29 July 2022

Spassky's Team

The previous post in this Fischer Friday series, 'Only an IM' (July 2022), was about IM {Jivo / Iivo / Ivo} Nei. I neglected to mention that he co-authored a book about the match: Both Sides of the Chessboard (books.google.com; 'An Analysis of the Fischer/Spassky Chess Match'; Quadrangle 1974) by Robert Byrne and Iwo Nei. [NB: Add 'Iwo' to the variants for spelling Nei's first name.]

Although that Google page says, 'No eBook available', there is a digital copy at Both Sides of the Chessboard (archive.org). It is offered with 'Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming'. One of the 15 photos in the book is shown below.

The caption said,

The Russian contingent leaves a press conference at the Loftleidir Hotel on July 1st after hearing of Fischer's delay in arriving in Iceland. (l. to r., Ivo Nei, Boris Spassky, Nikolai Krogius, Efim Geller).

GM Krogius died earlier this month. For an obituary, see Nikolai Krogius (1930-2022; fide.com).

I've referenced the book 'Russians Versus Fischer' by Plisetsky and Voronkov, several times on this blog, often for the 1972 Fischer - Spassky Match. See, for example, The 'Clear Head' Theory (October 2009), concerning Karpov's participation in the preparations for the match. Toward the end of the book is a section titled 'Sports Committee Post Mortem' by Yuri Averbakh. It starts,

Shortly after the Spassky v Fischer match a meeting was held at the USSR Sports Committee to discuss its results. It was attended by Spassky, his coaches Geller and Krogius, and some top chessplayers including Tal, Petrosyan [Petrosian], Boleslavsky, Kotov, and Korchnoi.

Also invited were members of the Presidium of the Soviet Chess Federation, FIDE Vice-President B. Rodionov, Chairman of the RSFSR Chess Federation V. Boikov, and Chairman of the Leningrad Chess Federation A. Tupikin.

The meeting was chaired by V. Ivonin, Deputy Chairman of the Sports Committee with special responsibility for chess. I have kept the notes I made during that meeting as the then Chairman of the Federation.

Given that the meeting was a classic exercise in corporate style finger pointing, Nei, who was not present, was not spared. For example:-

Geller: 'The delegation's composition was also ill-considered. Spassky had no idea what it should be like. Nei, for example, mainly performed the functions of a fitness coach. We suspect that information leakage occurred during the match.'

Spassky: 'My first concern was to improve my health. Nei proved to be very helpful in that. But we clearly missed a manager: organizational matters took up a lot of our energy. [...] Mistakes had been made in the selection of the delegation. This is my fault. We had no leader, we shouldn't have taken along Nei and I should have taken my wife instead.'

From this we learn that Nei was expected to serve as a team manager. As for 'leakage', this is not about the book with GM Byrne, which was published two years later. A discussion of the book or of Nei's role in its writing goes beyond the scope of this current post. He wrote the introductions to the games and supplied other valuable annotations, but did not divulge any secrets.


Fifty years ago today, our two intrepid cold warriors had time off between games eight and nine. The score was 5-3 (+4-2=2) in Fischer's favor.

28 July 2022

Candidate and Olympiad Yahoos

In last month's Yahoos post, The New No.2 Yahoo (June 2022; see the footnote below for an explanation of 'Yahoos'), I ended asking,

How high will the Madrid Candidates figure on the list of July Yahoos? We'll find out in a month.

A month has passed and we have an answer. Let's look first at the usual statistics. The chart below shows the Google News sources with more than a single story for the month.

This month Google delivered 101 stories, of which 71 were from the current month and 30 from previous months. Of the 40 sources in the current month, eight accounted for two or more stories.

The top source continued to be Chess.com, followed by the same 'New No.2' identified in June, the New York Times (NYT). Of the seven NYT stories, five were puzzles. Really, Google, you think that's news?

Back to the question about the Madrid Candidates tournament, I counted about a half-dozen stories. This includes derivative stories like these two from world class chess journalists:-

The handful of Madrid stories was overshadowed by more than a dozen stories about the 2022 FIDE Olympiad, which starts today. This might be because the Google news results tend to favor the most recent stories. For the current month, I calculated that 25% of the stories were no more than a day old, while 60% were from earlier in July, with the rest from the last days of June.

