Archive for December, 2009

Kindred’s Special: My Brother

December 19, 2009

I have achieved a credible record in both correspondence as well over-the-board tournament and match play. The champ in the Reithel family however as far as both records of achievement in correspondence play goes to my oldest brother Raymond. He is a very talented player and writer, formerly conducting columns in both The Chess Correspondent as well as in the Knights of the Round Table (NOST) magazine Nostalgia with his regular column.

Ray learned the game from the Encyclopedia and made rapid progress as a teen while the family resided in Ithaca, New York. He worked for Professor Scoville, a strong chessplayer, taking care of his farm animals and was introduced to the Ithaca Chess Club. After graduating high school, he was inducted into the Army and after boot camp became a training tech NCO both at Fort Landing, Florida and then Fort Benning, Georgia. While serving in the military, he got acquainted with postal chess and some of his earliest games he employed 1.b3! on more than one occasion. This was in the early 1940s mind you when 1.b3 was almost unheard of as a viable weapon for the white camp. After military service, Ray went to college, got a BS degree in chemistry and hired by Kodak where he worked in research. Married with four children, Ray, like most professional men had little time for o-t-b chess tournaments but was a member for a few years in the Rochester Chess & Checker Club, played in a few USCF otb tournaments but turned to postal play which he felt was the purest form of the game. His remaining o-t-b activity rested with participation in the Industrial-Civic League where he played for the Kodak team. His best result was something like 13.5 points scoring over 95%.  He tabulated a plus record of 214 games  with very few defeats almost all in the master class sections of CCLA and NOST where he achieved many lst, and some 2nd or 3rd place results–46 events with results of 20 lst place, 10 2nd place and 4 3rd place finishes.

Perhaps his greatest joy was being asked to play 6th board for the US Olympic VIII where he scored 4 wins, 3 losses and 5 draws to finish with a 6.5 record.

Ray and his wife Marilyn raised four children and during this period is when Ray got to join NOST, founded by Bob Lauzon, a multi-games club, many of whom were mensa members. Eventually Ray got me interested in NOST as well and we both played in their events. Despite our joint interest and play in CCLA and NOST, we rarely met in play. Our match games were heavily in Ray’s favor, something like 21-8 or so when I was working on honing my skills. It was only in my most productive years in chess that I managed to come out with 3-1 edge but he conked me the vast majority of our postal matches while I was maturing. I think the spankings helped hone my own skill. I was once asked by a NOST member who was the stronger, Ray or I. I said Ray which is the truth.

In some ways I found playing Ray was like battling a boa constrictor. Another feeling was one of hitting my head against a brick wall because he disallowed very much room for working up any type of advantage sufficient to win and trying too hard only made defeat more sure. Whereas he relied much upon his opening books and fine chess library, my own style was more off the cuff and I liked experimenting too much or trying lines not in my range of understanding and/or style.

In examining a number of his games, I came to realize his pragmatic approach to excellence. This came from a deep inquisitive nature to research where he dug deep into opening play discussed by the great players from the past and present. From the opening he employed his natural and learned skills from studying MY SYSTEM by Nimzowitsch, THE GAME OF CHESS by Dr. S. Tarrasch, a careful study of Alekhine, Capablanca and other great players. I think his favorite book ever was Richard Reti’s MASTERS OF THE CHESSBOARD.  Over the years he added many classics to his chess library which I am sure added to his prowess as a player.

In our life in Ithaca, I was 3-6 years old, he taught my older sister and brother how to play and me the moves. Chess became a family joy! For some reason his own children never cared to play chess.

In his latter years of chess competition, Ray devoted most of his time with NOST and got me interested in joining. The great thing about NOST was the friendships formed. Each year the NOST held a convention somewhere in the United States which brought out a number of game players and games like GO, various chess variants, regular chess and competitions having original ideas and treats for mental challenge. NOST was dissolved and integrated into the Miller Group which carried on the main features of NOST. Why NOST closed is due to loss of leaders and officers who did an enormous job in having one of the best of game magazines. Les Roselle was Nostmaster for many years and known for his imagination and artsy nature creating Chesster the Pawn and Cee Cee. Some dropped out to join or be hired by other game magazines and since both the Millers and NOST membership overlapped in many areas which made having the two separate groups made no sense. So the two combined into just the Miller Group.

