Collective Nouns - Fischer v Spassky

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
    I met Herman Posma at the German - Canadian club in London (Cove Road) in 1975. Herman would tell me stories of his days in The Dutch East Indies where his family had a plantation (Sumatra I think) and the invasion and occupation of the Japanese and later the revolution and losing his home and coming to Canada. He was a landlord for many Western students in the 50's, 60's, and 70"s and was Sreve Bartletts landlord in the late 60's. Herman was bitten by the chess bug at age 70! After about 10 more years he separated from his wife (who told him he should settle down, enjoy home life, and give up that silly game - the last was enough for him) and moved to Toronto (and got an apartment) to play tournament chess! The last talk I had with him was at the Estonian Club with their famous Paul Keres Actives in 97 or 98. Herman told me he was still improving, had gained at least 300 rating points since he had started and planned to gain a 100 more. This was at age 92!! Anyone else remember Herman Posma?
    Yes, I remember Herman from the mid to late 70s in London; a soft-spoken kindly gentleman. I remember in particular a tournament game against him in the summer of 1979. I had really worked hard trying to build on a small advantage in space. He moved a rook to a centre file attacking my queen. I had a square in mind for my queen. His reply would be forced, I thought, so I started anaylzing what I would do after his forced reply. I found a rook move I liked and without any further thought, made it. Looked back at the board and froze in horror as it dawned on me that I'd hung my queen. Herman was solicitous and very apologetic about taking the gift.
    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
    "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination." - Thomas De Quincey

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    • #47
      I used to play matches at Herman's apartment when it became too long for him to come out to my place in Brampton. We played $5 a game to the winner.
      I sold him my first French lardy set. He would go to tournaments in Holland every winter. He sadly died of prostate cancer (I believe) he was in his 93rd year when that happened. He had lost one lung during the time he was in a Japanese prisoner of war war camp and was smuggled out with dead prisoners by a Priest or he would have been executed shortly within the week. We would have missed many great chess battles had that happened. He played to the bitter end as he said in our matches " If you don't play until the game is over. How can you say you really won or lost"

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      • #48
        Thanks John. Im glad you mentioned the incident of being smuggled out. Herman had so many great stories he should have written a book. Ive forgotten so much (sigh).

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        • #49
          This memory is for you Peter. I have mentioned the other clubs in London but the one I started with and was very fond of was the downtown Y. In fact going to the Y involved two or more chess sessions in a day. The youth chess club run by Ted Durrant met at the main library downstairs on Queens Ave in the late afternoons (after school) and we helped Ted when he missed a session (usually Ray Ebisuzaki, but also Arthur Wong, or Jay Zendrowski or even Dave Kashikjian. Of course it was always more interesting and entertaining when Ted was there. He always got us going with entertaining analysis or bughouse chess or discussing some current event of interest. Then they would adjourn to play pingpong at the Y until the evening club started. I wasnt one for ping pong although I enjoyed their spectacular leaps and spin shots. Imagine Ted four feet in the air doing a twist behind the back spin shot or Ray with his insane laugh as he would determinedly do a barrage of return shots and often won the set. I usually (during the time that they played ping pong) would play a match game with Dave Kashijkian or Jay Zendrowski (most often) or Kelly Riley or Arthur Wong. The bonus was that we would get to analyse the game with Ted and Ray the next week (usually with a crowd of kibitzers).

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          • #50
            One evening I was at the club playing a tournament game and Bill Szabo came in. He would usually go to Jack Ronean or Bob Kazmarek to bum a cigarette. I guess I must have said something jokingly about Bill because the next thing you know Bill was squeezing my shoulder and leaning over in an intimidating fashion. Who knows what would have happened (and it would have been bad for me) but Bob Kazmarek leapt over and grabbed Bills arm, pushed him away and told him to leave now or you can have a piece of me. Richard May immediately came over and said Now, now gentlemen - no fighting here - we are here to play chess. Bobs reply - dont worry Richard he is leaving now and Bill Szabo did back off very quickly and left quietly. Im telling you three bigger men I never did see in a chess club and the tension for a while was high. It was after that that Bob became very friendly with me and shared many stories from the past - leaving Poland at the beginning of WW 2 and joining the French Foreign Legion. His years in the stock market and making money off options. I particularly remember visiting him years later (early 90's) at his country estate in Komoka and when I came in this luxurious home there was a very old woman lying on a mattress in the dining room close to the kitchen entrance. It was Bob's 90+ yr old mother. Bob quietly made tea and served it and we looked at some games from my latest tournaments. In the background his mother was groaning but occasionally she would look over and smile and Bob told me she had Alzheimers and all she wanted was to be close to Bob and have the human touch.
            Last edited by Hans Jung; Thursday, 4th August, 2022, 12:15 PM.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
              This memory is for you Peter. I have mentioned the other clubs in London but the one I started with and was very fond of was the downtown Y. .......
              Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
              One evening I was at the club playing a tournament game and Bill Szabo came in. .......
              Hans, these are incredible memories!!! I don't think I've ever enjoyed a chesstalk thread as much as this one. Can't get this image out of my head of Ted Durrant, four feet in the air, hitting a 360° backhand. :)
              Bill Szabo, this name doesn't ring a bell but from the 1970s I do remember a tall, rangy, wild-looking guy, 40 something (?), with a thick Euro accent of some type, who would drop into the club five or six times a year, make a lot of noise for a few minutes and then leave. I assume this was Szabo. His only mode of transportation was a bike. I recall one night he came into the club in rough shape. He was very upset because a bunch of teenagers had beaten the crap out of him and stolen his bike. I felt kind of sorry for him but Bob K. told Szabo that he had created his own problem because that was the kind of trouble he was going to attract by pretending to be crazy.

              "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop
              "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
              "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination." - Thomas De Quincey

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              • #52
                Yes exactly Peter - that was Bill Szabo and thats the type of guy he was. I have so much more to share - but in what order? The hardest is dredging them out of my mind and choosing which ones to share. - and finding the time to post. Glad you are enjoying the memories.

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                • #53
                  Bob Kaczmarek sure had some great stories. The best part of his years in the French Foreign Legion was not in Africa but in French Indo-China when he was fighting the Japanese. They used to use elephants as a main part of fighting. - not directly as the Japanese would just shoot the elephants but as decoys and causing disturbances in the jungle and the troops would attack from the other side. After one skirmish Bob helped with the wounded elephants - plugging bullet holes with riverside mud and washing the elephants. One particular elephant was really taken with Bob and was very grateful for what he was doing and when he had recovered would follow Bob around when he could and was always looking for him and calling for him. Bob used to feed it jackfruit which it couldnt get enough of and having such a relationship - imagine having an elephant as a pet! - was the highlight of his time there.

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