Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter 533 .
A documentary's just been shown, where he (Korchnoi) says that Kasparov stopped playing at the age of 42, while he was still learning at 46. That really is true. He's always got something to learn. What contrasts there were between the chess players of my generation! We'd talk about who Korchnoi was, and who Karpov was. With Karpov you won't find a single piece on the board that's badly placed, while with Korchnoi you might well find them. That's because there are many things he doesn't sense, he has no internal harmony. But as a fighter, as a sportsman, he overcomes that and achieves success.
Evgeny Vasiukov talking about Viktor Korchnoi (http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/03/anti-hero-evgeny-vasiukov-on-viktor-korchnoi/)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Larry Parr 1946-2011
3) CalChess Scholastic Championship
4) 4th Metropolitan FIDE Invitational
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
Uyanga Byambaa is leading the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with a perfect score after 5 rounds. Presently rated Rated 2050 - up over 200 points in the last six months - the 20-year-old Mongolian student has defeated three strong Experts and drawn with a National Master in this event to date. Should she win Byambaa will become only the second women champion in the close to forty year history of the TNM series. Countrywomen Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, recent winner of the 2011 Mongolian Womens Championship, tied for first in the Fall 2006 and Winter 2007 TNMs.
IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the 11th Annual Imre Konig Memorial held last Saturday with a score of 5-0 defeating 2500 rated Sevan Buscara in round four. Buscara and rapidly-improving Arnold Hua shared second with four points. The latter has improved almost 300 rating points (1677 to 1963) in the last three months under the tutelage of MI Scholastic Chess Coordinator Anthony Corrales.
The winners of last week's Wednesday MI Blitz Last week's winners were:
1st - Jules Jelinek 2nd - Arthur Ismakov 3rd - Joe Urquhart.
2) Larry Parr 1946-2011
Former Chess Life Editor Larry Parr died in the early morning hours of April 2 at Subang Jaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The cause was reportedly pneumonia with tuberculosis and malaria contributing factors. He is survived by his wife Samboon (Tai), daughter Christiana, and son Ian.
Lawrence (Larry) Arthur Collard Parr was born on May 21, 1946, to Irene and Lawrence C. Parr in Seattle, Washington. He grew up in nearby Bellevue when it was still a sleepy backwater in a conservative Roman Catholic household. Larry's father, who served as a naval officer (ensign) in WWII, was a business man and investor who lived into his 90s. His mother, who died in 1995, introduced Larry to a lifelong love of learning and culture.
Chess was to play an important role in Larry's life but he learned the game relatively late while in high school. The head of the Bellevue chess club, V.W. Bever, was a lover of gambit play and his influence rubbed off on Larry who started out playing the Danish Gambit with White and the Budapest Defense with Black, openings that he would stick with his entire life. By the end of 1962 Larry was 1652 on the Northwest Rating system.
Larry's rating had risen to the mid 1800s when he graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in history in 1968. He had already played in one important competition, the 1966 US Open in Seattle, where he scored 6-7 against good opposition including a loss to Bill Goichberg who was just beginning his career as a tournament organizer.
Curiously, although Larry would later compete overseas, he appears to have never played a USCF rated game after 1969. His highest USCF rating never approached 2000 but Larry was definitely of Expert strength at his peak as shown by some of his later results in Germany and Malaysia. While he loved chess Larry was happiest analyzing, studying and discussing the game rather than playing in tournaments.
Not long after graduation Larry entered the military and was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where he studied Russian. This benefited the readers of his beloved Northwest Chess when he used his new skills to translate material from the Soviet weekly 64 for his monthly column Chess in Russia.
Among the instructors in Monterey was a chess master and refugee from communism. Alex Suhobeck made a big impression on Larry who later wrote about him in the January 1971 issue of Northwest Chess. Throughout his life Larry was an ardent anti-communist, but considered himself a libertarian and not a conservative - he was strongly against the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Some old-timers in Seattle believe that Larry's mother (possibly nee Winkler) was a victim of communist persecution but I have found nothing to confirm this.
Larry saw duty in West Germany in the early 1970s where he was stationed for a time right next to the East German border. During his stay in Europe he had the opportunity to acquire a substantial amount of Russian chess literature. I can still remember Larry proudly showing me his worn copy of Shakhmatist Nikolai Riumin, a slim volume by Ilya Kan devoted to one of the best Soviet masters of the 1930s. Larry had gone through all the games, some more than once.
One of Larry's greatest successes over the board was tying for first in a 57-player Swiss at Rhein-Main, West Germany in 1970. The civilized European practice of one game a day with a generous time control made an impression on him and years later when FIDE switched to faster time controls and shorter matches for the world championship he thought these changes were serious mistakes that distracted from the dignity of the game and made it less prestigious to the general public.
Following his stint in the military Larry appears to have spent the next few years making his first visit to the Far East and to have worked as a correspondent for Reuters in Bangkok. This first visit cemented what was to become a lifelong love of all things Asian including street food.
