05 May 2024

1976 U.S. Junior (Closed)

In this monthly series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), the sellers often label their items as 'Rare' or 'Amazing'. More often than not, a more appropriate label would be 'Commonplace' or 'Banal'.

The item pictured below was titled 'Amazing Chess History - 8 Autographs'. I won't argue with the adjective here, although 'Rare' or 'One of a Kind' would be equally appropriate. The autographed photo sold for 'US $450.00 Best offer accepted'. Despite eBay's usual obfuscation of the actual selling price, the stated price appears to be close to the actual price.

Left to right: Tisdall, Regan, Seirawan, Henley, Diesen, Fedorowicz, Rohde, DeFirmian.

The description said,

Amazing photo of the 1976 US Junior Chess Championship. Signed by all eight players. This is an amazing piece of chess history. It is signed by six Grandmasters and two International Masters. [...; full names, titles, and ratings for all players] This is NOT something you will see again.

A link titled 'I want to know more!' led to "Fed" Up With Chess? / John's First Visit (memphischessclub.blogspot.com; May 2012). The blog post started,

What a wonderful season the summer of 1976 was in the Bluff City. The United States was preparing to celebrate the bicentennial in July, but before that national event the Memphis Chess Club was presenting the city's chess players a miraculous moment, the 11th U.S. Junior Invitational Championship Chess Tournament; this Memphis event would be repeated only once more in 1978, and in both events, John Fedorowicz participated.

'Fed' was and still is a nickname for Fedorowicz. The September 1976 issue of Chess Life & Review carried a report on the tournament. Titled 'U.S. Junior Invitational Championship' by Carol Little, ITD, it started,

The 11th Annual U.S. Junior Invitational Championship, held in Memphis, Tennessee, June 20-26. was won by Mark Diesen of Potomac, Maryland. and Michael Rohde of South Orange, New Jersey. They each had a score of 5 points and were declared Co-Champions.

This did present a problem for the USCF: Who was going to represent the U.S. in the Netherlands later this year? After a long-distance call to the New Windsor office, an equitable solution was agreed upon by both players, and Mark Diesen will go to Holland as the U.S representative to the World Junior Championship.

The 1976 U.S. Junior Championship was the first national tournament to be held in the Mid-South since the Western Open Championship, the forerunner of the U.S. Open, was held in Memphis in 1914.

The Wikipedia page John Fedorowicz (wikipedia.org) says, 'co-winner of the 1977 U.S. Junior Championship (with Kenneth Regan) and outright winner in 1978'. Somewhat curiously, the same page carries no link to a separate page on the series of U.S. Junior championships.

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