Fond memories in Chess

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  • #16
    Raymond Dickson - I also played IM Donald Byrne in that event.

    He was having a very bad tournament.

    I made it to time control, one pawn down, and it was my task to seal a move to play the adjournment the next morning at 10:00 AM.

    Can you guess what happened (I think I've mentioned this chess reminiscence once before here)?

    Bob A
    Last edited by Bob Armstrong; Sunday, 17th July, 2022, 08:04 PM.


    • #17
      My article from Bob Armstrong's newsletter. I had scanned 3 photos of Spassky that were in the CNE Archives.

      Chess at the CNE Part 3: Spassky 1971

      When I was young, I think I attended the CNE every year. My mom often worked there and I have a few times as well. The Food Building was my favourite building as they presented new foods and free samples. The only rides I liked were the bumper cars or go-karts because I was in control. The only game I liked was the fish pond because there always was a prize. One could buy interesting things from around the world and I cherished my Russian hand puppets, Newfoundland penny, and orange JOFA hockey stick. At the Hockey Hall of Fame I got Ken Dryden's autograph. In 1971 there was a special Quebec Pavilion, Western Rodeo Show and a free concert by Lighthouse. I found Jack Kochman's Hell Drivers circling on two side wheels interesting. The CNE had big spectacles: Aquarama water skiers, Horse Show, Air Show, the Bob Hope Show, concerts like chum chart topper the Osmonds or the Jackson 5, and fireworks.

      In 1969 Walter [Vlad] Dobrich, soon to be the new Star chess columnist, gave a simul at the USSR Bazaar, Coliseum East Annex, scoring +46=1-0, having a close game with an unnamed 14-year old. And again in 1970 outdoors near the Dufferin gate +39=3-8. I saw that one.
      The CNE Open on Labour Day 1971 was in the “Leisure Time Pavilion,” the new name for the Automotive Building. Near musical organ sales and golf games. The CNE had donated $2,000. The entry fee of $20, $10 unrated, included a 3-day pass to the CNE (worth $4.50). It was unexpectantly popular and more tables had to be found delaying the first round two hours. There were 247 players including the PDP 10-50 computer, rated 1460. The largest and strongest weekend tournament in Canadian history, all in one section. A month earlier the US Open had 400 players won by Walter Browne and Larry Evans, 10-2.

      Tournament organizer Dobrich promoted the event at the Canadian Open in Vancouver; bringing 30 players to Toronto, including Boris Spassky (2690!) – how often does one get to play a World Champion! Probably the only time a World Champion has played in a weekend swiss. The Telegram quoted Victor Dzera, 18, “My first grand master.” Dzera was ranked the 17th top junior in Canada and these days has been playing in the World Opens. Another junior, Ray Stone, wrote in the Windsor Star, “Spassky was pleasant and interesting in conversation. His English is excellent. Throughout the tournament he remained cool and imperturbable.” Spassky had been to Canada before for the Winnipeg Grandmaster Tournament in 1967.

      Spassky tied with Hans Rees for first in the Canadian Open, 9-1. Here he didn't win first after drawing with Lawrence Day of Ottawa, only tying for third with IM Leslie Witt who defeated Day in the last round. $1,500 first and second prize were split between New Yorkers GMs Pal Benko and Robert Byrne 6-0. Benko defeated the top two Canadians: Bruce Amos and Zvonko Vranesic. The latter game was an important theoretical battle which made it into his books The Benko Gambit 1973 and Pal Benko: my life, games, and compositions 2003. Byrne took off Ivan Theodorovitch and Denis Allan; Two of his games were published in Horowitz's New York Times column and he got married five days after the tournament. Byrne later became the New York Times columnist, lost a 1974 Candidates Match to Spassky and died earlier this year.