Larry might have started out his life on a meat and potatoes diet but by his thirties he could easily hold his own with Anthony Bourdain in consuming exotic ethnic dishes. The dark side of Larry's visit was that he contracted a serious case of malaria during either this trip or the one he made to Malaysia in the late 1970s. The malaria was to resurface near the end of his life.
Larry returned to the University of Washington around 1976 where he attended the Graduate School of History, specializing in Soviet History and American Diplomacy. I believe he earned his Master's degree in history with the late Donald Treadgold serving as his advisor, but am not certain of this. He definitely did not finish his Ph.D., possibly due to political differences with some of the members in the history department. An increasing awareness that he was best suited to life as a journalist and not a historian was likely the primary reason for his ending his studies..
During his time as a graduate student Larry served as a teaching assistant for some of Professor Jon Bridgman's undergraduate classes at the U of W where among those he mentored were chess players included future Washington State Champion Bill Schill. Larry also provided an education of sorts for undergraduates who ventured into the Last Exit on Brooklyn, a now defunct but much-loved Seattle coffee house frequented by chess players. Larry would pontificate on politics many afternoons and evenings, his lectures only interrupted by the occasional correction by blitz chess virtuoso Steve Brandwein, his political opposite.
Larry found his true home when he moved to the Far East a second time after finishing his academic career. He landed a job writing for the leading Malaysian paper, The New Straits Times, and scored one of his greatest tournament successes, sharing second place in the 7th Selanger open. He won several nice attacking games with his favorite Danish Gambit which he annotated for Northwest Chess. This second stay in Malaysia was not to be his last and it was during this tour that he met his first wife, Salimah (Sally) Hussein.
While attending the University of Washington as an undergraduate in the mid 1960s Larry became a friend and fan of Viktors Pupols, one of the top players in the state. Fifteen years later this sparked him to do a series of articles on Pupols for Northwest Chess (June and July 1982) that were to prove to have a profound effect on Larry's life. The articles were well received and served as the basis for Viktors Pupols, American Master, published by Thinkers' Press in 1983. This book provided Larry the name recognition needed to interview for the position of editor of Chess Life.
When he took the helm in January of 1985 Chess Life underwent a serious shift from its traditional policy of toeing the middle of the road to adopting a strongly anti-Soviet stance which matched the personal politics of its editor. Chess Life also adopted a single voice approach with Larry liberally editing the copy of many contributors. This made a lot of sense in instances where English was the individual's second language but for other writers it produced a lot of hard feelings when they found words and expressions in their articles they never used. Chess Life was definitely more timely and lively during Larry's editorship but for some all the articles in the magazine read as if they were written by the same person the bylines notwithstanding.
The cover of Chess Life was always a priority for Larry and he took great care in making sure everything was just right, often going to the trouble of commissioning an expensive professional rather than taking chances. The cover photograph of his good friend Lev Alburt posing in the hills above Portland after winning the 1987 US Open was a real classic and a fine example of Larry's vision being realized.
Working for Chess Life was serious business for Larry but occasionally he let his hair down and was not above playing a practical joke - witness the article on chess sculpture that he wrote in 1987. The two page article was devoted to a guy called the Pro from Dover who had managed to devise a way to stack 32 chess pieces into the sky without having them tumble over. Those in the know thought it was written primarily as an excuse to put a beautiful Asian woman on the cover. Whatever the case it remains one of the oddest stories to ever appear in Chess Life which is saying quite a lot.
The job at Chess Life was a tough one with long hours and poor pay but Larry thrived on it. Botvinnik once said that playing a world championship match took six months off your life and many editors at Chess Life in the 1980s likely felt the same way. Constant battles with the USCF Policy Board took their toll on many an editor, but Larry welcomed the political infighting and never backed down. Not surprisingly by the spring of 1988 he was looking for a new job. Still, the gig at Chess Life put him on the map and he made many important friends that remained close to him the rest of his life, most importantly Grandmaster Larry Evans and photographer Nigel Eddis.
Dumped by the USCF PB Larry was quick to get back on his feet and by the middle of 1988 he was working at the anti-communist magazine Glasnost based in New York City. During this time he co-authored articles with Garry Kasparov that appeared in the Wall Street Journal but with the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s a new career was needed and Larry found one working for the Malaysian businessman and chess maecenas Dato Tan whose autobiography, Never Say I Assume!, he collaborated on..
During the 1990s Larry also found time to co-author the book for which he is likely to be best remembered. The Bobby Fischer I knew and Other Stories, published by Jim Eade's Hypermodern Press in 1995, was a team effort between Grandmaster Arnold Denker and Larry that is a fine tribute to American chess masters of the 1930s and 40s. The material, which was partially serialized in Chess Life, would very likely never have seen the light of day if not for Larry who not only wrote the book (based on Denker's reminiscences) but also spent many hours doing research in the American Chess Bulletin and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle hunting down forgotten games.
