My First Contact with Chess by Bernard Freedman

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  • #61

    I was in my office one day when a stranger walked in. "I am Mr. Anderson," he said. "I have been advised that you would be able to help me. My problem concerns my son, Frank. He is now fifteen and for five years has been confined to bed, hardly able to move, with a severe attack of arthritis. We are desperate. We have tried everything. He seems quite discouraged and has no ambition to carry on his schooling. We have recently given him a chess set and this seems to have aroused his interest. What do you suggest?"

    I immediately started him playing chess by correspondence with other players in hospitals and small towns. I supplied him with all the requirements, score sheets, correspondence chess boards, instruction sheets, and entered him in a tournament with other beginners.

    Some time later, on one of my visits to a Veterans Hospital, I was checking with a paraplegic patient whom I had also entered in a correspondence tournament. I questioned him on a very interesting game which was far beyond the beginners stage. He replied that he was playing Frank Anderson. I immediately realized that his opponent was exceptionally gifted.


    • #62

      I notified Mr, Anderson, senior, and we decided that we would use chess as an incentive to make Frank catch up with his studies. It worked perfectly. In no time he was catching up with his scholastic work. He decided one day to phone one of his opponents, Cy Hutchinson at the Veterans Hospital. He had to use his crutches to reach the phone. It was quite a strain.

      His first efforts to get out of the house were made to visit a chess club where I instructed two of the strongest Canadian chess players, R.E. Martin and Charles Crompton, to take full charge of his chess education. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were elated. They would visit me and report of rapid progress in the boy's health and his ambition to improve his knowledge and make up for lost time.


      • #63

        His first trip out of Toronto was to participate in the New York state championship being held in Endicott, N.Y. I had made all the arrangements with their committee to give him all the assistance in handling his travelling bags, his tray at the cafeteria, etc., At the train station when we saw him off, I asked another of our Canadian players to watch and help him.

        Later he played in many Toronto tournaments where he distinguished himself. He was making rapid progress. He proved to be a very bright student. In 1948 I sent six Canadian junior players to the U.S. Junior Championship being held in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Frank tied for first place with Larry Evans, now a U.S. grandmaster.


        • #64
          THE STORY OF FRANK ANDERSON continued

          At that time, while he still had difficulty getting around on crutches, he decided that he must enter high school that fall. Soon after, I secured a job for him as a chess instructor at Rose Avenue Community Center. I went with him for the first few sessions and arranged for weekly lessons as extra curriculum for which he was paid five dollars a lesson.

          This is what he wrote to me in a letter dated May 31, 1955:

          "Dear Mr. Freedman:

          I understand that you are trying to enlist aid in your promotion of chess among the youngsters of Canada. Perhaps the details of how chess helped me will aid interested people to appreciate the importance of this work. I taught chess for five years until University studies forced me to give this up. I saw twenty or thirty eager children come week after week to, first of all, enjoy themselves but without realizing it, learn some of life's most valuable lessons at this early age.
          "I believe that playing chess leads one to habits of the mind that once cultivated are invaluable - logic, patience and perseverance (never give up). I am now a second year student in mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto."


          • #65
            THE STORY OF FRANK ANDERSON continued

            When young Frank entered the University I realized the great handicap he would have daily, going back and forth on crutches to his home. I knew that his application for a room at the new residence had been turned down. I appealed the decision to the proper authorities and explained the special circumstances. One of the directors happened to be a friend of mine and a chess player. Within a few days Frank's application was granted.

            I was Past President of the War Pensioners of Canada and life chairman of their Board of Trustees. I prevailed on our members and they unanimously agreed that our association pay Frank's residence and entrance fee for one year.


            • #66
              THE STORY OF FRANK ANDERSON continued

              Young Anderson was still interested in chess, but I was told by some of his professors that it interfered with his studies. I then strongly advised him to completely quit chess immediately until he obtained his B.A. He reluctantly acceded and a few years later made the grade.

              When he finished he had no trouble in obtaining a job with a large computer firm. His condition improved, he did not require crutches any more, he underwent some surgery to straighten out a few bones and became quite confident and experienced. He also bought a small car and in the summer toured the U.S., to the west coast, using the car as his sleeping quarters. He would often come to me for advice or opinions. His next job was with a large accounting firm where, in time, he was promoted to business advisor.


              • #67
                THE STORY OF FRANK ANDERSON continued

                In 1953 he participated in the Dominion Championship being held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and tied for first place with D.A. Yanofsky. In 1955 in Ottawa, he became Dominion Chess Champion. He later represented Canada in master's tournaments in Europe where he distinguished himself further and acquired the title of International Chess Master.

                In 1953 while in Toronto, he played a telegraph match with Ogar Bondarevsky, an international chess grandmaster in Moscow. The match lasted a whole day and was finally won by Bondarevsky. In 1954 when Bondarevsky visited Toronto, they played a return match over the board at the YMCA. This time our Canadian champion excelled himself and won.