Ray played in three simultaneous exhibitions in Rochester. He is proud of his draw versus GM Samuel Reshevsky, a hard fougt but losses to Spanish champion and former boy prodigy Arturo Pomar and also a valiant fight against GM Robert J. Fischer in 1964.

Here are some of Ray’s games randomly selected and I hope to add a number more in due course.

Olympiad VIII Finals, Board 6

White: M. Ziembinski (Poland)  vs Black: R. Reithel (USA)

Opening: King’s Indian Defense–Saemisch/Byrne variation

1.P-QB4  N-KB3  2.P-Q4  P-KN3  3.N-QB3  B-N2  4.P-K4  P-Q3 5.P-B3 P-B3 6. B-K3  P-QR3  7.Q-Q2  P-QN4! 8.O-O-O

This was often the play here but interesting is the alternative idea of 8.B-Q3 PxP 9.BxP P-Q4  10.B-N3 PxP 11.PxP  P-K4 12.N-B3 NxB 13.QxN O-O 14.P-KR4 B-N5  15.P-R5! with attacking chances.

8. …. Q-R4!

This is key to the Byrne variation. Risky is 8…O-O 9.B-R6!

9.K-N1  QN-Q2  10.B-R6  BxB! 11.QxB P-K4  12.P-Q5 P-N5 13.QN-K2 PxP 14.BPxP  K-K2!

My King is safe behind the wall of pawns.

15.N-R3  Q-N3 16.Q-Q2  P-QR4  17.N-B1  B-R3  18.N-B2  KR-QB1  19.BxB QxB 20.Q-Q3  Q-N3  21.R-Q2  R-B6! 22.Q-K2 

On 22.PxR PxPdch 23.K-B2 PxR 24.QxP R-B1ch etc.

22….QR-QB1  23.N/1-Q3  P-R5  24.PxR  PxPdch, 25.R-N2 PxR 26.QxP Q-R4!

The insecurity of the white King gives me the advantage.

27.K-R1 R-QN1  28.Q-B2  N-N3!  29.R-QB1  R-QB1 30.Q-N2  P-R6!

Avoiding 30…N-B5 31.Q-N4 which was embarrassing.

31.Q-N3  RxRch  32.NxR  Q-B4!

White said he did not consider the strength of this move. And now he makes a wrong choice. Better was N/1-Q3.

33.N/B2-Q3? Q-Q5ch 34.K-N1 N-B5 35.Q-N4

A little better was 35.Q-B2.

35. …. N-Q2

36. Resigns.

            ***                                      ***                                          ***


White:  J. C. McCarty            Black:  R. Reithel

Opening: King’s Gambit – Cunningham Defense

1. P-K4  P-K4  2. P-KB4  PxP  3.N-KB3  B-K2

Scottish master H. Cunningham (1650-1730) invented this defense and was it was considered for a time a bust to the KG. (Let me see. Did not Robert J. Fischer also have a so-called bust to this gambit? He wrote his bust for Larry Evans’  AMERICAN CHESS QUARTERLY and this pesky gambit continues on and on today with the same double-edged sword as always. King Gambiteers will tell you that it is alive and well.

4.B-B4  N-KB3  5.P-K5  N-R4!?

This is my own concoction that has produced a number of successes for me. The Knight holds the BP and threatens the white K-side via N6.


Robert Eberlein tried in the 1966 Industrial-Civic League team matches 6.N-B3 B-R5ch 7.K-B1 O-O  8.P-Q4 PQ3! 9.B-Q3 R-K1 with good active play.

