The Amateur Eye – Grand Style

In the old days there were fewer tournaments of national importance so that the city, local, and regional tournaments grabbed most of the audience and entries.  The fact is that these events did not have huge prize funds and most amateurs were interested mostly in testing their mettle against the field, many being regulars with modest entry fees.  You went to events to test your own knowledge, preparation from books you bought, perhaps skills learned in postal chess play.  These events usually attracted local and regional players with ratings of master, expert, and various classes A-D. Turnout was often from a dozen to 40s/60s/100s with modest cash awards and trophies, ribbons, etc.

Lets take a look at the talents that emerged out of this era of chess growth in America.

White: Don Christie  (2164)   Black:  Peter Kurzdorfer  (2247)  Ruy Lopez

l.  e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  Be7  6. Re1  b5  7. Bb3  d6  8. c3  O-O  9. d4  Bg4  10. Be3  e:d4  11. c:d4  Na5  12. Bc2  Nc4  13. Bc1 c5  14. b3  Na5  15. Bb2  Nc6 16. Nbd2

At this point, Capablanca  vs. Bogoljubow (London 1922) had gone 16. d5 Nb4 17. Nbd2  N:c2  18. Q:c2 assessed as equal.

16. …c:d4  Another possibility was 16. … N:d4 forcing White to trade his Bishop  17. B:d4 c:d4 18. h3.

17. h3  Bh5  18. g4  Bg6 19. N:d4 N:d4 20. B:d4 d5 21. e5!? Here again we see this advance  as Black had opened the square where once a black pawn sat; it cuts the black square count.

21. … Nd7  22. Bf5  B:f5?! 23. g:f5  Bb4  24. f6! Digging into the enemy fortress.

24. …g:f6  25. e:f6  Remember that pawn exchanges lead to opening up squares for heavy piece infiltration.

25. … Kh8 26. Kh1 Qa5?!  Removing the Q from the main field of battle is dangerous.

27. Qg4  Rg8  28. Q:d7  B:d2  29. Qf7!  B:e1  30. Qe8!!! Resigns   There is no defense.

A truly problem type finish in grand style.  Such is the chess that olden days produced.


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