Back to the chart, of the four 'Indian Express' stories, three were about the Olympiad, which takes place in Chennai, India. One of them was about a non-participant:-

Add this to the news that two chess powerhouses are not participating:-

I expect that next month's Yahoos' post will also be dominated by the Chennai Olympiad, which runs through 10 August. One other story deserves special mention. It appeared twice under source 'CNN'.

It looks to me like the robot was playing a four board simul. One of the CNN hosts says irately,

This is like the Terminator! There are movies based on this. The robot attacked the kid. Does the robot need to be put down?

A professor from the University of Michigan laughs at the suggestion. Would he laugh if it had been his son? I have to ask: Why are robots even playing in human chess tournaments? We already know that chess engines are much better than the best human players.

[Yahoos (mainstream news stories about chess) are derived from Google News top-100 (or so) stories from the past month.]

26 July 2022

2022 CJA Award Entries

A month after posting 2022 CJA Awards Announcement (May 2022; 'Although I'm not a member of the CJA, I always look forward to seeing the winners and their work'), when the submission deadline had passed, I checked the CJA page 2022 CJA Awards Entry List (chessjournalism.org), and discovered that the competition organizers were in the process of listing the entries.

A month later, the list looks complete, and what a list it is! In last year's post, 2021 CJA Award Entries (July 2021), I wrote,

I didn't count the number of entries, but there might well be over 100, enough chess literature to keep the most ardent enthusiast occupied for months to come.

Change that '100' to '200' and the same statement is almost true. The difference this year is that I counted them. First I counted 241 entries total. When I realized that many of the entries were submitted in more than one category, I counted them again and came up with 214 distinct entries. Although that number might be a little high -- I found six variations of 'Mind Art Experience : World Chess Hall of Fame' (WCHOF), three of which pointed to a sales page, and three to single page artwork -- I can live with it.

The meta-category, 'Top Three Categories', is now four categories. The new category is '[Best] Book of the Year', in addition to the three other categories under meta-category 'Best Chess Book'. The WCHOF book 'Mind Art Experience' is entered under three of those four book categories.

Another of the 'Top Three/Four Categories' is 'Best Story of the Year'. Here there are three entries from American Chess Magazine (ACM) and two from Chess Life (CL), along with one other entrant who probably never expected to be competing with so many heavyweights. The rivalry between ACM and CL is found in other categories, and I expect we'll see many award winners listed '1st/2nd Equal' or 'Honorable Mention'.

Just like last year, all entries point to a digital copy of the entry. This means that anyone behind a particular entry can evaluate the competition. I looked at all six entries for 'Best Story of the Year', and I don't have a clue how to rank them.

The awards are traditionally announced in early August, coincident with the U.S.Open. The CJA judges are undoubtedly scrambling to cope with the increased load. The list of winners is already in place -- see 2022 CJA Awards List (chessjournalism.org) -- with the categories visible and the winners missing. I'll come back after the winners have been listed.

25 July 2022

Stockfish vs. ChessBase in Court

The complaint Stockfish vs. ChessBase (July 2021) was concisely stated at that time by the Stockfish project:-

ChessBase concealed from their customers Stockfish as the true origin of key parts of their products.

At the end of June 2022, in Stockfish sues ChessBase; The Court Hearing scheduled (chessdom.com), we learned,

Leading Stockfish developers have filed suit against ChessBase to enforce their license termination claiming Chessbase has "repeatedly violated central obligations of the GPLv3 license". The court hearing in the case Tord Romstad and Stéphane Nicolet vs. ChessBase GmbH will take place [in Munich] on Monday, July 4th, and Stockfish calls all interested parties to attend the hearing.

A summary of the hearing was posted in Stockfish vs ChessBase, Round 1 (lichess.org). It started,

On July 4th this year, after a lot of waiting, Stockfish and Chessbase finally got their first day in court. [...] The case was of interest to free software advocates and chess players everywhere, so we sent a Lichess developer to the courtroom in Munich to witness events firsthand and report on them. We also spoke with ChessBase CEO Matthias Wüllenweber.

The post pointed to 'Text of the interview': Full Matthias Wüllenweber Interview (lichess.org). It in turn started,

Q: As you understand it, why are the Stockfish and Leela teams upset with you? • A: In the publication process of Fat Fritz 2, I made several mistakes. Consequently, the Stockfish authors are now quite angry at us, and I can fully understand this.

The Lichess 'Round 1' post ended,

The court will meet again on March 20th, 2023 unless a settlement is reached first. If a ruling is made there could be appeals afterwards. Altogether, this case could take years to resolve.

