank on which Black pretends to advance. Moreover, White now has a clear target for his pieces, the c6square. 12.0-0 4)b6 13.a41 bxa4

White has won the battle of minds. Now Black will remain concerned with the queenside and will have to neglect his thematic kingside initiative. 14.4) x a4

Byrne must have recognized that with his last two moves he inherited a bad position. All White 's pieces gravitate towards the queen's flank, where Black has insufficient resources to meet the challenge. Now it will take too long for B lack to organize any plan on the other wing. t4 . . . Ad7?

If B lack were to trade knights his po­ sition would be much alleviated. How­ ever, with the bishop move B lack's po­ sition becomes cramped and thus des­ perate. 14 . . . 4.Jxa4 1 5 . f1 xa4 h6 1 6.Ae3

1 23

Understanding Chess

.ll d 7 1 7 . .§ a 3 Ab5 1 8 . .ll x b 5 a x b 5 19.�b3 ± . 1 5 . .£ic31

"There is no such thing as an even trade ! " To assist in alleviating Black's cramped position by trading pieces is contrary to basic principles !

27 E!dS 28 .£ic3 f5 29.exf5 E! xf5 30 .£j x a4 E! f4 3 1 . .£i ab6 E!d4 32 . .£ie3 Jlf6 33 .£if5 E!f4 34 . .£ie3 E!b4 35 . .£i bc4! •••

15 a5 16.�b3 Ae8 17.E!fcl a4 1 8 . �a3 E!b8 1 9 . E! c 2 E!b7 20 .£ja21 •..

Unforeseen ! The knight heads for c6 and gives the lie to the earlier b7-b5. 20 . . . h6

Black desperately realizes that his only hope lies in the f5-break. Yet it's a bit late for this prod, which forces the bishop back to a more efficient square. However, Black is already lacking in alternatives and is likely lost already. 20 . . . �b8 2 1 . fl!

I had no intention of putting my king under the gun on the queen 's flank any­ way!

Preparing the entrance of the .§ a l .

16 . . . §.fe8 17.�d2 \t>h7 18.�c2!

23 . . . �d8 24.\t>g2 4) hf8 25.§.hl Ad4 26.4)e4

In effect the queen triangulation gained a tempo. The thrust 4Je4 is stopped and Black's king will have to move again in the face of h3-h4-h5, opening lines.

White 's guns are trained on the castled king's position, and so Black misses the services of his .§ a8. 26 ... �e7 27.Ad3 Ag7 2s.E!gh3

ts . . . �b4 t9.Ad21

Early 20th-century players would re­ mark: "The rest is a matter of tech­ nique ! "

Threatening 4Jb5, possibly winning the queen. 1 9 . . . �b6

28 . . . 4) e 5 29.Ac3 f5

Black has done little, while White re­ moved his targeted bishops from the e-file. Now the storm begins in ear­ nest.

If B lack had delayed this desperate es­ cape attempt, his position gets just as bad under fi re, e . g . , 29 . . . 4J x d 3 30 . .§ h8+ Jlxh8 3 1 . .§ xh8 # .


30.gxf6 Axf6 31 .f4 4)g4 32.§.g3!

The point of White 's queen maneuvers, the opening of either the g- or h-files, or both. 20


So it i s n ' t mate, but the knight i s trapped and the attack continues re­ lentlessly.


1 25

Understanding Chess

32 .Q. x c3 33.� xc3 �d7 ctlf7 34.�h8+ 3 5 . §h7+ 3 5 .£j x h7 3 6 . � x h7 + f3 Jlxh6 73 .Jlxf4 Jlf8! -+

4t .Ac5 Ad5!

Beginning the domination process against the knight. Once the knight re­ treats back to d6, it will have nowhere else to go. 42.Ab4 f5

Black's mobile pawns will assist in the domination and help keep the white king at bay.

5 7 . Ab4 Jlf6 5 8 . � f t Jld4 5 9 . � c8 Ad7 6 0 . � b 6 A b 5 + 6 1 . � e l �e5 6 2 . � c8 A c 6 63.�fl �e4 64.�e2 Ab5+ 65.�et Ad7 66.�d6+ �d5 67.�f7 Af6 68.�f2 g41

We have reached the end of the third time control. Some years ago I made a study of this ending. B i l l Martz, of happy memory, was a fellow player in the tournament. He also knew the theory of the winning plan. First of all White 's extra pawn (g2) does not fig­ ure into the equation, since it will even­ tually be lost. To win Black must cap­ ture a5 . If he does so, generally White will hope to trade bishops and then reach a I with his king. In other words, with bad play I ' ll be left with a "bad" bishop, that is to say with a pawn that promotes on the opposite color square. Therefore, under ideal circumstances for the defender, his king must reach the corner square (a I ) or any square touching the corner square (a2, b2 or b 1 ) at the time we trade on a5 . In such a case the ending would be easily drawn.

