04 February 2020

February 1970 & 1995 'On the Cover'

Was the lag time in the USCF's flagship publication shorter 50 years ago than it was 25 years ago? So it would seem. The 1969 U.S. Championship was held in December 1969; the 1994 Championship was held in October 1994. Both events were reported in February of the following year.

Left: 'Champion Sammy Reshevsky' (Photo: Bert Hochberg)
Right: 'Gulko Wins Interplay U.S. Championship'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Sammy Reshevsky became U. S. Champion for the sixth time. Asked later about his ambitions should he play in the Interzonal later this year, he said, "Maybe I'll be World Champion when I'm 60!" Referring to his form in this tournament, Reshevsky told me [CL&R Editor Hochberg] he thought he had played as well as he ever did. He is the only participant to go undefeated; in fact, he never had a lost position. And when you consider that the competition included five grandmasters and three international masters, that ain't hay, my friends.

For the results of that Interzonal, see 1970 Palma de Mallorca Interzonal Tournament. A few paragraphs later, the Hochberg report continued,

Since this championship, as it is every three years, is the FIDE zonal from which the top three players go to the Interzonal late in 1970, Addison qualifies by finishing second. We are happy and proud to see Bill Addison in the Interzonal and we wish him great success.

Pal Benko has never done better than third place in a U. S. Championship. Always a shrewd strategist with a strong interest in chess psychology, Benko seems to be changing his style somewhat in the last two or three years.

It signed off,

The question will of course be asked: "Why didn't Bobby Fischer play?" The answer to this question, in the form of a letter from Fischer to USCF. Executive Director E. B. Edmondson, will be published next month, along with Mr. Edmondson's reply.

That wasn't the final answer. Even though he didn't play, the tournament was the first step in Fischer's climb to the World Championship. For more about that story, see World Championship Zonals 1969-1972.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

The 1994 Interplay U.S. Chess Championship was held in Key West. Florida, between October 9 and October 27. The event was dedicated to the memory of Nina Denker, and sponsored by Interplay, manufacturer of the popular Battle Chess 4000.

Standing, left to right: Press Secretary Bill Cornwall, Tournament Director Carol Jarecki, Teresa Schultz, Organizer Don Schultz. • Standing, middle row: Alexander Ivanov, Dmitry Gurevich, Alexander Shabalov, Gregory Kaidanov, Georgi Orlov, Alexey Yermolinsky. • Seated: Nick deFirmian, Joel Benjamin, Larry Christiansen, Boris Gulko, Ben Finegold, Walter Browne, Yasser Seirawan. • In the front: A. J Steigman, who did a wonderful job working the wall boards.

In the lower right photo, USCF Executive Director Al Lawrence (l.) receives the $30,000 sponsorship check from Interplay's Marketing Production Manager Jerry Luttrell.

Cyberchess took another step towards world domination when WChess triumphed at the fourth Harvard Cup (lower left). Photographer Kevin Dyke caught the essence of the man-versus-machine conflict.

Not mentioned in the group photo: Boris Kreiman, who is second from the right in the players identified as 'Standing, middle row' (green t-shirt). The tournament also served as a zonal event; see World Championship Zonals 1995-1997 for a crosstable.

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