50 Years of Chess, Year 7 (Part 2)

October 7, 2020

In the fall of 1978, I joined a group of 35 American students for a semester abroad in Leningrad, Russia. I had been studying the Russian language since my junior year of high school, and chess was one of the main reasons (at first). When I was at Phillips Academy, I wanted to start learning […]

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50 Years of Chess, Year 7 (Part 1)

October 3, 2020

When you put a call out to the universe, sometimes the universe answers! A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I did not have the scores of any of my games from 1976. But then I got an e-mail from an old friend I hadn’t heard from for many years: Macon Shibut, who was a […]

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Ageless Wonders

October 2, 2020

Chessbase had an interesting column yesterday about the ten highest-rated players of all time, in which they tracked down the exact games where they hit their rating peaks. It’s an interesting list, and I’ll give you the condensed version here (without the games). Player Peak Rating Achieved Against Year 1. Carlsen 2889 Nakamura 2014 2. […]

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Where Have We Seen This Before?

September 30, 2020

To: World From: Chess players Where have we seen this before? Refuses to play by previously agreed-upon rules. Driven by a persecution complex. Disdainful toward other people (“weakies”). Intolerant toward certain minorities. Demands complete loyalty from friends; one misstep and “you’re fired.”

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50 Years of Chess: Year 6

September 26, 2020

Today we’re going to have a bit of deja deja vu vu: a game that I’ve already annotated once in my blog. It is still one of my favorites, and much more interesting than the other two games I have kept from 1977. But I will do it with one ground rule: I’m going to […]

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50 Years of Chess: Year 5

September 20, 2020

Continuing our gallop through my personal chess history, we come to 1976. It was the year I turned eighteen — unfortunately, two days too late to vote in the Presidential election. It’s always been a little bit of a disappointment that the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, was no help to […]

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50 Years of Chess: Year 4

September 18, 2020

Time flies! We’re now up to 1975, which was the year of my graduation from prep school (Phillips Academy) and the start of my freshman year in college (Swarthmore College). Another major event during the year was my family’s move from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Richmond, Virginia. I think of 1975 also as the first year […]

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50 Years of Chess: Year 3

September 13, 2020

The year 1974 spread over my junior and senior years at prep school. As usual, I played no rated tournament chess during the school year, but managed to cram in four tournaments during the summer. It was again a good year for me, with a won-loss record of 16.5 – 9.5. Prizes were harder to […]

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50 Years of Chess: Year 2

September 7, 2020

As we move forward through the years, we come to an unexpectedly sad entry. It’s not that 1973 was a bad year. Quite the opposite! It was a great year, in which I played four tournaments, won three trophies, scored 14-6 (close to my best year ever), and advanced one rating class, from class D […]

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50 Years of Chess: Year 1

September 2, 2020

That was so much fun, let’s do it again! In my last post I started a year-by-year retrospective of my (almost) fifty years of tournament chess, with the year 1971. I called that Year Zero because I actually wasn’t quite into tournament chess yet. My chief opponent was still my father. In 1972, chess exploded […]

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