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Member since Jun-10-05 · Last seen Oct-23-17
I began to play Chess when I was confined to a wheelchair for one year at the age of 14 (1964). I watched George Koltanowski's chess program on Channel 9 (San Francisco), and read his column in the SF Chronicle. My aunt called him to find out what chess clubs there were in the area, and I was thrilled when he called me to join his club, the "Kolty" club, which I attended every Thursday evening.

In my first USCF tournament I tied for first in the B section and achieved a rating of 1730. After that, I played in the Expert/Master sections of local tournaments, because those were the only USCF-rated tournaments in town - the lower sections in these tournaments were rated by Koltanowski's CFNC (Chess Friends of Northern California). In one tournament (CFNC), I won two games on no-shows, so Koltanowski felt sorry for me and played me himself! One-on-one with a GM (though back then he was only an IM -- he was later rated a GM by someone in power who thought he should be a GM as he told me much later) and who had played Alekhine, Lasker, etc.! My openings were at Master level, endings at Expert level and middlegame lower (I preferred closed games and was consequently not as good at tactics).

My one real accomplishment came when I joined one club, and beat the reigning champion (a USCF Expert) four games in a row, and he stopped coming.

I retired from serious chess in 1969 at the ripe old age of 19, but in 1990 I began working as a programmer for Heuristic Software in Berkeley, owned by Julio Kaplan (yes, the World Junior Chess Champion), and staffed by such players as IM Marc Leski (speed champion of France and on the same French national team with Boris Spassky at the time), and Craig Barnes, national high school champion. Back then we did most of the programming for the Saitek chess computers. Watching the World Champion matches between Kasparov and Karpov and hearing the GM analysis of the staff was part of my job! Needless to say, I learned a lot.

It was during that time (in 1991) that I attended the Pan Pacific Grandmaster tournament in San Francisco, where a first saw new men's GM Zsuzsa (Susan) Polgar, aged 22 at the time (she lost to Torre that day), and Mikhail Tal. I actually managed to get a greeting from him. I also renewed my acquaintance with George Koltanowski, and worked with him in conjunction with my work at Heuristic Software. One day I picked him up at his house in San Francisco to drive him to Heuristic Software. On the way I asked him about some of the old masters, and he would tell me about them. Keres: "a good friend of mine;" Rubenstein: "afraid of his own shadow." He and the Heuristic Software staff all went to lunch, where he regaled us with more stories. I particularly remember him discussing Alekhine: "I should have beaten Alekhine!" (He agreed to a draw in a won game against him.) Also, I first learned from him that Alekhine actually died from choking on his food. He said that Alekhine did not eat, he "slopped," meaning he gulped his food down whole. He said he made a special trip to Portugal to verify this: "Back then choking to death in Portugal was viewed as suicide," so they couldn't put that on the death certificate, so they put heart attack or something. I was pleased to see in Kasparov's book on his predecessors that he discusses this as well, so I know there is something to it.

He also told us how Lasker took an interest in him as a young man, and they played a game that took three months to finish (Lasker would take time to explore the variations as they played). "I learned a h___ of a lot," he said,

That's pretty much it for my Chess bio. I learned from Marc Leski that the best way to study the middlegame is to study whole games of a particular opening and see how they transition to the middlegame. My chess goal now is to understand Grandmaster Chess (annotations of the sixties were really poor, just dealing with variations), and I am making good progress. Perhaps somewhere else I will recommend some books.

My favorite player was Lasker (because he was also a Ph.D in mathematics, something at the time I was aspiring to. His game against Capa in 1914 is still my "Game of the Century." However, Alekhine's games were my favorite to play over. In my opinion, he is the only one of the early masters who would have a chance in one of today's Super Grandmaster tournaments (once he came up to speed on the openings). I won't go into the reasons for the opinion here, though.

   GoldenKnight has kibitzed 1234 times to chessgames   [more...]
   May-23-17 B Savchenko vs A Kostin, 2007 (replies)
GoldenKnight: They had a similar theme a week or two ago where the Q stops just short of a pawn and allows herself to be captured. Resignation was proper then as now.
   Jan-16-17 L Machado vs K McDonald, 2016 (replies)
GoldenKnight: From the ornaments French soldiers used to wear on their shoulders. I got this term for that kind of mate from a Larry Evans book in the '60s.
   Dec-05-16 D Fridman vs H Odeev, 1996 (replies)
GoldenKnight: Herma48852: <morfishine: Easy-Peezy: White, a pawn-up, has a forced win in 178 moves> <I believe I have found an improvement with a forced win in 177 moves but there is not enough room in the margin to present the detailed variations.> Herma48852, are you a ...
   Sep-28-16 Koltanowski vs M Defosse, 1936 (replies)
GoldenKnight: I was glad to get this one! Koltanowski was a good friend of mine. BTW, he pronounced Colle's name as Collie. He would know as Colle was a good friend of his back in the day in Belgium. I think Colle even mentored him to some extent. And I remember as a youngster in the '60s ...
   Aug-01-16 V Vepkhvishvili vs Davtian, 1966 (replies)
GoldenKnight: <anthro: I don't understand the comment about ELO ratings being instituted around 1970. I had a rating as early as 1964 and assume that it was an Elo rating. I certainly remember the name Arpad Elo from that time.> He was just starting his work around that time, probably ...
   Oct-02-15 Judit Polgar vs Bareev, 2007 (replies)
GoldenKnight: This one is fairly easy. You can see that all you need to do is open the attacking lines, thus, the R sac is obvious. The the Q check followed by the pawn move are straightforward. From there, all you need to realize is that the K move to h1 at some point completely opens the ...
   Jan-06-15 B Thorfinnsson vs I Rogers, 2005 (replies)
GoldenKnight: Got this one all the way, but I wouldn't call it "easy."
   Dec-30-14 The World vs Naiditsch, 2014 (replies)
   Dec-30-14 Topalov vs Anand, 2004 (replies)
GoldenKnight: The trick is to realize that once the White Rook moves there is mate on g1. My solution was Bb4, which can do the same thing, or White can give up the exchange with some potent threats by Black. Anand's way was more forcing and quicker.
   Dec-09-14 C Lange vs D Hess, 1994 (replies)
GoldenKnight: <Once> Okay, I admit it, I like the underpromotion.
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