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Arpad Elo vs Reuben Fine
Western Championship (1935), Milwaukee, WI USA, rd 3, Jul-27
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <"In 1935 we made a bid to have the second ACF [American Chess Federation, successor to the Western Chess Association] tournament in Milwaukee and I was chairman of that committee. In 1934, I had gone down to Chicago to play in the first ACF tournament and when I saw the scale of the tournament, and the scale of the prize fund I thought, "Gee, we can do this better in Milwaukee," which we did. In 1935 we raised more money than the Chicago tournament had done the previous year. We had 1,300 some dollars for the prize fund, which if you think of it now it would be several ten thousand dollars. It was very hard work to raise $1,300 in 1935 during the depth of the Depression. Well, anyway, we managed to have this tournament in Milwaukee.

"Incidentally, that was the tournament where I played my "famous" game with Reuben Fine. He tried to annihilate me and made a mistake. I had a winning position with two united passed pawns on the sixth rank but with queens on the board and my king was exposed.

"Sunday morning, while I was playing this adjourned game with Fine, they were having the business meeting of the ACF and they wanted me in the meeting. The tournament director was coming around saying, "Hurry up gentlemen, the meeting is almost ready to start." I was expected to finish this adjourned game with Reuben Fine before the meeting! That's all I needed!

"Fine kept me unhinged, repeatedly putting me in check. In the meantime, the meeting had started and had gone on in my absence, and Sam Factor and a bunch of others decided that since I organized such a successful tournament, I would be the proper one to be president!

"Back at the chessboard, while I was trying to avoid all of the checks, I inadvertently repeated positions and immediately Fine called, "Tournament Director!" and he claimed the game a draw. Even though I drew with Fine, I am not proud of the circumstances, because it was a terribly sloppy game.

"When I finally arrived at the ACF meeting and discovered that I had been nominated for president, I protested, but then the people in the recreation department, Don Dyer and Ernie Aulfie, promised to help me in this venture to try to organize a national chess federation that was really active all the time.">

Excerpt from an interview with <Arpad Elo>, available at

May-03-13  JimNorCal: <Phony Benoni>: welcome back online!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: As one would imagine, Elo missed many wins. For example, 23.g3 cxd6 24.gxf4 Qg4+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+ 26.Ke2 Qg4+ 27.Ke3 with an extra rook. Much later, 46.bxa3 Qh6+ 47.Kf7 Qxf4+ 48.Qf5 Qh2 49.g5 Qh5+ 50.Kg7. But of course it's a bit easier for me sitting here with Houdini than it was for Elo sitting at the board under the circumstances he mentions.
May-03-13  Mudphudder: What about 33...a3 isn't this also winning for black?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Mucphudder> After <33...a3>

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White can eliminate the pin by checking on e4, f3, or g2, then play 35.bxa3.

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Featured in the Following Game Collection [what is this?]
Final, Round 3 (Saturday, July 27): BDE, 1935.08.22
from US Open 1935, Milwaukee = 36th ACF Congress by Phony Benoni

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