For informed user comments, see Stockfish vs ChessBase, Round 1 (reddit.com). One of the principles of reporting on legal cases is to follow a case to the end, come what may.

24 July 2022

FIDE's Social Initiatives 2022

Every new release of material from the FIDE Social Commission becomes a natural choice for this blog's monthly post on The Sociology of Chess (November 2016). In the past two years I've used:-

The following video expands on the concepts introduced in those earlier posts.

FIDE Conference on the Social Chess Initiatives in FIDE Member Countries (4:46:50) • 'Streamed live on Jul 2, 2022'

After repeating the title...

FIDE Madrid Candidates • Chess Conference 2022 • Official Side Event of the Candidates Tournament
...the conference starts at around 22:00 into the video. It carries the following description:-
We will exchange experiences and showcase how national chess federations and chess enthusiasts worldwide help people, build community and make changes for the better with the help of chess. Representatives from all continents will participate. One of the program's highlights is the round table for one of FIDE's most important social projects, the INFINITE Chess, which aims to enhance knowledge and awareness about chess for children with ASD.

The introduction is made by Anastasia Sorokina, 'FIDE Vice-President, leader of the FIDE INFINITE Chess Project', and Dana Reizniece-Ozola, 'FIDE Managing Director'. At about 33:30 the same video used in my January 2022 post is shown. For information on the different speakers, see FIDE Madrid Candidates Chess Conference (candidates.fide.com).

Long ago I discussed ASD in Chess and Autism (April 2009; 'April is National Autism Awareness Month'). Although I intended that post to be the first of an annual series, I failed to achieve the goal. For more about the 'Infinite Chess Project', see Chess for children with ASD: Practical materials for teachers and parents (November 2021).

22 July 2022

'Only an IM'

Last week's Fischer Friday post, Drawing for Colors in 1972 (July 2022), centered on an event two days after Fischer arrived in Iceland. Let's rewind the clock to two days before he arrived.

The photo below is adapted from Fischer Wirephotos I (March 2016). I've highlighted in red three consecutive wirephotos that all show Spassky with the same man. Who was he?

The larger photo highlighted in red is a cropped version of the third wirephoto. Its caption explained,

(NY4) REYKJAVIK, Iceland, July 2 -- SO FAR STILL CHAMPION -- Boris Spassky of Russia, present World Chess Champion, holds thumb up outside his hotel in Reykjavik, Sunday. Challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States has so far failed to arrive in the Icelandic capital for the championship match that had been scheduled to start Sunday. Officials gave Fischer until Tueday at noon to show up or else risk forfeit. At left is Jivo Nei, a Soviet chess master. (AP Wirephoto via cable from Reykjavik) (See AP AAA Wire Story) (lsk12300pw) 1972 (REY2)

'Jivo Nei, a Soviet chess master' is better known as Iivo [or Ivo] Nei. He has a Wikipedia page, Iivo Nei. It starts,

Iivo Nei (born 31 October 1931 in Tartu) is an Estonian chess master.

The first comment on his Chessgames.com page, Iivo Nei, speculates on his role in Spassky's team:-

He wasn't there for his chess talent -- he was only an IM -- and instead was there for his talent with a tennis racket. He was Spassky's "physical trainer".

Only an IM? The first of the historical rating files in my database -- see FIDE Historical Ratings 1971-74, on my World Championship blog (January 2008), for links -- lists players' titles along with their ratings. Of the 592 players on the first list, 83 were GMs and 178 were IMs. Fifty years ago, the strongest IMs were among the top-100 players in the world.

My recent post, According to Darrach, Day by Day (July 2022), gave a chronology covering the first half of July 1972. For the day of the captioned wirephoto, the chronology says,

Sun, 02 Jul • Scheduled match start, Iceland; Euwe postpones 1st game for two days • p.092

That chronology stopped at the third game, played 16 July 1972. [NB: later changed to the fourth game, the first game that was not overshadowed by off-board antics.] The date of this post, 22 July, was the off-day before the dramatic sixth game, when the match was tied at 2-1/2 points for both players.


Later: Re 'Fifty years ago, the strongest IMs were among the top-100 players in the world', On the first FIDE rating list in 1971, Fischer was no.1 at 2760, Spassky no.2 at 2690. IM Iivo Nei was no.82 at 2495. A group of six players, five IMs and one untitled, was tied for no.100 at 2480.