      GM Arthur Bisguier lost to Jean Delvas (1962), and GM Walter Browne (2500) only had 3.5 (the same as Joe Smolij). John Wright 4.5 won top junior, Peter Nurmi 3.5 top under 16, Stephen Boyd 4 Top C class, and Toronto High School Champion Mike Williams 4 (1657) defeated Toronto Closed co-Champion George Kuprejanov (2255). Other top juniors were with 4.5 Peter Matsi; with 4: Mohan Rajagopal, Sam Kleinplatz, Victor Dzera and Ray Stone; with 3.5 Dave MacLeod, Harry Kaminker and John [Childey-] Hill. And a new kid Bryon Nickoloff 2. Ruth Cardosa of Brazil won the women's prize with 4. Among the large Montreal contingent were Leslie Witt 5.5, Jacques Labelle and Leo Williams 5, Ignas Zalys and Robert Lebel 4.5, Eric Leimanis and Andris Leimanis 4, and Gilles Angers, Hugh Brodie and Larry Bevand 3.

      The new Chess Canada magazine published six games. Chess Life and Review published two games in an article by Manhattan CC Champion Arthur Feuerstein. He enjoyed the clean and safe city.
      Last edited by Erik Malmsten; Sunday, 17th July, 2022, 08:15 PM.


      • #18
        Originally posted by Neil Frarey View Post

        Oops! ... I'm afraid so, Hans!

        In 2004 we sat around wondering what we could do to make Chess for Charity into a chesspectable (ahem) then I was told we had that amount of floor space and tables and chairs and a small army of amazing volunteers! Film crews were everywhere so I requested that a DVD might be made of the C4C event ... I still have my copy, ha!

        If you would like I could make a copy for you.

        A lot of top ministers were there and a sprinkling of celebs too, but my jaw dropped when I saw Sam Holman up in the balcony!!! It took me about 5 seconds to run up to him and shake his hand!
        that would be great Neil, I would appreciate that.


        • #19
          In 2006 in Ottawa at the Industry Canada charity event during my blindfold simul after about two hours I desperately had to go to the bathroom. That was arranged but when I came back I had forgotten all the games. Nothing - mind wiped clean! I sat there and thought and thought - still nothing. This was embarrassing but I had already at least won a game, a miniature against a former Ottawa junior champion who was rated around 2000 (I forget his name). David Cohen was my move messenger and he posted the games on chesstalk so they should be archived but maybe not anymore. David followed me around and was my move messenger for many of my blindfold simuls in those years. I thought about telling Stijn that I couldnt continue but I had travelled all night by bus to make it and I was determined. It was agonising. Then suddenly one game came back - not one of my better efforts but the one I was losing horribly against Maher Saleh. Maher Saleh? Why was he playing? He was 2300. I asked him when he came to shake my hand and he said Its nothing to do with you Hans, I wanted to win the prize for the first one to beat you - a magnificent crystal glass set! So that was the game that first came back to my mind and then the one just before it and just after it and finally they all followed. After that weekend I vowed to never again do another major blindfold display. After all I was 48 and was obviously getting old and had done enough blindfold simuls. However I broke that vow when Ted Winick talked me into it and I did the next at the 2010 Canadian Open in Toronto.


          • #20
            I remember going to a tournament in either Arnprior or Pembroke and David Cohan was with us. I was the driver. We both played blindfolded. I recall getting about 15 moves deep when a deer ran across the road. I had to swerve to avoid the deer, near miss. After that, I totally forgot the game we were playing. I resigned, but I was still alive!


            • #21
              I also remember a tournament in Arnprior, I think it was the Ontario Open. My wife would accompany me to these road tournaments, it was loads of fun. My friend Jeff would bring his girlfriend as well. Brian Hartman attended and he was accompanied by his girlfriend at the time, sometime in the 80's. While I was knocking heads in the tournament hall, the three girls were playing chess in the skittles room. I couldn't have been more proud when my wife beat Brian's girlfriend. Checkmate!


              • #22
                Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post

                that would be great Neil, I would appreciate that.
                I'll put that C4C event on a stick and make it available for you in both/either vob and mp4!


