22 July 2021

July 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover'

Last month's post on U.S. chess from 50 and 25 years ago, June 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover' (June 2021) was 'all about records'. This month's post is all about the World Championship.

Left: ?
Right: 'Dmitry Gurevich Dominates U.S. Masters'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Historic Scene as Fischer ponders 15th move in final game of incredible 6.0 sweep over Taimanov in their Quarter-Final Candidates Match. • Photograph by Ken Oakes, "Vancouver Sun."

For the previous post with Fischer on the cover, see December 1970 & 1995 'On the Cover' (December 2020; 'Bobby Fischer. Leading at the Interzonal!'). The headline for the first story in the July 1971 issue announced, 'Fischer Wins, 6-0!!' The full record of the Fischer's march to challenge Spassky in 1972 is at 1970-72 Candidates Matches (m-w.com).

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Dmitry Gurevich certainly deserves a cover, for his 7-0 sweep of the U.S. Masters. The resurrection of this USCF event (and there is a commitment to hold it again in 1997) can only be viewed in a positive light. But that rich, red velvet background was too much to resist. Thus, Dmitry shares the spotlight with one of the many chess sets on display at the Chess and Chessmen Through History exhibition at the John G. White Collection, Cleveland Public Library.

The U.S. Masters was covered in a four-page story, illustrated in color. It included a box titled, 'The Invited Juniors', which presented a short history of the event:-

The U.S Masters, which of course grew from and remains part of the Midwest Masters. was a small attempt to replace the terrible loss of Lone Pine from the chess scene in 1981. When Louis Statham chose to discontinue his series of magnificent tournaments, there was a rather large hole in the American chess scene.

One of the features of Lone Pine was the fact that junior players were allowed to compete even though they were not as highly rated as adults. The Warrens attempted to continue that tradition by specifically inviting not otherwise eligible junior players. This year, there were five specifically invited juniors, and all did well.

The Chess and Chessmen exhibition (does anyone still call the pieces 'chessmen'?) was covered in another four-page illustrated story. It was connected withh the 'Seventh Bi-annual meeting of Chess Collectors International (CCI)'. The story started,

The John G. White Collection of chess opened a major exhibit on March 18, 1996, entitled Chess and Chessmen Through History. The display will be open through August 1996, and is the largest held on chess since 1975. It occupies all exhibit areas of the third floor of Main Library, 125 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.

That's all nice and dandy, but what does it have to do with the World Championship mentioned in the first paragraph? The issue's cover introduction was followed by a second section titled 'On-Off-On'

The Karpov - Kamsky match for the FIDE World Championship is now scheduled to begin no later than June 5 in Elista, Kalmykia, with a prize fund of $1,100,000. No draw odds. This match -- a necessity before Kasparov and the PCA will even consider a unification match -- has been on again, off again during the past few months, with about as much frequency as your living room light switch. After the flirtation with Baghdad, and an outcry from the FIDE member countries of Western Europe, Canada, and the United States, it would seem as though the match is on -- for real. We wish the best of luck to Gata Kamsky in his quest for the FIDE title.

The Baghdad botch was mentioned in May 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover' (May 2021); CL: 'Brickbats and barbs to FIDE for accepting a bid from Iraq to hold the Kamsky - Karpov World Championship match in Baghdad.' An overview of the match is on 1996 Karpov - Kamsky FIDE Title Match (m-w.com). No one realized at the time that Kasparov's PCA was on the verge of collapse. See FIDE/PCA Chronology (ditto) for the full story.

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