1st Louis D Statham Tournament
Lone Pine, California
March 14-20, 1971
"I am Louis D Statham, Millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht. But what I really want is a chess tournament!"
The inaugural Lone Pine tournament was open to all players with a USCF Master (2200+) or Expert (2000-2199) rating. Pre-tournament publicity consisted of Tournament Director Isaac Kashdan announcing at the end of the National Open in Reno, Nevada that all eligible players were invited to show up the next day in Lone Pine for a player's meeting. Thirty-three guys, with an average rating of 2190, did just that, many driven the 250 miles from Reno by volunteers who were paid a bounty of $10 a head.
Mr. Statham was serious. (Oh, of course, there was much more to the tournament preparation and publicity than that. Sometimes a good story is better than history.)
The time limit was 45 moves in 2 1/2 hours, followed by 16 moves per hours. Games were played from 1:00-6:00 in the afternoon, with adjournments following a two-hour break.
From the beginning, Lone Pine was a chance for relatively unknown players, particularly juniors, to make their mark against top-flight competition. And the first notch was carved by Jim McCormick of Washington, who took out GM Larry Evans in the first round.
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Evans, with White, has been trying to squeeze something out of this position for some time. Now, to save the queenside pawns, he must head for what turns into a lost ♔+♙ ending.
48.Ka3 Qxc5+ 49.Qxc5 Bf8 50.Qb4 Bxb4+ 51.Kxb4 h5 52.Kc5 g5 53.Kd4 g4?
53...gxh4 wins; Black will follow with 54...a5 paralyzing White's queenside, then raid it with his king before White's can get over to help.
54.Ke4 Kf7 55.b4 Ke6 56.a3 Kd6 57.Kf4 Kc7 58.Ke3 Kb6 59.Kd3 c5 60.Ke4 cxb4 61.axb4 a5 62.bxa5+ Kxa5
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Now, in addition to Evans' losing move, 63.Kd4 loses after 63...Kb4 64.Kd3 Kc5. However, either 63.Ke3 or 63.Kd3 draw; White must be able to occupy d4 whenever the Black king is on b4. Also, White must answer ...Kc5 with Kd3; if his king is already there, he loses. Black gets nowhere by sacrificing his g-pawn to draw White's king away because he is left with a useless h-pawn.
63.c5? Ka6 64.Kd4 Kb7 65.Ke4 Kc7 66.Ke3 Kd7 67.Kd3 Kc6 68.Kd4 Kb5 69.Kd5 g3 70.c6 Kb6 71.Kd6 g2 72.c7 g1Q 73.c8Q Qd4+ 74.Ke7 Qxh4+ 75.Kf8 Qf4+ 76.Ke8 Qe5+ 0-1
James Tarjan was the early leader, starting with five straight wins including a thrashing of Walter Browne. Svetozar Gligoric slowed Tarjan with a round-six drawn, but the latter remained a half-point ahead of Browne, Gligoric, and the surging Evans.
Tarjan was paired with Evans in the last round, leaving Gligoric and Browne to their own devices. While the Grandmasters drew, Evans pulled out his sixth win in a row to take the tournament.
Lone Pine started small. Once you get past the top six who either had or would receive GM/IM titles, the tournament consisted mainly of players in the right place at the right time with the right rating. Many such tournaments intended to become annual events quickly fade away. But Mr. Statham was indeed serious, and the tournament would soon grow.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
01 Larry Melvyn Evans L19 W16 W10 W21 W20 W06 W03 6.0
02 Walter Shawn Browne W30 W15 W09 L03 W22 W07 D04 5.5
03 James Tarjan W17 W19 W22 W02 W05 D04 L01 5.5
04 Svetozar Gligoric W10 W11 W06 D05 W08 D03 D02 5.5
05 William E Martz W18 W21 W07 D04 L03 W08 W14 5.5
06 John A Grefe W16 W33 L04 W14 W11 L01 W09 5.0
07 Ross Stoutenborough W25 W27 L05 D12 W24 L02 W20 4.5
08 Eugene Martinovsky D20 W26 W19 W13 L04 L05 D11 4.0
09 Andrew Karklins W28 W32 L02 L22 W10 W13 L06 4.0
10 Dennis Waterman L04 W29 L01 W31 L09 W27 W28 4.0
11 Julius H Loftsson W24 L04 W32 D20 L06 W25 D08 4.0
12 Ronald Joseph Gross W29 L22 D24 D07 W19 D20 D18 4.0
13 Ariel Mengarini L22 W28 W33 L08 W16 L09 W24 4.0
14 William A Bills L33 W25 W27 L06 W32 W22 L05 4.0
15 Daniel Fischheimer W31 L02 L20 L25 W23 W32 W22 4.0
16 Roy C Ervin L06 L01 W18 W30 L13 D19 W21 3.5
17 C Bill Jones L03 L20 W29 L32 W31 D18 W25 3.5
18 Robert Newbold L05 D23 L16 W28 W26 D17 D12 3.5
19 James McCormick W01 L03 L08 W33 L12 D16 W29 3.5
20 William Abbott D08 W17 W15 D11 L01 D12 L07 3.5
21 Erich Watkinson Marchand W23 L05 W31 L01 D25 D24 L16 3.0
22 Greg Fulkerson W13 W12 L03 W09 L02 L14 L15 3.0
23 Gary Simms L21 D18 L26 D27 L15 Bye W32 3.0
24 Robert Anderson L11 W30 D12 W26 L07 D21 L13 3.0
25 Craig Barnes L07 L14 Bye W15 D21 L11 L17 2.5
26 Richard Brent D27 L08 W23 L24 L18 L29 W33 2.5
27 Donald Dean D26 L07 L14 D23 D33 L10 W31 2.5
28 Robert Avery L09 L13 D30 L18 Bye W33 L10 2.5
29 Paul Shuey L12 L10 L17 Bye D30 W26 L19 2.5
30 Harry Mayer L02 L24 D28 L16 D29 L31 Bye 2.0
31 Robert Klein L15 Bye L21 L10 L17 W30 L27 2.0
32 Gary Robert Forman Bye L09 L11 W17 L14 L15 L23 2.0
33 Sidney J Rubin W14 L06 L13 L19 D27 L28 L26 1.5
Note: Many games from this tournament are missing.
1st - Evans: $1000
2nd-5th - Gligoric, Browne, Tarjan, Martz: $350
6th - Grefe: $100
NEXT: Lone Pine (1972).
Source: The best of Lone Pine: the Louis D. Statham chess tournaments, 1971-1980, by Dennis Waterman and John Grefe. R. H. M. Publishing, 1981.