                • #23
                  I wish to offer a tribute to my high school chess coach, Jim Hegney, at Mackenzie HS, Deep River, Ontario.
                  It was the time of the Fischer Boom, with interest in chess building steadily. Jim was one of a group of dedicated HS chess coaches in Renfrew County, a largely rural area, northwest of Ottawa. Jim and his coach colleagues at the County schools put together a team league, with each HS hosting a one-day team event, for 8-player teams, each year I went to high school (1971-76). Every event was the same: team matches across 8 boards, round-robin, all in one day, with a G/30' time control. I think Mackenzie won the team trophy every year I was there. I advanced from board seven to board one, and had a pretty good record, unbeaten on board one in my grade 12 year. It could be anything from a half-hour drive to a 2-hour drive, each way, and usually one of the players' parents drove as well, to transport our team. We usually left town by 7 a.m. Saturday mornings, often cold and snowy, and returned home after dark.
                  Jim, who taught me French and Economics, and very well, kept his home room classroom open across lunch for for chess, on a drop-in basis, every day, for two hours. He had a CFC rating in the 1700s, and was a regular tournament player in the Ottawa area. We also had a daily Chess Club meeting after school. He taught me how to run Swiss events.
                  I remember regular analysis sessions in the Fried Liver Attack, the King's Gambit, the Grand Prix Sicilian, and so forth; along with dozens of blitz games and an occasional longer game, with him.
                  Jim took an MHS team to the Ontario HS Championship in Toronto every year; I went three of my five years. He also escorted three players (I was one) to the Quebec Carnaval Open in 1973, as part of a French Immersion bus trip. Then we went to a major junior Open in Ottawa, February 1976, when we had to go to jail to play -- boarding in the Ottawa Hostel, a former jail!! I lost to Kevin Pacey in the last round, when we both had perfect scores going in; Terry Fleming organized the tournament. This was a decade before the start of Chess 'N Math. At the time I was angry to lose to Kevin, but only two years later, Kevin defeated another Kevin, IM Spraggett that is, in a tournament game. I felt better after that!
                  Jim was also my HS golf coach; he played to a 7 handicap, shooting regularly in the high 70s. Eventually I became the better golfer and chess player, but Jim sure set a great example, and gave me lots of great tips.
                  Jim's wife Betty taught me Math, very well, and also helped to coach the 'Reach For The Top' team from MHS, which I made one year (Grade 11).
                  The Hegneys were an exceptional husband-and-wife teacher couple, and across their careers, enriched the lives of hundreds of students, beyond their regular teaching duties.
                  Duncan Smith, a few years younger than me, lived right across the street from the Hegneys; you may recognize him as the father of WFM Hazel Smith.
                  Teachers often get a bad rap, but I am putting on the record my appreciation for the Hegneys, all those years later!!!

                  Frank Dixon
                  NTD, Kingston


                  • #24
                    Often when you find a number of players from a certain town or area there is a key individual that got them started. Mine was Ed Wright. He was a high school student in grade 12 when I was in grade 10 and he had a CFC rating of only 1557 but we must have played a thousand games together in my first full year of chess play. We used to play in one of the quads of the highschool (4 classrooms separated by dividers) and if we cleaned the quad the custodians let us stay from 318pm to 530. The other kids had detentions we played chess. He scored well over 900 wins out of that thousand but then something sank in finally and I started winning game after game. Not content with letting matters rest I challenged him to a blindfold simultaneous, I playing 3 games blindfold, he playing 3 games sighted and I won them all. That was the end of our regular gettogethers


                    • #25
                      It was Vlad Dobrichs influence that started me into tournament chess. Between Christmas and New Years 1972 he organized and directed the Canadian Junior in London Ontario at Wellington Square Mall. Imagine my astonishment when I stumbled on all these bell bottomed long haired teenagers playing chess on roped off tables in the middle of the mall - and they were using clocks! The likes of Jonathan Berry, Bruce Harper, a really young Jean Hebert etc and they were hunched over the board in long thinks. I just had to give it a try and the itch was on until I played my first clock tournament in late January 1973 at the Crouch Library on Hamilton Road.


