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US Championship Tournament

Lubomir Kavalek9.5/12(+7 -0 =5)[games]
John Alan Grefe9.5/12(+8 -1 =3)[games]
Walter Shawn Browne8.5/12(+6 -1 =5)[games]
James Tarjan7.5/12(+4 -1 =7)[games]
Larry Melvyn Evans6.5/12(+3 -2 =7)[games]
Pal Benko6.5/12(+2 -1 =9)[games]
Andrew Karklins6/12(+4 -4 =4)[games]
Edmar J Mednis5.5/12(+3 -4 =5)[games]
Arthur Bisguier5/12(+2 -4 =6)[games]
Lawrence C Gilden4/12(+2 -6 =4)[games]
William E Martz3.5/12(+1 -6 =5)[games]
Donald Byrne3/12(+0 -6 =6)[games]
George Francis Kane3/12(+1 -7 =4)[games]
* Chess Event Description
US Championship (1973)
With the reverberations of the Fischer Boom still resounding in their ears, the Powers That Were in USCF-Land decided it might be time to move the US Closed Championship out of New York where it had been played exclusively since 1936 (except for the small blip of South Fallsburg, 1948). As always, the issue was funding, but the El Paso Chess Club (with the help of the local Jaycees and the Hotel Paso del Norte) got everything together and brought together the following group from September 9-26, 1973, for a little chess and a trip or two across the border to Juarez for the dog races:

Pal Benko; Arthur Bisguier; Walter Shawn Browne; Donald Byrne; Larry Melvyn Evans; Lawrence C Gilden; John A Grefe; George Francis Kane; Andrew Karklins; Lubomir Kavalek; William E Martz; Edmar J Mednis; James Tarjan.

A good bunch of players, but lousy handicappers. Tournament Director Georges Koltanowski recorded that a dog named <Check> won the sixth race, but nobody thought to bet on him. By the way, you might notice only thirteen names. William James Lombardy was compelled to withdraw at the last minute and was not replaced. As a punishment, he was stuck with writing the tournament book.

He had a great story. A new site brought new players to the fore, as the recently-eligible Lubomir Kavalek and little-regarded John Grefe sprinted out in front, Grefe winning six games in a row at one point. When they met in round 10 Grefe actually had a 1.5 point lead, but Kavalek had an extra game to play due to the bye. Kavalek vs J Grefe, 1973 went Kavalek's way, but he was only able to draw in round 11 when Grefe had the bye, leaving the two players tied going into the last two rounds.

Both took quick draws with White in round 12. The last round saw them both playing Black, Kavalek against Karklins and Grefe against Benko. Kavalek seemed to have the easier task, but when the games were adjourned his position was drawn (though difficult) while Grefe had an easy win against Benko.

After adjournment Grefe duly converted his point, and didn't have long to wait. Almost immediately afterward, with a perpetual check in hand, Karklins miscalculated a line he thought was winning for him and handed the game to Kavalek, resulting in co-champions.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 Pts 01 Kavalek * 1 = = = = 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 9.5 02 Grefe 0 * 1 = = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 = 9.5 03 Browne = 0 * = = = = 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.5 04 Tarjan = = = * 1 = 1 0 1 1 = = = 7.5 05 Evans = = = 0 * = 0 = 1 1 = = 1 6.5 06 Benko = 0 = = = * = = = = 1 = 1 6.5 07 Karklins 0 0 = 0 1 = * = = 0 1 1 1 6.0 08 Mednis 0 0 0 1 = = = * = 0 = 1 1 5.5 09 Bisguier = 0 0 0 0 = = = * = 1 = 1 5.0 10 Gilden 0 0 0 0 0 = 1 1 = * 0 = = 4.0 11 Martz 0 0 0 = = 0 0 = 0 1 * = = 3.5 12 Byrne 0 0 0 = = = 0 0 = = = * 0 3.0 13 Kane 0 = 0 = 0 0 0 0 0 = = 1 * 3.0

SOURCE: U.S. championship chess, with the games of the 1973 tournament by William Lombardy and David Daniels. With a special report by George Koltanowski. New York: McKay, 1975. (Despite the above jest, this is an excellent work.)

PREVIOUS: US Championship (1972).

NEXT: US Championship (1974).

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 78  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J A Grefe vs A Karklins 1-0301973US ChampionshipC69 Ruy Lopez, Exchange, Gligoric Variation
2. Browne vs Mednis 1-0481973US ChampionshipB08 Pirc, Classical
3. D Byrne vs Bisguier  ½-½221973US ChampionshipA22 English
4. Kavalek vs G F Kane  1-0451973US ChampionshipA04 Reti Opening
5. Larry Evans vs Benko  ½-½231973US ChampionshipB81 Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack
6. Tarjan vs L C Gilden 1-0351973US ChampionshipB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
7. W Martz vs Browne  0-1581973US ChampionshipE60 King's Indian Defense
8. Bisguier vs Tarjan  0-1591973US ChampionshipA48 King's Indian
9. G F Kane vs J A Grefe  ½-½401973US ChampionshipA56 Benoni Defense
10. L C Gilden vs Kavalek  0-1711973US ChampionshipB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
11. Mednis vs D Byrne  1-0411973US ChampionshipB39 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Breyer Variation
12. A Karklins vs Larry Evans  1-0271973US ChampionshipB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
13. J A Grefe vs L C Gilden  1-0251973US ChampionshipB97 Sicilian, Najdorf
14. Larry Evans vs G F Kane  1-0401973US ChampionshipA79 Benoni, Classical, 11.f3
15. Kavalek vs Bisguier  ½-½601973US ChampionshipA06 Reti Opening
16. Tarjan vs Mednis  0-1401973US ChampionshipB50 Sicilian
17. D Byrne vs W Martz  ½-½411973US ChampionshipA00 Uncommon Opening
18. Benko vs A Karklins  ½-½421973US ChampionshipA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
19. Mednis vs Kavalek  0-1411973US ChampionshipB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
20. W Martz vs Tarjan  ½-½601973US ChampionshipA31 English, Symmetrical, Benoni Formation
21. Browne vs D Byrne 1-0421973US ChampionshipB77 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
22. L C Gilden vs Larry Evans  0-1691973US ChampionshipB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
23. Bisguier vs J A Grefe  0-1361973US ChampionshipA42 Modern Defense, Averbakh System
24. G F Kane vs Benko  0-1261973US ChampionshipD86 Grunfeld, Exchange
25. Larry Evans vs Bisguier  1-0361973US ChampionshipA20 English
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 78  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  guenther42: I went to see John on Friday evening 12/20/2013 at the VA hospital. He was on life support. He died on Sunday. I put my hand on his forehead and thanked him for being an empathetic pal & neighbor in'79 when I first got here from MD to attend UCB, living on Channing Way, my first real place to live after living in my car for half a semester. He was tough on some people, but a real sweetie to me. RIP my brother John.
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