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|Feb-20-07|| ||AlanWilkinson: Nice to see old Ortvin getting the recognition he deserves. As a student I played him several times but always lost. My good student buddy at the Canterbury Chess Club, Bruce Anderson, also played him and at least took some draws from him.|
My favourite memory was after Ortvin celebrated another NZ Championship win a little too well in Christchurch he made an embarrassing speech to the Government Minister presenting the prizes about how Ortvin always voted for the opposition political party.
|Feb-22-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: Sarapu was deservedly awarded the OBE for his services to chess in NZ. He was almost 66 when he won his 20th NZ title.|
|Mar-21-07|| ||mckmac: I remember Ortvin Sarapu as an almost mythical figure at The Auckland Chess Centre in the early 1970's.Friday night was kid's night and for a short time I used to go along with my sister.There were many photos of Ortvin on the walls.Most showed him paired with the famous silver rook,the trophy awarded to The Chess Champion of New Zealand.|
Mr Sarapu occasionally called in on a Friday,to see Mr Mitchell,or to pick up a book,and the effect he would have on us was dramatic.It's Mr O Sarapu,we would whisper,Mr O Sarapu,The International Master.The older ones knew that he had beaten a player who had played for the World Title; all of us knew he had played Bobby Fischer.As if by magic,the games of suicide,swap,and progressive, would come to a quiet but speedy conclusion.Some of us then even tried to look thoughtful(..ahem),suddenly three moves deep in a rapidly constructed Four Knights or something similar.Simply a question of respect really.
|Mar-21-07|| ||Richard Taylor: <mckmac> I knew Sarapu quite well - not closely. I first played him in 1964. I was 16. He won. He won one other game and then I got draw against him - in a game where we both had 60 minutes - now actually he was losing, but he pressured me to write down my moves (it wasn't clear in thsoe days if that was obligatory for a 60/60) ...I also drew in two others - they were simuls he played. |
I was at the NZ Congress at Upper Hutt in 1978/79 and he, I, Wayne Power and E Green were staying at the CIT - Ortvin's room was next to mine - he was an interesting man - he told me an anecdote about Sibelius - it went more or less that when Sibelius got visitors he would ask them, as they were about to go, if they had noticed a particularly beautiful plant, many hadn't: noticing, observation, alertness, and awareness of beauty.
Sarapu told me he had a photographic memory - I knew that as I had seen him play blindfold chess but he also said his memory of music was not good and he thus got onto Sibelius...signifcant as Finland is close in language, proximity etc to Estonia I suppose. BTW he worked as labourer at a factory in Auckland - and was always out ot win every tournament he could as much for the money as anything. And Ian Mitchell was a Communist (originally from Scotland) - now Mitchell and Sarapu would have had very opposite views (at some times I also argued politics with him -he was ok about disagreeing) - he wasn't happy with Russians (I mean the Russian Govt/military etc) or Germans (again I don't mean individuals - he had
German friends and could speak German/Russain and Estonian at least ...)His mother wanted to go back to Estonia but he felt (he told me) that as his home had been destroyed by the Russain and German military there was no future there.
When he was young he was also a talented athlete. When I knew him he was always very interesting and he also had great sense of humour - he would also talk about chess and other subjects a lot - not just to strong chess players...anyone. He had very expressive face and manner. He smoked for years - at the board he concentrated ferociously - cigarette in mouth.
Once he played Kasparov and lost - it was not so easy for Kasprov but maybe not too hard I suppose - but Kasparov - he told me - was pacing back and forth behind the board like a (melo)dramatic tiger working out several variations about 15 or more moves deep "Into the end game, for practice" he told Sarapu after the game! (Probably just to show off.) But I recall Ortvin showing variations he had calculated very deeply in about 1963 or so.
A very intertesting man - a great man in his own way.
|Mar-21-07|| ||Mac3: If readers are looking for an autobiography of NZ's greatest chess player it can be obtained at the following link.|
"Special moments recaptured in this book include games with Fischer, Spassky, Kasparov and Korchnoi."
While Sarapu is no longer with us his legend lives on through the pages of this book.
|Mar-21-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: This is great, honouring Sarapu as player of the day. I knew him from when I was just a kid of about 11. He was a good guy, would talk to any chessplayer and had a good sense of humour. I don't know if his wife Barbara is still alive; she was very nice too, and I think a German.|
We were good friends, but <Richard> has provided information I wasn't aware of. Sarapu and I had a little ongoing dispute about smoking, but he eventually gave that up and was glad he did.
A lot of our games were short draws, with only three decisive games. It was a privilege to have scored +2-1, but he was in his late 50s when I first played in the NZ champs. He won his last NZ champs in a very strong field when he was a few days short of his 66th birthday.
He must have been a powerhouse when he was in his prime, as shown by some notable scalps. Coming to NZ markedly strengthened chess in that country, but probably weakened his own game.
He and I also became allies when both of us were excluded from the 1990 Olympiad team for chess-political reasons, although he had just co-won his 20th title, and I was undefeated to finish 5th, while people who finished far behind us were selected.
<WMD> It was a source of great amusement for Ort after he won the Australian Champs that the Aussie papers talked about the Maori, Sarapu LOL.
|Mar-21-07|| ||Mac3: Jonathan Sarfati: Sarapu and I had a little ongoing dispute about smoking, but he eventually gave that up and was glad he did. |
Wasn't it you who sprayed some perfume at Ortvin when he lit up a smoke at the board?
