04 June 2019

June 1969 'On the Cover'

Is chess more for young people or for old people? Considering the cover stories of two American chess magazines 50 years ago, I might be tempted to say 'young people', but I'll stick with 'For All Ages'.

Left: 'Vlastimil Hort, Winner at Venice'
Right: 'Woman Champion'

Chess Life

Anthony Saidy wrote the tournament report corresponding to the cover story, titled 'We Open in Venice'. I already quoted it in April 1969 'On the Cover', so I'll just repeat the first paragraph.

Vlastimil Hort, 25-year-old Czech International Grandmaster, romped undefeated to an easy victory in the 3rd annual International Venice Tournament, March 5-23. The "baby" of the event took the sole lead with four straight wins, had 7 points after 8 rounds and coasted to a final tally of 11.5-3.5.

It's an elementary observation that 25 + 50 = 75. Chessbase did a story at the beginning of the year, Vlastimil Hort turns 75 - an interview (January 2019). The site has also been running a series of 'Hort stories'; see tag=Vlastimil+Hort (chessbase.com).

Chess Review

While Champion Nona Gaprindashvili and Challenger Alla Kushnir (see April issue) are battling for the world title, let's reflect for a moment on the first Wonsan World Champion of Chess (and the first woman to hold a verified master's title). Here on our cover is Miss Vera Menchik at 21 soon after she had won the world title as she appeared at Hastings in 1927. The "Vera Menchik Chess Club," a list of masters who lost to her, became quite lengthy and studded with notables.

Is it sexism that the CR cover doesn't mention Vera Menchik by name? Or was she really so little-known at the time? If so, then chess history has made giant strides since 1969. For a previous post on this blog, see More Menchik (April 2013).

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