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John Milton vs Larry Kaufman
76th US Open (1975), Lincoln, NE USA, rd 8, Aug-18
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. Main Line (B99)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-07-07  unixfanatic: Hmmm, odd, this doesn't look like a draw to me.
Jan-02-09  WhiteRook48: Doesn't white threaten h7# with no way to stop the threat??
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Well, the crosstable confirms the result was a draw, and the score given here matches the one in the tournament bulletin. But the position on the board is clearly won for White.

My guess would be a mutual time scramble. The time control was at move 50, and White may have not realized how many moves had been made. Since he was probably happy with a draw (50...Rc6 wins by keeping White's king back), he may have accepted a draw offer in the heat of the moment without thinking.

That's all speculation, of course, but occasionally things like that happen.

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  Marmot PFL: Looks like white was suffering from chess blindness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I'm working on this tournament right now, and given the quality of the rest o the bulletins can say that a typo is also a very real possibility. But I can't see on that would make the result logical.

So I'm sticking to mutual time scramble theory. The play leading up to the time control at move 50 is quite frenzied, with White working hard to swindle something out of a lost position. When offered a draw by the much higher-rated Kaufman, he accepted out of momentum.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <PB> Hard to believe, no? I looked at Milton's page and he was no patzer, apparently. And what other purpose would 50.Kg6 have than giving mate? Plus it's black's turn to move. You gotta make a move before offering a draw, and finally, how brazen would that offer be? Not everyone would even try.

Hey, maybe you can find out Kaufman's email and ask him. Why not?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Fusilli> Yes, technically Milton would have had to offer the draw. (Though we both know players who aren't as law-abiding as we are.) And if this was a mad time scramble, I don't think it's impossible that he would have done so.

I haven't had any success when I contacted players about long-ago games. I think our memories are somewhat exaggerated.

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  Fusilli: <PB> I just can't believe Milton would offer or accept a draw after Kg6. My alternative theory is that something really contentious happened. Example: Milton sees 50...Rc6 wins and intends to offer a draw before Kaufman moves but his draw offer overlaps Kaufman's move, so that Kaufman can claim the offer was made after he dropped the rook on e8, then demands that Milton moves in order to consider the offer. This results in a nasty dispute where both players threaten to kill each other, Milton pulls out a knife, but Kaufman pulls out a bigger knife after saying "That's not a knife, THIS is a knife." A TD comes over and rules for Kaufman and the game is a draw.

(Some details in my story may be unnecessary.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Fusilli> That's a very plausible scenario, Kaufman demanding to see a move before deciding on the draw offer. However, since the tournament was played in Nebraska, they probably had sickles instead of knives.

I was able check one more verifying detail. Coming into the round, Kaufman had 5.0 points. In the next round he was paired with a 5.5-pointer, indicating the result of this game was indeed a draw.

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  Phony Benoni: By the way, it occurs it me that a perfect GOTD pun for this game would be "Paradise Lost".
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Round 8, Board 12 (Monday, August 18): TB
from US Open 1975, Lincoln by Phony Benoni

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