23 May 2017

Early Goichberg Tournaments

Running through two recent posts Early N.Y. Scholastic Championships and Early U.S. High School Championships was a common thread: Bill Goichberg and the Continental Chess Association (CCA). The chronologically first of the tournaments mentioned in those posts was the 'Greater New York High School and Junior High School Championships', April 1966. The following overview of Tournament Life Announcements (TLAs) from 1965 shows the earliest Goichberg tournaments listed in Chess Life (CL).

From various issues of Chess Life 1965

In 1969, Goichberg ran for USCF Vice-President, a position held for the three previous years by Isaac Kashdan. His candidate statement in the June 1969 issue of CL summarized his early career.

William Goichberg: I believe I have the experience to serve our Federation well as a national officer. Currently I am Director of the Continental Chess Association, USCF's most active affiliate. Previously, I was USCF rating statistician for 3 1/2 years, during the latter part of which I also wrote many articles for CHESS LIFE.

I have organized and directed over 100 USCF-rated events in seven states, with a total of more than 10,000 entrants; these have brought in over 1500 new USCF members. Among these has been the largest tournament ever held in the U.S. (1966-7 Greater N. Y. Scholastic Champions, 614 players), the largest rated tournament (same, 486 players), the largest single-section tournament (1969 National High School Championship, 370 players), and the largest open tournament (1968 Atlantic Open, 329 players). Of the fourteen largest rated tournaments ever held in this country, I have directed ten.

The success of these events has not been limited to one area, but includes the largest non-holiday open ever held in New Jersey, Connecticut, and D.C., and the largest open ever in Delaware and upstate New York. This activity has given me a thorough understanding of the elements of successful chess promotion -- of organizers' problems and players' needs.

He lost the election to Frank Skoff, but it was not his last run for USCF office and he would one day become USCF President. As for the CCA, the earliest tournament reference I can find is the TLA for the August 1968 Eastern Open in Washington DC.

Bobby Fischer usually gets full credit for the so-called Fischer boom in the 1970s, because his fame triggered the excitement. Tireless organizers like Bill Goichberg had already seeded interest among U.S players and were able to harness the newfound fascination for chess.

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