Normally one does not trade pawns in such a reduced endgame, but the theme of domination prevails. The advance

So then, what is the winning technique? Black must use the bishops to drive the defender beyond the f-file and too far

43.�d6 f4 44.h3 �f6 4 5 . �fl �e6 46.�c8 Ab7 47.�b6 Jlc6 48 . � c8 Jld4 49 . � b6 �f5 5 0 . � c8 �e6 5 1 . � b6 A b 5 + 5 2 . �e l A e 3 5 3 . � c8 Ad4 5 4 . � b6 Af6 5 5 . � f 2 Jld8 56.Ac5 Ac6

The end of the second time control. Now I had ample time to construct the most effective plan. We had to play to a finish, so we might have remained all day and into the night.


My System, My Games, My Life

away to return and reach the promo­ tion comer. Then with the defending king relegated by the bishops to either the f, g- or h-file, the aggressor king can calmly go and collect the a-pawn. But the technique is easier to explain that execute ! 7 3 . �f3 A g 6 75.Ab6 Ae51


84 . A b 6 A d 2 8 5 . A d8 8 6 . Af6+ � d 3 87 .Ad8 88.Ac7 Af7+ 89.�a3 9 0 . .1l,d8 Ae8 9 1 . Ac7 92 .1l,d8 Ae5 93.Ac7 Axc7 resigned. 0-1 •

�d4 Ac3 �c2 Jl b 5


(89) A lbin Planinec - Lombardy IBM Tournament Amsterdam 1 974 King's Indian Attack [A07]


Of course Black cannot accept such a trade. 75 . . . .ilxb6? 76.axb6 .ile4 77.g4 'it> b 5 7 8 . � e 3 .ilc6 7 9 . g 5 'it> x b6 80.'it>d4 'it>b5 8 1 .'it>c3 .ild5 82.'it>b2=

t . g 3 d5 2 . A g 2 .£) f6 3 . d 3 e6 4 .£) f3 b6 5 .£) bd 2 Ah7 6 . o - o .£)bd7 7.§.el Ac51? •

76.g4 Af7 77 . g 5 Ah5+ 78. �e3 Ad6 79.Ad8

Black develops actively. Long ago at the Manhattan Chess Club, Abe Turner credited Salo Flohr with this classical maneuver.

White attempts to defend the g5-pawn with the bishop so that he can begin the march of his king to the promotion comer. If the king were to stay on the kingside Black's initial strategy would c o m e to fr u i t i o n . 7 9 . �e 4 ilg6 + 8 0 . 'it>f3 .ilb4 8 1 . 'it>f4 'it> b 5 8 2 . 'it> e 5 .il x a 5 8 3 . .il x a 5 � x a 5 84 . 'it>d4 'it>b4 -+ .


79 �d5 80.�d3 Af4 8 t . �c3 Ag6 82.�b3 Ad21 .••

Instead of demanding that I demon­ strate the technique explained above, White 's king moves to trap itself in a mating net.

Already, we have reached a critical opening position. White must play with caution. The following variations stem from some very illustrative games that can shed further light on how to ap­ proach this variation. 8.h3 0-0 9 . e4 dxe4 10.dxe4 'itfe7 ( 1 0 . . . e5!?) 1 1 .'i1ie2 4Jh5 1 2 .4::\fl f5 leads to a very danger­ ous initiative for Black, as was dem­ onstrated in B e n ko-N avarovs zky, Budapest 1 955 - see appendix. Another possible move is 8.c4 0-0 9.cxd5 exd5 1 0.4Jb3 .ilb4 1 l ..ild2 a5 � , Portisch­ Karpov, Moscow 1 977 - see appendix.

83.Ac7 .1l, x g 5

The defender fa lls into zugzwang, which forces him to give up his passer anyway. However, this does not solve the king's problem, as it cannot avoid being trapped in the mating net.

It would be premature for White to play : 8 . e4?! dxe4 9 . 4::\ x e4 ( 9 . dx e4? 4Jg4 + ) 9 . . . 4Jxe4 1 l . dxe4 4Jf6 � and B l ack h a s c o n trol over the l i ght squares. Of course, that White cannot p l ay 8 . a 3 ? .il x f2 + ! ! 9 . 'it> x f2 4Jg4+


Understanding Chess

1 0.�gl xf3 Y;f;/xe5 -+ and the attack pro­ ceeds unabated.

