01 October 2019

October 1969 'On the Cover'

Even though I announced The End of Daily Blogging two weeks ago, there is another ongoing, monthly series on this blog that needs to be closed separately. The first post in the 'On the Cover' series, March 1964 'On the Cover' (March 2014), asked, 'What was happening in the U.S. chess press 50 years ago?' I've been answering the same question monthly for over five-and-a-half years. This current post, pegged to October 1969, is the logical end of the series.

Left: 'The Benko Family : 3-week-old Palma, Giselle and Pal, Triple Crown Champion'
Right: 'Message of Progress'

Chess Life

It's been only a month since I took a special look at GM Benko in Pal Benko 'On the Cover' (September 2019). Fifty years ago we learned that he had become a family man. Although there was nothing in that month's publication related to the cover, there was an article by Benko on an emerging variation that would eventually bear his name: the 'Benko Gambit'.

BENONI COUNTERGAMBIT CONTINUED by Pal Benko • After my last victories with this gambit, I was asked why I never use the opening in international tournaments if I was so convinced it was good for Black. I had, in fact, played it against International Master Vukic at Sarajevo 1967 with success. In my most recent European tour following the 1968 U.S. Open, I played it twice against International Masters. In my next report, perhaps you will see how this opening fares against Grandmasters!

Chess Review

Many people will recognize I.A. (Al) Horowitz in the cover photo. The October 1969 issue of CR carried a note from its editor/publisher.

MESSAGE of PROGRESS • Dear Chessplayer: Happy days! I have good news for you. CHESS REVIEW as a periodical and its auxiliary operations, Postal Chess, the sale of books and equipment and news of chess, are being acquired by the U.S. Chess Federation. In the pages of CHESS LIFE, the official organ of the USCF, will appear the results of postal competitions and the other outstanding features of CHESS REVIEW together with the notable writings of CHESS LIFE.

Key personnel of the Review, including Jack Straley Battell and Al Horowitz, will join CHESS LIFE in what purports to be the biggest, greatest and the best periodical in all the world. The interests of subscribers, customers and postalites of CHESS REVIEW will be well secured. Through an amalgam, to be known as CHESS LIFE AND REVIEW, a new dynamic force in the royal game will dominate the American scene. Those who get both magazines now should notify us so that the subscriptions may be adjusted accordingly.

Cordially yours,

And so ended one of the most important chapters in American chess journalism. Chess Review had been published continually since January 1933. And so ends this series on American chess in the 1960s.

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