                      • #26
                        I posted in Collective Nouns thread about how I first met Hyssam Elsakka. For a mostly shy sixteen year old he supplied all my social needs at the time. Hyssam was a short, squat, hairy, balding thirty year old from Syria. He repulsed some people but had ample charm and used several accents (and sometimes really laid them on thick) to intrigue and charm people he was interested in. He was constantly meeting people both on the phone and in person and was always getting himself invited to parties. Occasionally he would persuade me to come along. To my (admittedly somewhat limited) perception he was always the life of the party, going around in and out of almost every conversation, dashing off to the kitchen where he was always making several exotic dishes on the stove or helping the cook. Under his direction there were usually at least 5 or 6 people by the stove laughing and carrying on, three or so directly doing the cooking or preparing and usually at least three other women who he was cajoling into adding their talents and he was always on the lookout and encouraging the breakout of a chess game which he would then mercilessly kibbitz. Hyssam was an excellent cook and there was no end to his knowledge of cooking cultures. He in those days had a battered copy (or three or 5) of his book 1001 ways to prepare Eggplant. - which was a spiral bound book of 200 badly typewritten pages with occasional sloppy handwritten notes and many stains etc. which he kept in his car - a taxicab which he shared with others, and the cab was always full of his junk but he knew of course where everything was. The book - he was always trying to sell but usually gave away to "good friends"
                        Last edited by Hans Jung; Wednesday, 27th July, 2022, 03:46 PM.


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
                          .... That was the end of our regular gettogethers
                          My only experiences with Ed were at the Y chess club. He used to beat me easily for quite a while and it was very difficult playing him because of his need for positive attention. He would constantly be calling people over to look at his games with me and he would solicit their compliments with statements like, "Look at my bishops; they're raking, they're raking." His unsportsmanlike behaviour angered me and I found it humiliating at times. But I kept on playing him in the hope that one day I would have my revenge. Then one day it became clear that I had pulled even with him, maybe a little ahead, and he didn't want to play me anymore. As much as he irritated me, I felt badly for the guy. It seemed that he needed the positive effects of winning to balance out whatever negative crap was going on in the rest of his life.
                          "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


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
                            .... Hyssam Elsakka. ....
                            My first experience with Hyssam was in September, 1969. It was half way through an Engineering Statics lecture at Western when suddenly a tornado, Hyssam, bursts into the room. He gets into a big argument with the Professor about how brilliant he (Hyssam) is. After a couple of minutes the Professor agrees with him and away Hyssam goes! :) Hyssam wasn't registered to take that course!!
                            "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


                            • #29
                              At a tournament in Kitchener many years ago, my rating was somewhere around 1500. A young David Gordon came with me to the tournament, his talent was just emerging. I was playing black against a higher rated player, somewhere around 1750. I tanked on move 4 for 40 minutes and pondered playing a bishop sac on f2. I did a good amount of analysis and knew the sac wasn't sound, but I would be able to rapid fire the next 5 or 6 moves, making my opponent think I knew something he didn't, eventually forcing him to make a mistake. Yes, I played the man and not the board. Things went as I had planned and I ended up winning the game. Hyssam ran up to me after the game and proceeded to give me shit for playing the man and not the board. I looked at him and said something to the effect that the ends justified the means. He thought for a minute and actually agreed with me. I never knew what reaction I would get from him. I liked that!


                              • #30
                                It was often my experience with Hyssam - he didnt just want to provoke and interrupt but also change the group dynamics. When my friends Steve and Donna got married - they were married in Donna's family church in the midst of a farming community with family and friends - quite conservative. Hyssam showed up in a very nice new suit but in barefeet with a black beret on his head and a very colourful mens tie loosely fashioned into a big bow tie. He then proceeded to kiss all the ladies hands and insert himself in every conversation.