Just a few months after Pal Benko's double billing in the August 1965 'On the Cover' -- for a tied first place in the U.S. Open and a clear first in the Eastern Open -- he was back again. But hang on: didn't we already see the 'first American Open' earlier this year? No, that was the first National Open, seen in May 1965 'On the Cover'. The year 1965 was a year of firsts.
Left: 'First American Open Champion'
Right: 'Caissic Fabulous Stroebeck...has another Chess Feature to be noted...It put out the only known Chess Money'
The first American Open, played at the Del Mar Club in Santa Monica, California drew an impressive entry of 124 players on November 25-28. Winner, with an unequalled 7-1, was Grandmaster Pal Benko who thus climaxed a string of victories in California tournaments before returning east for the United States Championship. Benko led the tournament all the way, yielding draws only to Larry Evans and Dr. Anthony Saidy. Among Benko's victims were Dr. Erich Marchand, Irving Rivise, Ray Martin, and Tibor Weinberger.
Those of our readers who have also read from that fascinating chess raconteur Irving Cheney or simply from long-past issues of CHESS REVIEW will know of chess-fabled Stroebeck. Here then is another item of Stroebeckiana. This, Professor M. S. Zitzman of West Chester, Pennsylvania, tells us, is the only "chess money" ever printed. The faces of the notes appear on the cover, the reverse below. Those of you who can read German and have good magnifying glasses may follow the inscriptions. Our interest lies in the chess designs of this unique currency, which may not get you on even a blacked-out subway train but does carry happy connotations for chess spielers, fans and kibitzers.
A game showing a loss by M. Zitzman was on page 377 of the same issue of CR. Chessgames.com has a page for Manfred Zitzman 'of Reading, Pennsylvania'.
Later: 'When Black Is White':
Several readers, including one all the way from South Africa, A.R.Goldstein, have commented on the colors of the squares of the Stroebeck boards (December 1965). The lower right-hand squares on the cover are dark colored. The fact. is that, while to a chessplayer the boards are wrong, to a printer, photo-engraver and to most publishers, they are not. So also for bookbinders. They regard the color of the paper or of the binding of a book as "neutral" and so "White." It is certain that the engraver and printer of currency, say of a greenback, would regard that green as "White."
Chess Review, March 1966