My recollection was that he was a little put out although perhaps my memory is a little "hazy" and I am thinking of the cigarette!?
Did your "Brut"ish tactics "incence" him? I suspect that the game "fizzled" into a draw, and no real "sparks" flew between you.
Perhaps you should upload the game and Chessgames could feature it as game of the day? "Fire at the board" could be an apt title ;-)
Best Regards, Andrew
|Mar-21-07|| ||Benzol: Weren't Ortvin and Lev Aptekar trying to set up a chess school at some stage during the 1970's? As I understand it Aptekar was a top coach in the Soviet Union but it's typical of the NZ education authorities that they didn't know what they had on their hands. Aptekar eventually got tired of knocking his head against a wall of apathy.|
|Mar-22-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: <Mac3>, that seems right, and Ort hopped away very quickly. The game might have been the 1985-6 champs in Christchurch, and I dunno why this isn't here already. |
BTW, do I know you, Andrew?
|Mar-22-07|| ||Richard Taylor: <Benzol><Jonathan> <Les autres> That could be true - re Aptekar I saw him a few times - he wrote the excellent book "Wisdom in Chess" " which even now I use sometimes as a pre tournament device to loosen up or sharpen my tactics etc.|
I cant remember openings very well so I concentrate on a few good opening ideas or systems ideas and tactics!
I remember the long controversey about smoking at Chess events - I have never smoked - and it didn't worry me as both my parents smoked quite heavily - I suppose I would be concerned nowadays as my father L S Taylor died of lung cancer (BTW he had quite a lot to do with organising Junior Chess (about 1964 or so) and setting up ACC (about 1967) or so). My mother also smoked and she eventually died of a stroke - both conditions are not helped by smoking.
Two other players who were very strong - apart from Jonathan! (although he is still with us!) - were Rodney Phillips and Roger Court - but there werer others -maybe no one as consistently strong though - it is poss. Sarapu might have become a GM had he stayed in Europe. But he preferred the climate here. Political and other - we also had great social security system intoduced by Savage etc.
|Mar-23-07|| ||Mac3: Hi Jonathan,
The answer to your question is yes, I should have added in my surname McIntosh.
It's good to touch base with you again after a number of years.
Kind Regards, Andrew
|Mar-23-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: Hey cool, Andy, now I know; nice to hear from you again.|
|Jun-13-07|| ||Benzol: <Jonathan> <Mac3> Can either of you tell me where the 1985 South Island Championship was played? I believe you played (each other) in that event.|
Thanks in advance.
|Jun-16-07|| ||Richard Taylor: My sister married a McIntosh and there was a McIntosh who was the Auckland Champion a long time ago That was Ian - my sister's husband's uncle! Ian played at Howick-Pak when I was there in the 70s to the late 80s and I had some tough games with him even though he was quite old then. He also donated the chess tables/baords that are still at ACC - he ran a laminated timber beam making company. <Benzol>s father (Engineer) will know all about them - they are very strong. |
But all this probably has nothing to do with <Mac3> lol
|Jun-21-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: <Benzol>, I think we had a draw in R1 in that SI, which was in NZ. I managed to win that one, with some fair wins over T van Dijk in an endgame and Denis Boyce in the middlegame, but some nasty moments against Anthony J Love and Robert Wansink (scored 1.5 from two probably lost games). Earlier that year I won the NI, which was much more convincing, e.g. O Sarapu vs J Sarfati, 1985|
|Jun-21-07|| ||Benzol: <Jonathan> Where in the South Island was the event held. I have some of the games from an old NZ Chess Magazine from 1985 but it doesn't say where the event was played. You won the event and of your games there are the gamescores against the following : Andrew McIntosh, Tom van Dijk, Benjamin Martin, Anthony Love and Robert Wansink.|
|Jun-21-07|| ||Jonathan Sarfati: <Benzol>, I am pretty sure that it was in Dunedin. I don't think I have that issue of the mag. Would you please send those games since I lost a lot of records when I moved to Australia. I recall that my win against Denis Boyce was published in the Evening Post chess column.|
|Jun-21-07|| ||Benzol: <Jonathan> Thanks. I'll upload the games as soon as I can.|
|Aug-20-08|| ||OneArmedScissor: The Biography needs a revision. It's got some pretty obvious grammatical errors in it.|
|Aug-20-08|| ||wolfmaster: Handsome devil, isn't he?
|Mar-21-10|| ||Richard Taylor: <wolfmaster: Handsome devil, isn't he?|
He was quite old then. Look at yourself in the mirror when your his age...
|Mar-21-10|| ||Mac3: Great to see "Mr Chess" otherwise known as Ought-to-win Sarapu honoured here today.|
|Aug-12-13|| ||jerseybob: Didn't Sarapu beat Walter Browne - by tiebreak - in a short playoff match for an Interzonal spot?|
|Nov-11-14|| ||ljfyffe: Sarapu won the New Zealand correspondence
chess championship in 1968, and again in 1969,
the dates signifying when the tournaments started.
|Nov-11-14|| ||ljfyffe: Also, in 1965.|
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