21 July 2022

July 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover'

After last month's triple cover post, June 1972 & 1997 'On the Cover' (June 2022), we return to the normal two covers from American chess magazines of 50 and 25 years ago.

Left: 'Byrne / Kavalek / Reshevsky'
Right: 'Supernationals ... Bodies to the left of us ... Bodies to the right of us ... The Woodstock of Chess'

Chess Life & Review (50 Years Ago)

Grandmaster trio: Robert Byrne, Lubomir Kavalek and Sammy Reshevsky tied for first in the U. S. Championship. Photos by Burt Hochberg.

The story inside, 'Triple Tie In 1972 United States Chess Championship', started,

The 1972 United States Chess Championship and Zonal Tournament, played in New York City from April 23 through May 15, was a cliffhanging battle royal. No fewer than six players were still in the running for top honors as the last round began. That final round ended with Grandmasters Robert Byrne, Lubomir Kavalek, and Samuel Reshevsky each having a 9-4 score. Thus the U.S. title and our country's two qualifying spots into the next Interzonal Tournament (which could lead eventually to a crack at the World Championship in 1975) are still up for grabs.

A play-off competition will be scheduled later in the year, with each of these three Grandmasters to meet each of the others in two games. If this does not bring a decision, the Championship and the right of advancement to the Interzonal will both be determined according to Sonneborn-Berger tie-breaking points as earned in the tournament.

For more on that zonal cycle, see Zonals 1972-1975 (m-w.com; C09). Byrne won the U.S. championship playoff, finished third in the 1973 Leningrad Interzonal behind Korchnoi and Karpov, then lost to Spassky in the first round of the 1973-75 Candidates Matches.

July 1972 saw the start of the 1972 Fischer - Spassky match. The only relevant story in CL&R that month was 'Masters and Experts View the Match' by Bill Goichberg. It started,

As this is written (May), it seems that arrangements for the World Championship Match to begin in July at Reykjavik, Iceland, are at last definite. If the feelings of Masters and Experts are any indication, American chessplayers clearly expect Bobby Fischer to become the first U.S. player ever to win the world title.

Between December and March, I distributed several hundred questionnaires at tournaments and by mail to players rated over 2000, asking them to forecast the results of the match. Seventy responses were received, of which sixty forecast victory for Fischer. Only eight players felt Spassky would win the match, while two predicted he would retain his title by drawing the match.

Andy Soltis was one of the few players to predict a win for Spassky.

Chess Life (25 Years Ago)

The Supernationals ... The Woodstock of chess. It fits. It's a good comparison. George Koranyi provides the photographs used in the cover collage, and the list -- the huge list -- of winners starts [inside].

While the Supernationals set a record for being the largest USCF event, Jose Cuchi set a new record for organizing the strongest USCF rated event, the 15th New York Open. And the Chess JAM was the newest USCF event. A lot of records, for a lot of reading. Enjoy!

Film art by Vittoria Violante.

I posted about the cover event in The First of the USCF Supernationals (October 2014; 'the National Primary (K-3) event went to nine year old Hikaru Nakamura').

18 July 2022

Stockfish Wins TCEC Swiss 3 and CCC17 Blitz

My previous post in the TCEC/CCC series, Stockfish Wins TCEC Cup 10; TCEC Swiss 3, CCC17 Blitz both Underway (June 2022), started,

Due to a vacation, it's been four weeks since my fortnightly report on the world's two foremost, ongoing engine vs. engine competitions...

The same situation holds true for this current post. Before catching up to the current status, let's have a summary of the action in that post from four weeks ago:-

TCEC: In 'Cup 10', Stockfish beat LCZero +4-2=4 in a semifinal match, then beat KomodoDragon +2-1=9 in the final match. The site then launched 'Swiss 3' with 48 engines competing over 11 rounds. • CCC: In the 'CCC17 Blitz' event, of the six engines that promoted from the Main stage, Stockfish, Dragon, and Lc0 finished in that order. The same pattern is holding for the Semifinal stage, with Dragon and Lc0 tied for second/third place.

Two posts in two months risks missing important evolutions. Following is what I reckon has happened since then.

TCEC: Stockfish won 'Swiss 3' a half point ahead of LCZero, which was two points ahead of Berserk. KomodoDragon finished in fourth place, a half point behind Berserk and a half point ahead of the next five engines.