6. …. P-Q4 7.PxPep QxP 8.P-Q4

On 8.BxPch KxB 9.N-N5ch BxN 10.QxN Q-N3!

8. …. B-N5 9.P-B3

More challenging would have been perhaps: 9.N-B3 O-O 10.N-QN5 Q-QN3 11.N-B3  B-B3  12.N-Q5

9. …. O-O 10.QN-Q2

I had analyzed 10.Q-N3 BxN 11.RxB N-QB3 12.QxP NxN!? with complications.

10. …N-Q2 11.B-K2 P-QB4 12.N-K4 Q-KR3 13.N-B2

I was more concerned about 13.P-Q5! here.

13. …. N/2-B3 14.NxB 

Again, more complications emerge with 14.N-R4.

14. …. NxN 15.N-K5 NxN  16.PxN  KR-Q1!

My opponent said he did not see the full ramifications of this strong move.

17.Q-N3  P-B5  18.QxNP  B-B4ch  19.R-B2  Q-N4! 20.Q-B3 QxP!

Now if white tried 21.QxN I have R-Q8ch 22.BxR Q-K8mate!

21.P-KN4  PxP 22.QxPch  K-R1

The King in the corner is often a very safe haven.

23.QxN  PxRch 24. Resigns.

         ***                                          ***                                           ***


White: R. Reithel      vs   Black: Don Cotten

Opening: Ruy Lopez –Schliemann Defense

Don Cotten is one of the top postal players and at the time had a USCF postal rating well over 2500. Don has been very active in NOST plays a very sharp and aggressive game from either side of the board.

1.P-K4  P-K4  2.N-KB3  N-QB3  3.B-N5  P-B4  4.N-B3!

Dr. Dyckoff, the famous correspondence player, considered this White’s best against the Schliemann Defense.

4. …. PxP  5.QNxP  P-Q4! 6.NxP PxN 7.NxN Q-Q4

The interesting alternative here is 7…QN4 after which it seems white gains a bit of advantage by 8.Q-K2 N-B3 9.P-KB4 QxBP    10.N-K5dch P-B3 11.P-Q4 Q-R5ch 12.P-N3  Q-R6 13.B-QB4.

8.P-QB4  Q-Q3  9.NxPdch BQ2  10.BxBch QxB 11.Q-R5ch P-N3  12.Q-K5ch K-B2  13.N-N5 P-B3  14.Q-Q4! Q-K2 15.QxR N-B3       16.P-QN3! R-Q1 17.B-N2  B-N2  18.B-R3  Q-Q2  19.N-Q6ch! K-K3  20.QxR  QxQ 21.NxNP Q-Q5  22.O-O  K-B2  23.B-B5! QxQP?!    24.KR-Q1 Q-B5  25.N-Q8ch K-N1  26.NxP  N-N5! 27.R-Q8ch K-B2  28.R-Q7ch K-K3  29.QR-Q1!? QxRP 30.K-B1  B-B3! 31.R/1-Q6ch          K-B4 32.R-B7 Q-R8ch  33.K-K2  QxP  34.N-Q4ch K-B5  35.R/6xBch NxR  36.RxNch K-K4  37.R-K6ch K-B5  38.B-Q6ch K-N4 39.B-K7ch

This is not bad but the quickest win was missed by me.  39.P-B5! and Black’s Queen will not be able to stop the Pawn’s advance to the 8th.

39. … K-B5 40.R-B6ch K-N5 41.N-B2

Again, 41.P-B5 was better.

41. … Q-R7 42.N-K3ch K-R6! 43.R-B7 P-R4  44.N-Q5 Q-K4 45.B-B6!

I have to keep the Queen off the QR1-KR8 diagonal. Black puts up a gallant fight in hopes of a White miscue.

45. …Q-B4 46.R-B8 Q-B6ch 47.K-K1 Q-R8ch 48.K-Q2 Q-QN8     49.N-N4 Q-N8 50.B-Q4 Q-N4ch 51.K-B3! P-R5 52.P-B5!