The book has its flaws - Kupchik for one is treated unfairly- but it is almost unique in American chess literature in preserving the memories and impressions of a US Champion. Edward Lasker's Chess Secrets I Learned from the Mastersis is a similar type of book. Works along these lines by International Masters Walter Shipman and Anthony Saidy and Master Allen Kaufman would be warmly welcomed to provide a variety of viewpoints.
During the 1990s Larry, along with Nigel Eddis and Larry Evans became heavily involved in efforts to change the method of election of the USCF Executive Board to "One Member, One Vote'. They also fought against FIDE and in particular Florencio Campomanes where their efforts were less successful.
Their battles with FIDE dated back to the aborted 1984-85 Kasparov-Karpov match but matters became somewhat confused when their champion Kasparov supported Campomanes for election in 1994. They found a new target in FIDE's drug-testing rules which they viewed, as with many topics, as a black and white issue. This came at a cost for many USCF representatives to FIDE, among them Larry's former publisher Jim Eade, who though powerless to effect change within FIDE were considered fair game for punishment. Curiously Larry, Larry Evans and Bill Goichberg - three of the strongest American critics of FIDEnever attended a FIDE Congress.
The 1990s were also when Larry found the Internet and in a big way. Search at rec.games.chess for his handle Parrthenon and you will thousands of posts by him on all matter of subjects. A first rate polemicist, who could persuasively argue either side of an argument; Larry loved nothing better than no holds barred battles online. These wars of words in which the Marquess of Queenberry's rules were forgotten and a strict adherence to fact non essential, were his cup of tea, but Larry never made his battles personal. Many of those he most bitterly attacked, including the late Jerry Hanken and Don Schultz, became good friends later on.
The last sixteen years of Larry's life were definitely his happiest. He was extremely proud of his wife Samboon and their children two children, Christiana,and Ian, and it was with their support that he successfully battled a tumor in his brain a decade ago. Working for Dato Tan not only allowed Larry to support his family but to travel all over the Asia that he so loved.
Larry Parr will be missed.
3) CalChess Scholastic Championship by Michael Aigner
Congratulations to Nicholas Karas for taking clear 1st in High School at the CalChess Scholastic Championships on April 2-3. Although I taught Nicholas (photo at left) for the last few years, much of the credit goes to his first teacher, NM Daniel Schwarz, for inspiring him. Now finishing the final year of high school, Nicholas became my fifth student in six years to qualify for the Denker Invitational held each summer at the US Open. Good luck in Orlando!
Two of my younger students shared top honors in the Junior High division. Kudos to Neel Apteand Kyle Shin for taking home the 1st and 2nd place trophies on tiebreaks. They already tied for 1st in Elementary last year, with Neel also earning 1st place. In fact, Neel has captured three titles in a row, starting with 4-5 in 2009.
Unfortunately, the Saratoga High School streak of consecutive team championships ended at six in a row. Mission San Jose High School won easily this year.
2011 CalChess Scholastic Individual Champions
- 9-12 - Nicholas Karas
- 6-8 - Neel Apte, Kyle Shin and Hunter Klotz-burwell
- 4-6 - Cameron Wheeler
- 4-5 - Abhishek Handigol, Alvin Kong, Siddharth Banik and Eric Zhu
- 1-3 - Ben Rood
- K - Balaji Daggupati
- 9-12 - Mission San Jose High School
- 6-8 - Horner Junior High School
- 4-6 - Regnart Elementary School
- 4-5 - Mission San Jose Elementary
- 1-3 - Mission San Jose Elementary
4) 4th Metropolitan FIDE Invitational
FM Joel Banawa scored an excellent 7.5 from 9 to win the 4th Metropolitan FIDE Invitational in Los Angeles which ended on April 10th. FM Pedram Atoufi was second with 6.5 points, and like Banawa made an IM norm. 14-year-old Mechanics' member Yian Liou had a nice result in finishing third ahead of the three competing IMs. His score of 5.5 points raised his USCF rating from 2339 to 2360
The event, organized by Ankit Gupta and directed by Randy Hough and Michael Belcher, was the fourth norm event put on by the Metropolitan Chess Club. The tournament was sponsored by California Market Center, Fashion Business, Inc, Chess.com, MonRoi, LawyerFy, and Betty Bottom Showroom.
Standings from this event are fully updated on the website on the schedule page of the Metropolitan Chess website at www.metrochessla.com
5) Upcoming Special Events at the Mechanics'
57 Post Street
San Francisco, CA, 94104
2nd place: $200
3rd place: $100
4th place: $75
5th place: $50
6th place: $25
The prizes are guaranteed due to the generosity of the Schutt Family.
FORMAT: Five double-round Swiss or Roundrobin, depending on the number of entries. Each player will probably play ten blitz (fast) games in this tournament.
REGISTRATION: 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on May 15, 2010
6) Upcoming Events
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 16-17
Charles Powell Memorial - May 14
5th Annual Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz - May 15
Arthur Stamer Memorial - June 4-5
William Addison Open - June 11