                • #68
                  Are all these memories from a book by Freedman? The Weston Chess Club used to run a Bernard Freedman tournament and had a Trophy in the School Trophy case for years . I have no idea if it is still there as the Weston Chess Club closed years ago.


                  • #69
                    It is a document typewritten on aging typing paper with an old typewriter that has many faded keys, I expect by Bernard Freedman himself. It has 52 pages total but if put in book format would only amount to about 30 pages. It was put together probably sometime in the mid to late 60's and there are probably several copies out there somewhere, no doubt xeroxed off. I got it off Alex Knox about twenty years ago when he was cleaning out some old papers. I decided to put it on chesstalk so that anybody who wanted to could have a read. It has been well received.


                    • #70
                      His commitment to chess is admirable.

                      Thoroughly enjoyed the excerpts, Hans.

                      Bob A


                      • #71
                        BISHOP AND KNIGHT ENDING

                        For many years I taught chess to beginners. There are many books which explain in simple language the best way to start a game. This is called the opening moves. There are also many publications on how to finish the game, this is called the endgame.

                        I never found a simplified method of showing how forcibly, with only a knight and bishop, one can, with the correct sequence of moves, checkmate the opponent who has only his king left on the board. The rules state that this has to be accomplished within fifty moves, otherwise the game is called a draw.

                        I have, for the benefit of my pupils, devised a clear method of forcing mate starting from any position on the board. I had one thousand copies mimeographed and have distributed them free to schools and chess players all over Canada.

                        For any chess player knowing how to accurately read chess annotations it should be very easy to follow.


                        • #72
                          FORCED CHECKMATE with KNIGHT and BISHOP against KING

                          As taught by Bernard Freedman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

                          FOUR STANDARD POSITIONS

                          1. FINAL POSITION
                          White Pieces - K at KB7, B at KB8, N at KN1 or anywhere else.

                          Black - King at KR1

                          The black King is cornered and has the choice of two squares - KR1 or KR2. Manoeuver the N from anywhere on the board to KB6 (or KN5)

                          Final Moves: 1.N-K2, K-R2, 2.N-N3, K-R1 3.N-K4, K-R2 4.N-KB6, K-R1 5.BN7 + mate.


                          • #73
                            2. INTERMEDIATE POSITION

                            White Pieces - K at Q6, N at K7, B at QR7
                            Black - King at KB3

                            The black king seems to have the whole field and ready to escape away from the black corner, but B to K3 quickly prevents this. The B, N and K should act towards the black king like a shepherd and his dog herding his sheep slowly and surely into the enclosure. Hardly any checking.

                            1.B-K3, K-B2 2.B-Q4, K-K1 3.K-K6, K-Q1 4.B-QN6+, K-K1 5.N-B5 (very important key move No.1), K-B1 6.B-Q8, K-K1 7.B-N5, K-B1 8.B-K7+, K-N1 (if K-K1 mate next move) 9.K-B6, K-R1 10.K-B7, K-R2 The knight is doing a job of controlling the R6 square, so before releasing the knight, White plays B at B8. The bishop then will dothe same job of covering R6 square.11. B-B8, K-R1 12. N-K7, K-R2 13. N-Q5, K-R1 14. B-N7+, K-R2 15. N-B6 checkmate.


                            • #74
                              3. EXTREME POSITION

                              We know now that with a bishop covering the black squares we have to mate in one of the corners which has a black square.

                              Black's king at QR1 (white square) White's pieces - K at QB6, B at KB2, N at KR3 or anywhere on the board.
                              We are systematically going to cover with the N + B the square at QR8 - QN8 - QB8 - Q8. Black is going to try to escape towards the white corner.

                              1.N-KB4, K-N1 2.N-K6, K-R1 3.N-QB7+, KN1 4.B-K3 (tempo), K-B1 5.B-QR7, K-Q1 6.N-Q5 (very important - key move No. 1), K-B1 (if K-K1 instead of K-B1, White should play K-Q6 followed by N to K7, see "Intermediate position")

                              7.N-K7+, K-Q1 8.K-Q6, K-K1 9.K-K6, K-Q1 10. B-N6+, K-K1 11.N-B5 (very important key move No. 2), K-B1 12.B-Q8, K-K1 13.B-KN5, KB1 14.B-K7+ etc.


                              • #75
                                4. ORIGINAL POSITION

                                Black's king at K1, White's pieces - K at K1, B at QB1, N at QN1

                                1.B-N2, K-K2 2.N-Q2, K-K3 3.K-B2, K-Q4 4.K-N3, K-B4 5.B-B3

                                White controls the whole fourth row with his three pieces (except QR4). The black king can never pass. White moves his king up to close in on the black king, White has plenty of tempo moves. Black will have less and less. If White can repeat a similar position on the 4th or 5th row, it will be very easy to force the King in any corner or back row. With the black king at QR8 instead of KR1 and White pieces B-QB1, K-QB2, just imagine the board turned around. With White's bishop on a white square instead of a black square, you mate in the White corner instead of the Black.

                                You can also close in on the black king from both sides of the final corner. Try the above position on every corner of the board forcing the black king to the corner from both sides.