Playing what should have been played on move 39. Better late than never!

52. …K-N7 53.P-B6 P-R6  54.P-B7  P-R7 55.R-KR8  Q-B4 56.RxPch!

Winning but also winning would be 56.N-Q5.

56. … KxR 57.N-Q5 Q-Q2  58.B-K5ch K-N7 59.N-N6 Q-B3ch     60.K-N2 QxN 61.P-B8(Q)  QxBPch 62.Q-B2 P-K6  63.B-Q4 Resigns.

This game illustrates the depth of Ray’s chess understanding. His notes to this game are much expanded and were limited to save space. Don Cotten is indeed a very talented and tough opponent!

Kindred’s Special: Exercise is both mental and physical

December 12, 2009

EXERCISE IS BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL with the logic of natural selection in the process where the question of priorities is ever most in the minds of parents when confronted with the wave of enormous opportunities and selections given even the most abundance of time. For most of us, such time is very limited. You might say that in this regards, an unknown energy source within us tends to parcel out any number of variants possible and therein lies the choice of freedom to choose. The harm in all this rests with pitting a narrowing of options where concentrated effort snuffs out the realization of being human and enjoying life to the full.

Now, if I haven’t bored you to sleep or mystified your train of thought too far, let me explain. Going back into my youth of decades past, I share with a host of many youngsters a pattern that goes something like this: Summertime. What a treat. No school. But the guys are all ready to congregate, not in a classroom, but rather on the empty lot or rarely traveled street for some sport action like softball,foot races, kickball, touch football, playing catch, or made-up games otherwise that featured physical activity. Likewise winter months saw congregations for building snowmen, building snow forts, having snowball fights, sleighing down wide open hills, looking to make some cash by offering and providing snowshoveling services for those with ambitions to build up their secret treasury. In all this, the studious among us often engaged in library projects, playing a variety of interesting and challenging board games like checkers, chess, backgammon, chinese checkers, scrabble, dominoes, various card games, etc. often with family.

Speed forward now to current times. Most activities engaged by youth are totally organized events. There have emerged a huge number of organizational structures that vie for the interest and time of young people. Whereas, we used to play in our T-shirts, shorts or overalls, today we see organized teams with uniforms from head- to- toe; coaches who often charge up to three figures to teach the little brats who look at them like gods. I have always said: FOLLOW THE MONEY and you begin to understand the emphasis on today’s value system. Cut the dough, and you lose the coach. Period. Of course there are volunteer groupies who give time freely but there are always expenses that must be met. And kids no longer seem capable of achieving on their own nor do they want to. In only one area I see this is not true–music and other educational interests of self-determination for learning with a goal to succeed in the classroom and in life. And most regrettable is the loss of family pleasures enjoyed as a unit that strengthens the bond of love, protection and respect for one another.

Many activities and groups exist for any number of reasons mostly devoted to their specific interest. One such group in Rochester is the Rochester Chess Center whose program fundamental has always been combining physical sport with chess. They recognized early on the importance of physical health as well as developing the individual toward critical thinking and wise use of time. Their teaching programs at their chess camp is to integrate the two where the class as a whole benefits.  Of course a big attraction of chess is TO HAVE FUN AND ENJOY GOOD PLAY WITH FRIENDS. But chess has an added advantage that once learned, you never forget how to play nor lose some sense of association with it. It is a world-wide activity where one can usually come across others who play the game. And it has a HISTORICAL value in that the chess buff can return to the earliest beginnings of recorded news, events and games–many played before you were born.

There are many colorful personages who have, in some manner, weaved their names into the realm of the circle–some famous. And that term depicts both the scoundrels as well as those who have a halo over their heads for the beneficial contributions made. The body as a whole is what makes the game so colorful and it’s exponents worth a good read.

Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Sergey Nikolaev Remembered

December 1, 2009

For most of us in the United States the name of Sergey Nikolaev is unknown. Who was this man? What makes him unique in some ways from the rest of chessdom while his whole body was in some ways connected to both the game, his realistic objectivity concerning chess and achieving a capitalist businessman success in Moscow, Russia. And what was I doing on October 20th 2007, the day that the affable native of Yakursk was slain in the streets on his way home by a bunch of hate-minded and ethnically degenerates commonly called “skin-heads”? No, I do not know because I do not keep a daily diary which would fill pages of thought and activities. But that date for the family and friends of  Sergey Nikolaev will live in their hearts as much as December 7th 1941 or September 11th 2001 is imbedded in the minds and hearts of Americans. In truth, the connection among all these events is brought out stark naked with one term: HATE and with it the accompanied phrase: THE RESULT OF A DEGENERATED MINDSET BY COWARDS AND FAILURES IN LIFE’S WALK DOWN THE PATHWAY OF LIFE.

More recently of course is the murder of news anchor Anne Pressly by a black man who was captured through the use of our national DNA base where his DNA was matched with that found in the residence of Anne Pressly. What is so shocking about this is the fact that her mother found her near death with a stab wound in her neck and later died is hospital. And my report on the murderer Maj. Hasan of now known 14 deaths and many wounded at Fort Hood that again rings from the bell tower of HATE.

The neo-NAZI youth gang who preyed on  the innocent on the streets of Moscow is a long way and time frame from above illustrated victimized innocents but they all share in that narrowest foundation of a cancerous spiritual nature often part and parcel of a sick and evil human life structure–that of sheer hatred and evil control over their intended victims.

What was the motive of the “skin-head” Nazi youth? They saw in their victim someone who did not resemble a man Russian enough for their taste.

He was born in Yakutsk in 1961 and treated as a stranger by his own country. His success in business in post communist Russia and his own fears for his life from his heritage and looks seemed to dominate his being. He was the youngest of five brothers and learned to play chess that attracted his interest like a magnet. His skill grew and as he matured in life he often criticized chess as being overrated in terms of importance in one’s work and life goals.

Chess has had a number of tragic lives and deaths of its well known players. New York master Abe Turner was working for CHESS REVIEW and was murdered while taking out the trash by a demented fellow who thought Turner was a communist spy, at least that is the story I heard. GM Pachman was brutally beaten by the communists when he was arrested on suspicion as a counter-communist agitator.  As one story goes, GM Mikhail Botvinnik interceded on the arrest of Paul Keres and saved him from being executed.

Common among all this is IGNORANCE– the connection between FEAR and HATE. It is probable that fear comes before hate and the combination of the two connect to each other in bringing about shocking events that defy more rational behavior. One might look at it as: FEAR>>HATE>>RUIN. For in truth, ruin is the result of ignorance that often stimulates fear and hate.

A full obit and life story appears in No. 4 of 2009 NEW IN CHESS.

                          ***               ***              ***


It is said that GM Mikhail Botvinnik was a study in complexity. Sometimes coming across as cold, arrogant, growling in harshness in responses at times, his belief structure of self-right and strong opinions that virtually were unshakeable even though thought, sometimes by others, as being an overbearing ass no doubt existed without a word being spoken from their lips for fear of retribution of some sort. Once he refused to reply with acceptance to participate in a tournament, stating that he had not received an off-hand personal invitation to play when questioned why he refused to enter it. A functionary tried to refute this by claiming he was invited as one of many players who agreed to play. To this, Botvinnik responded: “I am not one of them; I am Botvinnik!”

I find a mistake in the NEW IN CHESS article written about Botvinnik by Genna Sosonko titled MIKHAIL BOTVINNIK, HOMO POLITICUS. He refers to Botvinnik as the founder of the Soviet School of Chess. He was indeed considered the Patriarch of the modern reflection of Soviet Chess and contributed greatly to the system which helped develop many of the leading players. But he was not the founder of the Soviet School of Chess as reflected by an early development and structure that was found in the spirit and fighting styles of earlier players, especially Mikhail Chigorin.

That is the way I see it.

Adios for now!!