9.� gf3 � h5?! 29 . . . A x f2! 30. � x f2

30.Axe5 Y;f;/c5 -+

An alternative worth consideration is 9 . . . 4Jd7!?.

30 . . . fJc5+ 3 1 .�fl

10.Ae3 Ad6?

Or 3 1 . 'it> g 2 Y;f;/ e 3 32 . .ll x e 5 Y;f;/ e 2 + 33.'it>g l f!. xf3 -+ .

That such a simple and apparently ob­ vious development move can be a big mistake is terrifying ! 10 . . . 4Jf6 1 1 .h3 Ah5 1 2.4Je5 4:lxe5 1 3 .dxe5 4Jd7 14.g4 Ag6 1 5.Axg6 hxg6 16.Y;f;/a4 Y;f;fc6=.

3 1 . . . A x e4!


Understanding Chess

1 . g 3 d 5 2 . A, g 2 4) f6 3 , d 3 e6 4 . 4) f3 b6 5.0-0 Ab7 6 .c4 Ae7 7.�a4+ �d7 8.�c2 0-0 9 .£ic3 d4 1 0 . 4) e4 .£! x e4 1 1 . d x e4 c 5 1 2 .e5 4)c6 1 3.a3 a5 14.Ag 5 h6 1 5 . A. x e7 � x e7 1 6 . � e4 § fd8 17.4)el a4 18.§cl .£la5 19.�d3 §ab8!

11 .4)e5! (D)

Strong because of the exposed state of the Ag4.

Black prepares the b-pawn advance but conceals the real threat, which is to avoid the bishop trade.

1 1 . . . A, x e5??

20.f4 Aa6!

Also not 1 1 . . . d7 34 . :9. xh6 +- .

26. 4) b4 �c5!

This move seals White 's fate. Because White must spend time to escape the pin of the rook, Black gets the pawn to d2.

24 . . . 4)e5 2 5 . § g 5 ! f6 26 . A. x f6! §x g5 27.A,xg5 Black resigned. 1-0

(9 1 ) Hillar Karner - Lombardy Tallinn March 1 975 English Opening [A l 5]

27.exd3 cxd3 28.A,e4 d2 29.'it>g2 §d4 30.Af3 §bd.8

In these kind of positions, it is but a matter of time before the defender collapses. 31.4)c2 A.d3 32.4) xd4


My System, My Games, My Life

Or 3 2 . .§. dxd2 .f'lxd2 33 . .§. xd2 Jlfl + 34. �xfl .§. xd2 + -+ . 32


(92) Yrjo Rantanen - Lombardy Tallinn March 1 97 5 Italian Game [C57]

E{ x d4

I was interested in forcing the queen to "castle" and then work out a mating atta c k . Worth c o n s i derat i o n i s 3 2 . . . Jlxbl !? 3 3 . .f'lxb3 axb3 34 . .§. xb l � c 2 3 5 . .§. d l � x b 2 3 6 . .§. e 2 �c l 37. fl. e3 �xa3 38 . .§. c3 �b4 39. fl. c7 b2 40. fl. b7 �c3 4 1 .�f2 �d4 + 4 2 . �g2 .§. c8 43.fl.bl .§.c2 44.�h3 g6 45.Jld l fl. c l 46. fl. 7xb2 �d3! -+ . 33.�a2 �c2

The main threat is Ae4 but g5 and .f'lcl are also worthwhile.

This is a common position, immediately deriving from the Ulvestad Variation. 8 .£, xf7!? •

An important alternative is 8 . 4Je4!? �h4! leading to a very complex posi­ tion, Shirazi-Henley, New York 1 990 - see appendix. 8 . Cif} x f7 9.cxd4 .£,f4 ..

What next? If35.g4 .§. xf4! 36 . .§.gl dl � 3 7 . A x d l � x f2 -+ ; 3 5 . � g 2 A e 4 ! 3 6 . .§. ffl (36.Jlxe4 �xe4+ 37.�h3 g5 38 . .§. ffl �e2 39.�bl gxf4 40 . .§. xf4 .§. xf4 4 1 . gx f4 �f3 + 4 2 . �h4 �xf4 + 43.�h3 �f3+ 44.�h4 4Jd4 4 5 . .§. g l + 'tt' f8 4 6 . .§. fl d l � 4 7 . .§. x d l 4J f5 + 48.�xf5 exf5 49 . .§.d4 �g2 -+ and the mating mess will soon visit the white village . ) 36 . . . Axf3 + 37.�xf3 �e4+ 38.�f2 .§.d3 39.�bl 4Jd4! -+ . 35 g 5+! 36.Cif}h5 White resigned. 0-1 • •.