After 'Swiss 3', the site ran a 'Stockfish Simul' against the other participants in the event. The TCEC wiki explained,

Stockfish has total 30min+3s TC [time control] for all 47 games against 47 engines while all opponents have full 30min+3s TC and also total 96GiB hash. Played immediately after Swiss 3. Also reverse games played. How Stockfish time is divided depends on opponent strengths. • +31-12=51 (56.5 points for Stockfish).

Six engines managed a +1-0=1 plus score in their two game mini-match against Stockfish. The site then launched FRC5, which is currently in the four engine 'Final League' stage (KomodoDragon is missing). I covered the previous event on my chess960 blog -- see TCEC C960 FRC4 (January 2022) -- and will do the same for TCEC FRC5.

CCC: In the 'CCC17 Blitz' semifinal stage, Stockfish finished well ahead of Dragon and Lc0. The other three engines had substantial minus scores. In the challenger match, Lc0 beat Dragon 246.5/480 (plus-13), earning the right to challenge Stockfish. In the final match, Stockfish beat Lc0 287.5/480 (plus-95), to win the 'CCC17 Blitz' tournament.

Interspersed with the main event, the site ran a couple of bonus events, 'Candidates 2022 Tournament Bonus' and 'Draw Killer Bonus'. I didn't have time to find out more about the two events. The first bonus was obviously related to the 2022 Candidates Tournament, Madrid, but that doesn't help much.

The site is currently conducting the 'CCC18 Rapid' Qualification stage. And so the CCC's cycle of Rapid, Bullet, and Blitz tournaments starts again.

Once again, Stockfish proves to be the dominant engine in 2022. As for the recurring question 'Dragon, LCZero - Who's Better?', LCZero appears to have gained the upper hand. Is there any way to quantify this?

[For further information from the various stakeholders in the engine-to-engine events, see the tab 'TCEC/CCC Links' at the top of this page. • NB: Leela = LC0 = LCzero; Dragon = KomodoDragon]

17 July 2022

The Plural of Pingu Is Pingus

What's this?

pingu playing chess with a grizzly bear in iceland © Flickr user The Pingus under Creative Commons.

The header on the image says,

DALL•E mini
AI model generating images from any prompt!

The box beneath the header repeats the title of the image -- 'pingu playing chess with a grizzly bear in iceland' -- next to a 'Run' button. As for the images, in DALL-E Wikipedia says,

DALL-E and DALL-E 2 are transformer models developed by OpenAI to generate digital images from natural language descriptions. Its name is a portmanteau of WALL-E and Salvador Dalí. DALL-E was revealed by OpenAI in a blog post in January 2021, and uses a version of GPT-3 modified to generate images.

If that doesn't make sense to you, Wikipedia explains 'transformer models', 'OpenAI', 'natural language', 'portmanteau', 'WALL-E', 'Salvador Dalí', and 'GPT-3'. If that still doesn't make sense to you, you're on your own.

15 July 2022

Drawing for Colors in 1972

Following the formula in last week's post Fox Films Not (July 2022), here's another photo from Fischer Wirephotos I (March 2016). This one is a cropped version of the last wirephoto in the third row.

The official caption said,

(REY9) REYKJAVIK, Iceland, July 6 -- MEET FOR CHESS DRAW -- American chess master Bobby Fischer, left, meets with Gudmundur Thorarinsson, president of the Icelandic Chess Federation, center, and world chess champion Boris Spassky in Reykjavik Thursday for the drawing of the first move in their first match. Spassky, Soviet Union player, won the white piece, giving him the first move. (AP Wirephoto via cable from Reykjavik) (See AP AAA Wire Story) (jc52104str) 1972 (FOR USE IN NORTH AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS ONLY) MAGAZINES OUT

This squares with the chronology from According to Darrach, Day by Day (July 2022):-

Thu, 06 Jul • Draw for colors • p.150

For more stories from the same day, see Bobby Fischer 1972: July 1972 (bf-1972.blogspot.com). Inaccuracies abound in the reports of the day.

Thorarinsson wrote a book about the 1972 match which was recently translated into English: The Match of All Time (newinchess.com). The cover photo is from the same meeting as the wirephoto shown above. The NIC page links to a PDF file with 16 of the 200+ pages from the book. This might well be the last insider account of the match.

Darrach's account mentions that Spassky wore 'gray slacks and a tan pullover'. The photos show Spassky wearing a jacket and tie.

