05 August 2021

August 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover'

Last month's 'On the Cover' composite photo, covering the months July 1971 & 1996 (July 2021), showed a World Championship encounter on the left and an important U.S. tournament on the right. A month later, the focus was switched.

Left: ?
Right: 'Karpov wants to keep his FIDE crown!; Kamsky wants the title, the glory and a shot at Kasparov!'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Clarence Kalenian of Philadelphia, winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, May 29-31. • Photo by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Showing the U.S. Amateur Champion on the cover was a CL tradition at the time. Last year we had the same in August 1970 & 1995 'On the Cover' (August 2020). Inside the August 1971 CL&R, the 'Chess Life, Here & There' story started,

The 21st Annual United States Amateur Championship, played May 29-31 at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Hotel, drew an astounding 312 players -- 62 more than ever before. The host city may point with pride not only to the turnout, but to the fine performances of its local players, topped by Clarence Kalenian, the new U.S. Amateur Champion; Al Quindry, the second place finisher; and Steven Hokanson, the Group Two Champion.

Kalenian scored a 6-0 sweep of the 174-player Group One tournament. marking the third straight year this tournament has been won with a perfect score. Ranked 13th with a 2059 rating, he defeated Harry Judy (1886), Dom Sciarretta (1871), Martin Kabat (1703), Herbert Jacklyn (1675), Joseph Bradford (2076), and Luis Busquets (2079) finally to achieve the top spot after being a serious contender several previous years, most notably in 1967 when he led the field before losing in the last round to tournament winner Ron Lohrman.

We also saw the 1967 U.S. Amateur in the post August 1967 'On the Cover' (August 2017).

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

The long-awaited struggle begins! Dan Kisner sets the mood (on paper) for the 20-game match between current FIDE World Champion Anatoly Karpov, and the American challenger for that title, Gata Kamsky.

The table of contents listed an article 'Kamsky Squares Off Against Karpov' by Gabriel Schwartzman, while the actual article was titled 'Let the Games Begin!' without a byline. It started,

After many false starts, postponed deadlines, extended deadlines, and last minute negotiations, we finally have a match! And if the first few games are any indication of what is to come, this will be QUITE a match for the FIDE World Championship.

The site is the Elista House of Children Recreation. In Elista, Kalmykia. FIDE President Kirsan Iljuinzhinov is also President of the Kalmyk Republic, which is part of Russia. The country is located on the northwest shore of the Caspian Sea, with the Lower Volga River serving as a northern boundary.

Although match terms were still being ironed out on the morning of June 6, the first game began at 4:00 pm the same day. The time control Is 40 moves in two hours. with a second time control of 16 moves in one hour, completing the session. If an adjournment is necessary, play will begin the next day at 2:00 pm with three successive time controls of 16 moves in one hour. The chief arbiter is Geurt Gijssen of the Netherlands.

The article included full annotations for the first four games, after which Karpov led by a score of +2-1=1. For the full score of the match, see my page 1996 Karpov - Kamsky FIDE Title Match; Elista, VI-VII, 1996 (m-w.com). The long Schwartzman article was followed by a short Arnold Denker article titled 'Why Kamsky Can't Lose'. Here it is in its entirety:-

What most people fail to understand is that [a] World Championship chess match is very much like a boxing match. In both instances age and physical condition play the leading part in determining the final result. It was true when Capa beat Lasker. It was also true when Alekhine beat Capa, and it was also so when Alekhine lost his first match to Euwe. It is even more true today with the tremendous proliferation of chess knowledge.

For a moment let us look carefully at both of these gladiators. In one corner we have a very determined, hungry young man in the prime of life, who will stop at nothing to reach his goal. In the other corner we see a complacent Karpov, grown soft and pudgy from living the good life these past twenty years. You may also recall that in his match with Kasparov in 1984, he became so ill in the later stages that Campomanes felt it necessary to stop the match. It is now twelve years later. Why should it get any better?

Denker was an amateur boxer. The 'complacent', 'soft and pudgy' Karpov won by a score of +6-3=9.

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