Posts Tagged ‘chess history’

My Quora Answer to: Which chess player’s games have you found the most instructive?

December 3, 2019

José Raúl Capablanca‘s chess delivered and still creates an irresistable masterful impact. In his games an inclination towards straightforwardness prevailed, and in his seemingly effortlessness brilliance there was a one of a kind delight of veritable simplicity. Indeed, his style, one of the most perfect, most completely clear in the whole history of chess, still dumbfounds chess engines with his rationale. Perhaps the greatest natural talent in chess history, I find Capablanca’s recorded games, even a century later, nearly sufficient for building a modern curriculum on chess.

https://www.quora.com/Which-chess-players-games-have-you-found-the-most-instructive/answer/Chris-Torres-13?ch=10&share=749cd9dc&srid=i4Sz

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 49

November 11, 2019

White to move and win (Richard Reti, Kolnische Volkszeitung of 1928).

White to move and win (Richard Reti, Kolnische Volkszeitung of 1928).

Benko’s Great Sacrifice

August 29, 2019

Chess has a rich history full of stories that I share with my students to add extra colour to our lesson material. Below is the tale of Pal Benko’s incredible life’s journey and his great sacrifice which allowed Bobby Fischer to make history.

Pal Benko was born while his Hungarian parents were vacationing in Amiens, France, on July 15, 1928. After learning how to play chess from his father at the age of eight, Pal improved quickly and impressed many during a time when the horrors of war and famine came to Hungary. At the age of twenty, Pal Benko became the Hungarian National Champion and with his chess success came the opportunity to eat and travel. At the 1952 chess tournament, Pal made his attempt to escape the suffering and defect to the West. However, Pal Benko escape was unsuccessful and he was imprisoned in a concentration camp for a grueling 16 months. After Joseph Stalin’s death, Benko was offered clemency and immediately returned to competitive chess as a means to earn food. At the 1957 Reykjavik World Student Chess Championship, Benko made his second attempt at defecting to the United States and this time he was successful.

Pal Benko in 1964.

In the decades that followed, the name Pal Benko was synonymous with chess creativity both in his opening discoveries and his artful puzzles. During the height of his career he was, easily, the most successful open tournament player in the United States winning the U.S. Open Chess Championship a record 8 times! Ironically, the most famous sacrificial move in Pal Benko’s chess career didn’t destroy his adversary but rather elevated him.

In 1970 Benko placed third in the US Championship which guaranteed him a seat in the Interzonal tournament. (Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE from the 1950s to the 1990s as a qualifying stage for the World Chess Championship.) Bobby Fischer, who at the time was taking a break from tournament chess, suddenly decided that he wanted to make a serious attempt at the World Championship. However, because of his absence from the US Championship he did not qualify for the Interzonal. In order for Fischer to enter the World Championship cycle, someone else who qualified from the United States would have to give up his seat. The US Chess Federation asked Pal Benko if he would be willing to make this sacrifice for Bobby. Pal Benko realistically knew that Fischer had much better chances than he did at the Interzonal and thus gave up his spot for the benefit of American chess. Bobby Fischer went on to win the Interzonal, the Candidates and the 1972 World Championship Match. None of this would have been possible without Pal Benko’s Great Sacrifice.

Below is a puzzle that Pal Benko stumped Bobby Fischer with in 1968. Can you solve it?

White to move and mate in 3! (Puzzle by Pal Benko)

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle 22

June 15, 2018

White to move and mate in 5 (11th century chess puzzle, author unknown).

White to move and mate in 5 (11th century chess puzzle, author unknown).

#Chess History Worth Sharing 

October 17, 2017

The “Game of the Century!”

The “Game of the Century!”

#Chess History Worth Sharing 

August 6, 2017

One time, while playing chess at a social gathering in Paris, Benjamin Franklin captured his opponent’s king after she inadvertently placed it into check. When she stated, “Ah, we don’t take kings so…” Benjamin Franklin responded, “We do in America!”

1,000 Year-Old Chess Set to be Auctioned Off

March 16, 2016

  

The 10th-century chess set is believed to have been made in the city of Nishapur, now modern-day Iran, with several pieces equivalent to chess figures such as pawns, knights, kings and queens….

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Kindred’s Special: 1945 Radio Match cont’d

November 20, 2015

  

I met the colorful and brilliant tactician Al Horowitz while making several trips to the Manhattan Chess Club located at the time at the Hudson Hotel quarters while in training at Fort Dix, New Jersey….

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Kindred’s Special: The Radio Team Match continued

November 19, 2015

  
Herman Steiner hailed from California and was a darling of the Hollywood crowd, often giving exhibitions and game play with a host of friends.  The following game provides a nice setting for the type of dynamic skill he possessed….

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Kindred’s Special: The Radio Chess Match of 1945, A Historic Shift in World Chess Power

November 17, 2015

  
Hidden behind the communist wall of secrecy for many years, the Soviet development and interest as a propaganda tool found silence as the American chess superiority in various international team events saw the US squad notching one win after another….

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