Mike Splane in Chess Life

by admin on July 12, 2022

Mike Splane, Life Master, Five-time Kolty Club Champion, and first posthumous author of “My Best Move”

If you look through the July 2022 issue of Chess Life, you might find a familiar name on the last page. Mike Splane, whom I have mentioned many times on this blog, is featured in the column “My Best Move,” which ends every issue. The game that he writes about also appeared on this blog, in one of my all-time most popular posts, called How to Break Fort Knox in 13 Moves.

Some of you might be wondering, “But wait a minute? Didn’t Mike die last year?” Yes, he did. But in the last six months before he died, he worked tirelessly on his chess memoir, called Chess Wizardry, Thinking Outside the Box. It was about 95 percent finished when he died, and only needed a little bit of editing and polishing, which was done by Ken Case and yours truly.

I asked John Hartmann, the editor of Chess Life, whether I could submit one of Mike’s best games for the “My Best Move” column on Mike’s behalf. John encouraged me to do so, and that’s how Mike became the first person ever to author a posthumous submission for that column. All of the words are Mike’s except for one paragraph that I added at the end, because I wanted to show a couple more variations. Mike was his usual modest self but I wanted to point out how cool the combination really was. Mike’s usual playing style was not particularly Morphy-esque, but in this one game he really channeled the spirit of Paul Morphy.

I am delighted to share this very small piece of Mike’s oeuvre with Chess Life readers, and I have some good news. I also wrote a longer article for Chess Life that explores topics like the Mike Splane Question and Mike’s approach to isolated pawn positions. I’ve been assured by John Hartmann that this article will appear in Chess Life eventually, but I don’t know the date yet.

But guess what! You don’t have to wait! I want to emphasize once again: Mike’s whole book, Chess Wizardry, is online and it is downloadable for free. You really will learn a lot from it, and you’ll see why I have been so enthusiastic about Mike’s original concepts over the many years I’ve written this blog. Even better, you’ll get a great sense of Mike’s sense of humor and his personality. The URL of the book is not given in the Chess Life article, so I will repeat it again right here: http://bus91l.altervista.org/Chess/ChessBook/Index.htm. Enjoy!

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