21 June 2022

June 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover'

Our monthly look at American chess magazines from 50 and 25 years ago, like last month's May 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover' (May 2022), always shows two covers. This month we have three. All three covers relate to major milestones in chess history, as I mentioned this last month in A Year of Anniversaries (May 2022).

Top: '"But, Boris, what if he doesn't play 1.P-K4?"'
Bottom Left: '$700,000 for the winner ... Deep Blues for the loser!'
Bottom Right: 'Deeper Blue beats Kasparov'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

A commissioned drawing marvelously executed by Bob Walker, a New York commercial artist. The likenesses of Spassky, Kosygin and Brezhnev have been magnificently captured.

In order from left to right: Spassky, Brezhnev, and Kosygin, plus Lenin on the wall. The books on the left are opening references for 1.e4. The newspaper at the bottom lists Fischer's crushing scores against his three opponents from the 1970-72 Candidates Matches. Ten years ago I featured the same famous cover in The Vanishing 1.P-K4 Prophecy (January 2012).

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

If you noticed a similarity in design between this month's cover and this month's catalog cover, it is because the same person is responsible for both -- David Marsh. The popular Yugoslavian artist, Jovan Prokopljevic, provided the sketch of Kasparov. While it might seem more appropriate to portray Garry as the favorite (as the defending champion), IBM (thus far) has displayed a greater braggadocio than the world champion. Our money is still riding on Garry -- we know who he has been consulting!

A second paragraph explained the reason for two issues of CL in one month. Although I've read it many times, I don't understand what it says ('retarding the cover date'?).

Next month you will not see a date on the cover. We will be publishing a special issue about the Kasparov - Deep Blue match. Your July issue will arrive in early July. By retarding the cover date we will be able to consolidate our supplemental mailings (mailings that are made between the monthly magazine mailings) and realize a considerable savings.

Inside the June issue was a 'Spotlight' paragraph announcing that the match would take place 3-11 May in New York City. The cover story consisted of three color pages starting with an IBM press release. (When did the June issue go to press? In April? When was it mailed?) Another two page color spread was an advertisement for the 1997 U.S. Chessathon, 7 June, with an application to play in the event. 'Send [checks] with completed form by May 5th, 1997.' NB: CL coverage of the Chessathon will appear in the September issue.

Chess Life (Special Summer Issue)

This is definitely not a pretty picture. But Kevin Dyke has captured the essence of this man-versus-machine confrontation. The pressure on Garry Kasparov was unbelievable and Kevin was there at the right moment. IBM kept referring to this incarnation as "Deeper Blue" -- but perhaps that is better suited to describe Garry after game six.

The cover story filled 11 pages. The lead photo showed Kasparov at the board (next to a huge chess clock) and looking upwards. It was captioned, 'Did Garry see the handwriting on the wall?'. The story started,

"I've come to watch the best chessplayer in the world and Garry Kasparov", said IBM President Louis Gerstner on his arrival at the $1.1 million IBM Chess Challenge rematch on the eve of the fifth game.

The match story was written by IM Danny Kopec. The six games were annotated by GM Leonid Shamkovich or by GM Gabriel Schwartzman.

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