The Story of "A Story of the Game Without A Story"

NM GreenLaser
Jan 2, 2010, 12:00 AM |
7 | Endgames

The following endgame analysis stems from a game between Andy Soltis and Joe Tamargo in the Marshall Chess Club Championship of 1976. Andrew Soltis was born May 28, 1947 in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. He became an international master in 1974 and a grandmaster in 1980. He has written dozens of chess books and has a column in Chess Life and in the New York Post. Joseph Santiago Tamargo was born November 7, 1938 in New York City. He is a master in chess and in go. The few games of his in databases are sometimes listed incorrectly under Tomargo. At his peak, he was rated about 2330 which placed him number 30 in the US during a time of deflated ratings.

This game came to my attention about nine years ago in an internet chess group discussion. It was claimed that Soltis resigned in a won position. It was argued, instead, that it was a drawn position. Collectors of incorrect resignations were adding it to their collections. It was regarded as worthy as an incorrect grandmaster resignation. Actually, Andy was not yet a GM, but was an IM. I looked at the position one afternoon, without an analysis engine, and decided that Soltis had resigned in a lost position. When I showed analysis, it was disputed until it was accepted. Then I was told that there was no story if Soltis had resigned in a lost position and that it was even evil of me to show that. I published the analysis on line as "A Story of the Game Without A Story."

I was told that the game had been analyzed after it was played and was being analyzed again at the Marshall Chess Club by strong masters and that nobody had used my idea of how to play the ending. It was stated that I had worked on it with a chess engine for two months. That was not true. It was claimed that the fact that Soltis was lost did not matter because Tamargo would never have figured it out with the clock ticking (they ticked in 1976). Apparently, Soltis had a higher regard for Tamargo and his position. Joe had won every game in the event and went on to win it. If I quickly grasped how to play to win, Joe could have also. It is true that Andy could have played on instead of resigning to make Joe play correctly. I suppose if the game had been played out there would have been no story of a questioned resignation regardless of the result.

The winning method requires Black to retain at least one pawn. In order to do that the relative king positions are important. This is my improvement over prior analysis. Black has to use the rook in an active way to shepherd all of White's forces. The White pawns must be watched, the king limited, and the bishop chased and even threatened with sacrificial capture on c3 or a3. 


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