10 July 2022

Chinese Whispers

There is something very wrong here. Either this video is not an accurate summary of the movie 'Pawn Sacrifice' or the movie is not an accurate portrayal of the life of Bobby Fischer or both. I think it's both. Starting with the title of the video, what exactly are we talking about?

200+ IQ Young Man Successfully Beat the World's No. 1 Chess Player (9:14) • '[Published on] Jul 10, 2022'

The description was incoherent,

Hy welcome to Storyline Movie, on this video we will recap the movie inspirational • this is the short full recaps film • Enjoy for watching guys...

The saying 'Chinese whispers' - meaning and origin (phrases.org.uk): 'Inaccurately transmitted gossip'. According to Google, the phrase 'Chinese whispers' isn't pejorative, like saying 'It's all Greek to me' isn't pejorative. And, yes, 'Greek to Me' could have been the title of this post.

According to Wikipedia's Pawn Sacrifice, former World Champion Anatoly Karpov said, 'Maybe the film is not bad for the popularization of chess, but its content is terrible. There are many inaccuracies.' Copy that. As for the theme 'Bobby the Madman', see my previous post The Ponterotto Connection (November 2015). The genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back in.

Another Fischer fantasy popped up on the radar for this month's featured video: The Tragic Story of the World's Greatest Chess Player (youtube.com). Its description said,

Bobby Fischer's rise and tragic fall. Ready to sleep better? You're one click away: magnesiumbreakthrough.com...

If you're having trouble sleeping, try counting the number of inaccuracies in the clip. On the plus side, it includes some vintage Fischer footage.

08 July 2022

Fox Films (Not)

A week ago, in According to Darrach, Day by Day (July 2022), I recalled the opening ceremony of the 1972 Fischer - Spassky Match, Reykjavik (m-w.com). According to the chronology in the 'Day by Day' post, 50 years ago fell on Saturday, 8 July, which was Fischer's sundown to sundown Sabbath. The match was on and the agreed start date was Tuesday, 11 July.

The match might have been on, but the difficulties surrounding the match were not over. The first game and its adjournment on the following day were marred by Fischer's complaints about camera noise. He forfeited the second game in protest.

The photo below, part of the sequence in Fischer Wirephotos I (March 2016; bottom row), and Fischer Wirephotos II (ditto; top row) shows the two antagonists in the camera controversy.

The photo's official caption said,

(REY-I) REYKJAVIK, ICELAND, JULY 14 (AP) - "FOX V FISCHER" - Left to right; Chester Fox (who holds filming rights of the chess games) and Bobby Fischer, holding a pre-dawn meeting at Fischer's hotel this morning. (AP WIREPHOTO) (jfp 14/7/72 rr)

According to our chronology of the match, 14 July was the day after Fischer forfeited game two. The match committee upheld the forfeit that morning. For another photo from the same day -- this one via the source documented in Bobby Fischer Day by Day (May 2022) -- see Robert Fischer Boycotts Second Match in Protest Against Men Hired to Disruptively Operate Cameras (newspapers.com; The Des Moines Register, 15 July 1972):-

Fischer Walks Alone • Bobby Fischer. the American chess expert strolls out of his hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland, at dawn Friday after talks with Chester Fox, who holds the filming rights to Fischer's World Championship series with Russia's Boris Spassky. Fischer boycotted Thursday's game because of the presence of cameras.

The 'Walks Alone' photo is as unremarkable as the day was remarkable.

03 July 2022

Foxy Chess

After 12 years of the series Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), and 12 years of making short lists for each 'Top eBay' post, it seems I've never seen foxes. How can it be?

The item pictured below was titled 'Fritz Bermann Vienna Austria - Fox Playing Chess - Cold Painted Bronze Signed'. It sold for 'Best offer accepted', which was around $300.

The description said,

Up for bid is a Fritz Bermann Vienna Austria - Fox Playing Chess - Cold Painted Bronze Signed. Item is 4 1/4" long x 2 7/8" wide x 2 7/8" tall and in very nice shape. Paint looks very nice with minimal loss ... actually all I can find is a few spots along the ears. Fritz Bermann mark on the underside.

For another piece in the same genre, see Tolkien Says 'Dwarves' (July 2019). The description there mentioned 'Franz Bergmann' and 'Jug-Mark's. The foxes also had a 'Jug-Mark' with a 'B' in the center. Fritz Bermann and Franz Bergmann, both of Vienna, both making chess bronzes -- I should look deeper into it, but not today; maybe next time.

