04 October 2016

October 1966 'On the Cover'

Fifty years ago, both of the main American chess magazines reported the latest results of their respective flagship open tournaments.

Left: 'U.S.Open Co-Champions' - Photos by Beth Cassidy
Right: 'New Golden Knights Face'

Chess Life

As reported in our September issue, Robert Byrne and Pal Benko each scored 11-2 to tie for first in the 1966 U.S.Open, which attracted an amazing turnout of 201 players to Seattle, August 14-26.

Chess Review

Jack P. Witeczek of Detroit, Michigan, won the 12th annual Golden Knights postal chess championship and the 1st annual U.S.Open postal championship, actually some months ago as reported then in the Postal Chess Dept. [June 1966]

For the USCF's U.S.Open, we have to go back more than a year to August 1965 'On the Cover': 'Fifty years ago Pal Benko received a double billing for placing first in two strong open tournaments' (CL: 'Benko, Lombardy Tie in U.S.Open'; CR: Eastern Open). If we go back another year, we see that the year 1966 gave Benko a hat trick; October 1964 'On the Cover': 'Grandmaster Pal Benko of New York won the United States Open'.

To find the previous year when Benko did not win the U.S.Open, we have to go back to September 1963. CL reported, 'Lombardy Wins U.S. Open Championship' (on tiebreak over Robert Byrne). Benko tied for 3rd-4th with S.Gligoric, who spent time in the U.S. after the 1963 (1st) Piatigorsky Cup. The full 1963 crosstable was printed in the November CL.

For CR's Golden Knights, we can go back to November 1965 'On the Cover': 'Raymond E.A. Doe has won the 11th annual Golden Knights Postal Chess Championship. He began play in the tournament in 1957.' That post included a link to Wikipedia's 'Golden Knights (chess)', which gives Witeczek's name as 'J.Whiteczak'.

I learned in a recent post, Shaping Chess History, that for the months June through November 1966, CL had an interim team editorship. The October masthead said, 'Editors: Lt. Colonel E.B.Edmondson and Wm.Goichberg'. In June 1966, Edmondson was USCF President (replaced by Marshall Rohland in August 1966) while Goichberg was 'Rating Statistician'.

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