White has but one pawn and may now collect another. But his mobilization is already faulty and taking another foot soldier sets him further behind in de­ velopment. Sometime after this game, I was invited to the home of Paul Keres. Unfortunately, that invitation never came to fruition and Keres died soon after on June 5 of the same year. Some years ago I learned that the great Keres had written a treatise on king pawn openings, in which he kindly remarked that I had made a valuable theoretical contribution to the opening ! 10.dxe5


Understanding Chess

10.�f3 §.b8! Black must be careful not to fall into temping yet insufficient variations since the material deficit does not afford him any luxuries.

It's hard for Black to recover from pawn weaknesses endemic to the de­ fense chosen . White misses his last chance to hold.

10 ... 4)d3+ 1 1 .-'l, xd3 � xd3


The bishop pair is strong in this wide open position.

If White had investigated this prospect, he might well have found a way to sur­ vive after 24.4Jxd6! cxd6 2 5 . §. c3.

12.�b3+ � xb3 13.axb3 Ac51 24 ... E{el +I 25. 'i!} g 2

To prevent d2-d4. 2 5 .'f2?? §. xe4 -+ 14.d3 E!e8 15.Ae3 E! xe5 16.0-0 Ae7 1 7 .d4 E!f5 1 s . 4) d 2 Ah7 1 9 . E!fc l Jl.d6 20.f3 E!e8 2 1 . E{ x a7?

2 5 . . . E{ e 2 + 2 6 . 'i!}h 1 27.'i!}g l E{ x b2

E{ x h 2 +

Black wins because of his possession of the seventh rank absolute !

2 1 .g5 3 2 . E!. g7 + 'it>h5 3 3 . E!. h7 + 'it>g5 34 . E!. g7 + = . 2 4 . . . .Q.. g4!

Eliminating the key defender of e2 (and attac ker of c 6 ) . Now the e 8 -rook springs into action. 2 S . � f 2 .§ x c4 2 6 . b x c6 b x c6 27 . .§ ld3 .§c2 28 . .§d2?


My System, My Games, My Life

Sometimes luck plays a large part in scoring the point. White should have played 28. §. e3 §. xe3 29.'it'xe3 §. xa2 (29. . .c5? 3 0 . §. d 2 = ) 3 0 . .11. x g 4 ! ( 3 0 . §. x c6? .ll e 6 ! 3 1 . §. a 6 §. a l -+ ) 30 . . . hxg4 3 1 .§. xc6 §. b2 32.§.a6 a2 + . An example of how this endgame could play out follows: 33.f5!? since the g4pawn holds down White 's kingside White needs to take action, otherwise Black will simply march with his king towards the queenside and help pro­ mote the a-pawn. 33 . . . gxf5 34 .'it1f4 §. xe 2 3 5 . 'it1xf5 §. xh 2 3 6 . 'it1 x g4 §. f2 37.'it1g5 'it1f8 38.g4 'it1e7 39.'it1h6 'it1d7 4 0 . 'it1g7 'it1c7 4 1 . g 5 �b6 4 2 . §. x a 2 §. xa2 43.'it1xf7 §. f2 + ! The only move to secure the win. 44.'it1e6 §.g2 45.'it1f6 �c6 46.g6 'it'd7 47.g7 'it1e8 -+ . 28 . . . E{b2!

Black must maintain the tension, to the point where it will become unbearable for White, compelling him to take on g4. Once thi s is accomplished then White 's weaknesses will be fixed and they will be easier targets for Black's rooks.

(95) Lombardy - Robert Hubner Teesside September 1 975 King's Indian Defense [E84] One should not fear tactics that ulti­ mately can be calculated, provided one remains alert and focused to do one 's best. To seek, find and figure ! 1.d4 4)f6 2.c4 g6 3.4)c3 .1lg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6 .Ae3 4)c6 7. �d2 Ete8 8 . Et d l a 6 9 . 4) g e 2 Etb8 10.4)cl e5 1 1 .d5 4) d4 1 2 . 4) le2 c5 13.dxc6 bxc6

I knew the adopted gambit had a sting, but was confident in the strength of my resulting position, even with my king still in the center. In fact, I saw no rea­ son to think that I should not be play­ ing staunchly for the win. But Hilbner simply knew a lot more about the fu­ ture complications than I . 14.4) xd4 exd4 1 5 . .Q. x d4 d5!

