02 December 2021

December 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover'

In this month's look at American chess magazines from 50 and 25 years ago, the left half continues the story from last month's post, November 1971 & 1996 'On the Cover' (November 2021), where the cover said, 'In training for the match with Petrosian, Fischer and his second, Larry Evans, analyze in the pool'. The right half introduces an early web resource that demands more research.

Left: '?'
Right: 'Gabriel Schwartzman Wins 1996 U.S. Open'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

The lobby of the Teatro San Martin in Buenos Aires. Crowds of enthusiasts who could not get in to see Fischer and Petrosian watched the games on giant demonstration boards. Photo by La Prensa.

A two column article 'Irresistible Force 6 1/2 - Immovable Object 2 1/2' by CL Editor Burt Hochberg started,

The final score of the Fischer-Petrosian match is not wide of the predicted mark. Very few, if any, of Fischer's supporters expected yet another shutout-Petrosian, as everyone knows, is the defensive player's defensive player, the consummate master of obfuscation. Fischer would have had to work hard to overcome the ex-world champion's bulldog stubbornness and would have had to call up vast reserves of sitzfleisch to avoid premature attacks -- just the kind of thing Petrosian tries to provoke with his do-nothing openings. Yet a victory for Fischer was predicted even by the Russians. Petrosian is 42, mind. and Fischer only 28. And Fischer was hot. riding a 19-game winning streak.

Hochberg, a talented chess writer, also gave a brief summary of the match. Here's his account of the sixth game.

Game Six. Petrosian tried his provoking tactics with his patented Nichevo (*) Attack, but Fischer, who knows how to make something out of nothing, gradually improved his position until Petrosian cracked and prematurely opened the Queenside. Fischer's ensuing endgame maneuvering reduced Petrosian to helplessness.

A footnote for the '(*)' explained, 'Nichevo: Russian -- nothing'. The article ended,

A single obstacle now remains between Fischer and the crown he longs to wear -- Boris Vasilievich Spassky. That match, which promises to he the most exciting and meaningful such encounter in chess history, will be played in late spring or early summer in a country not yet decided upon.

Yes, indeed. The 'On the Cover' series for 2022, which starts next month, promises to be full of news about the 1972 match.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

Bill Hook's dramatic photograph captures 19-year-old Gabriel Schwartzman during a reflective moment at the U.S. Open. The goatee, by the way, was necessitated by a shaving accident. It disappeared as soon as he won the U.S. Open.

A five page article on the 1996 U.S. Open by Macon Shibut started with a detailed account of the last round circumstances leading to Schwartzman's tournament win. The leader's list looked like this:-

1st: Gabriel Schwartzman, 10.5; 2nd-3rd: Alex Yermolinsky, Gregory Serper, 10.0, 4th-7th: Alex Wojtkiewicz, Alexander Ivanov, Angelo Young, Jonathan Schroer, 9.5

GM Schwartzman had two 'Your First Move' articles in the same issue: one under the heading 'Chess Academy' with an ad for a magazine of the same name; the other under the heading 'Chess Chat'. For more about him, see Wikipedia's Gabriel Schwartzman. It mentions, 'He started the world's first interactive chess school in 1996, the Internet Chess Academy.' I should say more in this post, but the subject requires more research than I have time for. Maybe later.

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