Bobby's 1955 Simul

Bobby's 1955 Simul

Mar 12, 2010, 8:19 PM |

Chess Review January 1956

The astonished members of the oldest American Chess Club - the Manhattan Chess Club of Central Park South of New York City - witnessed the most unusual and unique chess exhibition, November 26, 1955.

Bobby Fisher, age 12, the chess prodigy of the Manhattan Chess Club, played simultaneously twelve members of the Youth Group (age 7 to 12) of the Yorktown Chess Club. Bobby won all games, eliminating the first opponent in 50 minutes and the last one in two hours and twenty minutes.

Chess is recognized as the foremost game of intellectual skill - it is most cosmopolitan of all games and it develops the mind to face occasions as they arise, it demands foresight, brilliancy and resource.  Up to now, it was considered a game for adults, and the occasional appearance of a child player was an exception to the general rule.

A year ago, the Yorktown Chess Club sponsorred the first known Youth Group. The membership has rapidly grown and there are now 86 active children between the ages of 7 and 12 who meet regularly once a week to receive instructions and to play regular tournament games. It was 12 youths of this unusual group that Bobby Fischer played, opening the door to chess to the youth of America.

Bobby Fischer, who played White, opened on 12 boards with 1. e4, followed by 2.Nf3, 3. Bc4.

The Yorktowners who were expecting Bobby to play the Queen's or King's Gambit, were caught by surprise and five of them made the error of replying with 1...e5, 2...Nc6 (which is good) and 3...Nf6 (instead of 3...Bc5).

That naturally gave Bobby five winning games as he promptly followed with 4. Ng5 and then 5. Nxf6. From that point on, however, the youngsters got real busy, setting up the strongest defense possible and fighting to the bitter end.

The other seven players put up good opening resistance to the middle game.

Bobby played a strong offensive game with his Pawns and basically used the technique praised by the famous Steiner. He received from the Manhattan Chess Club a watch with an inscription and a check from the Yorktown Chess Club.

Stuart Slepser of Yorktown received a chess book from the Manhattan C. C., inscribed by Hans Kmoch, Director and Secretary, for having put up the best defense.

The following is the official classification of the Yorktown Chess plaers, based on the best defense (with ages):

1. Stuart Siepser, Yorktown Heights Age 12
2. Peter Foley, Peekskill  Age 12
3. Walter Nitz, Yorktown Heights Age 12
4. Billy David, Yorktown Heights Age 11
5. Henry Brooks, Yorktown Heights Age 9
6. Jimmy Rice, Peekskill Age 9
7. Marc Budwig, Shrub Oak Age 7
8. Leonard Bergstein, Yorktown Heights Age 10
9. Evanna Nelson, Yorktown Heights Age 12
10. Linda Villator, Yorktown Heights Age 7
11. Eric Mynttinen, Croton Lake Age 11
12. Michael Foley, Peekskill Age 10

Mr. Hyman Rotkin, President of the Yorktown C. C. and Mr. John Bischoff, Vice-President, complimented Bobby on his excellent technique and predicted that within a few years he will be competing with chess champions.

Mr. Hans Kmoch was joined by the president and other officers of the Manhattan C. C. in complimenting the Yorktown C. C. for its initiative in developing chess among the youth, and all expressed high hopes that other communities will follow this example.

Mr. Joseph Brooks, Manager of the Youth Group admitted that the children had played an excellent defensive game as per instructions received, and Billy David was the surprise of the day.  He was selected to represent the beginners of the seventh grade. He had received only a few hours of instruction and had played no more than 10 practice games. Billy had faithfully followed the instructions during the first 14 moves and was the only player, among 12, to have, at that point, a stronger game than Bobby Fischer. In fact, after the exhibition games were completed, Bobby looked up Billy David, replayed the first 14 moves and showed him the error made on the fifteenth.

The arrangements for this exhibition were made by Mr. Joseph Davis, Secretary of the Yorktown C. C. and special training and supervision was provided by two club chess members, Mrs. John Foley, MR. Henry Budwig, and the comely, Miss Shoshana David, Billy's 19 year-old sister.

(Chess Review editor:
Not told in the foregoing story is one of interest. Bobby Fischer is a Brooklyn product, lives not too far from the Brooklyn Dodgers' Ebbets Field. When Dr. Harold Sussman started to teach chess to his own son, he collected a group of youngsters for livelier interest in learnning competitively. Brightest light of the group was - you guessed it - Bobby Fischer!)



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