King in the center? Open the appropri­ ate file!

29.A x g4?

t 6.Ae2!?

White makes matters easier for Black.

I thought that I could simply prepare to castle with some advantage. I was wrong, but luckily not wrong enough ! 1 6 . c x d 5 c x d 5 1 7 . e 5 x f2 .§e8 26.�d2 Jl,g4 27 . .§el �c5+ 2 8 . �d4 �f5+ 2 9 . �f4 .§ x e l 30.lit>xel �e6+ 31 .lit>f21

3 1 .'it'd2?? �e2+ 32 .'it>cl �dl *

(96) Lombardy - Jan nmman Teesside September 1 975 French Defense [CO i ] I had arrived at Teesside completely exhausted. I had won the U . S . Open in Lincoln, Nebraska, driven a couple of thousand miles back to New York to drop off Jack and Ethel Collins, re­ packed my bags and flown off to En­ gland. Add to the mix a jetlag of six time zones and one can fathom why I was blundering throughout the tourna­ ment. At the start of this final round, I was only minus two and hoped to im­ prove my standing. I played a rather tame opening, but quiet openings of­ ten produce positive results. Certainly my d i stinguished opponent should have been more prudent, for he had no reason to think that a draw was part of my mindset. 1 . e4 e6 2 . d4 d5 3 . .£i c 3 .1lb4 4.exd5 exd5 5.Ad3 .£ie7 6.�h51?

I reminisced over a ten-second rapid transit game at the Manhattan Chess


My System, My Games, My Life

Club in 1 95 3 . My opponent was the Dean of American Chess, Hermann Helms, who had played the text. Mr. Helms was 80 and nobody ever thought to enforce the ten-second time con­ trol against him. While he took as many as thirteen rings of the bell on a move, Mr. Helms regaled me with his humor and stories of yesteryear. Meanwhile Hermann devised a fiendish mating at­ tack! Fortunately Helms was able to report in the Brooklyn Eagle that this youngster still won the tournament. But I wish I had saved the score of that game, which became but a memory of history. So I said to myself over twenty years later, "Why not try Hermann 's idea?" 6 . . . �d7?1

Black's desire to trade queens is eas­ ily parried. For some reason Timman 's move was motivated by the vague idea that I was playing for the draw. 6 . . . 4Jbc6 7.4Jge2 .lle 6 followed by 'li1d7 and 00-0! looks to be quite reasonable.

d i ate means of repairing the dark squares. 16 . .§. e l h6 1 7.Yi/h4 0-0-0=. 14.�g 5 a6

14 . . . c6 1 5 .4Jbc3 0-0 1 6.g4 f6 17.'li1f4 4Jg7 1 8.h4 ;1;; 1 5 . 4) bc 3 17 . .£i g3


1 6 . g4

4) d 6

The result of Black's strategy: White's queen remains in her annoying posture and Black's light-squared bishop re­ mains out of action. l 7 . . . 4) c4 1 8 . .§. d d l .§. hes 19 . .§. h e l CiflbS 2 0 . A x c4 d x c4 2 1 . 4) ge4 4) d 5 2 2 . 4) x d 5 � x d 5 23.� xd5 Axd5 24.4)f6

It did not take very long for Black to pay for the dark-square weakening!

7 .h3 .£if5 8 . 4) g e 2 4) c6 9 . Ae3 4) ce7?1

Little by little B lack's position gets worse and worse because he continues to i mpede the c8-bi shop. 9 . . . 4J x e 3 1 0 . fx e 3 Yi/ e 7 l 1 . 'it> d 2 .ll e 6 1 2 . a 3 .ll x c3+ 1 3 . .£\xc3 0-0-0= . l O . Ad 2 b6 1 1 . 0 - o - o A b 7 12.4)b5 A xd2+ 13 . .§. xd2 g6?1

There is no reason to weaken the dark squares when he could simply repel the b5-knight: 1 3 . . . 4Jd6!? 14.4Jxd6+ 'li1xd6 1 5 .Yi/g5 g6. Now Black has the imme-

Timman is forced to pay a rather high price. White achieves a typical ending derived from the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation : knight versus bishop and a powerful kingside maj ority, White has a virtually won game ! Black's doubled pawns make Black's queenside major­ ity dead in the water.


Understanding Chess