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').

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