01 July 2022

According to Darrach, Day by Day

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Fischer - Spassky Title Match; Reykjavik, VII-VIII, 1972, sometimes called 'The Chess Match of the Century'. It's not just a coincidence that it happens to be the next Fischer Friday post; I've been planning for it since the series started.

The previous post in the series was Hatchet Job (June 2022). There I theorized,

[Brad] Darrach apparently took the notes from his 'hundreds of interviews that took up hundreds of hours', storyboarded them in chronological order, and constructed dialog based on the words of his interviewees

This lets us build a day-by-day chronology of the events leading up to the start of the match. This should be confirmed by the site I referenced in Bobby Fischer Day by Day (May 2022).

When? What? Where?
Thu, 08 Jun Tennis tournament San Diego p.011
Sun, 25 Jun RJF scheduled to fly to Iceland p.012
Mon, 26 Jun 'Spies on the line' (A) p.012
Tue, 27 Jun RJF flies LA to JFK w/ Saidy; goes to Yale Club p.015
Wed, 28 Jun Yale Club; RJF meets Fox & Stein re film [p.019] p.015
Thu, 29 Jun Yale Club; RJF goes to JFK for night flight; flees JFK to Saidy's parents' home [p.046] p.035
Fri, 30 Jun RJF Sabbath (sundown to sundown)
Sat, 01 Jul Opening ceremony, Iceland p.081
Sun, 02 Jul Scheduled match start, Iceland; Euwe postpones 1st game for two days p.092
Mon, 03 Jul Slater offer; Kissinger call; RJF flies to Iceland p.101
Tue, 04 Jul RJF arrives Iceland; 1200 draw for colors - RJF sends Lombardy - Soviets demand apology p.117
Wed, 05 Jul Photos for Life; 1800 Soviet press conference, demand apology; RJF dictates letter [p.146] p.132
Thu, 06 Jul Draw for colors; RJF moves to hotel [p.156] p.150
Fri, 07 Jul Photos for Life; 2200 swimming pool p.158
Mon, 10 Jul 0100(!) RJF inspects playing hall w/ Cramer, Thorarinsson, Fox; 0400 RJF considers firing Cramer p.159
Tue, 11 Jul Game 1; RJF arrives 7 minutes late; camera noise; 29...Bxh2 [p.172]; adjourned p.164
Wed, 12 Jul Adjournment resumption; cameras a problem p.178
Thu, 13 Jul Game 2; forfeit p.183
Fri, 14 Jul 1000 Match committee upholds forfeit p.193
Sat, 15 Jul 1800 (?; 0600) Marshall arrives Iceland p.197
Sun, 16 Jul 0600 RJF plans to leave Iceland; 1500 RJF agrees to play in back room; Spassky also agrees; 1700 Game 3; Fischer beats Spassky for the first time ever p.199,203
Tue, 18 Jul Game 4; the players return to the main hall; the match proceeds normally p.213

(A) 'They Got Spies on the Line!' (April 2016)

This chronology also helps make more sense out of Fischer Wirephotos I (March 2016), and Fischer Wirephotos II (ditto). In 'Wirephotos I' I remarked,

My favorite photos are the third through fifth in the second row. They were taken on the night of 29th June, a period covered in Darrach's second chapter ('A Night at the Airport', see 'Real Bobby Fischer' for background). Frank Brady's 'Profile of a Prodigy' (Dover 1973) covered the same hours in a single, long paragraph (p.225).

The photo shown below is a larger version of one of those favorite photos. It was shown in the 2nd row, 5th photo from left.

The original AP caption said,

(JFK2) NEW YORK, June 30 -- SERIOUS FISCHER -- A serious-faced Bobby Fischer is shown in a Kennedy Airport coffee shop about midnight, Thursday, as he apparently was preparing to fly to Iceland for his World Championship chess series with Russian champion Boris Spassky. Seconds later Fischer broke away from the group of photographers and reporters and raced out into a driving rain. (AP wirephoto) (jsb60100stf) 1972

The chronology in the table is a short version of the events. For a longer version, see Why The Match Of The Century Almost Didn't Happen (chess.com; PeterDoggers); 'According to Life reporter Brad Darrach, who collected his articles into the brilliant book Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World...'