26 January 2017

Fischer and Hochberg

The Chess Life (CL) half of the January 1967 'On the Cover' post featured Bobby Fischer.

'Fischer wins U.S. Championship (Ho-Hum)' by Burt Hochberg [...] Maybe it wasn't so 'Ho-Hum' after all. This was the eighth and last time that Fischer participated in the U.S. Championship.

Hochberg's long article included an explanation of Fischer's objection to the format of the event. I'll copy it here along with some of his observations about the U.S. chess scene in the mid-1960s.

The next U.S. Championship was played in July 1968, again at New York. In Fischer's absence, Larry Evans won, a half-point ahead of Robert Byrne. Samuel Reshevsky was third and Pal Benko fourth, confirming these players as the next tier in American chess, after Fischer.

The January 1967 CL was Hochberg's first issue as solo editor. He made a brief appearance in a recent post, Shaping Chess History (September 2016), where I noted,

[CL contributor Al] Lawrence went on to write about four of the 17 editors listed on the left: Montgomery Major (1946-1957), Fred Wren (1958-1960), Frank Brady (1961), and Burt Hochberg (1967-1979).

Of the 17 CL editors to date, he served the longest in that position, nearly 13 years, although current editor Daniel Lucas might overtake him in a few years. The second paragraph of the above clipping promises further details concerning Fischer's participation in the U.S Championship, but it must have been dropped. I started a list of Hochberg's columns, From the Editor's File, which I'll copy here, because I have nothing else to do with it.

1967-01: Dr. Eliot Hearst; chess as 'mental savagery'; 'Vital statistics' (chess anniversaries, a monthly recurring feature)
1967-02: Fischer game from the Havana Olympiad; chess master's style vs. music composer's style
1967-03: Letter from reader complaining about lateness; photo of game between violinist Louis Persinger and David Oistrakh, with Yehudi Menuhin looking on
1967-04: Southern California chess hall of fame; 'Vital statistics' errors in print
1967-05: Chess temperaments
1967-06: Miro Radojcic; more on chess and music
1967-07: Cautions to chess players (1849); more on music
1967-08: Fischer and the World Championship

I started the list looking for Fischer, so I'll end the list with Fischer, although the columns continued. Wikipedia currently has a stub page, Burt Hochberg, but there is much more that could be said about him.


Later: After posting the above I found some time to continue the list.

1967-09: MacHack; nursery rhymes
1967-10: U.S. Student team; annotating an incomprehensible game
1967-11: Questionnaire; 'How to Behave at a Chess Match' (for chess wives)
1967-12: Steinitz affliction; 'not a joke' letter

The feature was dropped from subsequent issues. The 'Questionnaire' in the November issue was 'to give you the kind of magazine you want'. I suppose 'Editor's File' didn't make the cut.

No comments: